Do You Belong to Jesus?

The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ Was The Turning Point In Human History

Dan Franklin
Apr 17, 2022    32m
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How does the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ change the lives of all who believe in Him? Because of the resurrection of Jesus, there is light in that darkness, there is hope in that despair, and there is life where there would have been death. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey, there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] Well, good morning and happy Easter. And hi to all of you in here, hi to all of you guys down below, outside, or in the garage. If you're newer here, or if I haven't got a chance to meet you, my name is Dan and I'm one of the pastors on staff here. And just as we get ready to get into the Bible, I just want to say, you know, we're excited about today, those of us who are on staff or who are in leadership here, we want to let you know, we've been praying for today, and I know some of us we can get into a service like this and we can kind of feel like, all right, this is the precursor to the hunt. You know, this is the precursor to the ham, that this is the precursor to everything else that's going to happen today. And even if you did come in kind of thinking this, like, all right, all right, this is the thing that comes right before, I'm glad that you're here and I want you to know that what we've been praying is not just that we have a great service where we have great music and everything goes off without a hitch, we believe that we need a movement from God. So our biggest prayer is that we would experience the presence of God today, that those of us that are in a place where we really feel like I need God to speak into where I'm at, and I need God to speak hope, and I need God to speak life, and I need God to bring light into the areas of confusion. I just want to invite you, if even right now you're like, all right, we're going to be here for about another hour, and then... Just, I really want to invite you, God is at work, God is real, we don't want to rush on without saying that we're here because we believe that God is real and God is at work and we need a touch from him.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:57] Now, in 1863, the United States was embroiled in civil war. And about halfway through that year came a pivotal point in the Civil War, July 1st through 3rd of 1863 was the Battle of Gettysburg. Now, leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg, the South, the Confederacy, really had the momentum. They had won some significant battles, they had defended their own territory, Robert E. Lee was leading the troops, and they just had a really successful victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville. And Lee even considered his army to be invincible, defending their territory, successfully fighting with passion, and strongly defending the South, they believed that they had all the momentum. And meanwhile, the North was going through a bit of a chaos, Lincoln was constantly changing over commanders, and things just weren't going according to plan.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:54] And the Battle of Gettysburg happened because Lee, Robert E. Lee decided that it wasn't enough to just defend the Southern Territory from the North. it was time to take the fight to the North, it was time to do something that was going to break Lincoln's spirit, and break the spirit of all the Union troops, by going and successfully attacking a Northern Territory, and that led to the Battle of Gettysburg. It was at a significant point because to have a victory like this would have not only been a physical blow to the North, but it would have been an emotional and psychological blow that not only could they not successfully invade the South, but they couldn't even defend their own territory. But the North rallied, and they came together on July 1st, and they fought and it was brutal, and then night came. And then they came together on July 2nd, and they fought, and it was brutal, and then night came. And then July 3rd, they came together, and they fought, and it was brutal, and the South retreated. The North had been able to hold on to their territory and successfully win the Battle of Gettysburg.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:08] Now, here's the deal, it was just one battle, but most scholars believe that it was the turning point in the Civil War. The Civil War did not end that day, it dragged on for another couple of years, but most historians look at this as, in essence, the beginning of the end. Even though the war didn't end right there, the die had been cast, the end was clear, all the momentum had shifted, and even though the South still won some victories after this, they were limping along knowing that defeat was certain. It was not the end of the war, but it was the turning point in the war.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:51] And this morning on Easter Sunday, we're talking about turning points. And here's the deal, when we're talking about turning points, we're not talking about something that happens, that ends things, we're talking about something that happens that changes things forever, that it's the point of no return. And the reason we're talking about this on Easter is because the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is not just the turning point in his life, and it's not even just the turning point in the lives of Christians, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the turning point in human history. It's not the time where everything ended, but it's the time where afterward, nothing would ever be the same. Now, some of you, you've experienced this, you've embraced this, and you've believed this. Some of you maybe you're not sure if you believe this. Some of you are sure you don't believe this. Here's what we're going to do, we're going to go through a passage in the New Testament that talks about the resurrection of Jesus and why it is the turning point, not just for Jesus, but for all of human history.