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Sermons Archive

Each sermon is published in large print for use in preaching, and for easy reading by several people gathered around the computer monitor.

26 MARCH 1989
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Joshua 6:15-16, and 20
Psalm 119:147
Matthew 6:10
1 John 4:18-21

I am an aircraft pilot, and there is something interesting that I have learned about the weather from my flying experiences.
No matter what the weather is like down here on the surface of the earth, if you rise above the clouds it is always clear.
It can be the middle of the day, and it can be dark and overcast and rainy. You taxi out onto the runway, take off, and climb right up through the middle of the clouds and the rain, and it is all dark gray, bumpy, and wet.
And then, all of a sudden, it's changed.
It's so bright you can hardly see.
The clouds which were dark gray all around you are now a brilliant white carpet below you.
The sky has changed to a deep blue, and the sun is the brightest you have ever seen it.
Coming here to this sunrise service is much the same, if we care to recognize it.
No matter what the weather conditions might have been this morning, there is still a sunrise, even if we can't see it with our eyes.
For if we care to see it always, we can; but we must see it with our hearts and minds.
And so it is with seeing Jesus.
No matter what the weather conditions of our lives may be, no matter how gloomy, no matter how many dark horrible murderous things are going on in the world around us, Jesus will rise within us if we allow Him and care to see Him.
The psalmist writes in Psalm 119:147 –  

147. I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I wait for Thy words.

For the living Word of God will rise up within us, comfort us, guide us through all things, and fill us with true joy.
But for this to happen we must see the Son of God, Jesus Christ, rise in all of His glory.
When Israel went into the promised land of Canaan, they were told by their leaders to capture and destroy the city of Jericho, and they were to do it without any weapons of war.
They were to do it by faith in the power of God.
All they were to do was to march around the city and obey God.
And they did that for six days.
In Joshua 6:15-16 we are told what happened next:

15. Then it came about on the seventh day that they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times.
16. And it came about at the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, "Shout! For the Lord has given you the city."

And in verse 20 we are told the results of their obedience:

20. So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and it came about, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, that the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.

It happened because they did what Joshua had told them in the name of the Lord to do.
It happened because there was a dawning of the Lord their God within their hearts.
It happened because they had a new enlightenment.
How would you like to capture this community for Jesus Christ?
How would you like to do away with all the sinful things that take place all around us and that harm us and our families?
How would you like to end all the warring madness in the world that causes millions of our fellow human beings and billions of animals to suffer and die every year?
We can do it, if we allow Jesus Christ to rise within us.
We can if we allow Jesus Christ to raise us from the dead.
For then the Son will shine and give us the true light of day, and all who see it will be enlightened.
And hopefully, the change will begin in the heart and soul of everyone who sees and hears.
Then it will spread around from one person to another until the evil in this world falls like the walls of Jericho.

But, we truly have to want it to happen and believe that it can.
At another dawning, about 2,000 years ago, Jesus rose from the dead.
Do you remember what we were told of this occurrence in Matthew 28:1-4?

1. Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.

They had come here late Friday afternoon to see where Jesus was being buried, and they went back home to prepare fragrant spices to anoint His body after the Sabbath was complete.
Thus we see them coming to do for the Lord as they have said.
How many times have each of us said we would do something for the Lord during our Sunday worship service, and then followed through with it; and how many times have we failed to do so?
Let’s assume that we do follow through, as these women have done. Will we and others be able to see the Lord in what we do, or will we be doing it for ourselves?
And what did the women see?

2. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.
3. And his appearance was like lightning and his garment as white as snow;
4. and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

Jesus Christ died for these women.
Jesus Christ died for these guards.
And Jesus Christ died for every one of us.
He died because of His love for us.
He died to overcome the evil in this world through all who truly believe.
They and we have all seen the dawning of the day, but there is something more.
There is a special dawning that is capable of shining into the innermost parts of our bodies, that gives us a new enlightenment; but we must be willing to recognize and receive it.
Our pride and our own will hinder us.
Do we remember how Jesus taught us to pray? (Matthew 6:10)

10. Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Most likely every one of us has prayed this prayer at one time or another in our lives.
Did we believe what we prayed for?
Do we work to help it come true in our own lives, and in the world around us?
The key to our being able to recognize and receive this enlightenment is love.
Because we lack love, we fear to do what we know God wants us to do.
The women failed to comprehend all that was happening because the love of the Lord was not yet fully perfected in them.
Yes, they knew the Lord, and they believed in Him, and knew that He was the Savior of the world, but they didn't understand that He had to pass through death in order to save them.
His death had confused them and had allowed fear to enter.
The guards didn't have what the women had.
They had little or no enlightenment; thus they shook with fear and became as dead men.
Do you remember what we are told in 1 John 4:18-21?

18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
19. We love, because He first loved us.
20. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
21. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

Beloved, Jesus Christ has risen!
He has risen because He loves us.
And it is that love that will tear down the walls of all the Jerichos around us that keep us and others in our community out of the Promised Land.
If we truly love one another, Jesus Christ did not die in vain; and His rising from the dead will have great meaning and give us great enlightenment.
We must love each other enough to forgive each other and to make each other feel wanted.
How much love do you think it would take to make someone not want to escape into drugs or alcohol?
How much love do you think it would take to heal our marriages and our relationships with our children?
How much love do you think it would take to heal our community, to heal our nation, and to heal the whole world?
Well...God has more than that!
And He has given it all to us, if we are willing to receive it.
Jesus Christ is alive!
Jesus Christ has a new and better life for all of us.
See the dawning.
Receive the new enlightenment of God's love, and love each other as He loves us, including the whole of creation.