Raised Together with Christ

Posted on 03/23/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

Good morning, and happy Resurrection Day! I'm so glad you came to worship with us and to celebrate the fact that we don't serve a dead man or a mythical deity; we don't serve a principle or an idea; we don't serve a dead idol or a prophet of old... We serve the true and living God, and the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ, is alive and well today! Only the author of life could not be held in the grip of death, and today we celebrate the most incredible event in history: the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord!

Let's all stand to our feet, and start this service with prayer, thanksgiving, and praise.


Lord, thank you so much for coming to this earth, overcoming all the temptations to which we fall, and for willingly going to the cross to suffer and die in our place.

And thank you that you did not stay in that tomb, but just as you promised, you burst out of that grave with everlasting life in your hands, bringing our once-dead spirits with you into radient and eternal life.

Today as we celebrate your resurrection, we also have some requests our brothers and sisters have asked us to bring to you in agreement with them and on their behalf.

Abhay's friend, Ms. Mamta, who is in an abusive relationship and is being forced by her mother to marry this man.
*** consult audio for complete prayer ***

Sparrow's husband, who is in the US Air Force and is deployed to the desert for six months. Pray for safety.
*** consult audio for complete prayer ***

*** unspoken requests ***

Please remain standing as we continue our time of worship with our giving.


Please turn around and touch one of the offering plates, and give as the Lord leads.


***** go to http://almcyberchurch.org and click the offering plate to give online *****


Click the pulpit for a notecard, and let's worship our risen Savior with song!


WHAT A MIGHTY GOD

What a mighty God we serve
What a mighty God we serve
Angels bow before him
Heaven and earth adore him
What a mighty God we serve

HE IS THE KING

He is the King of Kings
He is the Lord of Lords
His name is
  Jesus, Jesus,
     Jesus, Jesus
Oh, he is the King

His name is Jesus, Jesus
Sad hears we've no more
He can heal the broken hearted
Open wide the prison door
And he's able to deliver evermore

FREEDOM

Where the Spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Where the Spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom

There is peace, there is love
There is joy (there is joy)

It is for freedom He's set us free
It is for freedom He's set us free

I'm free! (I'm free! I'm free!)
I'm free! (I'm free! I'm free!)
I'm free! (I'm free! I'm free!)
I'm free

We will walk in Your freedom, walk in Your liberty
We will walk, Lord
We will walk in Your freedom, walk in Your liberty

We will dance in Your freedom, dance in Your liberty
We will dance, Lord
We will dance in Your freedom, dance in Your liberty

We will jump in Your freedom, jump in Your liberty
We will jump, Lord
We will jump in Your freedom, jump in Your liberty

Where the Spirit of the Lord is
    THERE IS FREEDOM!!
Where the Spirit of the Lord is
    THERE IS FREEDOM!

HALLELUJAH

Hallelujah, hallelujah
     hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah
     hallelujah, hallelujah

Thank you Jesus...
Lord I love you...
Christ is coming...

*** Consult the audio for the message introduction ***

Today we celebrate the day, almost 2,000 years ago, on which Jesus rose bodily from the dead.

Friday we remembered his crucifixion, as he was whipped so badly he could not be recognized as a man, mocked, beaten, spit upon;

We remembered him as they put a crown of thorns on his head, pushing it into his skull.

We remembered him as they drove nails into his hands and feet.

We remembered him as he hung there naked and bleeding, in agony, as the soldiers gambled for his clothes.

We remembered him as he hung there between two thieves, promising eternal life to the one who believed in him as his only hope and as the giver of life.

We remembered him as the sky turned dark and the Father God turned his back on him, unable to look upon our sins which had all been placed upon Jesus as he became our sin.

We remembered him as he cried out, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing!"

We remembered him as he proclaimed, "It is finished!" and breathed his last.

We remembered him as the soldiers thrust a spear into his side to make sure he was dead, and blood and water flowed out, showing that he had died of a broken heart.

And we remembered him as they took him away and laid him in a borrowed tomb.


Today, let's pick up this historical account in the book of Matthew, starting in chapter twenty-seven and verse sixty-two.


Matthew 27:62 - 28:8

62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered  together to Pilate,
63 saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, 'After three days I  will rise.'
64 Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night  and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be  worse than the first."

65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how."
66 So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

Chapter 28

1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary  came to see the tomb.
2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came  and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.
4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

5 But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who  was crucified.
6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before  you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you."

8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

You know, I find it interesting that while the disciples did not seem to remember that Jesus said he would rise again in three days, the chief priests and pharisees remembered it well.

I wonder if they really thought the disciples would steal the body and falsely claim Jesus had risen, or if deep down they were afraid that Jesus really would rise from the dead.

Regardless, they asked for guards to be placed at the tomb, and for the stone to be secured and sealed with a seal that was not to be broken under penalty of death.

It's also interesting to note what they said to Pilate, "lest His disciples come by night  and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be  worse than the first." If the first so-called deception were that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, would the second so-called deception really be worse, or would it simply prove that the first deception was not a deception at all, but was entirely true?

Since they had stirred up the crowds to finalize their orchestration of Jesus' death, surely some of them had to be a bit nervous. What if he was telling the truth?

