Fellowship of Chicago pastors, ministers, and church members.
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This is something that I found on the LOGOS.com blog.
It would have been hard to get through 2012 without hearing or seeing the acronym YOLO (You Only Live Once). The term regularly trended on Twitter, showed up in Facebook news feeds, and quickly became part of the pop culture vernacular. Like a modern Carpe Diem, “YOLO!” is the cry of a generation seeking to squeeze all the possible goodness from life. If the end of your one life is death, why deny yourself happiness now? It may seem nihilistic, but it makes sense. If this is our only opportunity to taste life’s fruit, then we should indulge. Even Paul affirms this in his discussion with the Corinthians, “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’” (1 Cor. 15:32). It would seem that, in a closed system in which death is life’s final outcome, “YOLO!” is the only rational response. But the fact that Jesus rose from the dead changes everything. Here are three ways that Christ’s death and resurrection triumph over “YOLO!”:
1. Christ’s resurrection has made a mockery of death
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” (Col. 2:13–15)
Not only are the rulers and authorities—demonic or otherwise—that would hold death over our heads vanquished; they’re humiliated. I love Paul’s imagery here. Jesus didn’t just destroy them, he disarmed them. Imagine an invading horde coming into a city and the king going out and simply taking their weapons from them—how embarrassing.
Christ has removed death’s stinger (1 Cor. 15:51); it no longer has power over us. The grave is not life’s final word.
2. Christ’s resurrection gives us hope
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”—1 Thessalonians 4:13–14
“YOLO” has an intrinsic sadness in it. The reveler who looks at life with a “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” mentality cannot help but shrink from death’s inevitability, and mourn for those who’ve passed.
But the resurrection gives us hope! Death isn’t a period at the end of our lives; it’s a comma.
3. Christ’s resurrection is a new beginning
In Romans 8, Paul shows us that Christ’s resurrection kicked off a chain reaction leading to the redemption of all things.
The Spirit of he who raised Christ from the dead dwells in those who belong to him (Rom. 8:11) making us children of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:15–17). And all of creation, which has groaned under the weight and futility of sin has waited for the revealing of the children of God in order that it be set free from its bondage and corruption (Rom. 8:20–22). Within the resurrection of Christ lie the seeds for the restoration of all things.
It’s no wonder that Paul’s heart erupts with the admonition to “rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4)
For those who believe death has the final word, to embrace life from a “you only live once” perspective makes perfect sense. But for those whose lives are lived in the light of Christ’s resurrection, nothing in this life is “worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18)
The promise of Easter is that, because death is not the end, the pleasures of this world have lost their luster. I may only live once, but thanks to Jesus, it will be one long, glorious life spent in God’s presence.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James 1:13-14 KJV
When we do something that is wrong and get caught we shift the blame to someone else. We like to say that it isn’t our fault that we messed up. At times we take it a bit farther and make the claim of: “If God didn’t put me in this position I wouldn’t have done it.” or “If God didn’t put that choice in front of me I wouldn’t have taken it.” These statements do not make sense because how can a caring God, who loves us, give us anything that would harm us? For if that was the case He wouldn’t have given His only Son to die on a cross for a choice He put before us.
God does not tempt Man, but it is the wicked one that does. The wicked one takes our desires and twists them to make them appealing. Much like he did in the garden were took God’s Word and twisted it. The end result is that we are led away by the twist into sin. Sins that will consume us with guilt and shame. To avoid this we must look within ourselves to find what makes fall to temptation. When we come to the answer we then must ask the Lord to strengthen us so that we don’t fall. For it is written: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 HCSB). Don’t give in, but remember God doesn’t lead us into temptation, but He does deliver us from evil.
But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong. Acts 3:6-7 HCSB
The church attempts to offer different ministries and programs to those that are hurting. Slick programs are produced and publicized and large crowds come out. Teachers and speakers that are authorities on the certain problem are presented, and everyone is excited about what is happening. However after a few weeks the excitement fades and the crowds shrink. To top it off many of the people that came are leaving the same way they came in. The leaders of these programs start to wonder about where things went wrong. The sad thing is that many do not find the answer to that question. They do not find the answer because they believe that the slick program, the talented teachers and speakers should be enough. While these things may be good they might lack the main thing, which is Christ.
When Peter and John went to the Temple they did not have anything visible that would help anyone. These two men were just going to afternoon prayer, when they crossed paths with the beggar at the gate. The beggar was in need, he had to be carried to the gate, no job no income, and because he could not walk no forward progress on his own. This sounds like many that we know in life. They may have whole bodies but they are crippled. The beggar looks at Peter and John for cash to help his situation, but money was not going to change him. Our programs may be slick and “with the times”, but they do not change people. That is what Peter and John were showing when they offered “Jesus Christ of Nazareth”. It was Jesus that transformed the crippled beggar into a healed and whole man. A whole man that was able to walk for the first time in his life. It is Christ and Christ alone who is able to change a person. A program or ministry that does not offer Christ is an empty one. An empty program is an empty fountain that leaves people empty. Therefore let all the of endeavors of the church offer Christ first so that those in need are filled and changed.
There is not a lot of talk about sin. It seems that every church confronts a list of sins that go on the outside of the church. Folks like to position themselves on the right side of the issue. However in talking about them they are not called by name, what is used are labels and cute names to describe sin. The sad result in doing that is that sin is not confronted and what is on the outside of the church creeps in to the inside.
We do not like to face it, but sin has crept into the one vehicle that is supposed to change the world. We turn away from it, we cover it up but it is still sin. It is sin that is killing the power of the church. In turn sin is killing the church’s witness. Sin is killing the church because sin separates the people from God.
We like to cover it up or say that it is not happening, but how many “saints” do you know that are engaged in sinful activity? It might be the sister that is doing all she can to hold on to a relationship. What about the brother that conducts business on the corner. Think about the mother whose phone is like the National Enquirer hotline. Consider the trustees that slide a few coins off to make the count even. All these things are sin. God knows about them and judges accordingly. The Lord withdraws His power from the people. Without God’s power miracles cannot be worked through the church. Without God’s power lives cannot be transformed through the church. With God’s power the church cannot stand up against the enemy.
The other effect is not only God knows, but those that do not believe know of our “secret sins”. They know because the ripple effects show up in our daily lives. It is these ripple effects that destroy our testimony and turn them away from the Living God. It does not matter how we talk to them or how long they will not be changed, because the power to change them will not be felt (Acts 1:8). This is why it is important to stay away from sin. Jesus only died once for sin and rose so that we can walk in a new life. So let us walk in it not looking back to the sins that separated us from it, lest we crucify the Saviour again.
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