If Only I Had Known
Yes but I am officially now a Saturday sports parent. That's how I spend my Saturdays now watching my kids' T.V. remember those days I. Couldn't play sports there I was going to say I was for a long time ago for you anyway but so are you this is our Saturdays look we we come early Saturday morning make sure all the kids are awake and we take Jackie to her soccer game and then we cheer and cheer and say Hey when your kids and we come home we wait for a little bit and then we take K. to his basketball game and then we come home because we've been so stressed out all morning long we take it now no not really but we probably sometimes should but you know I realize you know I grew up playing sports and I don't know what's more stressful playing the sports or being the parent that watches the kids play the sports because all morning long we're cheering and shouting and we're we're it's like we're involved in the game like all morning long when Jack is out there playing we're saying no don't kick it down we kick it over here and run back go forward kick shoot the ball and and eventually hopefully one of the kids in soccer because it doesn't happen very often but one of them will make a goal and then what do all the parents do. It's like you just you know won the lottery you know one of the kids finally kicked the ball into the goal and I think the one who's the most excited obviously the kid who made a goal he usually has this look on his face like I can't believe I went in there but we're all excited foreman and then we go watch Kyle play there's a lot more scoring so that's I guess one benefit of basketball but we're like I don't pass a ball and play defense get your arms up and and I literally have to say Christian calm down no I'm serious I calm down they have a coach they don't need a second coach on the bench Christian kind of gets into it so it's kind of fun but you know we in many areas of our life we have an emotional investment in what's happening and so in a way we sort of participate with it right and I think you know that's true of most things in life that we're involved. And we are invested in there's many different types of investment that we make in life sometimes we make an emotional investment into someone or to something sometimes we make the relational investment sometimes you make a financial investment into something and sometimes we even make a spiritual investment into different things and and if you're invested in something you can expect to participate in the highs and the lows and the good and the bad of those things here's a couple examples you know talked about my kids their sports teams and and as a parent I hate to even admit this but frankly I don't care too much of their team wins or loses I just want my kid to do well right but how many of you might have a sports team that you root for and you are so passionate about this team that whether they win or lose they will upset or make your entire day or weekend some of your yeah yeah a couple of you have that and I have a couple teams and I'm not as bad as they used to be but if you know my team wins and I'm happy and if they lose I just you know what's the point of life you know you're just not even go on living or how about how about this some of you and I don't want you to raise your hand but i'm some of you are probably invested in the stock market you have money in stocks right and over the last few months if you've been paying attention you have noticed what has been going on in the stock market somebody will labeled it the Trump rally and I have no idea if it is in your dollar Trump but you know how much the stock market is up over the last four or five months some of you know very well because you're invested in it it's over two thousand points up ten percent and so if you log on and you look at your investments you're going to experience the growth of the stock market and fortunately when it goes down eventually you know you're an experience that is well. We also have an emotional and relational investments in other people and that's one of the beauties of beautiful things about a relationship if you are friends. You have a family member and they're going through a wonderful time in their life maybe the they struggled for a while and they finally got over that disease or they got that promotion What do you do with them you know you read Joyce with those who rejoice and and if someone is going through a very difficult time you mourn with them and even though you're not going through yourself you are participating you're part of that process and you know as much as we are affected by some of the things that go on around us sometimes we hear of these great big tragedies in the world around us and because we are removed from them socially we are removed geographically we are removed chronologically We are removed we hear about these events and they don't really affect us I can many times you're watching the nightly news and you hear about a tragedy maybe here in the United States or in some foreign country and people were killed and and just for a moment you think oh that's horrible what's for dinner you know we sometimes we do that because we're not invested we don't have an investment in those and so sometimes we just simply move on with life well this morning we read a passage of Scripture Joel read from Luke twenty four talking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and Luke twenty four all read this for you Luke twenty four verse one it says. On the first day of the week very early in the morning the woman the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the two so I want you to just imagine what it was like for these women these women had a huge investment. In Jesus Christ they had a relational and emotional investment in him they knew him and they loved him they had a spiritual investment in him and so they were prepared to go to the tomb early on that Sunday morning and participate in the burial process of Jesus Christ but they didn't get what they were expecting. Something Completely Different happened verse two they found the stone rolled away from the tomb but when they entered they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus while they were wondering about the suddenly two men in close they glean like lightning stood beside them in their freight the women valid down with their faces to the ground but the men said to them Why do you look for the living among the dead he is not here he has risen. Some of the best and most powerful words that have ever been spoken in human history and so we read about this event in Luke and all of us should say where to say this happened quite a long time ago almost two thousand years ago how am I supposed to view and respond to what happened back then is this merely some historical event that I'm just supposed to be aware of sort of like a trivia question or more than that should we expect