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Showing items filed under “March 2016”

Celebrating the Significance of the Resurrection

He is Risen!

Today, Easter Sunday, Pastor Ed Allen preached to a large and joyful congregation about the most significant event in human history.

We looked at I Peter 3:18 for the declaration that Jesus was raised from the dead.

Why do we believe Jesus rose from the dead?

Our objections are quite reasonable:  It's not medically possible, and I've never seen it.

Christianity agrees that it's not medically possible.  It was a supernatural event.

As far as the fact that I've never seen anyone rise from the dead -- We have trouble believing 2000-year-old witnesses.

We do have testimony that there were a host of witnesses.  How do we explain them?

Maybe they were lying.  But they radically changed their lives.  The disciples were tortured and killed for this belief.  They wouldn't have stood for this if they were lying.

Maybe they were deluded.  But large crowds saw Jesus.  Were "more than 500" deluded at one time?  They had very little to gain from believing this story.  (See mention of being tortured and killed.)  If it was a delusion, who was behind the hoax, anyway?

Maybe the story was embellished over time.  That's possible, but there's no actual documentary evidence for this.  Paul's letters were written barely 30 years after Jesus' death.  Same with the earliest biographies of Jesus.  Witnesses were still around when they were written.  The empty tomb also speaks against this.  The enemies of the church could have easily produced Jesus' body to refute this -- if Jesus' body were still there.

A real resurrection is not an unreasonable idea.

If it's true, it's the most significant event in human history.

Why is it universally the most important event in human history?

Because of who Jesus was. 

He is holy -- in a category all by Himself.

God is not just a bigger, better version of you.

We looked at Mark 4:35-41, one of Pastor Ed's favorite stories of Jesus, where he calmed the storm.

When the storm ceased at Jesus' word, the disciples were terrified.

This is a stronger word than what they felt from the storm they thought would kill them.

"What kind of man is this?"  We don't even have a category for this.

Easter is universally applicable because of who Jesus' was. 

That's why, after Jesus proved to Thomas that He was really Jesus, resurrected, Thomas fell on his knees and said, "My Lord and my God!"

That's why Jesus reinterpreted the Passover meal which had been celebrated for 4,000 years.

** Here we celebrated the Lord's Supper **

Jesus said, "This cup is my blood, which is poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins."

Why is the Resurrection so personally significant?

We looked at I Peter 3:18 again.  Christ died for sins, once for all,

"in order to bring you to God."

Jesus did this to bring you to God.

As Peter says in chapter 2, "Now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls."

He is Risen indeed!

The Rhythm of Our Story - Passover

Last Sunday, Pastor Ed continued the series on "The Rhythm of Our Story" by talking about the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover.

He began by interviewing George, who came to America from Burundi 3 years ago.  George talked about how important it is to remember what God has done for you.  That's the spirit of Passover.

In April, Gateway is going to celebrate the Passover meal in four different homes.  (Sign up on Sunday!)  Celebrating Seder opens up the Scripture.

Leviticus 23:4-6 talks about celebrating the Passover.

We should set our time according to a God-focused, God-honoring rhythm.  This kind of rhythm allows us to experience the life God has for us.

Jesus set the example of a God-honoring rhythm.

Exodus 12 gives the background for the Passover.

The tenth plague, the death of the firstborn, had no natural explanation, as some of the other plagues may have had.

The contest was about God versus the Egyptian gods.

With God's perspective, we can see big things.

Pesach - to slip by, pass over

But also:  to be compassionate toward, to protect

Used this way in Isaiah 31:5

Exodus 12:21-28 -- The rhythm prescribed was to remember that GOD delivered, protected, established you.

Colossians 2:16-17 -- Today it's not a legal requirement.  The reality has appeared to which the shadow pointed.

Jesus said the Passover cup - probably the third cup - was His blood.  Now His blood gets painted over the doors of our lives.

We're creatures of habit.  How do we set our schedules?  Fix it around points of connection with God.


Posted by Sondy Eklund with