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The Day that Changed the World | Easter Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
April 4, 2021 3:00 am

The Day that Changed the World | Easter Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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April 4, 2021 3:00 am

In today’s Sunday morning episode, you can discover what Easter means to you. Listen for a hope-filled gospel message from Pastor Greg Laurie from Luke 23 and John 20. Because of Easter, we have all God's promises!

Notes

Easter is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34)

Forgiven people should be forgiving people.

“The first to apologize is the bravest, the first to forgive is the strongest, and the first to forget is the happiest.”

“Truly, truly I say to you today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

“Woman, behold your son.” “Son, behold your mother” (John 19:26). 

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:33–34).

At the cross, even God the Father turned His face away from God the Son; because God, in all His holiness could not look at sin.

Jesus entered the darkness that we might walk in the light.

“I thirst!”

“It is finished!” or “Tetelestai!”

“Into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46).

On the cross, Jesus addressed the Father at the beginning, middle, and end.

We should do the same in life. 

1. The resurrection of Jesus assures me that I am accepted by God.

“On the cross, God treated Jesus as if he had lived your life, so that He could treat you as if you had lived His life.”

2. The resurrection of Jesus assures me that I have all the power I need to live the Christian life.

3. The resurrection of Jesus assures me that I too will live forever in Heaven.

At the cross, Jesus took the stinger out of death.

4. The resurrection of Jesus assures me that I will receive a new body just like His.

These are all promises for the Christian.

Scripture Referenced

Ephesians 4:32

John 16:32

Isaiah 53:5

Matthew 28:8–9

Romans 4:25

Romans 8:11–12

1 Corinthians 15:54–55

Job 19:26

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Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, and my objective is to deliver, hopefully, compelling practical insights in faith, culture, and current events from a biblical perspective. To find out more about our ministry, just go to our website, harvest.org. So thanks for joining me for this podcast.

Just for you. In a few moments, I'm gonna be sharing a message with you with the title, The Day That Changed the World. So Easter, what do you think about during this time of the year? Well, we think of pastel colors, Easter egg hunts, the Easter bunny, of course, cute little chicks. I remember when I was a kid, you could actually buy for Easter little bunnies and little chicks, which doesn't seem like a great idea about three months later when your house is overrun with rabbits and full-grown chickens.

But a lot of people don't even know what Easter is all about. I remember as a little boy going to my mother and actually asking her, Mom, what is the meaning of Easter? And her answer was, I don't know. She knew. She was raised in the church.

She had been running from the Lord for years, and I think went out of her way to try to keep me from knowing anything about God or the Bible, and then I ended up becoming a Christian and becoming a preacher. So a lot of people don't know the meaning of Easter. I heard a story about a Sunday school teacher that was talking to her class on Palm Sunday. She said, okay, kids, does anybody know what the meaning of this day is? A little girl raised her hand, and the teacher called on her, and the little girl said, today is Palm Sunday. And the teacher said, right, what is the meaning of it? The little girl said, that is the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of the donkey, and they laid palm branches before his feet and cried out, Hosanna.

The teacher was very impressed. She said, that is exactly right. Then the teacher said to the class, can anyone tell me what next Sunday is? Same little girl raised her hand.

The teacher called on her, yes. What's next Sunday? That's Easter Sunday, the little girl said. And the teacher said, and what is the meaning of Easter Sunday? The little girl said, that is the day that Jesus rose again from the dead. And before the teacher could congratulate her, the girl continued on and said, but if he sees his shadow, he has to go back underground for seven more weeks.

I think she got it confused with Groundhog Day. Yeah, we get a little confused, but let me just say this, in case you don't know, Easter is a day where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I want to talk about what the resurrection means to you in this message.

Four very important things you need to know. But of course, before there could be a resurrection, there had to first be a crucifixion. Jesus Christ was arrested on false charges. He was ultimately brought before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who immediately knew he was innocent. Because Pilate had tried hundreds and hundreds of criminals, and he knew an innocent man when he saw him. And he really did not want to condemn Jesus to death, but the religious leaders were pressuring him. So he tried to find a way to satisfy what they wanted and not send Jesus to be nailed to a cross. So Pilate ordered Christ to be scourged. The scourging was called the halfway crucifixion. Then the beaten, bloody Jesus was brought before the crowds by Pilate, and he said, Behold the man. Hoping that would satisfy them, but no, they still wanted a crucifixion.