of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to affect us in a very real and personal matter. You know if the Bible is true so when you came this morning you got your Bible on your phone or you have a Bible in your hand and we carry this around and we read these words but if this is true and this really happened then this event is the single most important event that has happened in the entire history of mankind outside of creation itself and the Bible tells us that if we by faith believe in these events and we put our trust in their significance then we will participate in them in a very real and life changing way and so for this morning as we are celebrating Easter we are going to look at the two main parts of Easter this Easter story and they reveal to all mankind these two things that all of us are going to participate in I want you open your Bible so Romans Chapter five and six. We're going to spend our time there this morning there are several different verses that we could read for Easter Sunday that teaches about the Easter story but I want to go to Romans five and six and the first thing. That we realize that the first thing that these are story reveals to all of mankind is something that we're going to participate in is this all of us will participate in the punishment of sins every single person in this room is going to participate in the punishment of since you know it's kind of. It's kind of a statement is it. Every single sin thing about there's every single sin that has ever been committed by every single human being will not go unpunished and some of you might be thinking oh wait a second I soon all the time and no one ever knows about my sins God does and those sins will be punished and they're going to be punished in one of two ways. Either you will have to pay the penalty for your sins or they were all put on Christ on the cross and he paid for them let's read about this in Romans Chapter five Romans Chapter five verse twelve. Romans Chapter five beginning in verse twelve it says therefore justice and came into the world through one man and guess through sin and so desperate to all men because all sin. And we decided we weren't there we were there in the Garden of Eden how did their sin affect us while the Bible teaches us that Adam and Eve when they sin sin entered the entire human race we have a participation in their sin there is a a little phrase that's kind of helpful that I learned back in college you know why why why are we sinners Well this is kind of the answer to that question why do we sin we are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners you understand the difference between those and if you want proof that we are born sinners all you need to do is look at a baby right. J. Vernon McGee famous preacher said babies are seven pounds of sin and especially. When they get to age to a man Al your parents can be a that's true my kid is a sinner Well why is he saying he's born a sinner there are sins that have come into the world because of Adam and Eve were good verse eighteen Romans five eighteen. Therefore as one trespass led to condemnation for all men so one act of righteousness leads to the justification and life for all men for as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners so by the one man's obedience the many will be made right yours. And so this verse here in Romans is teaching us that Christ's perfect sacrifice and his perfect life paid for the sins of mankind and Jesus teaches us that if we place our faith in him and this is a word this is a phrase it's used all throughout the scripture if we put our faith and trust in who Jesus Christ is then we are in him that we are in Christ meaning the things that happened to Christ the things that he did are credited to us and we have a participation in those things as read about this in Romans Chapter six but of Romans Chapter six verse one two. So this is something that we can expect when it comes to the payment of our sins crisis death will cover them if we place our face on him all men six verses one and two. One two and three it says what shall we say then are we to continue in sin the Grace me a bound by no means how can we who died to sin still live in it do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus we're bad ties into his death now look at verse ten. Verse ten says Romans extend for the death he died he died to sin once for all but the life he lives he lives to God So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin. And alive to God in Christ Jesus and so this teaches us that Jesus' death pays for our sins so how is it possible that we get credit for Christ death well back in verse three it explains it it says that we've been baptized into Jesus meaning we have been permanently identified with him and this is talking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and so in some places their faith in Jesus Christ the Bible teaches us an important lesson of public when you put up the fusions one infusions one passage this is talking about us being permanently identified with Christ and His works if you change one thirteen and fourteen. It says in him in Christ you also when you heard the word of truth the gospel of yourselves ation and believed in him were sealed with the promise Holy Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of his glory and so what God does this as soon as we place our faith in Jesus Christ his death and resurrection we are sealed with the Holy Spirit this is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and if we are bad times by the Holy Spirit and placed in Christ then his dad we become a participation of that we participate in the death of Christ and so when God looks at us he sees the death of Christ he sees the blood of Christ and not our sins saying Christine is five seventeen says Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation the old is passed away and behold the new Eskom you know talking about sins and how our sins are forgiven I realize as I was putting all this together it can get really technical you know we can get into all the technical details of how our sins are paid for in us being baptized into Christ and were baptized into His death and and when you get into technical things you can easily get bogged down in making it kind of boring sometimes we don't like the technical details right sometimes all you want to do is focus on the emotional stuff we like to feel right we like to have our our hearts. Strings pulled and there's plenty of that in the story but here's something important motions cannot solve the problem of our sin. Only payment can solve the problem of our sin. Live you here probably have a mortgage on your house you're making payments what would you think if you wrote a love letter to the C.E.O. of your mortgage company and said you know you are the best C.E.O. you are the best mortgage broker in the world and I love you so much and you