June 28, 2010 David Balzer

Luke 24: God’s Big Statement

The Bulgarian environmental artist, Christo Vladimirov Javacheff  is renowned for making BIG STATEMENTS.  He’s the one who wraps buildings and trees and landscapes in huge amounts of material. And calls it art.

There was “Surrounded islands” in Biscayne Bay, Florida in 1983. Thousands of square metres of pink plastic wrapping 11 small islands 60 m past the edge of the island.

Or Running Fence in rural California in 1976. 24 miles of billowing white nylon on a 5.5m high fence running across the farms of 59 ranchers and eventually down into the ocean.

Or Valley Curtain, at Rifle Gap in Colorado in 1972, A huge red curtain 400m wide, and 100m high in the middle.

Wrapped Reichstag – the old headquarters of the secret police in East Berlin. Completely wrapped. Took 15 years in the planning. And a number of close decisions in parliament before it went ahead.

And finally, some of you may remember “Wrapped Coast”, at Little Bay. It was in Sydney in 1969. 2.5 km of sandstone cliffs wrapped in white fabric. Required dozens of professional rock-climbers.

They take years of planning, with serious logistical and engineering problem-solving required. They stay up for a of months. In the case of Valley Curtain – only 18 hours. Then they all come down.

I’m not sure exactly WHAT he’s saying, but whatever it is, he’s doing it in A BIG WAY.

But as big as the statements of Christo. They’re NOTHING compared to the BIG STATEMENT God is making in the resurrection of his Son.

There’s never been a BIGGER statement in the history of the world. Than the resurrection of Christ. Nothing SAYS more. And nothing ACHIEVES more.

On the surface, you might think other events make a bigger statement. World wars, atomic , the fall of the Soviet Union, the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Live Aid – the concert for World Poverty. The ist attacks of September 11. The AIDS crisis.

All dramatically impacting the lives of thousands, sometimes MILLIONS of people.

But all these events fade into insignificance at the GRAND GESTURE/ of the resurrection of the Son of God/ on a dark Sunday morning, just after Passover, a of thousand years ago, in a quiet field outside Jerusalem.

Not many people noticed it at first. In fact the first people couldn’t believe what had happened. And they had a hard time getting anyone ELSE to believe it EITHER.

Yet it’s THIS EVENT Christians believe gives the human race its significance. CREATION ITSELF revolves around this proclamation.

The consequences of the resurrection sweep across countries, over oceans. Even across TIME. And on into ETERNITY. Not just affecting the generations AFTER it, but every generation BEFORE as well. Affecting the past, present and future lives of millions upon millions of people.

Today we’re going to spend a few moments looking at some of the big statements God’s making in the resurrection of his son. I’ll mention, briefly, 7 things God’s declaring. There’s probably more – perhaps we’ll come back to others NEXT Easter!

1. Christ’s resurrection guarantees God’s approval of Jesus

The first statement God is making in the resurrection of Jesus is his APPROVAL of his Son.

At first sight it might seem that the cross was because of God’s DISPLEASURE at Jesus. Punishment perhaps. But that’s not the case. Because the resurrection shows God’s PUBLIC ENDORSEMENT of his Son. Look for example at Acts 2:34 (bottom of p771). Talking about something King David said.

34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord: “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND 35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.” ‘  36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: GOD HAS MADE THIS JESUS, WHOM YOU CRUCIFIED, BOTH LORD AND CHRIST.”

It’s JESUS / God told to come and sit at his right hand. The resurrection was THE EARTHLY EVIDENCE of a much greater exaltation that took place in heaven. When Jesus took his throne next to his Father, as LORD and Christ.

And so Jesus deserves OUR HONOUR/ as OUR Lord and Christ.

The resurrection guarantees God’s approval of Jesus

2. Christ’s Resurrection guarantees that God’s promises have come true – Acts 3:11-21

Second. The resurrection GUARANTEES THAT GOD’S PROMISES HAVE COME TRUE.

In Acts Ch 3 v13 (same page, a bit further down), the Apostle Peter’s talking again.

13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. (down to v15) 15 You killed the author of life, but GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE . We are witnesses of this.

And then a bit further down to v17.

17 “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But THIS IS HOW GOD FULFILLED WHAT HE HAD FORETOLD THROUGH ALL THE PROPHETS, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, AS HE PROMISED LONG AGO THROUGH HIS HOLY PROPHETS.

Peter’s saying that God had PROMISED a Saviour through the prophets. A Saviour who would SUFFER. But a Saviour who would RESTORE things back to the way they should be.