But of course, this is all fulfilling God's ultimate purpose, because scripture said not only would Messiah be born in a manger in Bethlehem, not only would he live a perfect life, but he would go to a cross, and he would specifically be crucified. Hundreds of years before crucifixion was even invented, it was said prophetically in Psalm 22, They pierced my hands and my feet. So Jesus was sent to the cross.

His shredded back pressed against it. The cross hung up where everyone could see with a cross on each side with criminals crucified on them. And from the cross, Jesus gave seven statements, seven significant statements, even the order of them is significant. Statement number one was, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Statement number two was in response to a statement from one of the criminals, Today you will be with me in paradise. Statement number three, looking toward his mother, he said, Woman, behold your son. Then he said, Son, behold your mother. Then presumably the sins of the world were poured on Jesus Christ, causing him to cry out, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani, which means my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Then he said, I thirst.

Then he said, It is finished. And finally he said to the Father, Into your hands I commit my spirit. The first statement of Jesus from the cross was, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Wow. It would always make more sense if his first statement was, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Or even, I thirst, but Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. This reminds us that no one is beyond the reach of God. Jesus is praying for the very perpetrators, the very men responsible for nailing him to this cross, and he's asking the Father to forgive them, reminding us that no one is beyond the reach of God. Do you know somebody right now that you cannot imagine being a Christian? You cannot even imagine in your wildest dreams hearing them say, Praise the Lord?

Listen, no one is beyond the reach of God. But Jesus is saying, Father, they have committed a sin that is so bad, so incomprehensible, forgive them, for they know not what they do. And we, too, as followers of Jesus, should forgive people who have sinned against us, because forgiveness is easy to talk about.

It's a lot harder to do, isn't it? It was C.S. Lewis that once said, Forgiveness seems like a lovely idea until you have something to forgive, end quote, and that's true. There was a study done on forgiveness that revealed 75% of those who were pulled believed that God forgave them of their past sins, so that's good. And also it said 52% said they had forgiven others. So a lot of them believed that God forgave them, but they were unwilling to extend that same forgiveness to others.

Houston, we have a problem. If you've been forgiven by God as his follower because you've put your faith in Christ, then you in turn should be forgiving other people. Listen to this. Forgiven people should be forgiving people. The Bible commands us to forgive. We're told in the book of Ephesians, Be kind, tenderhearted toward one another, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven us.

Now listen to this. Extending forgiveness doesn't mean you're condoning or dismissing a person's bad behavior because things are done to us that should not have been done. So we say, well, if I forgive them, they're like getting away with it. It's not about what they're getting away with.

This is about you. To forgive means that you surrender your right to get even. It means we're not gonna pay that person back though they may deserve it. One person put it this way, and I quote, the first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest.

The first to forget is the happiest. So here's Jesus surrounded by two criminals, and he offers forgiveness. Now it's fascinating to look at these three men facing death.

All of them are facing death. Let me say a word about these criminals. We call them the thieves on the cross. They actually were guilty of a far more serious crime than theft.

The Romans did not crucify people who stole. Actually, these men were probably insurrectionists. We might call them terrorists today. They had dedicated their life to the overthrow of Rome. So they probably had murdered people.

So these are serious, hardened criminals. And initially, they joined the chorus of mockery coming from the people at the foot of the cross where they're saying, hey, he saved others. Let him save himself if he's the son of God.

How ridiculous is that? Of course, Jesus could have saved himself. The fact is, because he wanted to save others, that means you and me, he did not save himself.

But something happened that got the attention of one of those criminals. At first, he's mocking Jesus. All of a sudden, he changes his tone. What happened?

Well, I don't know exactly, but I have an idea. I think it's when Jesus said those words, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. The hardened heart of this man suddenly softened, which shows us conversion can happen in an instant, in a moment. Father, forgive them.

