Victory In Jesus

Victory In Jesus

He conquered and defeated death, and through the Resurrection He conquered and defeated sin.

He is risen!!! He is risen indeed!!!  Happy Easter everyone.  Today we gather with churches all throughout the centuries and around the world to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Today we remember the greatest event of all human history.  An event that would change the world forever and it was all because of love.

You see it was God’s love who sent Jesus to earth to live, to teach, to heal, to die and to be raised from the dead.  You see, the Apostle Paul writes “But God, who is rich in mercy because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with Christ, even though we were dead in trespasses.  You are saved by grace.”

You see God loved us so much that he sent Jesus, even though we didn’t deserve it. We didn’t do anything to earn it. His love was so powerful for us that He sent his one and only son to die for us. And it’s also because of God’s love that He gives us a new life in Christ.  The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 6:4, “Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life.”

So today we celebrate.  We celebrate the new life that we received through faith in Christ. We celebrate God’s love for us to send His one and only Son.  But today, on this Easter Sunday, I want to ask you a question.  Is Christ the King of your life?  Is he reigning over every aspect of your life, day in and day out?  You see, before there was ever a resurrection there was a death, and on that Good Friday, Jesus hung on a cross, as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

We read about it in Matthew 27:32-42 “As they were going out, they found a Cyrenian man named Simon. They forced him to carry His (Jesus’) cross. When they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of the Skull), they gave Him wine mixed with gall to drink. But when He tasted it, He refused to drink it. After crucifying Him, they divided His clothes by casting lots.  Then they sat down and were guarding Him there.  Above His head they put up the charge against Him in writing: This Is Jesus, the King of the Jews.  Then two criminals were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!”  In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him and said, “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him.”

You see the crucifixion of Jesus was marked by ridicule, disbelief, and mockery.  The soldiers mocked Jesus by hanging a sign over His head that read King of the Jews, even though they didn’t believe it.  Those who just passed by mocked Him by telling Him to prove Himself by coming down from the cross.  Likewise, the priest and the elders and the scribes walked by and said, “oh, He claims to be the King of Israel.  Well, if He’s the King and He wants us to follow Him, he needs to save Himself.”  None of those individuals understood what was really happening on that day.

You see the test of Jesus’ power, and His authority was not found in Him coming off the cross.  It would be found in Him being resurrected from the grave.  His authority and His power would be proven three days from that first Good Friday.  But I’m afraid today there are many people watching this around the world, who take on the same attitude as those soldiers or those passer buyers or the chiefs.  They take on the attitude that Jesus has to prove Himself before we will ever make a decision to follow Him and surrender our lives to Him.  We live our lives asking Jesus to heal our relatives.  If you’ll just heal this person, I’ll follow you.  If you just give me a bigger bank account or a better job or move me to a higher position in the company, then I’ll follow You.  Or end world hunger.  Or just write it in the sky as a sign, then I’ll believe.  A famous atheist once said if he died and met God, he would ask one simple question.   Why did you not give me more evidence?

But you see the evidence that they were looking for, the evidence that Jesus is the Messiah wouldn’t happen for three more days.  But they continued to ask Him to do something for them.  I think we do the same thing.  We ask Jesus to meet us on our terms.  We ask Him to come to us.  If He just comes to us, then we’ll follow Him.  If He does what we ask, then will follow Him.  But here’s the truth that I don’t want you to miss.   Jesus did the only thing that He could do to heal the brokenness of this world.  I think all of us have experienced brokenness.  We can see brokenness when we turn on the TV.  We’ve experienced in our own lives and we don’t like to feel broken.  We don’t like the emotions that come through the brokenness that we experience in our lives, emotions like emptiness.  The brokenness leaves us empty, it leaves us guilty.  It leaves us shameful.  It leaves us feeling regret.  But I want you to understand that that brokenness comes from sin.

You see, it’s sin that has broken the world.  It’s sin that has broken our relationship with God.  It is sin that has led to a separation between us and God and the only way for that brokenness to be healed is for an unblemished sacrificial lamb and that sacrificial lamb was Jesus Christ.  He lived a perfect sin-free life.  He was fully God and fully man, and as He is hanging on that cross, He is taking the sins of the world upon Him so that you can be forgiven by making him the King of your life, by surrendering to Him.  He did the only thing He could do to heal the brokenness and that was to hang on that cross till he died.

And so we have a decision to make.  We can either demand that Jesus prove Himself on our terms.  Or we can come and see the Jesus who was no longer in that tomb on that first Easter Sunday.  You see, there’s two ladies that are going to show up three days after the crucifixion. We read about it in Matthew 28:1-6.  “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb.  There was a violent earthquake, because an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and approached the tomb. He rolled back the stone and was sitting on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.  The guards were so shaken by fear of him that they became like dead men.  The angel told the women, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here. For He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.”

Such a powerful message of hope.  Such a powerful message from this angel to these women.  A message, an invitation, that is for us today as well.  He says, come and see.  You know we can travel the world and visit the graves and the tombs of many people, famous people, family members.  And the one thing I know is those bodies are still in those tombs.  But if you go to Jerusalem today, then you will go to the tomb where Jesus was buried, and He’s not there.  That tomb is still empty today like it was on that first Easter Sunday morning.  And listen, that’s a very significant thing.  That’s very important.  If Jesus died on the cross and stayed dead, then our faith is meaningless.  If there is no resurrection, there’s no reason to celebrate Easter, but that’s not what happened.  Jesus got up and walked out of that grave.   He conquered and defeated death, and through the Resurrection He conquered and defeated sin.

