Sermon at Kinmundy United Methodist Church on 4/21/2019.
Title: EASTER SUNDAY Rise & Shine! Colossians 2:12-15, Romans 6:1-5, John
Sermon Series: Distinctive Wesleyan Emphases
Audio link – Right click, open in new tab to play: [Kinmundy] [Wesley]
Right click, open in new tab to view slides as a PDF: [Slides]
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?
What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?
My dad grew up on a farm. My dad grew up on a dairy farm back in the days when they milked cows, he said, four times a day. When my dad graduated from high school in 1945, he very quickly joined the Navy. And he went up to Great Lakes Naval Air Station for basic training, and he loved it. You know why he loved it? Being a dairy farmer, when the reveille went off at 5:30 he’d gotten to sleep for two extra hours. Not only that, the calisthenics really weren’t that hard for him, because he was used to hard work. But I still remember seventh grade, sixth grade. 6:30 in the morning echoing up the stairs to the upstairs of our house where my brother and I stayed, would come his voice shouting, “Rise and shine.” My dad was the math teacher in school, but in the summer he built buildings to help make ends meet. So every morning in the summer, except Sunday, at 6:30 – I like to think it was still dark outside, but it wasn’t – you can count on his voice coming up the stairs, “Rise and shine.” And here’s the worst thing, if you didn’t get up he just kept saying it. If he had to come up and get you it was worse [laughter]. But every morning he’d call me to rise and shine.
It makes me wonder about Jesus hearing the voice of His father on Sunday morning, “Rise and shine. It’s time to get up. There are things to be done. The sun is up–” oh, and the Son of God is up. Maybe it was dawn. Maybe it was earlier in the night; we don’t know. But Jesus rose at the call of His father. My father called me; Jesus’ Father called Him. But you and I are also called to rise and shine. You and I are also called to get up and participate in new life because Easter is not just for Jesus, and resurrection is not just for Jesus. One of the little secrets that some people don’t realize, but Easter is not just for Jesus. Let’s look at the scripture. Colossians 2:12, “And you,” Paul writes, “you were buried with Him in baptism.” Please read the dark print with me.
“In which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God who raised Him from the dead.”
Somehow in baptism, there is a connection made between us and the death of Jesus on the cross, so that when He goes into the grave we are with Him. And so when the Father calls Him to rise up we come with HIm. This is very plainly spoken in the New Testament. We go into the grave with Him. We come up in new life with Him. Verse 13, “And you who were dead and trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh,” everybody, “God made alive together with Him.” Easter is for all of us. Some of you might wonder, “How come I’ve never heard this before?” It’s because it’s hard to understand. But it still is true. Easter is for all of us. Here’s the rest of that passage, “Having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands,” everybody, “This He set aside nailing it to the cross.” Your sin, whatever they may be, is nailed to the cross and dies as Jesus dies because whatever you put on a cross dies. Verse 15, “In doing this, Jesus disarmed the principalities and the powers.” And He refers there to the powers that be, meaning the devil and all those who do the devil’s works. Jesus disarmed the principalities of power and made a public example of them, triumphing over them–
–in Him. We go into the grave with Him. We come out of the grave in triumph because all things happen because we are in HIm. “Follow Me,” Jesus says, and you follow Him. But you know where He’s going? He’s going to the cross. And here’s the lesson of the cross for us, let what needs to die, die. Leave it in the grave. Leave it behind. Friends, there are things that you and I need to leave behind. We need to leave them behind because they’re dead. They do not help us. They drain life from us. They are a burden that we carry. We do not need to carry them. What we need to do is leave them behind. “Follow Me,” Jesus says. Well, follow Me up and out of and from the grave, rise to walk in newness of life. Follow Me into a new life and leave what should remain in the grave behind you. You don’t want it. You don’t need it. And if you try to drag what is dead into new life, you will regret it. Let go of what does not help you in your new life. Roman 6:1, my favorite passage that talks about this, “What shall we say, then. Are we to continue in sin that grace may avow?” If God is going to forgive us, if Jesus is going to cleanse us no matter what, why shouldn’t we just keep on doing whatever we feel like doing. And the apostle Paul says, “By no means,” with me, “how can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with Him with baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father,” with me, “we too might walk in newness of life.” It cannot be more plain than that. We too, just like Jesus, might walk– it’s a possibility. It’s a potential that you and I have because Jesus died for us. Because Jesus rose for us, we too might walk in newness of life. “For if we had been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
But how can this be? Nicodemus, when he was told, “You must be born again,” he tried to figure it out. He said, “How can you go back inside your mother and be born all over again?” And Jesus basically said, “Well, it’s a thing the Holy Spirit does.” It’s like the wind. It goes where it wants, and you don’t know where it’s coming from and you don’t where it’s going, but you could feel it when it happens to you. “We too might walk in newness of life.”
