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He Lives - Matthew 3:17

Audio Sermon

He Lives

"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17)

Some years ago, when I worked as a Human Resources person in a factory, “Ladybug” (as she is called by her niece) was listening in the next office to a Sarah Brightman CD, which is beautiful to hear.  The cover of the album was red, and “Ladybug” became radiant each time she heard that wonderful singing voice.  She said of the CD, "I am soaring" in relation to it.

I soared also, for the music was indeed beautiful, but there is much more.  The music was called "Eden," and I am reminded of our Lord, who is interestingly called the "last Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:45) and it's true that our Lord is also the Savior of the world.  In this Easter season, I soar at the wonder of Him.

Early in history, the first Adam failed to do the job, and he became like the drowning man who died and dragged the rest of us down into death with him.  Jesus, like Adam, became our representative, but this later "Adam" did the job completely and wonderfully for you and me.  Adam sinned and his sin became a contagion that spread through the gene pool of humanity, polluting everyone that ever lived.  Jesus became like us in every way except one: He did not sin at all - ever, and He brings healing to your life and mine.

Until the time of his fall, Adam was pure, with innocence like nothing we can imagine.  Years ago, when I worked in that factory, as I walked through the welding shop I looked away for the welding torches were bright enough to damage human eyes.  The first Adam's innocence was like that.  It was too bright, too wonderful for us to comprehend.  And then he fell; utterly fell, like an eagle that plummeted and could rise no more.

Jesus Christ is and always was God the Son, the King of Glory, and as such He did not personally need to come to this place of sin and death.  He lived in safety and holiness, untouched by any stain; pure in every way.  The purity of the first Adam before his fall was reflective of the sanctity of God the Son, the "last Adam" who knew no sin. Along with holiness, Jesus has exhibited another blinding attribute that even outshines the first, for He has an intense love for us which has no limit.  And again, like the welder's torch, we must look away as we, from the darkness of this sin-stained world, catch a glimpse of the wonder of His infinite love.

This is the day traditionally celebrated as Easter in many Christian settings, and it is a disputed date for those who like to quibble over one thing or another.  There are times to take a stand on issues, but on this day I am simply - grateful.  The Resurrection of 2000 years ago is for me like the "Rapture" (His return for His people) at some point in the future - it's not the WHEN, but the IF that's important for you and me.

IF Christ is the King of Glory who came to this world and died that you might live, you have EVERYTHING and can rejoice in His Name!  IF the Lord rose from the dead, as seen and reported by literally hundreds of eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15:5-8), we have true HOPE, possibly for the first time in our lives.  IF He rose from the dead and spoke to witnesses, we are touched by a new reality: there is LIFE after death; life for my parent, my child, my loved one - life for ME!  There indeed WAS a Resurrection seen by a lot of people and He WILL Return to this earth, an event which will be seen by us all.

Statements such as the preceding are, for some, just words in a book, but He has made it real.  The Book (the Bible) SHOUTS that the King of Glory will return for us.  We're going to take a brief look in that Book, but first we must be ready.  Entering Scripture is like traveling in space or entering the ocean's depths.  You must be properly equipped for the journey.  For this, we need a change of heart: Jesus, Your promise is that You will send Your Spirit that we may understand. We receive You now, and ask, please fill us, Lord, with the Holy Spirit of God.  Thank You. In Jesus Name.  Amen.  Now that we're ready, let's look at the gospel (good news) in 1 Corinthians 15:

  • Christ died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3 - not just any death – he died for you and me)
  • He died as predicted by Scripture (1 Cor. 15:3 – all this was planned)
  • He was buried (1 Cor. 15:4 – He was truly dead; no mistake)
  • He was raised to life on the 3rd day (1 Cor. 15:4 – He is ALIVE and was SEEN)
  • He appeared to Peter (Cephas) and the other apostles (1 Cor. 15:5)
  • The risen Christ appeared to over 500 people at one time (1 Cor. 15:6)
  • He appeared to even more and then to Paul the Apostle (1 Cor. 15:7).

When we first met a pastor named Dennis Broxton, years ago, he was in a hospital bed and we shared communion with him.  Isaiah Chapter 53 was his choice as our Communion Scripture and we remember his tears at the time.  He cried, but not just because it had been so long since he had taken communion, though that was a factor.  He cried because of what Jesus Christ suffered on our behalf, for our need.  He cried because of what Jesus had done for HIM.  Pastor Dennis quoted Isaiah 53:6 - “The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”

Jesus died for you.  Not just any death – He became your substitute and died the death meant for you and me.  He bore your sins and paid your price, the one that was too high; the one you could not pay.  He died for you.

He is alive and you are offered life in Him.  Jesus Christ dramatically came to life within the stone walls of a tomb in Jerusalem.  When the tomb was opened, He was already gone, for thick walls and death cannot hold Him.  And when we trust in Him, death cannot hold us either, for “By His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).  He is alive.

A few years ago, we were witnesses to an automobile accident.  A car suddenly turned left and a pickup truck broad-sided the car.  We saw what we saw, and were willing to go to court and testify about what was seen.  Those who saw the risen Christ were like that.  Something HAPPENED right in front of them!  The eyewitness testimony is very simple, clear and easy to understand.  They tell us, “what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1-3).  They were as surprised as we are, but they BELIEVED and so should we.

Just like “Ladybug” tends to “soar” to Sarah Brightman music, we can “soar” in our Lord.  As Isaiah the Prophet observed, “Those who wait upon the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles…” (Isaiah 40:31).  He LIVES just as He said, and we LIVE, too, when we trust in Him.  He really loves you and me.  As the Father said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17) and we will be pleased also, when we trust in Him.

Lord, we confess our sins, we trust in You and we praise Your Holy Name.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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