The Hope of the Resurrection

by | Oct 22, 2023 | Podcast, Sermons

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Preacher: Pastor Chuck Holiday

Scripture: Acts 26:24-32

Paul found a hope in the resurrection that surpasses and makes sense of all the longings of our hearts.


Great to see y’all again this morning and uh it’s we’re getting near the end of this book of Acts which is crazy it’s uh I don’t know if it feels like it’s been a long time or a short time to you probably a little bit of both but uh it’s been a blessing for me for sure to just be reminded again of these great truths how many of you have been listening to the or watching the Blue Angels this weekend yeah it’s hard if you live at the beach if you live at the beach it’s hard to hard to miss but um you know it makes you wonder some of you can you know kind of answer this in your heart out there because you’ve you know you’ve flown in Planes like this but you know is is it ever fast enough can you ever fly high enough can you ever fly close enough you know I mean I I suspect that there’s something you know for for a man or a woman to do what they do I I suspect there’s something that’s um inevitably unfulfilling about it you know when when you chase speed and you chase Excellence the way these guys do um you’re never going to get there are you I mean the uh free divers you know can they ever go deep enough can they ever hold their breath long enough

um you men who love beautiful women has there ever been one that was the final yeah don’t need anymore uh romantic love itself you know that you find the perfect husand

husband is he ever enough I mean we know the we know the answer to those questions right yes in some sense you know yes but in another sense uh no I mean it’s one of the things that’s startling to me is um just in the world of counseling how many how many um relationships end after uh living together for 10 15 years but then they get married and they can’t get along you know there’s something about the chase that keeps us that keeps us in it but when we finally think we we’ve got what’s supposed to be the culmination of Love or the culmination of speed or the culmination of art or the culmination of anything it just leaves us a bit empty doesn’t it and um you know CS Lewis speaks so eloquently to this um says creatures are born with desires and uh he said they’re not born with desires that that are not meant to be satisfied he said a baby feels hungry because there’s such a thing as food in the world ducklings want to swim because there’s a thing called water you know he said if I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy the most probable explanation is that I was made for another

world um now this is really at the heart of this passage um Paul found a hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ that that um surpassed and made sense of all the other hopes and disappointments of his life and uh David did a great job of you know introducing us to the first part of this speech that that Paul is giving it’s really his defense he’s on trial with King Agrippa now and uh but it’s all about hope he says and and and I’ll just pull you back to last week’s some of last week Le’s text in verse six of this chapter he says he’s Paul’s making his defense to Agrippa and Festus and he says and now it is because of my hope and what God has promised our fathers that I’m on trial today you know um Paul found it he he he said I spent my whole life trying to find this hope that God promised our fathers in the Old Testament and I could never get there and then I met Jesus Christ and realized that that there really is a resurrection from the dead and I’m going to be raised one day like Jesus was raised and I found it I found what our fathers have been looking for for thousands of years and never quite got to I want you to in this text let’s let’s contrast Paul with with Agrippa again this is such a such a startling you know David and I have both alluded to this in previous uh message mes but this is such a startling graphic uh picture we don’t want to miss it here here is king of grippa Agrippa was 17 when his father died suddenly back in Acts 12 we read about it we read about it in other historical uh accounts of the time but um you know agria didn’t rule very long remember agria the first this agrippa’s Dad um was the one who killed the apost Apostle James the first Apostle that was that was killed as a martyr and began a persecution of the church because the Jews liked it you know these Kings they they were appointed by Caesar but they had to they had to keep favor with the Jewish people they they were Jews who were appointed to rule the Jewish people on behalf of Caesar so they they had to keep Both Worlds happy uh and and mostly what Caesar wanted was he just didn’t want any problems you know he he conquered the Jews he wasn’t trying to necessarily change them he just wanted his tribute and U you know and he wanted everybody to get along and he wanted the you know the pox Romana he wanted the Peace of the Empire so just just try to keep everybody settled and so U you know was not an easy task well King King agria this agrippa’s Dad King agria the first uh you know found that it really pleased a lot of these Jews to start this persecution of the Christians so that’s what he went with and he became very uh boastful and proud and and he was he was basically receiving all this you know Applause from his subjects and and uh they were saying oh my goodness he’s a god he’s not a man and he was receiving it and and got struck him dead on the spot he fell over and his vows burst open and was eaten by worms and it was pretty graphic and it’s it’s recorded in other places than just in the Bible well this happened when this agria was 17 years old he was living in Rome his dad was ruling in Palestine but this Agrippa agria II was living in Rome he was uh had great favor he was raised in the Palace of of the Caesar and um he wasn’t old enough yet to rule so he waited a few more years and in the you know he eventually got his appointment to take over and and uh to become the Jewish ruler of Palestine and um particularly to take care of the temple in Jerusalem and to keep everybody at at peace well he had a lot to live for um but he had a lot going on he was Nero was the emperor and he had favor with Nero and and the Jews liked him and he was trying to straddle both these worlds and what he really didn’t want to do is mess up um you know he reminds me of this guy we read about this morning in the past in the New Testament gospel passage he was he was a man who had a lot to lose if the resurrection was

