How The Resurrection Gives Us Hope with Rick Warren

– Would you take out your message notes inside your Easter bag. I want us to look at how the resurrection gives us hope. How the resurrection gives us hope. When Jesus Christ was crucified in 33 AD, there were only about 120 followers that were true to his message at that time.

They were meeting in upper room, about 120 followers. Today, 2,000 years later, 2.3 billion people in the world, billion, claim to be a follower of Christ, 2.3 billion. Now let me put that in perspective. That means one out of every three people on this planet, one out of every three would say

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. The Christian church is by far, by far, the largest organization on planet Earth. Nothing else comes close to the size of the Christian church, nothing else comes close, 2.3 billion followers of Christ. The church is bigger than China.

The church is bigger than China and Europe put together. The Christian church, followers of Christ, is bigger than China and Europe and the United States put together. Nothing is bigger on planet Earth than the church of Jesus Christ. How in the world did that happen?

Why did Christianity spread so far and so fast? How did a little band of 12 poor fishermen, the people that Jesus chose to be his first followers, how did that expand into one out of every three people on planet Earth? In a word, the resurrection. That changed everything.

When God said I’m gonna come to Earth and die for the sins of all mankind and then I’m gonna prove that I’m God by coming back to life three days later, that is the single most significant event in history, nothing comes close. It split history into AD and BC.

Every other event in history is dated by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, either before or after. Even your birthday is dated by the day, the month, and the year on how many years it’s been since the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the single most significant event in history. Because Jesus was resurrected.

Now let me explains the difference between resurrection and resuscitation, they are not the same. People get resuscitated all the time. If you faint, we’ll resuscitate you. If you go in a coma, you can be resuscitated. People will die for 15 minutes or 20 minutes,

Or my heart stopped for a certain number of time and then they go write a book about how they went to heaven and back in 20 minutes. You can throw all those books away, those are resuscitation. Resurrection means you’ve been buried in the ground

For three days and then you come back to life. Only Jesus Christ has done that. That’s not resuscitation, folks. That’s resurrection, and that single event changed all of history. And what it did is it turned these first followers of Christ from being disconsolate and depressed and disillusioned

And in despair and defeated into courageous and contagious people filled with hope. And they began to spread the message of hope everywhere. Because when they saw Jesus had come back to life, it changed everything. What I wanna do this Easter is I want us to look at

The six reasons why followers of Jesus Christ are the most hopeful people on the planet. We have more hope than anybody else, there’s no contest. We have far more hope than anybody else in the world because of what Jesus Christ did at the resurrection. Why do we have hope?

Six reasons, if you’re writin’ these down, here’s the first one. Number one, the first reason Jesus’s resurrection gives us hope is we have been completely forgiven. We have been completely forgiven. Jesus repeatedly said over and over, I’m gonna die on the cross to pay for all your sins.

He said it over and over and over. And then he said, and then I’m gonna come back to life three days later to prove that I am who I say I am. Now, if he hadn’t done the second part, the first part doesn’t really matter. If he didn’t come back to life,

Then I have every reason to doubt that he died for my sins. The two go together. Now let me give you some good news. There on your outline, the Bible says this. Ephesians chapter one, verse seven, In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death.

And so we have forgiveness of sins because of God’s rich grace. Now we’re all imperfect, so we all carry regrets and we all carry remorse and we always wish we had done things differently, we all have sins and things that we feel bad about, guilty about.

God doesn’t want you carrying guilt through life. God doesn’t want you carrying a load of shame through life. The whole reason he died on the cross was so that you could be free from all of that guilt, all of that shame. Guilt wastes an awful lot of energy.

It fatigues you, it tires you, it robs you of peace of mind. But Jesus said, I came to die for your sins so you don’t have to die for them. I was hung on the cross so you’d quit hangin’ yourself on the cross. I don’t know if you’ve ever asked the question

Or thought about it, who really killed Jesus? Who put Jesus on the cross? Who is to blame for Jesus bein’ on the cross? Well, it wasn’t Judas, and it wasn’t Caiaphas the high priest, and it wasn’t Pilate the governor, and it wasn’t the Romans, and it wasn’t the religious leaders,

And it wasn’t even the crowd. The answer is two fold, who put Jesus on the cross, and this is may shock you, this may shock you, but the answer is two fold. The first answer is this, God did. God did, God put Jesus on the cross.