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:02] If you have a Bible, or if you use a Bible app on your phone, you can turn to First Corinthians chapter 15, we're going to go through verses 20 to 23. And if you don't have any of those, if you don't have a way of looking at your own Bible, you can look up on the screen and I'm going to put the verses up there as we go through it. All right, so we're going to go ahead and start, and I'll tell you in advance, we're going to go through this passage and we're going to answer three questions. Those three questions are what, why and who. So to be specific here's what we're going to talk about, we're going to talk about what the resurrection of Jesus did, we're going to talk about why the resurrection of Jesus was needed, and then finally, we're going to talk about who the resurrection of Jesus impacts.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:48] We'll start with the question of what the resurrection of Jesus means. This is verse 20, verse 20 says, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." Now, this letter that we're reading from was written by the Apostle Paul, and you can even hear in the opening thing that he says, the conviction that he feels, "Christ has indeed been raised from the dead." This is not something that Paul is just talking about theoretically, this is something that Paul feels deeply. In fact, encountering Jesus was definitely the turning point in his life, Paul was not only a critic, and he was not only a skeptic, Paul was violently opposed to Jesus being lifted up as Lord, and he had an encounter with the resurrected Jesus, and his life was changed forever. Paul is not just saying this because he's adopted a religious idea, he believes this in the deepest parts of himself.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:52] And I also want to say, there are many of us in this room and down below, we believe this in the deepest parts of ourselves. We don't just believe this as a religious idea, or as sort of a symbol of something bigger, we believe that there was a Jewish man named Jesus who lived 2000 years ago, that he did miraculous things, that he gathered a following, and that he taught disciples, that he was betrayed and arrested by the Jewish and Roman leaders, and then he was put to death and thrown into a tomb, and then three days later, he got back up from the dead. We believe that this happened, and we believe that not only did this happen, but there were witnesses of Jesus after he'd been raised from the dead.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:36] If you've ever read the New Testament Book of Acts, that's what's going on throughout that book. And there is a part of us that could look at that and say, well, yeah, but Jesus' disciples, they had something to gain by going around and claiming that he had raised from the dead. And you're right, let me tell you what his disciples gained by going around and saying that he had been raised from the dead, they gained ostracism from their family and from their countrymen, they gained imprisonment and persecution from both the Romans and from the Jewish people, and finally, almost all of them gained death through execution at the hand of the authorities. And all the while, all they had to do was say, you know what, this is all a hoax, we made this up to get famous and they would have been let go. But to their deaths, they went saying, nope, He's risen, we saw him, we believe that this actually happened.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:33] And the powerful thing about Paul, when he's talking about this, again, this isn't just a theoretical belief, Paul had skin in the game with this. Let me show you what Paul said in the verse right before the one that we're looking at now, in verse 19 he said, "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." In other words, what Paul is saying is, you know what, if we just have believed in Jesus and followed his instructions because we thought that they were good and moral and would lead to a good life, but there's nothing beyond this life, if that's the case, then people should feel sorry for us. Paul went around being imprisoned and tormented, he had rocks thrown at him, he was called names, and he suffered all kinds of difficulties as he looked to spread the gospel. Paul is looking at this and he's saying, if this isn't true, then I've been wronged deeply because I've sacrificed so much for this.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:35] Let me just ask you a quick question before looking at the second half of this verse. If you found out tomorrow, conclusive, undeniable proof that Jesus was never raised from the dead, how dramatically would it impact your life? And if your answer is, not that much. Then you have to seriously ask yourself the question, do I really believe this? Is this just something I grew up in, and I never rebelled against it, so I just decided, sure, I'll go along with this? If you're not looking at your life and saying it would dramatically affect me, it would dramatically affect the way I spend money, it would dramatically affect the way that I treat other people, it would dramatically affect my battle against sin and my generosity and what I'm doing on Sunday morning, certainly, if you're not saying it, it would dramatically affect your life, you've got to ask the question, are you just sort of a cultural Christian by default or do you really believe this? Because Paul says, if this isn't true, then let's go eat and drink because tomorrow we die, let's live it up as best we can. But Paul believed this in his bones. And there are many of us in this room that even if you don't believe this, I want you to know, we don't just believe this as a religious idea, we believe this happened.