have the power to pay off my mortgage will you please do that I believe that you can do that you know what he's going to say to you show me the money he's not going to get his pay off your mortgage there needs to be a payment made for your mortgage and in God's great love for us he sacrificed his son so that Christ's holiness and justice for God's holiness and justice would be satisfied listen everyone sins are going to be paid for but if you accept Christ death as payment for your sins then you have as the Bible teaches us you have participated in the death of Jesus Christ and if you don't accept Christ payment for your sins then you will be responsible for them and so as we read the Easter story this is the first important truth that we really reveal to us that we will participate in the punishment of sins and if our faces in Christ and His payment pays for our sins Well the second thing these three story reveals to us is that everyone will also participate in a resurrection from the dead everyone will be resurrected you know the resurrection of Jesus surprise certain people they were shocked that the heresies of the Sadducees and all the religious leaders they didn't believe that he would be resurrected but they said you go put a guard on the tomb because we think that his disciples are going to come and steal his body but guess what he rose from the grave. And they should have been prized by this because Jesus predicted this he told us was going to happen can you put up on the screen John five that Jesus teaches us that everyone will be resurrected in fact there are two resurrections there are two resurrections that are going to take place in John Chapter five Jesus teaches us this John Chapter five Verse twenty eight. Jesus talking to his disciples and he says Do not marvel at this for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out here the two resurrections those who have done good to the resurrection of life. And those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment there are two resurrections and every human being that has ever existed will be resurrected to one of these two things and one of someone is saying well I I don't believe this I really don't think this is going to happen it doesn't change the fact that it's going to happen if this is true this is going to happen and I suspect that there are going to be millions if not billions of people who are going to stand before Jesus Christ at the Great White Throne of judgment after they've been resurrected stand before the judgment seat and they're going to have this thought go through their mind. If only I would have known. If only I would have known that my sins separated me from God if only I wouldn't known they Christ's death paid for my sins if only I would have known I was going to spend eternity somewhere I would have done things differently. A few months ago I was talking to a friend of mine the friend at the friend that I told you about the want to give me the Michigan hat his name is Eric Postma and I'm going to be in Michigan in two weeks from now so I'll be here next Sunday and then I'm going to be in Michigan for a pastor's conference and I was telling my friend I am going to be there all this get together let's have lunch or do something he says it's great and he's into running kind of like I am and there's a fun run that he's been doing for. I think a couple of years it's a half marathon trail run in Michigan a trail run in Michigan you just don't hit a tree and you're fine there's not too many mountains but he's telling me about this trail run and I thought you know I'm going to be there on a Saturday maybe I should do this within and he said yeah they'd be great sign up for this trail run and so this is like two or three months ago and I'm doing some research I'm going to I could do this with no problem and Dr two or three months I'll train I'll train really hard and I looked at an online and I saw that there were another couple trail runs before this trail run in Michigan and I thought I'll sign up for this one in February in this one and margin and when I get to the trail run with my friend going to beat him so bad I'm going to go so fast so much faster than him and all of bragging rights forever I'm a I'm a little competitive and that means a little bit to me so so I'm looking at this I go Hey I told him for am going to find out because you better do it quick because you know the it sells out and so one day I'm online and I'm registering for and I give my name and my shirt size and all the stuff I hit register and I immediately got an e-mail that said Sorry races full well it's got to be kidding me and so I emailed the race director and said Hey my name is Josh going to be in town and I got a friend he's told told me I should do this is there any way you can squeeze one more person into this race I'm coming up there and I need to know can you can you let me know you know what are my chances of racing in this race he said you know I hate to tell you this but you know we can only have a certain number of people race on this course because it's kind of a small course and I have a lot of other people who signed up before you so they're Before you on the waiting list and so I said Just tell me what are my chances and he says pretty much slim to none so blind OK so I have been training have been running I did do those other two races and on Thursday. I get any e-mail from the Race Director me in about twenty five or thirty other people who are on the waiting list and he said guess what we have room when you. On a run if you'd like to know what I'm thinking. And I literally sat on my desk and thought If only I would have known. If only I would have known that there was going to be an opening the last two or three months of my life would have been different I would have been running I would have done those other races I would have been training I would have been prepared to get it done my best so that when I saw my friend I could rub it in his face forever but I'm faster than well I did sign up yet he said he had to sign up by Sunday which is today I did sign out and now I'll just run it for fun with my friends you know go out find. Whatever anyway. But I thought if only I would have known if only oh what a KNOWN that I could run in this race how many people are literally going to be at the end of their lives their end of their existence and they're going to say before the Great White Throne of judgment if only I wouldn't know I wish someone would have told me that this was going to take place well let's read about that events let's go to Revelation chapter twenty. Revelation chapter twenty. Almost to the very end of your Bibles Revelation chapter twenty and this is dealing with future events and we're not going to get into too much detail about what's going on here but in this passage we read about these two different resurrections. The resurrection that is like Christ's