It was his plan from the very beginning. It’s why Jesus came to Earth, to die for our sins. That’s the whole reason, it was God’s plan before any of us were ever born. Here’s what the Bible says in Isaiah chapter 53, in the Bible. All of us have strayed away like sheep.

In other words, we’ve all done our own thing. We’ve all left God’s plan to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him, talkin’ about Jesus, the guilt and sins of us all. From prison and trial, they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized

That he was dying for their sins, that he was suffering for their punishment. Nobody realized that at the time. He had done no wrong, he had never deceived anyone, but he was buried like a criminal. He was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was God’s plan that he should suffer,

It was God’s plan. Yet, now notice the chance in tense here, when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children. In other words, they’ll be people who will follow him. I don’t know if you noticed in this passage the change in tense.

The first part is in past tense and then it goes to future. When his life is made in offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children. You know why that change in tense, past tense to future? Because this was written 700 years before Jesus Christ. This is a prophecy.

And Isaiah, 700 BC is telling and predicting exactly what’s gonna happen to the Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God who comes to Earth, and this happened exactly how it happened. It was part of God’s plan. But the second one may surprise you too. Who put Jesus on the cross?

We did, I did, you did. If none of us had ever sinned, Jesus wouldn’t have to die for our sins. The Bible says this in Romans chapter four. Jesus was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised from the dead to make us right with God.

Circle the world us. He was raised from the dead, this what Easter’s all about. He was raised from the dead to make us right with God. Who’s included in us? You, me, us, we are made right with God. So we’ve been completely forgiven. That gives me hope, I’m not facing any judgment.

I have hope because I have been completely forgiven. Number two, second reason Jesus’s resurrection gives us hope, we’re no longer afraid to die. We are no longer afraid to die. Now, I mentioned this in the Good Friday services, that when Jesus Christ got on the cross,

One of the things he did is he broke the power of death and he broke the power of the fear of death. The fear of death is a universal fear, everybody has it. I’ve traveled all around the world. One time I went 46,000 miles in 40 days, literally circled completely the Earth,

And I found the fear of death everywhere. Because it’s unknown, we don’t know. But what did Jesus do? He came back to life. Let me explain this. If Jesus Christ hadn’t resurrected from the dead, you wouldn’t even know that there’s life after death. You wouldn’t even know it. You might guess at it.

You might say, well I hope there’s life after death. But you’d have nothing to prove it, but Jesus Christ came back and said, I’ve conquered death, there is greater life after death. And that’s good news, that gives us hope. Here’s what Jesus said, John chapter 11, verse 25.

Jesus promised, I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though they die like everyone else, they will live again. That’s a reason for hope, that’s a reason for hope. If Jesus Christ hadn’t resurrected on Easter Sunday, we’re all helpless and all hopeless,

Death is the end, it’s over, that’s it. Now, when Jesus died, they buried him in a tomb. In those days, they didn’t bury people under the ground as much as they buried them in caves, kind of like mausoleums. And they would put a stone in front of the cave

And they would roll it away and put somebody in then roll it back. And they did this because entire families for generations would have a family tomb and there’d be a lot of people buried in the same cave. And so after Jesus died, Joseph of Arimathea volunteered his tomb

And they rolled a huge stone in front of it. But then Pilate had it sealed so it couldn’t be moved back and he posted Roman guards on either side. Now, the 12 disciples who were followers of Jesus at this time, they’re scared to death.

They run, they turned tail and they run, they’re scared. None of them believed the resurrection would happen. And so they’re hiding in fear. They’re disillusioned, they’re depressed, they’re afraid they’re gonna be executed next as the followers of Jesus. And so they’re runnin’ away and they’re hiding.