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:48] Now, look at the second half of verse 20, which says, "Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." Now, Paul uses this euphemism. those who have fallen asleep, he uses it throughout this chapter to refer to Christians who have died. He's not just talking about anyone, he's not just trying to soften the blow of death in general, he's saying Christians who have died, their story isn't over. He's not in denial about the fact that they're dead, he's saying that they're dead, but their story isn't over, it's almost more like they're sleeping, he's previewing the impact of Jesus' resurrection.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:27] But look at that keyword he says in the middle of it, the firstfruits. He says Jesus is the firstfruits, which is a word that's used to mean the first of the harvest to come in. Now, I'm not a farmer, but in front of our house we have a couple of orange trees and we love these orange trees. And every year, a little bit after Thanksgiving, we start watching these orange trees and we're just anticipating for when they're finally going to be ready for us. And, you know, they start dark green, and then they start to turn a little bit lighter green, and some yellow sneaks in there, and then the oranges actually start to look orange and you know that you're closer. And then there's one morning, usually early to mid-December where we go outside and we realize that there are a few oranges that are ready for us, and we pick them, and some of my kids like to slice them up, I like to make fresh-squeezed orange juice, put it in that glass and drink it down, and it's just the best. We love that day when we get the first of the oranges, and here's the reason we love that day, it's not just that we get to enjoy those oranges right then. It's that when those oranges are ready, we know that three words are true, more to come. It's orange season now, we're going to get to do this every day, when we eat those first oranges we celebrate because there is more to come. And the apostle Paul is saying Jesus is raised from the dead, and more to come, Jesus is not going to be the only resurrection.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:06] There is now victory woven into the fabric of the universe, death was not the period at the end of Jesus' story, and he's saying Jesus is just the first, he paved the way now. And he not only paved the way to conquer death, but I just want to say, Jesus’ conquering death means Jesus is Lord, and if Jesus is Lord, that means Jesus gets what Jesus wants. And if Jesus gets what Jesus wants, that means that He pours out grace and generosity to all who belong to Him. Here's what I want you just to pause and think about, there may be some area of your life right now that is just dark, and it might have to do with a battle against sin that you're like, I'm never winning this, I might as well give up, it might have to do with the relationship, where you're like, it's too broken, there's no hope, or a health problem, or a financial problem, and you just feel like, I'm just in the dark. Here's what I want you to know, because of the resurrection of Jesus, there is light in that darkness, there is hope in that despair, and there is life looking to breakthrough in that death. As we embrace Jesus' resurrection, not only are we saying, wait, he's only the first of those who are going to get up out of their graves one day, but we also say, Jesus has woven victory into the fabric of the universe, and as dead as some area of your life might feel, Jesus is one a victory that brings light into that area. Jesus' resurrection means more to come, both in the future and even now.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:44] But let's look at another question, let's look at the question why? This is what the resurrection means, but why was the resurrection needed? And verses 21 and 22 tell us that, verse 21 says, "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." And if you're following that in your Bible, or you're following that up on the screen, you can see verses 21 and 22 are basically parallel. they're basically saying the same thing twice, he just gets more specific in verse 22, he names the two men that he's talking about. Through one man, Adam, death comes into the world, and through one man, Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the dead comes into the world.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:38] And here's the deal, it's hard for us as very individualistic, 21st century Americans to get what Paul is doing here, but what he's talking about is these two men, is he's talking about them both being representatives, they are representing the whole human race, first Adam and then Jesus. And a lot of us don't like this, we're like, I don't want anybody else's life affecting me, I don't want what Adam did affecting me, I want to stand, and fall, based on my own record. So let me tell you, if you want to stand or fall based on your own record, you will fall. Because Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." If you're looking at Adam and saying, why am I affected by him? I didn't do what he did. Yeah, you not only have done what he did, but you've done worse. If you think of the whole idea of Adam being our representative, it's almost like we have to run a race, and we have to win this race against a whole bunch of track stars if we are going to end up being okay with God, if we're going to end up getting forgiveness of our sins and eternal life, if we're going to get all that, we've got to win that race. And we're up at the starting line and then suddenly it's announced, hey, you can choose anybody to run the race instead of you and represent you, you would be looking around for the fastest person you know. You'd be trying to find that person, you wouldn't have your pride squeeze it out, you'd say, who's the fastest person I know? Let me tell you, Adam was the fastest person any of us would have ever known, he had the best shot at being successful before God.