LIFE CHANGE: Encounter
Pastor Terry Inman
Photo courtesy of Dave Miller www.dhmphoto.com
The light coming through the rock formation in this photo takes me to the first Easter. The bible says that after Christ’s death on a Roman cross His body was wrapped and placed in a sealed and guarded tomb.
Then before dawn on Sunday and angel appeared. The ground shook violently. The massive gravestone broke free and blazing shafts of light revealed the Son of God, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ!
This is not, "Tales from the Crypt" It’s not a tale it is the truth! It’s neither fiction nor fact, it’s faith! Resurrection is not natural it is supernatural. The Apostle Paul once a hostile critic of Jesus Christ and his followers wrote this description of resurrection reality.
This Christian life is a great mystery, far exceeding our understanding, but some things are clear enough: He appeared in a human body, was proved right by the invisible Spirit, was seen by angels. He was proclaimed among all kinds of peoples, believed in all over the world, and taken up into heavenly glory. 1Tim. 3.16 (MSG)
There is credible evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the empty tomb, over 500 eyewitnesses, historical collaboration, and archeological confirmation. There’s even the famous shroud of Turin a burial cloth alleged to bear an emblazed negative imprint of the Body of Christ.
But the greatest verification of the resurrection is a radical Life Change. The explosive growth of the church in the first century can only be explained by the fact that people experienced this radical life change.
The tropical blue butterfly of South America is called a morpho. It means, “changed or modified”. The entire life cycle of the Morpho from egg to caterpillar and chrysalis to butterfly, then final death, is only 115 days!
This metamorphosis in creation is metaphor for the transformative life-change our Creator has designed for those who trust in His resurrection.
Today we begin a new four part series called Life Change. The Apostle Paul who once pursued Christ as the enemy of religion was dramatically altered by his own blinding encounter with the resurrected and ascended light of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Later he wrote these words that will be our theme for the next four weeks. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change. Romans 2:4 (MSG). This is no makeover it’s a total take over! This morning I am going to invite you to let Jesus take over.
Today we will talk about a personal supernatural encounter with the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ that activates our spiritual life!
Next Sunday we will look at life-formation, how the intentional integration of biblical truth along with prayerful conversation shapes our spiritual life.
Then we will cover life mentoring or coaching, authentic and accountable interactions that promote wholeness and acceleration of our spiritual life.
Finally life-challenge is about the temptations, limitations, and misfortunes that we face. They can be catalytic events that advance our spiritual life. Go to our web site at Haborlight.com for the schedule of this April series.
New life is everywhere this time of year. Spring is in the air! There are so many natural witnesses to resurrection life. The reason we hide colorful eggs at Easter is because they are symbols of resurrection.
The new life God gives us is spiritual. Our spiritual life never dies. Jesus told a grieving friend, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11.25-26 (NIV)
When we die as believers its not termination its destination! The bible says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Rom. 8.11(NIV)
The Apostle Peter a simple fisherman overcame his fears and failures to lead the emerging Christian church. He labels this life-change a new birth.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!” 1 Peter 1.3 (NIV)
Matthew a former unpopular tax collector had his own life-change and became one of Jesus apostles. He was an eyewitness to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. In his gospel account he describes in vivid detail what happened at the moment of Jesus death on the cross.
When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. Matt. 27.52 (NIV)
Now there are some theories that attempt to explain the significance of this but what gets my attention is that it is a manifestation of what God does for us when we make a choice to trust, follow and serve Jesus Christ.
We are literally raised to new life! The message translation of the bible says, “When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s Cross. Col. 2.13-14 (MSG)
You can begin your life-change encounter with Jesus Christ today!
1. ADMIT your need for a life-change. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1.9 (NIV)
2. AFFIRM your trust in Jesus Christ. I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. John 5.24 (NIV)
3. ALLOW Jesus to lead your life-change. If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. Rom. 10.9 (NIV)
We can do that right now. Let’s talk to God together. Just repeat this simple prayer with me and we will invite Jesus to lead us into a life change.
God I acknowledge my need for a life-change. I know I am a sinful person. I need your mercy and forgiveness. I affirm my trust in you. I believe you are the Son of God and that you died for me. In my heart I believe in you and your resurrection. I receive your gift of new life now. I want you to lead my life-change from now on. AMEN
Welcome to God’s forever family. Now let me remind you of our theme verse… In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change. Romans 2:4 (Message)