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Easter Special Service (English) 16 April 2017


Please turn with me to Paul's epistle to the Romans chapter 1. Let me read to you the first four verses and just in case you are seated here or listening to us online and you have atamilbible, following with the tamil bible, you need to look at just verses 4 and 5. The entire matter is covered in those two verses, 4 and 5. English bible let's start reading from verse 1 onwards then only it will make sense.Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

Now this is a very special Sunday service because this is Easter Sunday. And I want to consider this truth about Christ's resurrection. Here in verse 4 we read that Jesus Christ was declared to be the son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead. Very simply put it means that the resurrection of Jesus was an announcement or proclamation that he is the son of God with power. So I will explain how this whole thing is stated by Paul and how it comes out in this passage and how Paul puts this across. But Romans as you know, written by Paul and one of the most important books in the New Testament is a statement on what the gospel is. The main idea there is the gospel. Paul is a great teacher, the greatest Christian teacher and he states the gospel in so many chapters, so beautifully especially the first eight chapters is doctrinal. He tells us what the gospel is, and in telling us what the gospel is he mentions basically three things: And one is the incarnation of Christ, and the other is his death, because he talks about resurrection from the dead and then the third is the resurrection. The incarnation, thedeath on the cross and the resurrection. Three things he states as essentials of the gospel. Paul considers these things as essentials of the gospel. He calls it the gospel of God because it is a good news from God. It is not our philosophy, our moral teaching. Gospel is not something we make up. It is not our denominations' teachings put in the form of a systematic presentation. No. The gospel is the good news from God concerning His son Jesus Christ. About who he is, why God's son had to come to this world, why he lived, what he taught, why he died on the cross. Why he had to shed his blood die and suffer that great suffering on the cross of Calvary as he died. And why was he raised back again and how that he lives today and that how he is going to come back again. The gospel is about that and the central thing about the gospel is the incarnation,the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So the gospel is not what many people think it is today. Some people who think the gospel is about you should tell people to leave all the bad things and do the goods things. Yea, of course true we teach that. But that is not the gospel. That is as a result of believing in the gospel you need to live like that. The gospel itselfis essentially this - it is about Christ, it is about what Christ has done for us and how God has provided his salvation and deliverance through Jesus Christ and through what he did through him on the cross of Calvary and so on. It is wonderful Paul calls it the Gospel of God, not just the gospel; the gospel of God. Now we see that in the book of Acts we see the history of the first church. The first 35 years of the history of the New Testament the church is recorded in the book of Acts, in 28 chapters. It is unfinished book because we are writing the rest of the chapters. The first 28 chapters are important because that is the only place where we read what the church looked like as it began and as it functioned in the first few years after Christ's resurrection. So if you look at the book of Acts and see what they preached, you read that the apostles preached Christ and the resurrection. This is not just mentioned once, several times it is mentioned that the apostles preached Christ and the resurrection. So the gospel preaching is about Christ: who he is, why he came, why he died, what is the meaning of his death, what has been achieved through that,and why he rose back, why God raised him up from the dead. It is all about that. And so the book of acts is full of that. These are the facts - the unshakable, unmovable facts upon which our Christian life and faith is based on. See Christian life is not based on some feelings; it is not that you went to church and felt some kind of warmth all over, which you might feel. I am from such a background that I believe all these things; that you could possible feel something in your body. You know somebody said, I feel something in my hand, something warm going through. That's fine, you may feel all kinds of things.

You know one fellow said I waited 10 years and on the 10th month I was thrown 10 feet away and I was so filled. Now I believe all these things could happen, nothing is impossible. But it is not about these experiences, it is about certain facts. It is not about feelings, it is about facts. If it is just based on feelings, it will be a fleeting thing. It is facts therefore nothing can shake it, nothing can change it. That is why you find the apostles give their lives because their faith rested upon these immovable facts - facts of who Christ is. They believed it. Of what he had come to do and how he died on the cross, and what that means and how God raised him from the dead: These are the facts upon which Christian life is built and Christian faith is built. Unshakable, unmovable facts.

One of the great facts is the resurrection. So what is the resurrection fact all about? The resurrection fact says that Jesus is the son of God who was there from the beginning; from the eternity past. At one point in time in history he took on the form of man and came into this world, and lived among us, taught and did miracles, but finally taken by evil men and crucified on the cross of Calvary; suffered much agony in his death and died there. When he died there, they took him and put him in a grave, bound him in a piece of cloth and put him in the grave; in those days it was like a cave and sealed it with a big stone - it will take at least 4 or 5 people to move that stone even; and placed guards outside that grave; because they knew that he was claiming that he will rise again on the third day and so on. They did not want anybody to take away his body and then claim that he had risen from the dead. So they employed Roman soldiers to guard it. The stone was rolled over the mouth of the cave and it was sealed. In spite of all that Jesus rose again and came out. This is the fact.

Now, I know that there are a lot of theories that go around that say that this is not the fact; something else could be the fact. Some people say there is a swoon theory; it says that Jesus kind of lost breath suffocated and did not die actually. It looked like he died and they picked him up and put him in the grave; and because the grave was pretty cool and nice, he awakened there and found himself in the grave and came out. But that is not as easy as they tell it. You are bound with a piece of cloth all around, with the embalming material. It's not like you are sleeping in a bed and just get up and walk out. And you can't just walk out because there is a big stone there and there is watch man/guards are guarding there. So it is very difficult to believe what some things this people say. These are education people. Sometimes you wonder what kind of education they got. But they say these things that they don't want to believe in the resurrection; resurrection is a hard thing to believe. So they say all these things. But look at how the apostles put it. I think that it is easier for us to believe the apostles than any of these educated people that explain it through these so many theories; trying to explain away the resurrection.