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:16] Think about what it would have been like to be Adam, to be the first man, not having sinful temptations all around you, not having the baggage of whether they're good parents or they're bad parents, but just the baggage of all that, not having the baggage of things that you've done in your past distracting you. Adam had a better shot than any of us, and Adam failed miserably because God only gave him one prohibition, he said don't eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And Adam basically decided, God, I understand that you have certain things you want me to do, but I've got my own plan for my life, and I'm going to go ahead and take that. I'm going to go ahead and be my own guide, be my own director, I'm going to go ahead and be my own God, and Adam brought death into the world through that. And not just death, but Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27 says, "It's appointed to a man to die once, and then comes judgment.".

Dan Franklin: [00:19:17] The hard reality of what these verses are saying is that we are all under judgment, and so we need somebody to step in and change things. For some of us, it's hard to embrace that we deserve God's judgment. I mean, some of us are like, yeah, Putin, yes, he should get God's judgment. Child abusers, human traffickers, there are people that even in a very non-judgy culture like ours, or allegedly, allegedly, non-judgy, that we still would be like, yeah, yeah, there are certain people who need to be judged by God. We might even get on board with saying, yeah, we believe that certain people need to go to hell. We could say, yeah, absolutely, some people need to be judged, but not me, I never invaded Ukraine, I never killed anyone, I never abused children, I never participated in human trafficking. I don't have time to go deep into this, but I just want you to think about this, if you really come to grips with reality, you'll realize that a lot of your relative goodness is more based on circumstance than it is based on your actual goodness. Do you know why none of us have ever invaded Ukraine before? The opportunity didn't really present itself to us. And many even of these other things that we're like, we're not as bad as these other people, you know, maybe growing up in a different situation, growing up with different temptations and different aspirations, who is to say that all of us in this room wouldn't do the horrible things that we say that needs to be judged? Most of our relative goodness is more based on our circumstances than it's based on our actual goodness.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:55] In fact, we're not going to do this, we don't have the technology for it. But I'm going to bet if we were able to videotape you for just an entire day, not only would you not live up to God's standards for you, you wouldn't live up to your standards for you. You would be self-condemned, because all the things that you believe in general people should do, you would find that you're not living up to that.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:20] Adam brought death into the world as our first representative, but we're told there's another man. Another man came on the scene, Jesus Christ, and through him, resurrection from the dead came on to the scene. And this is where all of our pride goes away, all of those things where we say, I want to stand, and fall, based on my own record. Suddenly, when we realize our desperation, we're like, no, I'm okay with someone representing me. I mean, imagine we're at that starting line, we're about to run and we're just like, all right, there's a big race, if I win this race, I go to heaven, if I lose this race, I go to hell. This is a big deal, so focus. I'm up against a bunch of track stars, this is a huge thing, I'm going to try my best. And suddenly, as we're there, we sense that there's a shadow kind of coming up on our right. And then we look over to see who belongs to the shadow, and it's Usain Bolt. And even if you don't know who Usain Bolt is, the name alone tells you something about Usain Bolt. And Usain Bolt looks at you and says, hey, how about this? How about I run this race in your name? And if I win, you win. Nobody in here is turning down that offer, most of us are saying, this is the best shot I have taken this reality. We were dead in our sins, we were dead and condemned, we were ready to run the race, and up next to us came a shadow and that shadow belonged to Jesus. And Jesus said, how about this? How about I live a perfect sinless life, and then I give that perfect, sinless life to you? And then how about I go to the cross and sacrifice myself for all of the sins that you've ever committed? And then how about after I'm dead and thrown into a tomb? I'm raised from the dead, and I give that victory to you. Do you have any grasp here of just how deeply God loves you that He sent Jesus for you?

