Share This Episode
The Verdict John Munro Logo

Alive Forevermore

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
April 6, 2021 11:15 am

Alive Forevermore

The Verdict / John Munro

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 479 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

April 6, 2021 11:15 am

Dr. John H. Munro Easter Sunday April 4, 2021 John 14:18-19

Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

Christianity affirms that there is a living God and that in His mercy and His grace, He has devised and accomplished a plan of salvation so that each one of us, think of this, that each one of us may receive eternal life.

And that plan of salvation has been accomplished through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is God. The Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, all of whom wrote their Gospels in the first century, just a few years after the events regarding Jesus, they all record this astonishing fact that the Lord Jesus, who is God, who is sinless, was crucified. That He was put to death, not only that He died, but they all acclaim that He died for our sins. They also all say and write, because they were witnesses of this, that He was buried. And that on the third day after the crucifixion, He rose bodily, physically from the dead. And He was seen by hundreds of His followers. Now I realize that if you're a skeptic, as I am by nature, if you're a skeptic, you will find this claim, this claim that Jesus is alive, is rather difficult to understand.

I want you to know it is true. Followers of Jesus Christ look on the cross, not as a tragedy caused by the forces of evil, but rather we see the death of Jesus, the burial of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus as a tremendous victory, as a tremendous triumph. The historical evidence, the facts are these, they're clear. Prior to the crucifixion, our Lord Jesus Christ was beaten. He was flogged. He was tortured.

Long nails were put through His hands and His feet. He was nailed, yes think of it, actually nailed to a rough piece of wood in the shape of a cross. The Roman, a Roman soldier who was there took his spear and pierced the side of Jesus.

He did not realize that there was the Lord of glory. So there is no doubt as to the facts that Jesus actually died by crucifixion. The Romans, the superpower of the day, were experienced executioners. These Roman soldiers were given the task to put these prisoners to death. You may remember there were three of them, three crosses, Jesus in the middle. And the Roman soldiers knew how to put people to death.

They were skilled in the cruel, torturous act of crucifixion. Jesus died on a cross, no question of His death. After His death, some of His followers came and with love and care took His body down from that tree and laid it in a tomb, a kind of cave and a large stone was placed in front of the cave. And after three days, Jesus Christ, who was dead, who was crucified, who was buried, arose bodily, physically He rose from the dead. And the resurrection of Jesus then is central, a central fact, a crucial fact of the Christian faith. In fact, if Jesus Christ was not bodily raised from the dead, Christianity totally fails.

It's a myth. If it's a myth, if it's a fairy tale, if it comes from the imagination of some men who were deluded into thinking that their follower made a mess of things and ended up on a cross, if that is the case, there is no Christianity. You may think of Christianity as some nice moral teaching and there is ethical teaching in the Christian faith.

You may think of Christianity as a way whereby we love one another, we love our neighbor as ourselves and that is certainly part of the teaching of Jesus. But central to the Christian faith is this fact. Yes, a historical fact that Jesus rose from the dead, that the tomb is empty and that Christ is risen. Do you actually believe that?

I do. Risen from the dead. Amazing to think that a person who was dead, beaten, put in a cave on the third day by the power of Almighty God rose from the dead. Now, the resurrection of Jesus is not just a historical fact, it is that. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ is relevant for each one of us. Because the claim of Jesus, the claim of the Son of God is this, that in his risen life, his resurrected life, in his eternal life, he offers that to all who place their trust in him. Jesus says to his followers, I'm going to read it from John chapter 14. Jesus says to his followers this, I want you to grasp this. I want this to be embedded in your very heart and your soul. He says to them, and this is an astonishing promise, because I live, you shall live also.

Think of that. One who not only is alive, but is eternally alive, alive forevermore. Jesus is not going to die again. He's not going to be crucified again. He lives in his endless life. He's the eternal God.

And because I live, says Jesus, you shall live also. John chapter 14, Jesus has told his followers that he's going to leave them. They're devastated. He knows he's going to die on the cross. They have difficulty in grasping. They're the one they followed for several years, the one who had performed these miracles, who had given such wonderful teaching.

Difficult to understand that he's going to leave them, and so they're troubled. John chapter 14, verse 18, he says, Jesus to his disciples, we call them the apostles, I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more.

No, that's true. The world is going to see Jesus, because after his resurrection, he ascends to heaven. Jesus in bodily form is no longer there, no longer with them. The world can't see Jesus then, but you will see me. Think of that, the world doesn't see Jesus, but you, my followers will see me. Because I live, you also will live.

