For it is by grace that we have been saved. Where do you need to receive his grace in your life? Jesus is the resurrection and the life!
Well, hey everybody. Welcome to our special online Easter service here at Valley Creek. I am so glad you are here with us today. You see, we are one church that meets in multiple campuses, that carries the hope of Jesus to thousands of locations. And obviously, today we are one church meeting online. And wherever you are in the world, I am so glad you are here with us today. You see, I realize for some of you, this is the first time you’ve ever been a part of an Easter service. And others of you, this is the first time you have ever celebrated Easter outside a church building.
And while all this may be new to all of us, I believe God has something amazing for you. You see, I wish we were here gathered together in these seats worshipping and encountering God, but here’s what I know, that Jesus is not limited to a church building, and he’s come to be with you wherever you are. And so here’s what we’re going to do for the next few moments, we’re just going to worship. Worship is simply giving thanks to God, it’s taking our attention off of what’s happening around us and turning it to what God has done for us. And gratitude changes the atmosphere.
And so if you feel comfortable, sing along. If not, no problem. Let these words wash over your heart and your mind because wherever you are, Jesus is with you, and hope is on the move. In Jesus’ name, it’s time for a resurrection. You see, this Easter we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and we remember his supernatural power. We remember the impossibility. We remember the miraculous. And right now, I’ve been praying for you all this week. And I feel like God wants to do the supernatural in your life today. So would you do this with me if you feel comfortable? Maybe just turn up your hands as a sign of surrender and close your eyes. And I just want to pray over you a few specific things, and maybe by faith you can say, I receive it, and grab it into your life.
You see, the finished work of Jesus released so many things into our world. All we have to do is by faith receive it. And the first is just simply provision. Maybe today you need some provision in your life. Provision for finances or work or resources, so in Jesus’ name, we just declare that God will meet all of your needs according to His glorious rich in Christ Jesus, that every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father through Jesus. And if that’s you, if you need provision, can you just say, I receive that in Jesus’ name? And then there’s protection. See, Jesus became our protector, our shield, our strong tower, our refuge. And as the storm rages around us, today is the day to receive that into your life. And so in Jesus’ name, we just speak out that he is our shield. He is our rock, our strong tower, our good shepherd. And he will protect us from the storm, from this coronavirus, from the chaos around us. If that’s you, if you need that, can you just say, I receive that in Jesus’ name?
And then Jesus died so that we would be healed. Maybe there’s sickness in your body or sickness in your mind, or sickness in — so maybe you have the coronavirus and it’s stressing you out. Okay. In Jesus’ name, we speak healing. We come against every cancer, every sickness, every disease, the coronavirus, in Jesus’ name, and say, it was paid for on the cross. And we believe supernaturally that right now, healing is coming into your body. And if that’s you, just say, I receive it. And then we pray for peace. I think we could all use a little bit of peace in this season. Well, Jesus died on the cross so that you would have peace. So right now, I speak peace into your mind, peace into your heart, peace into your home. We speak against the anxiety and the stress, and the worry and the doubt and the burdens. And we say, in Jesus’ name, you must go. And if that’s you, just say, I receive that in Jesus’ name.
And then one more. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus brought the blessing of God into our life. And so in Jesus’ name, I speak the unending blessing, the supernatural favor and goodness of God into your life. May He bless you emotionally, relationally, spiritually, physically, financially. May Jesus bless you in every way, and may that fill and flood your heart, your life, your family, and your home in a supernatural way. Come on, in Jesus’ name, maybe just have the faith to say out loud, I receive that for me and my house, and my family, and my world. Jesus, thank you for your supernatural power. In your name, we pray. Amen. Well, hey everybody, once again I just want to welcome you to our special Easter services here at Valley Creek online. And I am so glad you are here with us today, wherever you are in the world. Whether this is your first time with us or maybe you’re a part of Valley Creek all the time, it really doesn’t matter. You see, hope is here. Everyone is welcome. And Jesus changes everything.
