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Sermon of the Week 
Tuesday, April 02 2024

The Resurrection Changes Everything

Throughout history, there have been significant events in our world that humanity points to and says, "That changed everything." Go all the way back to the days when fire was discovered. With fire, everything changed. It gave people a new way to stay warm, a new source of light, and new ways to cook food. No more huddling together for warmth in the cold and darkness of night (although that’s still a good idea) and no more having to eat raw meat andplants. 

Likewise, the wheel changed everything. The invention of the wheel, made it possible for people to move heavy loads from one place to another. No more having to keep things in one place or needing several people to move something heavy. They could go faster, as they found horses to pull this new invention then later on the steam and gas engine turned the wheel. Many people could travel together, along with their possessions. A new era in transportation had come. (called traffic jams)                                                                                                             Go back to the 1400s when Gutenberg invented the printing press. This finally made it possible to print the written word and to distribute it to large groups of people. The printing press changed everything. 

In the last century or so we've seen the discovery of electricity, the invention of the light bulb, the first car rolled onto a city street and the Wright brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk NC..   It's pretty obvious with these inventions…. "that they changed everything."

In some people’s lifetime, they've seen the rise of computers, internet, cell phones, and wireless communications. As we all know, these things changed our culture, our society, our world and our lives forever.”                                                                                                            

Well, certainly we could say that the advent of computers, and all these other things we have mentioned, are all monumental events in human history, but none of them are as significant as the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. 

Our entire calendar is centered around Him. But the one event that makes Jesus so important, was His resurrection. Nothing else even comes close to so completely changing the world as Jesus' resurrection. More than anything else in all of history, as my message title declares, “The resurrection of Jesus "changes everything."                                                                                                  To all who believe, there is something wholly life-changing about the words: "He is risen!" The resurrection is the most defining moment of historybecause unlike all the other things that changed our lives, this event changed our lives now and in the life to come… Abundant life at a level, we could only dream of!!

Philippians 3:10 declares “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection”. In a way, we celebrate Easter every day….The New Testament reveals that the early Christians began meeting together on this new day (what we call Sunday) as a weekly commemoration and celebration of new life in Christ. That first day of the week was the day that everything changed. Because of Easter, every day becomes a new day for the believer, we live in new hope, second chances, new beginnings and new opportunities. This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!!

I saw a Cartoon of two Roman soldiers standing by the empty tomb. The stone is rolled away and one soldier says, “We’re in a heap of trouble, He did what He said He’d do!” 

But the other one is shrugging and says, “Don’t worry about it. A hundred years from now, no one will even remember.” 

But after 2000 years people do remember. And all the nay sayers have come and gone, but millions of God’s people still gather and remember what was done that first Sunday.

They remember that Fear was changed to faith….When you think about the disciples huddled in that locked upper room, scared to death….All those who have been there, know that the physical affects of fear are real and very intense. Difficulty breathing…Racing or pounding heart…Chest pain or tightness….Trembling or shaking….Feeling dizzy or lightheaded….A churning upset stomach.. and the Fear…it was real and it was paralyzing, and, understandably, they couldn’t seem to figure out what to do next, because the power of fear, messes up your purpose and your mission.   

Jesus must have known that a group of fear-full disciples who could only see the world through the limited lens of their own small perspective, would never, ever change the world without a radical change in themselves. The atmosphere needed to change, resurrection needed to become real for the disciples, so they could embrace the promise of what was ahead— and that was no less than a whole world that would be changed by the message of the open tomb and the ascension. We’ve been given boldness and courage by the empty cross and the empty tomb!!

(I’m going to let Paul preach this)

1 Corinthians 15:4 and that He was buried, and He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], 5 and He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time. 7 Then He was seen by James, then by all the apostles, 8 and last of all,  He appeared to me also”.

So Jesus shows up.  And when they see him—a switch is flipped somewhere on the inside of their spirit man.  It was as if they had received corrective lenses and the disciples could see what they couldn’t see before. FEAR….heart-stopping, life-crippling fear—was miraculously transformed into faith, hope and purpose. 

When the truth of the resurrection had sunk in, everything changed. The disciples saw the world in a whole new way; their perspectives radically shifted. It was enough to cause them to unlock the door to that dark room that had hidden them and they boldly marched out into Jerusalem and rewrote history. 

Paul goes on… 1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain [useless, good for nothing], and your faith is also vain [unfounded, devoid of value and benefit—not based on truth]. 15 We are even discovered to be false witnesses [misrepresenting] God, because we testified concerning Him that He raised Christ, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised, either 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and powerless [a mere delusion] and you are still in your sins [and under the control and penalty of sin]. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hope only in this life [and this is all there is], then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied”.