Dan Franklin: [00:23:30] Do you know what we usually spend money on? Things that are useful. Even if you're somebody that you're like, well, no, I like to fix up broken things. Yeah, still, you fix up broken things that will eventually be useful to you. God purchased us with the blood of his Son, and he didn't do it because we were useful. He didn't look at any one of us and be like, oh, this is really going to help me, God bought you because God loves you, that might be hard to believe for some of you right now. I want you to know, that when we look at the resurrection, we're not only looking at an amazing thing that happened, we are looking at a God who loves us so deeply that he would send his beloved Son to say, I'm going to run this race for you, I'm going to die for you, I'm going to be raised for you, and all of my rewards are going to go to you. Thank God that he breaks our pride by giving us something where we can step aside and say, yeah, yeah, Usain Bolt, you go ahead, it's all you. Where we can say to Jesus, I have no hope apart from you, this is the why, of why we needed the resurrection.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:39] But there's one last thing that is really important for us to look at, and that's the who. Who does this resurrection impact? And we find that out in verse 23, verse 23 says, "But each in turn." Remember it already talked about the fact there are more resurrections to come says, "But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits." He's the unique resurrection from the dead. And then it says, "Then when he comes..." When he returns triumphantly to be crowned as king, "When he comes, those who belong to him." And he just described those who get in on the final resurrection, and it might even be a little bit of a clarification because back in verse 22, he said, "Through Christ, all are made alive." And we might say, oh, so is that just because Jesus rose, just everybody has their sins forgiven, everybody ends up raised from the dead in the end, everybody ends up in heaven. And that's not what Paul is talking about, he clarifies it here, he says, when I say all, what I mean is all who belong to him.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:43] And so let's just take a minute and ask a really important question, and maybe the most important question from today, and that's, do you belong to Jesus? To belong to Jesus doesn't mean that you belong to a church, although when you belong to Jesus, you almost certainly belong to a church. But that's not exactly what it means, it's not the same thing, it doesn't just mean that you attend or that you're a member of the church. To belong to Jesus doesn't just mean you belong to a family where there are other believers in Jesus, and therefore sort of by heritage, you're a Christian, unless you decide to be something else. It doesn't mean that you belong to the right political party or to the right country. It doesn't mean that you are good moral folk who just kind of do the right thing in general. To belong to Jesus means that you've come to some point in your life where you are absolutely desperate and you realize that you had no hope, that you have sin, that you were condemned before God, and that you came to Jesus by just deep, desperate faith and said, will you save me? And you belong to him, and you belong to him in a sense that you're living your life for him, that you're saying, I'm going to be your disciple, I'm going to walk with you, I'm going to follow your commands, and not perfectly none of us can pull that off, but that we say, I really belong to you. This isn't just some impersonal transaction where I give you some faith and you give me some salvation, but where we come to Jesus and we say, I want to belong to you, I want to be yours. Do you belong to Jesus by faith?

