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Acts 10:34-43/Col. 3:1-4/Mt. 28:1-10The resurrection is for more than believing, the resurrection is for doing

There’s a lot of self-imposed pressure when one preaches the resurrection on Easter!  In a sense, I feel like I have to deliver the most perfectly crafted defense of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, so that when all of you leave, you’re shaking your head in amazement, believing in the historical, physical resurrection like never before.

I’ve been putting all of the emphasis on this ‘believing’ – which is Scriptural and proper – Romans 10:9 – So if you believe deep in your heart that God raised Jesus from the pit of death and if you voice your allegiance by confessing the truth that “Jesus is Lord,” then you will be saved!  (from the translation, the Voice)  There is a strong Scriptural emphasis on the point of believing in the resurrection of Christ!

Yet, what I’ve discovered over the years is that most folks who come into church Easter Sunday morning (and allegedly re-affirm their belief in the validity of the resurrection) leave following service no different than when they came in.  In case no one ever told you, your belief in the resurrection is meant to change how you behave.  When we’re not changed deep in our hearts and therefore in how we think and act in our lives, our belief in the resurrection is more of a denial than a life changing affirming belief!

We know what we’re saved FROM, but most likely we don’t know what we saved FOR.  And what’s the difference between FROM and FOR?  One little letter, “M” – meaning, we need to “get the M outta here” and start believing in what the resurrection is FOR and not just what it’s FROM and keep on living like the resurrection never even happened; hiding in our basement with Netflix and macaroni and cheese; crying about the condition of the world!

Easter Resurrection Sunday is meant to be a game changer.   Easter Sunday is not a get dressed up in your Easter church clothes and just go on home to your stuffed hams, beers, or your Welch’s sparkling grape juice!

Easter Sunday is meant to rock your world and wake you up to the fact God IS and has an amazing plan for this planet Earth and is calling all of us to participate in His plan with Him.

THE RESURRECTION EFFECT  As some of you may or may not know, my wife is the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of our family.  She’s the go-to person in our house.  Every year, right after Memorial Day she packs up and leaves me for a week and heads out to Chicago for the annual convention of ASCO, the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  It’s also the time of year where the United States stock market gets hit by the ASCO effect, because at the convention ASCO announces all the latest cancer research and what new cancer drugs work and therefore will make money for the pharmaceuticals and investors, so everyone runs right out and invests and the stock market goes crazy!  Google it, it’s called the ASCO effect on the market, no joke.

God has His own ASCO effect, it’s called the Resurrection Effect.  Just like some stocks see 200% growth after the ASCO convention , the Kingdom is supposed to see a spike in activity and interest and movement and hustle because of the realization Jesus has been raised from the dead and God’s world will never be the same.

Did you know the Jews of the Older Testament believed in the resurrection from the dead?  The Jews were expecting everyone to be raised at the end of time:  some to God and some to fire.  But no one expected Jesus to be raised from the dead in the middle of history NOW.   It changed the world.  (Listen to the Apostle Paul’s own words in Romans 1)   All of this good news is about His Son: who was (from a human perspective) born of David’s royal line and ultimately designated to be the true Son of God with power upon His resurrection from the dead by the Spirit of holiness. I am speaking of Jesus, the Anointed One, our Lord. (the Voice).  Back then, the Jews were like – Wha?!?  Jesus was raised NOW?!?  He MUST be the Son of God!!!

Which is why Acts 10 in the lessons said, God raised Him up and now we tell the Story.  Or Col. 3, if we believe in the raising of Christ, set your mind (values and behavior) on where He is and behave like Jesus was really raised from the dead in order to impact and change your life.

The resurrection was meant more for than a belief or a creed or a confession or Bible study.  The resurrection was meant as proof God IS and is in CONTROL and the resurrection is meant to have an impact on how we live and therefore impact all of the world around us!  After the ASCO convention, folks nudge each other, “So what did you do with the news?  How much money did you make on the new Rx drug stock?”  After Resurrection Sunday we ought to be asking “So what did you do with the news?  How have you helped to change the world around you?”

THE RESURRECTION PLAN  Again, Easter Sunday is meant to rock your world and wake you up to the fact God IS and has an amazing plan for this planet Earth and is calling all of us to participate in His plan with Him, nudge nudge, wink wink, so no more!

God’s plan to get for all of us is to get focused on what Jesus was raised FOR as found in the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth – 5:14-15:  For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised. (the Voice)

One thing all of us have in common this morning is that there’s at least one controlling force in our lives – for some it’s money or sex or power (or me being done with the sermon).  It’s true for all of us.  But Paul is saying our love for Jesus ought to really be controlling us like a Holy Ghost automatic pilot of sorts that we would not live for ourselves but for Jesus instead.  For a good chunk of life, most folks think money, sex, or power are the greatest things going!  But sooner or later they just aren’t as fulfilling as they initially appeared to be.  Apparently on the “60 Minutes” news program, Tom Brady admitted even after winning the Super Bowls, the wins left him just as empty as everything else – so what’s next?!?!

What’s next for all of us is living in the realm of God’s love and treating everyone with respect, dignity and honor, because love for Jesus ought to be daily rebuilding our lives into the best possible commercials for Jesus that He can ever make us be:  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  (2 Cor. 5:18-20).  (the Voice)

Why am I here?  What’s my purpose for living?  What’s the meaning of my life?  One, to keep on living just where I am in life {husband and father, friend and neighbor, etc.}  But two, wherever God puts me in life to also be a resurrection ambassador/commercial that God in the death and resurrection of Jesus has recaptured the world back to Himself:  So be reconciled to God people, cause God loves you!  You see, this is MORE than what we are saved FROM, this is what we are saved FOR!  The question is, what are you doing about what God saved you FOR?  Everything you do in life ought to be the best possible you, because YOU are called to be a commercial for God’s love to the rest of the world!

If you’re here this morning to celebrate the fact Jesus has been raised from the dead, everything about your life ought to be different since you learned about His resurrection.

The way you treat your families, relatives, and friends.  The way you act at the store.  The way you behave when you drive.  The way you act at the doctor’s office.  The way you act at the recycling centers.  The way you act at school and university.  The way you act at work.  The way you act when you’re eating a meal at a restaurant or simply having a cup of coffee or tea.  The way you act at the post office.  The way you act when getting a haircut or getting your hair done.  The way you act at weddings, parties, celebrations, and galas.  The way you act at the bank.  The way you act at concerts.  The way you act at the swimming pool, on the river or at a golf course!

WHY?  Not because God’s looking to ruin your day and putting a bunch of rules in front of you!!!  But because God is calling you to live in the way of LOVE as a commercial of Him reconciling the world back to Himself in His death and resurrection.

Please hear me.  You want to demonstrate your belief in the resurrection?  Don’t amaze them with historical facts, truths, and details all about how Jesus MUST have been raised from the dead.  Woo them by the way you live with God’s love.