Look how the apostles puts it; you will yourself believe it. Look at how the apostles Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. Let me read to you from verse 3: He says, For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures - He puts it exactly like he does it in Romans. He says the gospel of God is something that did not just come into being 2,000 years ago when Jesus died on the cross. It is something that God had planned and the holy scriptures prophesied about it. He says in Romans 1, in the passage that we read. It had already been mentioned in the scriptures and it happened 2000 years ago. Here he says that Jesus died according to the scriptures, was buried and raised from the dead according to the scriptures.

And then he says in verse 5: and that he was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. - Now he now mentioned people by name; the people that saw Jesus after he came alive. And then he says - After that he was seen by over five hundred brethren all at once, of whom the greater portion remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. In other words he says he appeared to all the disciples at various times, they all saw him; they identified him, they knew that this was the same Jesus that lived with them for 3 ½ years and ministered; they were able to identify, they were able to see the wounds and everything. And all those disciples are there even when Paul was writing. And then he says he was seen at one time by 500 people at the same time.

Now people say that disciples, you cannot believe what they say; they would have been in a state of shock. They might have seen something and they might have the impression that they saw Jesus. Well, may be one or two disciples you can believe that, but all the disciples saw. And it mentioned 500 saw him at the same time, at one event. Five hundred people saw him. You cannot tell me 500 people are crazy. That is like saying we are gathered in such a big crowd here, that if you present Jesus here and somebody says, well, all those people we don't really know if the saw Jesus. They maybe under some kind of a delusion. They believed they have seen, but they have actually not seen.You would think it's silly. Five hundred people. Maybe 1 or 2 maybe in some kind of mental shock or something; but not 500 people. All 500 of them saw, he says; And greater part of them remain with us till this day. As Paul was writing, he says most of them are alive today. Only some of them are dead he says. In other words, he says I can bring you proof of the very same people that witnessed Jesus and saw that it was the same Jesus who lived among us, who rose again, and appeared to us for so many days again and again.

And now verse 7 says: After that He was seen by James and then by all the apostles. Then last of all he was seen by me also as by one born out of due time.

Now let me read from verse 11. After saying this, - so he gives all of the eye witnesses by name and says particularly that most of them are alive, only a few of them are dead, when he was writing this. That he can produce those proofs basically, that is what he means. Then verse 11 then he says:Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believe. - Whether it is me or other apostles we preached this and you believe this, he says. Now if Christ is preached, that he is raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen then our preaching is empty and in vain. And your faith is also empty; it is all a waste. Our preaching is a waste; your faith in Christ is also a waste, if this is not true.

Then verse 15: Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up-if in fact the dead do not rise. In other words he says: if it is true that the dead do not rise, and the resurrection of the dead is not possible and you cannot believe it, then your faith is in vain, our preaching is in vain. But not only that - the greater thing is that we have actually lied to you. We have gone around, all over town, all over the world lying to people saying that this Jesus isrisen from the dead. We are liars; we have lied for God. We have taken a lie and spread it all over the world. If this is not true then we are all liars. All of the apostles are liars. But I seem to believe Paul that he is speaking the truth, because every one of those guys, except1 or 2 gave their lives; literally died for the sake of Christ/for the gospel of Christ, gave their lives for the sake of Christ. They died.

Now you can't tell me that for a lie, so many people would be ready to die. Now people do lie, it is possible. And if they lied and if the business is good and they make money out of that lie, it would go for some time, and you can go all over the world lying and make some money. But once trouble starts and they start throwing you in jail, they start beating you for what you are preaching, and they start killing you for what you believe, those liars will disappear immediately with the money they made or whatever profit they made out of it. They will disappear instantly.

But none of these people ran away, they all faced the trouble and persecutions of that day. They all died for the sake of Christ, gave their lives for the cause of Christ. And that's what makes me believe that these great men…look at this Paul; greatly educated man, writes wonderful epistles, without him we would not have these Christian doctrines and truths.. I can't believe that he is a liar. They all died for the sake of Christ. Peter, Paul and all the other apostles - except may be John. Even John suffered much for the sake of the gospel of Jesus. They all suffered; all suffered very much and died; not for a lie, but because they believed that it is the truth. And because they believed that it is the truth the whole attitude of the apostles changed after the resurrection. See before the resurrection, Peter even denied that he ever knew Jesus in front of a small girl who identified him and as a matter of fact came to him and said, "Aren't you the one with Christ?" He said, "No, no, I have never seen him, I have never known him". And he went and hid. The apostles - the great apostles were hiding in a room, looked up in a room, wondering what to do, in fear. But when they met Jesus, when they were sure that Jesus was alive, they have identified him, they talked with him and for many days Jesus appeared again and again, they were sure that he had risen from the dead, they came out of the room; they went around preaching the gospel.