That's wonderful, isn't it? Because my Savior is eternally alive, if my trust is in him, if your trust is in him, we will live forever. We call this the great hope, the Christian hope, the hope of the resurrection. This hope is a hope for the future. It impacts us now, and it impacts the future. Because in Jesus, the hope for the future is a hope which comes from the future.

Think of that. We're in time, God exists in eternity. We're in time, and our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal God, the Son of God, comes from eternity, and he comes into time, into space, as God incarnate, as the Word dwelling among us. So, he says to his followers, the kingdom of God is near, that in Jesus Christ, the future age has impacted this present age.

And so it is, that here we are in time, but we can have a hope beyond time, beyond death. Whatever may happen, says Jesus, because I live, you shall live also. That is, with the death and burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, everything has changed if it's true.

Everything has changed for you and for me. We can no longer go on living as we once lived, if this is true, that Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life. I want us to think a little more of the relevance of the resurrection for each one of us, and of this new life, which is offered for you.

Yes, Christ in his eternal life, offers you personally, take it personally, offers you this life. Because Jesus lives, the dead are made alive. Now, Jesus was actually dead, he died. And in the power of God, he rose. Up from the grave he rose, with a mighty triumph for his foes. He rose, a victor over the darkness. He rose, hallelujah, Christ arose. Arising from among the dead, eternally alive and now, here is the claim of the Christian faith, that we who are spiritually dead can be offered through Christ new life. Do you say spiritually dead?

Yes. Here is Paul, he's writing to Christians at Ephesus. Some of us were, a couple of years ago, were on the tour to where Paul, we were on the shipping agency and we went into Ephesus. Here he is, he writes to Ephesus, Ephesians 2 verse 1, he says to them, you were, past tense, you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world. He's reminding them that before they came face to face with the living Christ, they lived a certain way, according to the course of the world, following the culture, just going along.

You know what it is, it's so easy to do, isn't it? Just live life like everyone else. Allow the culture to shape you, allow the culture to tell you what to believe.

Just go along with the flow, be cool, don't do too much thinking, following the course of the world. And he says to them, you were dead, spiritually dead in your trespasses and sins. That's pretty horrible to be described like that, isn't it?

But that is the truth. Spiritually speaking, you are dead. Not just slightly flawed, looking to improve yourself in some area. Not just lost, looking for direction. Not just unfulfilled in your dreams and your potential. Not just weak, looking for strength.

Not just unhappy, looking for more joy. No, that's not the condition before God. Before God, you are spiritually dead. Now a dead person doesn't need reformation of character. A dead person doesn't need a change of personality.

A dead person doesn't need a better education or to live in a fairer and juster political and economic society. What does a dead person need? Life.

Life. Occasionally I'll speak somewhere, not in Calvary Church where we have such great help of course, but occasionally I'll speak somewhere. And I go to speak and nothing happens. The mic is dead.

Very frustrating for a preacher. You're all ready, you speak, mic is right there and it's dead. What's needed? Life.

Power. Spiritually speaking, we're dead. What a dead person needs, life. And that is exactly what God in His grace offers to you. Let's read in verse 4, Ephesians 2 verse 4, but God, think of this, you're described as spiritually dead, but God being rich in mercy. Mercy.

That's it. I don't deserve this. I'm a wayward person, I'm an independent thinker, I think, although I just drift along, but God being rich in mercy gets better because of the great love with which He loved us. Not just that God is mercy for you, He's rich in mercy.

It's not just that He loves you, He loves you with a great love with which He loved us. This makes a stop, doesn't it? You find sometimes people difficult to love? Do you think sometimes people find you difficult to love?

Yes. There are people in life that we just have difficulty relating to, don't we? They're not particularly lovable. We're not particularly lovable. Before God, we're spiritually dead. We're wayward.

We're rebellion. Bible says, in fact, we're enemies of God. We turn our back on God. We blaspheme God.

We live our own life. But God, who is rich in mercy because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, are you following it? Even when you were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved. Isn't Paul a brilliant writer?

He gets it right, doesn't he? We're spiritually dead and I need life, but here is hope. God is rich in mercy. God loves me with a great love and I can be made alive by turning over a new leaf, by joining a church, by getting baptized, by cleaning up my act.

No, no. You're made life, he says, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved. See, only God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, through the living Christ who is alive forevermore, can give spiritual life to those who are dead. But here is the good news. There's mercy for you. You don't deserve it.

Here is good news. God loves you with a great love. It's not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. What is the proof that God loves us? The proof is Christ. Paul writes that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, not just to show you how to love each other, something more basic, something more wonderful. Here is the root of the problem, that we're spiritually dead.