Now three days later, on Easter Sunday morning, one of the women who’s traveling with the disciples, Mary Magdalene, decides she’s gonna go to the tomb to be there. So she goes to the tomb and when she gets there, she finds the seal has been broken, the stone has been rolled away,

There’s no body there, and the grave clothes that Jesus had been wrapped in are folded and sitting there on a step in the tomb. By the way, some people say, well maybe they stole the body. If you ever steal a body, leave the clothes on him. There would be no reason to take the clothes off of a person and steal the body. If you’re gonna steal, you may as well steal it with the clothes on it. But they’re left there. And so Mary thinks the body’s been stolen. That’s the logical conclusion.

And then all the sudden she hears a voice and so she turns around and Jesus is standing there, the risen Jesus Christ. And he says to her, Mary. And when she calls out his name, as she’d heard her name called many times, she knew it was the Lord.

And he says, Jesus says, go tell all my brothers, go tell all the disciples that I’m alive and I’m comin’ to see him. So Mary runs to this house where the disciples are inside with the locked for fear. She bangs on the door, they let her in and she says,

You guys aren’t gonna believe this, Jesus is alive. And you know what these great men of faith did? They doubted her, none of ’em believed her. They said, Mary you’ve either seen a ghost, you’ve had a hallucination, you’re just in deep grief. They don’t believe her at all.

What this clip on the screens. – Peter! Peter! Everyone, the tomb is open, he’s alive, I saw him! – That’s not possible. – I saw him. – Mary, maybe it was someone else. – You think I’m mad? Peter, see the tomb for yourself. – A cup, I need a cup and some wine. – What happened? – His body. His blood. I’m the way. The truth. And the life. – No. No, this isn’t real. – Thomas… Stop doubting. And believe. – It is you. – Because you see me, you believe. Blessed are those who have not seen me, but yet have believed. – So the point is this, even the disciples, none of Jesus’s followers actually believed he’d come back to life until they became eye witnesses of it.

It wasn’t just hearsay, they said I’ve got to see him. Now, let me ask you a question. If you saw someone walkin’ down the street that you had just buried three days earlier, how would you feel about that? Maybe confused, maybe scared to death, frightened, fearful, excited.

Do you think you would ever forget that experience? Not likely. Would it change your worldview about life and death? Oh yeah. Would it give you new hope? Oh yeah. That there might be life after death? Oh yeah, absolutely. One of the things that’s difficult to explain without the resurrection is the sudden change

In the disciples because at the crucifixion, they’re all scared to death, they’re running, they’re defeated, they’re demoralized, they’re in despair, they’re disillusioned, they’re depressed. Three days later, they’re ready to take on Nero and the Roman empire. What happened? They had seen Jesus, they were eye witnesses. They knew physically something had happened.

Not just them, but a lot of other people did too. But now they’ve got courageous confidence, now they’ve got contagious hope. Why? They are eyewitnesses. Here’s what Peter wrote down in his book. When we told you about the powerful coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, we were not telling

Made-up stories that someone invented, rather we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. And not only these original 12, but Jesus came and stayed on Earth for another 40 days, walked around Jerusalem for 40 days. That’s why literally tens of thousands of people became believers in a very short time,

Because there were so many eyewitnesses. Here’s what the Bible says, Acts chapter one, verse three. For 40 days after his death, Jesus appeared to people many times in many ways that proved beyond doubt that he was alive. They saw him, and he talked with them about the kingdom of God.

Can you imagine being one of the executors who put Jesus on the cross, one of the soldiers and you saw that guy die and all the sudden he’s walkin’ down the street? And you go, he’s back. That would be strange. Paul lists just a few of the eyewitnesses.

This isn’t even an entire list. First Corinthians 15 he says, Christ died for our sins, just as the scriptures said. Then he was buried, and then he was raised from the dead on the third day. Then he says, he was seen by Peter, and then he was seen by the 12 apostles.

After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died by now. He sits on a hillside and teaches 500 people. Then he was seen by James. Later he was seen by all the apostles.

