Posts tagged resurrection

Your Labor Is Not in Vain

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By Olive Tree Employee: David Mikucki

labor-in-vainA Christian without a resurrection is a dismal Christian indeed. In 1 Corinthians, Paul goes so far as to say that if Christ has not been raised, our faith is futile and we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17). Praise God, then, that Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25). The resurrection of Christ can be a great encouragement to us when we feel like we’re experiencing deadness. Christians can feel discouraged in many areas, but the resurrection helps us to understand that our God is a God who brings life out of death. The word “impossible” isn’t in His vocabulary.

Most Christians take encouragement from the fact that Jesus is going to return and resurrect the dead. Jesus’ resurrection means that those who are in Christ will be raised on the last day to spend eternity with God (1 Corinthians 15:24). The resurrection is our great hope as Christians, but the resurrection also offers us hope in this life.

Hope in This Life

You might be discouraged because the world has grown darker in recent years. Jesus said, “destroy this Temple, and in three days I’ll raise it up,” referring to His body (John 2:19–21). When they killed Jesus, they destroyed His temple—but He raised it. He also began building up His body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:27), which is also God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Church is built because Jesus’ body was destroyed and because He rose again—the Church is His rebuilt temple.

Things never looked more grim than when Jesus was in the tomb, but God chose to start the Church when right when things looked completely impossible. Regardless of how dark and sinful the world gets, we can look to where Jesus said “I will build my church; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) In this way, we can be encouraged by Christ’s resurrection in this life.

Another area we are often discouraged is that of our own personal walk with God. John reminds us that we all sin (1 John 1:8), and we know that our sin can often discourage us. Our walk toward holiness sometimes feels like we’re on a treadmill—taking a lot of steps but not getting anywhere. The resurrection helps us here by first reminding us that we are justified before God because of the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 4:25). There is no condemnation for sin if we are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Jesus’ resurrection means we’ll be raised, even though we’ve never done anything to deserve it—not even in our best efforts.

The resurrection also reminds us of the new life we receive in Christ. Our sin-enslaved self died on the cross with Jesus (Romans 6:6). Through the resurrection we can walk in newness of life. We see this in our baptism (Romans 6:3–4). Even though we may see a lot of sin and darkness in our lives, God is transforming us by His Spirit through Christ’s resurrection. The fact that you can say “no” to sin at all and you’re not totally enslaved is an evidence of that new life working in you. If you’re having trouble saying no to sin, remember that your wishing you could say no more is also an evidence of God’s grace working new life in you. Dead men don’t want to love God more. Thank God for this grace and ask for then seek more grace through prayer, reading Scripture, and attending church.

There are many other reasons that we can be discouraged as Christians. Relationships, marriages, churches, businesses, and more can be marred by sin. The resurrection reminds us that nothing is impossible for God and that He loves to bring life out of death. He loves to work good out of evil (Genesis 50:20)—although it’s not always the good we’re expecting. If you’ve been discouraged lately, this Easter might be a good time to read and study 1 Corinthians 15 to see the triumph God is working in Christ through the resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV): Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

David is a front end web developer at Olive Tree. He also writes on his personal blog, And the Rest of It.

Resurrection, Reconciliation, Restoration

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I can’t think of any bigger understatement than saying what we celebrate this coming weekend is ‘significant’. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus absolutely changed everything! When Jesus died and rose again – three days later – it reversed the centuries old curse of sin and death that was over all humanity.

Resurrection
Jesus fulfilled hundreds of impossible to fulfill prophecies about the messiah that had been written centuries before but the most amazing of all was that after three days in a grave, he was alive! What did this mean? In the history of the world no one had ever lived and died a sinless life. Jesus – God in the flesh – did. In that instant the sin that we’re all born into was stripped of its power. Things on this Earth would never be the same. As John ends his account of Jesus life he says, But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.His resurrection proved he was who he said he was.

Reconciliation
What does this mean today? It means absolutely everything! What Jesus did made a way to be free from the power that sin once held over us. Where sin makes us strangers and even enemies of God, Jesus death and resurrection makes us sons and daughters of God. This type of reconciliation had never been known and now it’s accessible to anyone who believes. In Romans 5:10-11 the Apostle Paul says, For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Restoration
Not only did Jesus resurrection set into motion the reconciliation available to all who believe but we now get to be agents of his reconciliation while we await the restoration of all things. The book of Revelation tells us of this day that will come: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Resurrection, Reconciliation, and Restoration; this is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus! This Easter and in the days following let’s not only be reminded of the power of what Jesus did but let’s be actively living in the reality of it.

JESUS: THE KEY TO THE BIBLE

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By Olive Tree Staff: David Mikucki

Jesus’ followers were convinced that He was the coming King—the Messiah of Israel who would rule the nations with a rod of iron. All His disciples were severely disappointed when the unthinkable happened. Jesus was crucified. The coming conquering King had come and didn’t seem to have conquered. Maybe Jesus wasn’t the Messiah? If He wasn’t, then… now what?

That’s the backdrop for Luke 24. With Jesus dead, His followers were distraught. They were on a seven mile journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus, talking about everything that had just happened, trying to sort through it all—still unaware that Jesus had been raised. Jesus met them on this road, but He kept them from recognizing Him (Luke 24:17). To them He was a stranger passing on the road. They told this ‘stranger’ that they thought Jesus was the one who was going to redeem Israel and that some of their friends were telling what they thought were just fairytales about Him rising from the dead.