Society can dress you up to make you look good. I can work on, you go through therapy and you begin to work out some of the problems in your life, but they cannot make this fundamental change. It is only the living Christ who can do this, who can give you new life, who can change you totally as you come face to face with the living Christ, who saves you and washes away your sins and gives you new life. Do you understand this is your problem?

It's difficult for us sometimes. Between us and God is our sin that has been dealt with at the 830 service. A young lady was baptized 10th grade and I wonder what she was going to say. And she read a scripture, a wonderful scripture of Jesus on the cross when He said, it is finished. The work of salvation perfectly done. And she said, I've trusted Jesus and realized I don't work for my salvation, He's done it all. All of it is done, finished, perfect. You think you can add to the perfect work of Jesus Christ? You think you can come along and say, well, I know Jesus did this but I need to do that. Really? No.

Absolutely not. We need mercy, we need grace, He's paid it all. He's paid the price in full. But this new life has to be personally received by each of us. Listen to Paul, he goes on, Ephesians 2 verse 8, for by grace you have been saved. We often sing Amazing Grace that saved the wretch like me. What's grace?

Undeserved favor, something you can't work for, something you don't deserve. Do you think you deserve to be in heaven? Do you think you deserve to have eternal life? Do you think you deserve to have your sins forgiven?

Absolutely not. It's all of grace. It is unmerited. Grace by definition is undeserved. For by grace, says Paul, you have been saved through faith. It's not our faith that saves us, we are saved through faith. Faith is the instrument by which we are saved.

Faith is the outstretched hand, receiving the gift of salvation. Says Paul, it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast. No boasting before God.

No one saying, I deserve to be a Christian because I did this. Look at me, I'm a preacher. Look at me, I sing for Jesus Christ. I've been in the choir for 20 years. Look at me, look at all the money I give.

To the needy, to the poor, absolutely not. No boasting, why? Because God in Christ has done everything. What are you to do?

What am I to do? I have to admit I'm sinful. I have to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, put my trust in Christ, who on the cross died for the sins of John Monroe. That's grace, it's mercy. Was buried and who rose again, the living Christ and He will forgive your sins.

He'll wipe them out, whoever bad they are and they're pretty bad, aren't they? Eternal life is absolutely free. It's all of God's grace, it's all of God's mercy and it's offered to you in Christ and in Christ alone. You see, when you come to Christ, and I want you to do that, I want you to put your faith in Christ, you come with empty hands.

Stop your boasting, stop telling us about your achievements, impressive although they are. No, you come with empty hands. You come not to give God anything, you come not to make a little speech and say, well I'm going to try and do better, I'm going to do the best I can and I'm going to stop doing such and such and I'm really going to do this. I might every week go to Calvary Church and you know, God, how difficult that is but I'm going to do it. No, no, no, no, you're silent.

You have really nothing to say. You have nothing to bring apart from your sin. We come spiritually helpless, spiritually dead and looking to Christ who died and who rose again and who still says, because I live, you shall live also. So because Jesus lives, the dead are made alive. Secondly, because Jesus lives, our lives are transformed.

I love this. Our lives are changed, spiritually changed. We call that transformation of the person. You come to the living Christ, how can you stay the same?

That's like somebody getting married and then living as a single person. No, it's changed. Things are changed.

This is a living relationship. You're in Christ, there is a fundamental change. Paul puts it this way, Ephesians 2 verse 10, for we are His workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. I watched at the earlier service five young men and women, couple of 10th graders, students, a recent graduate, and I thought, how wonderful. They are God's workmanship. I think of Manel, the lady from Saudi Arabia that you saw being baptized.

Think of how God works in our lives behind the scenes. There's a young woman, Lydia, 10th grade, who got baptized at the earlier service. She said she had a terrible life.

I know something about it, a terrible home here in North Carolina. No father and a mother who didn't care. She and her siblings are placed into a group home, because the grandmother can't take care of them. She goes to a foster home, and then in the grace of God, she comes to a home of a family here at Calvary Church.

And last year, thank you, praise God. Last year, that family adopts her into her family. And as she read the Scriptures, she read from Ephesians 1 that she is now adopted into the family of God. Wonderful to be adopted into a physical family.

How much more wonderful to be adopted into the family of God, and that God takes this young woman from a terrible background that few of us have experienced, brings her to Christ. She is God's workmanship. You are God's workmanship, that God made you. He made you in your image. He didn't make you to live a selfish, self-indulgent, self-absorbed life.