Last of all, I saw him too. This isn’t even an entire list. For 40 days he has multiple meetings with a lot of different people. Friends, this is what’s called conclusive proof. This is what’s called definitive evidence. Having 900 eyewitnesses would stand up in any court anywhere in the world.

If I were to tell you that this afternoon over at Starbucks I saw the queen of England, you might have a reason to doubt that. ‘Cause it’s just one guy sayin’ it. But if there were 900 different people who said, oh no, she’s been here for 40 days,

She’s stayin’ at the Quality Inn. And we had dinner with her the other night and somebody says, oh well, we had breakfast. Another guy goes, well we went fishing with her. And I said, oh no, well we had her over for dinner. Another said, well we heard her with 500 people at a symposium.

And you had 900 eyewitnesses right off the bat, friends, now you’ve got a problem with your doubt. ‘Cause it’s not just me sayin’ it, it’s eyewitness and after eyewitness after eyewitness for 40 days. This is why the church exploded and within years, there were 30,000 members of the church just in Jerusalem.

And then it had grown to nearly a half a million and it exploded all over the Roman empire. And what had been persecuted, within 300 years is now the official religion of the Roman empire. Why? Because of the resurrection, there were so many eyewitnesses.

Now there’s a third reason we have hope and it’s this. We now have God’s spirit in us. We now have God’s spirit inside us. His spirit of power, his holy spirit, his spirit of love. The night before Jesus went to the cross, before he dies, he says, guys, I’m gonna be leavin’,

I’m goin’ back to heaven, but I’m gonna send my spirit to be inside you. Now at the end of 40 days, Jesus ascends back up to heaven. But before he did he tells ’em, he says, don’t do anything until I send your spirit. Don’t try to do anything on your own power.

Wait for my spirit, he’s gonna give you power. And in Acts chapter one, verse eight, Jesus says this, before he goes back to heaven. When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and you’ll tell people everywhere about me; in Jerusalem, throughout Judea,

In Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth. And so 10 days later, after 40 days of resurrection, this is 50 days, God sends his Holy Spirit to live in every believer. I want you to watch these last words of Jesus to his disciples, watch this. – When the Holy Spirit comes to you, you’ll receive power. The power of the Holy Spirit can be with you all wherever you are. Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Peace be with you. – My brothers, my sisters… we have work to do. – This is the third reason why Christianity spreads so fast after the resurrection. They had seen Jesus face to face, and then he says, I’m gonna send my spirit to be in you and he’s gonna give you power

To do things you couldn’t do on your own. So now they’ve gone from fearful to fearless. They’ve gone from hopeless to hopeful. They’ve gone from being cowards to being courageous. Let’s take on the Roman empire. Nothing is gonna stop them now. They’ve seen Jesus alive, he said what he said he is,

And now he’s saying I’m putting my spirit in you, and they’re empowered by God’s spirit. Do you know that God never intended for you to go through life just on your own power? God wants to have a personal connection with you. He wants to put his love, his power,

And his spirit inside you. That gives you a supernatural advantage. It gives you additional power that you don’t have on your own. When you don’t have that power, you say things like this. I’m at the end of my rope. I’m barely hangin’ on. I’m ready to throw in the towel.

I’m sick and tired of bein’ sick and tired. I’m runnin’ on fumes, I’m out of gas. I don’t feel like I can make it to the weekend. Why? Because you were never meant to live your life just on your own power. God wants you to be plugged into the power.

Until you’re plugged into the power, you can’t fulfill your purpose. A blender can’t fulfill its purpose unless it’s plugged into the power. A vacuum cleaner can’t fulfill its purpose unless it’s plugged into the power. You can’t fulfill your purpose unless you’re plug into God’s power. Now here’s the amazing thing.

The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, split history into AD and BC, that same power is available to you on a daily basis. You go, come on, Rick. No, I’m serious, look at this next verse. Ephesians chapter, verse 19 and 20. I pray that you will begin to understand,

This is the Bible talking, how incredibly great his power is, that’s God’s power, to help those who believe him. It is the same mighty power that raised Jesus, raised Christ, from the dead. What is this power? It’s the power of God’s spirit in your life.

