1 Easter 2016 Welcme t the mst jyful day f ur Christian calendar, the day we remember ur Lrd s triumph ver the grave Christians mark this day in many ways and many traditins Sme families hld egg hunts Others gift Easter gift baskets r ther gifts And almst everyne gathers with family fr the Easter meal Thse meals can be awkward affairs, especially if sme members f the family aren t believing Christians If yu t live in a blended family (i.e., believers and unbelievers), then knw the mment I m talking abut As everyne sits dwn t eat, the unbelievers are suddenly aware that it s a religius hliday And there are Christians at the table S smene shuld prbably pray befre the meal But nne f the unbelievers are cmfrtable ding it And suddenly all eyes turn t the religius nes at the table That reminds me f a time when... Yung Bbby and his Christian family were invited t eat Easter Sunday dinner at the huse f Bbby s grandmther, a wman wh was nt particularly religius. Everyne was seated arund the table as the fd was being served. When Bbby received his plate he started eating straight away. 'Bbby, wait until we say grace,' demanded his father. 'I dn't have t,' the child replied. 'Of curse yu d, Bbby,' his mther insisted rather frcefully. 'We always say a prayer befre eating at ur huse.' 'That's at ur huse,' Bbby explained, 'but this is Grandma's huse, and she knws hw t ck.' 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
2 Easter f 11 Bbby s cnvictin is a gd reminder that rituals and habits need t be cnnected with their underlying meaning r they lse their pwer Bbby didn t understand the true purpse in thanking the Lrd publicly befre partaking in a meal He thught it was abut fd safety In reality, it was abut testifying t the gdness f Gd Fr that same reasn, pastrs give Easter sermns because its imprtant t remember the reasn why we mark this day T remember why it s necessary that Christ wuld die And what it means fr us living tday, thse f us wh have faith in the Lrd s sacrifice n ur behalf S fr this mrning let s hear frm the Apstle Paul as he summarizes the wrk f Christ n the crss and what it means fr thse f us wh have believed 2Cr. 5:14 Fr the lve f Christ cntrls us, having cncluded this, that ne died fr all, therefre all died; 2Cr. 5:15 and He died fr all, s that they wh live might n lnger live fr themselves, but fr Him wh died and rse again n their behalf. 2Cr. 5:16 Therefre frm nw n we recgnize n ne accrding t the flesh; even thugh we have knwn Christ accrding t the flesh, yet nw we knw Him in this way n lnger. 2Cr. 5:17 Therefre if anyne is in Christ, he is a new creature; the ld things passed away; behld, new things have cme. 2Cr. 5:18 Nw all these things are frm Gd, wh recnciled us t Himself thrugh Christ and gave us the ministry f recnciliatin, 2Cr. 5:19 namely, that Gd was in Christ recnciling the wrld t Himself, nt cunting their trespasses against them, and He has cmmitted t us the wrd f recnciliatin. 2Cr. 5:20 Therefre, we are ambassadrs fr Christ, as thugh Gd were making an appeal thrugh us; we beg yu n behalf f Christ, be recnciled t Gd. 2Cr. 5:21 He made Him wh knew n sin t be sin n ur behalf, s that we might becme the righteusness f Gd in Him. In this letter t the church in Crinth, Paul has been explaining t the believers why he risks life and limb t serve the Lrd in spreading the Gspel Paul has taught that he has made his ambitin, bth in hw he lives and in hw he ultimately dies, pleasing Christ 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
3 Easter f 11 Ding things that please the Lrd drives Paul s thinking Just a few verses earlier he explains that all believers will face a judgment mment befre Christ He speaks f living in a healthy fear f the Lrd, resisting sin and wrking diligently t help thers knw this truth Nw in this passage Paul explains why he feels this bligatin t serve the Lrd And it begins with the lve f Christ evidenced in His death n the crss Paul says in v.14 that the lve f Christ cntrls us The wrd fr cntrl is the Greek wrd sunech, which can als be translated as cnstrain The lve that Gd has fr us places cnstraints n hw the believer may live But these are gd, healthy, prductive cnstraints Paul ges n the explain that he draws this cnclusin frm the fact that Christ died fr us s that we might live We ve all heard thse war stries abut sldiers wh are sitting in a fx hle r in the rm f a huse during a firefight with the enemy And it lks like everyne is ging t die that day But then suddenly, ne f the sldiers takes a heric step t save his cmrades Maybe he thrws his bdy n a grenade Or maybe he runs int the teeth f the enemy s psitin drawing their fire and giving his buddies a chance t escape In a sense, that s what Paul is saying abut Christ s death n the crss Jesus Christ placed Himself n that Rman crss by His wn decisin in bedience t the Father s plan Christ died that cruel death as a payment fr ur sins And nw that He has made that payment, ur debt f sin is erased when we place ur faith in that payment 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
