When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible, please click here and may you be blessed by singing along with "Because He Lives!"
To listen to Rev. Sandy's Sunday, April 4, 2021, sermon, click here or read it below.
Because He Lives!
I Corinthians 15:1-22
Good Morning and Happy Easter to the followers of Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team and to all who are listening to or reading this message via Facebook and our Website! What an awesome privilege we have to praise and worship God on Resurrection Sunday!
Today’s message comes from I Corinthians 15:1-22 and you can be turning there in your Bibles. There are many messages that can be shared on Easter Sunday morning and as I prayed about what to share with you, the hymn “Because He Lives,” written by Gloria and Bill Gaither, kept running through my mind. The chorus says:
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives.”
With those words in mind, let’s begin reading our scripture.
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
I Peter 1:3 says: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
Father, You loved us so much, You gave Your one and only Son, Jesus; that through His death on the cross and His resurrection three days later, we who believe and accept this free gift of salvation may have eternal life.
The sacrifice of Your Son’s very body for our sin was costly. Jesus willingly subjected Himself to suffering so that we could be forgiven and free.
I pray You will make the resurrection personal to us today. Help it to inspire and change the way we live daily. Father, let us have hearts of thankfulness and help us to live every day in the gladness and grace of Easter Sunday.
In Jesus’ name,
In his book, “When God Whispers Your Name,” Max Lucado shared the following quote.
“Understand that Man needs God”
“If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was restoration, so God sent us a Savior.”
Jesus is risen; Resurrection; Easter; New life; New birth; Second chances; Fresh starts; Spring flowers; this is what the Easter season is all about. It’s an exciting time. It’s the bringing forth of life out of death. It’s the end of the cold and snow that makes the trees lose their leaves and the vegetation turn brown. It is when the spring flowers push through the dirt to burst forth victorious in an explosion of color and smell.
Resurrection Sunday; it’s a day of tremendous hope and victory for every person. It’s the empty tomb, the tomb that could not contain Jesus. It’s this resurrection of Jesus that marks the promise of kingdom resurrection for all those who believe and seek to serve the Lord.
In John 11:25, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.”
The first verse of “Because He Lives” says:
“God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my savior lives.”
One of the things that makes Easter Sunday so special is that it truly is a contrast between death and life, Sin and righteousness, Brokenness and wholeness, Emptiness and overflowing abundance.
Sin makes it impossible for us to have a relationship with God the Father. Only Christ can help. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus offers us the gift of forgiveness from our sins. He not only delivers us from the yoke of sin and from its curse, but makes us sweet and clean, so that we may become both acceptable and useful to God.
Jesus introduced Himself to John on the Island of Patmos and He said to him, "... Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; ..." Revelation 1:17-18
The worst thing that could have happened to us is for Jesus to have not risen. We would have been hopeless. The resurrection isn't just a doctrine to believe, but a truth that should change our behavior. Jesus is the risen King who is victorious over death, recognized by His disciples, validated by Scripture, and enthroned over all creation.
Because Jesus arose and remains alive:
1. Our peace is guaranteed. Fear is removed and peace is restored to all troubled hearts that were scarred, sad, hopeless and our faith becomes strengthened (John 20:19,21,26).
2. Our doubts are removed and we are taught how to believe without seeing (John 20:24-28)
3. We are able to confidently serve as messengers of Christ; He said I am with you (Matthew 28:19). Only a person who is alive can say I'll be with you.
4. Jesus serves as our advocate with the Father whenever we sin (I John 2:1). If He remains dead, there is no one to plead our case before God.
5. He serves as our intercessor (Romans 8:34) and vindicator (Isaiah 50:8) so that the devil cannot successfully put any charge against us.
The last verse of “Because He Lives” says:
“And then one day I'll cross that river
I'll fight life's final war with pain
And then, as death gives way to victory
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He reigns.”
Because Jesus arose from the dead:
1. Our own resurrection and eternal peace with Jesus in heaven becomes sure, because He lives forever more (I Corinthians 15:50-58; Revelation 1:18).