You see how Peter preaches; he is a totally different man. He stands up and preaches saying, on the day of the Pentecost he says: You guys crucified him but God raised him from the dead. And says in another time, he says: There is no salvationin any other name, other that the name of Jesus Christ. One time they raised a man - a man who had never walked, he started jumping and leaping and so on, outside the temple. That gathered a lot of crowd; thousand more got saved. The whole of Jerusalem was ringing with the sound of the gospel. House to house people were praying; house to house there were believers. There were believers everywhere; I bet in every street and every corner there were believers. They whole town was shaken. By a lie? No,by a truth.They were so enthusiastic; they spread the gospel everywhere. They preached so powerfully. On the way into the temple, they healed a man who was born lame, never walked. That gathered a big crowd, they were caught, arrested, taken and kept there. An enquiry was done, and then finally they were warned never to preach in the name of Jesus.

And Peter - the same Peter who was afraid in front of a little girl, he now says, should I obey you or God? He says, you say don't preach in his name. Should I obey you or God? He is defying the authorities. That is the kind of people they were. They came back after they were threatened and told not to preach. They gathered people together, they prayed. The bible says the building that they were gathered was shaking literally. Just read the book of Acts. That's the early church; they were praying and the whole place was literally shaking. The whole town was shaking with the gospel going forth. People were getting saved everywhere. Thousands of people becoming followers of Christ. And the whole building shook and they prayed, saying Lord, fill your servants with boldness that they may speak the word boldly. And they said, Lord, do even more might miracles, and signs and wonders. This was their prayer. I just find it very impossible to believe that this is a lie - that the resurrection of Jesus is a lie. You will need more faith to believe that this is a lie than to believe that this is true. All these good men/real men, they were not waiting for somebody to come and tell them a lie so that they can propagate. They were not saying, well just if you find little bit of evidence, that is enough, you come and we will make a big story. No, no. When the woman came and told him that he is not there. I went there to the grave he is not there, they ran there to see for themselves if the grave indeed was empty. They wanted to ascertain and make sure for themselves that this is the truth. They did not believe the woman when they told the men; but finally they believed. They saw Jesus many times and they believed.

So I say to you once again to you: Christianity is not some made up stories; it is not based on some feelings. It is based on solid facts; unshakeable, unmovable facts. And today the church needs to be told all over again that our whole life of faith in Christ is based on the solid facts. Nothing can shake it. People may persecute us, people may consider us enemy, people may kill us, people may do all kinds of things to us - but once you believe and experience this risen Christ, and you know that he is indeed risen, and you can tell anybody that he is risenand you have experienced his resurrection power, nobody can shake your faith; no matter where you live, which country you live in, where you live in - nothing and no one can shake your faith. You will be even ready to die for Jesus because we all have a streak in us that we will die for a good cause not for a lie. So it is based on solid facts. Everybody say facts, not feelings.

Feelings are alright. When we come and we worship and sing, wonderful feelings are there. You better have some feelings; otherwise you will be like some machines. How would you like me preaching without any emotion? In a monotonous tone throughout the sermon; you will be tired and sick just hearing me. I have emotions - emotions are part of me, it's a built in. Nothing about emotions. But Christianity is not about my emotions. I may have all kinds of emotions; I may have all kinds of strange experiences. Truly I say I believe many of these things; but it is not about those strange experiences or feelings, or emotions. It is about Christ - who he is, what he is done; particularly that he died on the cross and he rose again and that he lives today and that he is going to come back again.

Thank God for the gospel. What a great faith we believe in. This is not a story that just my grandfather told and I just believe because for four generations we have been believing. We believe because we know its power. We have experienced it. That is the way it is.

It is the resurrection that proves who Jesus is. That he is the son of God with power. Now how does it prove it? It says here in Romans chapter 1 in the passage that we just read. It puts it this way, in verse 4: and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. - Now the word declared is a poor translation they say. They say the better translation is: openly appointed or proclaimed or announced. It is something like this: when an election happens - these days it doesn't happen. Suppose it happens. We have got to change the whole language nowadays. And suppose, and when, and if it happens. How does it happen? Think with me. We go and vote and elect one of the representatives, right. And the vote is counted. After it is counted, there is an official announcement of who won that particular seat in that area/in that constituency. Official announcement is made. That is the kind of announcement that was made through the resurrection of Jesus, it says. God through the raising him from the dead, made an official announcement to the world that he is indeed the son of God with power.

Now in the election scenario, the announcement does not make a man a winner; he is the winner therefore the announcement is made. You should not get it upside down. You cannot announce a winner and make a winner. He is a winner; therefore he is announced as a winner. Jesus Christ did not become the son of God because he was announced to be the son of God. Jesus Christ was already the son of God from eternity past. Always he has been the son of God. In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, and the word was God. And by him and through him all things were created. Nothing was made without him. He is the son of God; he is the creator of heaven and earth. And then you see, this son of God, who has been there from eternity past as the son of God, now after he came to the earth and died on a cross; and suffered and died, God raises him from the dead and announces him as the son of God. Why is the announcement important? Because when he came to the earth, he gave up his glory/or he came down a lot from the state and condition he was in; he was the son of God - equal to God. Philippians 2 puts it very beautifully. If you would just look at that passage for a moment Philippians chapter 2 in verse 5: Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God - Now if you had such a position in life, nobody would want to give that up; that seat, that power and so on. He had such a powerful position. He was equal with God, but did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. That means, he did not grab at it, he did not insist on keeping it. He is talking about his condescension and incarnation. He is coming down. It says, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