In your own little bubble, no, He's created you for better things. And when we meet the living Christ, our lives are surrendered to Him so that He leads us in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. You see, authentic Christianity is not just going through some church ritual. It's not just admiring Christ from afar. It's not just having a doctrinal statement put before you and say, oh yes, I agree with that, and I believe in strong doctrine, believe me. But you can say that and still not know Christ. You can go through all the hopes as it were of some church and still not have saving faith in the living Christ. And when you do, this life transforms us, and the very ordinance of baptism is an illustration of that.

Here is someone who goes into the water. It symbolizes that they died with Christ. They go under the water, symbolizing they're buried with Christ.

This is a burial. Ah, but they come out of the water, symbolizing the new life that Paul says in Romans 6 that we walk in newness of life, that the old is gone and the new has come. We are new creations in Christ. How can we continue to live as we once lived if we truly have a person relationship with the living Christ? Life is forever changed, and this means that we look to Christ to direct us, that we have a power within us, because the claim of the Christian faith is this, that when you trust Jesus Christ, not only is He going to wash you and cleanse your sins, that's marvelous. Not only is He going to give you eternal life, that's unbelievable almost, isn't it? He's going to indwell you. Christ living in me, transforming us.

A new power, a new direction, new wisdom. At the earlier service, I baptized an Englishman, a young student. He came to the U.S. from England to play soccer, and he and I have different views of British soccer teams, but the Bible says we are to love our enemies, so I still baptize them.

And I didn't hold them under too long. He likes Liverpool, I like Manchester United. And for a couple of seasons, Manchester United were playing terribly.

Hard to watch them. But then, their manager bought a new player. His name is Bruno Fernandes. He's Portuguese.

He's about 26. And he plays midfield. And my, what a difference.

What a difference. Now, when I played soccer, obviously not at his level, I played midfield. So I'm interested in midfield players. And just think, just imagine if I had Bruno Fernandes living in me.

Just for a day, just for a game, right? That his skill is my skill. That his football brain is my football brain. He just seems to know where the ball is going to come. And he can kick that ball so accurately.

And he just runs and runs and runs. And he's transformed into him that I have that power, that I have that wisdom, that I have that skill, because Bruno Fernandes is living in John Monroe when I go onto the soccer field. There's a greater power isn't there? That Christ lives in me.

And will help me every day, whatever the situation, whatever the problem, how difficult it is. He is with me, transforming me. And the Christian life then is not trying to please God by my own efforts. That's going to lead to frustration, despair and even hypocrisy and rule following.

No, authentic Christianity is this, that when you come to Christ, He indwells you and the living Christ lives in us. We're made in the image of God. And Paul is saying, you're His workmanship and God has created you for good works, which He prepared beforehand.

You wonder what's going to happen next year, two years from now? Why don't you ask God to direct you? Why don't you ask God for wisdom?

Why do you stop depending on your own wisdom and allow the mighty God to direct you and help you? This Easter Sunday I want you to understand that Jesus Christ has conquered death, that Jesus Christ has defeated death and that He says something that no one else could say in all of human history. He alone uniquely can say this, I am, listen to it, Jesus says, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me shall live even though he die and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. That is, that when I come to Jesus Christ, who's the resurrection and the life, who's conquered death, when I come to Him, He gives me His life, eternal life. And that when I die, that life, that eternal life is not quenched. Yes, my physical life will end. I'm laid in a cemetery here in Magnolia Gardens and people say that's the end of John Monroe. It's not the end of John Monroe because there's a day coming when I'm going to be resurrected that even though I die, yet shall I live.

Why? Because I am eternally united to my Lord Jesus Christ who says, because I live, you shall live also. I'm asking you today to open your heart to Christ.

Some of you have never yet done that, can't understand that. Open your heart to receive Jesus as your, as your Savior. He's alive forevermore. Do you really want to put your hope in this life? I understand this life can be wonderful. Perhaps you're at the top of the mountain.

Just think of all of the changes that have happened in our world which makes life so wonderful. Just a couple of days ago I take my, I take my iPhone and I press a button and I'm speaking to my brother thousands of years, thousands of years, thousands of miles away. I'm walking and he's walking. He's walking in the mountains of Scotland and I'm thinking, why am I not doing that?

But that's another story. I mean, he's walking and it's as if I was speaking to you. And I thought, there's technology. It's amazing, isn't it? I grew up, the home I was born, we didn't even have a telephone.

Younger generation can't understand it. We didn't have a phone in the house. And now, the wonder of technology.

I can call someone. You go to hospitals, it's amazing what can be done in the medical field with our technology and operations. Think of the brilliance of men. Think of our engineering. Think of the brilliance of our scientists and our medical research people that can produce a vaccine so quickly to combat this virus.

