Part 2 of the post-Easter series, "Cristo Vive" (Christ Lives). What is it that brought Jesus back from the dead? God? Certainly. But specifically, we must assume based on the principles throughout Scripture, that he was made alive again by the breath of God, by God's Spirit entering in once again. You and I have the promise of a future resurrection because Jesus was the first to rise. But, we don't have to wait for heaven to experience this. In many ways, our resurrection begins now: through the regeneration of our heart, our mind, our emotions, our focus, and actions. We can live as a new creation and in newness of life long before heaven. But to do so we must, like Jesus, first breathe in the breath of God's Holy Spirit and honor God's Spirit in everything that we do.
Part 15 of 23 in the series "Belonging to Him," which takes an in-depth look at the Gospel through the lens of personal relationship. This sermon begins the second major segment of this series, moving to a more practical approach to belonging to God from day-to-day. Despite our claims to being intimate with God, we should inventory our lives to make sure, as seen in John 15, that we're truly connected to the Vine: Jesus. Only by admitting our need for him and staying connected can we produce spiritual fruit and genuinely live with God in healthy personal relationship (sermon recorded in 2019.)
Christianity is about change. We are born again of God's Spirit as a new creation. We then, by God's grace, pursue spiritual change and transformation. But for most of us, that change feels like a monumental task. First, it's so difficult to believe we're now something different. Our doubt and insecurity prevents our change. Second, we often fail as often as we succeed. So it's difficult to live out this change promised to us in Scripture. But the key to spiritual transformation isn't a manic focus on self-improvement or always making the right choices. The foundation of our faith isn't moral, it's believing in the power of miracles. It's believing that only God can change us, and while we are active participants, God must do more than simply shift our motives or thinking. He must raise us from the dead. While you may look forward to heaven and the promise of future resurrection, part of the good news of Christianity is that your resurrection begins now.