How do you know if you should buy something? If it’s something expensive – say a car or an appliance – You are going to go to consumer reports, read Google and Amazon reviews, and likely ask people at work and church – “hey have you ever purchased one of these things.” Those are sources that have used the product. It’s not just a traveling salesman on AS SEEN ON TV saying it slices, it dices, it does everything but work. These people have tried the product so they are trustworthy.
The sights and sounds of Easter still ring in our ears as we gather today. Like the early disciples who saw the Risen Lord now our time continues to show people our trustworthy reviews. And as we do that let’s make use of the message of truth. The message we are to believe and the message we are to share.
The early church had a select group of people who had seen the risen Lord. However, the majority of the people they were going to share this Easter story with had no idea what had happened and how to tell if it was true.
2nd Peter 1 is Peter’s proof text for why people should believe that the message of Easter was valid.
Now maybe you have run into this situation before. Someone asks how do you know that something about your faith is true. There’s one approach to that question – you could reply well because the Bible says so. However, that answer while true invites more questions. And while the disciples surely believed that about the Word of God. The first place they went to for proof was this.
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
Peter testifies, “I saw Jesus, I was on the mountain when God spoke about him and identified him, I saw his risen flesh.” Now one might say ok well Peter is lying. Generally speaking, people lie for profit. Perhaps you have seen somebody write a review online for a product BECAUSE THEY GOT PAID TO DO SO. Payment for Peter and the apostles to “invent” stories about Jesus? Death, Exile, Execution, life on the run at best. The disciples testified to eye witness events because they actually knew that it happened.
But they didn’t stop there. “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable.”
You would do well to believe this word because it’s not just words but it’s the Word of God. Men of God spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
See the disciples did not want their hearers to believe something simply because Peter said so or to believe without knowing what actually happened. Faith and belief are rooted in real events and how those events are explained in the Word of God.
You and I have seen the Risen Lord too. Easter Sunday we heard what happened and we believed it. But I wonder if our belief is at times a bit shallow.
Maybe you say you believe it but you lack the backing to know what you believe. God very clearly talks about historical events very clearly refers to prophecy and doctrinal content. Do you know it? Or has your faith stayed shallow without growing? How many people say things like I don’t know as much as Pastor I can’t remember all those stories…why would you not want to take time to know in depth what God has done for you?
See the devil and your flesh likes to make it so that you can sit in church on Easter Sunday and still have a faith that doesn’t know, doesn’t grasp, doesn’t fully trust and believe what God says. Because the shallower that becomes – the more “well Pastor said so” comments we say the more we damage our knowledge of Scripture and the more we damage our witness to others.
And so as you look at Peter…you see that his faith his understanding was quite often lacking. The guy who writes here with such conviction was the same guy who had no spine to witness for the Lord. His lack of faith and understanding was forgiven and so is yours.
Easter, friends, really is the proofing ground for Jesus. If Jesus hung on the cross and died – what would it have mattered if he stayed in the grave? Nothing. But because this is a real event….because he rose we have living proof that the sacrifice for you was accepted. The fact that he came out and people saw him is proof that he conquered what you couldn’t. The fact that he stands in heaven right now bodily is your trust and assurance that one day you also will there stand. The message of the resurrection is one you believe because Christ proved it. He walked out of a tomb as a real historical event that changes your historical sin and your future life.
As I said before the early church had a challenge. How do you share the resurrection with an entire world full of people who had never heard of that before? As much as their challenge is now yours – the tool they used is yours too.
Friends since Jesus’s resurrection is so real and so relevant to your forgiveness – Did you ever sit down to plan out, “how can I share my faith in this true story”? Even though we believe this stuff and even though we are forgiven sometimes I think we just shut our bibles and just shoot from the hip. Maybe our wels traditions or a phrase pastor said once is the best we can offer someone. Friends that’s missing out. You want to give the best review of the truth as you can because Jesus testified to the Father on your behalf first.
So here are some practical tips for you to do that. Know the word, know the history, know the why. As you share your reviews about Easter:
- Tip 1 – Know the word of God better. We live in a post-modern society that does not want to believe anything without proof. And while just believing things because the Bible says so is fine enough…let’s make sure that we actually know what the Bible says. To see the proofs contained in its pages.
- Tip 2 – Know the History. Don’t talk about Easter as some cute cuddly precious moments Jesus. This is real death and real walking out of the grave. Use the historical references God has given in Scripture as anchor points for your witness.
- Tip 3 –Know the why. We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place.
In other words, give people the reason why this proof is beneficial. Because this real history happened my friend this is how it changes me for eternity and I want you to have that too.
Friends I think if we’re honest…there’s a little bit of a skeptic in all of us when it comes to miracles and the things we read in the Bible. That’s a product of sin. Keeps us from trusting wholeheartedly until we are in heaven with Jesus. Today you see the solution to that skepticism for you and for your friends…a real historical message that forgives you of that. A message to believe and a message to share. AMEN