I rather liked the 1960’s.
But it took for a worldview that there is no final ultimate meaning to life or to the universe. There is no fixed value or standard to live by. The only thing to live by is whether something “works”.
There are four breath-taking facts about resurrection from the dead in this text. And we are not talking here about reincarnation or about escape from the body or about ghosts or spirits or anything like that. We are talking about Christ’s body and soul and spirit as a unified whole person coming out of the grave and some day his people following him in exactly the same way.
Here are the four facts:
- Christ rose from the dead.
- Christ will never die again. He reigns triumphant over death.
- Through faith we are united to Christ and die in him.
- We shall rise like he rose and live with him forever.
There are some really good reasons why you all should believe these four things.
But this sermon is very short, and what if you hear those arguments and say, ‘That’s an interesting. Thanks for a short sermon. Now off to Easter Sunday dinner’?"
Suppose you are sitting in your kitchen listening to the news one evening just before supper and you hear that last year in Cambridgeshire 3 children playing near the street were killed by motorists. You hear it and you may wince and say, "What a tragedy. That must be hard for those parents." Then you go on to the next news item.
But then suddenly the front door bursts open and your 12 year-old son comes screaming into the house with the news that your nine year-old son has just been hit by a car that swerved over the curb and knocked him down. Now this piece of news is different.
Here was a piece of news that goes to the core of your being. It shakes you. Everything in you comes alive to this reality that it’s your son. It touches your existence. It will change everything in your life. It will break your heart. It will shatter things in you more deeply than you have ever been touched.
As I read these four great facts: Christ is risen from the dead; Christ will never die again; I have died with Christ; and I shall be raised like him to live with him forever—when I read those again and again, I long for you who are here today not to hear them as merely provable reports of some religious claims, but as the cry of your child bursting through the door. "It has to do with you! This is your death and your life and your hope."
What if, after all, it is true? Tell me, what if it is true?"
So that’s what I want to ask you this morning: What if it’s true that Christ rose from the dead; that he will never die again and death has no dominion over him so that he is the Lord of the universe; that by faith we are united to him in his death and rise with him to live forever? What if it is true—not just like facts out there somewhere, but like the truth as heard in the mouth of a screaming child that suddenly, in a moment, changes everything?
Let me just get you started from the Bible:
If it’s true, . . .
. . . the power of death is broken, and the root of bondage, the fear of death is severed, and we can be freed;
. . . you don’t need to get to the top in order to get to be a success;
. . . you don’t need to run away from trouble and live in fear;
. . . every loss you endured for the kingdom will be made up to you a thousand-fold;
. . . there is no ultimate risk in the cause of truth and love; nothing can defeat you;
. . . the decay of your body is prelude to glory;
. . . you will be made completely whole with no impurity and no struggle with lust or greed or covetousness or fear or inferiority or cowardice or painful memories or paralysing shame;
. . . there will be no mourning or crying or tears or pain for the former things will pass away;
. . . swords will be turned into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks and war will be no more;
. . . every injustice will be rectified and every evil will be recompensed and every wrong made right;
. . . and those who are in Christ will rise with him never to die again, and God will be our God and we will be his people, and the glory of the Lord will be our light and our joy forever.