Every year billions of Christians all over the world gather to remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Jesus was executed by the Roman government on a cross outside Jerusalem for his claim of being the Messiah (Mark 14:61). He had said he would rise on the third day. To his followers’ shock, he actually did! Today, as back then, there are many who don’t believe it.
There are those who make it their ambition to demonstrate that Christianity is a hoax, and that the Church has been deceiving people throughout its history. They conveniently ignore the eyewitness accounts of people who saw first-hand the risen Jesus. They ignore the archeological discoveries, which demonstrate communities, which were transformed by believing in the resurrected Jesus. They ignore the changed lives, which this resurrected Jesus has affected throughout the years. They even ignore the personal experience which people still have with the risen Christ.
The Gospel message is that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) entered the human race, lived as one of us, died on a Roman cross for sins of humanity (even yours and mine!), and rose again by the power of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul wrote to the first century believers in Rome: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). What was true then is still true today. For those who believe, they discover that Jesus is really alive. This is not just a matter of intellectual assent; it is also a matter of belief (of faith). One can learn all the historical, archaeological, and scholarly data, but it always comes back to a simple step of faith. You have to believe. Faith is needed to have a personal experience with the risen Lord Jesus.
Jesus said to the church in Laodicea and he says to us: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20). For those who receive Him today, they discover his resurrection isn’t a hoax on a personal basis. He brings forgiveness of our sins, peace of mind and spirit, and an intimate relationship with the Living God of the universe.
Do your homework! Know the facts, but don’t just leave it there. Enter into a dynamic personal relationship with the God who still raises people from the dead.
We have a God that loves us so much, and God’s love for us is expressed to us through His “covenants”. Also, God’s “covenants” reveal to us His grace and faithfulness. In today’s message, we will discuss God’s Covenant with Noah. A “covenant” can be defined as an “oath or promise of God”. In a Biblical covenant: 1) God establishes the Covenant; 2) God always implies that “I am your God, and you are my people” – God desires a personal relationship with us; and 3) God sets the covenant’s terms and rulers.
In Genesis 6:5-22, the corruption of humanity, through mankind’s sin after the Fall, became too much for God, and He became sorry that He made mankind. From Genesis, we know that God “grieved in His heart” because of human evil, corruption, and violence. However, Noah found favor in the eyes of God. Noah was righteous and blameless, and Noah “walked with God”.
After destroying all humans and all other inhabitants of the earth, except for Noah, his family, those animals that Noah collected for His arch, God “blessed Noah in Genesis 9:1-29; and God established His covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:9-1:10,11-13: “’Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you . . . that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.’". Therefore, this covenant is not only with Noah and all other living things on the earth; but God’s covenant with Noah is with us too! The “rainbow” is a sign of this covenant between Noah and all humanity; and this “rainbow” is, also, a sign of God’s love, grace, and mercy.
In 1 Peter 3:18-21, the Apostle Peter relates Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, which is a redemptive covenant for our salvation, to God’s earlier covenant with Noah: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . .". In this text from 1 Peter, we learn that our “baptism” represents our Salvation through Jesus. Like Noah and his family, we have been saved “through the water” not “by the water”. Therefore, “baptism” is another covenant between God and all humanity, through God’s Grace, to save mankind from itself if we accept God’s Grace. God does not see us, now, in our sin like humanity’s evil of Noah’s time; rather, God sees us through the eternal (like the “rainbow”) “Justifying” covenant blood of Jesus.
TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, I AM FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13).
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV): Genesis 6:5-22; Genesis 9:1-29; 1 Peter 3:18-21; Psalms 28: 1-9.
WEBSITE LINK TO DR. BEACH’S SERMON VIDEO: https://awordfromthelord.org/video-archives/
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