2. Jesus is preparing a place for us, that where He is, we may be also (John 14:1-3; I Corinthians 2:9), and the place He’s preparing for us is described in Revelation 21:2, 10, 11, 23.
3. Jesus is serving as our High Priest who lives forever (Hebrews 6:19-20) and does not have to sacrifice twice. Human priests sacrificed the blood of animals yearly - which can never take away sins (Hebrews 10:11-12); but Jesus sacrificed himself and shed His blood once and for all and our sins are cleansed (Hebrews 9:12, 23-28).
4. Jesus is a High Priest who was tempted in every way like us and can sympathize with our weaknesses, thereby helping us during struggles and infirmities ( Hebrews 4:14-16). He is helping us to overcome temptations, so we do not become overwhelmed (Hebrews 2:18).
The fact that Jesus arose again means for each of us that there is life after death. Hebrews 11:1 and 6 tell us: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ……. without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Faith is the substance of hope, the evidence of the unseen, the substance of the Christian life; the evidence of the Christian walk is faith. God wants us to live as believers with hope and faith in the unseen. God want us to believe that HE IS, not to believe in what we see and have.
Our faith should not be based on what God can do for us; rather it should be based on what God wants to be to us. Jesus says, I AM the resurrection and the life; believe that.
Our future is in the hands of Jesus. Earthly things may disappoint, fail to happen, not come up to standard. Resurrection Sunday tells us that we must trust Jesus, believe in Him and have faith in Him. We may not know what the future holds but we know who holds our future.
As I read the following, when you hear the word “you” it’s actually the letter “U.”
Before U were thought of or time had begun,
God even stuck U in the name of His son.
And each time you pray, you’ll see it’s true,
You can’t spell JesUs and not include U.
You’re a pretty big part of His wonderful name,
For U, He was born; that’s why He came.
And His great love for U is the reason He died
It even takes U to spell crUcified.
Isn’t it thrilling and splendidly grand
He rose from the dead, with yoU in His plan?
The stones split away, the trUmpet blew
and this word resUrrection is spelled with a U.
When JesUs left earth at His upward ascension,
He felt there was one thing He just had to mention.
"Go into the world and tell them it’s true,
That I love them all - Just like I love U."
So many great people are spelled with a U,
Don’t they have a right to know JesUs too?
It all depends now on what U will do.
He’d like them to know, but it all starts with U!
What will you do with the life that Christ purposely gave you?
Remember that just when our lives seem to be at “rock bottom”, God can change them. Someone reading or listening to this might think: “My life is too messed up; God can’t do anything with me,” or “ my life is too far gone; I’ve been living like this for too long; God can’t change me,” or “It’s too late for me; God can’t save me.”
Friend, on Good Friday, a thief hung on a cross beside Jesus. The thief had a messed up life. Dying there on the cross, in the last moments of his life, many would have said of that man, “It’s too late for him!”
But as that thief hung along side Jesus, with one of his final breaths he said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom”
Notice a word in that sentence “when.” He did not say if you come into your kingdom but when. That thief expressed faith in the resurrection. Jesus responded to the thief saying: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
If your future right now appears totally messed up and it’s not turning out like you thought, today is Resurrection Sunday. If you put your whole life in God’s hands, He can give you a new future. Resurrection Sunday is our assurance that our “too late” is not too late for God.
John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The new law that Jesus enacted, through death on the cross and resurrection three days later, makes victory possible for everyone. But some have been unwilling to take the steps that are necessary in order for that victory to be a reality in their life. They have never accepted the gift of salvation that Jesus offers to all. They have never surrendered their will to His so that they can live in constant obedience to Him. Today could be their victory day. Today could be the day of their celebration.
If this is you, realize today that the work has already been done. All you have to do is to join the winning team. There’s no better time than now to repent, turn to God and respond to His grace.
If you’ve known God but walked away from His call on your life to do your own thing, then it’s time to stop in your tracks and repent all over again and get back to fulfilling God’s plan in and through your life. Tomorrow may be too late.
May you be blessed in Jesus' Name, Amen!