This weekend we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not only did He die for us, but He also rose again from the grave, which is the most amazing fact in all of human history. A man who had been brutally killed and left in a tomb for three days escaped the grip of death and came back to life. And not only did He come back to life, but He came in a body that will never die again. So instead of being a tragic end to His story, His death proved to be the moment of His greatest victory. In death He conquered His enemies. On the third day He came out of the grave like a victorious general, and then when He ascended into heaven, He poured out an abundance of precious gifts on His followers. Today we'll look at just five of these gifts so we can once again be amazed at His generosity and enter more deeply into the new life He's won for us.
A. The Triumphant Lord (Eph 4:7-10)
1) He has given grace to "each one of us"
2) Captives: Satan, Death, the curse of the Law, sin (Col 2:15; 2Pe 2:4)
3) Matthew 28:18 "all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth"
From heaven to earth (Php 2:7)
From the cross to the grave (Php 2:8)
From the grave to the spirits in prison (1Pe 3:18, 19)
From death to life (Lk 24:5, 6);
From earth to heaven (Ac 1:9);
From heaven to the right hand of God (1Pe 3:22)
After conquering the powers of darkness, the victorious Christ distributes His gifts of grace to His people.
B. The Gifts of the Resurrected Christ
Here I will list only five, and, of course, there are many more gifts than these (e.g. Eph 4:11; 1Co 12:7-11), but none are more precious or more central to our salvation than these.
1) Forgiveness: not guilty, having a clean conscience (Eph 1:7)
1 John 3:19, 20; Hebrews 9:14
Free from the shame of the past
God forgets our sin (Ps 103:12)
We are no longer afraid to admit our sins; we become honest with God and ourselves
constantly being given the opportunity to begin again
2) Redemption: set free from bondage
Romans 6:6, 7
Free from the controlling power of our flesh and the oppression of the devil to live a new life that pleases God
Colossians 1:13, 14 "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
John 8:34 "
I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin"; verse 36 "so if the Son makes you free you will be free indeed"
He does this by filling us with the Holy Spirit who guides and empowers us
3) Propitiation: not angry anymore
Free from being afraid of God, knowing that He loves me
For many, the thought of facing God brings fear (praying, dying)
But in Christ we boldly come to the Father as His children
Hebrews 10:12-22 "confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus
4) Reconciliation: no longer separated, changed from enemies to friends
We need to be reconciled to God; we are His enemies, He's not ours; He loves us (Ro 5:8 "while we were yet sinners Christ died for us")
So we must repent of our attitudes toward God, and with our sin out of the way God can come and dwell in us
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
5) Justification: righteous, pleasing to God, fulfilling the requirements of His law
All sin brings the curse of death, but we have been freed from the curse (Ga 3:13) so that we can now be blessed (Ga 3:14)
Romans 4:5 "
the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness"
We receive this standing by believing that Jesus has given it to us as a gift; we don't earn it, we receive it by faith
Justification: a) peace (Ro 5:1); b) propitiation (Ro 5:9); c) reconciliation (Ro 5:10)
C. How do I receive these gifts? (Ac 2:37-39)
1) Repent: a deep, lasting change of attitude toward God and yourself
No longer self-reliant, independent
Now I depend on God and want to bring Him honor in all I do
Proverbs 3:5, 6
I joyfully put my hand in the hand of my Heavenly Father and follow Him
2) Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
By faith see myself joined to Christ in His death and resurrection (Ro 6:4, 5)
I will "cling" to Him till the last breath in my body
I constantly turn to Him to cleanse my sins; it's an ongoing process
You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"
"The promise is for you and your children