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Celebrate Jesus: The Resurrection

I Peter 1:3-5

Series Text: 1 Tim. 3:16 

And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Beheld by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

This Tuesday, a couple of dozen government officials dressed in coveralls, surgical masks and industrial rubber gloves spent most of the day foraging through a cow pasture near Mina, South Dakota. Why? Payne Stewart, the 1999 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am champion, died when his Lear Jet crashed.

When the plane veered off course, two Air Force planes were dispatched to investigate. One of the pilots reported that the "windows were frozen" leading investigators to believe the cabin decompressed. The temperature at the 45,000 feet altitude would be 70 degrees below zero.

Death claimed someone else.

It gets us all eventually, last Monday, it took Payne.

It even took our Lord and Savior, but it did not keep Him. This morning, our text is I Peter 1:3-5: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

Please notice two key truths in this passage.

God's Mercy invites us to be born again

Today I declare to you that though death got its bony fingers on our Lord, it could not keep Him in its grasp. He arose on the third day, and when He did, Jesus defeated death, hell and the grave. Or as Paul put it, He "was vindicated in the Spirit." 

Jesus' death without His resurrection would have been the greatest miscarriage of justice in the world, instead it became the greatest show of mercy. "Oh the love that drew Salvation's plan," the poet wrote, "Oh the grace that brought it down to man. "Oh the mighty gulf that God did span, At Calvary."

The resurrection empowers God's mercy. 

Without the power of the resurrections, God's mercy would be demoted to sympathy. But because Jesus rose from the grave, He has the power to do something about man's sin and death's apparent victory.

Jesus rose from the grave, we know it to be a fact. We know it because,

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