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Kerry Shook - Come Alive

Kerry Shook - Come Alive
TOPICS: Easter

We're celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we're gonna celebrate today. It's a party, it's a celebration service not a funeral service, so we're gonna celebrate. Jesus Christ is alive, and when Jesus rose from the dead 2000 years ago, it rocked the disciples, it rocked all of Jerusalem. It wasn't done at a vacuum, everyone in Jerusalem heard about the resurrection. Over 500 people saw Jesus after he rose from the dead, it was well documented and 2000 years later, it's rocked the whole world. But here's the best news of all. Because of Easter, it can make all the difference in our lives because Christ came to life that Easter, we can come alive this Easter.

Ken Davis tells about a woman who looked out the window of her house and she was horrified to see her dog shaking the life out of the neighbor's family pet rabbit, her family and the neighbors didn't really get along very well and her dog killing the neighbor's pet was sure to make things worse. So she ran outside and she was so mad at her dog, she yelled at her dog who dropped the rabbit, who was by now extremely dead and the woman didn't know what to do. She panicked but then she took the end of a broom and lifted the rabbit and brought it into her house. She dumped its lifeless body into the shower and she turned on the water. And after the rabbit was clean, she took a hair dryer and blew dry the rabbit fur, and then she took an old brush and started grooming the rabbit until it actually looked pretty good.

And then when the neighbor wasn't looking, she snuck through the back gate across the neighbor's yard and propped the rabbit up in his cage. No way was she taking the blame for this. About an hour later, she heard screams coming from the neighbor's yard and she ran outside pretending like she had no idea what was going on, and her neighbor came frantically running to the fence in total shock screaming, "Our rabbit, our rabbit. He died two weeks ago, we buried him and he's back". Well, that Easter bunny didn't rise from the dead, but Jesus did. And talk about being totally shocked, the disciples couldn't have been more surprised when Jesus rose from the grave, they were in the depths of despair and never considered the possibility that he would rise from the grave.

When Jesus died, they felt like their whole world died with him, but that Easter Sunday shocked them and changed their lives forever. When Jesus rose from the dead, it brought them back to life. Christ resurrection resurrected their hopes and their dreams like the first buds of spring after a really long and harsh winter, that Easter brought them back to life again. This Easter, that's really our prayer for you that because of Jesus's resurrection 2000 years ago, you'll experience a resurrection in your life today. I really believe that God has new possibilities for you. I really believe that God has some new blessings waiting for you just around the corner.

I believe he's got some new paths and he's got some things that he wants to give you this Easter that are gonna make all the difference in your life. Hey, I know we've all been through a pandemic, we all have problems and pain and heartaches and hard stuff to go through, but this Easter, like the arrival of spring after winter, you can come alive again. I believe that God has a new plan and a new purpose in your life. I want you to look at this passage in Ephesians 2:4. It says, "But God is so rich in mercy: He loved us so much that even though we were spiritually dead and doomed by our sins, he gave us back our lives again when he raised Christ from the dead. Only by his undeserved favor have we ever been saved". Because of Easter, you can come alive and experience life to the full.

This Easter, we need to experience the power of Easter, and to experience the power of that first Easter, we've gotta look at what led up to Easter Sunday. So I want us to look at those three days. Three days that really make up Easter. First, there's Good Friday. Now, we call it Good Friday, but it was anything but good to the disciples on that first Easter. In fact, it was more like dead end Friday. Look at Matthew chapter 27. "But Jesus again, crying out loudly breathed his last. And at that moment, the temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split into pieces". When Jesus died on that Friday, there was an earthquake that shook the land. And on that dead end Friday, the disciples experienced another kind of earthquake.

When Jesus died, they were shaken to the core, their whole world came crashing down. Everything that they had counted on was shaken, their faith was shaken. Nothing made sense. They thought the journey that they'd been on with Jesus was gonna end with him being declared king and they would be ruling with him, everything would be perfect and amazing, but now Jesus was dead and they had hit a dead end. Their journey had come to an end suddenly. It was dead end Friday and dead end Friday totally blindsided the disciples and sent shockwaves of despair deep into their souls. And we get blindsided by the dead end Fridays that come into our lives and they send shockwaves of despair and confusion into our hearts and they shake our faith and we just never see it coming.

Dead end Fridays just hit and our whole world changes instantly. I mean, you leave for work one morning and you come home without a job, or you're planning that vacation, then you get the test results back and you're wondering if you'll even be here to go on that vacation. And then you may have a to-do list that you're starting on in the day and everything is great and then you discover your spouse has been unfaithful and by the end of the day, you're reeling from the betrayal. Or you get that phone call that knocks you to your knees and just takes the breath out of you and everything's changed. We're always blindsided by our dead end Fridays. You never see them coming, but God is never surprised. God is never surprised by your dead end Fridays. God is not surprised by anything and that's comforting to me.

The disciples were blindsided by that dead end Friday. The disciples were totally surprised when everything came to a dead end, but Jesus wasn't. He knew it was always the father's plan. It was dead end Friday, but Resurrection Sunday was coming, and it's comforting to know that nothing surprises God. God is not surprised by what you're going through right now. God is never surprised by our dead end Fridays. Now, God doesn't cause the bad things, but he's not surprised, he was already grieving. He was grieving for you even before you knew you were gonna experience that. Before you got the news he was already hurting for you and reaching out to you. And what you don't realize, what we don't really understand most of the time is that the dead end Friday is not the end of the story because Resurrection Sunday is on the way. And there had to be a dead end Friday before they could be a Resurrection Sunday. Without dead end Friday, there's no Resurrection Sunday.

You know, Resurrection Sunday depended on a dead end Friday. There's gotta be a death before resurrection, and dead end Friday is the place where dreams come to die. It's the place where relationships come to die. It's the place where hopes come to die, and that's part of God's plan so many times because without dead end Friday, we would never come to the end of ourselves and we would never experience resurrection. Sometimes a dream has to die before God can resurrect it and it's no longer the American dream, but it's God's dream for your life, the only one that will fulfill. Sometimes a marriage has to die so that a spouse who's going the wrong direction will wake up. And sometimes we have to hit rock bottom, so there's no place to look but up and find God. Sometimes God allows everything that we're trusting in to be shaken so we place our trust in the only foundation that is firm.

The biggest thing though the disciples didn't realize is that dead end Friday was really forgiveness Friday. Look at Colossians chapter 2, verse 13. It says, "You were dead because of your sins and your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us by nailing it to the cross". You see, we've all sinned and those sins separate us from perfect, holy God. Now, a lot of times we think our sins aren't that bad. Most of us know that we've sinned. We're not perfect, we've made mistakes. We all have some regrets, but we kind of compare ourselves to others and think, "Well, I'm pretty good".

And we don't think we need forgiveness, but you see, our sins separate us from perfect God, he's the one we're to compare to. And when we compare ourselves to perfect holy God and we wanna get into perfect heaven, our sins really add up kind of like the national debt, the national debt clock in New York City is always ticking upward constantly, and that's the way it is with our sins because we can't measure up to perfect, holy God. I mean, have you ever had a wrong thought or a wrong action? You know, I mean wrong motives, we've all sinned compared to perfect, holy God, but the amazing thing is, God's all about forgiveness. God is all about forgiveness, he loves to forgive, but it's not a cheap forgiveness where he says, "Hey, don't worry about it, it's no big deal". No. It was a huge deal.

God wanted us to be in a relationship with him so desperately, and yet our sins separated us from perfect, holy God, that he came down to this earth and he died a horrific, excruciatingly painful death on the cross, and he shed his perfect sinless blood to wash away all my sins. And he canceled the debt. I mean, just like that, that debt that was climbing up like the national debt clock, he just canceled it. Done on the cross, and so guilt is unnecessary. What's amazing is you can walk out of this place today guilt-free, not because of anything you've done but because of what Jesus Christ has done on the cross on that Good Friday. For the disciples though, dead end Friday, it just moved right into silent Saturday, and the Bible has a lot to say about the events of Good Friday, and the Bible has a lot to say about the events of Resurrection Sunday, but it doesn't have much to say about silent Saturday.

