April 24, 2011 | Andrew Davis
Resurrection of Christ
Pastor Andy Davis preaches a verse-by-verse expository sermon on John 5:19-29. The main subject of the sermon is four resurrections in which we can rejoice to God's glory.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
French enlightenment philosopher said this cynical thing about religion, he said, "I only have two questions of religion. Question number one, has anyone ever cheated death? Question number two, did he make a way for me to cheat it too?" Well, I actually don't know anyone that has cheated death, but I know someone that has defeated death. You see, the idea of cheating is that somehow someone has been swindled out of something that really belonged to him through trickery, through guile, through cleverness. Jesus didn't do that to death. He just defeated it. With sovereign power, he crushed death. And he did it for us. It says in Hebrews chapter two, " Since the children [of God] have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death –that is, the devil–and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
That's what Jesus did. He crushed Satan who held the power of death, and he frees us who by faith believe this Easter message. And he did it all for us. His resurrection victory is ours. That's why we're so happy today. We get it. We know. Jesus won this victory for us. He made this clear statement in John 14, "Because I live, you also will live." And so God couldn't just defeat death in a simple way, but he had to completely crush it in a very famous way. And so in John chapter 5, there are actually four resurrections that are mentioned and this is going to be the focus of our study today, to understand these four resurrections and through it, that our own affections for Christ will be raised to the highest level, that those who up to this point have been dead in transgressions and sins might cross over and find new life in Jesus, by understanding how completely Jesus has destroyed death. The first resurrection was his own resurrection. The other three are in reference to us. And so we're going to study these.
I. Resurrection number one: Christ Rises from the Dead Personally
And let's begin with resurrection number one, mentioned in John chapter 5. Christ rises from the dead personally. Now, this is the glorious joy of Easter, that death has been defeated. All over the world, death's tyranny is felt, and this has been a terrible year for the tyranny of death. I think about the thousands that died in Japan as a result of that massive earthquake offshore and the wave of water that crashed over the northern part of Japan and killed so many thousands. I think about that in a very grand scale and it's very well-known, not so equally well-known, but still somewhat famous as the story of a young man who is a 16-year-old basketball player and who was carried off the court in victory this past winter, this basketball season. He hit the winning shot. Moments later, he was on the ground and died an hour after that. The crowd, totally stunned, silent, watching this young man, Wes Leonard in Fennville, Michigan, collapse and then just waiting on what the outcome would be and the outcome was death and it's just stunning. You look at that, a young man in the prime of life, healthy, strong, an excellent basketball player. The school superintendent said,” Wes was strong and powerful and that makes this hard to handle. There's really no answer we can give when a tragedy like this happens.” Well, friends, there is no answer we can give, but God has given an answer. Amen?
And the answer is, Jesus Christ. ”I am the resurrection and the life.” Death is not the final word, but God's love is the final word. And see, these are well known cases of death. Not so well known are the husbands that have lost wives or wives that have lost husbands, parents that have buried children and children their parents, friends, the river of mourning and death, it seems in an unconquerable fall. There's a certain tyranny, a certain arrogance. This week, I was talking to Calvin about the Michael Card song about the Book of Ecclesiastes and just the vanity of life apart from God. And Michael Card also did a song on the Song of Songs and there's this statement in there, it says, "Love is as strong as death," and so I was trying to give him a sense of how death was strong, and so I grabbed hold of his arm and I started pulling on him. He's a nine-year-old boy. Pretty soon he'll be able to take me, but not yet. And so I was able to just use that physical analogy to say, "You know, when death calls on you, you cannot resist." Death is strong. But in the Song of Songs, it says, "Love is as strong as death." Well, I would say in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, love is stronger than death. That God's love has taken hold of us and will draw us right through the grave on into life forever more.
