4 Ways the Reality of Jesus’ Resurrection Changes Me:
#1. I no longer _____________________.
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 1 Cor. 15:55
We can fear dying itself, but not death itself. Once we accept Jesus’ resurrection and then our future resurrection, death is no longer “the end.” It’s not oblivion. Death becomes the doorway into the next life. Death is transition. Death is the “and” to the sentence of life, not the period at the end of it.
Our Bibles teach us more. We will live in a new, resurrected body. The cells in THIS body are programmed to die. The cells in our NEXT body will be programmed to live! Death is not the end. Death is not reincarnation. Death is not annihilation. Death is a trade-in!
No more cancer. No more abuse. No more hatred. …crime. … sadness.… hurt. … brokenness. … sickness. No more death! Ever! For anyone!
#2. I mourn the passing of loved ones as ___________________.
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NIV
There is no such thing a losing a loved one to death AND not grieving. We do grieve. We do hurt. We do weep. We suffer the pangs of apart-ness. But… we “do not grieve like the rest of mankind.” Why? Because we have hope. And not just hope which may (or may not) happen. We know we will see our Christian loved ones again. We are separated. Temporarily. And for a period of time that is so short compared to the eternity we will enjoy together with Christ.
We cannot avoid grief, but we can avoid the destruction that comes from grief with hopelessness. Death is not a permanent split for believers in Christ, only a temporary separation. We will be reunited. And for eternity. Imagine how distant any grieving now will be after a thousand years with all who you love and who love you. You probably won’t even remember.
#3. I live my life now with __________________.
“Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4 NIV
As Christians today we often talk about our future resurrections. Hidden within that is the acknowledgment of our future deaths. But what about our past deaths? The Bible teaches that for the Christ-follower, one death has already occurred - our death to ourselves. Our lives that we live now, we live in Christ. Christ literally is the life that beats within us. That’s why we cannot really die. Because Christ within us cannot really die.
That means the life we live now we live to Christ - according to His teachings and His principles of real and abundant living. That translates into the choices we make are not choices for this temporary life on this side of physical death, but are choices we make for all eternity. We distinguish between the Eternal, which (who) will never die and always live, and the Temporary, which is here today but gone tomorrow. What (Who) is eternal? God. God’s Word. People. Life. Love. Grace. Mercy. Joy. Peace. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness.
Our lives forever are changed by the choices we make today.
#4. I love my life now with ___________________.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
We end today with the greatest change that happens in the life of one who has concluded that the resurrection is real - I am loved by the One who was resurrected. In fact the love of Jesus is the whole reason for His coming, His dying, His resurrecting, and His forever living. He loves me. He loves you! And your life will be forever (emphasis on forever) be changed because of it.