Now listen, you say, well what does that mean to me? If God’s spirit can raise a dead Jesus, he can raise a dead marriage. If God’s spirit can raise a dead person, he can raise a dead career. If God’s spirit, resurrection power, can raise a dead man, he can raise a dead dream.

He can do anything in your life. He can do anything in your life, it’s all easy. What is this power? It’s the power to be free from your past. It’s the power to break those memories that have been holdin’ you back. It’s the power to start over when you feel like givin’ up.

It’s the power to change things you think you could never ever change and you can’t on your own. It’s the power to overcome habits and hurts and hangups that hold you back. It’s the power to keep goin’ when you feel like givin’ up. That power is available to you, that’s resurrection power.

That gave them hope, it’s the reason we have hope today. Number four, the fourth reason we live with the most hope, why we have more hope than anybody else is because God will never stop loving us. God will never, never, never stop loving us. Jeremiah chapter 31 in the Bible,

Verse three, God says this. I have loved you with an everlasting love. Did you know that? God says, I love you with an everlasting love. How long is everlasting? Forever, it’s everlasting, duh. God has never made a person he doesn’t love. In fact, you can’t make God stop loving you.

You can try but you’ll fail because God’s love is based on who he is not who you are. God will never stop loving you, and this is the fourth reason why Christianity spreads so fast, is because they carry not just the message of hope, but they carry the message of love.

God doesn’t wait for you to love him before he starts loving you. God loved you first. In fact, the only reason you’re breathing is ’cause God made you to love you. And the most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16 and 17, it’s that next verse.

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that’s Jesus, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send him son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. God wants you to know his love.

God not only wants you to know his love, he wants you to feel his love. Because when you feel God’s love, it transforms you and then you know what? He expects you to pass it on to other people. I’ve seen God turn hateful men into loving men.

I’ve seen God turn bigots and racists into gentlemen and gentlewomen. Because when God’s love hits your heart, it changes you. Now you’re saying, well I know God. Let me ask you, has your life changed? Well not really. Then you don’t know God. Because somebody as big as God

Can’t come into your life and it not change you. When God’s love comes into your life, it changes the way you react to everybody else. In fact, Jesus said it like this, John 13, it’s on the screen. I’m givin’ you a new commandment; love each other.

Just as I’ve loved you, you should love each other. And your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. Years later, John, one of the original 12 guys, would reemphasize this, and in First John chapter three he wrote this.

This is how we know who the children of God are. Anyone who doesn’t obey God’s command and doesn’t love others is not a child of God. This is the message we’ve heard from the beginning; we must love each other. That’s the kind of thing that God changes in your life.

You start even lovin’ your enemies when God comes into your life. The most amazing conversion in the Bible is the guy named Paul, he later became St. Paul. Paul was a religious terrorist. His job was to kill Christians. And he traveled all around the Palestine area killing Christians.

That was his job, he was a religious terrorist. And one day he’s goin’ to Syria, to Damascus, to kill a bunch of Christians there, and on the road to Damascus he encounters the resurrected Jesus Christ. And Jesus says to Paul, why are you persecuting me?

Paul falls to his knees and says, my Lord and my God. And the man who had been a religious terrorist becomes the apostle of love. And Paul wrote the most beautiful words on love ever written, First Corinthians 13. They are read at weddings literally every single day around the world.

Listen to Paul, the religious terrorist who became the apostle of love, listen to him talking about love. – But then Jesus came to me. Not in righteous anger or in judgment, but… in love. Without love we are nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it does not boast.

It is not proud, it keeps no records of wrongs. It rejoices with the truth. It bares all things, it believes all things, it hopes all things, it endures all things. When everything else disappears, faith, hope, and love remain. But the greatest of these… is love.

– Now, the fifth reason why we who are followers of Jesus Christ have more hope than anybody else is this. We know the purposes that we’re created for. We know the purpose of life. I’ve traveled all around the world and I’ve discovered most people don’t have the slightest idea

What is the purpose of their life. You say, what’s the purpose of your life? I don’t know. You can have success without having significance. Significance comes from knowing your purpose. Why am I here, what on Earth am I here for? Why does my life exist? What is the purpose of my life?

