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Hope in Christ Alone

April 13, 2017

Sermon of the Day: Radical Effects of the Resurrection 

1 Corinthians 15:12-19

12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 

Good Morning men.

I want to share another sermon of John Piper with you guys. Men this message really rocked me to my core. Several things were revealed showing major errors in my thought process and theology. I have been greatly humbled and broken.

Let me point out two things real quick. The first thing is that I want to share what impacted me about this sermon. Secondly, when I first listened to this sermon I had a choice. The choice was to be impacted emotionally for a week or so then move on and continue in my merry way. Or really dig into the thoughts and convictions I was feeling. My hope for all of you is that when challenged by something from the Word of God you will dig in to His Word. Get honest, get real and seek the change that is needed.

Men everything hinges on the risen Christ. If Christ has not risen all we have is a large book with a whole lot of information.

In the sermon John Piper shares a story he heard. This story talked about these certain monks in Italy, who lived a life of silence. The only time they spoke was to confess their sins or sing. The rest of their life was lived in complete silence. A news reporter did an interview with one of the leaders who was given permission to speak. The news reporter asked if he died and found out that atheism was real, how would he feel about his life? The monk replied something along the lines, that even if atheism was real, a life lived in silence would still be absolutely beautiful and worth it.

So let’s contrast the monk’s reply with what Paul describes in the verse above. The monk is saying his religion and service were not in vain, even if when he crosses into eternity and finds what he believed was completely false. The life of silence and service he lived was worth it all.

Paul says in everything he did, all preaching, all beatings, all fasting, etc. If Christ is not risen from the dead then it was all in vain and for nothing. In fact he uses language that says he should be the most pitied, and not in a sympathy way. Rather, more in a way that people would be like what a fool.

This blew me away. I remember several conversations I have had with individuals as I was trying to share my faith with them. I was sharing my faith in a way that choosing a life of Christ would be great and beneficial for many earthly reasons. So great that if I died and Jesus was not Lord, that would be okay because I would have lived an honest life, great marriage, served people and so on.

Am I inline with Paul’s teaching in the verse above?

If you didn’t notice I am absolutely off track. I am missing the whole point. This really hurt for me. In fact it is painful to share. To be marketing a diluted, earth minded gospel with no real attachment of what it means to be a Christian.

Look at what John Piper said in this sermon:

“If your goal in life is to maximize the joy and pleasure and comfort and success on this planet, Christianity is not for you. Most definitely not for you.”

Not sure if that speaks to any of you. But if I am completely honest with you all, that directly convicted me. Let me also make it clear that this is a very huge topic that in no way can get covered in a single message. Our lives will all have different callings and purpose. So in no way is John Piper saying that we all have to live in poverty or go to a foreign country and be missionaries. Let me share my notes in hopes I will be able to bridge this gap I have created.

First of all for me, I need to renew my mind (Romans 12:2), and relearn many things in God’s Word. My thoughts of the gospel are skewed from God’s Word. I also know and believe this will not be the last time I need to do this. I believe if we continue to grow in God’s Word, we will always need to renew our mind in many areas.

Why would I choose to share this?

Two reasons. Fear and Division. I really fear the judgement of God. A holy reverent fear that is terrified to face Him and hear the words of Matthew 7:23. Secondly, do nations crumble in a day? Do marriages fail in a week? Absolutely not, it is a slow fade that happens. Many times starting with a thought or a belief that is not corrected. The same goes for our faith. If our faith goes unchecked and uncorrected you will drift and become a self proclaimed Christian that bears no fruit, and lives a life picking and choosing God’s truths.

Piper talks about suffering for Christ. I have to ask myself what does that look like for me in 2017, with a wife, three kids, living in Hawaii. With jobs and responsibilities and so forth. I want to live a life fulfilling God’s purpose not my own. But I made a choice, I cannot hear a message like this and just walk away from it feeling emotionally moved for a week then continuing on.

What will this look like for you?

This will look different for every person that chooses to embrace the gospel. An unfiltered, not diluted, not American way infused but raw Christ-centered gospel.

Piper says:

“This is a call to embrace risk, to embrace suffering, to embrace pathway’s of love you know will be costly…the only kind of loves that are really going to change people are those kind of lives.”

It is all about what we hope in. Paul was anchored in Hope. The hope of the resurrection of Christ. The hope of eternity and the things to come in the next life.

Colossians 1:24

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church…

What I got out of Piper’s explanations of this verse, he essentially says:

that the sufferings of Christ ended 2000 years ago. How do these sufferings continue across islands, continents and waters? God designed the sufferings of His Son to be carried and presented to people, in the sufferings of His people. Your suffering is designed to comfort and bless someone. Don’t waste it! Endure suffering with Joy! Don’t purse this path if you cant do it joyfully, you will make a bad name for Jesus.

What is the reason for the hope that is in you?

This is a question that has always plagued me, because no one ever asks me it. I remember Piper said previously that no one asks because there is nothing different.

Ouch, claiming to be a Christian yet we represent nothing different in our lives, words and actions.

Have you ever had a health scare, a life or family scare?

That is when things get real! You stop playing with Jesus. Jesus becomes 100% real or 100% fake! Joy arrives because the resurrection is real.

Let me close with another story Piper shared in the sermon.

A man was going through towns and villages in India trying to share the gospel. Many time rejected and violently pushed out of these villages. After being pushed out of one village the man decides to go rest under a tree. He wakes up to being surrounded by the village leaders. One of the men said that he noticed the blisters, scabs and sores on the bottom of his feet. The villager says, any man that is willing to share a message through that kind of pain, has an important message and they wanted him to come back and share the gospel with them.

Radical Risk! Jesus wants to shock the hell out of us. The hellish ease and comfort that the American dream promises! Like the women that gave all she had in front of the disciples. That wasn’t a command for them to do the same, Jesus just wanted to shock the hell out of them, the hellish love and pursuit of money and comfort.

My prayer is that this will rock you as it rocked me. That it will stir you to a deeper searching and openness about your faith. What you believe and how you are acting about it. This isn’t a call to legalism, but rather a genuine search of God’s heart and purpose for your life. Hint, it will look different than what you want it to be.

May the Lord fill you all.

Sermon and Article to Radical Effects of the Resurrection : http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/radical-effects-of-the-resurrection–2

Quotes are coped from John Piper at desiringgod.org

 

 

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