#323 – THE RESURRECTION EFFECT (7/4/21)
During this week after Easter, we are thinking about Paul’s longest section of teaching on the resurrection from 1 Corinthians 15.
Today, we’ll see that the resurrection has massive ‘side effects’ in our lives. We read,
‘Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.’ (1Corinthians 15: 7-10)
Jesus, after His resurrection, appeared to many. He also appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. We read,
‘As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied…’ (Acts 9:3-5)
Paul’s life was transformed by the resurrection of Jesus. He not only became a believer, but he also became a worker as he wrote in our previous reading,
‘I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.’
Jesus’ resurrection leads to our receiving resurrection life right now. We receive a new heart, new ambitions, a new Lord and new power.
The transformation of Paul speaks to us of the reality of his having met the living Jesus. The metamorphosis of the early church from an unbelieving and defeated group into courageous, faith-filled witnesses also points to the reality of the resurrection. Paul prays that the Ephesians would know the resurrection power that is a work in them. Perhaps you might like to pray the same thing for yourself and the church,
‘I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know… His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…’ (Ephesians 1:18-20)
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - TAKE HOLD OF THE ROCK
On Sunday we celebrated Easter Sunday - the resurrection of Jesus.
Like those first disciples, there are so many things that stop us from remembering the resurrection as we need to. We may well believe that Jesus is alive but are we taking hold of it as we could? Those first disciples did not listen and so did expect the resurrection as Jesus had promised.
Take a moment to read through Matthew's account of that first Easter Sunday from Matthew 28: 1-15.
There are many things that could be said, but here are three things that Jesus wants us to know as a result of the resurrection:
i) Jesus is alive
Christians don’t follow a dead guru, hero, example, prophet… We don’t just remember Jesus, we meet with Jesus in the Spirit!
ii) He's truthful
Jesus was not mad, bad, psychotic, super-spiritual… He was telling the truth. All of Jesus’ words can be trusted
iii) He gives life
Those who come to Jesus will receive new life now. We also receive the promise of future resurrection.
1. How often do you think about the resurrection?
2. How does the truth of the resurrection affect your daily life?
3. Why do you think that the first disciples failed to expect Jesus' resurrection as He had promised?
4. In what ways could you let God fill your heart and mind with the hope of the resurrection?
Serving, Investing and inviting
Jesus' resurrection gives us a vision for the future that we want others to enjoy. Let's take a moment to share and pray about how we are serving, investing and inviting into our community.
1) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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