"Death is not the final word, but God's love is the final word. "
And so these are the thoughts that are in my mind. We celebrate the resurrection of Christ, that's why we've assembled here today, that Jesus Christ is alive and he couldn't be anything but alive. In verse 26, it says, "…the Father has life in himself, [and as the Father has life in himself] so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.” Life is of the essence of God. God is alive. God is immortal. He cannot die. At the beginning of John's gospel, it says of Jesus, "In him was life and that life was the light of men." Over and over in this beautiful Gospel, the Gospel of John, we have Jesus as the author and giver of life, eternal life. He says to the Samaritan woman, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." It says in John 6, "I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
John 8:12, Jesus said to the people, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." In John 10, he says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly." And very famously, in John 14:6, Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
And so here in this passage, he explains why he must live. The Father has life in himself, and so, in the same way, he has granted the Son to have life in himself. God is immortal. In 1 Timothy 6, it says, "God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.” Immortal means that God cannot die. God has life in himself and I think that also means very powerfully that God is self-existent. His life doesn't depend on any other entity, on any other being. He has life in himself. He is the I am. He lives and all life derives from him. And in the same way, in the same way as the Father lives, the Son lives, and he has granted to the Son to have life in himself. And so Christ's resurrection is alluded to here in verse 26. There is no way that the Father could allow Jesus to remain dead. Now, in order to have a resurrection, you first have to have a death. Jesus died on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. No one took Jesus's life from him. No one had the power to do that, but Jesus laid down his life of himself, of his own accord. He had the power to lay it down and then when the time came, he had the power to take it back up again.This command he received from his Father. And why did he die? Well, he died in our place. He died as a substitute. You heard what Tom Gears prayed. And for us as Christians, we should look and say, "I deserved that. All of Jesus's abuse, all of his foul treatment, the scourging, the crown of thorns, the mocking, the spitting, all of those things, and the crucifixion, the blood, the death.” We deserve that, under the wrath of God. Isaiah 53 says, "…he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus died in our place.
But God could not allow Jesus to remain dead. It was impossible. Death is immeasurably, I would say, infinitely feeble compared to Jesus and the life that is in him. And so I love what Peter said on the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2:24. It says, "But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, [listen] because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” Now, that's a stunning statement. Think about it. When we use the language of impossibility connected with death, it's impossible for us to raise someone up, that death is the unconquerable foe. We feel most acutely our weakness when we come to death. We have no power in the face of death. It is impossible for the physicians to do anything more. It is impossible, no matter how strong your love for that individual, for you to do anything. That person is dead. And so we think of impossibility in that sense. How reversed is it when it comes to Jesus? It's impossible for death to keep its hold on him. Why? Because the Father has life in himself and he is granted to the Son to be alive forevermore.
And so God raised him from the dead. This is the centerpiece of our faith. Now, I freely grant that it's not clearly proclaimed here in John 5, but let's just go over to John 20 and you'll see it plainly enough there. Christ has risen from the dead. He has been raised up out of the grave. In John 20:1-9 we have the physical evidence. You have the stone removed. You have the grave clothes there, wholly undisturbed in their original position. The greek gives us a sense as though Jesus had just risen up out of them, and you have the head covering folded up by itself off to the side and best of all, just Jesus isn't there. He is not here. He is risen. He's gone. And this entire scene is just screaming, "He's alive! He's alive!" Just screaming resurrection. Very powerful. That's good. But even better are those personal encounters with the resurrected Christ, like Jesus’ encounter with the weeping Mary, Mary Magdalene there with tears flowing down. She's looking for a dead Jesus so she can put him back safely in his own tomb and have everything fine and all that. And she's weeping. It wasn't weeping day. It was celebration day. "Why are you weeping?" The angel said. "Why are you weeping?" Jesus said. And Jesus spoke her name so tenderly, with so much love, "Mary," and she turned around and there he was, the resurrected Savior.
