Archive for the ‘Praise’ Category

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Five Ways the Resurrection Gives Meaning to Our Lives

March 31, 2013

Five Ways The Resurrection Gives Meaning to Our Lives…

The Urban Witness

There are many events of history that if I were to mention them to you this morning they would have very little if any meaning, even though they were monumentally important in history. No matter how important the battle, no matter how influential the personality, as time passes and their accomplishments fade the meaning behind what they have done likewise loses power. There is only one event in the course of human history that has never faded, will never fade and will always be as impressive and important today as it was 2000 years ago when it occurred; that event is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. As air entered His lungs, and His heart began to beat, and the stone rolled away the clock of the universe was reset and everything, absolutely everything changed. Satan’s grip on this world slipped, sin’s chains were loosed, and generations gained…

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5 Ways the Resurrection Gives Meaning to Our Lives….

April 6, 2012

There are many events of history that if I were to mention them to you this morning they would have very little if any meaning, even though they were monumentally important in history. No matter how important the battle, no matter how influential the personality, as time passes and their accomplishments fade the meaning behind what they have done likewise loses power. There is only one event in the course of human history that has never faded, will never fade and will always be as impressive and important today as it was 2000 years ago when it occurred; that event is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. As air entered His lungs, and His heart began to beat, and the stone rolled away the clock of the universe was reset and everything, absolutely everything changed. Satan’s grip on this world slipped, sin’s chains were loosed, and generations gained the first fruits of lasting hope that the end was in fact near. Despite these terrific accomplishments and undeniable effects, how many of us proceed through our days acting as if nothing ever changed? How many of us treat Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection as a mere event in history? A mark on a timeline much like the fall of the Roman empire, or Columbus’ discovery of the new world. Monumental, yes, but distant events with little modern impact and no personal impact on or daily lives.

Here are 5 ways that the Resurrection gives meaning to our lives:

1. The Resurrection gives meaning to our faith and belief. Belief is the buzzword of religion in America today. You need to believe, she needs to believe, we all need to just believe. Belief is a word that can be used in any setting and it is entirely void of confrontation. Having faith is not a controversial stance. Many people if you were to stop them on the street or talk to them in coffee shops, would tell you that they have faith. Politicians can advocate a number of policies for and against everything from marriage to sexual ethics to defense policy and all be “people of faith.” But what is missing from the common popular conception of faith and belief is anything that grounds those activities in meaning. The question that the Christian must ask is “believe in what?” “believe in whom?” What do we believe in where is our faith placed? It is not enough to simply have faith, it is not enough to simply believe. In order for belief to have any real lasting eternal and temporal value it must be rooted and grounded in God through the work of Jesus Christ. Christ’s Resurrection gives our faith and our belief meaning. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14 that if Christ had not been raised from the dead then “our preaching is in vain, your faith is in vain.” Without the resurrection faith has no meaning. The only work which saves, the only work by which God has provided a way for sins to be forgiven was and is the resurrection. All these churches, all the missions, all the sermons, would all be nothing, but for the resurrection. If Christ has not risen from the dead then we of all people are “most to be pitied.” (1 Cor. 15:19) Christ rising from the dead gives your faith meaning and purpose.

2. The resurrection gives meaning to your hope. Hope and change are ideas that corse through our culture, behind every tragic event and every cultural controversy. Politicians get your votes on the idea that hope can be realized. Everyone is searching desperately for something or someone to hope in. For so many people in the world today, the hope that they nurture and they hope they find dies with the movements they place their hope in. The hope that the world offers is a dead hope, a futile hope that is tied to death. As Christians, we live lives in the light of our hope in God, or at least we should. But how many of us walk through our daily lives and daily struggles devoid of any evidences true hope. According to scripture though, if we are born again, we are “born again to a living hope.” That living hope is found “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3) What enlivens the hope of the christian is the fact that our hope is tied directly to the fact that Jesus died for our sins and that he rose from the dead. This was according to God’s great mercy, and serves to give meaning to our hope. If we truly believe that this miracle occurred then we should have hope even in the face of death. So as you go through life and interact with others will you be able to give an evidence for the hope that is in you? You can have a living hope, not tied to any movement or any individual, but tied to the work of Christ on the cross for you. Our hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. And His blood means something, and his righteousness is proven real because He has risen.