How wonderful. Human ingenuity and the technology that goes on in our lives is absolutely wonderful and here we are living in the most powerful country of the world and Americans keep saying, this is the best country in the world to live. I ask you this question, if it's so good, why are so many people anxious? If it's so good, why do many people, why are so many people depressed?

Why do so many people appear to be hopeless? So recently I'm in hospital for a routine procedure, just in and out as quickly as I can get, believe me, and I'm speaking to my nurse, who's very nice. We start talking about spiritual things and she says to me, I've got four children. I said, how is it raising four children? She said, it's really tough.

She said, I've got a 15-year-old. And she said to me, do you know that just in the last few months, two of his friends, now this is in Charlotte, two of his friends have taken their lives suicide. What is it in our society? In this wonderful country, one of the most powerful countries in the world that we have young people at high school, middle school, high school, college, and they're so depressed and they feel so hopeless that they take their own lives.

Not just young people, hopeless. So I'm asking you to understand that your only hope in life and in death is in Jesus Christ. And that Jesus Christ prepares us to face death.

He gives us supernatural power to live here and gives us the wonderful hope of the future and says believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you'll be saved. I believe that Jesus is alive because of the evidence for the resurrection. I believe that Jesus is alive because the resurrection is taught in the Word of God and I believe it. But I also believe it because when I was 12 years old, I had the most unforgettable experience of my life, the best experience of my life. I asked Jesus Christ to come and to save me. And as a boy of 12, not understanding all about the Bible and theology as I now do, but I did know this, that I was a sinful little boy.

And that there was more to life than kicking a ball. And I came to Christ and confessed my sin and looked to the cross and saw Christ dying for me. And I realized that He rose again and I trusted Him and I put my faith in Him and my life has never, ever been the same. So I'm personally convinced, this is very personal to me, I'm personally convinced of the truth of the resurrection. So convinced that my whole life is devoted to telling people about the Lord Jesus Christ who's alive.

This is not just a theory, this is not just a doctrine to me. It's my life. I'm 100% convinced, 100% convinced that Jesus rose from the dead. I love Him. I know Him. I've been transformed by Him. I live my life, yes, as a Christian imperfectly. I'm still in a body.

He's still working on me. But I believe that Christ is alive, risen from the dead and He's alive forevermore and death has been conquered. And yes, one day if He doesn't come, I will die. I can face death because I'm eternally united to Jesus Christ who still says, because I live, you shall live also. Do you have that hope?

Do you have that hope? John Donne is a 17th century Christian, 17th century English poet and he writes this, death be not proud, no. Though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so. One short sleep past, we wake eternally and death shall be no more. Death thou shalt die. That's the voice of a believer. Yes, death is mighty. Yes, many fear death.

But as believers in Jesus Christ, we believe this, that our Lord Jesus Christ has conquered death, that death is defeated, that death thou shalt die, that death shall be no more because the Lord Jesus Christ is alive and still says to you and me, do you believe it? Will you accept the promise? Because I live, you shall live also. I'm going to give you an opportunity right now to open your heart and your life to Christ, to put your trust in Christ.

I plead with you. I'm going to lead you in a prayer. Now this prayer, saying the prayer mechanically, is not going to do anything for you. There's not some magic formula, this is of the heart, this is, this is you coming to Christ, confessing your sins, but if this prayer will help you and lead you to Christ, will you just bow your head and pray with me. Lord Jesus, I believe you're the Son of God and that you rose from the dead.

I believe you're alive. I admit that I've sinned against God, gone my own way, rebelled. I now, I now turn from my sin, I confess my sin, I repent of my sin and my self-centeredness. Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for my sins, for paying the penalty of all of my sins on the cross and I now trust you as my Savior.

I do that. Lord Jesus, forgive me, cleanse me, save me and help me to live for you. Amen. Now if you've prayed that prayer, we'd like to help you to grow in the Lord.

This is beginning the most wonderful adventure of your life. As I say, we've got pastors in the cafe, all being in the Galleria, they can contact us, email us, help us, we're here to help you in any way that we can. And we're gonna sing a wonderful hymn, a hymn I love, which tells us of our hope. Yes, our hope, our hope in life and our hope for death. Father, help us, we do pray. I pray that each person here will have that hope, that hope in Jesus Christ. I pray that the doors of this sanctuary may be the very doors of eternity that none will leave without Christ. But each one will know that because He lives, we live also. We ask it in His precious name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-04 13:10:10 / 2023-12-04 13:23:01 / 13

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime