Resurrection Sunday Sermon : By His Resurrection

      (Image : "The Resurrection" by Sebastiano Ricci; Public Domain)

Last year the Senior pastor of the church I was then part of gave me an opportunity to preach on Resurrection Sunday. It was the first time I was preaching on Easter morning. The text I chose was Romans 1:3-4. The reason being it explains clearly the truth that is proclaimed to all the world by God raising Jesus from the grave. Moreover it linked beautifully the relationship between the divinity of Jesus and His resurrection. This was a crucial truth to be expounded and set clearly before my hearers considering certain pastoral and theological issues facing that congregation. Thus I expounded the text to show what God is telling us about Jesus by His resurrection and then concluded by pointing three practical implications flowing from the resurrection of Jesus, all from the book of Romans. Thus my sermon focuses on what is declared of Jesus by His resurrection and what is ours by His resurrection.

Listen to the sermon and may the Lord cause your hearts to be grateful for Christ's resurrection.

My outline went as follows :
a. The need to meditate on resurrection and understand its significance
b. My principle of meditation : Read slowly, Think deeply.
2.Exposition and Reflection
Read slowly : unpacking the text by careful observation and drawing out meaning
a. The preexistence of the Son before His incarnation
b. The parallelism and contrast in verses 3 and 4
c. The declaration being made about Jesus at resurrection : Son of God in power
Think deeply :  How does the resurrection prove Jesus is the Son of God in power?
a. Understanding the biblical categories in which biblical authors view resurrection
b. Paul's usage of Psalm 2:7 in Acts 13:32-33 to prove the resurrection of Jesus
c. Understanding Psalm 2 as a coronation Psalm
d. Understanding resurrection as Jesus' accession to His throne.
Objection 1 : Doesn't this mean Jesus attained His divinity at the resurrection? 
Objection 2 : Since the Bible uses Son of God title not just for Jesus, there's nothing unique about Him. 
Summary : By His resurrection, the eternal Son Jesus is declared as the Son of God in power, as the enthroned King.
By His resurrection :
a. We are justified and accepted as Jesus is by the Father; Do you know His love?
b. Death and sin have no more dominion over us as much as Christ was raised from them; Do you know the blessings of your union with Christ? Do you count yourself dead to sin and alive to God?
c.The same powerful Spirit who raised Jesus now dwells with in us; Do you embrace mortification of sin and endure persecution by the power of the Spirit?
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Q&A : What should be our stance as believers to the culture around us?

A biblically informed mind would know that behavioural problems, whether of an individual or a society, are really symptoms of deeper issues. Thus we should avoid going after surface-level solutions. It is proposed that our stance should contain the following pillars :

1. Our Perception : We should view the culture through the eyes of the gospel. Every culture has certain prized idols which it labels as its values. Members of that culture do what they do because they prize these idols. Their actions make sense only when these idols are identified. Thus we should exegete the culture and understand what those particular idols are which causes people to act in a certain way. The Indian culture is one which prizes honour and thus culturally, what Indians do are to a great extent sensible only in the context of this idol of honour. We should thus rightly perceive the problem we are facing. We should not only know what is happening in our culture, but why our culture is behaving so.

2. Our Preaching: Once we have identified the particular idols of our culture, we should preach the gospel sensitively to demolish those idols. Wise contextualization to our culture should characterize our preaching. The matter of our preaching cannot and should not be changing. It is always the biblical gospel. However the manner in which we preach ought to be sensitive to our culture. The way we land the gospel into the hearts of our hearers should be informed by our perception of the dominant idols of their culture. If their culture values honour, then we should labour to show how the culture’s prescription to gain honour, only gives them false honour while gaining of true honour and avoidance of true shame comes only through the gospel. All the cultures in the world can be categorized as either shame based or guilt based or fear based. We should note that shame, guilt and fear are all effects of sin and what people of each of these cultures yearn for – honour, righteousness and peace – are good longings. However the culture lies to them about the way these can be attained. We should expose these lies and show how these longings are only satisfactorily fulfilled by the gospel. This is what is meant by wise contextualization in our preaching.

3. Our Philanthropy: Along with our wise and sensitive preaching informed by our proper perception of the culture, we should also actively engage in positive works of philanthropy. We should be eager to do all we can to meet the needs of the people, especially the poor, the down trodden, the marginalized and the abused. Sacrificial ministries of mercy and justice, conducted in a spirit of grace would be a graphic representation of the gospel to our people. Evangelism and social justice need not be seen as two entirely different works of the church. The church is committed to alleviating human suffering both eternal and earthly, while evangelism focuses on the former, justice and mercy ministries focus on the latter. Thus this pillar is equally important to our stance as the others.

For more on cultural engagement by Christians, 

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