But when Jesus was killed, people started to wonder whether they’d made a mistake – backed the wrong horse. Peter INCLUDED!

But now God’s DECLARED that Jesus IS the One he’s promised. Who WILL do everything that’s been planned. The resurrection is THE WRITTEN GUARANTEE OF A DEAL THAT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

We bought a new lounge last week. And it was a really good deal. Harvey Norman apparently bought up lots of stock from ANOTHER retailer who went broke. And they were getting rid of them. Bargain basement prices.

When we told Dad what the price was. He said it was too low. He wasn’t convinced they were fair dinkum. He thought maybe they’d fallen off the back of a truck, or something was dodgy.

But we said, “No, it’s just a great deal. And we got the proper invoice and everything.” A written guarantee.

And Jesus’ resurrection is GOD’S written guarantee of a deal that seems too good to be true.

Two. The Resurrection guarantees God’s promises have come true.

3. Christ’s Resurrection guarantees our forgiveness.

More specifically, the resurrection is God’s guarantee of his promise of FORGIVENESS.

The problem many people have with Christianity is they think it’s about DOING GOOD THINGS. And because they can never be GOOD ENOUGH, they always worry about whether they’ll MAKE it into heaven. Whether their list of GOOD deeds will outweigh their list of BAD deeds. And tip them over the edge into heaven.

BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THAT. God promises that Christ’s has taken our punishment. Then BACKED IT UP by raising him from the .  So we can be CONFIDENT that we’re washed clean – FORGIVEN.

Let’s look at two passages, both in Romans. The first is Romans 4:23-25 (p798). It’s talking about God declaring Abraham righteous.

23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but ALSO FOR US, TO WHOM GOD WILL CREDIT RIGHTEOUSNESS – for us who BELIEVE IN HIM WHO RAISED JESUS OUR LORD FROM THE . 25 He was delivered over to for our sins and was RAISED TO LIFE FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION.

If God can raise Jesus from the , then crediting us with righteousness –forgiving us – is NOTHING.

But MORE than that, the fact that God RAISED Jesus showed that his work was ACCEPTABLE. The cross was EFFECTIVE. It had achieved what God had INTENDED by it. God’s wrath at our sin HAD been turned away. And he COULD declare us PURE and RIGHTEOUS.

Apparently when you finish paying off the mortgage on a house, the bank can issue you with a “DISCHARGE of MORTGAGE” certificate. It’s saying “You owe NOTHING. The house is YOURS”. Written proof.

That’s something worth framing. Something going straight to the poolroom.

And Christ’s resurrection is OUR written proof. That WE owe nothing. And that God’s house IS OURS.

Let’s look at another verse in Romans. Over the page. Ch 8 v34. The benefit of having a RISEN Saviour is that he can stand up for us before God the Father. I’ll start at v31.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 WHO IS HE THAT CONDEMNS? CHRIST JESUS, WHO DIED-MORE THAN THAT, WHO WAS RAISED TO LIFE-IS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD AND IS ALSO INTERCEDING FOR US. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

We’re no longer at God’s mercy, because Jesus is alive. Standing up for us. Putting in a good word. Reminding God that we’re forgiven.

We don’t follow a historical RELIC. A memory. A system of teachings or philosophies. We follow a RISEN AND LIVING LORD AND SAVIOUR. A King we can know personally. Who we can talk to. Walk with. Be comforted and strengthened by.

Third, Christ’s Resurrection guarantees our forgiveness.

4. the resurrection guarantees we’ve been born again.

The fourth statement God is making in the resurrection is about OUR new life. The resurrection guarantees we’ve been BORN AGAIN.

The same power God used to raise Christ from the , he uses to make US alive. To give us SPIRITUAL birth. Have a look at Eph 2:4 (p827). We used to be , but God made us ALIVE. Verse 4.

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 MADE US ALIVE WITH CHRIST even when we were in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God RAISED US UP WITH CHRIST and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

God gave us resurrection- life/ together with Christ. And placed us in a whole new spiritual dimension. We’re not just PHYSICAL anymore – EARTHLY. We exist on the HEAVENLY level now. We’re longing for a heavenly country. We’re only aliens and strangers here. It’s not our TRUE home. We’re aware of a whole different dimension to life that most people aren’t switched on to.

God is saying something in the resurrection about our being born again.

5. Guarantees our freedom from the slavery of sin

But our new life isn’t just about LIVING IN HEAVEN. It’s about being new people in THIS life. Fifth. The resurrection also says something about our behaviour. About our freedom from the slavery of sin.

