Easter 2020 – Life!
Easter 2020 – Life!
Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday 12th April, 2020
Good morning Seacoast. Happy Easter!
What a privilege it is to stand here on Easter Sunday morning – and declare resurrection life over all of us as the church – and over this nation of Australia.
I’m doing this for myself – but I’m also doing it on your behalf! We declare life together in Jesus Christ!
I know we could go through the whole amazing story of what happened that first Easter morning – it was the greatest miracle of all that Jesus rose from the dead! And He did it for you and I – and for every person who has ever lived.
He did it for all who would simply believe and put their trust in Him.
Because He rose gain – so will we!
But what I really want to do, is not to retell the story of what happened on that first Easter morning – but to tell the story of Who He is!
And the scripture I have is actually from the time when Jesus came to Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus had died and his body was laying in a tomb.
When Jesus first heard that his friend Lazarus was gravely ill, He said – this sickness is not unto death but to the glory of God – that the Son of God – that is – He Himself – would be glorified through it.
But the stand out verse for this morning is when Jesus said:
John 11:25-26 New King James Version (NKJV)
“25… “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die…”
This is a powerful declaration of Jesus! He’s speaking prophetically over all the generations that were to come throughout all of history.
Jesus didn’t just experience the resurrection – He IS the resurrection!
And something got my attention as I was reading this again…. Jesus didn’t say – I am Resurrection Life. He could have. That’s certainly what He is. But He said – I am the resurrection “and the life.”
And it made me think, Yes – we have the gift of resurrection life – we have the gift of eternal life.
Resurrection actually means – rising up from the dead. It means being restored to life.
But He then says – I’m not just the resurrection – I am the life!
And that word “life” means – the absolute fullness of life – a life that belongs to God – its a real and genuine life – active and vigorous – blessed – and it’s not just for eternity – it’s for now! The Greek word is “zōā” (pronounced zoay)
And I want to talk about what zōā life is – because it’s all tied up with the meaning of this day – the meaning of the resurrection…. Resurrection is about coming to life – not only eternal life – but zōē life!
But before we get going – don’t think I’m going to rattle off some fairy tale description of a life that is perfect – without struggle – without difficulties.
Zōē life isn’t about the circumstances of our life. It is about who we are in the midst of the circumstances. It’s about who we are as ones who carry the divine, supernatural life of Christ.
I don’t know how you are feeling about where things are at right now – but I reckon social isolation is starting to lose its shine – if it ever had one. I definitely think it’s over rated.
I know – I’ve heard all the prophetic words just like you have – it’s a time to get close to God – it’s a time of intimacy – God is drawing us aside…. I get it! He sure needed to get our attention!
But we were never meant to do this journey alone over an extended period. We love God with all our heart – but we also love others. We love you guys…. We miss gathering together.
Whoever says church is just a religious institution that they can take or leave, hasn’t had the revelation – they’ve obviously never really found their place as part of the body. Perhaps they’ve never been to Seacoast – says I, tongue in cheek.
The two things go together – loving God and Loving others – like peas in a pod! No wonder they are the two greatest commandments!
The reality is, these are strange circumstances we find ourselves in. Everyone is in the same boat.
But I have to say – I’m pretty excited about this zōā life. Because it has a vitality and vigour and realness and blessing about it – no matter what’s going on, or whatever we are facing.
And here’s the whole crux to the matter! It’s a life that has been born out of death. Here’s the connection with the resurrection. We are born again. And what’s more – we are born to live for the glory of God!
Jesus says, in John 3, “You must be born again.” Different versions say you must be born from above, you must experience a rebirth.
Some people say – Oh you’re one of those “born again Christians!” I say – Is there another kind?
The point is – life – zōā life – can only come because we have Jesus Christ alive in our heart – He is the resurrection and the life.
Without Christ – we don’t have life! Not real life! Not the fullness of life!
I mean, if you told some random person on the street that they weren’t alive, they would probably laugh at you. Of course they are breathing, they are moving, they look alive.
But listen to this:
John 5:24 says that those who hear and believe – they have passed from death to life. So before they believed – they were dead.
1 John 5:12 New King James Version (NKJV)
“12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
John 5:40 – “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
Well if they don’t have life – what do they have?
I know what these verses are saying. I know the moment I was born again. I know I came alive in October, 1986. For some, it’s a more gradual birthing of new life. But for me it happened in an instant – well – it happened quickly after a long time…
John also quotes Jesus in other places as saying – “I am the light of the world…”. And whoever follows Him will walk in light rather than darkness.