You see, this is a wild Easter, isn’t it? I don’t think any of us have ever experienced an Easter life this ever before. It feels like everything has changed. Everything is different. It’s like this coronavirus storm kind of came out of nowhere, and took us all off guard. Like for us and our church services, like normally Easter the biggest experience we have all year long. We plan for it for months. We do more than 20 services to create enough seats and opportunity for everyone to come. And obviously, all that’s been changed.
But the good news is you’re probably sitting in your favorite seat right now, no one was late for service, and everyone who wanted to come got to come, isn’t that good news? And while it changed stuff here at our church, it’s probably also changed stuff for your family for Easter. See, I bet you have traditions and things you look forward to, family meals, or maybe you get dressed up for the family yearly picture, or go to grandma’s house, or do an Easter egg hunt. And all of a sudden, all of those things have changed and we can’t do all that stuff.
And it’s okay to grieve some of those losses. You see, I think if we’re honest, what this Easter reminds us is how much we take Easter for granted. I think every year we just kind of think of Easter, oh, it’s this tradition or this religious thing, or a family opportunity, we don’t — we just kind of take it all for granted. And then all of a sudden, this Easter showed up, and it’s like we’re desperate for a resurrection. We’re ready for the circumstance to change.
We’re ready for the situation to be resolved. We’re ready for a breakthrough to come. Like we are desperate for a resurrection. I think this Easter maybe more than any other Easter we’ve ever had, we are keenly aware of the reality that we don’t control our own lives. And so here we are shelter in place, shelter at home, locked in our own houses with a whole lot of stress, and anxiety, and fear, and doubt, and worry, and we’re desperate for a resurrection.
And you know it’s interesting because that’s exactly what the first Easter was like. You see, I don’t know if you realize this or not, but that first Easter, Jesus’ disciples were locked in a house. They were under a shelter in place, shelter in home. They were stressed out, they had anxiety and fear and doubt and worry. It was like this big storm showed up out of nowhere, and here they are locked in this house.
You see, three years earlier, Jesus came and called them to start following him. Jesus came and called tax collectors, sinners, fishermen, zealots. The least likely, most undeserving, the last people you and I would ever consider were the ones that Jesus chose. He saw them. He wanted them and he called them to follow him. And so for three years they did.
They walked with Jesus and they learned from Jesus. They became like Jesus. They saw him heal the sick and raise the dead, and cast out demons. They watched him calm the storm and walk on water. And they learned about the kingdom of God and who the Father was. And then all of a sudden out of nowhere, Jesus is arrested. He’s persecuted. He’s beaten, put on a cross, dead, buried in the grave, and now, he’s gone.
And so the disciples are locked in this little house with fear, and stress, and anxiety, and worry because the same people who killed Jesus want to kill them too. And here were the disciples’ shelter in place. And while they thought it was over, it was really just beginning. While they thought nothing was happening, God was moving behind the scenes. While they thought it was hopeless, a resurrection was coming.
See, check this out with me in John. In chapter 20, it says, “The disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews.” Shelter in place. Jesus, the resurrected Jesus, they haven’t seen him yet. They don’t know he’s resurrected. So the resurrected Jesus came and stood among them and said, “ Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Again, Jesus said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
And with that, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” You see, right about the time that Peter probably finished eating all of the food and using up all of the toilet paper, the resurrected Jesus shows up in their house. And he looks at the disciples and he says, hey guys, it’s me. Peace be with you. And he shows them his hands. And he shows them his side. It’s like he’s looking at them saying, guys, look, I won. Victory is ours. I’ve defeated sin and death and the grave. You are forever forgiven. You are forever free.
And then he had to say it to them again a second time. Peace be with you. Here’s the presence and the power and the peace of the resurrected Jesus. And they’re home.
And then he looks at them and says, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” And what I love about that is before Jesus asks them to do anything, he shows them he has already done everything, that they didn’t have to do anything for him because he’s already done everything for them. And then he breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Hooo. And in that moment, it wasn’t Jesus who had a resurrection. The disciples had a resurrection.