The fact of the resurrection, was enough to turn fearful, insecure, unsophisticated fishermen into bold proclaimers of Jesus’ Gospel. It was powerful enough, that they gave up their very lives for this glorious hope! Easter is the break point… The church has broken out, “Come out, come out, wherever you are”!!!!

Hebrews 10:35 “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompence of reward. (36) For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise”. Hallelujah the promise is ours!

Sorrow and Despair were Changed into Delirious Joy…As the women headed for the tomb on Friday, their hearts were heavy and their steps and attitudes as well. Their Despair was manifested as low self esteem, Sorrow, Suspicion, Anxiety, Lack of confidence, hopelessness, Depression, and Distress of soul and spirit. But when they arrived early Sunday morning at the tomb, the message they heard transformed their spiritual climate. He is not here, He is Risen!  And with that, they joyously ran to share the glad news with the rest of the disciples and the world. 

When your great sorrow and heaviness turns to joy, you can’t help but shareit with everyone! You can’t keep the overflow to yourself, you’ve got to tell somebody!                                                 (CAN YOU SAY TO SOMEONE…, “YOU NEED TO TELL SOMEBODY”)

Weakness and Powerlessness were changed into Power and Authority! This newly stirred deep conviction, brought about by the resurrection, was not intimidated by chains, imprisonments, banishments, hunger, fire, attacks by wild beasts, or the refined torments of cruel persecutors. It boldly stood in the face of gladiators, lions, and the dangers presented on the foreign field, in the midst of political, social, and religious hazards and peril. It was content, in knowing that to be absent from the body was to be present with the Lord. Death was no longer the end, but the beginning!

Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers, from the dungeon of Rome…. And there was no requests for an easier path, no requests for relief from persecution and opposition, no pleas for comfort and convenience….                                                                              Ephesians 6:19 “And for me, pray that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, v20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: for as long as I am here, that I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak”.

Friend, God will find a way to bless you, and turn things around so it worksfor good to the people who love and serve Him…. He will make a way, because He is the Way.

There is an account of a husband and wife who went out for breakfast, at a restaurant where the 'seniors' special' was two eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast for $2.99. “We’ll take the special, they said”. 'But the wife said I don't want the eggs, I can’t eat them.' 'Then, I'll have to charge you $6.49 because you're ordering a la carte,' the waitress cautioned. 'You mean Ihave to pay for not taking the eggs?' the wife asked, in amazement. 

!' stated the waitress. “Well, I'll take the special then”,' the wife said.. 'How do you want your eggs?' the waitress asked. 'The way you got them, Raw and in the shell,' the wife replied. Then she took the two eggs home and baked a cake. DON'T MESS WITH SENIORS!!! They’ll find a way to get it done! WE'VE been around the block more than once!

Easter is God letting us all know that He will find a way to get the blessing to you!!!! He’ll find a way to bring you from fear to faith, from sorrow into joy! From failure and defeat into more than conqueror!!

2 Corinthians 3:18 ”But we all, with open face beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”. 

We go to a physical mirror in order to behold our physical appearance. We look in a MIRROR in order to accomplish some CHANGES in our lives. We look and see…that spare tire, or that extra chin, or some sagging here or there, the grey hair is a little thinner…and we look and then decide to make a change. 

By the same token, we go to a SPIRITUAL MIRROR in order to realize our SPIRITUAL appearance. But the spiritual mirror has something the physical mirror doesn’t… it offers a vision of glory, and power and authority, that lets us know that change is on the way if we obey what we see. God’s mirror shows us the reflection of the resurrected Jesus, what is true of Him is true of us, HE’S THE IMAGE that we look into. If you want to know what is the true potential within yourself, look into the image of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

Previously, when someone was sick, you may have pitied the person and you encouraged them as best you could. Having looked into the image of Christ, now you lay hands on the sick and command the sickness to go! You now believe that by the same spirit, these signs shall follow you and that devils will come out, in Jesus name!!! There is always more to see in the mirror, as you look into the image of Christ Jesus!!!!  And we must realize that there are things we have not yet seen, that God wishes to REVEAL and UNVEIL to us, in Christ. So you can mark it down -- you do not yet see all there is for you to see at this time. The mirror, Christ Jesus will always reveal the truth…. (tell someone..”You ain’t seen nothing yet”)                                                                         3 people, a minister, a college professor, and a politician, walk into a tent at a circus they are at. There is nothing inside the tent but a mirror….