You see, most Christians celebrate Good Friday and we celebrate Resurrection Sunday, but most Christ followers just skip over silent Saturday. But in life, no one gets to skip over silent Saturday. That season of in between. That season between the struggle and the solution. That season between the hurt and the healing, we all have to go through silent Saturday. That season of in between where it feels like you're stuck and you're not making any progress, you're just there in your silent Saturday. For you see, it was on that silent Saturday that the disciples scattered in despair, everything in their world went silent that day as the one that placed all their hopes and dreams in died, and now their hopes and dreams were dead. And they thought silent Saturday was gonna last forever.

You see, they didn't know it was just silent Saturday. It was just silent Saturday and Resurrection Sunday was just one sunrise away, but they didn't know it. They didn't understand that it was just silent Saturday and maybe you don't understand. Right now, you feel like the heavens are silent and you feel like that God is nowhere around and you don't know that you're just in a silent Saturday and Resurrection Sunday is just a sunrise away. You know, it's in those silent Saturdays that place of in between and we don't know what God is up to and it's really confusing, I've gotta admit, I really struggle with silent Saturdays. Those seasons of in between and I just wonder what God is up to and it seems like the heavens are silent and I don't know what to do next and it's confusing and I feel stuck.

I think the reason why we struggle so much with silent Saturday, is because it gets right down to the question: Does God really care? I mean, does God really care about what I'm going through? You see those silent Saturdays, they make us begin to doubt and we wonder, "God, where are you? God, what are you up to in this situation? God, don't you know what I'm going through? God, don't you care about this debilitating depression that I can't seem to break free from? God don't you care that I'm carrying such a financial burden right now that I'm so stressed out? God, don't you care about my child who's getting treatments right now? God, don't you care about this hurt from my past that's wounded me so deeply? I don't think I'll ever get over it. God, don't you care? And God, why don't you do something about it"?

Silent Saturdays calls us to ask that one core question, "God, don't you care"? Because we think that silent Saturday is going to last forever. But what we don't know, what we don't get so many times is that it's just silent Saturday, it's part of God's plan. Resurrection Sunday is just one sunrise away, it's just silent Saturday, it's just part of God's purpose. Look at Acts 2:27. This is a prophecy about silent Saturday. It says, "Because you do not abandon my soul to the grave or allow your holy one to decay".

You see, God the Father promised the Son that even though there would be a silent Saturday in the grave that God would never abandon him. Jesus knew that his Father would not leave him alone in the grave, and God will not leave you alone on your silent Saturday. His silence is not his absence. Did you get that? His silence is not his absence. Just because God is silent, just because you feel stuck, just because you don't know what God is up to, doesn't mean that he's left you. In fact, he will never leave you or forsake you, that's his promise to you. If you go to the depths of the earth or the heights of heaven, he is there with you. Whatever you walk through.

If you're a Christ follower, he will walk through it with you, when you're going through hell, he will walk through hell with you and he will bring you out on the other side because he will never leave you, he will never forsake you, and just because you can't feel his presence doesn't mean that he's not there. His promise tells us in our silent Saturdays, he won't abandon us, he will always be there with us. In fact, he's close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. So if your heart is crushed today and you're in a silent Saturday and it feels like God is nowhere around, I just want you to know he's closer to you than he's ever been. And maybe you can't feel it right now, it's just you're in a silent Saturday but Resurrection Sunday is one sunrise away.

So what do you do in that silent Saturday? Well, Psalm 62:5, tells us exactly what to do in our silent Saturdays. Would you look at it with me? It tells us, "For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence for my hope is in him". It's in our silent Saturdays that we're to wait on the Lord. Silent Saturday won't last forever, though it feels like it's lasting forever. You keep believing, you keep trusting, you keep waiting on God because Resurrection Sunday is just one sunrise away. Now, the Jews divided days very differently than we do. We divide days at midnight, but they would divide days at sunset from sunset to sunset, that's why they still have the Sabbath starting at sunset on Friday.

