Sunday, April 11, 2004

Easter Dawn

Easter Dawn
April 11, 2004
Matthew 28:6
Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

INTRODUCTION:  The words are spoken every Easter "He is Risen! He Is risen indeed Alleluia! They define us as Christians. But what does it mean that Jesus is alive?  Let's consider the reality that Jesus is risen indeed.  Because Jesus lives…

I.        Life is really worth living.

A.      It has meaning. Because He lives you will live also.  Imagine

life without the resurrection. Would there really be any purpose or meaning to life without the hope of the resurrection? Life would only be confined to this life. All we could hope for would be brief detours along life’s journey. No wonder the philosophy of the time of St. Paul was one of simply for the moment. St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:32: “If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised let us eat, drink, (and be merry) for tomorrow we die”

But life truly does have meaning because Jesus is alive. The life Jesus gives us is life in abundance. It is life in abundance with a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is life in all of its fullness. It is life with all of its possibilities. It is life with a promise because Jesus Christ is alive. John 10:10 says: “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and that they might have it abundantly”
Transition: Not only do we have a life worth living we have a future.

I.        We have a future.

A.     God has a future for you. 

Ø      In Proverbs 23:18 God declares – “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”

Ø      In Proverbs 24:14 we read: “Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; if you find it, then there will be a future and your hope will not be cut off”

Ø      The Lord speaking in Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us “For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

Notice in all three references future and hope are connected. “My hope is built on nothing less then Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean to Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand” [TLH # 370 stanza 1]

B.     He has promised to guide and direct you through His living Son Jesus. “I will never leave you and I will never forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) He has promised to be with us always – “even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)

C.     His resurrection is a guarantee of this promise. The promises of Jesus are so simple and yet so profound. He promises us in John 14:19 “because I live you will live also”

Transition: We have a life worth living. We have a future and not even death can derail us.

III.   Even death can not harm us.

A.     It is life's most difficult subject.  Some would rather talk about anything then death. But for us death is so meaningless because it is powerless.

Death is so limited...

it has not crippled love,
it has not shattered hope,
it has not corroded faith,
it has not eaten away peace,
   nor destroyed confidence.

It has not killed friendship,
it has not shut out memories,
it has not silenced courage,
it has not invaded the soul,
    nor reduced eternal life.

It has not quenched the Spirit,
it cannot, has not,
    nor will not lesson the power of the resurrection.

B.     We can handle death only because Jesus handled it for us. Jesus handled it for us. Jesus in going to the cross to carry our sins defeated death in His own death. Matthew commenting on the scene at the moment of Jesus’ death tells us: “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised and coming out of their tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:51-52) 

When Jesus died death died! At the moment of Jesus’ death the table was cracked and death itself started working backwards!

IV.  Eternity is ours

A.     We can know this for certain. “I’m but a stranger here heaven is my home” is the way we sing the last hymn of our hymnal. That’s a reality we know as Christian believers!

B.     How can we be assured that eternity is ours? The Father will keep His promises – the Father will keep His Word. “(even) if we are faithless He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13)

CONCLUSION He is Risen! He is risen indeed Alleluia! That is your reality! A blessed Easter!

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