- Look at the description: made himself of noreputation, taking the form of a bondservant - everything is downward. He is in a high position/powerful position, in a powerful place, but now he is giving all that up. But made himself of no reputation, took a form of a bondservant - coming in the likeness of men.And verse 8: And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. You can't go any lower than that. He humbled himself. His coming down as a man was in essence a humiliation. He was such a great person, equal with God. Come down how far? To the point of death on the cross of Calvary. You can't come down anymore. They spit on him, beat him, slapped him, drove nails in his hands and legs, laughed at him, ridiculed him; challenged him: why don't you save yourself. And he did not do anything; he came down so much. So this son of God, when he came down like that as a human being, in just in his incarnation itself - that itself is coming down much because he camein the form ofa man; came in the flesh, that in itself is coming down much but then he suffered and died also. And because of that so many people were unable to believe that he was the son of God. What did they say when he was hanging on the cross? "If you are the son of God, save yourself Let's see you save yourself. Let us see you show your power". They could not believe that he was a son of God. Nobody believed that he was the son of God; because here he is hanging almost naked on the cross and everybody is spitting, slapping, laughing at him. How can you believe that he is the son of God? Everybody had lots of questions. They didn't know that he was the son of God.

So when God raised him from the dead, it was a confirmation. Yes, he has been saying that he came from God, that God sent him. He is not from this world, he is from above, he said. He must be. Look at this: he is raised from the dead. So the resurrection was a proclamation or an announcement or an appointment where he was placed in that position. There is one verse in Romans chapter 3 that beautifully expresses it in chapter 3 verse 26.Let me read chapter 25, talking about Jesus it says: whom God set forth as apropitiation by his blood, through faith - let me just stop there. God set forth as a propitiation by his blood. The word set forth is the same word that is translated as declared here in verse 4 of chapter 1. Here it says, set forth; declared means set forth. It is another alternative translation. That means, God appointed, or God made him to be - that is what it means. So God set him forth in that way; the resurrection set him forth; presented him. Presented him as the son of God with power.

Now how does the resurrection prove that Jesus is the son of God? Many things can be said, but I just want to say two things. One is the uniqueness of this event called resurrection that proves he is the son of God. Resurrection is a unique event. Turn with me to Acts chapter 26. When I say unique it means true resurrection, never happened before. He was the first one to experience true resurrection. Now I know you are thinking - well I know so many people have been raised from the dead in the Old Testament and New Testament. He himself has raised some people from the dead like Lazarus. How can you say nobody else has been raised from the dead? I will explain, wait a minute; 26 verse 23. Paul appearing before Agrippa; Agrippa now tells him go ahead and speak and present your case and now Paul is speaking and he says in verse 22: Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come-He says I am not preaching anything heretic/anything like a heresy. I am not a heretic. I am not preaching anything out of the way. I am preaching only Moses and the prophets already foretold, he says. He is pleading his case. And he says. What is he preaching? That the Christ would suffer. This is what the prophets foretold. That the Christ would suffer. And now listen: that he would be the first to rise from the dead. Now, have you ever tried to understand what he is talking about? First to rise from the dead; how would Christ be the first to raise Christ from the dead? Because we all know in the Old Testament so many people were raised from the dead. In the New Testament he himself raised people from the dead. But those are not considered true resurrections. They are more like resuscitation; a person coming back to life, only to die a little bit later.

No one that came back to life came back to life to live forever more. So that is not true resurrection. Also true resurrection according to the bible - true resurrection involves change in the body.In 1 Corinthians, there are 5 points differences between the body that we will have now and the body that we will have in the resurrection - in the end when everybody is raised from the dead. The kind of body that we will have is described in 1 Corinthians 15. This is called a weak body, that is called a body of glory; this is called an earthly body, that is called a heavenly body; this is called a vile body, and that is called a glorious body. Now like this there are differences between the body now and the body later. It is the same body, but the capacity of the body/the ability of the body - the resurrection body, is different. The resurrection body essentially the basic difference is, it is a body that cannot be die anymore; it cannot be destroyed. This is a body that can be destroyed. This is a body that can be destroyed; you can light fire and destroyed it, throw it in water and kill it. You can kill it in so many ways. But the resurrection body cannot be destroyed. It is a body in which you cannot die - that kind of body.

Now true resurrection means that you get rid of this body, this vile body, this earthly body, and put on that kind of body - that spiritual body. This is a natural body. Spiritual body, a body which is similar but has in capacity changed; it cannot die. Now that is what is called true resurrection. And 1 Corinthians talks about it. So this is a unique thing. When Jesus rose again he was the very first one- to no one has it ever happened that they had been resurrected in this way. They may have been resuscitated; come back to life after for a few hours or so, or few days or so, but never in this way; they did not receive a new body. It was not a true resurrection, so to speak. But Jesus experienced true resurrection. He not only came back to life; but he had a new body now. A body that cannot die, a transformed body; a body that is now completelychnaged in capacity. It is the same body because all the signs of his crucifixion can be seen. The wounds can be seen, but still it took some time for people to recognize him. He had to kind of awaken them/to helpthem recognize him.He is same but yet there is some difference there; same body but yet there is some difference there. So this is a unique event.Resurrection is a unique event. Nobody has ever experienced resurrection like Jesus; he was the first in that sense. First, so that's remarkable. Never has it happened to anybody. First means there will be others coming in later. Yes, that's us. When we die, when we are buried. When Jesus comes, we will be raised up; and we will also have new bodies - the bible talks about it. I don't have time to go through it. But he is the first to experience this thing in this way. It was a unique event when it happened to Jesus.