true you know think about this this man now they’re different the man in in that we read about in The Gospel this morning was a really good obedient Jew who tried his whole life to be virtuous and just be the best person he could be and earn God’s favor and was pretty sure he was rich because he had done it the right way versus Agrippa who was pretty ruthless and just a total politician frankly didn’t really have any strong set of principles he he had an incestous wife with Bernice who was with his sister who is with him in this story um he he broke a lot of the Jewish rules but he he still saw himself as a Jew and um you know there’s a contrast but the thing that’s similar is they both had a lot to live for why because the question we’re going to get to is why don’t some people believe in the resurrection there’s so much evidence there’s so much historical evidence in Paul’s argument here you may over and over again he says guys this is reasonable I’m not I’m not making this stuff up there’s evidence it’s reasonable so the question is why doesn’t everybody believe it well why did the the Rich Young Ruler in Our Gospel reading not follow

Jesus what what stopped him at the

end he said well I I’ve kept all the law and Jesus you know Jesus is so clever he’s man he’s he he doesn’t argue with them he said okay I’ll give you that so just one more thing if you really love other people more than you love yourself and you love God with all your heart soul mind and strength then it shouldn’t be hard for you to just give away all your money bless the world with all that God’s blessed you with and he couldn’t do it and he went away sorrowful why why didn’t he believe in Jesus he had too much he thought he had too much to lose now Agrippa is he’s similar listening to Paul he’s he’s drawn by Paul’s great wisdom and intelligence and his ability to reason and he said said yeah I guess the Old Testament does kind of talk about Jesus you know as Paul had reminded him of the prophecies in the Old Testament that all speak of Jesus he says you you believe the prophets I know you do gria I mean and then he gets he’s starting to get nervous it’s like wait a minut we don’t need to have this conversation anymore right now well what stopped him from surrendering to this wonderful news of a resurrection and a eternal life What stopped him man he had so much to lose this father had killed James and persecuted these Christians because of this talk about a resurrection if if if he if he if he goes there if he acknowledges the truth of this thing what happens to his favor with Caesar what happens to his favor with the Jews I mean the whole thing is blown up in his face he loses everything he’s worked his whole life for if this Resurrection is true well but let me let me tell you about Paul now and David alluded to this last week and Paul had a lot to lose didn’t he he says in this testimony earlier in the chapter he says look I work harder than any of these guys to be a good Jew I mean I’m a Pharisee the Pharisee in in Philippians 3 which David read last week I’m going to just read it again briefly he said but whatever was to my profit I now consider loss so whatever I had by being a hardworking good person religious person earning God’s favor through my good deeds whatever I had gained in my reputation in my in my success in life through my hard work to be a good person whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ what’s more I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whose sake I’ve lost all things I consider them rubbish that I may may gain Christ be found in him not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law but that which comes through faith in Christ the righteousness that comes from God Is by faith I want to know Christ and the power of his

resurrection Paul said I found something in the resurrection of Christ that so much better than anything I could

lose Paul also had a lot to lose but he knew what he had to gain if the resurrection of Jesus Christ was true Paul found a hope that surpassed and made sense of all the other longings of his heart in the resurrection of Jesus Christ so here here he stands before agria Paul’s the prisoner he’s actually standing in his chains Not

Afraid not

anxious trying to convert the king of the Jews

Agrippa who gets nervous who ends the conversation because it’s getting a little too

intense the king the free man the man who has everything is the man who can’t stand the argument because it might be

true so he say that’s enough Paul that’s enough that’s enough you’re rushing me you’re pushing me I can’t make that big leap right now which was just his way of saying no I have too much to lose life is good right now and I’ve got too much to lose if this Resurrection story is true well my friends we all find ourselves in the story somewhere and and the reality is those of us who are here on Sunday morning probably are here because we do believe it’s true but uh but but I also am struck by the fact that if I really believed it was true I mean I do believe it but if I could if trusted it Moment by moment I would live differently than I live I would live more with the freedom that Paul had standing before a grippa than than the way I normally live you know I got irritated with a waitress last night because she brought the wrong pizza to my

table are you that silly and trivial with your life sometimes I mean when’s the last time you felt a little bit of road rage because somebody got in front of you unjustly can you imagine being in court for being on trial for something that you are innocent of and and you’re okay with whatever the outcome is because what you really care about is your witness to the people in that courtroom can you imagine that I I can’t I have a hard time getting there but Paul was so sure that Jesus had risen from the dead and he was so sure that he was going to rise from the dead and that this life was just the the ordes for the real

dinner that he could stay focused on what is the main thing here it’s not about winning or losing it’s not about whether I feel respected right now whether I feel convenience right now it’s not about any of that it’s about how can I represent my Lord Jesus

Christ and stay focused on what’s Eternal my friends that’s the only thing that gets us through hard days where we get bad news we get troubling Health reports we get terrible texts from people that we think love us or we won’t get a text from somebody that we’ve been trying to reach out to the only thing that can keep us anchored is this life is just the front room of the real Mansion

okay but there are facts okay it’s it’s um and I’m not going to go into them because a time you can you know if you want to do a Google search on the evidence for the resurrection my friends there is a lot of evidence it’s abundant but Paul sums it up in verses 25 and 26 he’s talking to King Ag gria and he said I’m not insane well first of all most excellent fesus because fesus interrupts him and said Paul your great learning has made you crazy everybody knew he was brilliant but he said look this now you’re gone too far let’s talk about a resurrection Paul says no I’m not insane what I am saying is is true and reasonable and then he looks to the king king AG gria here he is standing in Chains looking the king in the eye and he said and he turns to King Ag gria and he and he says the king is familiar with these things I can speak freely to him I’m convinced that none of this has escaped his notice because it was not done in a corner you know Jerusalem was a very educated very educated city most of the people spoke three languages greek latin and Aramaic they were they were very well educated smart people they weren’t stupid and this happened publicly publicly Jesus was tried and crucified publicly he was raised from the dead he presented himself to more than 500 Witnesses at one time recorded historically

by numbers of

accounts the The Men Who who gave us the record died for what they knew was true okay he says none of this happened in a corner okay and and the other his other and he’s looking at a grippa who’s a Jew who believes the Old Testament prophets and he said and he rever refers back to that in verse 27 and he said and King AG gria do you believe the prophets I know you do can you imagine looking and saying this to the king who is who going to decide your fate said King I know you believe the prophets it’s in there it’s in the prophets too so so why doesn’t he believe if the facts are so compelling why can’t everybody see it don’t you ask yourself that question sometimes well they have a lot to lose the the the famous philosopher Pascal saidthe heart has reasons that reason doesn’t

know the heart has reasons that reason doesn’t know my friends why can’t why can’t we get along politically why can’t you have a conversation with somebody on the other side of the political aisle and why can’t we even agree about the facts aren’t the facts the facts well evidently not because the heart has reasons that reason doesn’t know and we’re all prone to to believing what we want to believe what we need to believe is true to make sense of our lives and to give us permission to live the lives we want to live I mean we’re all susceptible to that you know we we have to be careful not to think that we as Christians are not susceptible to that we are but it doesn’t mean that aren’t facts okay now now we let’s we as Christians because we all have friends I think who are not Christians and this Resurrection thing is a stumbling block to them and um our talk of heaven we can’t imagine making sense of life without it but to them it’s it’s wishful thinking it’s fairy tales it’s what weak-minded people need to get through life so what about that does our need for a resurrection invalidate our faith does our wanting it to be true mean that it might not be true well I I would suggest you and and um that it’s the opposite and again this is U where CS Lewis I think is really helpful to us he says what if what if all the good images of I mean he basically let me sum up his argument like this he said the fact that you want to live forever means there must be something out there otherwise where would that thought and that desire come

from the fact that you are hungry means there must be

food and why doesn’t a fish feel wet when it’s in the ocean because it was made made to live in the ocean but you would feel wet if you were in the ocean because you were made to live on land now I don’t can you catch that he’s saying the the fact that the desire itself for more speed when you’re flying already at MCH

2 means there must be something else what if you were made to live on another world and fly at Mock