Matthew says of some – “seeing they do not see…”
The new life in Christ is a spiritual one. It’s as if we come from darkness to light. We come from blindness to seeing. We come from not understanding – to knowing Him. That’s the beginning is a zōā life!
Can anyone have this kind of life? Yes! Anyone! Your sons and daughters, your parents, your brothers and sisters, your friends, your workmates!
You know – one day – there’ll be a vaccine for this Covid-19 virus. And everyone will be free to receive it. It’s amazing how they can create massive amounts of a vaccine once they discover the key.
But will everyone receive it? Probably not! Does it make it less powerful? No! It will put to death a virus that has proven to be a mass killer itself!
But that’s what it’s like being born again – coming from death to life. Not everyone will receive the gift of life. Some will prefer to stay in death. Some will remain blind. Seeing – they will not see. Some prefer to live in the darkness rather than the light.
Everyone makes a choice. And God lets them. There’s no sitting on the fence. People make a choice even by not making a choice.
But this leads me to probably the most important part of this message.
What is God’s plan for your life now that you have been born from heaven?
There’s a simple answer.
Let’s come back to the story of Lazarus. Jesus said, this sickness is not unto death, but unto the glory of God.
It’s difficult for us to understand why Jesus just didn’t go straight away to Lazarus’ side while he was still sick. He waited two days, and by that time Lazarus was dead. But for Jesus – it was all about the glory of God being revealed. Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead – his coming to life – was about God being glorified.
Your life – your new zōā life – is also about God getting the glory. The presence of Jesus Christ in our lives is all about God getting the glory.
John 1:14 New King James Version (NKJV)
“14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Now that you are born again – born of heaven – you are now able to reveal the glory of God in your own life – through your our own life.
As you go through difficult circumstances – as you respond the the threat of this virus and the restrictions that the government have rightly put in place – here is your opportunity to reveal the glory of God through your new life.
It’s about the victory of the resurrection and what that means for our eternity – but it’s also about the life that you live right now.
Don’t waste the zōā life you have. Use it for the glory of God. Use it to reveal the Glory of God to those that you love – and even those that you don’t.
You have it in you to impart life – to impart real life – spiritual life – healing life – active, vigorous, God life!
Speak words of life. Remember – life and death are in the power of the tongue.
You have power to speak out and impart words of life – zōā life.
These isolation restrictions don’t stop our voice. We can still talk to one another. There are many people who need words of life spoken over them right now.
Philippians 1:21 New King James Version (NKJV)
“21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
To live is Christ! To live is to walk in the Spirit – to be led by the Spirit. It’s to have every word – every action – every gift that’s imparted to others – it’s to do all things with the Anointing of the Holy Spirit.
We are streams – our lives are a stream – streams of living water flowing in and through us.
I’m calling you up here. I’m calling myself up to live a life that reflects who we truly are. To live is Christ.
And the other part of Paul’s word that he says to the Philippians is this: “to die is gain.” It’s a win, win situation. That’s the power of knowing Jesus as the resurrection and the life!
The resurrection already gives us victory over death. If we’re not here – we are with the Lord. But while we are here – we have zōā life!
We are called to display and present the glory of God – whether it’s in this life or the next!
Be passionate about your life. Be passionate about heaven. Don’t put your trust in mere earthly and natural things. We have natural things and possessions to enjoy – but in the big scheme of things – they mean nothing.
What matters is that your life brings glory to God – and declares the goodness and saving grace of Jesus Christ.
So just as Jesus called forth Lazarus from the grave – I believe He is calling us forth out of a lifeless place, to the life He bought us at the cross, and fulfilled on Easter morning.
So let’s join together this morning as we celebrate communion together – and as we close.
This bread and juice actually are our life. Jesus broken body – His shed Blood – what a tremendous gift.
Let it impart fresh life, fresh hope, fresh Anointing upon your life.
The story of Easter is an incredible event. But it’s Who He is that makes Jesus a reality for us right now.
I am the bread of life
I am the resurrection and the life
I am the light of the world
I am the door.
I am the true vine
I am the Good Shepherd
I am the way the truth and the life
I am that I am.
Receive all the fullness of God as we partake now together.
Thankyou everyone for your incredible support. If you’ve been wondering how the practical and financial aspects of the church are going – we’re doing OK. We’ve been able to cut some costs – put some things on hold – and because of your continued faithfulness in giving, we are in a steady position. More than anything, God is proving Himself faithful.
We love hearing from you – even just a text here or there means so much. Please let us know if you need help with anything – or if you are aware of others in need.
God bless you – bye for now.