Last week, I preached under the title of "Let's be a good person," and I asked you to do something good for a week. Let’s keep trying to do something good. Even if we only do one good thing every week, we may do 52 good works in one year. Though numbers do not matter, I hope we have a lot of good things in our life.
Today is Easter. Easter is a day commemorating Jesus Christ's death on the cross and resurrection on the third day. The resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact. It is why we are here. Christianity is different from other religions because of 'Resurrection faith'. If the resurrection was removed from Christianity, Christianity cannot exist. Resurrection is the core of Christianity.
The Bible tells stories of people who died and then rose again. Jesus' friend, Lazarus, died and was raised. Another story is Jesus raised dead 12-year-old girl. Jesus said, "Talitha koum!" (which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!" (Mark 5: 35-43). The story of those who have risen again is amazing; surprisingly they all died again. Jesus’ resurrection is quite different from their resurrection. The Lord has risen, has not died again, and is still alive. This is the Gospel of the Bible. It is the gospel that the Lord, who died on the cross for our sins, does not remain in the grave, but is raised to life and is with us.
Christians are followers of the resurrected Lord. Christians are those who follow Jesus Christ, who is the living God. To live as a Christian means to serve, to follow, to love, and to live with the resurrected Lord. To live as a Christian means that we will live in anticipation of the future glory of the Lord.
Nevertheless, we seem to have a time to forget the resurrected Lord. The problem of the reality we are experiencing is too big. So we may be frustrated, despairing, and living like a hopeless person in front of reality. So it is more important to live as a Christian. No matter how big our problems are, we can overcome them with the resurrection faith.
A pastor, "SM Rock” who worked in Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego, USA has already been deceased. There is a famous poem from this sermon. It's titled 'It's Friday…. But Sunday's coming'. It is a poem that portrays the Lord's crucifixion and resurrection.
It’s Friday/Jesus is praying/Peter’s a sleeping/Judas is betraying/But Sunday’s coming’
It’s Friday/Pilate’s struggling/The council is conspiring/The crowd is vilifying/They don’t even know/That Sunday’s coming’
It’s Friday/The disciples are running/Like sheep without a shepherd/Mary’s crying
Peter is denying/But they don’t know/That Sunday’s a coming’
It’s Friday/The Romans beat my Jesus/They robe him in scarlet/They crown him with thorns/But they don’t know/That Sunday’s coming’
It’s Friday/See Jesus walking to Calvary/His blood dripping/His body stumbling
And his spirit’s burdened/But you see, it’s only Friday/Sunday’s coming’
It’s Friday/The world’s winning/People are sinning/And evil’s grinning
It’s Friday/The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands/To the cross/They nail my Savior’s feet
To the cross/And then they raise him up/Next to criminals
It’s Friday/But let me tell you something/Sunday’s coming’
It’s Friday/The disciples are questioning/What has happened to their King/And the Pharisees are celebrating/That their scheming/Has been achieved/But they don’t know
It’s only Friday/Sunday’s coming’
It’s Friday/He’s hanging on the cross/Feeling forsaken by his Father/Left alone and dying/Can nobody save him?/Ooooh/It’s Friday/But Sunday’s coming’
It’s Friday/The earth trembles/The sky grows dark/My King yields his spirit
It’s Friday/Hope is lost/Death has won/Sin has conquered/and Satan’s just a laughing’
It’s Friday/Jesus is buried/A soldier stands guard/And a rock is rolled into place
But it’s Friday/It is only Friday/Sunday is a coming’!
Some people thought they had won. So they insulted Jesus, beat him, and crossed him. But they did not know that the Lord's resurrection was coming.
On Friday, the world seemed to win. On Friday, the wisdom and knowledge of the world seemed to win. On Friday, the power of the world seemed to be stronger than Jesus. So the people who followed Jesus cried. Now they thought everything was over. The day was filled with tears and cowardice of the loser was also Friday. But on Sunday, on the day that the Lord rose, everything was reversed.
Even though it had been foretold in the Bible for a long time, nobody noticed. Nobody prepared for resurrection. No one believed in the resurrection of the Lord. People believed that the resurrection would never happen. That is why they were desperate.
But on Sunday, everything changed. God worked. The Lord has risen. So, Sunday is our hope. Sunday is joy to us, and Sunday is peace to us.
Christians are not people who live Friday in the world. Christians are people who live Sunday with the resurrected Christ. Christians are those who have the peace of the Lord and live with the hope that the Lord has given them. So they are different from the people of the world. Christians belonged to heaven. It is because Christians belong to Jesus Christ. The resurrected Lord is with us.
Living as a Christian is therefore people who live a life distinguished from the world. In Acts 11:26, the word "Christian" first appeared in the Bible. And we can see how precious the people of the early church were in the word 'Christian'. Therefore, the name of a Christian was like a crown of glory.
Christians are people who can be trusted. Christian are sincere. Christians are trustworthy people. Christians are good people. The early church people were proud of being a Christian. By contrast, Christians who live in modern times have a lot of shame. It's hard to tell anyone ‘I am going to church’. It is because the church is so much like the world. And many people are disappointed to the church.
Antioch is only a small city with the name "Antakya" of Turkey, but in the days of Apostle Paul, it was the capital city of Syria, one of the empire states of Rome. It was the big city after Rome and Alexandria in the Roman Empire. It was said to be a beautiful and splendid city with a name of 'Queen of the Orient'. The Antioch church built there. It was the first Gentile church. It was also famous as the place where the church created the relief business. They were called Christians because they were very different from those who did not go to church.
I thought of Pastor Kim Jun-gon 's prayer for the national evangelization. This is a part of his prayer. 'In the international market, Korean goods are trustable because people believe in the faith and conscience of Koreans, as a trustworthy nation, who make Jehovah God, Lord Jesus Christ, and the Old and New Testaments as standards of faith.
Like the pastor's prayer, we may pray for this: Our nation (or our country) becomes a guaranteed check as Christians. " Can we pray like that? Can we live like this?
Let's be a good Christian! I hope that this will be the crown of glory.
I hope that you will believe in the Resurrection, and that you will be Christians living with the resurrected Lord. Christians are not frustrated in the reality like Friday when Jesus was crucified, but are waiting for Sunday to meet the resurrected Lord. I hope you will live as such a Christian.
It is not enough to commemorate Easter. We should live like Jesus; we should follow the words of the Resurrected Lord. Christian becomes a guaranteed check.
Become a Christian like the Antioch church saints. And if there is any praise that we will hear, then this is it. I want to be a Christian like Memphis Korean Church saints.
Being a Christian is also participating the suffering of Jesus Christ to participate in the glory of Jesus. It is the words of I Peter 4:13-16.
But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (1 Peter 4: 13-16).
Live as a Christian! I hope that living as a Christian will be the splendid crown of the Lord.