Secondly: The second reason why I believe resurrection proves that he is the son of God is that because it proves his claims. Throughout his life and ministry he has been making some claims. You remember when one time he asked the disciples, Who do men say I am. The said some say that you are Elijah, some say that you Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. All of them were wrong.Jesus said, alright, forget about it. Now who do you say I am? They don't know who I am. Tell me who am I? Then Peter immediately spoke and said: You are Christ, the son of God. He had a flash of revelation. Very good. Jesus said, You know, flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but my Father in heaven has revealed it unto you. He appreciates Peter - applauds Peter literally. Oh heavenly Father has revealed it to you; not your education or what you know on this earth; but my heavenly Father has revealed it unto you. Then he goes on to say, taking off from that he says: Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, he said. Upon the rock of this revelation of who Christ is, I will build my church. And when it is built on that solid rock/on the solid truth, it will not be shaken - the gates of hell shall not prevail against.

Then he goes on to say, Whatever you bound on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. And then immediately after that - this is all found in Matthew's gospel chapter 16, and then after that he begins to speak about his suffering that he is going to undergo. He says he is going to be taken by evil men and he is going to suffer in their evil hands and die and all that. And Peter couldn't take it. He said: Lord not to you. This shouldn't happen to you. What happened? You are talking all negative you know. You have been doing good all this time but now all over sudden you are talking about suffering and dying. No, no, not for you And Jesus looked at him and said, Get thee behind me Satan. You don't think in line with what I am thinking. You don't even understand what I am talking about. I am talking about the thing that I came to do. And I am going to do it. I am going to die. This is something that is going to happen. And like this, he many times talked about it.

You know one of the things that people say about Jesus is that he has never himself mentioned in so many words that he is the son of God. There is an argumentin present day about Christ. You know this Jesus Christ that you believe in he never said that he is the son of God. Only you Christians are saying; preachers are saying, but he never said. But he said that he is the son of God in so many other ways; not just that he is the son of God, he said it even more powerfully. A hundred times more powerfully he made the statement that he is the son of God.He was actually claiming to be the son of God when he said those things. Like what?Things like: Before Abraham was I am. They got really upset. My God you are not even 50 years, you say before Abraham was, you were. What are you talking about? They were ready to stone him and kill him because Abraham was their forefather. Out of him came the Jewish race. You are greater than Abraham, older than Abraham? What are you talking about? Nonsense, they said. They could not understand that he was the eternal son of God who has come in the flesh and presently living on this earth. They couldn't not see it, understand it. Another time they said to him, Give us a sign, we will believe you. Show us, give us a sign. You said you are from above you are not from this earth, and all that. You are calling God the Father and all that, as if you know him personally. We will believe you if you show us a sign. He said, yea I will give you a sign. I will tell you something.One sign is going to happen. As Jonah was in the belly of the whale, 3 days, I am going to be in the belly of this earth. In other words he is saying, Three days I will be there, I will come out the third day,just like Jonah came out of the fish's mouth. Now that is more powerful than saying, I am the son of God. This is really nailing it.

And another time he said, Destroy this temple, and they thought:My God, he is talking about the temple. We thought he has gone crazy, but he has really gone lunatic. Destroy this temple: And they said, My God, does he know what this temple is all about? Does he know how much it took to build this temple? How many thousands of people worked to it? How much we worked on it? How long it takes? He says, Destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days. They said, "Utter nonsense". What kind of a preacher is he? And the gospel writer who mentions this - that he says that he was talking about the temple that is his body. When Moses was leading the people of Israel through the wilderness, God told him to make a tabernacle in which He would dwell, and the people would camp around him; because God wanted to be in the midst of the people. And then that developed into a temple later on. So God was supposed to be in the tabernacle, in the holy of holies, in the innermost sanctum. And in the temple also, the same system was followed innermost place, considered most holy place, God was there. Nobody could enter there; only the high priest once a year could enter there.

Now when Jesus was here on this earth, do you know that in the temple God was not there. That temple became an empty place. Why? The bible says that God was in Christ. The temple is now walking around. God who was in the temple in the holy of holies is not in the temple any more. He is going around in Christ, doing miracles, healing people, blessing people, feeding people. God was going around raising the dead. God was going around blessing people through Jesus. God was in Christ, Paul says, reconciling the world unto himself. So where was God when Christ was here in this earth? He was in Christ. God was not in the temple. That is why during the feast of tabernacles you know where there enacted what happened in the wilderness, they played it out you know. They lived in tents. They would come out of their bungalows to live in tents. To show that their forefathers lived 40 years in the wilderness, and how God provided manna from the heaven and water out of the rock. So they had various things happening - enactments happening to remind them of what God did in the wilderness. The last day was an important day. It went on for 7 days. They would go to the pool called Siloam and the priest will deep into it with a big jar, water out of it, and bring it out. When he dips into it he would say that verse from Isaiah about the waters of salvation; rivers would flow in the desert, Isaiah said. That verse he would say and he would dip water out of the desert. And he would come back to the temple and there would be a great gathering there. People are very emotional because now he is going to pour the water out saying, This is how the Lord our God, in the days of Moses for our forefathers brought water out of a rock. And as he was pouring, Jesus went and stood in the high place and said, Him that is thirsty let him come unto me and drink. He says, Don't go to that water. Everybody come over here. In that words, he is saying, This water is only an enactment. Even the water in the wilderness was nothing. This is me - I am the living waters. You come unto me and drink, he said. People were shocked that he is disturbing the whole ceremony. But what he was saying, Hey, in the temple, God is not there. God is here. You want to see God, come over here. This is the temple of God. You want to enact this thing. Why are you enacting?The real water is there; the living what is here - that is me. That is why Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 the experience of the people of Israel in the wilderness. How they came through the Red Sea and were baptized into it, and came through the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night; and were baptized in water and in spirit and so on. He gives an analogy between the Old Testament and the New Testament and then he says, They were fed out of a rock and that rock was Christ. And that rock was standing there in the temple as the water was being poured out, saying, Hey come to this rock. This is the rock that followed you. There your forefathers there. I have come in flesh now. And they couldn't believe all these things. In other words, Jesus was claiming all the time that he is God. He was the son of God. That is too much claims, isn't it. He says, I am the son of God, in other words. When he said, I will raise this temple up in three days, he meant his body. That was the temple.