You see, if you go all the way back to the beginning of creation, what you discover is that when God created humanity, Adam and Eve, He took the dust of the earth and pulled it and scraped it together and made Adam’s body. And then He came down and hooo, breathed life into Adam. And he was born and he came alive. And there was only one thing God told Adam not to do, eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Because if he did, he would surely die.
And what did Adam do? He ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And in that moment, not only did he spiritually die, the disciples spiritually died, and we spiritually died. And so a savoir would have to come. And so Jesus came as a baby born in a manger, born on this earth, walked through life, did the things that we were created and supposed to do. But he did them perfectly. And then he went to the cross, died, was buried in the grave. And then Jesus rose again from the grave, Jesus was in a sense was born again.
We use that term as followers of Jesus, that we must be born again. It says Jesus is the firstborn of the resurrected of the dead. In other words, when he came back resurrected from the dead, it was like he was born again. And in that moment, when he breathed on the disciples and gave them his spirit, they were born again, and resurrected to life.
You see, the reason I love this passage and this story for Easter because this is us, guys.
Like come on, we’re together, locked in our own house with a whole lot of fear. And I would bet somebody in your house has probably just ate the last good food, and you’re probably just about out of toilet paper. And there’s whole kinds of stress, and anxiety, and fear, and worry, and doubt. It’s like this storm showed up in our lives out of nowhere, all of a sudden we’re in shelter in place. And for a lot of us, this is like super serious.
Some of you, you’re super stressed about losing your job. Some of you, you’re not sure how you’re going to pay your bills. Some of you have loved ones who are sick and you can’t get to them. Some of you, you may be sick yourself, and there’s all this stress, and this worry, and this doubt, and this fear. And then all of a sudden, here we are on this Easter, and the resurrected Jesus has come to your house. And all of a sudden, the peace, the presence, and the power of Jesus has come to you.
You see, you don’t have to go looking for hope because hope has come to look for you. Like this Easter, you didn’t even have to get dressed. You didn’t even have to go anywhere. Jesus has come to you through your screen into your living room, into your home, into your bedroom, into whatever space that you are in. And he’s looking at you saying, look at my hands and my side. Look, I have won the victory. I have defeated sin, death and the grave. And he’s not here to tell you to go and do a bunch of stuff. He’s here to show you he has already done everything for you.
And what he wants to do is breathe on you, hooo, and say, receive my spirit. And so even right now, wherever you are, could you just take a big, deep breath in with me, and breathe in the presence, the peace, and the power of the resurrected Jesus?
You see, John 3:16 and 17, that famous verse, that we talk about at Easter, says, “For God so loved the world. He loved you so much that He gave His one and only son, Jesus. That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Abundant life. For God did not send His son into this world to condemn the world, but to save, heal, make whole, set free and deliver you.
You see, what you have to understand is that every facet of the cross is a prophetic declaration of what Jesus did for you. If you think about all the different elements, every one of them means something. Like Jesus was beaten. Literally Jesus beat his body apart. He was beaten apart so that your life could be put back together. Then they put a scarlet robe on Jesus. Scarlet.
Representing the deep stains and shame of our life that we can’t get out no matter how hard we scrub, so that the clean robe of righteousness could be placed on you. Then the put a crown of thorns on his head. Thorns representing the curse of this world was placed on Jesus, so the blessing of God could be placed on you. Then the bound him to a cross. He was bound so you could be set free. He then declared, “I’m thirsty.” He became thirsty so that your soul could be satisfied. Then he said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus was forsaken by the Father so you’ll never have to be. The Father became a distant God to Jesus so he could become a loving Father to you.
Then Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” Breathed out his last breath so that your life could begin and you could breathe in for the first time. And then they put a hard spear into his soft heart so that your hard heart could be made soft.
Come on, Jesus looked into the face of death so that you could look into the face of the Father. There is nothing left for you to do. Everything that ever has been or ever will be required from you has been paid in full. You’re a new creation in Christ Jesus. There is no condemnation and he did it all for you.
