Sin came into the world as a result of Adam and Eve partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which was located in the center of the garden of Eden. Apostle Paul told the Roman believers that through one man’s disobedience, sin and death entered into the world (Rom 5:12), and Jesus brought eternal life through His obedience toward the Word of God. Although mankind failed to escape the circle of death even when using all their strength, Jesus came as a man and single handedly carried all the sins of mankind, defeating the power of death through His crucifixion. As crowds would only gather around Jesus instead of going to the synagogues, it disrupted the living standards of the high priests, scribes, officers, and so they crucified Jesus. Consequently, the powers of darkness seemed to gain temporary victory. However, this was just the process God used to deceive Satan. Jesus is eternal life to rise again on the 101st time out of 100 times. Jesus did not idly lie down during the three days in the tomb. Although His body was dead, having both divinity and humanity, He was alive in spirit. His spirit went to the spirits that died in the flood during the days of Noah, evangelizing them to the truth of Noah’s teachings (1 Pet 3:19). He ultimately defeated the power of death and resurrected the morning of the third day, the day when three women went to His tomb. The high priests and the religious leaders told Pilate the governor, “While living, this deceiver said, “‘I will be killed and raised up on the third day.’ Give orders for the grave to be made secure, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and there may be an uncontrollable commotion.” So the tomb was sealed with a stone and set with dozens of guards. When the three women came upon the grave, neither the stone nor Jesus’ body could be seen. The women thought someone had taken His body and wept. At that moment, two angels appeared in dazzling glory and said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?” The Roman soldiers who guarded the grave reported the missing body to the high priests, and the high priests gave a large sum of money to them, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep’” (Matt 28:11-13). This story was widely spread among the Jews even to this day.
“Why do you seek the living One among the dead?” What does this question mean? Jesus said many times, “The Son of Man will be killed by the hands of lawless men under false accusations. However, He will break the power of death and resurrect. He Himself is life.” The question actually means, “Yet, why don’t you remember that Word?” The women reported to Peter and the other eleven disciples what the angels said, yet the disciples still could not believe. Ironically, the high priests and religious leaders remembered Jesus’ words and asked Pilate to secure the grave. It was truly a problem for the high priests to believe and not Jesus’ own disciples.
Beloved saints, do you sincerely believe in the resurrection of the Lord? The Lord died for the sake of our sins. He resurrected us and declared, “You have no sin. You are a righteous one” (Rom 6:4-5). For this reason, all mankind should rejoice with dancing on Easter, singing, “Amen, Hallelujah!” How amazed and joyful we are to hear tidings of resurrection when we believed that there was nothing but death in the end. What other religion in the world can proclaim the news of resurrection after death? Christianity is the only religion without the grave. It is truly the path of the living for mankind. This good news is worth more than any infinite amount of money. Even if you gain the whole world but lose your life, that is the end. Are not our lives worth living, with bright and promising futures? So why do you heave such deep sighs? If the problem can be solved through worrying, then worry. The Bible says, “Cast your burden upon the Lord” (Ps 55:22), “Commit your works to the Lord” (Prov 16:3), and “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet 5:7). To believe in the resurrection of the Lord is to cast all on Him, but you do not. You come to church and say in your prayers that you cast all your burdens upon the Lord. But then you take back all your burdens when you leaving church. Such is life. How frustrating it is.
Why did Jesus resurrect?
1. He resurrected to show us that He is the truth in every way.
Jesus repeatedly said that though He would die, He would rise again ( John 6,7,8, 14). “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’” ( John 11:25-26). It is the same message that He has come to say to us today at Pyungkang Cheil Church. He resurrected to show that His Word is true.
2. He resurrected to receive glory.
Jesus came to this earth suffering all sorts of hardship. He was accused of heresy and called a fake, a con artist, an enticer. People said He was illiterate and the son of a poor carpenter. He heard all kinds of condemnation and ridicule. In any event, shouldn’t Jesus receive the glory, having been raised from the dead? (1 Pet 1:21).
The very moment that the Lord’s disciples fell into dismay and despair on their way down to Emmaus, thinking, “We need to go home and find ways to look after our families and feed them,” Jesus said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:25-27). Since Jesus received glory, we who believe in Jesus have also received glory. Jesus resurrected so that we would have not a temporary but an eternally non-perishing, unchanging living hope in God.
3. Jesus resurrected in order for His believers to bear the fruit of the next resurrection.
Jesus is the first fruit among the dead (1 Cor 15:20). When a tree bears a hundred fruits, they do not ripen all at once. There is always that one fruit that ripens first. Jesus resurrected in order to teach us that He Himself is the first fruit, and we as His believers will be the next fruits to become eternal beings. The Bible teaches us this process in four steps.
① The first step is Jesus Christ Himself.
“But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.” (1 Cor 15:23)
② The second step is the believers of Jesus who will die and resurrect.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thess 4:16)
③ The third step is transfiguration without seeing death.
Jesus will not return after all of humanity dies. Therefore, those who devoutly believe in Jesus will not die but transform in an instant when Jesus returns.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (1 Cor 15:51-52)
“Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Phil 3:21)
It is even better to hope to “transfigure while living” than to hope to “die first and resurrect” at the end. The moment you believe in Jesus, you have been crucified with Jesus (Gal 2:20). If you believe only 99% without that 1% then you cannot die with Jesus. But if you believe 100% in the resurrection of Jesus, it is as if you die with Jesus. These people have the hope of resurrection. Even an old man, who has lost all his hair with wrinkles on every inch of skin and his body stooped from old age, can become like a child when transfigured, just as the prophet Isaiah had prophesied. We will all be transfigured in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye (1 Cor 15:51) when the Word is revealed at the coming of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:13).
④ The fourth step is the judgement between good and evil (Rev 20:12-13).
4. He resurrected to cause us to be born again.
He resurrected in order to reform our evil inner selves and our twisted lives of untruthfulness, unfaithfulness, unholiness and undevoutness (1 Pet 1:3-4). It is to revive and refresh our rotting, evil form, for no good could be found in either our words or our actions with our decayed image (Isa 1). Man must be reformed. Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council, could not understand Jesus and said, “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus replied that they must be “born of the Spirit.” When you believe in Jesus, you receive the Holy Spirit and are born again ( John 3).
Dear saints, do not wear masks while living in this world. Do not pretend to be holy or act like you believe when you don’t. The hypocrisy, pretense, and formality in hating and speaking ill of others, but pretending otherwise when people are watching, will receive seven curses (Matt 23). Jesus said “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ He is telling us to not idle away time, that our inner selves should not be different from our outer selves. God is a God of order, not a God of confusion (1 Cor 14). When Jesus fed the crowd of five thousand, counting only the men, with just two fish and five loaves of bread, He had them sit in an orderly fashion (groups of fifty) before distributing the loaves. Likewise, we must live daily by taking precious care of our time by being honest, diligent, and truthful without pretense. Jesus resurrected in order for us to be born again like this.
5. He resurrected to make us righteous.
After the resurrection, Jesus went to God’s glorious throne of authority and became the eternal judge. There, He pronounced us as “righteous” and forgave our sins through His blood on the cross. He ruled, “Those who believe in Me have no sin” (Rom 3:24; 5:9; 4:25; 8:1), meaning no one would dare condemn those who believe in Jesus. He is telling us to be at ease and to only have faith in Him. Please believe that Jesus resurrected this morning to give us this sense of relief.
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” (1 Cor 15:17-18)
To this day, not a single person has left this world having finished all his work. Everyone departed amidst their unfinished work. Jesus said, “Each day has enough trouble of its own,” so do not push things off till tomorrow; but make every effort to finish the work that has been given today with thanksgiving unto God. I believe then that you all will be fruitful.
6. He resurrected so we may live in newness of life.
“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Rom 6:4)
Jesus is a new life. He is not the rotted old life. He is not stagnant water, but an active pouring stream of living water. He is a never-dying, eternal life (John 11:25). If Jesus did not resurrect, would humans have realized that Jesus is God Himself? Jesus showed himself eleven times for forty days after His resurrection. In the end, He spoke before a crowd of over 500 people at the Mount of Olives before ascending into heaven. He said, “Why do you stand looking into the sky? I will come back in the same way you have seen Me go.” Is this not worth believing?
Man is the lord of all creation. God did not create man to live and die after just a century or two. He put eternity into the creation of man. God is everlasting. Since man, bearing the image of God, was created to declare His praise (Isa 43:21), God also designed man to never die (John 8:51). We must therefore live in never ending thanksgiving and praise.
7. He resurrected to make us abundant.
When you take out and eat rice from a jar, the amount of rice slowly decreases. However, Jesus always supplements however much you take out and eat. If you drink water, He will provide you with living water as well (John 10:10). Jesus said to the Samaritan prostitute who had changed husbands five times, “from your innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” Astounded, the woman threw her waterpot, went into the city of Samaria and proclaimed, “I have met the Christ.” Thus, the Samaritans came and listened to the words of Jesus and were saved. The people that the Israelites despised and called “fuel for the fire of hell” were the ones to first receive the gospel and be saved. How wonderful is this?
8. He resurrected to assure us that He can save even our mortal bodies.
If Jesus only said in words, “I will die but rise again,” would anyone have believed him? He demonstrated as an example that the mortal body of humans can be made alive again (Rom 8:11). God does not just voluntarily save anyone but saves those who keep in their hearts Word of His Son Jesus and the spirit of resurrection. He can save even the mortal bodies that are decayed, sick and full of stench. Look at Lazarus. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord! It has been four days already since my brother died and there is a stench by now.” But Jesus said to Martha and commanded to death, “Stay still! Just believe in Me! Lazarus! Come out!” How can a doctor save a rotting and stench-filled body? How can a doctor cure a partially paralyzed patient who could not walk for 38 years? All these people had been cured because Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven.” Dear saints! Please believe in the Word. Why do you not believe and continue to walk in the path that leads to death? When we look at our modern history, are all the great political tycoons who raised their voices in the national assembly still alive? They are all dead now. Even if they were still alive, nobody would care.
Call out to God just as Jesus did, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Be like Stephen who said while being stoned, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:59-60). When Jesus returns, He will not come alone but will resurrect those who believe in Him. Jesus will resurrect from sleep those who died as martyrs and those who died unjustly or in sickness for believing in Him, and take them with Him to God (1 Thess 4:16-17).
9. He resurrected to give us a living hope.
Money cannot be our hope. Some people say, “How good it would be to be rich! I wish I could spend and eat as much as I want before dying.” But if you eat as much as you want, you will only be busy going to toilets and end up with arteriosclerosis. Only to be born again is a living hope (1 Pet 1:3-4). If we are not born again, our life of stealing and cheating does not die. Although it is still a life, it is a corrupted life destined for hell. However, when you believe in Jesus and live by the Word, you will have no reference to sin and you will not sit in the seat of scoffers nor stand in the path of sinners. It is a life that has the fragrance of Christ, a life of wearing Jesus like a garment, a life preserved in Heaven, and a life of a living hope (2 Cor 2:16).
Dear saints! So far, you have lived with the effort to bear fruit for your family, but from now on, please live with the will to bear fruit for God. Only when you bear fruit for God will He compliment and hold you (Rom 7:4). You have been bearing fruit only in eating, drinking and corrupting until now. But from now on, I pray in the name of Jesus that you will bear the fruit to please God through learning the Bible, praying, evangelizing, loving the church and by praying for the poor, helping and loving the afflicted for God’s will.
10. He resurrected to testify His Words.
The prophets, patriotic martyrs and righteous men of many generations who proclaimed the Word of God died as martyrs. They were each given a white robe and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of martyrdom would be completed (Rev 6:11). Jesus sealed Satan’s mouth and gave us a blessing of the final resurrection in order to say, “I was right. My Words have triumphed.” How encouraging it is that He resurrected in order to testify all the proclamations of the prophets (1 Cor 15:3-4, John 2:22).
The sacred ceremonies of Christianity are Baptism and Holy Communion. Jesus told us to remember Him eternally so we must obey (1 Cor 11:25). First, you must get baptized. During the time of Noah, people were punished to death with water. Baptism is the act of burying all our sins in the water. Communion was the Passover meal with Jesus in the attic of Mark and John, before going to the garden of Gethsemane. During Holy Communion, if you do not repent of your sins and attend the ceremony, it is as if you are eating your own sins and crucifying Jesus again. Do not attend Communion if you have fought yet have not reconciled. I ask you in the name of Jesus for your Communion to be holy and pleasing to glorify God.
My beloved saints!
The grace of God has called you with compulsion. Even if nations were to fall, business were to fail, and families were to separate, can you not still live if you believe in God? You must answer Jesus today. In this morning of resurrection, when Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die, and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” I pray in the name of the Lord that all of you and your family reply, “Yes, Lord.”
Sermon of Rev. Abraham Park
2nd Service of Easter Sunday on April 8th, 2007