I am sure the disciples did not understand it also at that time. Only after the resurrection and everything happened, they understood. Ooh, now I understand. They were very dull hearted also. They could not see what the Old Testament was saying and so on. So the uniqueness of the event of resurrection; and secondly his own claims. His own claims came to be true in the resurrection just as he promised on the third day he would raise it up. He was dead, on the third day he was up; just as he claimed he had suffered, he had suffered; just as he had claimed that he would come back alive, third day, he came back alive. He was claiming something and everybody thought that was a silly claim, foolish claim; and here in the resurrection it all came true. So resurrection proves that he is the son of God. Now when you understand the resurrection, you understand whole of the life of Jesus and his works; completely,you understand when you understand the resurrection. That is why they preached the resurrection, everything is covered there.

Now look at how Paul puts it in Romans chapter 1. In Romans chapter 1, Paul says he was separated to the gospel of God, which he promised before through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures concerning His son Jesus Christ; wonderful statement. He says the gospel concerning Jesus Christ. That is what he means. What is the gospel? It is about Jesus Christ. It is not our philosophy or your moral theory or something like that. No, it is concerning totally about Jesus Christ and who he is. Who is Jesus? Concerning His son. When Paul says it is concerning his son, he is thinking in his mind that Jesus Christ is the second person of the blessed Holy Trinity; that he was indeed there from the beginning with God, he created everything. At a certain time and point in history, he came as a man; took on flesh and appeared as a man in this world. He is thinking about all that. It is concerning his son, God's son. God did not have a son born just 2,000 years ago. No, he is a son that has been there with Him from the beginning - part of the Trinity. And salvation was planned in eternity past; before the world was made, before even the first man was made, God thought about it. The job of salvation was divided among the Trinity; God the Father will plan it, the son will become the savior and come into the world, in flesh and die on a cross; and provide redemption by shedding his blood. And then after he gets through, the Holy Spirit will work when the gospel is preached and draw people to Christ. Three of them divided the job and set out to work and that is what is happening throughout history. And is what Paul is thinking along those lines. He says the gospel of God, and is concerning Christ/concerning God's son.

And what about this God's son? He says, this son of God was born of the seed of David according to the flesh. So, before he was born, he was there. He was the son of God. See, Christmas time is one of the most misleading time. Some people think, let's sing happy birthday to Jesus, because this is the first day of his life. No, it is not the first day of his life. He made everything. He was there from the beginning. He is the eternal son of God. He is the Alpha and the Omega.When everything is gone, he will there; before anything was there, he was there. He is the first and the last. But 2,000 years ago he came into the world through the womb of the Virgin Mary. So Christmas time I most often say this: because people think Jesus was just born. No, no. Instead of saying born, the better expression maybe to use sometimes at least in church is that: "He came into this world". His birth through Mary is his entrance into the world. He is already existing. He was entering into the world. So Paul is speaking the correct language. The gospel of God is concerning His son. Which son? The son he had from eternity past. What about this son? This son was born of the seed of David according to the flesh. In natural terms, he was born of the seed of David. This son wanted to come into this world, to do the work of his redemption. How did he come? Through the womb of Mary. Why? Because the prophets foretold according to God's plan that he will be the seed of David - he will come in the lineage of David. So he was born as the seed of David.

Now how did he come, how did he take on the flesh? I read to you Philippians chapter 2 verse 6. He emptied himself, took on the form of a faithful servant. Made himself in the form of a man, took on in the form of a man; humbled himself and so on. So that is the way he came. He took on a human form and came into the world. And that is the incarnation that Paul is mentioning here. Why did he come? If God's son is going to take on human flesh, and come as a human being, why would he come? Why would God go through the whole process? Why would he come? Some people say, God is almighty, He could have just sat there and shook a finger and everybody would be saved or declared everybody saved. He could have just by one declaration made everybody free from sin; forgiven everybody's sin. And got on with the job. Why send his son? Why to givehim flesh body? Why make him die on the cross? Why the raise him from the dead? Why go through this whole thing? Hebrews chapter 2 tells us why; Hebrews chapter 2 verse 9, tells us why: But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that he, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. - That is the reason he came, so that he might taste death for everyone. Someone must taste death for everyone; because the wages of sin is death. There is nothing that can rectify the sin problem without the punishment administered to someone. Somebody must take on the punishment of death. The wages of sin is death. The soul that sins shall die; it is God's law. So somebody must taste death.Can anyone else taste death? You know there are so many human beings, some fine men, can't they taste death. Why would God's son have to take on flesh and come here? Well, nobody could taste death because if they tasted death bearing the sin of the world, they would forever be banished from God in eternal darkness, which is hell; because once they bear the sin of the world, they already are sinners, if they bear the sin of the world they would be banished from the very presence of God, never to see the light of day anymore. That is why nobody could bear.