Dan Franklin: [00:27:17] And let me just say, I think we kind of today break into three categories of people who are here hearing this today, I'm going to walk through this.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:27] The first is that there are many of us that we have the joy of hearing this question and answering, yes, I belong to Jesus. And it's not because I achieved something, it's not because I'm so smart, it's not because I'm so moral, I belong to Jesus because I did reach a turning point in my personal life where I realized how desperately lost I was, and I cried out for mercy, and God met me and brought me into the family of God through Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection. You belong to Jesus. And once again, you're not living perfectly for him, you have times that you fall and you're frustrated about that, and you're in the battle with sin and you're frustrated with that, and sometimes you have times that you're selfish or you're cowardly and you're fighting against that, but you belong to Jesus. And if you're in that group, if you're in the group of people who belong to Jesus, here's what I want to encourage you with today, grab ahold of the hope that comes to us through the victory of Jesus, if that has to do with health, if it has to do with money, if it has to do with a relational strain, if it has to do with just you're dealing with internal things, with sin or with depression or with anxiety, and you're just dealing with this battle, grab ahold of the hope of Jesus and the dark place that you are in, because his victory on the cross and through His resurrection brings us hope. And don't leave today without personalizing that, without saying, where do I need to grab ahold of the hope and victory of Jesus in my life right now?

Dan Franklin: [00:29:05] Now, there are also some of you that are here today who don't belong to Jesus, and you know you don't belong to Jesus. You wouldn't claim to be a Christian. You're not a hypocrite, you would just say, no, I'm not a Christian. Either you're here because you're trying to figure out whether you want to become a believer in Jesus, or maybe you're here because you're just being polite with family members who said, this is what we're doing to start Easter, we're all going to go to a church service together. So I want to speak to you for a minute and say, if you have not placed your faith in Jesus, then you don't belong to him and you're not yet in on this victory of the resurrection. But what I want you to know is that you are invited in on this, and you're invited in on this, not through doing some kind of ritual, or going through a ten-week class, or attaining a whole bunch of levels of moral superiority before you're in on it, you are invited into the victory of Jesus simply through putting your faith in Jesus, simply through humbling yourself and saying, I'm desperate, I can't save myself, I can't rescue myself, I can't forgive myself, I need Jesus to rescue me. You are invited not just into a religion, you are invited to belong to God through Jesus, to be his child, and to know you can cry out to him, and pray to him, and that he's going to listen to you, and that he's going to walk with you, and that he's going to bring victory. According to Romans 8, that he is going to work all things according to your good because you belong to him.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:35] And there's a third category here, and this one's the hardest one to talk about. There are some of you in here that you would say you belong to Jesus, but you don't. Maybe you'd say you belong to Jesus because you grew up going to church and you're like, well, I never stopped that, I never sort of rejected that, so I guess I'm still good, I guess I'm still in. Or that you just feel like, hey, I've been good enough and haven't been that bad, so clearly, I would belong, clearly he wouldn't have me on the outside. There are some of you that would say that you belong, but you don't belong. And just as a quick test, here's how you might be able to tell that you don't belong. If that question that I asked earlier, how dramatically would your life change if you found out Jesus had never been raised? If you're looking at your life and the honest answer is, it wouldn't really change very much at all, you probably don't belong to him because if you belong to him and you found out he wasn't raised, you would be devastated and crushed. If you look at your life and you're like, I don't know how much would actually change, I'd rather be sort of impolite right now and just say then you probably don't belong to him. And once again, the good news is that he wants you to belong to him, he loves you, he died for you, he rose for you, and you're invited not into a system of belief or a system of morality, you are invited to know Jesus by faith and by putting your trust in Him. We all are invited in to have a turning point based on the turning point in human history. We all are invited to place our trust in Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:14] I'm going to talk about this a little bit more later on, but I want to tell you right now, if you came today and you're like, I just came kind of for a church service before the Easter stuff, I want to invite you, don't leave today without making sure that you belong. And there are people who are going to be up here, there are people who are going to be down outside, who are going to be in the garage, leaders, and people who are going to be ready for anybody that says, I need to belong to Jesus.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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