50 this the fact that there’s something inconsolable in your heart for Speed or For Love or for significance or for affirmation instead of thinking that that means it can’t be true what if that means it has to be true otherwise where did I get that inconsolable longing for more CS Lewis says the thing that makes the most sense to me is that we were made for another

world now he says the problem is we we take the symbols of the things that we want in this world and we turn them into the ultimate thing he said the the the memory of our own past the good the good romantic memories of people that we’ve loved and loved us uh or be beautiful things that we’ve seen uh beautiful sunsets beautiful music he says they they’re M if they’re mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb Idols breaking the hearts of their worshippers for they are not the thing itself they are only the scent of a flower we have not found the echo of a tune we have not heard news from a country we have never yet visited now that makes sense to me let me let me back up for a second think of it like this when you’re born into this world if you’re born in a in good circumstances in a happy home you uh you know you’ve had a bit of trauma getting into this world uh you know uh in the process of Labor and Delivery but then you’re immediately received into the comforting strong loving arms of a mother whose voice you immediately recognize because you’ve heard it your entire existence now you just hear more clearly and you immediately feel warm and

comforted there’s some sensuality in the skin-to skinin contact and you’re fed and you feel full and when you’re dirty she’s she cleans you up and and she this this first human that you’ve encountered is is everything to you she’s life to you and and and you not only does she physically take care of your needs but she looks into your eyes and you see that you’re somebody and that you matter her you hear her voice call your name and you begin to know your name and you know you’re somebody and you’re loved and you’re cared for and then and then somewhere along the line you hear the voice voice of your father and realize wow his hands are even stronger and he he leaves sometimes but he always comes back you know and he’s always there and he laughs when I do when I do things he he smiles when he sees sees me smile he smiles and I am great I am just great and then Dad drops you one day when he’s playing with you

it happens yeah I remember the day my dad dropped my high chair because we were playing a game and I said Dad don’t do that you’re G to drop me and he laughed and my mom laughed and dang if he didn’t drop me and something in me said I’ll never trust anybody again they don’t know what I

know and sometimes your mom’s comforting voice gets shrill and harsh and rageful and you see rage in her eyes instead of comfort and kindness and what do you do you don’t know what to do because no matter how good your mother and father were they weren’t God you thought they were but they weren’t and turns out they’re Sinners

too and so what do you do where do you go well you you you try to find a love that will you know be the love and you know you you look for romantic love and you try to find the the man or the woman who’s going to be the perfect love the one who really know me know me in ways that my parents didn’t even know me and and allow me to become the person I meant to be and and oh it’s that’s why it’s so wonderful to fall in love it just it feels exhilarating it feels like wow now every now all the pieces fit now I found the one and we know how that turns out I mean best case scenario it’s a beautiful 50 60 70 years of always hoping there’s more of always hoping there’s more or settling for what you can’t fix but it’s never enough and even in the best of cases it’s gone one day and now now what do you

have my friends um that’s how life works

God has rigged it so it won’t work apart from him because when you want your mom to be your God when you want your dad to be your God when you want your husband to be your God when you want your job to be your

God you are going to be broken on your Idols but there is a God and he made you to live for forever not to be completely filled in this life but to be completely filled in the next life when you see him face to face what was it that changed Paul Jesus Christ raised from the dead appeared to him from heaven and called his name he said Saul Saul I know you I made you don’t you want me and Saul says ‘lord who are you he he immediately heard the voice that he he had heard echoes of that voice his entire life but he heard the voice the one he really wanted to hear his whole life and he heard the voice of Eternity say Saul Saul he said who are you Lord I’m Jesus what I hate Jesus said no you don’t know

Jesus you hate the Jesus you thought you knew you don’t know me but I know you Saul and so he says Lord

Lord what do you want for me I’ll do anything I’ll give up anything I’ll go anywhere I’ll do anything and Jesus is good this is going to be great and Saul never forgot it now he he like you and me got mad at Road road rage and chariots cut him off and or whatever but he always recovered because he never forgot his anchor there’s another life where all my longings will be be fulfilled now my friends we we fall into two two places either some of us just learned to kill our desires early in life because we didn’t want to be disappointed ever again so we just quit hoping and wanting anything and I’d say that’s what most of the Christian Church looks like people who really don’t want much don’t want much Beauty don’t want much fun don’t want much anything good any old potluck will do you know but then there’s other people who can never get enough because they’re they refuse to quit chasing you know either way it’s a dead end unless you find Jesus who says quit quit wanting so little I want you to want it all but I want you to be willing to wait for it to receive the comfort from the hand who will really wipe the tears from your eyes the one who died on a cross for your sins and rose again from the dead because he’s real he knows your name he loves you he died for you he rose again in to give you all that your heart longs for so my friends come to him trust in him and when the waitress messes up your order remember this is just you are derves to the real meal all that we long for is coming



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