And after his resurrection, we see that the guards reported what happened to them, and they promised to protect the guards from the penalty for this type of failure, which was death.

Isn't that amazing? Here they had first-hand proof that Jesus had risen from the dead and was therefore who he claimed to be, the Messiah of God who they had put to death, and yet they still refused to accept him.

And yet things have not really changed. The chief priests and pharisees were spiritually dead. Since they thought they were spiritually alive and had spiritual vision which was far superior to the common man, true spiritual life seemed to them offensive and vile. And it is like this today. To those who think they see while rejecting that Jesus is the only way to God, the Gospel is offensive and vile, or rediculous at best.

But even to those of us who may not have a highly advanced and super-spiritual understanding of Scripture, from the most common of us to the least in mental agility, the foolishness of the Gospel is the light of truth; and to think that what we have tasted and known and experienced exactly as Jesus promised could be just a collective figmint of our imaginations, is utter obserdity to us; it's as rediculous to us as to claim the sun beating down on us on a bright summer day is not hot, or that the love we have for someone near to our heart is not greater than pleasures we might seek for ourselves.

The resurrection is not meant to be only a historical fact, although it is certainly that. Rather, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is meant to be something personal, something in which we take part, something that is more a part of us than our own bodies and minds.

The resurrection of Jesus took place so that we, who were dead in trespasses and sins, could rise from our graves of depravity and spiritual bankruptcy and be brought to life, glorious life, having that part of us that was without life, breathed into by the same breath that animated the man of clay almost a dozen millenia ago.

In Ephesians chapter two we read,

Ephesians 2:1-10

1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power  of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of  the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been  saved),
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in  Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand  that we should walk in them.

Brothers, sisters, and friends; the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not for intellectual gratification. No, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is to make us alive, we who were dead in our trespasses and sin; we who once walked in the ways of this world, being unknowing puppets of the enemy who controls those without Jesus, just as we were without Jesus.

But God -- two of the most beautiful words on earth -- But God... You might be going through a seemingly hopeless situation, But God... You might be bound to addiction, But God... You might be overcome with fear and doubt, But God... You might be in the middle of financial ruin, But God... You might feel rejected, abandoned and alone, But God... You might be at the end of your rope, But God... You might feel as though there is no hope for you in heaven or on earth,

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show us the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

And how does he make us alive together with Christ, so that we can be seated in the spiritual places with Christ Jesus? And how are we made able to be shown the incredible riches of his grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus?

This is how: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

And then we have this marvelous promise, this incredible word, this breathtaking proclamation of what we are and who he has brought us to life to become: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Let that sink in... We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus... When we accept God's priceless gift of Salvation, he creates within us a work of art, just as he created the first man out of clay, and he breathes into us his life, that same resurrection power that raised Jesus bodily from the dead, and we are placed on a path of joy and purpose, peace and certainty, knowing with that part of us that once was dead those things that we can know no other way. And o, that amazing grace, the grace by which I was saved, it is because of this grace, this life, that I can say I once was lost, but now I am found; I was blind, but now I see.


Do you know Jesus today? Or is he something you just can't seem to grasp, something that doesn't make sense to you?

I'd like for the ministry team to come to the front now.


Perhaps you've felt as though something's missing in your life. There's an empty place inside, and you've tried so hard to fill it. Perhaps you feel as though there's something, deep down, that just isn't really alive.

But whatever your symptoms, today you've heard the cause, and today you have heard the solution. Come to Jesus. As we celebrate the bodily resurrection of the Savior 2,000 years ago, let's also celebrate your being brought from death into life, from the dominion of the enemy to the freedom of the Spirit, made alive together with Christ.


Let's all stand to our feet.


Lord, thank you so much for dying in our place, for taking the guilt, the shame, and the punishment of our sins upon you, for becoming our sins as you were nailed to the cross and hung there to die.

And thank you that you did not stay in that tomb. You did not leave us to live a life of drudgery and death, a life of stone-cold religion, and the teachings and traditions of men; but just as you promised and as Scripture foretold, the Spirit of the Living God raised you from the dead, so that just as our sins were nailed to the tree, so our spirits are raised together with you in newness of life!

I pray for those here today who don't know you. I ask that as they accept your free gift of forgiveness, salvation, and life, that you would make them brand new, and would fill them with peace, joy, and the brand new outlook on life that comes when their spirit, dead in trespasses and sins, is pardoned, sanctified, justified, forgiven, washed whiter than snow by your blood, and brought to life by the resurrection power of your Holy Spirit.

And if you don't know Jesus today, just ask him to come into your heart. Accept his gift of life, turning from the world's ways of living and setting your eyes on Jesus, to follow where he leads.

Pray this with me. Say, "Jesus, forgive me for my sins. Come into my heart. Be my Savior and Lord. Breathe into my spirit, dead in trespasses and sins, and raise me together with you, in newness of life. And I will follow you, all the days of my life. Thank you Jesus. Amen.

This altar is open. You're all invited to get out of your seats and come gather around the front. If you need to go, you're free to do so, and you're all invited to fellowship with us in a few minutes in the room to your left.

Come to the altar. Let's seek after God, worship him together, seek him in prayer, and most of all thank him that he did not leave us in the grave, but that he rose from the tomb, and that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead can live in us, making us alive, as we are raised together with Christ!

Come.