Does my life have any meaning? These are the fundamental questions of life. You could fill your life with popularity and power and possessions and all pleasures and not know your purpose, and there’s still the emptiness. When you don’t know your purpose in life, when you don’t know why you’re here on Earth,

Then there’s this big hole in you and you try to fill that emptiness with a lot of other stuff; money, sex, achievement, success, travel, pleasure, sports, hobbies. Those are all good things, but they’re never gonna take the place of knowing why in the world are you here, why do you exist,

Why are you even alive, what is the purpose of your life. There are thousands of verses about the purpose of your life in this book, but if you’ve never read it, you don’t know it. You don’t know what on Earth am I here for.

And at some point, even if you’re livin’ the good life, you put your head down on the pillow at night and you go, there’s gotta be more to life than this. Because there is, you were wired by God for much, much more.

You were made for so much more than simply the good life. You’re made for the better life. I don’t have time today, on Easter Sunday, to explain to you the five purposes of your life, but let me just quickly show you just a few of the thousands of verses

About God’s purpose for creating you. Psalm 138 says this, verse eight. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me because his love endures forever. What is that verse saying? It’s saying the reason there’s a purpose for your life is because you have a creator who loves you.

God always acts in love towards you, and because he loves you, he made you for a purpose. You were made by God and you were made for God and until you figure that out, life’s never gonna make sense. It’s just not gonna make sense. The next verse, Jeremiah 29, says this.

I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. He’s sayin’ that Gods’s purpose for your life is a good plan. You’re not gonna run from it, it’s not a bad thing.

It’s a good thing, it has hope and purpose and future. In the next verse, Jesus says in John chapter 10, Jesus says, My purpose is to give life in all it’s fullness. You’re not really livin’ until you’re connected to God, you’re just existing. You were made for so much more

Than to get up in the morning, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to bed, party on the weekend. Jesus said, you’re not really living. I came to give you life in its fullness. The key to your fulfillment in life is knowing your purpose in life.

The next verse, Romans 8:28, the Bible says this. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who’ve been called according to his purpose. When you’re living out the purpose you were created for, that God made you for, God says,

I’m gonna bring good even out of the bad stuff in your life. I’ll take all of it, even the dumb stuff, even the bad decisions I make, even my mistakes, even my sins, he says, I’ll figure that all out. I’ll work it all out for good in your life

Because you’re going for my purpose. That’s a great thing, that’s a great news. And then the says this, in Mark chapter eight Jesus says, If you insist on saving your life, you’re gonna lose it. In other words, are you gonna go with your plan or are you gonna go with God’s plan?

If you insist on saving your life, you’ll lose it. Only those who give away their lives for my sake and the good news will ever know what it means to really live. He’s saying, your plan is gonna lead you to frustration, you’re gonna lose. And by the way, how’s that goin’ for ya?

You’ve been goin’ on your plan for your life, how’s that workin’ out for ya? You totally fulfilled, you totally satisfied? Life’s everything you want it to be? God says, no, no, you go with my plan, then you’re gonna know how to really live. But you can’t go with your plan

And God’s plan at the same time. You gotta decide which one you’re gonna go for, your purpose in life or God’s purpose in your life. You were made for so much more. And he says, only if you give your life away will you ever know what it means to really live.

What’s he sayin’ there? You’re not ready to live til you know what’s worth dyin’ for. Do you know what you’d die for in life? If you don’t, you’re not really ready to live. After the resurrection, first tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions of people because followers of Jesus Christ.

Of course as I said, now billions today. This scared the Roman empire because millions of people were becoming followers of the resurrected Jesus Christ. There were just too many eyewitnesses and it scared her to death. So the Roman empire started what was called the great persecution.

And for the first 300 years of Christianity, it was illegal to be a Christian. And if you made the decision to say I’m gonna become a follower of Christ, you were more likely to be fed to lions in the Colosseum, or crucified yourself, or beheaded. It meant ultimately, probably certain death.