You see, Satan has come to steal, kill and destroy. But Jesus came to give, resurrect and restore. He came to give you everything you will ever need, resurrect any and everything that has died, and restore everything that’s been lost. In fact, this is why in John, it tells us that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He doesn’t say he overs resurrection. It says, “I am the resurrection and life. It’s actually who he is, which means anything and everything that’s submitted and surrendered to Jesus, it resurrects.
It comes back to life. It’s restored in Jesus’ name. He came to resurrect us from sin, shame, and stress. He came to resurrect us from death, destruction and the grave. He came to resurrect us from the muck and the mire of this world and give us life. And yet if we’re honest, we often don’t go to Jesus for resurrection in life. We go to the things of the world, don’t we? We go to our job, or our activity, or school, or social media, or money, or beauty, or all the — we look for life in all the wrong places.
In fact, I love this, in Luke it tells us, on that first resurrection, “When some of the women went to the grave to go see Jesus, thinking he’s still dead in the grave, some angels were sitting there and said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, he is risen.” I love this question, why do you look for the living among the dead?
Ain’t that what we do? We have an Easter moment with Jesus. And then we forget about it in the rest of the year and kind of go look for life among dead things? We try to find life in the world. We try to find life in the world’s ways and the world systems, the world values, all those, our work, our finance, all — we go look for life in the wrong places. And the supernatural power of God is saying, hey, why are you looking there? Because guess what, there’s no resurrection in life there. Why? Because Jesus has risen. And he is the resurrection and the life.
And so can I ask you a really simple question this Easter. What in your life do you need to leave in the grave? What things did Jesus pay for and die for that need to stay in the grave and you need to stop going back to them and stop picking them up? Things like anxiety, things like fear, things like addictions, or idolatry, or ungodly beliefs. Like what are the things that you need to leave in the grave? And then what are things that need a resurrection? Maybe it’s your hope or your mind, your heart, your spirit, your relationships, your life. I don’t know. Or maybe it’s time to submit those things to the resurrection and the life, and let him breathe on them again and bring them forth. See, I think we get so focused in looking at all the things around us we forget to look at Jesus who is right here in front of us in our living room, in our house, in our world today, saying, look, look, I’m here to give you life. Come on. It’s time for a resurrection in Jesus’ name. And so maybe let me do this for you on this Easter. Maybe let me give you a different perspective of what the Easter story is really like.
Maybe this will just give you a different context. You see, hundreds of years before Jesus laid his life on the cross and was resurrected from the grave, there was something called the Passover. The Passover was when God saved the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. For 400 years, the Israelites, the children, the people of God were enslaved by Pharaoh in Egypt. And it’s a prophetic picture. So true story, but it’s a prophetic picture. See, Pharaoh represents Satan and Egypt represents the world.
And Satan and the world has enslaved the people of God. And God says, it’s time, I’m going to set you free. And so he tells the Israelites here’s what they’re supposed to do. That a Passover was going to come. That there was going to be death and darkness and destruction. That the firstborn among all of the Egyptians were going to be killed, but the Israelites would be safe. And so here’s what God asked them to do. He said, I want you take a lamb, a spotless, blameless pure lamb.
And I want you to bring it in your house for three days. For three days, I want you to take care of it, water it, feed it, just take care of it. And then on that Passover night, they were to kill that lamb, take the blood, put it on the doorpost of their house. And then while there was death and darkness and destruction out in the world, they would be safe, and they would have peace. So that’s what they did. They took that lamb and they brought it into their house for three days. And I want you to think about this. Can you imagine having a lamb that you’re caring for in your house for three days?
You’re going to care for it. You’re going to pet it. Your kids are probably going to name it. You’re watering it. You’re feeding it. And then on the third day, you have to take its life. You say, why? Because they had to understand the gravity of the depth of God’s love for them. The sacrifice that Jesus, the lamb of God, would make. And then they were supposed to take the blood of that lamb and put it on the doorposts of their house.