There is a sign next to the mirror, which reads: "This is a magic mirror. Say what you think and if what you say is true, amazing things happen. if you lie, you disappear forever...."They all agree that they will take the chance with the mirror. The minister says "I think I'm the holiest person in the world." Poof, the minister is gone. The Professor walks up and says: “I think I'm the smartest person in the world" poof, he’s gone. The Politician walks up to the mirror and says" I think.............and " poof, the politician is gone! 

The bible tells us that A middle-aged man is having a tough time….Hisfather and mother are both dead now, and he misses having them with him. He’s got problems with his teenage children. Economic problems and severe shortages, have hit the area where he lives. To make matters worse, it seems as if every time he accomplishes anything, someone else comes along and takes what he’s worked hard for all his life. It’s enough to make anyone want to give up... But FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING IN HIS LIFE.

A young man runs away from home. He knows that one of his own family members is out to kill him. He finds himself all alone and afraid in a place he’s never been before.

Where there used to be friends surrounding him, now there are only strangers in a strange land. His future looks grim. But FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING IN HIS LIFE.

A sincere and honest employee works hard, he is honest and productive, and yet has to put up with constant sexual harassment from one of his bosses. After refusing these unwanted advances, day after day, this honest, hard-working employee is accused of sexual misconduct by the very person who has been guilty of the harassment. The employee is thrown in jail to serve out an unwarranted sentence. And the outlook is bleak. But FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING IN HIS LIFE!

An elderly man is commanded by God to confront the world’s most powerful leader and demand freedom for his people. He doesn’t want to do it. He would much prefer staying in the quite, familiar, solitude of his home. He feels weak and afraid, and completely inadequate. But FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING IN HIS LIFE! There’s another man who just lost his best friend and the mentor who has been there most of his life, and now he is called on to take his place. He is filled with many insecurities, a sense of inaptitude and grief. He knows that his dead friend was the sort of man that he could never replace. How can he possibly handle the responsibility of it all? But FOUR WORDS CHANGED EVERYTHING IN HIS LIFE!                                                       These words that changed everything, are the words that transfer the amazing transforming power of the resurrection to us today!

They are “I Am With You” …Those four words changed everything for a middle-aged struggler named Isaac…. They changed the life of a frightened runaway named Jacob… They vindicated a wrongfully imprisoned employee named Joseph… Those four words changed everything for Moses, the timid 80-year-old……They gave strength to Joshua, the man who had to fill the shoes of Moses.                                                               And the resurrected Christ, speaks the same to us today…                                                     Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: v20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. 

God has sent this message, in His behalf to say to you….I AM WITH YOU! That power is available everywhere we go and whatever we are dealing with.You see, this resurrection power is not about everything turning out OK, according to our comfort zone, or our felt needs and perceptions, it is about being OK, no matter how things turn out.                                                                                                                                                When David showed up at the confrontation between Goliath, and the Israeli army, No one else is talking about God… David is talking about no one else BUT GOD! David sees what others don’t and He refuses to have his gaze brought down bywhat others are seeing. For 40 days, everyone else has focused on Goliath, but David shows up and focuses on noone else but God! While everyone else Is paralyzed at this huge problem that confronts them, David runs to confront and resolve the problem because he is seeing the bigger picture. GREATER IS HE THAT IS WITH HIM, THAN HE THAT IS AGAINST HIM!

How long has it been since you ran towards your challenge instead of away from it? How long has it been since you became part of the solution and not the problem.    Will Rogers said, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is confronted can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is confronted.”

Marian Edelman said “It is a time for greatness not for greed. It’s time for idealism not ideology. It is a time for compassionate action, not just compassionate words.”                                                                     2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  

(7)  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (8)  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; (9)  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; (10)  Always bearing about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus might be manifest in our mortal flesh”.  

Jesus arose and sat down at the right hand of God, so that each of us could have access to that place of favor and Divine grace. He arose to a place of favor, so that we by God’s favor might rise above everything that would seem to ensnare, entrap and confine us. We are risen together with Him, that He through us, might show the world His resurrection power in the everyday tests and trials of our lives. 

