Believe the Gospel. Be changed by the Gospel.

Second Sunday of Easter: Acts 2:14a, 22-32; Psalm 16 or Exodus 15:1-11; Psalm 111; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31
Christ has risen. Believe the Gospel. Be changed by the Gospel.
The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ (John 16:14). ‘No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit’ (1 Corinthians 12:3).
In the preaching of Peter on the Day of Pentecost, we see the vital connection between the Holy Spirit and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Peter preaches the Gospel of Christ’s resurrection (Acts 2:24, 30-32).
Jesus Christ has risen. Jesus Christ is Lord. This was Peter’s message. If, like Peter, we are to speak in the power of the Holy Spirit, this must be our message. Jesus Christ has risen. Jesus Christ is Lord.
In Acts 2:25-28, Peter quotes the words of Psalm 16:8-11.
He emphasizes that these words direct our attention to Jesus Christ – “David says concerning Him” (Acts 2:25).
He maintains that David’s words look forward to the resurrection of Christ – “David … spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ” (Acts 2:29-31).
The final verse of Psalm 16 contains a marvellous message of hope: ‘You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore’ (v.11).
In this earthly life, there are many difficulties. For all of God’s people, there is something better still to come. We must look not only at the things which are happening now. We must look also to the glory which is yet to come.
By connecting these words of hope with the resurrection of Christ, Peter is stressing that our hope of eternal glory is based on Christ’s resurrection.
We look back to the fact of Christ’s resurrection – ‘Christ has been raised from the dead’ and we look forward to the fulfilment of Christ’s resurrection – ‘at His coming those who belong to Christ…will be raised imperishable’ (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 52).
Here and now, let there be in us faith in Christ’s resurrection – ‘The Lord is my chosen portion’ and the fruit of Christ’s resurrection – ‘Therefore my heart is glad’ (Psalm 16:5, 9).
The Lord has redeemed us. Let us worship Him.
In Exodus 15, we have
(a) a song of redemption – God has redeemed His people,
(b) a song of thanksgiving – we give thanks for God’s redemption,
(c) a song of hope – we look forward to the complete fulfilment of God’s redemption.
This is not only a ‘song of God’s people.’ It is also the song of Moses, a personal song.
This is worship – not a mere formality, but worship which arises from the depths of Moses’ heart.
Deeply moved by the grace and glory of God, Moses pours his heart out to God in worship:
(i) He praises the God of grace – ‘my strength… my song… my salvation’ (v. 2).
(ii) He praises the God of glory – God triumphs ‘gloriously’ (v. 1). His ‘glorious’ power is demonstrated in His ‘glorious’ deeds’ (verses 6, 11).
(iii) Worshipping this God of grace – the redeeming God (v. 13) – and glory – the reigning God (v. 18) – , we say, ‘You are my God, and I will praise You’ (Psalm 118:28).
Let us worship God – personally as well as publicly.
We worship the Lord. Let us go out into the world, assured of His victory.
‘Praise the Lord… To Him belong eternal praise… Blessed is the man who fears the Lord… His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes…’ (Psalms 111:1,10; 112:1,8).
Those who ‘fear the Lord’ have no need to live in fear of man. Those who know that ‘eternal praise belongs to the Lord’ can face their enemies with confidence.
Our confidence is not in ourselves. Our confidence is in the Lord.
We know how good the Lord has been to us – ‘He provided redemption for His people’.
We have heard and believed the Good News of Christ. We need not ‘fear’ any ‘bad news’ which the devil sends our way.
We ‘trust in the Lord’, confident that the ‘light’ will triumph over the ‘darkness.’ The Good News of Christ will triumph over the devil’s bad news (Psalms 111:9; 112:4, 7).
We rejoice in Christ’s victory. He will lead us in His way of holiness and love.
On earth, we have ‘trials’. In ‘heaven’, we will have ‘salvation’ (1 Peter 1:3-9). In our journey from trials to salvation, from earth to heaven, we are to live a life of holiness and love.
We are sinners. How can we live a life of holiness and love? We have received ‘the redemption which is in Christ Jesus’. Our ‘faith’ is in Him (Romans 3:27,23-25). Jesus makes us holy. Jesus fills us with His love.
Christ is ‘the Lord’ (John 20:2, 18, 20, 25). Christ is ‘my Lord’ (John 20:13, 28). Faith becomes real when Jesus comes to us.
Here, we see Jesus coming to Mary, the disciples and Thomas. Here, we see Mary, the disciples and Thomas – changed by the power of the risen Christ.
In love, He comes to them, and they are changed.
(a) Mary was ‘weeping’ (John 20:13, 15). Jesus came to her, and she became a confident believer – ‘I have seen the Lord!’ (John 20:18).
(b) The disciples were filled with ‘fear.’ Jesus came to them. He gave them His ‘peace’ and ‘joy’ (John 20:19-20).
(c) Thomas found faith hard to come by (John 20:25). Jesus came to him, and he believed – ‘My Lord and my God!’ (John 20:28).
Through the Gospel, we find faith: ‘These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name’ (John 20:31).

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