They don't know what they're doing. This man can't believe Jesus would say such a thing. And so he turns to Jesus and he says, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom, bringing us to the second statement of Christ from the cross, when he says, truly, truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. Well, talk about being at the right place at the right time.

This guy got in right under the wire. Am I speaking to somebody who is on their deathbed? Am I talking to somebody right now that doesn't have much life left to live? You can come to put your faith in Christ.

It's never too late to believe. I mentioned my mother a little bit earlier. My mom was married and divorced seven times. So I had a full-time ministry sharing the gospel with my mom's former husbands. Her last husband was named Bill, and he never was really very open to the gospel.

And so my mom died, and thankfully my mom recommitted her life to Christ a couple of months before she died, so we were thankful for that. But I really kind of lost contact with Bill, and someone called me and said, Bill is really sick. He's in hospice care.

You should go visit him. Well, I was on my way to the airport for a speaking engagement. I said, I'll tell you what, I'll call him as soon as I land. And as I'm on my way to the airport, I'm telling you God's Spirit just spoke to my heart, and he directed me to go see Bill. So I did a U-turn, drove over to the house where my mom used to live with Bill.

I walked in. There he was in this hospital bed set up in his den, and you could see he was not long for this life. I said, Bill, I've shared the gospel with you many times, but I want to share it with you one more time. And I told him what Jesus did. Jesus died on the cross for his sins.

If he would turn from his sin, Jesus would forgive him, and he could have all of his sins removed and have a relationship with God and go to heaven. I said, Bill, do you want Jesus to come into your life? And he said, yes. And I said, pray this prayer with me, and I led him in a prayer, just like I'll lead you in at the end of this message, a prayer to ask Christ to come into his life. And after we were praying, I said, God bless you, and I'll call you when I land. And I went back and made my flight and landed.

And as soon as I got my phone out, I got a text that said, Bill just passed. Oh, I'm so glad I took the time to go back and spend a little time with Bill and share the gospel with him. But again, this story reminds us that no one is beyond the reach of God, and it's never too late to come to Jesus. Standing at the foot of the cross was the mother of our Lord, Mary. What a unique relationship she had with Jesus. She both bore the Son of God, the Messiah, in her womb, and later invited Jesus into her heart. But when he was hanging on that cross, Mary was in anguish.

His body was so beaten and so traumatized, Isaiah says you couldn't even tell he was a man. But Mary knew who he was. That was her boy. Her son, Jesus. Did a mother ever love a son more than Mary loved Jesus?

And no parent ever wants to outlive their child. You know, at 33, most people say it is beginning, but Jesus at that age was saying it is finished. And her heart broke because Jesus was, well, he was the perfect son, wasn't he? Always respectful, always doing whatever Mary needed him to do.

She loved him with all of her heart. Can you imagine being one of the siblings of Jesus and having to measure up to him? I wonder if Mary or Joseph ever said to the other kids, and yes, Jesus did have brothers and sisters, the Gospels are clearing this, but I wonder if they said, kids, why can't you be more like your big brother Jesus? They would say, Mom, he's like perfect.

He never does anything wrong. He was perfect. And there was her son hanging on the cross, dying, and her heart was broken. And that brings us to the third statement of the cross that's found in the Gospel of John, where it says in chapter 19, Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing by. Now, that's John he's referring to.

John would refer to himself in his Gospel as the disciple whom Jesus loved. And Jesus said to his mother, Woman, behold your son. And then to John, he said, Son, behold your mother. I think he was basically saying to John, I want you to take care of my mom from this point on. Jesus was the firstborn.

That means he would bear the primary responsibility of caring for his mother later in life. But now Jesus had fulfilled his purpose, so he's thinking of his mother, a very beautiful gesture on his part. Now, suddenly, the sky turns dark. This moment has been described as the crucifixion in the crucifixion. This is the moment when all of the sin of the world, past, present, and future, is gonna be poured upon the one who had never sinned. He who was holy would bear all that was unholy, all the wicked sin of the world, causing Jesus to give his next statement from the cross, which is found over in Mark 15, 33.

