Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim
Life In The Resurrected Lord
What does the Resurrection mean to you. I want to emphasis four things from the Bible that the Resurrection can mean.
1. It can mean a pardoned life
2. It can mean a peaceful life.
3. It can mean a powerful life
4. It can mean a purposeful life.
1. It can mean a pardoned life.
Acts 13:36-39 36 "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers, and underwent decay; 37 but He whom God raised did not undergo decay. 38 "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. NAS
A. Notice the . . Proclamation of this Pardon.
I want to make the emphasis of this. First of all, the proclamation of this pardon. In verse 38, therefore, let it be known to you that this forgiveness is proclaimed to you. That there is the possibility of the forgiveness of sin. Do you really believe that your sin can be forgiven? Do you really believe that there is the possibility that the record of your sin could be canceled, pardoned, or erased clean? That's what the scripture brings to us. That's what Jesus' death and followed by the Resurrection means to all of us. All of us will have to admit that we have sinned. What about that sin?
In our FAITH Witness outline, there is an emphasis that without the forgiveness of sin, no one can have eternal life or heaven. That's a Biblical truth. Without the forgiveness of sin, there cannot be eternal life or heaven. All right, then we go on in the outline and we emphasis "all of us have sinned". I like to ask the question this way, "do you have any problem admitting you have sinned in your lifetime?" Invariably, I get a smile from a person from that question.. Because all of us know that we have sinned. Well, if eternal life is not a possibility, if heaven is not a possibility as long as we are sinful, then how is God going to let anybody like us into heaven? God will not allow sin into heaven. But you know what many people think, well, you know somehow or other God has a scale that measures sin. And the big ones can keep you out but the little ones wouldn't matter and you could get in. That's not according to the Bible.
You know, you can have any theology or any kind of a philosophy you want if it is not based on anything but your opinion or my opinion. But if you base it on the Word of God, the Word of God says that there must be forgiveness, there must be a pardon, there must be a cleansing that can only come through the Resurrected Lord.
Let me ask you this question. Do you have a pardoned life? Do you know that your sins have been forgiven, that they are pardoned? That is the possibility that the Resurrected Lord can give to us.
B. Notice the . . Privilege of this Pardon. v 39
Secondly, notice in verse 39 the privilege of the pardon. And through Him everyone who believes in Him is freed from all things which you could not be freed through the law. You see what He is saying?
Now if you do your best and you keep the law. You be the person that has kept the law better than anyone that's ever lived other than Christ and guess what? It's not going to free you from sin because this verse says ". . . you could not be freed through the law." That says by my good works I can get into heaven. The Bible says, elsewhere ". . . not of works lest any one should boast". And so, there is a pardon that is possible through the Resurrected Lord.
I want to illustrate that by this: Look at this here piece of paper. Now I just want to pretend with you, and you pretend with me, that this is a list of my sins. If my wife were ut here she'd say you better get more paper Jim; Your list is bigger than that. All right, I'll go along. The list is bigger than that but just for the case of my illustration, let's just say those represent my sins, there are many. You might say well this person was a really good person. They maybe only sinned once a week. Well, that's 52 times a year over ten years, that's 520 times. You see how those sins, even if your a great person, could build up. What's going to happen to them? They can't be freed by the works of the law. Our scripture just said ". . . through Him, . . . " through this pardon that He gives, through this forgiveness that He gives, your sins can be forgiven whereas the law didn't free this will. How is this going to happen?
Now look at this piece of paper. It says my sins have been canceled,
paid in full, forgiven. That's what the debt reads. It reads paid in full,
canceled, forgiven. How so, because of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done.
My sin list is canceled.
You can have a pardoned life through the Resurrection of our Lord.
2. The Resurrected Lord Can Give You A . . Peaceful Life.
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies,
The Resurrected Lord can give you a peaceful life. Now friends around our congregation today and in the balcony, I am certain that there are people who will say you don't know what's happened in this week or in my upcoming week, you don't know what I'm looking forward to a month from now. You don't know about the things that could cause me a lack of peace. That's true, but I know this. There's a peaceful possibility in Jesus Christ. He can give you peace. The Resurrected Lord can do this.