The beam and the doorpost, representing the cross of Jesus, the finished work of Jesus, the forgiveness of Jesus, the blood of Jesus. And as long as they stayed under that blood while there was death and darkness and destruction out in the world, there would be peace and rest and protection and provision and joy in that house and with that family. And that’s what they did.
And while there was death and destruction out in the world, they rested under the blood of the lamb. And then the next morning, they were set free by the Egyptians. The Egyptians gave them all of their gold when they left. Why? Because God doesn’t just cancel our debts, he credits our account. He doesn’t just forgive our sins, he blesses us with abundant life. None of the diseases or the sickness that was on the world got on them. And then God, the good shepherd, led them into the Promised Land. And I tell you that very physical, graphical story because that was a prophetic picture of what Jesus was going to do for us.
See, Jesus is the lamb who was slain, the perfect, stainless, free of blemish in every way, shape and form, and he came to lay his life for us. And we need to understand the gravity and the weight of the depth of the love he has for us. And as long as we rest under that blood, under the finished work of Jesus, we’re safe. We’re forgiven. We’re free. And God not only cancels our debts, he credits our account. And like a good shepherd, he leads us into the Promised Land.
You see, I love this verse in Hebrews that says, “You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness.” See if you can catch this. It says, you have come to Jesus, the one and the only one who could bring peace between you and God and his blood speaks.
Did you ever realize that the blood of Jesus speaks? It has authority. It makes declarations. You see, in this season, when fear, and doubt, and condemnation, and worry, and darkness, and demonic, while they want to roar, and growl, and shout, and yell, and throw all kinds of things at you, in the midst of all of those voices, you know what else has speak in? The blood of Jesus. And it’s declaring with all authority over your life, if you have come to him, forgiven, free, peace, righteousness, beloved son or daughter, whole, protected, blessed in every way, shape and form. Salvation is not about what you have to do, it’s about what Jesus has done.
And while all the voices of the world may be screaming at you today, the blood of Jesus with authority is simply declaring peace, forgiveness and freedom in your life. And so the question is, which voice are you listening to? The voice of darkness and destruction? Or the voice of the blood of Jesus that says, it is finished. And what do we have to do? Just believe and receive.
This is why Ephesians tells us, “For it is by grave you have been saved through faith. This is not of yourself, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast. Come on, it’s just by the grave of God that we get saved, heal, whole, set free and deliver. It’s not us, we can’t do it. We just got to grab a hold of the finished work of Jesus and say, I rest under the cross.
I rest under the blood. I rest under who he is and what he has done and breathe in a resurrected life today. You see, the question that I want to ask you just this Easter, and it’s really just this simply. It’s like, just where are you with God? Like in your life right now, man, like where are you with God? See, what’s so interesting is we all know innately in here that God exists, we innately know in here that eternity is real, and we innately know in here that we need a savoir.
And so where are you with God? And how have you responded to Jesus? And so maybe to make it real easy for you, let me just ask you, I would say most of us right now are one of these four things. Which one would you say you are right now, where you are with God? First is just, I have already accepted Jesus and follow him. Maybe that’s you. Or maybe you’re here today and you’re like, man, I am ready to accept Jesus and start following him.
Maybe you’re here and you’re kind of thinking, I’m considering Jesus. Or maybe you’re just like, you know what, I have no interest in Jesus. Can I just ask you, just between you and me right now, like just which one of these are you? Sometimes it helps to actually define reality and what we actually think about the world and spiritually so we can figure out how we actually move forward. Like for you, if this is you, if you’re right now saying, I have already accepted Jesus and follow him, come on, this Easter then is an Easter to give thanks to God for how He is and what He has done. And it’s an Easter to remind ourselves not to go back to the grave to look for life among dead things, but to follow him with everything that we’ve got.
If you’re here and you’re like, you know what man, I’m desperate, I’m ready, I need a new life. I’m ready for a resurrection. I’m ready to accept Jesus and start following him, in a moment, I’m going to help you do that.