People were signing their own death warrant by saying I’m gonna become a follower of Christ. Why did they become followers? Because of the hope, all the things we’ve just covered. All but one of the original 12 guys, original disciples, every one of those guys were murdered except one, John.

Steven was stoned to death, James was beheaded, Peter was crucified upside down, Paul was in prison in Rome and then he was executed. I want you to listen to the last words of Paul. Right before he goes to execution he says, I’ve fought the good fight,

I’ve finished the race, I’ve kept the faith. This is the kind of attitude, Christians were fearless in the face of death, why? Because they knew there was more to life than just here and now, watch this. – I’ve fought a good fight. I finished the race. And I kept the faith. – What baffled the Roman empire was how unafraid Christians were to die. Paul says it like this. For me to live is Christ, and dying is even better. He says, either way I win. If I’m alive, I’m just gonna live my purpose, the purpose that God created me for.

If I die, I just get to go to heaven sooner, I can’t lose. What do you do with a guy like that? Now, today American media doesn’t report this, but about a quarter of a billion, about 250 million of those Christians live in lands where they are persecuted for their faith.

In fact, about 90,000 Christians are killed every year right now. In fact, for the last 10 years, it’s been over a million believers, Christian believers, have been killed in the last 10 years, over one million. This morning in Sri Lanka a church was bombed and over 200 people died and 450 were wounded.

There is persecution going on today. But people go, why am I a Christian? Because I know there’s more to life than just here and now. That leads me to the sixth thing of hope and it’s this, here’s the sixth reason we have the most hope.

Because we have an eternal home waiting for us. We have an eternal home waiting for us. We know, as followers of Jesus, that death is not the end, it’s just the transition to better things. In fact, you’re gonna spend far more time on that side of eternity than on this side.

Here on this planet, you get 60, 70, 80, at the most you’re gonna get 100 years on this planet. But on the other side, those who know the Lord, who’ve accepted salvation, it’s trillions and trillions and trillions and trillions of years of freedom.

The last of the 12 disciples to die was a guy named John. Actually, the Romans tried to poison him. He was the only one not martyred, the poison didn’t work. So they exiled John to a prison colony on an island called Patmos in the middle of the Mediterranean.

And he actually lived to be quite an old man on the island of Patmos, in this prison. And by himself there, in his old age, he wrote the last book of the Bible, which is called the Revelation, and it is a vision of what heaven is like. What this, on the screen.

– I am the alpha and the omega, the first and the last. The beginning and the end. – I knew it, I’ve been expecting death to come. – There will be no more death or mourning or crying… Or pain. I am making everything knew. Yes. I am coming soon. May the grace of the Lord be with all God’s people. – Amen. – What is heaven gonna be like? Well, in a word, it’s indescribable. It’s indescribable, you and I trying to understand what heaven is like would be like a mosquito trying to understand the internet. We don’t have the brain capacity. Here on planet Earth, we’re limited by three dimensions.

There are far more than three dimensions. There are dimensions we don’t even know about. But we know it’s gonna be incredible, it’s gonna be beautiful, it’s gonna be amazing. Why? Because look at the Earth. This is a broken planet, this is a fallen planet. Nothing works perfectly on this planet,

And yet there’s still a lot of beauty; sunrises and sunsets, and skis, and mountains, and trees, and these beautiful flowers, and the beaches, and all of the beauty that God created on Earth and this is an imperfect planet. Imagine what a perfect place is gonna be like

With all the sights and the sounds and the colors and the smells, where it’s absolutely perfect, and the tastes that are there. The problem with most people and heaven is because you have a TV vision of heaven, and on television and movies, they always show heaven as, first place, it’s totally white.