And then in the upper room, Jesus' disciples minus Thomas were there. And they were up there with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, and Jesus came and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you!" And they were absolutely overjoyed and stunned and amazed when they saw the Lord and he showed them His hands and His side. And again, he said, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you." Thomas, as I said, wasn't there. Friends, don't miss church. I mean, you just need to be there. Especially on Easter Sunday, especially on the Easter Sunday. Why miss that one? What was Thomas doing that was better than that? I mean, don't you think years later, the apostles sitting and eating a meal, "Thomas, what were you doing that night that was so important?" But there's a sense in which his doubt had led Him away. Don't you sense that? That he didn't believe. And he said, "Look, unless I put my fingers in the nail marks in my hand in the side, I will not believe it. I need the physical evidence." Well, a week later Jesus gave it to him. Again, the disciples were there. This time Thomas was there. And though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." He goes over to Thomas and he said, "Put your hands, put your finger in the nail marks, your hand in the side. Stop doubting and believe." And Thomas said to him, "My Lord and My God!" And Jesus says, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
This is the evidence of the resurrection that we have from scripture, and that's all we're going to get. And for us, it's enough. Amen? The scriptural account is enough. We just need to hear his Word and believe, and we’ll cross over from death to life. More on that in a moment. But just if we hear him speaking the Word it's enough. And so Jesus Christ is the resurrection. In John 11, he said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." Friends, it's not just that Jesus himself was raised from the dead, nor merely that He is able to raise us, which I'll discuss more in a moment, nor is it merely that he understands resurrection or is it made a study of resurrection or can instruct us about resurrection. Friends, he is the resurrection and there is no other. He is the resurrection, and he is the life. And so there is someone who has not cheated death, but defeated death. The question is, has he made a way for us to do it too? Can we ride to Heaven on the coattails of his victory? I tell you we can. And so the other three resurrection that I wanna talk about are all in reference to us, and what Jesus does for us. Christ has indeed been risen. 1 Corinthians 15, “…the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep." First fruits means there's gonna be a vast harvest besides, and we are included if we believe in Jesus.
"We just need to hear his Word and believe, and we’ll cross over from death to life."
II. Resurrection number two: Christ Resuscitates the Dead Physically
And so we see resurrection number two, Christ resuscitates, I'm going to say, the dead physically. This is the amazing work that God the Father gave Jesus to do. The context of John 5, it’s a miracle that he did on the Sabbath. The miracles were signs. They were wonders. They were amazing works the Father had given him to do. They displayed His power. They displayed his amazing love and his compassion. They just put his attributes on display, these works. And Jesus said he did all of these miracles at the command and by the power of God the Father. Look at verses 19 through 21, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.”
So Jesus is talking there about his miracles, which he is doing by the power of the Father. He does nothing on his own. There is no independence at all in heaven. Everything's focused on and depended on the Father, and the Son does nothing on his own, but only what the Father sent him to do. Now, the miracle that Jesus did in John 5 was a healing, was a healing not a resurrection. But Jesus, in explaining this miracle to his enemies, he stated that he was going to do even greater works than these and the greatest work of all that Jesus would do would be to raise the dead and give them life. Now, he says, this is the sovereign work of the Son. He states clearly the power of resurrection is something that he dispenses according to the dictates of his own will, according to His own pleasure he raises the dead. Verse 21, "The Son gives life to whom He is pleased to give it." This is the declaration of a king. He doesn't owe anybody resurrection. It's not owed to anybody. Jesus is the King of life. He is the king of resurrection. And friends, he can raise anyone he chooses to from the dead. Friends, it was no effort for him to raise the paralyzed man who'd been paralyzed for 38 years. Let me ask you a question. Do you think it would have been harder for him to raise someone who had been paralyzed for 39 years? How about 40? It really gets tough at 40. It's a ridiculous statement. It doesn't make a difference. He could have been paralyzed for 38 days. It’s still paralysis. 38 years, 38 lifetimes. It doesn't make a difference. Jesus can heal that paralyzed man. Let me ask you another question. Are there some resurrections that are harder for Jesus to do than others? Friends, dead is dead, and if Jesus has the power to raise the dead, he can raise anyone he chooses to from the dead.
Now, I say to you that the resurrections that Jesus did while he lived while he was in his earthly ministry were mere resuscitations. He frequently likens them to raising someone up from their sleep. Think about Jairus' little daughter, a little girl, and he told all the professional mourners that were there, who really couldn't have cared less about Jairus and his family, but they're just weeping for pay, and he sends them home, he says, “The girl is not dead, only sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But Jesus just said to her,” Little girl, get up.” But when she got up, she got up into the same life she'd been living before. She was just now healed of her disease. When he stopped that funeral procession in Nain, where the widow's son was dead and she was grieving, most lamentably. And Jesus went up and said so sweetly, the same thing, “Don't cry. Stop crying.” And then he raises up this dead man right on the spot, he raised him up into the same kind of life that he had been living, a mortal life, subject to disease and pain and suffering, the same kind of life, healed from that immediate illness, of course, but subject to death.
