April 3, 2015

From an Empty Tomb to a Full Life!

He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Matthew 28:6, NIV

Easter is the encore of Heaven!  It’s the triumph over evil, death, and Hell itself! No event in history can compare with the victory of the empty tomb!  Because He lives, we too may live! Our sins can be forgiven! Our lives can be filled with hope and a power beyond ourselves to live victoriously!

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead presents a whole new challenge. How would we live our lives if we knew death was not the end? It’s not the final act. It’s really when the curtain opens and we get to see behind the veil. We get to live eternally! How awesome is that? 

The resurrection removes the fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “… by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” That must have been how Lazarus felt when he came out of the tomb after being dead four days! How afraid do you think he was of the threats of those who wanted to kill him? John tells us that large crowds were coming to Jesus because of the miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead, and the chief priests weren’t happy about it. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in Him.” (John 12:9-11, NIV). I can almost hear Lazarus say, with a grin on his face, “Go ahead and kill me. Been there. Done that!”

When you know that your life is not over at death, you live for eternity – not just the here and now. Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20, NIV). How much of our lives is spent investing in things that won’t last? We get stressed and depressed over stuff that can’t satisfy. But, if we lived with eternity in our hearts, we would look beyond the trinkets to see the real treasure, treasure that we can store up in Heaven. The fact is that we can’t take anything with us when we die; but, Jesus said we can send something ahead of us, treasures that cannot be destroyed or stolen! Now, there’s an investment that never depreciates!

The resurrection changes our whole perspective – the way we view ourselves, others, and our world. It gives us confidence that, in the end, we win because we are on the winning side! If death couldn’t conquer Christ, we no longer have to cower to it. Jesus put it like this at a funeral one day, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26, NIV).

How would you live life if you knew you would never die? What if you knew that death was simply the transition of your true self from a physical shell, into the very presence of God who would give you a resurrected body like Christ? 1 John 3:2 says, Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” So, if you want to have some fun, look up the passages of Scripture at the end of the Gospels and the first chapter of Acts; see what Jesus was able to do in His glorified body. Then, determine to live the rest of your days here in light of the hereafter with eternity in your heart. Realize that you are only a stranger here, that your real citizenship is in Heaven.

Conclude your Lent Experience with the joy of sins forgiven, a home in Heaven, and the same power that raised Christ from the dead available to you 24/7!  This is my prayer for you as we end our Lent Experience together:

I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him. It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead ….”  (Ephesians 1:19-20,TLB).

Personal Challenge:

  1. How would you live your life differently if you knew you would never die?
  2. What treasures are you sending on ahead?
  3. Spend some time in prayer asking God to teach you how to apply the risen power of Christ in every area of your life.