Now why would God, who created all the colors, make heaven so boring as all white? And then you’re walking around in fog up to about your knees and you’re wearing a white robe and you’ve got angel’s wings and you’re playing a harp. That would be hell. (audience laughing)

If that’s heaven, I don’t wanna go. I’d rather just stay here and serve, thank you. That’s not at all what heaven’s like, but the devil wants you to have this vision of heaven like it’s so boring, we’re all the same. The Bible says this about heaven, First Corinthians chapter two;

No eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no mind has ever imagined the wonderful things that God has prepared for those who love him. For those who love him. I’ll be honest with you folks, I’ve been a pastor here for four decades, I have walked tens of thousands of people

Personally through their pain and their sorrow and their suffering and their sadness and their sickness, and the more that I see the Earth with all of its abuse and the affairs and the assaults and the rapes and the violence and the racism and the prejudice and the war, all of the bad things

That we see, the evil, the terrorism, the more that I see of that in the world, in our broken planet and the more that I have friends and family that have gone ahead of me into heaven, my mother and father are there, my older brother’s there,

I have a son in heaven, the older I get, the more heaven sounds like a good deal and the more I look forward to it and the more I’m ready for it. I’m certainly not afraid to die. Now this is why the resurrection gives us hope,

These six things, why we have more hope than anybody else on the planet. First, I am completely forgiven of everything I’ve ever done wrong. I’m gonna go to bed tonight with a clear conscience knowing that even the sins that I commit tomorrow and next year and in 10 years, if I’m still here,

That they’ve already been forgiven and paid for by Jesus Christ, I am completely forgiven. Then I know that I’m not afraid to die, ’cause I’m just not afraid to die. Then I have God’s spirit inside me, who gives me the power to make changes in my life

That I could never do on my own; habits and hurts and hangups and stuff that I don’t like about myself that I never could change before. Now I have God’s spirit inside of me to give me strength to make these changes. I know that God will never stop loving me.

It doesn’t matter what happens in my dazed head, I know one thing for sure; God will never, never, never stop loving me. I know that I’m living the purpose that I was created for and I know that one day I’m going to heaven without any doubt. I don’t have any question about that,

I’m absolutely certain I’m going to heaven. You know what my prayer is for you? Is that you would have that confidence. If you were to die tonight, are you certain you’d go to heaven? You go, well, I kind of hope so. Hope isn’t enough, you need to be certain.

You need to be certain, and God wants you to be certain. I could help you develop that certainty today. I guarantee ya I can. And if you were to stand before God tonight and God says to you, why should I let you into my house?

Why should I let you into my home for eternity? Do you know the password? You say, well I tried to be a nice person. Uh, wrong answer. You can’t be good enough to get into a perfect place. Heaven’s perfect and I’m not and neither are you.

You need a savior, that’s what Jesus came to do. If Jesus didn’t need to die on the cross for you, then it was a total waste of his blood. There’s only one way. Before Jesus went back to heaven, he said to his followers, let not your heart be troubled.

In other words, don’t get discouraged. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I’m going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you,

I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there you may be also. And Thomas said, Lord, we don’t know where you’re goin’ and we don’t know the way. And Jesus said, I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life.

No one comes to the father except through me. I’m betting my life that Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead, is not a liar. What are you bettin’ your life on? My prayer for you is that you will simply open your eyes, that you will today have a moment of clarity

That maybe you’ve never ever seen before. I want you to listen to this song before I finish, and during this song, I wanna challenge you to pray a simple prayer to God. Just say, God, open my eyes. Do you have enough courage to pray that prayer? Or does that even scare you?

God, open my eyes. If you’re really real, make yourself real to me. God, open my eyes, give me a moment of clarity. Help me to see the truth. – Thanks for checkin’ out this message on YouTube. My name is Jay and I’m Saddleback’s online pastor. I wanna invite you to take your next step by checking out our online community or help get you connected to a local Saddleback campus. Three things we have to offer you right now.

First, learn more about belonging to our church family by taking class 101. Second, don’t live life alone and get into community with others by joining an online small group or a local home group in your area. Third, join our Facebook group to be more engaged with our online community throughout the week.

Take your next step and learn where a local campus is near you by visiting or email, hope to hear from you soon.

#Resurrection #Hope #Rick #Warren

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