The Resurrection and You Matthew 28:1-10

Matthew 28:1-10

Intro:  Last week we looked at this passage to how Matthew encourages us to believe by comparing the faithful Marys along with Joseph of Arimathea with the faithless priests and pharisees.

Today I’m taking us back into the resurrection so we can consider what does it do for us, besides just prove that everything Jesus said, and everything the OT said, was true. 

I think many of us don’t know what the resurrection does for us.

  • If I ask you what the incarnation does—you would probably say that it shows us God knows our human difficulty, pain, and joy because he lived it.
  • Or if I ask about Jesus’ death:  he paid the price for my sins.
  • But it’s not so quick with the resurrection, is it?  In Jesus resurrection believers were given (were because the gifts were already under the tree and they’ve been opened) true hope, true life, and true love.

These benefits we’re looking at today are yours now, I want you and me to enjoy the benefits Christ has given us to their fullest.  That’s where our strength, ability, and joy will come from.

Three points: 1.  True Hope; 2.  True Life;  3.  Truly Living

  1. True Hope
    1. The Old Testament doesn’t have too many clear references to the resurrection
      1. This is one reason why it was so hard for the disciples to accept that Jesus had to die.  And why they didn’t understand what happened when the tomb was empty.
      1. Our OT reading had some reference to it.  Isaiah 26:19  “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise…the earth will give birth to the dead.”
        1. Paul picks up on this language when he calls Jesus “the firstborn from the dead” in Col. 1:18.
      1. In general the hope of the OT is God’s spiritual presence felt in worship and through the providential gifts of land, children, and wealth.
    1. My point is that there is an elevation of hope in Jesus’ advent, resurrection, and ascension compared to the OT hope.
      1. Not only is God spiritually present through worship, God took on flesh to accomplish redemption for us!
    1. In the 1 Peter 1:3-4 we hear, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
      1. Notice the past tense verbs:  “he [God the Father] has caused us to be born again to a living hope”
        1. Has
        1. Caused
      1. Peter is saying we already are in this living hope!
      1. Living hope has two aspects
        1. First the “passive” effect in us, in our hearts, minds, wills, and the freedom we have from sin is in Christ’s resurrection.  Jesus rose from the dead and in it Believers are made alive. We didn’t have to do anything.
        1. The second aspect has to do with living daily in the hope of the gospel.
          1. Joy even in difficult times knowing there’s purpose in your trials.
          1. Praise to God for Jesus your savior who you know through God’s gracious revelation.
          1. Salvation from sin, from God’s wrath, and even your sinful nature though it will be a struggle throughout life. 
            1. A struggle, but the battle is won.
      1. The Resurrection life is now for believers and as far as Jesus is resurrected, so too are we living in the hope of it.
  2. True Life:  two features of the true life that the gospel gives believers
    1. The New Creation and the New Age, both are part of the new life, the resurrection life believers have through Christ’s resurrection
    1. The New Creation—I grew up with the translation of 2 Cor. 5:17 saying “therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature.” 
      1. Either is correct, but “creation” conveys Paul’s idea better to me, at least.
      1. Paul’s idea—the new creation has come in the form of new covenant believers
      1.  Jesus’ work was the climactic peak of redemptive history and NT believers enjoy benefits the OT beleivers didn’t.
      1. The New Creation is God breaking into the world and beginning the restoration of it through his church.
    1. The New Age
      1. This is the age of the Spirit.
        1. In the entire Old Testament, as understood by the ESV, there are 80 references to the Holy Spirit
        1. In just Paul’s letters there are 106.
        1. Christians—we, have a tendency to separate the work of the Holy Spirit from Jesus.  We shouldn’t, because the Spirit doesn’t.
        1. The Holy Spirit’s ministry in believers is to comfort us, convict us, and glorify Christ in us by reminding believers of what Christ did and said. 
        1. John 14:26 Jesus said “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (also 15:26 and 16:13)
      1. The age of the Spirit is heaven on earth, because the Holy Spirit is at work in us to make us fit for heaven, as the Puritans would say.
        1. Heaven doesn’t have a different Spirit at work, nor does it operate through a different Savior, or by a different Father.