It says, as darkness fell across the whole world at three o'clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani, which means, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? No fiction writer would have their hero make such a statement. But the Bible is not fiction.

The Bible is telling us the truth. And the reason Jesus said, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me, is because momentarily, the Holy Father turned his face away as Christ was bearing, literally, all the sins of the world. There's never been a lonelier man to walk this earth than Jesus at that moment. See, up to this point, everyone had basically forsaken him. Judas had betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver.

Peter had denied him. His disciples had abandoned him. But he always had the Father there to call upon. Jesus even said, the Father has not left me alone. And yes, the hour is coming when everyone will be scattered, but the Father will be with me, and I'm not alone.

But now, for a moment, even the Father has to, in effect, leave him alone. And this is something that reminds us that Jesus was forsaken, so I don't have to be. Jesus entered the darkness so I could walk in the light. Jesus was forsaken for God by a time, for a time, rather. So from this sixth hour to three o'clock in the afternoon, everything goes dark, lights out, probably for planet earth.

Some historians record a worldwide blackout back in this day. And this is when the sin of the world was placed upon Jesus Christ as he was dying on the cross for us and bearing our sins. Statement number four from the cross. Jesus cries out, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani. Wow. No fiction writer would ever have their hero make a statement like this. But the Bible's not fiction, friend.

It's true. Why did Jesus say, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Many theologians believe this was the moment the sin of the world was placed upon Christ. Now, if this was not the actual moment, it happened at some time when he died on the cross, and this seemed like this is probably when it happened because of this statement. You see, this was a horrible moment for Jesus. There was no lonelier man who has ever walked the earth than Jesus at this moment. He had been forsaken by his own followers. I mean, Judas betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver.

Peter denied him. His disciples effectively, with the exception of John at the foot of the cross, had abandoned him, but he always had the Father. He always knew the Father was with him no matter what he was going through, but now even the Father momentarily has to turn his face away. Jesus said in John 16, 32, the hour has come and now is here. When you will be scattered, each will go to your own way. You'll leave me alone, but I'm not alone because the Father is with me. But now the Father had to turn away his face.

Why? Because God is so holy, he cannot look at sin. See, to be forsaken of God is a consequence of sin. For a person to feel that forsakenness, if you will, is the penalty that naturally follows what you do when you've sinned. It's the repercussion of it, but Jesus had not forsaken the Father. Jesus had not done anything wrong, but he's bearing the sin of the world.

But listen to this. Jesus was forsaken, so I don't have to be. Jesus said, I will never leave you or forsake you. You will never be forsaken by God because temporarily Jesus was forsaken by the Father as he bore your sins.

Listen to this. Jesus entered the darkness that I might walk in the light. He did all of this for us because he loved us and he was bearing the sin of the world.

Isaiah 53 says, he was bruised for our iniquities and the punishment for our peace was upon him. I love the way Paul summed it up when he said, he loved me and he gave himself for me. Next we'll look at the fifth statement of Jesus from the cross. And by the way, it was the first statement of a personal nature. The fifth statement of Jesus from the cross was, I thirst.

Let's review. First he said, Father forgive them for they know not what they do. Then he turned to the thief who said, Remember me when you come into your kingdom.

And gave a second statement which was, Truly, truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise. Looking at the foot of the cross, he saw his mother. He said, Woman, behold your son. And then looking to John, he said, Son, behold your mother. Then he bore the sin of the world and cried out, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

So the worst of it has passed. And by the way, I believe this was Jesus' most painful moment. You might say, Oh no, the most painful moment was the scourging or the crucifixion itself. As bad as those things were, I don't think they were the most painful moments for Jesus.

His most painful moment was when he was temporarily separated from the Father, bearing the sin of the world. But now that he's done that, he says, I thirst. You know, experts tell us that severe thirst is worse than anything else.

