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New Life in the Risen Christ

(John 20:1,11-18; Romans 6:3-8)

Lesson 5 -- second quarter 2002
March 31, 2002

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications

Has your Lord been taken away?

Mary was weeping at the burial site of Jesus. Not only was He dead, but now His body was gone. With good reason she explained her crying, "They have taken away my Lord." That seems reasonable enough to me. But my question above doesn't seem quite so reasonable. After all, Jesus is no longer a dead body to be carted here or there. So what's with the question?

Plenty of us Christians live as though our Lord has been taken away. To understand the meaning of that statement, consider some indicators of Jesus having been taken away.

Coldness. When the Lord lives in us, we enjoy a vibrant spirituality. We have a song in our hearts, if not on our lips. We delight to do His will and His law is in our hearts. We enjoy daily frequent communion with Him. Not only are we knit to Him, we are united with His people. The fellowship of the saints matters deeply to us. But when the Lord has been taken from us, the vibrancy, the song, the delight, the communion, the unity, and the fellowship die out. In their place come deadness, complaining, sourness, contention, alienation, and coldness. Has the Lord been taken away from you or your congregation?

Materialism. When Jesus reigns as Lord of our lives, we focus our lives -- our time, our energy, our resources, our efforts, our all -- on Him and His kingdom. We live in this world, but we are not of it. We use what we have as tools to accomplish His purposes. We do not strive to lay up treasures on earth but in heaven, where our hearts are. But when the Lord has been taken from us, we become very focused on and enamored with the world and all its treasures. We live for the present or the immediate earthly future, not for eternity. We strive to satisfy our fleshly desires. Has the Lord been taken away from you or your congregation?

Aimlessness. When the divine Lord controls us, we know where we are going . . . and we know how to get there. Our lives have purpose way higher than ourselves and the temporal. We live with the eternal goal in view, finding every day the ways to translate that long-range goal into that day's activities. But when the Lord has been taken from us, the satisfaction and meaning of life depart from us as well. We eventually discover that our lives have started to drift through the pointless, confusing by-ways of the world. We no longer purse the Lord's goals and purposes. We strive for this and struggle for that, and the times we actually attain to this or that, we discover it to be meaningless. Has the Lord been taken away from you or your congregation?

Get a life!

If any of us discover that our Lord has indeed been taken away from us, then we need to get a life. The Master calls us in our coldness, materialism, and aimlessness. He calls us to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). He calls us to die to ourselves, to the world, and to sin so that we might experience "the likeness of his resurrection" (Romans 6:5). He calls us to "live with him" (Romans 6:8).

The solution to coldness isn't trying to find warmth in all kinds of frenetic activity, no matter how noble. The answer to materialism isn't to chuck it all or donate it to Goodwill or Christian Aid Ministries. The answer to aimlessness isn't a bunch of organization and programs. No, the answer is new life in Jesus.

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