As I’ve worked on the sermon I’ll share on Easter Sunday at the North Wayne Mennonite Church, I have ended up with two different outlines. 🙂 One has more of a focus on what the resurrection of Jesus saves us from — death. The other has a greater emphasis on what we are saved to — life. Since I’m pretty confident they don’t want me preaching both of them on the same morning, here are the main points of the “No Longer DEAD” outline.
Because of Jesus we are no longer:
- Distant — While especially true of Gentiles, even for the average Jew the approach to God prior to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was always from a distance. From the time of Moses leading the people out of Egypt to the time of Jesus, the instruction from God to the people almost always sounded like “stand back!”. Yet while Jesus was on the earth, His words more often beckoned people to “come to me, you who are weary and I will give you rest.” When we are made alive in Christ, we are adopted into His family and are no longer considered distant.
- Excluded — Sin separates us from God and excludes us from His presence. When Jesus paid the penalty for sin through His death on the cross, the veil in the temple which separated people from the presence of God was torn from top to bottom. God chose to make Himself accessible to all who were once excluded, should they choose to seek Him. Remaining dead in our sin excludes us from life in Christ, but through Jesus those who were once “not a people” can now become the “people of God.
- Aliens — While science fiction fans may first think of strangers from another planet when they hear of aliens, in many ways that is exactly what we are to God when we remain in our sin. Because God’s ways are so much different and higher than man’s ways, while we live according to our own ways we are indeed aliens in regard to the kingdom of God. Yet an interesting thing happens when we arrive as aliens in a foreign land. When we choose to make that land our home and become accepted by its rulers, it becomes our home and we become aliens in regard to our former way of life. Through Jesus we are no longer aliens in regard to God and His kingdom. In fact, it is in Christ that we walk as aliens in this world.
- Destroyed — Because the “wages of sin is death”, outside of Christ we are all on a path that leads to destruction. The sin that we commit, whether large or small in our eyes, all requires the same penalty — death. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus our penalty has been paid if we choose to accept the payment being made on our behalf. When we are in Christ, we choose to walk a path away from destruction and toward a life that remains eternally in Him. It is through the goodness of God and His mercy that He has made a way through Jesus to destroy the power of death so that we need not be destroyed.
Yes, because of the power of the resurrection, in Christ we are no longer dead.