Preparing the Way
Sermon Reflections from Preparing the Way | Alex Hardt | April 2, 2023
Pastor Alex’s sermon on Palm Sunday morning began with sobering thoughts. How much are you swayed by gossip or in our modern day ‘fake news’? The Pharisee’s wanted to have Jesus GONE! He was a threat to them as he had the support of the people and called them to be accountable. They spread ‘fake news’ about Him- that He was claiming to be a King and that he wanted to start a rebellion against Rome. Neither of those were true but gathered fake witnesses to lie and condemn him. According to Jewish law at least 2 witnesses were required to convict someone of a crime, and they gathered the needed witnesses and brought them to court. We know the reasons for their actions but why did the people go along with them? Why did they listen? Perhaps it was because they were the religious leaders who had power over them and could cause great harm to them personally if they did not go along to get along. Or perhaps they agreed with them and thought Jesus was guilty. Whatever the reasons God allowed it to happen. God had a plan and in that plan to redeem us their needed to be a perfect sacrifice. Jesus was that sacrifice.
Hebrews 9:20 “so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Jesus was an obedient son as Philippians 2:8 attests, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Jesus knew it was the Father’s will that He go to the cross. One of our memory verses for this week puts it this way, 2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus knew his death was the key to our restoration and redemption. Thank you Jesus.
Just as the Pharisee’s had a way of redefining truth in their day so the world seeks to deceive us and deny the truth of Jesus and God’s Word. We need to cling to the knowledge that God’s truth frees us from the bondage of sin. Romans 6:6-8 “ For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” Praise God our freedom begins when we accept Jesus as our Savior and goes into eternity with us. Christ gives us eternal freedom. He transforms us from sinner to saint through our faith in His work on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. Believers are often referred to as saints in the Old and New Testament. Psalm 34:9 “Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! Colossians 1:12-13 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” We His saints have been transformed! Thank you Jesus.
Pastor Alex’s last point was about the impact and importance of the resurrection. Paul makes a case for the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 “Now, brothers and sisters, 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.” If Christ was not raised from the dead, our faith is in vain. Paul continues in verses 12-120 “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Just like Paul and the early believers, if we do not believe in the resurrection all is lost. If Christ could not be raised from the dead then neither can we. However, Christ was raised! He was seen by the disciples as they talked and ate with him. Besides the disciples, over 500 people attested to Him being alive as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:5-7 “ and that he appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” He had indeed risen! Thank you Jesus.
Come Resurrection Sunday, be ready to reply, “HE HAS RISEN INDEED!” It is true and a life changer for all who believe.
See you next Sunday!
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