Summary: Easter service 2017
“He is risen”
“3 times empty equals full”
How many of your have stood in shock and disbelief
After opening an envelope that you thought contained a check
Only you find it empty
Just an empty envelope in one hand
And envelopes filled with bills in the other
Wondering how you were going to pay them?
Or opened a gift box
Wrapped in pretty paper
Only to find that the gift that was supposed to be inside was missing
And the box was empty
How many of you have bought a new bull, turned him out
Waiting for the cows to be bred long enough to palpate anticipating the calf crop that might sell for enough to pay the loan on the cows – at least part of it
And when you did they were all open
Or needed to get somewhere so bad when the gage on your old truck hit E and
---They will flash--- West at camp
You realized you were miles from where you needed to be
And you were empty
Empty is usually not always a good thing
Think of some empty promises that were made to you
Someone said they would do something
---Love you till death do you part-- Maybe
And then they split
Another said they would be there for you through thick and thin
And then it gets just a little skinny
And they’re gone
Just another empty promise
Some of you may have had a loved or friend who
Made promises they could not or would not keep
Just empty promises
So many of us have been taken in by “empty promises,” that we are leery of anything or anyone that tells us we can have something for nothing.
The truth of the matter is, the world is full of empty promises.
We watch TV, and the advertisements tell us that we can be happy, sexy, rich, or famous, if we only purchase a certain product, just empty promises.
It doesn’t take long before we have been fooled enough to know that the world’s promises are full of emptiness.
Sometimes if it has happened enough
We lose trust and think all promises will be empty
God never made a promise that was too good to be true.
You see God is different.
Instead of promises full of emptiness like the world often gives us
On a cool morning 2000 years ago
The first Easter morning
God gave us emptiness that is full of promise.
Poem by Phillips Brooks
Tomb, You shall not hold Him longer,
Death is strong, but life is stronger
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right;
Faith and hope triumphant say; Christ will rise on Easter Day.
While the patient earth lies waiting
Till the morning shall be breaking
Shuddering beneath the burden dread
Of her Master, cold and dead,
Hark! she hears the angels say; Christ will rise on Easter Day.
And when sunrise smites the mountains
Pouring light from heavenly fountains
Then the earth blooms out to greet
Once again the blessed feet;
And her countless voices say; Christ has risen on Easter Day.
“Early on Sunday morning,[a] while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 2 She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. 4 They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. 6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. 8 Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed—“
This morning, I would like us to think about the promises of Easter.
There are three of them.
Each promise is marked by something empty.
An empty cross
An empty tomb
Empty burial clothes.
The fact that each of these is empty that assures us that God’s promises are real.
Because God promised to save us through his one and only son Jesus
And because the cross could not hold him
Because the tomb could not contain him
And the burial clothes were not needed
We can be sure of the fullness of God’s promises in our lives.
Let’s begin with the empty cross.
Because the cross was empty, we have the promise of forgiven sins.