A. Notice the . . Presence of this Peace. v 19,
Notice the passage of scripture that is printed there. 19 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus therefore said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." . . . 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore were saying to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."
Stop there a moment. I like Thomas. You know if there is a possibility of me knowing something for myself or just believing somebody else's report, I'm going to try to find out for myself. Because when somebody else asks me, I don't want to say I believe this because John, Mary, or Fred said it, I want to be able to say, if I can, I saw it for myself. I put my hand in His hands, I put my hand in His side. Now that's not possible for us today. We do have to believe the other testimony but Thomas was not going to believe just because of their words.
26 And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, "Peace be with you." 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing." 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
What a beautiful passage of scripture. Thomas was one who had a doubt. He was refusing to believe but when he saw for himself, he fell on his knees and honored the Lord. I want you to notice from this passage of scripture "the presence of His peace" . Three times in this passage of scripture Jesus said peace be to you, peace be with you, peace be with you. The emphasis is the Resurrected Lord has the ability to give peace. You can have peace regardless of the situation you are in. Regardless of what is facing you, regardless of what might come. There is the possibility of peace
B. Notice the . . Proof of this Peace. v 27-28
What's the proof? Jesus said ". . . your hand in My hand, put your hand in My side". Now I want to tell you this, Jesus is not a debtor to anybody. God is not a debtor to anyone. If you really want to investigate God, do all you can do, to do it. Because He'll not be your debtor, He'll prove Himself to you.
Many of you have been into our house. And as you go out the front door, right up on the wall by the front door there is a picture of Jesus and the children. I got that picture from a person who had gotten it from a lady friend of theirs who paints for the Pasadena Art Gallery. It is a well done painting.
When I would go to visit in his home, (when I was pastor out in California), I would say to them, "Boy, I really like that picture. I really like that." I was just admiring it and being thankful for the picture. I didn't have any desire or have any thought in mind that they were going to give me the picture someday. I was just admiring the picture.
But the husband in that home was not a Christian and said, "I just don't believe there is a God." He was what you would call an Agnostic. I'm just not sure. I said, "Would you like to be sure?" He said, "Yes, I would." I said, "Would you do this? First thing in the morning, you get on your knees and ask God to reveal Himself. First thing in the morning, I'll get on my knees and ask God to reveal Himself to you. Would you do that? And your going to say to this God you do not know this kind of a prayer, "God if You are, then let me know about it. Will you do that?"
And he said, "Yes, I would." A few weeks later in our church, he came forward and I said, "why are you coming forward?" He said, "God has revealed Himself to me." And I've seen that happen several times. If you really want the proof, the Lord is in the business of giving proof. He's giving you proof by giving you His peace. And if a person will come to Him and receive the pardon that He alone gives, there is also a peace that follows it. He will do it in a multitude of ways.
I went Wednesday to try to be with the Reavis' as Craig was going have this surgical procedure. They drew fluid off the heart and were to have that analyzed to see what that problem is. They're thinking it's pneumonia up to that point. The doctor came in and I was sitting there and I've never met this doctor before but Brenda said he has the reputation of being blunt and cold. Well he was straight forward but he wasn't cold. And he was a Christian man and he related that to us.
Before he got there, Brenda said, "Pastor, I've got a peace that I can't understand. I've got a peace and in the midst of this, I've just got a terrific, tremendous peace." I said, "Amen! Amen! Great! Who gave you that peace to you?" "Well, the Lord did." "all right." "Well, you know I've got peace that there's going to be nothing wrong." Well, you know, I've been in too many situations where in addition to that peace, there is something wrong. So I just tried to be neutral on that point.
The doctor comes in and says "if I was a betting man, I would bet your husband has lymphoma cancer. Well, then after he left, I said, "Brenda, what about your peace?" She said, "It hasn't changed a bit." I said, "Amen!"
Maybe the peace wasn't for this immediate situation. Maybe the peace is for something else down the road. Maybe it's to carry you all through this situation. So then on Friday, I'm just going up there for some personal reasons, and I included a visit to the hospital. When I got there at 2:30, they just had gotten the results back from this fluid and it's inconclusive. And so they accept that as a great word. Brenda said "I still have a great peace". They got the word there will be a bone scan at 3:00. Well, I had prayer with them and left.
