Come Alive: Resurrection Power

Hallelujah! He is risen! 

Welcome to the most wonderful celebration of the year. Today we celebrate together the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. More than two thousand years ago, God’s plan of redemption altered the world forever. The power of sin and death was broken through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ that first Easter. 

Death was defeated. 

Today we celebrate! 

{Explain Scripture reading for the service.}

Jesus is alive, and through His resurrection, we come alive to His power to change our lives and to transform each one of us into a new creation. 

You may be thinking, “I don’t know if I have the power to change.” 

Or, “I don’t even know if I want to change.” 

“It takes energy and work to change the things that need changing.”

“I just don’t know if I have the power to change my attitude or my outlook on life.” 

Or, “I don’t know if I have the strength to continue on in this marriage.” 

Or, “I don’t know if I have the ability to break this addiction.” 

Or, “I don’t know if I can truly forgive this person who has hurt me.” 

Or, “I don’t have the power to love my enemies.” 

“I don’t know if I have the power to live the life Jesus is calling me to live; I don’t know if I have the power to change my life.”

Well, the answer is, 

You don’t have the power to change and transform your life, to become a new creation, to live the life Jesus is calling you to live. 

That’s why we need a Savior! 

And that’s the good news of Easter!

You may be wondering, 

“What difference does a Savior make?

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth in the flesh to live among us, to show us how to live. He spent three years walking and talking with those who would listen.

He then took our sins upon Himself and died for them on a cross, defeating the power that sin and death had over us by raising from the dead three days later! 

As a result of the resurrection, every person who has received Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior now has the power of God within them, 

not only to change their life 

but to live a victorious, abundant life. 

That’s what Easter is all about! 

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul, a man who actually persecuted Christians and 

then experienced a radical life change through an encounter with Jesus, 

knew that his life depended on Jesus and 

the power of the resurrection. 

Read with me what he said, the first verse in your list of verses in your bulletin. 

Philippians 3:10 (NIV)

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection.

That was the goal of Paul’s life—to know Jesus and to know the power of His resurrection in his everyday life. Paul’s ability to get through every day was dependent on Jesus and His power living through him. And Paul wanted this for himself and for his friends as well. 

Read with me how he prayed for his friends in the church of Ephesus, verse 2

Ephesians 1:19–20 (NLT)

I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 

Think about this! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and now gives Him the ability and authority to rule over the universe is available to you and me. 

The Greek word for “power” is the word dunamis—dynamite. To have the power of the resurrection in your life is to have dynamite power. 

And the Apostle Paul said, “I want to know it! Give me a piece of that! It’s my goal in life to know Christ and to know the power of His resurrection.” And he prayed that we would know it as well. 

The good news of Easter is that Jesus Christ not only died for your sins and offers you forgiveness today, but that same power that raised Him from the dead two thousand years ago is available to change your life right now.

What Is Resurrection Power? 

It’s the Power to Cancel Out Your Past, Present, and Future Sins

So many people walk through life carrying around the weight and burden of their past failures, 

their past mistakes, 

and their past sins. 

They become overwhelmed by regret over the past. 

When I say “cancel out your past,” I’m not talking about denying it or saying it never happened. 

Cancel means to eliminate, to remove, or to delete. 

Have you ever gotten halfway through a project and thought, “Man, I wish I could start over; this is not turning out the way that I had planned”? 

A lot of people feel that way about life. “I just wish that I could start over. I’ve made so many mistakes. There are so many failures, problems, and bad decisions. I just wish I could hit the delete button and start over.” 

Some people can’t seem to let go of their past, 

and as a result they let their past 

control their present and 

dictate their future. 

They live in a constant state of regret. They continually second-guess themselves because they’re tortured by painful memories. 

God says, “That’s unnecessary. You don’t have to walk around with a heavy load of guilt, old hurts, and painful memories.” 

How can that be?

