Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Has COme and He is alive! 主は戻ってきた、 主は生きている!

He Has Come and He is alive!
Father, we are about to study Your Word. Without You we can do nothing. What we do not know, please teach us. What we do not have, would You please give us. What we are not, would You make us. We pray for the help of the Holy Spirit so that our time this morning will bring honor to You in everything.  For it is in Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.
First Corinthians 15:1-17  (コリント第115:1-7)
The very core of the Gospel is really found in this passage. During this weekend, Believers around the world celebrate The Death, Burial and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is the WHOLE Gospel in one statement.  As we stated in the Apostle’s Creed this morning, I trust it was as meaningful to you today than ever before as we realize the Truth of those statements are really brought home to our hearts as we remember what happened on that Sunday AM—a long time ago. 
Indeed, this very powerful force and teaching of Christianity is felt around the world. It’s central message of God’s open love with mankind is both embraced (welcomed) and rejected by many. Some would find it hard to believe that there is such a loving God ready to forgive—ready to make clean the darkest sinner, but the truth is out; He is ready to do just that!
Have you heard the name Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin? During his day he was a powerful man in Russia. As a Russian Communist leader he took part in the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. He was editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda (which by the way means truth), and was a full member of the Communist executive committee. In 1930, he spoke in Kiev addressing a huge assembly on the subject of atheism. As he spoke, he aimed his heavy artillery at Christianity hurling insult, argument, and proof against it.

 An hour later he was finished. He looked out at what seemed to be the smoldering ashes of men's faith. "Are there any questions?" he asked. Deafening silence filled the auditorium but then one man approached the platform and mounted the lectern standing near the communist leader. He surveyed the crowd first to the left then to the right. Finally he shouted the ancient greeting known well in the Russian Orthodox Church: "CHRIST IS RISEN!" En masse the crowd arose as one man and the response came crashing like the sound of thunder: "HE IS RISEN INDEED!"
Bukharin was executed by Stalin in 1938.
I say to you this morning: CHRIST IS RISEN! (congregational response: HE IS RISEN INDEED!). I am convinced! I have faith that Christ was dead and He was buried. That I believe! But, this too I accept as true: He rose from the dead and will come again in all His Glory.

This is Resurrection Sunday. And to stand here on this day in this pulpit and proclaim this Word. . . I cannot begin to tell you how this defines all that I am.

 But, you could say to me, how do you know that the Resurrection is real? How do you know that it is really valid?
1. Because なぜならthe Scriptures tell me about the Resurrection.
2. Because なぜなら the Resurrection has stood the test of time.
3. Because なぜならI have experienced the Resurrection in my own life.
And it is this passage this morning that makes that very same claim.  Either it is true OR it is a down right lie!  Either God can and did raise His Son from the Grave-or He did not and IF He did not, we are all fools and we are all very lost in our sins.
Paul wants to remind us of his message that he had taught.  He preached it and they put their trust in that very message.  They received it and they made it the foundation of their Faith in God. He assures them that as they trust in that message, they are saved if  we would hold on to it (The Message/ Good News).

Point One: Belief Is A Life Long Process.  信仰は一生続く歩み
Not a once and it will last you for all time but a continue building of that Faith in your life with evidences found in your life style, your speech and your conduct.  If our life does not showing such evidence-we are living a lie.
Paul assures us that this message he passed on to us is of great importance.  That truth being (as found in verse 3) “…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”  Even though the sentence goes on from this point, let’s just sit on this for a little while. This message of God providing a payment for Man’s sin is found in the Scriptures. As we read through the Bible (I hope you still are reading your way thru), you might be in the Book of Leviticus by now. Here you will find detailed instructions on how to prepare all the different kinds of sacrifices to the Lord. Blood here, inners there, the kidneys separated with the fat; parts of the animal burnt here and some burnt outside the camp.  Blood is ever present.  Without the sheading of blood—without something dying, no forgiveness could be granted. 
So, that was The Plan.  God would send His only Son to die in place of you and me so that the penalty of our sins could be made. His death for our freedom.

Point two: He died for our sins…according to the Scriptures.   Not just made up stuff but in God’s plan since the beginning. 主は私たちの罪のために死なれた・・・と聖句にある
Verse 4 gives a list of four events that are also extremely important to the Gospel.  4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  That is what we recited in the creed! This was a fact of history! This really happened!  We learn that some who were eyewitnesses to these events were still alive when this was written.  (v 6b most of whom are still living).
A personal testimony is powerful—don’t you agree? The My Story we watched on March 11 was an example. This is what happened to me and I did this and my thoughts went that way. I understood this and now I believe that this is true.  That is my story.  Hard to refute such a claim.
Someone who had an UFO sighting is questioned, evaluated and certain things are understood about his comments. As he tells us the story, it seemed real, it was creditable. But, it is believed or not believed. One needs to make a judgment call. Similarly, with the Resurrection.  Problem is, I was not there. I did not see it. I heard about it when I was very young but did not really trust it until I was in my mid-teens. Later, when I was 18, I REALLY believed it and I was assured of its truthfulness as I studied the scriptures. 
(Yes, we always come back to this.  The Scriptures need to be our center. Our knowledge of God really comes from the Word of God.  No getting around that! Scripture is key and belief in the Scriptures is imperative, vital, central—the very core of our Faith is found here. We put our Faith NOT in the Bible itself but in the God of the Bible.)
  Well, Paul goes on to write about others who witnessed His Resurrection.  More than 500 men and women at the same time, plus He appeared to James, and then the rest of the apostles and then He appeared to Paul himself.  Paul calls himself “the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle…”
And why? “…because I persecuted the church of God.”
Here was a man who was—at one time—a person who tried to destroy the Church.  He had them arrested, put in chains, brought them before the leaders in Jerusalem and put some to death.  And now, he is one of them!  His life changed—big time—and now, he was preaching this Message with deep conviction and with the Power of God speaking through him. That is GOD’S GRACE!

But here is the main point today. Verse 12Point three: If Christ has not been raised from the dead, we are all in deep trouble.  If there was no resurrection at all, then Jesus did not raise from the dead. もしキリストが死からよみがえらなかったならば、私たちは皆深い悩み苦しみの中にいる。
But, my friends, by the authority of the Word of God, He was raised from the dead—according to the scriptures. He rose from the cold tomb—His Body which was in Death’s grasp, was set free.  Blood ran through His veins again, His organs were regenerated. His eyes were fluid. His heart beat.  He became warm. His Hands moved and He stood up and He walked out of the tomb!  Death could not hold Him.  He lives! He lives today! Jesus Christ lives! And He now sits at His Father’s Right Hand interceding for us. No one else can do that.  No saint, no mother, no holy person…no one but the One who was nailed on the Cross, died, went into the grave and walked victoriously out of Death and lives today.
He is Risen!  He is Risen, indeed.

COL 2: 6-7  6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the Faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” コロサイ 2:6-7 このように、あなたがたは主キリスト・イエスを受けいれたのだから、彼にあって歩きなさい。また、彼に根ざし、彼にあって建てられ、そして教えられたように、信仰が確立されて、あふれるばかり感謝しなさい。