4 Easter f 11 It s as if Christ threw His bdy n the grenade fr us S in that sense, Paul says Christ died fr all f us, s that we dn t die Instead, Paul says in v.15 that we nw live Of curse, Paul is speaking abut ur spirits Our earthly bdy will still return t dust, because it has been ruined by ur sin But because f Christ s payment, we are assured t live again Our spirit will nt suffer the secnd death, which is the Bible s name fr spending an eternity in Hell away frm Gd Instead, we will live eternally with Christ, given new bdies that will never die again In a nutshell, that s the meaning f Easter Christ died fr us s that we might live frever with Him And Christ rse frm the dead t shw us that He can ffer us eternal life t But like that sldier wh dies t save his cmrades, that sacrifice was intended fr a purpse The death f ne makes pssible a new life fr the rest If that sldier hadn t made the highest sacrifice, everyne wuld be dead Instead, nly ne needed t die s that everyne else culd live n But nw they live t fulfill the missin Can yu imagine a situatin where a sldier dies t save his platn but then the platn surrenders anyway? They decide t use their new lease n life t turn themselves in and becme traitrs, fighting fr the enemy? Of curse nt The sldiers wh gained their lives will feel all the mre cmmitted t succeed in their missin 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
5 Easter f 11 And t d s in hnr f their fallen cmrade That s the appeal Paul makes t every believer in cnnectin t Christ s death n the crss Paul says in v.15 that we shuld n lnger g n living fr urselves We dn t take Christ s death and squander it by returning t living a life that supprts ur enemy, Satan Instead, we live t supprt Christ s missin f reaching the wrld with a message f salvatin S then Paul utlines hw ur perspective in life must change as men and wmen granted a new eternal life by Christ s sacrifice And it begins in v.16 with hw we see the peple arund us We n lnger recgnize n ne accrding t the flesh Paul means that we can n lnger affrd t see peple merely in terms f their earthly existence, in the flesh f this bdy At the end f v.16 Paul draws a cmparisn t the way believers in the the first century church knew Jesus In Paul s day there were still many wh had seen Christ in the flesh when Jesus was walked in the Galilee and taught During thse days they knew Jesus merely as a man They had nt yet cme t understand that Jesus was Gd incarnate and wuld rise frm the dead But then after Jesus died and was resurrected and then ascended int Heaven, then these same believers came t knw Jesus in a spiritual sense His Spirit nw indwelled them by faith And He was smething much greater in their understanding Nw they knew Him in Spirit Similarly, Paul is saying yu and I have knwn each ther in an earthly, fleshly sense We knw each ther s faults 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
6 Easter f 11 We aren t always kind r frgiving enugh But regardless, we nw must set that kind f relatinship aside And in its place we must strive t knw each ther as we knw Christ, that is spiritually I knw my brthers and sisters in the church are destined t live in eternity with me I knw they have sin nw like I d, but ne day because f ur faith in Jesus Christ we will all be free f that sin S in the meantime, I keep that future in mind as I relate t them I want t live fr Christ, pursuing His missin since He died fr me And Christ s missin was ne f shwing the lve f Gd t fallen men He came t heal, t speak truth, t care fr thse wh have need But within the bdy f Christ, we ll find it virtually impssible t meet that missin if we re distracted by ur biases As lng as we view fellw believers accrding t the flesh, we can t see them as Christ des Ntice in v.17 Paul summarizes ur new perspective f fellw believes by reminding us we have all becme new creatures by ur faith in Jesus If smene is in Christ, which means t have placed their faith and trust in Him fr salvatin, then that persn is new creature Paul ges n t explain that the ld nature has passed away Befre we knew Christ as Lrd, we were living in the fallen nature we received frm Adam Eph. 2:1 And yu were dead in yur trespasses and sins, Eph. 2:2 in which yu frmerly walked accrding t the curse f this wrld, accrding t the prince f the pwer f the air, f the spirit that is nw wrking in the sns f disbedience. Eph. 2:3 Amng them we t all frmerly lived in the lusts f ur flesh, indulging the desires f the flesh and f the mind, and were by nature children f wrath, even as the rest Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
7 Easter f 11 That was the ld yu befre yu came t knw Christ Yu were alive in an earthly sense But yu and I were dead in a spiritual sense We lived ut the lusts f ur flesh And we were by ur nature a child that deserved nly Gd s wrath But Paul tells us that thse ld things have passed away The Greek wrd fr ld means ancient Paul is referring t things in us that riginate in ages past, in the Garden f Eden, when mankind fell int sin That ancient nature we were brn with has passed away by ur faith in Jesus Christ And the Greek verb in v.17 is the arist tense, which means an actin that ccurred in an instant and cntinues frever n Our ld nature was put t death by ur faith in Christ s death, and it has frever gne away and will never return Therefre, hw can we lk upn fellw believers accrding t wh they nce were since Christ died t put thse away? Yes, we all still carry a sin nature in ur bdies, at least fr nw But that s just temprary By faith we have a new spirit which will carry n int eternity S the meaning f Easter that Christ s death made us new, s that we might see ne anther in the church with spiritual eyes Secndly, we must nt lk upn the unbelieving wrld accrding t the flesh either The ne wh has yet t believe in Christ isn t ur enemy Unbelievers may lk dwn upn ur beliefs They may mck us, dismiss us, and hate us They may even persecute us at times 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
