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Thursday, September 24, 2015

It's all about Jesus: The Risen Savior revealed (Pt. 3)

(Part 3 of 3)

“Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem.”-Luke 24:46-47

The final reason Jesus stayed on earth for 40 days after His resurrection was to equip His followers to share the gospel message. They were to take the message of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and preach the necessity of repentance and forgiveness of sins to a lost and dying world.

Jesus equipped them for the task by giving them both the authority and power they would need to be effective in reaching those who had never accepted Jesus as Lord. Jesus declared in Matthew 28:18-20:

And Jesus came and spoke to them saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth. Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

In this passage, the authority given to Jesus from heaven is conferred upon the disciples to accomplish God’s mission of redemption. Armed with this new authority, believers were deputized, so to speak, to take the gospel to the nations.

However, the disciples received much more than the authorization to preach and teach; they were also given power to execute their responsibilities.  Jesus’ disciples had been given a front row seat to His life, message, miracles, death, burial, and resurrection; because of this they were called to be witnesses of these things.

Nevertheless, before taking that good news to the world, they had to tarry for the provision of power Jesus was going to bestow on them:

And you are witnesses of these things. Behold I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”-Luke 24:48-49

Luke confirms for us again in Acts 1:8 the nature and purpose of that promise:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Jesus refused to leave His followers dejected, doubting, ill-informed and ill-equipped for the task at hand. He renewed their hope! He restored their faith! He revealed Himself in the Word and He equipped them with the authority and power they would need to spread the gospel message across the earth; a commission that you and I (as believers in Jesus Christ) have been deputized and empowered to share in.

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

It's all about Jesus: The Risen Savior revealed (Pt. 2)

(Part 2)

“Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.”-John 20:6-9

Another reason that Jesus stuck around for forty days, after leaving the tomb, was to confirm the scripture regarding His resurrection. The empty tomb bewildered many, because they still did not understand from the scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.

Luke 24 records an encounter two of Jesus’ disciples had with Him on the road to Emmaus. The two were walking along discussing the events of the day when Jesus joined them on their journey. Scripture tells us that they were restrained from recognizing Him and they began to explain to Him the things concerning Jesus of Nazareth. They spoke about how He was a great prophet in word and deed, hated by the chief priests, and crucified in Jerusalem. However, they were perplexed by the testimony of some of the women who went to the tomb to anoint His body. They returned to them saying that they could not locate the body of Jesus and that they had an encounter with angels who said that Jesus was alive! It was at this moment that Jesus interjected declaring:

Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”-Luke 24:25-26.

Then, beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He began to expound to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself! The next day while they eating together at the table, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. The Scripture tells us that, precisely at that moment, their eyes were opened and Jesus vanished from their sight. The two turned to one another and said:

Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scripture to us?”-Luke 24:32

Why was this a significant moment? Because they would only have Him for a short time longer, but they would have the Scriptures forever:

“And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”-Luke 24:45-48.

They now could point others to Christ because they had been taught and Christ had been revealed to them in the Word of God.

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

It's all about Jesus: The Risen Savior revealed (Pt.1)

(Part 1)

“After his suffering, he (Jesus) showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”-Acts 1:3

Did you ever wonder why it is that Jesus stuck around after His resurrection? He could have come out of the tomb, went straight to the Father, and took His rightful place at the right hand of God Almighty. Instead scripture tells us that Jesus stuck around for 40 days revealing Himself, on at least 11 occasions, to over 500 different people.

One reason for his post-resurrection appearances was to restore His disciples’ hope and faith. The crucifixion of Jesus dealt a tremendous blow to the disciples’ faith. In a matter of a few hours, every ounce of hope was seemingly drained out of them. Where faith once reigned, fear had now set in as the disciples hid themselves away fearing the Jews would find them:

Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”-John 20:19

There was no way He could leave them in that condition. Jesus had to strengthen His disciples for the work that was still at hand. There were those like Peter, who had rejected Christ, that needed restoration and those like Thomas that had doubts that needed to be put to rest.

The gospel message and the work of Christ would have died with them in that room; if Jesus had not revealed Himself to them. It is evident, however, from the scriptural accounts that their hope was restored and their faith revived after Jesus revealed that He had been raised from the dead:

When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.”-John 20:20.

Some translations declare that they were overjoyed when they saw the Lord! At that moment, in their walk with Jesus, no other title held as much meaning. While He was with them, they had called Him Lord, Rabbi, King, Healer, Prince of Peace, and Teacher; but now they would know Him as the Risen Savior!

These men would go on to lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel, strengthened by the knowledge that Jesus had overcome death, hell, and the grave.

