The Resource (Easter 2011)
April 24, 2011
Easter is a time of celebration, a moment of reflection. It is a time when we focus on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
But the resurrection is more than a moment in time or an event in history.
In this message, Ed Young shows us how the resurrection is the very resource we need to get the most out of life today. And when we tap into that resource, we discover the only supernatural source of confidence and swagger.
Happy Easter to everybody! How are you guys doing, pretty well? We’ve already had just a great number of services. We were in Miami last night and we broadcast through all of our environments from Miami. Right now we’re broadcasting live due to the miracle of technology to Miami, Downtown Dallas, Plano, and also Fort Worth. Thank you so much for being here. Please be seated. Wow, you guys look great.
Am I the only one, but are you intrigued by a lot of these before and after photographs and these before and after television shows. You’ll see a house, maybe the house doesn’t look that great. You’ll walk into a room and they’ll show you a television, all the furniture is pushed against the walls. Then they hire this designer and the designer shows you before, then after. It’s like the house is just absolutely a showcase. Before and after.
Then you have these physiques. Before you have a guy who has not a six-pack, he’s got a one-pack, a big old pot belly before. After, he’s like… whoa! What kinda shakes is he drinking? You know?
Then you’ll have someone else and they have a car, and the car doesn’t look that great. There are door dings and the tires are almost bald. They’ll take it to a custom shop and they’ll make the car into something that’s like a showstopper. Before and after. I love that, before and after.
The Bible is a book about the before and after. Have you ever thought about that? Before and after. That’s something we can connect with. Because the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the power that is on tap 24/7 for all of us, no matter where we are in our lives. No matter what age or what stage you find yourself, the resurrection power is available. The resurrection is the resource that gives us the ability to live in Godfidence, to live in the green.
What is Godfidence? Godfidence is where God wants us. Sometimes this surprises people but our God is a God of confidence. He thought swagger up. It was his idea! That’s why we search for swagger. Back in the day, of course, Adam and Eve had swagger down cold. They were just walking and talking with confidence because they understood that it was all about God. It wasn’t self-confidence. They had God-confidence. That’s the word Godfidence.
Well, Adam and Eve decided to look to something else for their props and once they did that they began this whole thing that we cal today, sin. They started the sin situation.
What is sin? Sin is basically an archery term. Sin means ou’re missing the mark. So the moment that man looked away from God for his security, we’ve been struggling with this confidence ever since. And we crave confidence. And this confidence that we crave is from God. Ultimate confidence is from God. God is a confident God. He wants you and me to walk in confidence.
If you can come up with the coolest plan and potential for your life I’m sure it would be pretty amazing. If I gave you and opportunity to write it down, or maybe you have an iPad and you could write out what you want your life to be, it would be pretty impressive. If you compared that plan, though, to God’s, God’s plan, his agenda, his destiny would blow away any of your plans or my plans that we could come up with on our own. Any time, day or night. Because when I’ve tried to come up with plans on my own, they’re too small and they’re too self-centered compared to God’s plans for my life.
So here’s the deal I want you to understand. God’s plan for you is awesome! And he wants you and me to walk with swagger. But so many of us have a snag in our swag. And that snag is due to this nature, this sinetic nature we inherited from Adam and Eve. So we think, OK, if I dress the part, drive the part, live the part. If I occupy the part that will give me confidence. Well it does, in certain areas. But true confidence, though, that we crave is Godfidence. So before and after, before and after. Once we make this resurrection decision that is founded on a relationship with Christ, the power is on tap. I will say it again, day and night, to pound the pride and to face the fear, and to walk in Godfidence.
But I’m not gonna lie to you. Sometimes people go, OK, you’re living this way, that’s your life before Christ. And you meet Christ, you believe in him, you receive him, and then everything is A-OK. You don’t have any more problems. Everything is just hunky-dory. It’s just smooth sailing. That’s not the deal! Not at all. What I’m promising you, based on Scripture and based on looking back in the rear-view mirror of my life, once you make this grace reception, to receive what Jesus did for you on the cross, once you receive the resurrection power then you will have the confidence, the swagger, to face those issues in your life like never before. I’m talking about a marital issue. I’m talking about a friendship issue. I’m talking about a business issue. I’m talking about a financial issue. I’m talking about a physical issue. Any issue that you can think about, if you do the before, and then receive the resurrection power and the after thing, you will be able to tackle life tenaciously like never, ever before. The Bible is a book about before and after.