Lazarus. When he raises up Lazarus from the dead, it is clear that he has merely resuscitated him back into the same life he had been living before. Friends, you can't go to Palestine today and have a conversation with Lazarus. Lazarus, what was it like? The line would be really long if you could. People from all over the world would wanna talk to the 2000-year-old man. But he's gone. He's dead. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead very powerfully, a clear display of the Father's power, the very thing he's talking about here in John 5, a greater miracle, I don't think Jesus ever did, except his own resurrection. Lazarus was sick. Jesus delayed on purpose. Lazarus died by the time he got there. He'd been in the tomb for four days. Jesus commanded that the stone be removed from the entrance of Lazarus's tomb. He then prayed a simple prayer, "Father, I thank you that you heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I pray it for the benefit of the people standing here that they may believe that you sent me." That's it. And then he said to Lazarus, "Lazarus, come forth!" And the dead man came forth, his hands and feet wrapped with the strips of linen. But with that resuscitation came no promise that Lazarus would never die again. Rather, quite the opposite. Frankly, these miracles were merely a sign of the coming kingdom, when someday there'll be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for anyone in that delightful kingdom, for the old order of things has passed away and behold, everything has become new. Friends, we're living in the old order of things now. Jesus has all power to raise your loved one up out of the sick bed or even up from the grave. He doesn't lack power. He doesn't lack love. He just has a better plan than you do and that plan is to destroy death for everyone at the same time, at the grand and glorious resurrections at the end of the world. So these were merely signs of his power to do it, the resuscitation from the dead.
III. Resurrection number three: Christ Raises the Dead Spiritually
Resurrection number three, Jesus raises the dead spiritually. Jesus raises the dead spiritually. Now, in order to understand this, we have to understand what it means to be physically alive, but spiritually dead. You can be dead and not know it. I mean spiritually dead. It says in Ephesians 2, "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” That's what it means to be physically alive, but spiritually dead.
Now we understand the marks of death. We Americans aren't regularly in contact with dead people. It's more hidden behind the scenes, in the professional places, hospice centers, hospitals. But I think we still have seen people die and we've seen people who are dead. What are the marks? Complete unresponsiveness to stimuli. There's nothing you can do to get them to respond. Rigor mortis sets in, a certain kind of stiffness. You can't move them. And eventually corruption, which Martha said, “By now there's going to be a bad odor.” A stink. Friends, these are the marks of spiritual death as well. Complete unresponsiveness to the Word of God. You can hear a message like this and it just doesn't do anything to you at all. There's just no response. You don't hear Jesus in this. It's not the word of God. It's just a ritual that we go through. There's nothing to this.
And so you're unresponsive to the Word of God, and to the commands of God, and the claims of God, and the thoughts of God. They just don't move you. It doesn't mean anything to you. And there's a certain stiffness, which the Bible calls a hardness of heart. You are hardening your hearts against him. You're not yielded to Him. You're fighting Him. And there's a spiritual stench that comes from your life through your disobedience, through following the lusts of the flesh. There's a stench to your life which is brought on by sin. And so all of us were naturally dead in our transgressions and sins, but Jesus has the power to raise you from the dead spiritually. Amen? That is our grand and glorious hope that he can take people who were dead in their transgressions and sins and move them over to life. Look at verse 24, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." Oh, dear Christians, if you are interested in evangelism, memorize that verse. John 5:24 will teach you a lot about evangelism.