        1. Romans 8:30  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
        1. Notice again all of those theological terms are past tense
          1. Predestined, called, justified, glorified
        1. Glorified is the state believers look forward to being given.
          1. It means:  no more sin around us, no more sin in us, holy relationships with each other and God which leads to a peace that surpasses all understanding.
          1. Paul puts it in past tense, not because he’s delusional and ignores the realities of what earth is like. 
          1. It’s past tense because it’s a blessing Jesus earned and gave to us already.
  3. Truly Living
    1. I hope that you’re picking up on a theme here:  so much of what we put in the future is already for the believer. 
      1. The hope of Christ is now, he is alive, he is seated in heaven, he is ruling over all things.
      1. The life of heaven is now, his resurrection brought us life in the same Sprit who brought Jesus back from the dead.
        1. We live in the heavenly reality that broke through in him.  He is the firstborn of creation who has a huge family!  We’re called little lights, because he’s the big light.  We’re citizens of heaven, we’re absolutely sure of being perfected because Jesus was made perfect through the cross and resurrected to the new life.  HE’s firstborn from the dead.
    1. What do we do with this?  How can this help us in our daily walks?
      1. Anyone tired of their own stupid sinful hearts?  Of struggling with jealousy, even jealousy over good things—not just stuff, but good things.  Like for kids, your jealous that you see other parents who are far better at being a mom or dad than your mom or dad.  Or for parents, your jealous that other people have been able to raise their kids better than you.
      1. Or you struggle with keeping up appearances—the “Mrs. Bucket syndrome”.  Everything in your life has to look like its all together, you are the one that helps others in their messes because you don’t have any.
      1. Examine your heart for issues to see what you struggle with and now be honest.  There are times that you defeat these sinful inclinations, but there’s also failure.
      1. So often in the throes of life, when I feel jealous or fake, or just plain fleshly and sinful, my answer is just don’t do that, don’t think that, don’t allow it in my heart! 
      1. But that’s the problem, it didn’t come from outside me, it came from my heart.  Mark 7:21 Jesus said, “for from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery.”
    1. There’s mystery in sanctification, but there’s no mystery in where it starts and how it proceeds.
      1. It started by Jesus’ resurrection, earning the Holy Spirit for you.
      1. It proceeds by the Holy Spirit’s work in you and He will bring it to completion.
      1. The mystery is where your effort comes in.
      1. Because if you try to just white-knuckle it (explain white-knuckling, m/b steering wheel or pulling wood up to build the tree houseà “sola bootstrapa”) you might resist but it will be one your many works of the flesh that will be burned up at the last day.
      1. On the other hand, Jesus won’t ever fail, he died once for sins and is raised and seated at the right of God to save you to the uttermost.  HE is your hope and your freedom from sin.
      1. If that’s true, how come I still sin?  How can I access those blessings?
        1. It starts with belief—you believe in Christ’s death for the payment of sin, can you believe that his resurrection and life in heaven can keep you from sin?
        1. It’s implied in every part of the Bible that talks about the tools we have for our growth in maturity and keeping away from sin.
        1. Jesus, the resurrected savior, gives his life to you, and he supplies you with the armor to sustain you.
        1. It’s not you putting on the armor of God, it’s Jesus dressing you with his armor, like Saul did for David.  Unlike Saul’s armor, Jesus’ armor fits us just right.
        1. Would you like to have this gift, a heavenly life now, not free from trials or pain, but increasing in holiness and more free from your sin?
        1. Ask God to give you what Jesus already earned for you, each and every day.  Believe that these gifts:  the true hope, the true life, the new age, and the new creation are yours just as much as forgiveness is.
    1. The life of a Christian is all about faith—believing what God has already told us and acting on it.
      1. It’s not belief if you don’t act on it.
      1. If you act on something that’s not what God said—white-knuckling it—that’s not belief either.
      1. Ask God to make the resurrection life real to you, and real in you, protecting you from the evil one, sanctifying you in the work of Jesus your savior.  He’s a good father who grants good gifts from heaven to his children, trust him, believe his word.  Amen.