Saturday afternoon we get the word, the bone scan says that it is lymphoma cancer. He's got it from his toes to his head. So we went back up last night and Brenda came out talking in the hallway. (There was a whole lot of people in there, so in order to get some private time, Brenda came out to us). I didn't ask her to but she volunteered. And she said, "Pastor, I've still got my peace." "Amen! I don't know why you've got that peace. I don't know what the Lord is trying to tell you in the midst of that peace. By I know he can give that kind of peace.
But I want to tell you this. You could go up and down that hallway last night there was room after room where there were people all gathered. They must have gotten some bad news about cancer. There was no room that you could see immediately that had the peace that this room had. Why? Because the Lord is in the business of giving peace. The Resurrected Lord gives peace.
The theme verse, Jesus said to her I am the Resurrection and Life. He who believes in Me shall live even if he dies. You know, it is so great to have that kind of a peace when you walk through those kinds of situations. But you may not have a situation anything like that, the Lord is still in the business of giving peace. The Resurrected Lord gives the pardon and gives the peace.
3. The Resurrected Lord Can Give You A . . Powerful Life.
Eph. 1:19 & 21. Eph. 1:19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believes. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seating Him at the right hand in heavenly places. 21 Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named. Not only in this age but in the age to come. Amen! I like that verse of scripture. That is not only for now but it's going to be forever, forever.
A. Notice the . . Direction of this Power. v 19
Notice the direction of this power in verse 19. And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us. Toward us. Some of you remember a Wednesday Night service maybe nine years ago, something like that. I had a print out on the word "power" as it is used in the Bible. I held the print out high and it still reached the floor.
I have always been concerned and I'm still very concerned about spiritual power. I would like to be a person who had spiritual power. It's not something that you can work up, it's something that God gives. And I want to be in line for that gift. I want to be where that gift flows. And so, I did this study of the scriptures of the word power. Most of the verse in that print out had to do with a relationship with power and the Word of God.
There's power in the Word. There's power in the blood. There's power in the Word. Notice these words from verse 19 ". . . greatness of His power toward us . . . ". It says and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. And so the direction is toward us and display is that above all rule and authority, power, and dominion and every name that is named. Not only in this age but the one to come. The power of God.
Last Sunday morning I finished the revival services over in Illinois. They had a fellowship dinner.
We probably got away from there about 2 or 2:30, something like that.
Thirty-three years ago I recommended a friend of mine to a neighboring town, to be the pastor of First Baptist of Gillespie. Well, he's still there. Thirty three years in the same church. So on the way home, we stopped by there to see him. I think I've seen him since I've been pastor here but maybe not. So it's about 10 years or a little more since I've seen him. Now, he hasn't changed much in ten years but I must have changed in those years, (hard to believe), but I must have.
I knocked on his door, he answered the door and looked at me and said, "Yes." I just stood there and he said, "Can I help you?" And I said, "Ray, you don't recognize me do you?" And he said, "Great scott McCullen, a voice from the past." So we came in and we talked and Pat, his wife, was not there. Where is she? She's in the hospital in Springfield, Illinois. He said "I almost lost her this week." We talked about the difficulty she's having. Tremendous onset of Diabetes in her life, she's gone blind, it's affected her kidney's and she's on dialysis. Just everything.
I called yesterday and he said, "Well, Jim she went home Friday." I said do you mean home home or heaven home. He said he meant heaven home. Well, I said, "How are you doing?" He said, "Great! Let me tell you about it. She just started refusing to take the dialysis. She said I am not fooling around with that anymore so tell them to stop it. I'm not taking it. And I said well okay." On Wednesday night the family was all there and she just said, "I feel like singing. Let's sing." And so the family, (and they've got 5 kids, and the in-laws, the out-laws) and everybody and they had the room packed. They started singing and they are really good singers.
The Crews family, if any of you have ever heard of them, Ray Ditch's wife is a Crews. And so they're singing and they're just tremendous singers. Then he said, "Man we sang up until midnight." I said, "In the hospital you sang. Didn't they stop you, didn't they give you problems?" He said, "Jim, I've never seen anything like it. He said the nuns were pushing people out there in wheelchairs, they put chairs around." And he said, "You know, people from other floors were coming. They even put it on the intercom and played it all over the hospital."