He's completely dehydrated and he is just in absolute turmoil. So Jesus says, I thirst, and a courageous soldier gives him something to drink, a little sponge extended on a pole up to the lips of Christ. What a privilege that was to do that for the Lord, to alleviate his suffering, even if only for a moment.

And remember, you can still do this today. You say, Well, what do you mean by that? Well, Jesus said, You know, when I was thirsty, you gave me water. And when I was hungry, you gave me food.

And when I was in prison, you came and visited me. And his disciples said, Lord, when were you hungry and when were you thirsty and when were you in prison? He said, If you did it to the least of my brothers, you did it for me. But now we come to the battle cry of the cross.

And now for the sixth statement of the cross. It's actually one word in the Greek. It's the Greek word, tetelestai, translated, it is finished. These were not the words of a defeated man.

These were not the words of a victim. These were the words of a victor who had accomplished his purpose. It is finished can be translated, it is completed, it is done, it is fulfilled. Actually, it was a phrase that was used by common people in that day. You might frame a house and when it was completed, you would say, tetelestai, it is finished. Or you build a beautiful table or serve a fine meal, tetelestai, it is finished. So for Christ to use that phrase is interesting because he has now fulfilled everything he has come to do.

It is completed. And by the way, one of the Gospels says he said it with a loud voice. This is a man who has been scourged.

This is a man who has been beaten. This is a man who has borne the sins of the world. And yet this is a man with a loud voice who cries out, tetelestai, it is finished, it is completed. Finished is sin's stranglehold on you. Finished is the rule and reign of Satan running amuck in every person's life. Finished is the work that Jesus had come to do. I'm sure these words reverberated through the hallways of heaven as well as the corridors of hell. I think heaven rejoiced, it is finished.

And the demons shuddered because they knew ultimately they were finished. And now we come to the final statement of the cross. Statement number seven recorded in Luke 22, 46 when he says to the Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.

It's done now. He's saying, Father, I've completed the work you've called me to do. Now into your hands I commit my spirit. You know, it's interesting that Jesus addressed the Father at the beginning and the end of the crucifixion. His first words were, Father, forgive them, for they do not what they do. A prayer. His final words were, into your hands I commit my spirit.

Jesus addressed the Father in the beginning, the middle, and the end. And we should do the same. In our youth we should call on God. Am I talking to a young person now? You want to live a happy, fulfilling, purposeful life? Give your life to Jesus Christ. Don't waste your time chasing after the empty things this world offers. Maybe I'm talking to somebody at middle age. You should be calling on the Lord as well.

Maybe you've reached a lot of your goals and maybe you are taking a lot of time now in leisure. Hey, don't forget to call on God and to turn to God. And maybe I'm talking to somebody that is almost at the end of your life. Call on the Lord then as well. Jesus called on the Father in the beginning, the middle, and the end.

And we should do the same. Because one day we are going to breathe our last breath on earth and we are going to leave this world. And so Jesus called on the Father.

Into your hands I commit my spirit. Tragic, horrible event. But yet an event that fulfilled the very purposes of God. The Bible says to please the Father to bruise Him. That does not mean that God took pleasure in the crucifixion. But it does mean the Father was pleased by what the crucifixion accomplished. And what did the crucifixion accomplish? What it did was it was an event where your sins were paid for. So you no longer have to be under the power of sin.

But listen to this. If Jesus stayed there on that cross then everything we believe is not true. He had to rise again. Jesus said He would be betrayed.

He said He would be beaten. He said He would be crucified. And He said three days later He would rise again.

And now I want to talk to you about that day that changed the world. The day that Jesus rose again from the dead. They took Jesus down from the cross of Calvary. And there was a man named Joseph of Arimathea. That came to take the body of Jesus and place it in his tomb. Joseph was a wealthy man and he had a large tomb available for Christ. I've been to Israel many times and I've been to what is called the Garden Tomb. Many believe this could be the very tomb that Jesus was laid in after His crucifixion. If it's not the actual tomb, it's a first century tomb so you get a sense of what it would look like. But when you step into this tomb there's a bed, if you will, carved out of the rock. Jesus was tightly bound with bandages and almost like a mummy-like shape.