The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.  Where, death, is your victory?  Where, death, is your sting?  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”  Today on this Easter Sunday, I want you to know that there is victory, that there is victory over your brokenness.  There is victory over your guilt and shame and that feeling of emptiness.  There is victory and it doesn’t come through our own mitigation of that brokenness.  Oh, I know, we try to fix it ourselves because we are the kings of our own lives.  We try to fill our lives with that next relationship.  We try to fill our lives with more money.  We try to fill our lives with drugs and alcohol to wash away and drown out our sorrows.  But those things will never heal the brokenness that sin has caused.  It is the truth that Jesus Christ was victorious and has conquered death once and for all.

We have victory in Jesus Christ.  We have a victory that is only received through us deciding to follow Him, surrender our life and let Him rule in reign and be our King.  Stop letting all that other stuff rule and reign in your life and let Jesus be your Lord and Savior.

There was a renowned artist named Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré.  One day he was traveling.  He lost his passport in Europe.  He came to the border crossing and he explained his predicament to the guards.  And the guard, said, “well, you look like him and you sound like him but there’s a lot of people that come through this crossing every single day that claim to be people they’re not.”  And he continues to plead with him and plead with him.  And then the guards asked him to prove it.  They gave him a piece of paper and a pencil.  And they said, just draw the people.  Very quickly he precisely, and almost to perfection, drew the crowd of people that were standing around him.  He showed the picture to the guards, and they concur that he really was the artist that he claimed to be.

Jesus’ work on the cross, and His resurrection confirms to us that He is who He says He is.  He told the people He would be resurrected.  He told the people He was the Son of God and this proved it.  The only evidence we need is that empty tomb and the moving of the Holy Spirit in our life. And so, we read those famous words today in John 3:16 “for God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that whoever would believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The love of God has provided a way for you to have eternal life on this day.  God so loved His world that He sent His Son as a sacrifice for you and me.  That’s why we call it Good Friday because He was our substitute.  He did it for our good, and it’s why we celebrate.  So, I’ll ask you the question again.  Is Christ reigning as King of your life?  Have you surrendered to the risen Savior who sits at the right hand of God the Father today?

You know, I believe there are two types of people watching this.  The first type is those who have committed their life to Christ in the past.  They’ve made that decision a long time ago.  Professed Christ as Lord and Savior, but maybe they’ve strayed just a little bit.  Maybe through COVID in the last year, they’ve become disconnected with the church.  They’ve become disconnected with their Sunday School classes.  They become disconnected with their own faith.  They’ve become disconnected with spending time with God. Let today, this Easter Sunday, be a reminder to you that the Lord loves you.  That the Lord never leaves you nor forsakes you.  That the Lord forgives you of your sins.  Let today be a day that you recommit your life to obeying Him and following Him.  Let today, this Easter Sunday, be the day that you make that commitment to affirm Him as King in your life.

The second group of people who may be watching have never made that decision.  You’ve never decided to follow Jesus.  You’ve never trusted Him with your life.  You’ve never given your life to Him.  He’s not reigning in your life today.  Maybe you’ve been chasing those other things.  Maybe you’ve been waiting for Him to come to you.  Well, the angel says “you, come and see.”  Jesus, when He called His followers, He said come follow Me.  And they did, and you can too.

The invitation to follow Jesus is open to anyone who’s never made that decision.  Jesus Himself taught that if you would just believe in Him and the one who sent Him, that you would be saved.  Romans says this, as Paul writes, “if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”   If you’ll believe that today and call upon the Name of Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can be saved.

So, do you believe?  Are you willing to repent and turn away from your selfishness?  Are you willing to repent and turn away from the ruler of this world which is Satan?  Are you willing to turn away from that sinful lifestyle that you’ve been living?  Are you willing to turn away from the drugs and the alcohol?  Are you willing to turn away from your addictions to pornography or premarital sex?  Are you willing to turn away from a life that you’ve been living and turn and put your focus on Jesus?

So if you believe, and if you’re willing to turn away from this world, the next thing you have to do is just decide to follow Him.  He says, come and follow Me.  Are you ready to do that today?  In just a few moments, I’m going to ask you to pray a prayer with me.  Now there’s nothing magical about this prayer, but it’s just a guide for us to acknowledge our sinfulness.  It’s a prayer of confessing and committing to be followers of Jesus Christ.  And if you pray this prayer in just a few moments that I invite you to check out our church’s website, check out our Facebook page and get in contact with us.  And if you’re not close to China Grove, find you a good Bible believing church and get plugged in and let them disciple you and pour into your life.  Because the decision to follow a resurrected Savior will be the most life changing thing you have ever done.  It won’t be easy.  It won’t create some kind of miraculous prosperity in your life, but it will give you a peace that surpasses all understanding.  It will give you an eternity that is hopeful not hopeless as you will be guaranteed to spend all eternity in the presence of Jesus Christ in heaven.  Don’t wait to make that decision.  There’s no better time like now to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior and decide to follow Him.

So, if you’re ready to do that today, I want you to close your eyes and I want you to pray after me.

Just repeat, “Lord, I love you.  I know that I have strayed far from You and I have rebelled against Your perfect Word and Your perfect laws and I am a sinner. And Father, today I make the decision to repent of my sins knowing that You are faithful to forgive, and I make the decision today to follow You.  To make You the King of my life.  The Lord of my life.  And I confess You as Lord and Savior and I commit to following You in obeying Your commands.  We ask this in Jesus’ Name Amen and Amen.”

Again, if you just prayed that prayer, please reach out to us.  Reach out to a local church and let them disciple you on the next part of your journey.

Happy Easter and God bless.