He said, "one of my daughters, Jean, she had to leave for a moment and she was walking down the hallway. Somebody called to her and said are you one of those people in that angel choir?" He said, "One of those people that came and sat out there got saved."
He said, "I've never seen anything so powerful in all my life." In the midst of someone dying, the power of God. The power for that family, the power for that lady, the power for somebody who's in the hospital who's getting saved.
I've got a little collection in my mind of where people were saved. In that church where I preached the revival, one lady got saved changing a diaper. She said, "you know, it just got to me that I'm just about as messed up as this diaper is and I need the Lord." One of the farmers was just uncertain about his salvation on Sunday he came and said, "Pastor, I want to tell you that I got down at the end of one of the rows where I was planting and I just got down off my tractor and got down on my knees and I got saved." You can get saved just any place. But how many persons would say I was saved in the hallway of a hospital because some people who were celebrating the death of their mom and wife were praising the Lord and I got saved.
Well, I want to tell you friend, that is the kind of power that is available
in Christ. He gives power.
4. The Resurrected Lord Can Give You A . . Purposeful Life.
Notice the theme text again Jesus said to her I am the Resurrection and Life. He that liveth and believeth in Me will live even if he dies.
I just might sing my song to you, my little chorus.
I may die but I won't be dead. I'm going raise up my head on heaven's shore and praise the Lord forever more, more more. Yes I may die but I won't be dead cause I'll lift up my head on heaven's shore. To praise the Lord forever more.
Amen? Amen! Amen! Applause!!!
As I look to the Minister of Music I said "The singing always
gets applause. What about the preaching? "
A. The Purpose of . . Focus. Col 3:1-2
But I want you to notice the purpose of this focus. Look at that scripture Col. 3:1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep thinking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
You want to know how to get in the doldrums and get depressed? Think about things of this world. You want to know how to get on praise land? Think about the things of Heaven and God.
I've told you this, I don't know how many times. And I always say that I've told you because I don't want you to think that I don't remember. I don't want someone saying "see, the old man is getting senile he doesn't even remember what he's said". I know what I've talked about, but you know something, repetition is good. Repetition is how you learn something. If I hadn't told it a hundred times, some of you never would have learned it.
But when I got saved, you know, during that time I was at a party, and I had most of the things that a 20 year old would like, I was at a party until 1:00 A. M. and the things of the world were going on at that party.
And as I am driving away from it, left kind of in disgust, I said to myself I don't want to go in that direction. You see, I had an alcoholic Dad and I said if I keep this up, I'm going to be a drunk. You see, I wanted more out of life than the things that the world gives. I wanted something with purpose and I just seemed to cry out to God not really knowing whether I knew Him as Savior or not (and I did not know Him). I just seemed to cry out to Him, God there has got to be more to life than what I'm experiencing. My life is empty, my life has no purpose. You know what, since I gave my heart to the Lord, right in about that time, 43 years ago I'm involved in what is purposeful. You know, I have the privilege of helping people in so many different ways. The Lord has given me a purpose in my life and it is directly related originally to the fact that He saved my life.
You see if you're saved and you really know you are, you know something
that the rest of the world, much of them, don't know. And they can, you
know, kind of spew out their venom at you but that doesn't really matter.
Jesus saves. Whatever they think about His name, it is a name above every
name now and in the world to come.
B. The Purpose of . . Faith. Rom 8:28
Notice also, the purpose of things. Romans 8:28. You probably don't think about this verse with this particular word in mind so much but it says that we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God to those who are called according to His purpose. Ever focus on the last words, called according to His purpose? What's God's purpose in calling you? To save you number one, but not save you and have you just sit and die.
I have to find me a place to sit down to emphasis this. I've been saved, so now I'll just sit around and watch everybody else do everything. That's not the way it works. I have a baseball sermon I preached at a camp again last year and I emphasized that when you're born, you come up to the plate. First base is salvation, second base is church membership, third base is discipleship, and home is heaven. You know what many people seem to do, go to first base and then go sit in the dugout to watch the ball game. Not what you're supposed to do.