If you’re here and you’re like, I’m considering Jesus. Maybe. I don’t know. Can I just encourage you? Salvation is found in no one else other than Jesus. And if he is the resurrection and the life, there is nowhere else to look. And then maybe you’re here and you say, I have no interest in Jesus. And if that’s you, that’s okay, man, I’m so glad you’re here with us. Here’s what I want to encourage you to do, maybe you just say to God, hey God, you know what, I don’t really have any interest in Jesus. Would you reveal him to me if that’s something I should pursue? Would you make me aware of the goodness and the grace of Jesus in my life if this is really something I need? Come on, like what could it hurt to ask God to show you Jesus if this is all real?
You see, if you think about where this world is right now, it’s like a giant snowball that’s just all been shook up. Everything feels like it’s flying all apart. And we’re not even sure, nothing feels steady, nothing feels stable. Don’t you want to build your life on a solid rock? With a firm foundation? Because Jesus is the unchanging God in a changing world. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Now, here’s what I believe. I believe that just like on that first Easter, while you are in a shelter in place, the resurrected Jesus has just shown up in your world, your living room, your bedroom, your kitchen, your garage, your office, wherever you are right now, his peace, his presence, and his power is just coming to your space and he’s saying, look, I’ve won. I did for you so that you could be free, so that you can be forgiven, so that you can be whole and have a victorious life.
And then he wants to breathe like, hooo, and say, receive the Spirit of the living God. Be born again and have a resurrection in Jesus’ name. You see, that first Easter when the disciples were locked in a room, they didn’t think there was any way forward until the resurrected Jesus showed up and they realized he is the way, he is the truth, and he is the life. You may not think there is any way forward right now in your life, but then Jesus shows up and reminds you that he is the way, he is the truth, and he is the life. So you close your eyes with me, and let me just ask you this Easter, what do you feel like God is saying to you? Come on, if you’ve already put your faith in Jesus and you follow him, maybe you could just thank him in your own way.
And turn your attention back to him and say, Lord, I’m turning all of my focus back to follow you because I need to rest under your finished work. And if you’re here and you’re saying, now, today, I’m ready to put my faith in Jesus. Here’s all you need to do, it’s literally just say, Jesus, I invite you into my life. I believe that you came and lived the life that I couldn’t live. That you were the Lamb of God who laid down his life. That you died on the cross. You were buried in the grave and rose again from the grave. That you are the firstborn from among the dead. And you offer me a resurrected life. So Jesus, today, I breathe in your spirit. I thank you for forgiveness and freedom. And I arise to new life in you.
And if you’re considering it, at any point in time, you can take that step. And if you say, I have no interest in it, that’s okay. Just keep asking, hey God, if you’re real, would you show yourself to me? Jesus, thank you that in the midst of this chaos and this storm in this world, you have come to be with us, to bring us peace. Thank you that your blood speaks on our behalf and it declares, it is finished. No more striving. No more shame. No more guilt. No more brokenness. No more separation from God and no longer does darkness, death or destruction have authority over us. It must pass over our lives, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Hey, I am so glad that you joined us for this special Easter online service. And if there’s anything we can pray for you, anything in your life right now that we could pray for you, if you go to our website and just fill that out, we would love to pray for you for anything in your life. In a moment, there’s going to be some response questions. If you want to take some time to respond to those as a family or whoever you’re watching with or by yourself, that’s great. If not, no pressure, no big deal. For those of you that have kids or know someone that does, on our kids YouTube channel, we have an amazing Easter experience designed just for them. I would encourage you to check it out.
I would love to invite you to connect with us on social media, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. We got a lot of great things for your heart, for your life in the midst of this stormy season. Man, if you know someone in your life who could use this experience of hope, please past this message and this experience on to them. And then for those of you that want to give, you can give right here online if you want to respond to God that way. But here’s what I want to say to you, wherever you are, and whatever’s going on in your life today, Jesus is with you and hope is on the move. It’s time for a resurrection in Jesus’ name. I’m so glad you are here with us today. I hope to see you again soon. May you have a blessed Easter and a blessed week in Jesus’ name.