It is impossible for man to put away the sin of other men. That is why God had to become a man; God had to come. The sinless Jesus had to come. He had to take on the sin of everyone. And he came to taste death for every man. In Hebrews in another place later on, it says: That when he came, he came declaring, you have given me a body. - In other words to die you need a body; in that body, the blood of God, the pure blood, sinless blood must flow. And that blood must shed on the altar as an atonement for man's sin. That is Leviticus 17:11, we have been studying in the blood of Jesus series. God says the life of the flesh is in the blood and I have given it to you as an atonement for your sin. For it is only the blood that makes atonement for sin; that is Leviticus 17:11. So you must have a body in that the blood of God pure blood must ran, as it was in Jesus' body; and it must be shed upon the altar as the atonement/for the atonement of man's sins. This is the way that God saves; for that God had to come down, send His son in the flesh, givHim the flesh body - and that is what he says, You have given me a body. That is the way He comes into the world, saying you have given me a body, just to die. And he comes and dies on the cross. Nobody else could have come and done this; there was no other way other than this way.

When he bore the sin of the world, and he died; he didn't die for his sins. He is the son of God. He is God. He didn't die for his own sin; he died for our sins. So when our sins were atoned and the work was finished and God was satisfied; and the law of God was satisfied, God said you don't need to remain dead anymore; because you never sinned in the first place. You bore the sin of the world and I accept this as the atonement. Your blood that was shed, satisfies the requirement of God's law. So there is no need for you to stay dead anymore, so He called his son back to life, and raised him back from the dead. That is how the bible teaches the whole thing. But then Romans chapter 1 verse 4 says it this way: Declared to be the son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection of the dead - now declared to be the son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, it says. Now the translation is not very good. So I need to explain just a little bit here; because according to this translation and even the tamil, it looks like he was declared to be the son of Gospel with great power. That is, the declaration was done with great power. That is the way people take it; that is one way you can take it if you want. The declaration or the announcement that He is the son of God was made through the resurrection. And that was done in a very powerful way. Now everybody admits that resurrection is the most powerful that ever happened. And God did exercise his power. And the greatest power was shown in the resurrection. And certainly he was shown to be the son of God; with great power God did it. But Paul is not saying that - because to say that it will be saying very little. It is not very great thing to say that. That God with His great power, declared him to be the son of God. The subject becomes the declaration and how powerful the declaration was. They said it must be translated in another way. Son of God with power must be read together. If you read it like this: "Declared to be the son of God with power", then the subject becomes the son of God. It is not that he is declared with great power as the son of God - the son of God has great power now. He is declared not just to be the son of God, but the Son of God with power. Everybody say: "Son of God with power" He is not just the son of God, but the son of God with power. Now why is it mentioned in that way? See when he came like we read in Philippians 2 - he gave up the glory, he gave up the high elevated place, and came down, humbled himself in humiliation he came. It is many steps down. He humbled himself; he was always the son of God, but he humbled himself; he came down in flesh, in weakness as a man; but he is no longer that. That is what Paul is trying to say that - he died and it looked like he was weak, just a man, and a helpless man. It looked like poor thing. But now he is not that anymore.

When he was raised from the dead, God raised him to be the son of God with power. Not just the son of God; but to be a son of God, who had all power. That is why he said in Matthew's gospel chapter 28, we read that after the resurrection, the risen Christ meets the disciples and says: All power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Therefore go into whole the world and preach the gospel, make disciples and teach them everything that I taught you, and tell them to obey these things. He says: all power is given unto me. Look at the risen Christ. He is not a weakling anymore. He is not just hanging there in a pitiful way. No, he is the son of God with great power. He is not like the one that was crucified; his position has changed. The resurrection explains to us his new position after the resurrection. In resurrection he has been given a new elevation. He has been elevated, exalted; brought back to his original glory. Remember he prayed in John's gospel chapter 17 and in the intercessory prayer. Before he went to the cross; he said: Father give me back the glory that I had with you from the beginning, he said. He was in glory; he was a glorious person, full of power, creator of heaven and earth. He left all that and came down; he says before he went to the cross: Father, after I get through all of that, give me back that glory that I once had with you. I have had enough of this humiliation. I will take the glory back again. I will come back to that glory. He was expecting that when he died. That when he gets through, God will get him back to his glory. He came down from glory; he has gone back into glory now.

He is all powerful Jesus; he has all power. Now what does that tell us? Is it just theory? Is it just theology? Or is it just you know doctrine that we are talking about? No. It has a great meaning for us and significance for us; because it tells me that he is now seated at the right hand of God. He only ministered three and a half years in this world and main thing that happened during the time ishis death on the cross and his resurrection. Only three and a half years of earthly ministry, but now since the last 2,000years he is there as my intercessor, as my advocate before the father. In the presence of God the father, what kind of an advocate, what kind of intercessor? He is an advocate and an intercessor in an all-powerful capacity; there is nothing that is impossible for him. What is he advocating? What is he interceding for? The devil is accusing all the time, but he is my advocate there. You see in this world we go through a lot of struggles, a lot of problems, a lot of challenges, we go through difficult times; but there is someone there on behalf of us, in the presence of the Father, interceding for us. He is there not to advocate the forgiveness of our sin.

