Wednesday, April 10, 2013

sermon "The Power of the Resurrection" by Pastor Ruth Foss, Suncook United Methodist Church, April 7, 2013

April 7, 2013
2nd Sunday of Easter
Worship Theme: Something bigger than ourselves
Acts 5: 27-32 CEB
John 20:19-31 Gods Word Bible
Revelation 1:4-8 CEB

The Power of the Resurrection

A reading from the book of Revelation, chapter 1, verses 4-8, I am reading from the Common English Bible. Listen for a word of God for you and me the people of God.

Each year, Ray and I, with the girls, walk in the “Walk for Hunger: Crop Walk”. We are able to help in the battle of hunger by getting sponsors so that we can earn money towards the fight. The war on hunger rages on but we are able to fight in the battle together. We, at times, can get discouraged when we hear about all those men, women and children that live impoverished lives and don’t know where there next meal is coming from but we still enter the battlefield hoping for victory in the war. We do it because we want no one to go without. This battle goes beyond us. . . beyond our neighborhood. . . it is global.

We as Christians may feel that we are in a war that we just can’t win. Sometimes we all feel like we are fighting a losing battle. We see all the death and destruction around us and get a little overwhelmed by the battle field but there are some victory’s. . . some battles that we may win. When a loved one turns their life around and follows the way of Jesus. . . there is victory in the battle. When a single mother finds her significance and hope in Jesus. . . there is a victory in the battle. When a child starts bringing their parent to church. . . there is a victory in the battle. We are fighting a battle not just for our lives but for the lives of all humanity. It is a huge war but there is victory in the Cross. . . Christ is risen, Christ is risen indeed.

Last Sunday, we celebrated one of the most important days in a Christian’s life. . . the day when Christ rose from the dead conquering sin and death. This was the first battle won in the war on sin and death. The war still rages but we have victory in Jesus. . . for Christ has risen, Christ has risen indeed. There is power in the cross of Jesus. . . there is power in the Resurrection. . . Power for you and power for me. We are in the battle of something bigger than ourselves.

In the Acts scripture from this morning, we hear a little bit about that power. . . .enough to give us hope. When we obey God. . . the God who won that battle of sin and death by raising our Lord and Savior from the dead. . . our hearts are changed and are given the Holy Spirit that enables us to fight the good fight against sin and have those victories from time to time. That victory give us hope in a lost world. Because. . . Christ has Risen, He has risen indeed. Because of this fact, these apostles stayed in the fight. . . even though they were “encouraged” not to. . . There is power in the Cross. . .

The John scripture paints a picture that maybe you or I have seen at times. We are afraid and are behind locked doors. . . afraid to share our faith because of ridicule. . . afraid to share our faith because we might lose friends. . . afraid to get into the battle. But Jesus came and gave them peace. And not only did they receive peace but the received the Holy Spirit that emboldened them to go out and preach the gospel. They were given the power to forgive sins. . . or not. All this was because Christ had risen. . . he had risen indeed. There is Power in the cross of Jesus. . .

And then we have the reading from the book of Revelation. . . one of my favorite books of the Bible. It proves the power found in the cross. . . the power that flows down from Golgotha’s Hill onto humanity. You see. . . we are set free from sin by His blood. . . we have become His kingdom here on earth. . . priest to share the Gospel of grace, peace and forgiveness. We are here to share that Gospel until He returns and brings about a New Heaven and a New Earth. And His return is a promise to you and to me. . . to all who believe. . . past, present and future. Our Lord God promises it and we know it is true for our God is the Alpha and Omega. . . beginning and end, the one who is, was and is coming. . . The Almighty. Hallelujah amen! We have hope for Christ has risen. . . He has risen indeed! There is power in the cross of Jesus. . . there is power in His Resurrection!

Life is but a whisper on the wind, here today but gone tomorrow. We may fear that we are devoting our lifetime to empty, meaningless things. We may try to do the right things and fail miserably. But we have power and hope to change things. . . even just a little. We have the power and strength to fight the good fight while we are here and we may even win some of the battles for Christ. But. . . but. . . if we spend our time behind locked doors, as the disciples did at first, how can we change the world in which we live? Jesus penetrates our locked doors as He did with the disciples. He penetrates our fears and doubts with peace.

But. . . If Christ has conquered why is there so much doubt and hypocrisy? Why is there evil still in the world? I have had these same questions and have struggled with them myself. But I have hope in that even if I don’t live to see Christ come back, as He said He would, every little battle I fight. . . every battle. . . large or small. . . that I win. . . brings that day a little closer. For I believe that Christ has risen, He has risen indeed. There is power in the Cross of Jesus.

Church. . . we need to be out there on the battlefield. We are given power and might through the resurrection of Christ. We can no longer sit behind closed doors afraid of what others might do or say. We can no longer sit nonchalantly by and do nothing because we feel it is difficult and large of a task to undertake.  We are called and empowered. . . redeemed and esteemed to share the power we have been given. We have hope and direction because Christ is risen. . . He is risen indeed. There is power in the cross and resurrection of our Risen Lord,

Jesus Christ!

Alleluia. . . Amen!

April 9, 2013
Worship Theme: “Something bigger than ourselves”
Revelations 1:4-8 (Common English Bible)
John 20:19-31 (God’s Word Bible)
Act 5:27-32 (Common English Bible)
Call to Worship (see Psalm 150)
Unison Prayer (Praising God of Many Names, UMH #104)
Prayer of Dedication (GBOD April 7, 2013)
Communion liturgy
Suncook United Methodist Church
Suncook, NH
April 7, 2013
Second Sunday of Easter

All of my poems are copyrighted by Raymond A. Foss, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015. All rights reserved. Contact me at Ray Foss for usage. See all 36,380+ of my poems at Poetry Where You Live.

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