Summary: We are saved by grace through faith for a purpose.
Intro: This being Easter our leadership met and decided, "You know, we want to get a really special speaker. Why don’t we call the best preacher in the world and ask him to speak."
And they did and he said "No".
So they said, "Well if we can’t have the best speaker, as least we can get the smartest one."
So they called him and he said "No".
And then they said, "Well, if we can’t get the best or the smartest, at least we can get the best looking."
And they called him and he said "No".
And finally one of them said, "Well, we can always ask our preacher." And so they did. And what could I say, I’d already told them "no" three times.
. Joseph of Arimathea was a very wealthy Pharisee, a member of the council, and a secret follower of Jesus. It was Joseph who went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body after the crucifixion. And it was Joseph who supplied the tomb for Jesus’ burial.
Well, it seems that someone pulled him aside and said, "Joseph, that was such beautiful, costly, hand-hewn tomb. Why on earth did you give it to someone else to be buried in?"
Joseph just smiled. "Why not? He only needed it for the weekend."
. That’s what we celebrate today, that empty borrowed tomb.
. Easter is my favorite day of the year.
. It’s the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
. Most preachers look forward to Easter also because Easter Sunday is usually the largest crowd of the year and we get to share with you what God did for you that day over 2000 years ago.
. Jesus had been crucified like a common criminal
. He had been buried in the tomb that Joseph of Arimathea had provided.
. Three days later He arose from the grave.
. Conquering death scripture tells us so that we might live.
. So that we might have eternal life.
. Praise God for the empty tomb
. Without this, there would be no Christianity.
. Without Easter, Jesus would have been just a good man.
. There’s a country song I heard one time that went like this; If it wasn’t for the whiskey, daddy would have been a good man.
. Well if it wasn’t for the empty tomb, Jesus would have been a good man.
. A prophet, healer, preacher
. A good teacher but that would be it. He would still have been dead.
. After He died, there would have been nothing He could have done for us.
. Our scripture this morning tells us that God loved us so much that He gives us life through the risen Lord.
. As I prayed and meditated on today’s sermon, God made it clear to me that I would have three distinct audiences this morning.
. There would be those who are lost
. There would be those who are saved but are struggling in their faith.
. There would be those who are saved and want to hear a reassuring word this morning from God.
. They want to worship the risen Lord today.
. As these thoughts ran through my mind, God brought this scripture to mind because it really addresses all who are here this morning.
. let’s read our scripture. Eph. 2:4-10
. 4But God is so rich in imercy, and he loved us so much,5that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s jgrace that you have been saved!)6For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.7So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
8God ksaved you by his agrace when you bbelieved. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.9Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.10For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
. Verse four here says that even though we deserve death because of our sins, God still loves us and wants to provide a way to be reconciled or back into a relationship with Him.
. God desires a relationship with all of His creation.
. He provides that with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
. What I really want to concentrate on this morning are what verses 8-10 say to us.