and the resurrection to judgment Revelation chapter twenty beginning in verse four. Revelation twenty beginning in verse four it says. Then I saw thrones and see them them or those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who have been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the Word of God and those who would not worship the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their forehead or their hands listen they came to life. And reigned with Christ for a thousand years that's the first resurrection we see this. Second resurrection of were spied the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended and now it was to the great weight throne of judgment this is the first resurrection Blessitt in the holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection over such the second death has no power but they will be priests of God and of Christ and they will reign with him for a thousand years there are two resurrections in here and you see that Jesus came back to life to teach us this truth now go back to Romans Chapter six. Romans Chapter six picking up in verse five. Romans Chapter six verse five teaches us that we are will participate in the resurrection like Christ Romans six five says For if we have been united with him in a death like his we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his we know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be done brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin for one who has died has been set free from sin now if we have died with Christ we believe that we also will live with him we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again Destin a longer has dominion over him for the death he died he died to sin once for all but the life he lives he lives to God So you also you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus I hope you all see the significance of what is being taught here especially verse five Look at verse five again it says For if we have been united if we have a participation if we have been united with him in a death like his we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like hits and so Easter is about the deaths and the resurrection of the Son of God and our fate. Within him means that we participated in his death because we've been sealed and baptized by the Holy Spirit we are identified with the death of Jesus but it also means that we should fully expect to participate in a resurrection like his that's what the Easter story tells us and Paul tells us when this is going to happen I mean all of us want to know when this is going to happen right and if the genre First Thessalonians four verses sixteen and seventeen it says for the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command with the voice of an archangel and with the sound of the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first then we who are alive who are left are we caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we always will be with the Lord Well when this is going to happen we have no idea it will probably happen when we least expect it but when it happens if you are in Christ you should expect to participate in this that's what Easter teaches us and so Easter is the most important event in human history I believe and our face and acceptance of these events determines who will pay for our sin is either Christ on the cross or you. And our face in acceptance of these events will also determine which resurrection we will participate in the resurrection to life with Christ or the resurrection to judgement for eternity and for you here today you should all now be expecting to participate in one of those and it's your choice if you want to accept the free gift of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ all you need to do is ask that the Bible teaches us how easy it is to accept this and to be found in Christ in Romans ten nine and ten it teaches us how we can be saved it says. Romans ten nine ten because if you confess with your mouse that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart to God raised Him from the dead you will be saved for with the heart one believes in his justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. And now that all of you are here today and all of you have heard what the Bible has to say no one here can ever say if only I would have known now you know. And now it's time to make a choice many of you here I hope all of you have already made your choice and you have placed your face in Christ that his death will cover your sins and that you will participate in the resurrection like it is but if you have never made that decision if you've never prayed this prayer that we see here and Romans eight nine eight or ten nine and ten you can do that right now and how the hope of eternal life and so I invite you to do that if you've never done so before I like everyone to close your eyes and about your head and just kind of silent your heart before God and come humbly before him and if you are ready to do this for the first time just simply pray this prayer to God and He will hear you in your heart say this say Father God I know I am a sinner. But now I believe that Jesus died for my sins. And I believe you raised him from the dead to give me the hope of eternal life. Right now I place my face in Christ alone for myself ation. And so the good news for us here on this Easter Sunday is if you prayed that prayer whether today for the first time or if you ever have you will rise again some day just like Christ did let's close in prayer and thank God for the Strewth dear lord we we've just come before you today and it's so wonderful that we can celebrate the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ and today Lord as we look at Romans in these other passages we realize why. You sent your son into this world to solve these two problems you you created us to live with you forever but our sins separated us from you and so Lord in your great love for us you sent your son to pay for our sins so that we wouldn't have to and you raised him back from the grave so that we too might have the hope of spending eternity with you Lord we proclaim this we share this and we ultimately participate in this and so father we're so grateful that you've given us this truth so that we know so that we won't be standing before you of the Great White Throne of judgment and saying why didn't anyone tell me in your great love you told us the Lord it's my prayer that as we go out here for those of us who have made this decision that we will share with the world around us that they too can have this hope and we will share this great message of salvation with them so Lord thank you so much we love you for what you have done and what you will do on our lives and we now close this this worship service and with one more song we prove we sing to the praise and honor and glory of Jesus Christ and His name we pray Amen.