Laid there. And they put Roman soldiers on guard. That's interesting to me because Jesus said He would rise again. And what did the disciples do? They go into hiding. They're devastated.

What did the Romans do? They said put extra guards on the tomb because the deceiver, their words, said He would rise again from the dead. They said maybe the disciples would try to come and steal the body.

That wasn't their real concern. They thought He might rise again from the dead and we need to stop it from happening. You can't stop God from fulfilling His promises. Three days later, exactly as Jesus said, He rose again from the dead.

The stone was rolled away from the opening and He was not there. The disciples came to anoint His body, Mary and some of the other ladies. And they found the tomb empty and the angels said, Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is risen as He said He would rise.

Go to Galilee and He'll meet you there. And they were filled with great joy hearing that amazing news. On the way from the tomb, we read in Matthew 28 these words. As they went to tell the disciples, Jesus met them saying, Rejoice. And they came and held Him by His feet and they worshiped Him.

This is really interesting. This phrase met them. It's used here in Matthew. It could be translated that it was a common greeting.

Let me explain. They're seeing the risen Lord. They're overcome with emotion and joy and happiness and Jesus just greets them. Almost like, hey.

You know, you'd think Jesus would say, Ta-da! No, it's sort of like, hey, how you doing? You know, in different parts of the country, we greet each other in different ways. If you're from the south, you go, hey, how you all doing? If you're from Australia, you might say, good day. Good day, mate. If you're from Hawaii, you might say, how's it? Aloha. And if you're from New York, you say, what, are you looking at me?

Right? But it was a casual greeting, which I find very interesting. Jesus said, yeah, I fulfilled the prophecy. Here I am.

Greetings to you. And they were so excited to see the risen Lord again. Now Mary stays at the tomb. She has nowhere to go. She still has not seen the risen Lord. Remember, this is Mary Magdalene. He cast seven demons out of this woman.

We can't even imagine how tormented her life was to be possessed by seven demons. But she loved Jesus and everything that she had experienced happened because of Jesus. She followed him.

She supported him financially. But he was gone. And then we pick up this beautiful account of what happened early Easter morning in the Gospel of John chapter 20. And I'm reading, Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the tomb and saw two angels sitting.

One at the head, the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain. They said to her, woman, why are you weeping? She says, because they've taken away my Lord and I don't know where they've laid him. And when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, woman, why are you weeping?

Whom are you seeking? She, thinking he was the gardener, said, sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you've laid him and I will take him away. And Jesus says, Mary. Oh, she recognized the intonation of his voice, the familiar way he spoke her name, Mary.

She's so excited, she cries out, Rabboni, which means teacher. Jesus turned to her and said, don't cling to me, for I've not ascended yet to my father and your father. But I will ascend to my father and to your father and to my God and to your God.

Well, her persistence paid off, didn't it? There she was, meeting the risen Lord. And Jesus says to Mary, don't touch me.

And it can be translated, don't cling to me. Now this is interesting because in the upper room, he appeared to Thomas, who had said, I'll believe when I can put my hand on the wound in his side or touch the wounds in his hands. And Jesus appears and basically says, go ahead, touch me.

Thomas takes hold of him and says, my Lord and my God. Yet to Mary, he says, don't touch me or cling to me. I think he was saying, Mary, everything's changed now.

To use the vernacular, it's a whole new ball game. It's not gonna be the way that it was. Mary, before I was here to speak to you, you could reach out and touch me, you could hear my voice. But Mary, it's gonna be better. I'm gonna come and live in your heart now because I'm ascending to my God and your God, to my Father and your Father. We don't realize what a revolutionary statement that was to a first century Jewish person.

See, the Jewish man or woman never addressed God, the Holy One, as Father. But because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, now we say, because our Lord taught us to, our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Mary, Jesus is saying, I'm no longer gonna be on the outside. I'm gonna come and live inside of your heart.