THE ENEMY KNOWS OF YOUR POWER, and he is actually more fearful of you than you could ever be of him….Just like Jesus’ disciples were then, The church may seem at times to be a rag-tag group of everyday folks, with Low or non-existent budgets, Untrained soldiers, Underpaid leaders, With highly criticized efforts, and with a task which seems unattainable, unimaginable, and unreachable. But God can, do for us what He did for those lepers who walked out of Samaria, towards the Asyrian army encampment in 2 Kings 7:1-6. When they got to the camp, it was empty and everything was left behind…This tells us that God will Amplify our voice, Magnify our work, Glorify our endeavors, Rectify our failures, Mystify our enemies, and Multiply our labors!! Let me say that again!      

I’ve said it before….There is a huge difference between a Thermometer and a Thermostat. A Thermometer tells you what the temperature in a room is, a Thermostat determines the temperature in the room! Tell someone, You Are A Thermostat!!!

A Thermometer tells you what has changed, a Thermostat makes things change. “Easter calls us to us, to be a thermostat and not a thermometer!

Easter declares that change is coming……

Someone sent me an e-mail about a longtime Kansas wheat farmer who had a terrible fight with his wife about getting rid of all their credit cards, which were getting overwhelming. He dies and finds himself in Hell. The devil says, "Pretty hot down here, isn’t it?" The old farmer says, "No, not really." The devil goes over to a thermostat and turns up the heat and says, "What do you think now?" The old farmer replies, "I was a wheat farmer in Kansas for more than 70 years. I know what hot is." This really ticks off the devil, so he goes over to the thermostat and cranks it all the way up. "What do you think now?" he asks with an evil laugh.

The farmer gets out his handkerchief, wipes his brow and replies, "It’s warm, but have you ever sat on a tractor in a 100 acre Kansas wheat field, in the middle of August? Now that’s hot." Angrily, the devil storms over and turns the temperature all the way down. Suddenly, everything is freezing, with long icicles hanging from the ceiling. "Well what do you think of that!" roars the devil. All the farmer can do is laugh. "What’s so funny?" asks the devil. The farmer can’t answer because he’s on his hands and knees laughing so hard, he can’t speak. " I asked you, what’s so funny!" the devil roars. Finally the farmer gets up, wipes the tears of relief from his eyes and replies, “My wife told me when hell freezes over….Looks like my wife is going to cut up her credit cards after all!"….Don’t wait for hell to freeze over to make the change!

When God told the prophet Jeremiah, to go down to the potter’s house and watch the potter, as he works with the clay, He was comparing each of us to clay in the potters hands. When the fingers of God begin to press and squeeze upon your life, it’s time to just yield to Him and trust that He knows how to shape and form you, better than you do. Even when God is preparing a blessing, there is pressure and squeezing. 

James 1:3 “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing”. Instead of waiting for change to come, let’s be the changethat’s coming! When we are filled with the resurrection reality, new life rushes in and we begin to see and hear the evidence of it everywhere, and every situation we are in.                                                            Old thoughts and desires are replaced with new ones that center around Christ and His Word. Old habits are being replaced with new habits of prayer, worship, fellowship and witness. Oh yes, You’re on your way to living and moving in the power of Christ’s resurrection.

Let the church of the resurrected Christ, ARISE, AND WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE, because The Resurrection Changes Everything!!!! He speaks to us on this side of the empty tomb what He spoke to Isaiah on the other side… 

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not; for I am with you, be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you, yea, I will help you,  yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness”. Speak Your Resurrection message, into our hearts and lives, Lord Jesus. And we shall never be the same!!! The Resurrection Changes Everything!!

Let us Pray together… 

Lord, You are the potter, I am the clay. You are the Potter and I am the work of Your hands". Thank you for Your resurrection power, which is working and shaping me from the inside out. You are causing me to be equal to the changes I am facing, they are pushing me to learn, and as my mind expands and grows, my spirit is strong, and my future is bright. Any setbacks I experience are only temporary, and I am growing more confident, with each day. Help me to be willing to see resurrection power in all things, so that I may act in harmony with my best, and highest self. I pray that I may give the benefit of the doubt to all those I meet, because you believed in me, when I didn’t even have confidence in myself. May I come to understand, that there are blessings everywhere, if I will just look for them. Lord, You are teaching me, that, when I maintain a positive attitude, it makes things go so much smoother. May I always remember, that each person is unique and important, and that each relationship in my life has a special value. Bless the new choices I am making, as I forsake even the good things for the best things, as I press forward into all things which You have designed for my life. Open my spirit to accept new challenges, new people, new opportunities, and new experiences. I bless each new undertaking with a winning attitude, careful planning, good timing, clear direction, financial integrity, and Your favor. In everything, I seek to give you Glory, Honor, and all the Credit, In Jesus Name I pray and confess, Amen

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