Friends, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter. This is the tree across the street. [inaudible] see the church in the background. It’s from the front door of the house where I get to live. And you know something? That tree looks dead. It’s got ice on it, it’s got snow on it, and there’s not a single sign of life on it. Do you know why? The life is down in the roots. It’s still there, it’s just down in the roots. And down there in the roots, it’s safe. It’s safe like Jesus was safe when he waited for Easter Sunday morning. If you’ve been baptized, you have the opportunity to experience a spring. But maybe everything’s still down in the roots.
Oh, and by the way, I should say this, too. If you’ve not been baptized, you should consider it. In the United Methodist Church, we feel that baptism is so important we baptize old people and we baptize young people. We feel that young people benefit from this new life in Christ, so, therefore, we will baptize babies, because the promise of God– what happens when someone is baptized is meaningful and valuable. Now, some people go to churches– some people have grown up in churches where they don’t baptize little children. That’s okay. But we feel it has a great value we feel that baptism has such a great value that if you were baptized in another church, we have the assumption that God was there. And that baptism counts. No one ever has to be baptized again in the United Methodist Church because we feel that God was there when you were baptized, whenever that was. Because whenever that was – guess what – the scriptures true. “Oh, Pastor Dave, but my mom didn’t go to church.” Does that mean the scripture isn’t true? “Pastor Dave, my dad wasn’t a very good Christian.” Does that mean the scripture isn’t true? “Pastor Dave, the pastor who baptized me was a jerk.” Well, friends that does happen. But the flat reality is this; the scripture is true. No matter who was there at your baptism, the scripture is true. And the scripture says you can walk [inaudible].
Now, by the way, I went to a Southern Baptist Seminary. They have a joke about southern baptists who become Methodist. Pastor in the largest Methodist Church – actually, Illinois – he asked me when he heard I was becoming a Methodist– he had gone to the same seminary I went to. He said, “How was your first baptism?” And I said, “Well, it was fine. I prayed over it. I read the scripture. The scripture seemed to indicate that baptism was a gift of God without prerequisite.” And he said, “Yeah, I thought the same. But the difficulty was this– we have these baptist trees, and they have these little bowls. I had to dunk the baby twelve times to get it wet all over.” It’s not how much water. It’s not whether it’s sprinkled or poured. The Apostle Paul – it’s real clear in the scripture – he was baptized in the second-floor room. Water was poured over him. It’s not the amount of water. It’s not the person holding the water. It’s not the person who’s being baptized and their age and what they believe or agree with or don’t agree with. You can trust the scripture. And the scripture says that if you’ve been baptized you’re connected to His death, and you’re connected to His resurrection. And you have the opportunity to rise with Him and walk the [inaudible] of life. But some of us are just like that truth. It’s all that life is still down in there somewhere. But God is calling it up and [out?]. Because you see it’s Spring.