In Eph 1, Paul prays that the Ephesians would know the power of the resurrection. Have a look at it – you should still have your Bibles open at Ephesians. Ch 1 v18 (p827)

18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know (the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints), 19 and HIS INCOMPARABLY GREAT POWER FOR US WHO BELIEVE. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 WHICH HE EXERTED IN CHRIST WHEN HE RAISED HIM FROM THE and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

Paul wants us to know that there’s POWER. And it’s not just ANY OLD power. But power FOR US. The power that raised Jesus is working in us!

It’s power at our disposal. But you’ve got to KNOW ABOUT IT.

Computers are just amazing these days. I’ve just found out that if you’ve got a laptop that’s sort of new, then you’ve got access to wireless internet. That there are these areas called HOTSPOTS around coffee shops and office buildings where you can access the internet FOR FREE.

All that electromagnetic energy and information just buzzing around our heads. And we don’t even KNOW it.

But when you know about it, and you’ve got the right connection, you’ve got access to a whole new world.

And it’s the same with the God’s resurrection-power. It’s there waiting for us. We’ve just got to KNOW about it. And how to ACCESS it.

So Paul prays that we might KNOW it.

But it’s not just power for us to use any-old-way. It’s power for a PURPOSE. God’s purpose. And you can see it if you keep reading in Ephesians. Down to Ch 2 v10. It’s the reason we were created.

10 For we are God’s workmanship, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS TO DO GOOD WORKS, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

That’s the PURPOSE of the power. To do good works. To live a Christ-like life.

In Rom 6, Paul explains it a bit further (page 799). When we became Christians, we DIED TO SIN – just like Christ died. But not only that (v4)

JUST AS CHRIST WAS RAISED FROM THE through the glory of the Father, WE TOO MAY LIVE A NEW LIFE.

And he gets to the SPECIFICS of that new life down in v5.

5 If we have been united with him like this in his , we will certainly also be UNITED WITH HIM IN HIS RESURRECTION. 6 For we know that our OLD self was CRUCIFIED with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that WE WILL ALSO LIVE WITH HIM. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the , he cannot die again; no longer has mastery over him. 10 The he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, COUNT YOURSELVES TO SIN BUT ALIVE TO GOD IN CHRIST JESUS.

You see? New life isn’t just about THE FUTURE. It’s about living as a new person NOW. And we have the power of the resurrection to help us DO that. The power to conquer sin. To put the OLD stuff to .

Paul continues.

V12 do not let sin reign in your mortal body

V13 OFFER YOURSELVES TO GOD, AS THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN BROUGHT FROM TO LIFE

The resurrection of Jesus is God’s declaration to us that his power is available for us to put off sin, and to live a godly life.

6. Christ’s resurrection guarantees our resurrection 1 Cor 15:20

Six. Christ’s resurrection guarantees our resurrection. This is perhaps one you’ve thought about before. I’m only going to mention it. It’s a whole talk in itself.

In 1 Cor 15 Paul’s answering the concerns some people are having about the resurrection of the . Whether Christians can be confident of life beyond . (It’s page 815).

And his whole argument hinges on the fact that Christ has been raised. Look at v20 for example.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the , the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (That is. The FIRST ONE which guarantees the resurrection of THE REST) 21 For since came through a man, THE RESURRECTION OF THE COMES ALSO THROUGH A MAN. 22 For as in Adam all die, SO IN CHRIST ALL WILL BE MADE ALIVE. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

In Christ’s resurrection, God’s declaring that we can be confident in OUR resurrection. The wonderful Christian hope of life beyond .

7. The resurrection guarantees our warm welcome in eternity 2 Cor 4:14-18

And finally, in the resurrection, God guarantees our warm welcome in eternity. Flip over a few pages to 2 Cor 4 v13 (p818).

And this will be a great place to finish. Our future home in heaven is often quiet and distant. It’s not noisy or intrusive. We can’t see it or touch it. It’s easy to doubt the SURETY and CERTAINTY of it. So many OTHER things seem more real and certain and immediate and important. Clambering for our attention.

But there’s one sure fact we can cling to. V13.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that THE ONE WHO RAISED THE LORD JESUS FROM THE WILL ALSO RAISE US WITH JESUS AND PRESENT US WITH YOU IN HIS PRESENCE.

The fact of God’s resurrection of his Son is our guarantee of a warm welcome, together with all God’s people.

And that affects OUR PRESENT OUTLOOK. Down to v16.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

God’s BOLD DECLARATION in the resurrection of his Son/ is the ROCK we can build our lives on. Trust his promises, follow his Son, live in his power, long for his welcome!

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