It is by the simple hearing of the Word of God that people are crossed over from death to life. They were dead, and now they are alive. It's nothing you can do as an evangelist, nothing I can do as a preacher, a pastor. But at that very moment that you hear the voice of Jesus in the Gospel message, you cross over from death to life. And Jesus says in verse 25, that resurrection is happening right now. Look at verse 25, "I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live." It was going on right then. Even as Jesus was speaking people were hearing and crossing over from death to life. And Jesus said, "The time is coming too." It's gonna be in the future. He has a harvest time. There's a time of salvation, a day of salvation, and an avenue of grace, an era of grace that he's opened up. And all you have to do is hear the proclaimed Word of Jesus and hear it as it actually is, the Word of God, not the word of men and you will cross over from death to life. All over the world, missionaries are speaking this Word, pastors are speaking this Word, evangelists, relatives, sisters, brothers, friends, co-workers are speaking this Word and people are hearing and they're crossing over, crossing over, crossing over from death to life. And by the way, death has no power to cross over and bring them back. Amen? Once you cross over, you're alive forevermore. So I plead with you. The time is coming, and now is and those who hear the voice of the Son of God will live. Are you alive or are you dead spiritually? Have I just described you a few minutes ago? Is that you? Is that how you're living? I plead with you while there's time to cross over from death to life. Friend, when you cross over physically it will be too late. You'll be condemned, Jesus says in verse 24. But if you come to Christ now you will not be condemned.
IV. Resurrection number four: Christ Raises the Dead Eternally
Finally, resurrection number four, Christ raises the dead eternally. Look at verses 28-29, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” Here Jesus is speaking of what theologians called the general resurrection. Notice that he uses a different expression this time. Before he said, "A time is coming and now is." But here he merely says, "A time is coming." It's one time set in the future, when those who are in their graves, all of those who are in their graves, will hear the Son of God's voice and they will come out. Those who have done good will rise to live. Those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. It's called the general resurrection. The context of this statement is Christ's power to judge. Look at verses 22 and 23,” Moreover, [it says] the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father.” That's just staggering to me. We are supposed to give the same glory and the same honor to Jesus that we give to God the Father. How could he be any less than God himself to receive that kind of accolade? But Jesus has received the right to judge all human beings.
Look at verse 27, “…he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.” Oh, dear friends, Judgment Day is coming. There is a day that God has set when he will judge the world by the man that he has chosen, and that man is Jesus. When all of the nations will be gathered before Jesus and he will sit on his throne in Heavenly glory and he will judge the nations and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He's going to separate here, those who have done good, who will rise to live, from those who have done evil and will rise to be condemned and every dead person will come forth. And Jesus says, “Don't be amazed at this as though God doesn't have the power to do it.” Oh, he has the power to do it. God gave us all bodies and he intends that we spend eternity in bodies, that we be physical beings, whether in Heaven or in hell. Do not be amazed as though God doesn't have the power to raise up someone whose body was incinerated in a jet plane crash. Oh, he has the power to do it. Or as though God doesn't have the power to get someone up out of the deep who was eaten by a shark. God has the power to do that. It doesn't make a difference if you had some hideous disease that devoured your flesh and as a result of that, you died. And it certainly doesn't matter if it goes the ordinary way for you, namely that you die and you're buried and then the microbes and worms do it.
God has the power to raise up the dead out of the grave. Jesus said, “Don't be amazed.” And notice that they're going to be raised up at the sound of the Son of Man's voice, Jesus's voice. Dead Muslim terrorists will rise up at Jesus's voice. Dead Buddhist monks will rise up when Jesus calls him out of the tomb to come to judgment. Dead German atheist professors will rise up at Jesus's voice. And they won't be able to say, “But I didn't believe in you in life.” I know, we'll discuss that in a moment, but they must rise up. There's nothing they can do to stop it. Jesus has that power. It was granted to him by the Father and they will stand before Jesus for judgment. And the basis of the judgment is works in this passage. Those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. Many Christians stumble on this. They say, “But I thought we were justified by faith apart from works.” Well, you are, but we're not talking here about justification. We're talking about assessment. We're talking about identification. Everyone is judged or assessed or identified by their works.
The saved are saved by grace, justified by faith apart from works. But on judgment day, he just looks at your works and you can tell by the catalog of works what you were, and if you were truly justified by faith. You will live a certain kind of life, you will follow Jesus in a pattern of good works that he lays out in advance that you should walk in them and those good works will be ample evidence, according to the book of James, that you had genuine saving faith. And if on the other hand, your works do not show the evidence of faith, you will be condemned. That's what he says plainly. And the eternal state is plain as well. It's either life, eternal life, what we call heaven, or it is condemnation, what we call hell. And we who are raised up, we will be raised up in bodies that are glorious. This body of ours, this decaying corrupting body, this mortal body, if the Lord tarries and we are not that final generation, we will die. It's appointed to each one of us to die. And into the grave our body will go and the body that is sown it is sown in weakness. But dear friends, it's raised in power. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. Friends, it's sown a natural body. It will be raised a spiritual body and so we will have glorious, powerful, spiritual bodies, just like Jesus has now. And in that we will live forever and ever.