Whenever I talk about before and after I think about one of my favorite characters. This guy is a guy that most of you have heard of. In the balcony, on the floor, you’ve probably heard of this guy. At all of our environments you’ve probably heard of this guy. I’m talking about none other than Simon Peter. You might know him as Saint Peter if you grew up catholic or whatever.
Simon Peter is a guy I love because he’s so human! That’s one of the things I enjoy about the Bible. The Bible not only talks about the good side, the positive side of people. It also talks about the negative side, the fact that people are fallen and fallible. That’s something we can all identify with.
Simon Peter, on the Swag-o-Meter, because that’s what this is behind me, a Swag-o-Meter, Simon Peter was all over the page. In fact he was off the grid in many circumstances and situations. He dealt with pride and fear, fear and pride, a little bit of Godfidence… that’s before. After, though, wow! You won’t believe what happened.
Sometimes people say this to me, they go,
“You know Ed, I don’t go to church because the church is full of _______” Fill it in. Hypocrites. What’s a hypocrite? A hypocrite is someone who says one thing and does another. Turn to your neighbor and say, “I didn’t realize I was sitting beside a hypocrite.” Now look at me and say, “I didn’t realize this pastor was a hypocrite.” I’m a hypocrite, so are you. That’s really hilarious! If you want to talk about a hypocrite let’s talk about Simon Peter. Talk about saying one thing and doing another! What do I mean? Well let me give you the Wikipedia of his life, a quick, quick look at the life of Simon Peter before and after.
Before: Here’s Simon Peter, he owned a fishing business. Very successful, he knew about employees, he knew about trying to handle the elements, he knew about 401(k)s and all of that. One day he had a meeting with Jesus, a business meeting, and Jesus did business in his life. Following that business meeting Simon Peter sold his fishing business and got into the fishing-for-men business. He became one of Christ’s disciples, one of his boys, his posse, whatever you want to say. He followed Jesus around for 36 months.
Well, one day Jesus looked at bold and brash, wheels-off, emotional basket case Simon Peter. I mean, Simon Peter is the kind of guy in traffic if you were going too slow he would be like <sound effect honking!>. That’s the kind of guy he was. Peter is talking to Jesus and one day Jesus looks at him and goes,
“Hey, Simon Peter I’m gonna give you a nickname. The Rock.” And don’t you know all the disciples were like,
“Hahahaha! The Rock?!? This guy’s off the grid! Jesus, he’s into pride and fear on the Swag-o-Meter! The Rock? He’s not a rock! Oh my goodness. Jesus, I hate to say it. You might be the Son of God but you missed on that nickname.”
Have you ever noticed that men like to give other men nicknames? Terms of endearment. Women don’t do nicknames. Women, you don’t. The names you call other women I can’t say from the stage but women, you don’t do nicknames. Men, we like nicknames. Think about it. It’s not Lebron James, it’s King James. It’s not Deion Sanders, it’s Prime Time. It’s not Muhammad Ali, it’s The Greatest. So here Jesus calls Simon Peter, this hypocrite, The Rock. And after he was so excited. He probably had it embroidered on his robe. “The Rock. I’m The Rock, man! I’m the Rock!” And it gave him such confidence that he began to really get prideful. One day Jesus was washing the disciples’ feet, something that is very, very humbling. He began to wash Simon Peter’s feet. Here’s what Simon said.
“Don’t be washin’ my feet. No, you cannot wash my feet!” It sounds so spiritual, so holy, so great. In reality it was prideful. It was all about fear. It was all about control, all about insecurity. The Rock is crumbling.
And then later he told Jesus, “Jesus, I’ll never dis you. I’ll never disrespect you. These other cats, they might go south but not me. I’ll fight for you until the end! I’m The Rock! Yeah!” Jesus locked eyes with him, and you know what Jesus said?
