Summary: Another way to spell Easter is GRACE
2001 - A GRACE ODYSSY - 1 COR 15:1-11
EASTER AS A CHILD: not a very exciting holiday. I didn’t sit around for weeks in advance and daydream about how exciting Easter day would be. Easter couldn’t compete with the gifts of Christmas, the candy of Halloween or even the turkey & football on Thanksgiving.
1) Change happened for me in 1979: Easter went from worst to first. Paul says in I Cor 13: When I was a child I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child but when I became a man, I did away with childish things. Easter is a holiday with eternal meaning. JESUS IS ALIVE. What a shame to miss it’s meaning.
When ALEXANDER THE GREAT invaded PERSIA his soldiers swept across the landscape through villages and cities. They took whatever they wanted. When some of them entered the PALACE of DARIUS a soldier came across an attractive leather bag. He looked inside and found the CROWN JEWELS OF PERSIA but only concluded that they were worthless shiny rocks. He dumped them out on a pile of rubbish and kept the bag. He was heard time and again boasting of his prized treasure, the leather bag. EASTER IS THE CROWN JEWELS, it is what really matters. Many people strut around boasting about jobs, houses, cars, position, possession, popularity while the only true and lasting treasure (relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ) is cast aside
Easter is the churches greatest reason to celebrate, the resurrection is the world most history changing event, it is Christianity’s greatest proof and the world’s only hope.
Easter is defined by the word GRACE: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. It is God’s unmerited, undeserved move towards man’s need. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. While we deserved judgment He acted in love. (1 JN 4:10) In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.(satisfied the demands of God’s holiness in His death)
IN LUKE’S ACCOUNT of Jesus’ death on the cross he uses an unexpected verb tense. When he writes of Jesus saying, Father, forgive them is expresses a continuous repeated action. This was something that he repeatedly said: Beat him with cat-o-nine -tails crushed thorned crown into His head put a purple robe across his bloody back and mocked him with false worship when he carried the cross in an exhausted state when they drove nails through His body when he hung there with His blood dripping out of body when their angry voices shouted at him AT WHAT POINT DID WE DESERVE HIS FORGIVENESS OR EVEN ASK FOR IT? EASTER IS GOD’S MOVE
THREE LOOKS AT GRACE
GRACE DEFINED (1) Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, (2) by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. (3) For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (4) and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
1. THE MANNER OF GRACE: Grace is defined in the work of Christ for us expressed by the Gospel. The gospel ’preached’ ’received’ ’stand’. This is the how we are saved. Paul mentions in 1 COR the ’foolishness of preaching’ by which people come to faith in Christ.
a. How do I know that I am saved? ’If you hold fast the word…unless you believed in vain’. The Word finds root in your life and is proven by the actions of your life.
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO DIVINITY SCHOOL each years has what is called ’BAPTIST DAY’. On this day each one is to bring a lunch to an outdoor picnic area and the school invites one of the popular lecturers to speak at the theological education center. One year DR. PAUL TILLICH came and spent 2 1/2 hours attempting to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was a lie. He quoted liberal books and scholars to prove his point and then asked for questions.
A older man near the back of the auditorium spoke, ’Dr. Tillich(took apple out and began to eat) Crunch, crunch….I have a simple question….munch munch….I haven’t read any of those books you talk about….crunch crunch….I can’t recite the Scriptures in Greek….munch munch…I don’t know anything about Neibuhr and Heidegger….crunch..crunch…(he held up the core of his eaten apple) All I want to know is, ’This apple I just ate, was it bitter or sweet?’
Dr. Tillich paused and then responded, ’I cannot possibly answer that question, I haven’t tasted your apple sir’….The old man dropped the apple core into his sack and said, ’Neither have you tasted my Jesus’. The audience of over 1,000 erupted into applause and cheers to which Dr. Tillech left the platform.