3. The Resurrection gives meaning to our love for one another. To the world love represents an opportunity. An opportunity to be served, an opportunity to be fulfilled, an opportunity to be complete and feel wanted and needed. Websites advertise how you can search through countless individuals for someone who matches what YOU want, and someone who will most likely satisfy what you need; be it adventure, love, security etc. On a more corrupt level, pornography gives the illusion of love but is wholly constructed to cater to lust. Pornography is like a cool light with no warmth, illuminating only our selfishness, finding our satisfaction at the expense of others. This is love to the world. The resurrection radically reorients all relationships and redefines love. The work of Christ is the ultimate display of love and gives us the model of how to love one another. Time and time again in the Bible we are told to love as Christ loved. If we love, we must be willing to sacrifice ourselves for our wives (Eph 5:21) for our brothers (1 John 3:16) If we know love, according to the Apostle John, we know love by this, “that He [Jesus] laid down His life for us.” We have no greater love for one another than when we are willing to lay our lives down for our brother. The resurrection gives the loving sacrifice of Christ meaning, in that it points to the reality beyond His death. Because of His resurrection, our faith is sure, and our hope is grounded, so as a result we cease to love the way the world loves. We see in the Sermon on the Mount, when we are hated we respond in love, when we are tempted we respond in our love for God, when we are asked to love the world and its treasures we respond by loving and seeking our God first. Our love is real because our Lord is real, risen from the dead. Christian love has the potential to convey far more than any worldly love could attempt; it should reflect and flow from the act of Christ’s sacrificial love made real by the resurrection.

4. The resurrection gives meaning to our suffering. Why is there pain in the world? If there is a God and He is good then why do people suffer? These questions echo through hospital hallways, across battlefields and storm aftermaths throughout the world. Suffering cries out for an answer. For many Christians, suffering remains unanswerable. This world is broken, caught in a vicious cycle of sin and death which afflicts christians and non-christians alike with profound unfair suffering. Our lives are lived in the hope brought to us by Christ’s resurrection from the dead. ( 1 Peter 1:3). Because when Christ rose that Sunday morning so long ago he broke the cycle of sin, and the consequences of sin, death. His rising points to our future resurrection, through God’s power. This hope gives us the strength to view persecution as a “light momentary affliction.” For we know that no matter how difficult this life gets we have awaiting us a new abundant resurrected life. So we face unjust suffering as Christ did. He suffered for us, leaving us an example for us to follow in His steps. (1 Peter 2:21) Christ paved the way in both His suffering and His resurrection. Therefore, we “should not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among us… but to the degree that you share in the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice.”(1 Peter 4:13) What awaits us is glory, a glory made sure by Christ’s resurrection.

5. The Resurrection gives meaning to death. The unbeliever trembles in the face of death. Death is the great unknown and the ultimate uncertainty. As a result non-christians and unbelievers spend much of their lives, and money, fleeing death and the effects of aging. Christians too, are not immune from this fear. Death seems mysterious, and many Christians act as if there is no hope when death occurs near them. Non-Christians (and functionally many Christians) Pursue life and fear only death. But this should not be. Of all the people in the world, Christians should be the most confident when approaching death, and should live their lives pursuing God and fearing only Him. When Jesus rose from the death the earth quaked at the realization that the old ways were finished, the power of death had been broken. For Jesus conquered death by rising from its clutches. As He rose from the dead imperishable He gave us a picture of what awaits us when we rise from the dead. Hear Paul as he wrote to the church at Corinth;

20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power… 50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed… then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55 O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Through Christ we have victory, death is no longer the end, but only the beginning. As He was raised, so too will we be raised, and this promise removes the sting of death. Death is no longer meaningless, but becomes a means by which we experience victory and are joined with Christ to the Glory of the Father.

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Join in the the Everlasting Song…

July 24, 2010

PSALM 145

When we consider all that we speak about in our lives, we soon come to the realization that so little of what we say actually matters.  That is the words we profess, what we extol, what we encourage and obsess about soon passes into memory and we along with them.  There is one form of speech however, that never lacks potency and when spoken in sincerity lasts long after we’re gone, resonating through the generations and echoing to the heavens.  These are the praises offered up to our Maker, Redeemer and Lord.  Psalm 145 lifts up the virtues of such praise and emphasizes the generational importance of speaking of God.

Those who would be content to live out their lives in quiet testimony of observation and action, run the real risk of muting a necessary God-ordained form of communication.  Speech, both written and spoken, is indispensable in transmitting the axioms and remembrances of God to future generations.  The psalmist, in this case David, repeatedly focuses on action matched up with word.  Our chief aim is that we might extol (vs1), bless (vs2), and praise (vs3) by declaring (vs4), speaking (vs6) and calling (18), for the purposes of displaying God’s works to; one another (vs4), to the children of men (vs12), enduring for future generations (vs13).  The very pages in front of me on which this psalm is written stand as a not-so-silent testimony to the endurance of the written and spoken words “speaking of the might of [His] awesome deeds.”

From David’s generation to mine these words bear witness to the eternal everlasting kingdom and His steadfast love.  This psalm is both prophetic and proven to encourage.  It prophesied that His goodness will be proclaimed and it has.  It encourages in that very God who; upholds the fallen and raises the bowed (vs14), opens His hand and satisfies desire (vs16), and comes near to all who call (vs18) is the same God who lives on in His word and in our hearts.

As He has preserved this word to us He promises to preserve “all who love Him.”  That He grants us the privilege in participating in this preservation in writing, speaking and song, is a testament to the depth of His grace and love.  How can we not speak His praise, and what joy we face in knowing that we will bless His holy name forever and ever. (vs27)  By God’s grace may it be so.