Read with me what has happened as a result of the death and the resurrection of Jesus. Paul said, verse 3 in your bulletin,

Colossians 2:13–14 (NLT)

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

Let me say that again: 

Christ has done away with the record of charges against you by nailing it to the cross. 

This verse says, “He forgave all our sins.” What is sin? Sin is an archery term. It is bows and arrows. 

Sin doesn’t just mean to shoot and miss the target with our lives; 

it means to turn our backs and shoot in every direction except for the target. 

We completely ignore the true target of pleasing God with our lives, and we set our sights on seductive targets that don’t save us or satisfy us; 

they actually make us feel miserable and empty. 

Here’s the good news: God offers complete forgiveness. He says that He cancels every record of the charges against us and He forgives them all. 

The words that God uses in the Bible to describe how He forgives us are words like “blot out,” “wipe out,” “washed away,” “canceled.” That means our sins are not only forgiven, but they are forgotten.

That doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t know the sins that you have committed. 

It just means He didn’t come to rub them in; 

He came to rub them out. 

He didn’t come to condemn you; 

He came to change you by saving you from your sins. 

Read with me verse 4, where John told us, 

John 3:17 (ESV)

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

One of my favorite toys growing up was an Etch A Sketch. You drew something with the knobs, and when you messed up, what did you do? You flipped it over and shook it to wipe the slate clean, and then you started over. 

The Bible says that God has the ability—because of the sacrifice of Jesus, His death and resurrection—to take all of the messes and sins and regrets in your life and wipe them clean. That happens at the moment we trust Him alone to be our Savior. 

But it gets even better than that, let’s read verse five,

Jeremiah 31:34 (ESV)

For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

That has to be one of the most amazing verses in the whole Bible. 

God, who made the whole world and everything in it, chooses to forget your wrongs, your mistakes, your past failures, and your sins, and when you come to Him, confess your sins, and ask Him to forgive you, He cancels your past. 

For those of you who are here today and have received Christ at some point in your past but are limping through life in sin, the same thing applies. Every time you come back to Him and confess your sins and ask Him to forgive you, He receives you, forgives you, wipes the slate clean, and cancels those sins off your record.

How can God do this? What is the basis for this kind of forgiveness? Read with me verse six, 

Romans 8:1 (ESV)

There is therefore now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, one of the last things He said from the cross was, “It is finished.” In Greek, those three words are actually one word. It literally means “paid in full.” Canceled! 

God says that’s what Jesus did on the cross—He paid for every sin you’ve ever committed. He stamps “paid in full” across each one. That’s why there is no condemnation for you. 

He canceled our past sins and failures and mistakes.

It’s the Power to Give You a New Identity

What’s an identity? An identity is something that defines you. 

In our culture, we define ourselves by our race, our religion, our political party affiliation, our sexual orientation, our gender. 

We find our identity in our occupation, our hobbies, or maybe where we went to school, or even in our looks, our clothes, or whom we are dating or married to. 

Sometimes people have a hidden identity that shapes their lives and their decisions—an addiction; a weight issue; a health issue; living with the label “adopted,” “divorced,” or “poor”; or maybe they don’t feel very smart or they feel unwanted or unloved. 

Identities are so much about what we do or what we’ve done, our successes and failures, and what others have done to us. 

The resurrection brought with it the power to change all of that! 

Because Jesus conquered sin and death, we don’t have to be defined any longer by our sinful failures, our past mistakes, or even what others think about us. 

Our identities can now be shaped by God’s success in conquering our sinful failures and His ability to give us new life. 

When we come to God and put our faith in Jesus Christ alone as our personal Savior and receive His gift of salvation, look at the words that God uses to describe us: friend of God, blessed, loved, new creation, saint, disciple . . . and this one is my favorite, verse seven, 

John 1:12 (ESV)

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

I am a child of God! Out of His grace, He has adopted me into His family and says, “Call Me Father! That’s your new identity. You are My child, and I am your Daddy!” I am His, and He is mine! 

You may be thinking, “How do I know that this is true?” 

