From the Pastor’s Study – April 19th, 2017

Sunday worship

As we’ve done the last few years, we began our Easter Sunday at Grace with a hymn sing and breakfast. When the sun rises close to 5 a.m., as it does now in Wasilla, a sunrise Easter service isn’t very practical. But we still began the day with praise for our risen Savior.

At the morning service I preached on the resurrection of Christ. While the resurrection is an inexhaustible subject for preaching and meditation, the empty tomb means at least these three things:

  1. We are a redeemed people. The raising of Jesus from the dead is good news for sinners because by it he has conquered death for us, forever. Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross as a sacrifice on behalf of guilty sinners would have gained us nothing had he remained lifeless in the tomb. There would be no victory over the grave for us. Our faith would be futile, we’d still be in our sins, and as Christians we’d be the sorriest people in the world as we worship a dead savior who is thus no savior at all (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). But praise God that Jesus is in fact raised from the dead (v.20)! His resurrection is the guarantee of our redemption.
  2. We are to think as a redeemed people. In Romans 6:1-11 Paul dives deep into the significance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He declares that Christ’s death on the cross is our death to sin, and Christ’s resurrection from the dead is our resurrection from spiritual death to new life. In other words, just as surely Jesus was crucified some 2,000 years ago, and just as surely he emerged alive from the tomb three days later, so surely have we died to sin’s dominion over us and have been made alive with Christ. Therefore, we must not think of ourselves as slaves to sin (as we once were), but we must “consider (ourselves) dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). If your faith is in Christ, know that you are dead to sin and alive to righteousness. And therefore,…
  3. We are to live as a redeemed people. We were raised up with Christ in his resurrection that we might “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). And to enable us to walk in this new life, the exalted Christ has given us from heaven the gift of the Holy Spirit. And he is none other than the Spirit of God who by his awesome power raised up Jesus from the dead, and therefore it is nothing other than the Spirit’s resurrection power that enables us to live lives pleasing God our Father and Redeemer (Romans 8:9-11). By the grace of God, we can walk in newness of life. And as – by grace – we do, we testify to the reality and power of the empty tomb.

And speaking of the Holy Spirit, at the evening service we considered his ministry as we looked at Lord’s Day 20 of the Heidelberg Catechism. Praise God for the Spirit whom he gives us “personally”! For “he makes me share in Christ and all his blessings, comforts me, and remains with me forever” (Q & A 53).

Soli Deo Gloria!

Pastor Scott