Title: The Launch of Adam 2.0 (Death of a Bully)
Happy Easter! Hallelujah, praise the Lord, the stone has been rolled away, death has been defeated, for Christ is risen! Amen? If you are visiting us, we welcome you in the Lord. If you are a familiar face, we are glad to have you back.
Thank you for those wonderful testimonies. I love listening to testimonies. Because in a testimony, what you have is someone taking a lofty concept like sin or forgiveness or redemption and they are able to personalize it and bring it home in their own lives. You take a truth that might seem like information from a lecture and you put flesh on it as you see God’s Word take shape and come alive in someone’s story.
Every time I hear a testimony when a sinner recognizes their sin and professes faith in Christ, that’s a miracle. Sinners don’t like to repent. Sinners don’t like to say, I need Jesus in my life. Sinners don’t like to surrender control of their lives to anyone else, even if that other person is the God of the Universe. Those things are evidences of grace. Evidence that the supernatural has indeed intersected with the natural world. Salvation is the greatest miracle there is and the greatest proof that Christ is risen.
Andre, it is good to see you, brother. It was a year ago when Brother Andre and Sister Andie were saved by the wondrous mercy of our Lord on Good Friday and it is encouraging to see how God has matured you both this past year.
Easter is in some ways a very special day, but in other respects, for the believer, it is nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, isn’t every Sunday a mini-Easter celebration?
Sunday is not a memorial, we are not gathering to remember a fallen war hero. No, we are celebrating a risen Lord! For the believer, every Sunday, we come back over and over again to what Christ did for us by dying on a cross for our sin and being raised 3 days later.
The gospel has two sides. I think at our church, we do a decent job on the first half – Jesus died for my sins. He’s my Savior. What about the other side? Jesus is the risen Lord who conquered sin and death. One side leads to repentance and gratitude. The other side leads to hope and unspeakable joy.
1 Cor 2
1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Paul came preaching only Christ and him crucified – that’s the first half of the gospel. And if you turn with me to 1 Cor 15, we will read about the other half of the gospel — the resurrection. Let’s read 1 Cor 15:1-4.
1 Cor 15
1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
Paul preached the gospel to the Corinthians in the very beginning and through it, they were saved. But along the way they forgot about the gospel, they moved on from the gospel, and as they say, all hell broke loose. Sometimes we get the wrong idea that the gospel is simply the door that we have to enter through in order to embark on our spiritual journey. The gospel is a door in the sense that we must walk through it in order to begin our journey with God.
Yet, Paul reminds us that the gospel is far more than a door. v1 – Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received AND on which you have TAKEN YOUR STAND. The gospel is more than a door. It’s the foundation on which we stand. It’s the floor. It’s the walls. It’s the roof. It’s the entire house. It’s everything. We have to understand this. This is so important. If we miss it, spiritually, we will be stumbling all over the place and be prone to chasing new ideas and trends. Christ is the foundation. His death, yes. But also, his resurrection.
Paul understood both sides of the gospel and look at how his life was transformed. v9 —
1 Cor 15
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
Paul said, I am the least of the apostles, I don’t even deserve the title, apostle. Why? Because he persecuted the church before he was converted. He was a murderer. He knew without a doubt how sinful and how undeserving he was to be called a Christian, much less to called an apostle, and not just any apostle, but arguably the most prominent leader in the New Testament.
What about us? Maybe we haven’t murdered. But have you ever hated someone? The Bible says, sin is sin. We have all fallen short. Yet, Good Friday reminds us that no matter how filthy, how wretched, our horrible we are, Christ died for us. We are washed clean by the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
And this grace of God came into Paul’s life and it transformed him from the inside out. The grace of God was not without effect. No, the grace of God came into this heart and like dynamite, it exploded and he was transformed.
Why was Paul so transformed? As much as Good Friday and the sin and the death of Christ was instrumental in Paul’s transformation, it’s only half the story. The other half is explained starting from v19 —
1 Cor 15
19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
If Christ died and that’s it, then we all better go home. Because then Jesus is no different from every other human being who ever lived. If Christ is still in the grave, then Christians, we are to be pitied more than all men. We’re pitiful. We should be out there trying to make a name for ourselves. Or living for pleasure and the next thrill. Or we should be chasing after worldly ambition. Or climbing the corporate ladder. Or out trying to make money. Or finding the love of my life. If Jesus is dead, then we are wasting our time here, and I am wasting my breath.