“Hey, Simon Peter, before the rooster crows tomorrow you’re gonna deny me three times. Three times!”
So Jesus meets Simon Peter. He’s in the Garden of Gethsemane, thinking about the cross, thinking about your sins and mine, thinking about being separate from the Father, thinking about what was before him. And he asked Simon Peter to pull and all-nighter with him. Simon Peter goes to sleep three times. Doesn’t even help Jesus in his need. I’m telling you the guy was crumbling, man. Crumbling. The Rock. He’s a Rock? Nah, man, he’s getting rocked is what’s happening.
They arrest Jesus and Simon Peter pulls a sword, does the Benihana thing. Boom! Cuts the guy’s ear off.
“Oh my gosh! My ear!” Jesus just picks…. <sound effect> Probably looks at Peter like, what? What are you…? And they carry him off.
And the Bible says Simon Peter followed Jesus at a distance. Read it in Scripture, it’s in the gospel. You know people who follow Jesus at a distance? They just want just enough God, just enough Jesus to be comfortable. Just to be comfortable. And as they were holding Jesus in this tank, Simon Peter it out by the fire. Everybody is making s’mores and all that. He’s warming his hands. And a servant girl goes,
“Hey, weren’t you one of the guys with Jesus?” Simon Peter goes,
“No! No way! Hahaha. No way!”
Then another woman,
“Hey, you were with this Jesus, weren’t you?”
“NO!” Simon Peter says. “You’ve got the wrong person.” Then a guy confronts him.
“I know you were with Jesus. You’re one of his disciples!” And then the Bible says Simon Peter goes,
“I don’t know what in the <bleep!> you’re talking about because I don’t know any <bleep-bleep-bleep-bleep> guy named Jesus!” The dude just started cussing! You want to talk about a hypocrite? You want to talk about saying one thing, locking eyes with the Savior of the world (“I’ll never dis you. I’ll never disrespect you!”), and now denying Jesus?!
Think about it. We’ve all denied Jesus. I have. You have, too. By our walk, by our talk. As I said, I’m a hypocrite. Just think about 29 years ago when I got married, before Jesus and others I said,
“I will love Lisa in sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity, and I will love her, Jesus, like you love the church.” Have I always done that? No. If you don’t believe me, buy one of my books about marriage. I’ve talked about it, the failures I’ve had as a husband in marriage. I guess I’m a hypocrite. So are you.
None of us, though, could be as big or as bad a hypocrite as Simon Peter. Sometimes you go to church and you think, “Oh man, God cannot forgive me. God cannot give me a mulligan. God cannot give me another chance. I mean, you don’t realize what I’m into. You don’t realize what I did last night, 10 years ago. Ed you don’t know what I’ve done!” You’re right, I don’t. God does, and he’s still crazy about you. You matter to him that much.
So Simon Peter, after Jesus is arrested, crucified, he bolts and he hides in fear behind locked doors. Paralyzed. Tyrannized. He’s just freaking! He’s afraid people are gonna come after him. He’s afraid of the future. He’s afraid of death. He just doesn’t, doesn’t dig it. Finally he goes,
“You know what? I’m gonna go back to doing what I know how to do. I’m gonna go fishing.” So he convinces some of the disciples to go fishing with him. This guy was a leader. He was a leader.
Jesus was in the grave. Day one. Everybody was like, “He’s not coming back. He’s just another guy with a messianic complex, who opened up his bag of tricks and walked across the stage of life. He’s not coming back. Dead men don’t rise.”
Day two. “I told you he’s not coming back! I mean he said it, he predicted it, but the guy’s not coming back.”
Third day. He burst forth with resurrection power. A woman is the first one into the tomb, another woman follows her. And they meet an angel and here’s what the angel says. I love this man! This is such a verse of grace. Mark 16:7, the angel said,
“But go. Tell his disciples and Peter he is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” Wow. I can identify with that. It’s like Peter is being lifted off the pages of Scripture. “… and Peter.”