I was driving with a couple of my grandkids a number of years ago, Allie, who I think was around four maybe at that point, and her little brother, Christopher, who was just a little guy, just learning how to speak actually. And I listened to what Allie was saying to Christopher. She said, Christopher, Jesus is God and God is Jesus. And I thought, that's very good. And she said, and if we believe in him, one day he'll live in our heart. And then she said, he'll go and live in our stomach too. And I'm thinking, okay, I gotta talk to her a little bit more. But I love that idea. This little girl understood that Jesus would come and live in a person's heart.

And that's exactly what takes place. Okay, so, I mentioned in the beginning that there's four points, four things we need to know about the resurrection of Jesus. This day that changed the world. What does the resurrection of Jesus mean to you? What does Easter mean to you on this particular day? Number one, the resurrection of Jesus assures me that I am accepted by God. Let me say that again, the resurrection of Jesus assures me that I am accepted by God.

Romans 4.25 says he was delivered over to death for our sins and raised to life for our justification. I bring this up because we get this mindset that says, if I live a good enough life, I'll be pleasing to God. Listen, I am pleasing to God right now. Not because of what I've done, because I fail over and over again. I am pleasing to God because of what Jesus did.

The Bible says he's made me accepted in the beloved. This is what was accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. There's no forgiveness from balancing records.

There's only forgiveness from canceling them. Listen to this. As one person put it, quote, on the cross, God, let me say it again. As one person put it, and I quote, on the cross, God treated Jesus as if he had lived your life so he could treat you as if you had lived his life, end quote. Isn't that great?

Let me say it again. On the cross, God treated Jesus as if he had lived your life so he could treated you as though you had lived his life. Number two, the resurrection of Jesus assures me that I have all the power I need to live the Christian life. Over in Romans 8, verse 11, we read, the spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you.

And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he gave life to your mortal body, the same spirit living within you. So, Christian friends, you have no obligation to do whatever your sinful nature tells you to do. Some people might say, well, I've tried to live the Christian life and it's hard.

Oh, listen, it's not hard. It's impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit. But because Christ died on the cross and rose again from the dead and has placed his Holy Spirit in your life, you have all the power you need to overcome any addiction, any vice, any sinful lifestyle. This was accomplished at the cross and the resurrection for you. Number three, the resurrection of Jesus assures me I will live forever in heaven. This is a big one. Let me restate it.

This is the biggest one. This is the most important thing of all. The resurrection of Jesus assures me, as a Christian, I will live forever in heaven. Death died when Christ rose. Because Jesus rose, I too will rise. Because Jesus died, I will never die. In one sense, the Christian doesn't die.

You say, Greg, are you delusional? Don't you know people are laid into graves every day? Oh, I understand that. But I also understand what Jesus says. He says, I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul makes this statement. When our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die, the scriptures will be fulfilled which say, death is swallowed up in victory. So death, where is your victory? Oh, death, where is your sting? I was walking down the beach a while ago with my wife. And for some reason, there were bees everywhere. Bees all over the beach. And my wife said, careful, Greg, you'll step on a bee. And I said, I will not step on a, and I stepped on a bee. And I screamed like a little girl.

I ran to the lifeguard, who I think was like 16 years old. I was stung by a bee and it hurt, but I'll tell you this much. That bee had stung its last person.

It can only sting once. And Jesus took the sting of death on the cross of Calvary for each and every one of us. So listen, the tomb is not the entrance to death, but for the Christian, it's the entrance to life. The moment you take your last breath on earth, you take your first breath in heaven. When you close your eyes on earth, you open them in heaven.

Number four, the resurrection of Jesus Christ assures me that I will have a new body just like His. And if your body is starting to wear out a little bit, you'll be really appreciative of this simple fact. You know there's telltale signs of getting old, right? You know you're getting old when you bend down to pick up something and you wonder, what else can I do while I'm down here? You know you're getting old when it's time for your birthday and there's so many kindles on your birthday cake, the youth group comes in and forms a circle around you and sings Kumbaya.

You know you're getting old when things are not working like they used to work. God promises He's gonna give to you a new body one day and your new body will be like the resurrection body of Jesus Christ because the Bible says when Christ who is our life shall appear, we will be like Him. We'll be like Him. So when Jesus came back to life, what happened? He walked among us. Was He physical or was He sort of a phantom? Could you see through Him?

