In this sermon, Pastor Neil talks about the resurrection of Christ Jesus and what it reveals– God’s great mercy, new birth, and a living hope. Here are some excerpts:
The resurrection of Jesus reveals God’s great mercy. Mercy, like grace, is totally undeserved. If you deserve it, it isn’t mercy. Mercy can be defined as compassion or forbearance shown to an offender or to someone who is subject to your power (www.merriam-webster.com). If justice means getting what you deserve for something you’ve done, mercy means you don’t get the punishment you deserve. Mercy is at the heart of God’s saving work.
In Ephesians 2:4-5, after explaining how and why we are all deserving of God’s judgment, Paul says: “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love for us, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” The Message says: “Immense in mercy and with an incredible love, (God) embraced us. He took our sin- dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on His own, with no help from us…”
…The resurrection of Jesus also demonstrates His power to give us a “new birth” through faith in Him. When we come to Jesus in trusting faith, when we believe in Him and His saving power, we receive a “new birth into a living hope” (1:3). We are born again – spiritually – as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3. If you are in Christ, Paul writes – if you believe in Him, if you trust in Him and Him alone to save you from your sins – you are “a new creation; the old has gone;” you are a new person in and through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)…
…But the resurrection of Jesus offers more than just a new birth or a new life. It brings us hope. A living hope. A hope that lives. A child explained hope this way: “Hope is wishing for something you know isn’t going to happen.” Is that all there is to hope? Is it just wishful thinking?
No way. That is not what the word “hope” means in the Bible. It is not what Peter means when he talks about having “a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” In the Bible, hope is a strong confidence, a settled assurance, a full and complete certainty that God will do what He has promised, that God will fulfill His good and gracious purposes, that God will bring to completion the redeeming, transforming work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6). You can count on it. It is not merely wishful thinking or wistful longing. It is something you can be sure of…
Because Jesus lives, hope lives. The resurrection of Jesus resurrects hope in our lives and makes it alive in us. The resurrection of Jesus means that we can face uncertain days because He lives. It means that we can face the final enemy – death – without fear, because we know the final enemy has been defeated and does not have the last word. Jesus does!
So, let us sing and shout our “praise … to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).
Pastor Neil has a lot more to say on this topic. Please click on the link below to hear this message in its entirety.