So here they are, they’re fishing. They fished all night and they hear a voice from a young man on the beach, a young guy. And he goes,
“Hey! Guys, you caught anything?” They’re like,
“No, we been skunked!” He said,
“Cast on the other side of the boat.” So they cast on the right side of the boat and the pull in, the Bible says, 153 big honkin’ fish! Now I often wondered, why does the Bible say 153? In the Hebrew when you add up 1+5+3, it means ‘Son of God.” So, Peter, when he sees it he’s like,
“It’s the Lord!” And he jumps in like Michael Phelps! Swims 100 yards to the beach. It’s Jesus! The disciples paddle in. And I love this scene. Jesus has built a fire. He’s making breakfast for the boys.
Don’t you know when Peter saw that fire he thought about several days earlier when he was at the fire and denied Jesus, and cursed the name of Jesus. And here Jesus is making breakfast for them. And over coffee, maybe – I’m not sure what they were drinking – but Jesus said,
“Simon Peter, do you love me?”
Then he said it again.
“Do you love me? Do you really love me?” Jesus forgave him! Gave him a mulligan, golfers! Gave him another chance! Before the death and resurrection of Christ he was all over the Swag-o-Meter. Now he’s tapping into the resurrection power!
“I love you. I love you. I love you.”
Think about three for a second. Three times, three times Peter denies Jesus. How long did Christ’s ministry last? Three years. One, two, three. How many times did Peter fall asleep when Christ needed him the most? One, two, three. Jesus died on a hill and there were three crosses. One, two, three. They put him in the tomb. He was there how many days? Three. One, two, three. Jesus reinstated Simon Peter how many times? Three times. One, two, three.
Later on, after, when he was still struggling with pride and fear, Simon Peter was praying because he thought it was just a Jewish thing, and God spoke to him three times in a dream. One, two, three.
“Go,” he said, “to the house of Cornelius, this Italian, and share the good news with him.” And the Bible said three men from Cornelius’ home (one, two, three) brought Simon Peter in. And over a fire, again, he shared Jesus and they became followers. Three. God, the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Three. Death, burial, and resurrection. Three. Three.
Sometimes when Lisa and I are holding hands we have this little thing we do. It’s kinda romantic. I will sometimes squeeze her hand like this… bum-bum-bum. Three squeezes, back-to-back. I love you. I will do that. She’ll respond with this, with two squeezes. Bum-bum. That’s, ‘How much?’ And then I will just … <sound effect of BIG SQUEEZE!>… That’s Easter! That’s Easter!!
Jesus is holding your hand. He’s holding your hand and he’s squeezing it. I… love… you! You’re going like… how much? This much! He died on the cross for your sin. He rose again. We don’t serve a God who’s in the grave. Christianity is different from all the other world religions because the grave of the One is empty. Dead men don’t rise. Jesus did. And we have that power. The same power that brought him back from the grave 2,000 years ago and change, is available in your life and available in mine.
Simon Peter. Before, after. He still dealt with pride and fear, but check out what he was known by. Because Simon Peter is one of the people who is like a leader in this new thing called the church. And the church is being persecuted and it was growing and blowing up, and he was preaching these incredible messages.
Acts 4:13. “When they saw (‘they’ being all the people) the courage of Peter and John…” The courage! What’s the antithesis of fear? Courage! What is courage? The God-given ability to stand. “And they realized,” the Bible says, “that they were unschooled, ordinary men. They were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
Again, your decision to follow Christ is just a decision that gets you in the game. There is a whole game to be played! We’ve got to have the power and the Godfidence and the swagger to do the stuff! Courage. Courage, it’s on tap.
Now look at Acts 4:33. They were also known by their power and grace. So courage (whoa!) and power and grace. Power to pound the pride, to pulverize the pride. “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and much grace was upon them all.” Grace.
Peter understood grace. Peter deserved, wow, punishment! He denied Christ! Jesus, though, gave him grace. Something that he didn’t deserve. Something that none of us here deserve.
When I was 12 years old I lived in Columbia, South Carolina. Now my father is a preacher. We had this church, back in the day, that was downtown. We had a five-story building that was part of the church. So before church I used to go up there – I hate to confess this – but some of my friends, guys and girls, and I would spit on people out of the window walking to church. Just pfooot! And I have some pretty good hand-eye coordination so I figured out if they were at this crack in the sidewalk, if I spit pfoot at that crack it would be a perfect hit! I mean, women would be walking to church… boom! We would be like… I was dying laughing! Big spit in her hair, it was hilarious!