8 Easter f 11 But if we return their hatred with hatred r their judgment with judgment, them we are recgnizing them accrding t the flesh Instead, we must lk at them with spiritual eyes nce again Knwing that the ne wh has nt believed in Jesus Christ is the very persn we are called t serve Ntice in vs Paul says that these truths have been given t us by Gd as a ministry f recnciliatin What is the ministry f recnciliatin? Paul is referring t the reality f sin Sin separates us frm Gd, making us His adversary, His enemy Our sin will require judgment, and the wages r payment fr sin is eternal death Which is eternal separatin frm Gd in immense suffering, accrding t the Bible But Gd s lved the wrld that He placed His Sn n the crss t die in ur place, s that we culd be recnciled t Gd Gd recnciled believers t Himself by nt cunting their sins against them He can d this because thse sins were cunted against Jesus instead, which is why Jesus died He was paying ur price in ur place Make n mistake...the Bible is clear that the ne and nly way a persn may be recnciled t Gd is thrugh faith in Jesus Christ There is n ther way t enter Heaven and avid Hell That message is ur ministry t the wrld We are t g ut explaining this truth t the wrld s they may be recnciled t Gd by believing in ur message But if we allw urselves t see the wrld nly accrding t the flesh, then we wn t be likely t pursue them fr Christ with urgency and persistence We may make tken effrts at times, but hw mtivated will be remain if we cntinually see the wrld accrding t the flesh 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
9 Easter f 11 When they resist us, we may give up When they persecute us, we may decide they are unsavable But Paul says it s ur jb, ur service f wrship t Christ In v.20 Paul calls us all ambassadrs fr Christ When we step ut int the wrld, we share the gd news But Paul says it is literally the Lrd Himself making an appeal thrugh us S nt lking at the unsaved wrld accrding t the flesh means seeing them all as ptential believers Ptentially, the entire wrld may cme t knw what we have cme t knw In Gd s svereign plan, sme will cme t faith But frm ur perspective, the whle wrld is a pssibility And s we lk at them accrding t their spiritual ptential, nt accrding t their present fleshly disbedience That s why Paul ends v.20 with the rallying cry f the entire church We beg men and wmen t be recnciled t Gd Which is t say, we wrk with urgency and persistence t cnvince the sinner f their impending jepardy Of the reality that they are merely a heartbeat away frm an eternity spent in hell But the gd news is Gd has made a way available t be recnciled t Himself thrugh faith in Jesus Christ As Paul says in.v21 the Father made Christ t take n ur sin in ur place Christ had n sin f His wn, s He did nt deserve t suffer much less t die But He tk n ur sin and by faith awards us with His righteusness In Gd s eyes, a believer is as pure as Christ 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
10 Easter f 11 S Easter reminds us that sinners need saving, and that Christ died s that we might take a message f recnciliatin t the wrld We are thse Christ has preserved s that we might accmplish His missin He fell n the grenade s we culd live n He expects us t cmplete the missin in His absence And we have n chice, because His lve fr us cnstrains us It bligates us t service But what if yu re still in that fxhle? Christ died t set yu free frm death, but yu haven t accepted that payment yet? Yu haven t cnfessed belief in Jesus Christ Yu knw the stry, yu ve heard it befre But yu ve never taken the step t wn it, t believe and cnfess that belief t smene? Paul says yu need t stp waiting...yu living n brrwed time and time is running ut 2Cr. 6:1 And wrking tgether with Him, we als urge yu nt t receive the grace f Gd in vain 2Cr. 6:2 fr He says, At the acceptable time I listened t yu, And n the day f salvatin I helped yu. Behld, nw is The acceptable time, behld, nw is The day f salvatin Paul tells yu t lk upn me and the ther Christians in this rm as men and wmen wrking with Gd, the Creatr f the Universe, yur Judge We are His ambassadrs He saved us and sent us int the wrld t find yu We are here t declare t yur that Jesus is yur Lrd And ne day, every knee will bw and every muth will cnfess Jesus as Lrd 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.
11 Easter f 11 But yu must make that cnfessin this side f the grave is yu are t receive the mercy Gd is ffering yu Paul writes in v.2, quting frm the bk f Isaiah, that there is a day when the Lrd reaches dwn int a persn s life and brings the truth f Himself t save that persn We may g every day f ur life withut giving Gd even a thught We may be the wrld s wrse sinner r a chir by But in either case, we are nt gd enugh t equal Gd s standard fr entering Heaven S he grants us the pprtunity t be recnciled thrugh the death f His Sn But when that day cmes t us, we must act t receive what the Lrd is ffering As Paul says, nw is that time The message f salvatin has been presented t yu this mrning frm the wrd f Gd Fr any wh have yet t believe in that message, then tday is the day f salvatin fr yu If nly yu wuld cnfess with yur muth that Jesus is Lrd and believe in yur heart that Gd raised Him frm the dead That the event we remember every Easter isn t a fairly tale It is isn t myth It s real, it happened, and it happened fr yu I beg yu, n behalf f Christ, be recnciled t Gd this mrning 2016 Verse By Verse Ministry Internatinal ( May be cpied and distributed prvided the dcument is reprduced in its entirety, including this cpyright statement, and n fee is cllected fr its distributin.