Before I knew Veritas was closing this week I spent a lot of time figuring out what to teach on for Easter. We have been using video messages from Lifechurch for the last several weeks and I wanted to make sure Easter was live. Easter is a BIG deal! Christmas and Easter are like the Superbowl for me as far as church! But I digress…
I don’t teach that often. I like doing it. I’m not afraid to stand in front of a crowd. But it takes me a while to get a message together. So I was praying for a while about this. What message did God want to share with the people of Veritas for Easter 2010? I felt like I got it. But, I guess He was really just trying to give ME the message.
I kept getting this idea of “New Life” or being a “New Creation”.
I looked at Jesus. He was crucified, and then rose from the dead. Which is really a trippy concept if you think about it, but that’s not my point.
For Him to be raised from the dead He had to die first. He had to sacrifice His life. He had to suffer torture, betrayal, a horrible death. And then He had “new life”.
Because of Jesus dying and rising from the dead WE get new life. We get to be a new creation because if we submit to Him, He changes us. He teaches us, He refines us, He guides us. IF we submit to Him. He does nothing forcefully, He only does what we will allow Him to do.
But, in order to get this new life, to be this new creation, we have to sacrifice first. THAT is what hit me this year. The sacrifice in order to get to be new.
This is more in my face now because of all that is going on in our marriage. Tim speaks of how God has transformed him and how he is different now. He says he is not the same person he was before the affair. But God could not have done the transformation He did if Tim didn’t sacrifice first. He had to submit himself COMPLETELY to God first. He had to let God tear out deep roots of dysfunction from his heart….so he could be new. Tim had to sacrifice and suffer to be that new creation.
If I want a new marriage, if I want to be a new creation through all this, I have to sacrifice and suffer. I have to sacrifice my desire for revenge. I have to suffer a great deal of pain, to work through the pain, and allow God to do the work that needs to be done to make me, and our marriage, new.
God offers new life. He will make us a new creation. But only after we sacrifice, and sometimes suffer through the sacrifice, so that He can make us new.
Sacrifice first, but then, new life. Kind of intense.
So, how do we live Easter all year? How do we not forget Jesus’ sacrifice and promises after the Easter play is over and the candy is all gone?
2 Corinthians 5:16 (The Message)
Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.