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

It's all about Jesus: the Cross, the Tomb, and Grave Clothes (Pt. 3)

(Part 3)

“Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.  And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen clothes lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.”-John 20:3-9

More than the tomb itself, it was the grave clothes that held Jesus in bondage. A typical burial usually included packing the body with spices which was then wrapped repeatedly. Considering the expediency of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial; we can assume, that at a minimum, the body would have been wrapped tightly with the expectation that they would return later to properly pack the body once the Passover celebration had ended.

The Apostle John focuses a lot of attention here in chapter 20 on the graves clothes Jesus was been buried in. After running to the tomb, the first thing that stuck in the mind of his disciples was not the empty tomb but the empty grave clothes. They were both so fixated on what was left behind that they were missing the fact that Jesus was gone!

It had been reported among the people, by the Pharisees and Sadducees, that someone came and took the body of Jesus. Yet, it is highly unlikely that someone brazen enough to steal his body would have taken the time, at a heavily guarded tomb, to completely unwrap the body and fold up the grave clothes.

No, the grave clothes were left there by Jesus! Jesus wanted his disciples to discover them! Why? Because those clothes were a reminder of his old dead life and instead of bringing them out he left them buried. 

We could all learn a valuable lesson here. Jesus never intended for us to carry around with us the tattered clothes of our old dead life; clothes that are stained with sin and wickedness. Why do we continue, although we have been freed from the bondage of sin and the stone rolled away feel compelled to carry the grave clothes out with us?

Here is a bold but very true statement: You simply cannot live a resurrected life while still clinging to the remains of your old life. Like Jesus, we have to be willing to leave our old lives buried.

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

It's all about Jesus: the Cross, the Tomb, & the Grave Clothes (Pt. 2)

(Part 2)

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.”-1 Corinthians 15:12-13.

The Apostle Paul was passionate about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There was a group of people in Paul’s day declaring that there was no resurrection; a claim that Paul immediately confronted. Paul argued that if there is no resurrection then our faith is futile, we are still steeped in sin, those who died believing perished in vain, and we who are living for Him now should be pitied.

And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”-1 Corinthians 15:17-19.

Last week we discussed the significance of the cross and the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Romans 5:9 declaring:

“Since we have been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him.”

It is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from our sins. However, the resurrection serves as a sign proving that the sacrifice Jesus made at Calvary was sufficient. Remember, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. If the demands of sin had not been rightly met, life could not have been extended. If the sacrifice had been deficient in any way, we would still be in our sins; but Christ’s resurrection confirms that a new life has been afforded to us.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17:

“If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come.”

We can either be in Christ or we can be in sin! We can live trapped in the bondage of sin (living an old dead life that will ultimately lead to our destruction) or we can live a resurrected life; a new life empowered by God’s spirit to live victoriously. This new life is characterized by selflessness, faithfulness, truth, love, compassion, integrity, and peace with God.

The empty tomb declares hope, life, and the restoration of all things. It is the birth place of hope, as Jesus came forth to give us life everlasting!

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

It's all about Jesus: the Cross, the Tomb, & the Grave Clothes

It’s all about Jesus: the Cross, the Tomb, & the Grave Clothes

(Part 1)

“Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”-Luke 24:1-3

Jesus’ triumph over death, hell, and the grave are a fundamental part of the gospel message. On numerous occasions Jesus spoke of his death and resurrection, however, it was not until they stepped into the empty tomb and gazed upon his abandoned grave clothes that they remembered His words:

And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words.”-Luke 24:4-8

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a roller coaster ride of emotion spanning from the agony of his death on the cross to the elation of His resurrection from the dead. It embodies the passing of an old life and the embracing of a new life!

The cross was a place of death and dying; where Jesus died for you and me and took upon himself the due penalty of our sins. It is where we remember Christ’s sacrifice and share in his sufferings. The cross is a reminder to us that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). It reminds us that wages of our sin is death (Romans 6:23); but it also reminds us that God demonstrated his love for us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

The cross is the place where our old sinful lives are put to death; lives steeped in sexual immorality, unforgiveness, bitterness, greed, gluttony, deceit, and selfishness. When we live in sin, it seems that all we see is the cross! When we are living according to the pattern of our old sinful life all we seem to experience of Christ is the conviction of the Holy Spirit, but never the empowering of the Spirit.

Although Jesus instructs us to take up our cross daily and that we should share in his sufferings; he also desires for us to experience and enjoy the power and privilege of a resurrected life!

Author and Pastor Watchman Nee once wrote: “Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church