No. He was in a body. In fact, He still bore the marks of the crucifixion. But He asked for something to eat. They gave Him a piece of fish. It's not like He was translucent and you can see the fish going down. He was a physical body resurrected but then He would appear in a room without using a door.

He ascended which is another way of saying He flew. And our new bodies will be able to do all of those things. And we'll eat too and I'm glad to hear that, aren't you? Because I love eating and so I'm glad we'll eat even in the afterlife. Yes, this is the great promise of God to all of us who are Christians. Christians.

This is only true for the person who has put their faith in Jesus Christ. Have you done that yet? Have you met Jesus? Years ago when I was a young believer, I had really long hair, parted in the middle.

Use your imagination. Coming down past my shoulders, a long beard. Some said I looked a little bit like Jesus. So I went into a mental institution, not checked in as an inmate, but visiting as a pastor with another friend of mine named Mike. And we were talking to one of the patients and Mike said to the person, Have you ever met Jesus Christ? Without missing a beat, this guy takes hold of my hand and says, Jesus, it's good to meet you. I've heard so much about you. My response is, No, I'm not Jesus. I'm Greg.

But here's the idea. You can meet Jesus. He can come and live inside of you. You see, being a Christian is not about being religious. I don't want to be a religious person. You might be saying, Well, you're a preacher. You're very religious.

I hope not. I have no interest whatsoever in religion and rituals. I wanted a relationship with God when I was a 17-year-old kid. And Christ came and lived inside of my heart because I invited Him in.

I was filled with doubt and I thought this will never work for me because I'm not the religious type. But the good news is God is not looking for the religious type. He's looking for the sinner type like you and me. Because the Bible says we all sin and fall in short of the glory of God. None of us will ever live a good enough life to earn God's pleasure. We have to come and admit to Him. We're sinners and turn from our sin and put our faith in Christ who died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead.

And I ask you this in closing. Have you asked Jesus to come into your life? You know, you can know all about Jesus and not know Him. Jesus says there's coming a final day when people will come to Him and say, Lord, Lord, did we not cast out demons in Your name? Did we not do miracles in Your name?

And Jesus will say, Depart from me, I never knew you, you workers of iniquity. It's interesting the phrase He uses there for never knew you means I never knew you intimately. Maybe you know about God. But do you know God? Do you have a relationship with God? Do you have the absolute certainty right now that if you were to die, you would go to heaven?

If not, do you want it? The same Jesus who died on the cross and rose again from the dead stands right now at the door of your life and He knocks. And He says if you'll hear His voice and open the door, He'll come in.

No, He won't come into your stomach like my young granddaughter said. He'll come and live in your heart. And you will never be alone in life again.

I mentioned how Jesus was forsaken for a time so we will never be forsaken. You'll never be alone in life again. Jesus will stand by you and guide you and help you and lead you and empower you.

And then one day you'll go and meet Him in the afterlife when you go to heaven. If you would like Jesus Christ to come into your life, if you would like to be forgiven of your sin, if you would like to know God in a personal way, I want you to pray a prayer with me. It's a very simple prayer. In fact, I would ask you to just pray it out loud after me if you would like or you could pray it quietly in your heart. Maybe you're watching me in a room full of people.

Maybe you're all alone looking at this message on a phone or a tablet. Or wherever you are, just know this, Christ is just a prayer away. So if you want Jesus to come into your life, if you want Him to forgive you of your sin, if you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven, if you want your guilt taken away, pray this simple prayer with me right here, right now.

Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner, but I know that You're the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin. I'm sorry for it. Forgive me. I choose to follow You from this moment forward. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. Thanks for listening to our podcast. And to learn more about Harvest Ministries, please subscribe and consider supporting this show. Just go to Harvest.org. And by the way, if you want to find out how to come into a personal relationship with God, go to KnowGod.org. That's K-N-O-W-G-O-D dot org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-09 12:51:38 / 2023-12-09 13:09:26 / 18

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