Let’s read verse eight, 

2 Corinthians 1:22 (NLT)

And he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

What this means is that you can let go of any image of yourself that is not from God. You can stop accepting what others have said about you, how others have labeled you, how you have labeled yourself, and how others have defined you. And you can start believing what God says about you—you are His child and He is your Father. That’s how He defines you! 

When you are a child of God, you are not defined by your feelings. You’re not defined by the opinions of others or by your circumstances. 

You’re not defined by your successes and failures. You’re not defined by the car you drive, the money you make, or the house you own. You are defined by God and God alone—and He identifies you as His own! 

The thing is, if you don’t know who you are, you’re vulnerable to other people telling you who you are. 

But here’s the truth: “You are who God says you are, and no else gets to have a say in the matter.” 

I love this quote from Tim Keller: “The only person in the universe whose opinion counts looks at me and He finds me more valuable than all the jewels in creation.” 

Because of the power of the resurrection, you are now identified with Christ and you have the power of the Holy Spirit within you. He has given you a new identity. 

It’s the Power to Fill You with Strength to Face the Challenges of Each Day

Here’s one of the most powerful truths you will ever hear about Jesus: We are not only saved by His death, but we are also saved by His life. That means that a risen Jesus lives inside of us by His Holy Spirit. 

His divinity inhabits your humanity! 

That means you can face each day in the strength of a risen Savior. Regardless of what happens to you, whatever difficulties you might face, whatever curveball life may throw at you, you have the power to stand in there and face it. Let’s read verse nine, 


Galatians 2:20 (ESV)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

Think of the prospect of having a risen Jesus living His life out through your life. The possibilities are endless! 

Here’s something I’ve learned about life—it’s unpredictable. One minute you feel like you’re sailing along and everything is going fine, and the next moment you’re dealing with a crisis. Life is full of stress, heartache, disappointments, setbacks, trials, and tragedies. How in the world can we face these twists and turns, these roadblocks, or even these life-altering dead ends? It’s the power of a risen Christ in our lives sustaining us through His Holy Spirit and sometimes carrying us with His grace and power.

Let’s read what the Apostle Paul said, verse ten,

Romans 8:11 (ESV)

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

That means the Holy Spirit of God, the One who was involved in creation, the One who raised Jesus Christ from the dead, the One who came upon the disciples at Pentecost like a mighty rushing wind, has been given to you for daily life! 

Here’s a great promise: The Bible tells us that we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. And that nothing—not trouble or hardship or danger—will be able to separate you from that love of Jesus! 

Read with me verse eleven, 

Romans 8:38–39 (ESV)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

How can that be? We serve a resurrected Savior who still operates in resurrection power! And He promises to fill you with that same power to give you strength to face the challenges of each day.

What does the resurrection mean to you today? 

For some people, it’s just an ancient event. 

Well, if you went to the tomb, where they put Jesus you would discover, it’s empty. He’s not there. Christ is alive! Many of you have changes in your lives you would like to make. Because He is alive, He gives you the power to change. He will give you the power to get started, and He’ll give you the power to keep going. 

But here’s the truth: 

You can’t do it alone! 

You can’t do it in your own strength. 

You don’t have the power to do it on your own. 

You were made to depend on Jesus! 

Some of you can’t let go of your past failures and mistakes. Jesus Christ offers forgiveness. He promises to cancel your sins and wipe them off your record. 

He offers you a chance to start over! 

Some of you feel like a failure, a loser, or a has-been. Maybe your identity is wrapped up in what you have done or what has been done to you. 

God offers you the chance to have a new identity. He wants to bring you into His family and give you a new title—accepted, forgiven, loved child of God.

Some of you feel powerless over the challenges you are facing right now. 

What if you had the power of the Holy Spirit in your life, giving you peace, giving you strength, giving you the power to face those issues head-on—the power to change your situation?

The resurrection means that no situation is too hopeless! No problem is too big for Jesus! He’s still in the resurrection business—and He has the power to change your life! 

Let’s ask Him.