The forgiveness of our sin what settled already. Friday if you were here, that matter is settled. All our sins were thrown unto the bottomless ocean, where nobody can go there and get it. That is the way God says it. I will never remember it any more, God said. So that matter is settled. If you sin now, you confess your sin, and the bible says he is faithful and just to forgive us from all our sins and cleanse us from all our sin. That is the right thing to do, and he does it. And you don't have and interceding person sitting there. People have made a begging sense out of it. They think Jesus is seating there, and he is begging from there, here is begging from there: "Father forgive him please". It is not like that; he is not interceding for that. He is interceding so that he may serve as your helper in the time of your need, in the time of your challenges, in the time of your problems and difficulties. In the time of all those things that you go through; you have an all-powerful intercessor who can do anything for you. He says, "Come and obtain grace in the time of need. Come to the throne of grace". And he is out there waiting and having his door open. You don't need any appointments. No token system. In India we are used to token system for everything even for evangelists, token system is given. But here is God. He says, "No tokens, no line. Any time you come the door is open. I will help you". And there is that helper always advocating my case; that I can go to the presence of God, because he is there. I don't have to hesitate, I can ask and I can receive everything that I ask for. That kind of an advocate I have. So in the life struggles, I don't have to worry about whether I am go to make it or not.

I today have the same one who died on the cross and rose again, as my intercessor and advocate before the Father. He is there as my helper; he is helping my cause so that I will succeed in the things that God has given me to do here on this earth. Some of you may go through various issues in life; various problems in your life, you need to know that Jesus has done everything for you and he is now two thousand years he is working. Now give him something to do. Two thousand years he has been working on your behalf. Not just sitting there; but he is working. Some people think that he is retired and he is sitting in an easy chair, and gone to sleep. No, he is working as an intercessor and as an advocate for you. He is ready to do anything for you and I; that is the position he is in. And what is he going to do? He is going to come back as a judge.

I will read one verse and I will close: Acts 17 in his message to the Athenians, Paul says this at the end of this message. He says, Because God has appointed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead - once again the resurrection is mentioned here. By raising him from the dead God has given one assurance. You know what that is? God is going to make this man a judge. Why this man a judge? You know, one man I remember many years ago; one preacher described it like this: You know he says, in heaven the scene will be like this on the judgement day. Millions and millions of people will be standing there and they would be a lot of noise, all of these people talking. And what are they talking? They are saying, "What does God know about my problem. I was on the earth. I was going through all kinds of problems. I stole because I was hungry. I cheated because I couldn't get through decently. And I did all these things wrong because my necessity was like that, my problem was like that. I did sin because I had gone through great difficulty. What does God know sitting here about my problem? He lives in heaven comfortably, I am on earth. And I did all these things because of that."And they would be talking and debating on it very hotly. And there comes the judge, and they find all of a sudden that is A man - the man Jesus. Everybody shuts up because now you got to deal with a man. You can't say you don't know any of my problems here. He is the one who has been treated worse than anyone has been treated. Has anyone here been crucified? You and I haven't gone through anything. So don't say, God doesn't know my problem. God knows, God who came in the flesh Jesus Christ, knows your problem completely. He knows it thoroughly, he knows your world, he knows the evil men in this world, he knows the evil things that can happen here. He knows what you are struggling and what you are going through. He knows everything; that is why he is your helper and your intercessor. You need to know him personally and live close to him and seek his help every day so that you may succeed.

So everybody shuts up because he is a man. The bible says God has promised that he will make this man the judge over all. And he has assured us of that that this would happen by raising him from the dead. He is raised from the dead, serving as our intercessor. In the future he will come back as our judge. When I see him I am going to be happy because the judgement is not for me. The judgement is not for you. I am not worried about the Judgement Day. The judgement is not for us. We have passed from that judgement. We have already come out from darkness into light, we are in the family of God, we are children. We are not going to be judged in that way. But there are people that are going to be judged. You know people that do evil things in this world, they think there is no one to ask them. That no one holds them accountable. That they don't have to answer to anybody; they can do any evil and can get away with it. And they do it with confidence. I say to you one day they will stand before God. They may reject Christ, they may hate Christ, they may so no to Christ. They may say I don't like Christ, I don't like this. Well, one day they have to stand with folded hands before this judge and answer for every deed that they have done in this life. That is why it is best to come to the savior before you meet him as the judge. Today he is the savior.

See some people may say, "I don't have justice". I think I mentioned in one of the services, I don't know which one. I will say it again. One lady went to a beautician and told him to do the full works; all the hair, nails, eyebrow and everything. So she got the whole works and after it is through the guy showed the mirror to her and said how does it look? "No, you haven't done me justice". She didn't like the way he did her. So she said, "You haven't done me justice" "Lady you don't need justice, you need mercy." Now some of us are hoping on justice. I have heard lots of Christian people say, "One day I will stand before God. I will get justice". Thank God I am not going to insist on justice. No matter how much I go to the beautician and make myself up. No matter how much I clean up, how much I make myself good, it is not going to satisfy God because all of my sins are exposed before God. He sees me in and out. The only way I can stand before God is by his mercy. Justice is good but mercy is better. I will take mercy. That guarantees me that everything is going to be alright. Every single one needs mercy not justice today. We need mercy from God. In the world you may need justice, but with God you need mercy. Because with God all of us are sinners, we need mercy. Justice is going to be very harsh. But thank God for the mercy that has come to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. The resurrection assures us that we have mercy. The work has been done and completed. How do I know? The man who died for me, rose again. God raised him up. If the work is not yet not to be done, he would still be there and buried in the grave, until that work is done. He is up and I know it is done. And I am God's child and I belong to him and so do you. Amen.

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