Well, one time I got really brave. I said,
“You know, I’m tired of spitting. I’m gonna take a trash can and fill it up full of ice-cold water and throw it on somebody!” They were like,
“Don’t do it, Ed! If your dad finds out he’ll kill you!” I said,
“Trust me, no one will tell.” So I filled this trash can full of ice-cold water. And I see this guy walking, I will never forget it, walking to church down the sidewalk. I mean he had on the suit, you know, the bow tie, the hair. He’s just like walking, very … had the big Bible under his arm and I’m thinking, OK, he is the man. So when he hits that crack, I will just take this water (I don’t know how I even had the strength) and I dumped it out of the fifth story window. And I looked down and I saw that water, and he hit that crack… BOOSH! He got baptized from five stories up! The guys bow tie was like.. BOOM! His hair. And he looked up like… what??? What???? And I was backing off so he couldn’t see.
Well, he starts running up the stairs so I’m like… So I just walked down the staircase like, no big deal. He passed me and he goes,
“Hey, hey! Do you know who threw water on me?”
“I have no idea, sir. I have no idea.” So I kept walking. Then we got down to the bottom and we just died laughing. We were like,
“Did you see that guy?” <laughter> We just busted it… it washilarious!
Well, my joy only lasted for about 10 minutes because someone came in and said,
“Ed, your dad wants to see you in his office.” I’m like,
“What?!” Coz Dad don’t see anybody before he preaches.
“Yeah, he wants to see you in his office.” I’m like,
“Oh man, this is gonna be bad.” I mean, I might be on restriction for life. He might kill me! So I walked in his office and sat down. He was reading the Bible, studying. He looked up at me and said,
“Son, did you throw water on ____ and he named the guy’s name.” I said,
“Yes, sir, I did.” He said,
“Son, you could not have thrown water on a better person.” He said, “That man is negative, he’s a jerk, and I hope he leaves the church. Thank you for doing that!”
I was like, “That’s it?”
“Have a great service.” Whoa! Wow!!! That’s grace! Unmerited favor! I deserved punishment, a whoopin’. I deserved to be put on restriction for four or five years but no, no, no. Grace. Grace.
Simon Peter, at the end of his life, to show you what God and the resurrection power had done for him, to show you. Yeah, he still battled some pride and fear after, but to show you what God did, when he died he asked to be crucified upside-down. He said,
“I’m not even worthy to die the way my Savior died.” The resurrection rocked him, man. He lived up to his name. One of the great men to ever walk on planet earth. Before, and after.
Sometimes it gives you confidence – wouldn’t you agree – to know who your dad is? You know what I’m saying? It gives you confidence to know, to really know who your dad is. And in certain environments it helps you to really walk with swagger.
“Hey, that’s my dad.” Like my kids, they walk with swagger around Fellowship because they’re my kids, they can go into the green room and go into my office, like you do, before and after every service. They’re just my kids. That’s what they do. I bet Bill Gates’ kids have some pretty good computers, what do you think? I mean those kids computers are better than my kids’ computers and your kids’ computers. I bet their bank accounts are bigger too.
Anyway, did you ever watch the Super Bowl? You see little kids running up and down the field. You’re like, what!? Well, their dads are the players. Total access, man.
Ever been on a tour of the White House? You’ve got to stand behind the velvet robes with the kids. If you’re the President’s kid you can play Star Wars in the Oval Office, it doesn’t matter.
Are you a son? Are you a daughter? Have you been adopted by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus? Are you in the family of God? Who is your Daddy? Who’s your Dad? Because if the Heavenly Father is your Father you have total access! I’m talking about the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I’m talking about the Bright and Shining Star. I’m talking about the Alpha and the Omega. I’m talking about the One who sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and rise again! I’m talking about the one who gives us the power… before, and the real resurrection power once we meet him, to make our after a heavenly ever after! Do you know him? Do you know him?
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]