You see, if it was any part of a day, they would count it as a day. That's why when Jesus was crucified at evening on Good Friday, they counted that as one day, and when he rose from the grave at dawn on Sunday, that was counted as a day, and Saturday of course was in between and that's why it's considered three days in the tomb according to first century Jews. But in our way of looking at it, Jesus was really only in the tomb for one full day, and that's why silent Saturday is so important. It's when death had its day and death had to have its day so God could have the final say. Death had to have its one day so God could have every day after that all eternity for us. Jesus didn't just die. I mean, get this. Jesus didn't just die, he was dead for a day. And silent Saturdays are so important because they let us feel the full weight of how weak we are.

And sometimes we've gotta go through that silent Saturday to really feel it because we think maybe we can still solve the problem. Yeah, it feels like a dead end but maybe I'll try this and I can fix it, maybe I can change that relationship, maybe I can repair this, maybe I can get through this circumstance on my own. But it's in those silent Saturdays where we feel the full weight of our powerlessness, but it's also in those silent Saturdays that help us feel the full power of God's strength. I mean, if God had raised Christ from the dead just one second after he died, we wouldn't appreciate the power of God and the power of the resurrection. I mean, can you imagine Jesus says, "It is finished" and he bows his head and dies, and then he's awake, he's alive. I mean, we wouldn't really appreciate that death and resurrection. He was dead for a full day. He was in the grave so that he could defeat death in the grave and hell forever.

Death had its day, but Jesus Christ won the day. And think about this, if God solved all your problems just one minute after they came into your life, you would never learn to appreciate God's power, you wouldn't know how weak you are without him, you wouldn't know how dependent you are on God, and you're dependent on God for every breath. We just don't recognize it a lot of times. I mean, if God solved all my problems one minute after they came into my life, I would never pray, I would never depend on God. But as we go through a silent Saturday, we get to the place where we fill the full weight of our weakness, and then God comes through on Resurrection Sunday and we begin to comprehend just a little bit of the greatness of God's strength. And it helps us with our faith. It builds our faith in his strength, and it builds our faith and our relationship with God Almighty.

And maybe you feel discouraged today because you're in the middle of a silent Saturday. Just remember, God's not finished with you yet. Do you need to change? Are you looking to break through? Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like there's an emptiness on the inside? God wants to bring that change and only God can, because silent Saturday didn't last forever and one sunrise, it was Resurrection Sunday.

Let's look at it in Matthew 28, "After the Sabbath at dawn, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angels said to the women, 'Do not be afraid for I know that you are looking for Jesus who is crucified. He is not here, he has risen just as he said, come and see the place where he lay.'"

He rose again and defeated death, so we don't have to be afraid of death. Because of Resurrection Sunday, we can have heaven one day. The resurrection makes all the difference. It proved that Jesus is who he said he was, and that when he was nailed to the cross for our sins, he did forgive us of our sins. And then he rose to raise us up to new life here on earth and eternal life in heaven one day. Dead end Friday and silent Saturday had to make way for Resurrection Sunday. For you see, he's the God of the last word, he's the God of the final say.

When Friday and Saturday wrote down the word hopeless, he just added Sunday because he's alive, he has paid the debt, and he has offered us a ticket to heaven. It's amazing what Easter means. Really, it was finished on that Good Friday, he took the debt of our sins, all the sins of the world, your sins and my sins but he rose from the dead to prove it, to prove that we don't have to be afraid of death. See, one day your heart will stop beating, but you will live on in eternity. You were made for eternity, and we get to choose whether or not we receive his free forgiveness. It's not about anything you've done, it's about what he did for you. We have to humble ourselves and receive it. The Bible says, "When you believe and receive, then he comes into your life and that's what salvation is".

And believe literally means to place your life upon, is to take the little bit of imperfect faith you have. Maybe you don't have much faith. All you need is mustard seed faith, but you take the little bit of imperfect faith you have and you put it all on Jesus to save you. You stake your eternal destiny on him to give you a free ticket to heaven that you can't earn, and then you've gotta receive him into your life. You've gotta say, "Hey, I need Jesus in my life". And you receive him into your life. So have you ever at a point in time in your life believed and received that free gift of heaven one day? For you see, once you receive him, he writes your name in the book of life.
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