I am preaching at Drayton Christian Reformed Church this weekend for Good Friday and Easter Morning. I am pumped to be able to preach these very important worship services in the church I grew up in. Here are two snippets of the sermon I preached on Good Friday, and the one I will be preaching tomorrow:
For several months I regularly visited a person who served time in a medium security prison. Every time I visited him, it was always a lengthy ordeal. I had to go through security and a couple of barred doors, and finally, after waiting some more, we would be able to talk. We sat down between a very thick pane of Plexiglas. We picked up the old phone handles and talked. Each time we did, I was always struck by how clear I could see my own reflection in the Plexiglas. I could still see my friend on the other side, but the Plexiglass was so thick it served partly as a mirror. As he talked, my face would morph into his and my brain would have to refocus: ‘snap out of it, that’s not me in there.’ I mention this experience because sometimes we look at ourselves as a people still imprisoned in sin. Because we still struggle with it, we feel defined by it, or we get confused into thinking that we are still bound to it. But, my brothers and sisters, you have been crucified with Christ! We are no longer shackled up and imprisoned. Those in Christ are dubbed forgiven and washed clean by his blood. More than that, we have been taken out of prison and given the cloak of Christ’s righteousness. It’s so important that when we look at what Jesus did on the cross, that we no longer see ourselves as sinners, but as saved sinners! That’s why Good Friday is so good!
Were you there when they crucified my Lord? If you desire to follow Jesus, you have to be there, you must be there, you are called to be there. Jesus wants your old infected self to die with him. He hangs with arms wide open ready and willing and wanting to cover our shame. You remember the act of grace God showed Adam and Eve as they left the Garden of Eden? God covered their feelings of shame by slaughtering an animal and fashioning leather garments for them. That was a foreshadowing of what was to come in Christ. Jesus served as our sacrifice and his righteousness now fashions our insides...
... We focused on how we participate in the crucifixion on Good Friday. Today we focus on how we participate in the resurrection: Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Colossians 3:3: “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Romans 6:4: “We were buried… in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:5: “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Romans 6:8: “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” Ephesians 2:5: “Even when we were dead in our trespasses, [He] made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”
Alive in Christ. Resurrection Life. Christians come awake because we are united with Christ in his resurrection. Our old self died with him, our new self rises with him. And that changes everything. Resurrection Life changes everything. Resurrection Life means denying yourself in order to let God’s desires to shine through you. Resurrection Life means giving instead of getting, assisting instead of accumulating, sacrificing instead of storing, generosity instead of gathering, people instead of possessions, salvation instead of self-indulgence. Resurrection Life means moving within the Holy Spirit’s motion in 2014 in order for the church to be known as the most caring, humble, generous, and life-giving institution on the planet!