You've been saved for a purpose. Some say "Oh well, someday I'll get around to that purpose". You know one thing is so good about the Praise Band is that it gives those young people some way to participate in the worship service. You know they are excited coming into church not so much that they are going to hear somebody else sing or somebody preach, they are involved. And that's what is so great about it. But see we've got to have a purpose.
This story I received twice on email but Dorothy Pierce got a set of taped sermons from Ed Young, pastor of Second Baptist in Houston, Texas and allowed me to use them. He tells the story also.
Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns.
One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns. When he walked into that waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her. Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way:
Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Then she would explain the meaning of Easter, and many times people would be saved. Dr. Phillips walked into that office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure. Edith began by saying, "My name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?"
Beverly said, "Why yes I do." Edith said, "Well, what do you believe about Easter?" Beverly said, "Well, it's all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up." Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led her to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Dr. Phillips said, "Beverly, don't call Edith into the office quite yet. I believe there is another delivery taking place in the waiting room. After being called back in the doctor's office, Edith sat down and when she took a look at the doctor she said, "Dr. Will, why are you so sad?
Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying?" Dr. Phillips said gently, "Edith, I'm the doctor and you're the patient." With a heavy heart he said, "Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, you're not going to live very long."
Edith said, "Why Will Phillips, shame on you. Why are you so sad? Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me I'm going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends. You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!"
Dr. Phillips thought to himself, "What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!" Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips. Christmas came and the office was closed through January 3rd. On the day the office opened, Edith did not show up. Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moving her story to the hospital and said, "Will, I'm very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter."
Well, they did just that and women began to come in and share that room with Edith. Many women were saved. Everybody on that floor from staff to patients were so excited about Edith, that they started calling her Edith Easter; that is everyone except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse. Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a "religious nut".
She had been a nurse in an army hospital. She had seen it all and heard it all. She was the original G.I. Jane. She had been married three times, she was hard, cold, and did everything by the book.
One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick. Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said, "Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you."
Phyllis Cross said, "Well, you can quit praying for me, it won't work. I'm not interested." Edith said, "Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family." Phyllis Cross said, "Then you will never die because that will never happen," and curtly walked out of the room.
Every day Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, "God loves you Phyllis and I love you, and I'm praying for you." One day Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edith's room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the bed and Edith said, "I'm so glad you have come, because God told me that today > is your special day."
Phyllis Cross said, "Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, 'Do you believe in Easter?' but you have never asked me." Edith said, Phyllis, I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked..."
Edith Burns took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter Story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Edith said, "Phyllis, do you believe in Easter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?" Phyllis Cross said, "Oh I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life." Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart. For the first time Phyllis Cross did not walk out of a hospital room, she was carried out on the wings of angels.
Two days later, Phyllis Cross came in and Edith said, "Do you know what day it is?" Phyllis Cross said, "Why Edith, it's Good Friday." Edith said, "Oh, no, for you every day is Easter.
Happy Easter Phyllis!"
Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Phyllis Cross came into work, did some of her duties and then went down to the flower shop and got some Easter lilies because she wanted to go up to see Edith and give her some Easter lilies and wish her a Happy Easter. When she walked into Edith's room, Edith was in bed. That big black Bible was on her lap. Her hands were in that Bible.
There was a sweet smile on her face.
When Phyllis Cross went to pick up Edith's hand, she realized Edith was dead. Her left hand was on John 14: "In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4, " And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
Phyllis Cross took one look at that dead body, and then lifted her face
toward heaven, and with tears streaming down here cheeks, said, "Happy
Easter, Edith - Happy Easter!" Phyllis Cross left Edith's body, walked
out of the room, and over to a table where two student nurses were sitting.
She said, "My name is Phyllis Cross. Do you believe in Easter?"
What happened to Phyllis Cross? She got pardoned and she got a purpose. And it was all from the Resurrected Lord. Let me ask, have you been pardoned? Have you taken your sin debt to the Lord and got it settled? I like that country/western song "I Took It To The Keeper And Settled It Long Ago, Long Ago." What about you? Let's stand together.
Let me ask you this morning do you believe in Easter?
The resurrection can give"
A . . Pardon Life.
A . . Peaceful Life.
A . . Powerful Life.
A . . Purposeful Life.