I think I got a C in biology. I think I got something worse than that in life science in college. I don’t understand how it works, but every Spring, I watch that tree because – guess what – pretty soon it’s going to look like that. And every time I’ll walk out the front door of my house, every time I walk out the door of the church, I am walking toward that tree. And it always reminds me that Spring is coming and new life is possible and you and I can bloom. I can not tell you scientifically how it happens. I do not understand the chemistry and the signals by which this tree all of a sudden figures out it’s time to be filled with flowers. But I can tell you this, if you take a look at it this morning, the flowers are getting ready. And I hope your heart is also getting ready because it’s time to bloom. It’s time to leave behind what you’ve been left behind and walk in [inaudible] of life.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him. That’s another version you need to take seriously. Whoever, whoever believes in him should not perish but have an eternal life. When does eternal life begin? Right now. Right now. Right now. I told this story on [inaudible] Thursday. I told it again this morning. Little grandson haunts Eugene Peterson, pastor, author, his wife, little boy’s grandmother picked him up at vacation Bible school, and they were going to go to a museum. And they stopped for lunch at a park across from the museum, and they had their lunch. And grandma says, “Well Hans, you want to go in the museum now?” and he said, “Grandma, not just yet.” and he opened up his backpack and he pulled out his New Testament. And he sat there under a tree in the shade and he opened it up. And he looked very intently at the pages, and he moved his fingers across the words. And every now and then there’d come a particular word and he would stop with his finger there and he would look up to Heaven like he was praying, then he’d look down to the words again, and he’d move his fingers across the words. And when he was done, he held the Bible to his heart, then he put it back in his backpack and he said, “It’s okay grandma, I’m ready to go now.” Eugene Peterson thought this was very odd because Hans was six, and he did not know how to read, but he knew how to treat the Bible. But there will come a day when Hans knows how to read, and all of a sudden the words that he’s running his fingers over will mean something to him. And they will grow in his life, and they will grow in his heart, and his life will change because it’s ready for him to come alive. But all too often in the church– I mean just think about it for a minute. Where does a six-year-old boy learn how to treat the Bible like this? He saw it in someone else. How many of us, the faith that we have, the things that we do, we do them because we’ve seen them in someone else, but we’ve never had the experience for ourselves? There’s something that it just seems right to do, but the reason it’s right eludes us because we can’t read the words yet. Eugene Peterson said, “I want people not only to revere the Bible. I want them to be able to hear the words and live them because that’s what makes [inaudible].”
Don’t you just love little children? I [inaudible] [laughter]. Oh, I’m sorry [laughter].
Oh, you have to come and sit down.
She was standing right here, and I didn’t know she was there [laughter]. I am so sorry [inaudible].
Yeah. It’s going to happen a lot, probably, but I am so sorry [laughter]. Kids that do that, by the way, they grow up to be preachers so I really am looking forward to how things work out for her because she feels right at home right here. As soon as she can read the Bible, she’ll probably be ready for the rest.
All too often you and I are like this tree. What’s really true about the spirit is down deep inside. But if we can let it come up and out, if we can realize that eternal life happens now, if the words in the Bible dwell in our hearts richly and begin to grow like seeds, friends, we will find the power that is in the resurrection. We talked about the light bulb is an image for us. Power is meant to flow through us, and when it does, we light up. But today I want to say this, the power that flows through us that makes us light up is the power of the resurrection. It is the resurrection which is the source of power in the Christian life. It is the resurrection that causes this tree to explode in the human of [inaudible]. May the same thing happen to us. Why? Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, I can live today because I know that He lives inside of me.
Please pray with me.
Lord Jesus, whether it’s the winter of the soul, whether it is the springtime where we bloom, maybe it’s later in the year where we bear fruit, Lord I pray that you would help your people to grow. To grow into new life. To rise and walk in [inaudible] of life. To experience the resurrection not merely as something that we hear about, not merely as something that we read about, but Lord as something that happens within our own hearts. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ for each of us, Amen.
Let’s stand and sing. [music]
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Raod, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.