The great story of Easter is kept alive by the fact that Jesus rose again. Without resurrection, we would not have the confidence today to speak of eternity because there would not be any assurance that there can be life beyond death. Last week we saw the events of resurrection and the hope that was restored in the disciples when on the evening of resurrection, they saw Jesus with their own eyes. (John 20:19-25)
Our hope today is anchored in the resurrection and that Jesus is alive today. Jesus walked on earth for forty days to give assurance to the disciples and those who believed in Him that He had conquered death. It is during this stay that He appeared to many and laid the foundation of the church that was to begin as a continuation of the work that He had begun. We are part of this work; we are called as the disciples were called, and this is what we are going to look at in the next two Sundays as we seek His will in our newfound lives.
The newfound life:
According to Eph 1:3-14(Read);
We have each one those who have trusted in the Lord received Spiritual blessings (Vs 3-4) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”
This scripture means that the believer is now united with Jesus through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and lives within the realm of His character, influence and purposes. Paul says in Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
God looks at us as if we had died with Christ because our sins died with Him, we are no longer condemned. Col 2:13-15 says “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it on the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Before the cross, we were rebellious against God. We did not love Him with our hearts, souls and mind. But now we have a new nature because God has nailed it at the cross. Rom 6:6-7 “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”
Hope in God
It is my prayer this morning that we shall understand the will of God over our lives and chose to walk within His perfect will for us keeping the HOPE that we have received in Christ Jesus.
His will is that we may receive life in abundance according to His plan for us from the beginning.
- We have been chosen for salvation
- We have been adopted as His children
- We have received the forgiveness of sin
- We have received the gift of the Spirit
- We have received power to do God’s will.
God has freely accepted us through Jesus Christ and adopted us giving us the same rights and made us heirs with Christ. Rom 8:17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if we indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”
If indeed Christ died so that we may have this hope that is promised, what makes us give up? I would suggest that we check several things in order to keep hope and remain within the will of God.
- Keep Hope through Suffering:
The expectation of many Christians is that the death and resurrection of our Lord meant that we shall have no more suffering. Paul said in order for us to be heirs, we have to be prepared to share in His suffering. We cannot allow suffering to steal our hope. We know that we shall be the ultimate victors. Our hope is in the one who conquered death. Phil 3:10 says, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.” We must be prepared to give up everything, that means that Christ has to come before our families, jobs, businesses, friendships in order to know Christ and his resurrection power. What are you prepared to give up for Christ? The events of the times we are living in with Covid-19 have taught us that we can have all we need today and tomorrow it will be nothing. The world has learnt it can come to a standstill even with all its preparedness. We have been exposed and we would better acknowledge without Jesus we are empty. Rom 5:2b-5 “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that sufferings produce perseverance, perseverance character, and Character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
- Keep Hope in His purposes (Will):
Jesus had a purpose. He said He came to seek and save the lost. Paul had a purpose, to preach the gospel to the Gentiles and to the Jews. No amount of imprisonment, betrayal, beating and stoning or even shipwrecking could derail him from the call he received from the Lord. At one time he struggled on what was better to live or to die. What is your purpose beyond the cross? Heb 12:2 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat at the right hand of God.” Christianity is hard work; it requires us to give up all that endangers our relationship with God. We must run this race with endurance without losing sight of the prize. We must rise up against the temptation of sin with the help of the Holy Spirit. We must keep our eyes on Jesus and not the circumstances surrounding us.
- Keep hope in the truth.
Beyond the cross, the enemy wants us to believe that he is still relevant. He wants us to focus on his ability to tempt us with the things that are here today and tomorrow they are gone. When we lose jobs, he tells us that life will come to an end, when our businesses collapse, he tells us that we shall never make it again, when we are left by friends and family, he tells us that we are worthless. Jesus came that you may have life and have it in abundance. I want you to know today that you are worthy, you have something to offer, you can rise again, you are intelligent and creative, and God has given you the power of innovation. You will rise again!
God loves you; hope is revealed in knowing that God has a better plan for you than what the world is offering right now. He will fulfill His gracious plans for you if you call on Him. Jer 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
God has given to us hope beyond the cross through Jesus Christ. We only need to trust Him with our life, and He will sustain us to the end. The Holy Spirit is the author and perfecter of our faith, we can trust Him with our life. Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…and since death came through man, our resurrection has come through a man- Christ Jesus. Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.
Believe in Jesus today, and you will have eternal life.