For Thine IS the Kingdom,
The Power, and the Glory!
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
† In Jesus Name †
We need to be Reminded –
Yesterday, as I was at a loss for words for this message, I received an email from Linda and Tom.
It opened up with these words,
“You just can’t let me forget that God is ever present in our lives.”
Then he added,
“Don’t stop !”
As I read them, the words that we heard from another letter this morning burned even deeper in my heart
Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before.
All of us need to be reminded of the good news, that God is ever-present in our lives.
Solomon once wrote
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 (NLT)
The passage goes on for another 4 verses, 8 more comparisons of what we might say is a contrast between good and bad, joy and sorrow if we don’t hear how the thought ends,
11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)
In Solomon’s time, this is true, we couldn’t father the scope of God’s work. Now, in the Gospel message, in the good news, we see the scope of God’s work as we realize the message revealed in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We have heard this message, a message that God is ever-present in your lives.
I said the Lord is with YOU.
Oh! Now you remember. As Tom wrote – don’t stop telling me this! We need to hear that God is ever-present with us. He died for our sin, was buried and rose again!
Alleluia! He is Risen!
(He is Risen indeed!)
And that means?
(we are risen indeed! Alleluia!)
in other words
The Lord is With You!
(and also with You!)
The Message of Hope
Hear Paul again,
3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.
Most important is actually a little weak, it is not only of prime importance, this is foundational. It is the basis for everything else in our lives.
That Christ died – not just that He died, but for you He died but that He was buried and raised from the dead, which is what we celebrate today.
Later Paul will say that if Jesus didn’t die and rise from the dead, we of all people are to be pitied more than anything else in the world.
Jesus death for our sins, Paul tells us, was told about for centuries prior to His being born. Over and over the Old Testament tells us He would die, that God would provide an offering for our sins, and proof of the depth of His love and commitment to us.
The same for His burial and resurrection, and the praises that would result, as God made sure that we knew this wasn’t haphazard, but that this previous weekend was planned before He ever created light.
Jesus would die for our sins, be buried and rise again.
We need to hear this and hear it again and again. Without the series of events for Holy Week, we cannot hear what we need to,
That the Lord is with you!
Paul wants to make sure the Corinthians know this well, so well, that they can base their lives on the Jesus’ death for our sins, on His Burial and Resurrection.
Maybe they won’t believe me, he thinks. No problem. I’ll refer them to other, for there are so many others who can bear witness. Peter’s in town, they call him Cephas, he can share how important this message is. Paul is going to go through all the eye witnesses to the physical resurrection of Jesus so that people will know.
It’s not a dream, it is not something Paul cooked up, it is something that happened, really happened. Five Hundred people witnesses it all at once, not just one hear and one there, 500 at once, and most still lived, in case people wanted to get an opinion other than Paul’s!
And Paul wants us to be assured of it, in order that our lives are based on it.
Paul’s words at the end – it doesn’t matter who tells you, the message is the same, and people like James are more than willing to die, even as they share it. We don’t know if Paul was there when James was martyred, but we know he was when Stephen forgave him, and all those who killed him, simply because he trusted in Jesus, the one who died for Stephen’s sins, and Paul’s and yours and mine. As he trusted in the Jesus, who was buried and rose again from the dead.
Whatever we are now!
We often talk of Christ’s death – for our sins, but there is more to the story of Easter than that. Paul gets to that in verse 10, and what he says of himself, is true for every one of us, read the words with me,
10 But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me.
For that grace, that very same grace is yours. It is not special to Paul but is the very blessing that God gives to everyone He calls, every person He pours His Spirit on, making them part of His church.
You see, just like if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead our lives are meaningless, so are they not the same if we don’t realize the change He is making to us because Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and Jesus is Risen!
We are risen to a new life, a life lived with God, a life that we need to know God is ever-present in. Something we can’t stop reminding each other of, even in the times where we aren’t sure that God will make these things beautiful. Sure of that, and that being the foundation of our life, we can understand why the Paul told Hebrew Christians,
23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT)
That is part of the new life of Paul, to continually remind people of the gospel, that Jesus died for our sins, that He was buried, and that Praise God with everything in us, for He has risen!
And that means….
Why we end our prayer with praise
48 days ago, on Ash Wednesday, we began a look at the Lord’s prayer. We finished the requests on Friday, as we realized that at the cross Jesus delivered us from evil and answered every request.
Which leaves only this to finish that journey today, as we celebrate our life with God.
Let us pray,
Our Father, Yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever. AMEN!