Those who do not trust in Christ now will be condemned eternally and the suffering is unspeakable and therefore I tell you based on verse 24, please hear the voice of Jesus speaking through this message. Forget whether you like how my voice sounds or not. Think about this, listen to John 5:24, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my Word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned. He's crossed over from death to life." I plead with you to cross over now while there's time. Are you hearing the voice of the Son of God? Have you heard him speak to you today? All you need to do is just call on the name of the Lord and you'll be saved. Just even in the quietness of your heart. Just say, “Jesus save me. I wanna have eternal life. I wanna live forever. Please save me.” And you'll be crossed over from death to life before you can even formulate the words, you'll already have been justified.
And if that's already happened to you, if it happened yesterday, if it happened 25 years ago, if it happened 50 years ago, can I urge you to praise God for his sovereign grace in your life? He raised you up from the dead. You didn’t raise yourself. God raised you up through the voice of Jesus. You heard the Gospel, then you believed. Give him all the glory and the thanks. And know that the ongoing sustenance of that eternal life has to do with hearing his voice in a continual way. You've heard him speak many times since then, haven't you? You're his sheep and you hear him speaking as you hear the Word proclaimed, as you read the Scripture, day by day, as you get on your knees and pray, you're hearing the voice of the Son of God, and that's the essence of the eternal life that you're living. So just worship Christ and praise Him. Stand in awe of him. Jesus, who now is the living one, who holds the keys of death and Hades, fall on your face as one dead before him and praise him and give him honor and worship Christ for his power to raise the dead spiritually, that you are yearning for now.
We all have loved ones. I have loved ones that I'm praying actively for that they would cross over from death to life. Oh, how frustrating it is sometimes to speak to them as though they are deaf. I talked to a guy yesterday on the plane coming back from Boston. And this guy, just an amazing guy, left a lucrative firm doing a certain kind of work and now he’s doing it for a not-for-profit organization that he started for the poor and needy. But when I started to talk to him about Jesus, he had no interest in that at all and shut it down as rudely and aggressively as anybody on any plane has ever done. Okay, I guess we're not talking about Jesus today. I was amazed by that. How could somebody give their full life to good works in that pattern and hate Jesus? But many people do that, I think. Does that man have any hope? Is there any possibility that they can cross over from death to life? Absolutely, but God has to do it too, and there's nothing more I can do for him and so I prayed for him. And you all know people that you hope will cross over from death to life. Maybe you're sitting near one right now, or maybe you can think of somebody in your workplace, or maybe a family member, or a relative, or somebody in your neighborhood.
One of the good works that God has ordained for you to do is to share the message of this new life with them. Do those good works that God has laid out for you. Be rich in good works. It is by those works that your faith is proven to be genuine. If your gift is serving, then serve. If it's encouraging that encourage. If it's giving, then give generously. If it's hospitality, throw open your home widely and do it without grumbling. Use your gifts freely and live a life rich full of good works and after you've done that, you'll be raised up and identified as one of Christ's own and you'll be raised up in a glorious resurrection body, and you'll spend eternity celebrating his goodness to you and to a multitude greater than anyone can count from all over the world. Close with me in prayer.
Father, we have prayed and we have pleaded with you that the fire would fall from Heaven. Lord, we know from the prophets of Baal that it's not got to be a noisy, vigorous, open display of jumping and bleeding and drama, oh Lord, but rather that you have, by your powerful Word, called people out of darkness into your marvelous light. And Father, I pray now that you would continue to do that work even in their hearts. And Lord, for those of us who have been saved, oh Lord, give us a deep heart of gratitude to you for all that you've done for us. Thank you for these four resurrections, Jesus' physical resurrection, the resuscitation he did while he lived and walked on earth that give us evidence of his power, the spiritual resurrection that he does every day as people are brought from death to life spiritually, and then that great and final resurrection, he will do by his power. In Jesus' name, amen.