At this point, Jesus says something that shocks everyone! He tells his followers that the prophets said all of this was going to happen: the Messiah would suffer and then enter into His glory. No one expected the Messiah to suffer! Who expects a King to suffer? Jesus says the prophets expected it. Then in Luke 24:27, He explains the things concerning Himself from Moses and all the prophets. Jesus went to each book of the Bible and explained all the things about Himself (see also Luke 24:44).

People these days have a lot of different ideas concerning what the Bible is about. Jesus has His own idea. The Bible isn’t about all the good things we have to do in order to go to heaven (John 5:39). It’s not just a bunch of do’s and don’t’s. It’s not just a bunch of fun stories. Jesus said the Bible is about Himself. Humanity’s biggest problem is that we sin our whole lives and then we die. The Bible teaches us all we need to know about our Savior—the King who suffered and died in our place and rose from the dead three days later to make us right before God and give us a new life like His.

One of the last things Jesus did before He ascended into heaven was to tell us that the Bible is about Him! Jesus is our Savior—the only Savior—and He says that all of Scripture points us to Him: the One we really need. When we study the Bible, let’s remember that it’s all about Jesus.

Olive Tree’s got some great resources that explain Jesus in parts of the Bible we might not have expected to find Him in. Here are some of my favorites…

David is a front end web developer at Olive Tree. He also writes on his personal blog, And the Rest of It.

Jesus is Alive! (R3)

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I can’t think of any bigger understatement than saying, what we celebrate this weekend is ‘significant’. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus absolutely changed everything!  When Jesus died and rose again – three days later – it reversed the centuries old curse of sin and death that was over all humanity.

Resurrection
Jesus fulfilled hundreds of impossible to fulfill prophecies about the messiah that had been written centuries before but the most amazing of all was that after three days in a grave, he was alive! What did this mean? In the history of the world no one had ever lived and died a sinless life. Jesus – God in the flesh – did. In that instant the sin that we’re all born into was stripped of its power. Things on this Earth would never be the same.  As John ends his account of Jesus life he says, But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.His resurrection proved he was who he said he was.

Reconciliation
What does this mean today? It means absolutely everything! What Jesus did made a way to be free from the power that sin once held over us. Where sin makes us strangers and even enemies of God, Jesus death and resurrection makes us sons and daughters of God. This type of reconciliation had never been known and now it’s accessible to anyone who believes. In Romans 5:10-11 the Apostle Paul says, For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Restoration
Not only did Jesus resurrection set into motion the reconciliation available to all who believe but we now get to be agents of his reconciliation while we await the restoration of all things. The book of Revelation tells us of this day that will come: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Resurrection, Reconciliation, and Restoration; this is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus! This Easter and in the days following let’s not only be reminded of the power of what Jesus did but let’s be actively living in the reality of it.

For the next week spread the word about the Gospel of Jesus and the Easter message by changing your profile picture to R3 - which represents Resurrection, Reconciliation and Restoration.
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Video and Image links for Easter

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As Easter Sunday fast approaches you may be looking for media to help enhance the feel of your gatherings such as video illustrations, images, or graphics. Last week we talked about some great books for Easter and this week I thought I’d point you to a few sites for finding graphics and video. If you know of any other great sites for video illustration, graphics, or images, please share them in the comments section.

VIDEO

Whether you’re looking for simple background loops or powerful video illustrations, Bluefish.tv has some very affordable and downloadable videos that can be easily embedded into presentation software. Click HERE to see some of their Easter resources.

 

Sermon Spice has great quality videos, worship backgrounds, and service countdowns. They are also easily embedded into most presentation software and their large library all but ensures you’ll find what you’re looking for. Click HERE to see some of their Easter resources.

Photos and Graphics

If you’re looking for free and royalty free images stock.xchng is a great spot. Nearly all of the images and graphics have a free license which allows you to use them in your presentations, website, and handouts. It does require a free registration to download images and you’ll have to be creative with your search criteria but you can’t beat the price.

Share Faith is a one stop shop for graphics, powerpoint, backgrounds, images, video loops and more. Their yearly membership is very affordable but if you want to try them out first they offer a free 10 day trial.

Resources for Easter

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What is the resurrection really about?
Is there actual proof that Jesus lived, died, and was brought back to life?
How does this impact both the believer and the non believer? Why should we care?

In a few weeks, millions of people all across the Earth will be asking these questions and more, as people gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Some will be reaffirming their faith in this history changing event and others will be skeptically pondering whether it’s even true. Whether you’re a pastor preaching on Easter Sunday or not, much like the Christmas season, this time of year focuses us on the events which happened 2,000 years ago that have huge implications for our life today.

Whether you’re preparing a sermon, having conversations with friends, or teaching your kids, here are some great resources that help unpack the reality of what Jesus did for us!

Resurrection: The Capstone Arch of Christianity
Hank Hanegraaff offers a detailed defense of the Resurrection

Evidence for the Resurrection
Presents evidence and logic for conversations about the Resurrection

No Wonder They Call Him Savior: Experiencing the Truth of the Cross
Max Lucado takes you through the drama of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ

Death By Love: Letters from the Cross
A compilation of heartfelt letters written from a pastor to his people that explains Jesus’ work on the cross

Christ’s Words from the Cross
C.H. Spurgeon discusses the seven words that Christ uttered from the Cross: Forgiveness, Salvation, Affection, Anguish, Suffering, Victory, and Contentment.

 

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