Summary: Here’s a story that incorporates the story of a young woman who spent the rest of her life in loneliness and isolation because her brother failed to deliver a note to the man she loved. It illustrates what can happen when we fail as Christians to tell ot
An Easter Message
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
What does Easter mean to you?
In the secular world,
it means fluffy Easter bunnies,
brightly colored eggs and baskets,
and lots of chocolate candy.
If you are a child, there is nothing wrong with that.
Easter is a happy day,
and God loves to hear the laughter of little children.
But, if you are an adult
and that is all Easter means to you,
then there is something tragically missing in your faith.
The word "Easter" appears in the King James Bible.
Acts 12:4 says:
And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
That word doesn’t appear in other Bible translations.
The Greek word “pascha” means “Passover”.
The word "Easter" was originally a pagan term.
It was the name of a spring festival
in honor of the goddess of light and spring
whose name was Eastre.
Approximately 1,300 years ago
the name “Eastre” was changed by the Anglo-Saxons
to the Christian celebrate of the resurrection of Christ.
However, for you as a Christian,
what does Easter mean?
What does the resurrection of Christ mean to you?
Most of you would probably say,
"The resurrection of Christ means that I and my loved ones
will be resurrected with Christ,"
"The resurrection means eternal life - everlasting life."
"The resurrection is proof of Christ’s victory
over sin, death, and the Devil."
Now, all of these are good answers.
Easter means all of that - and more!
But I want you to think about another lesson for Easter.
Our scripture text this morning....
is not from the Bible accounts of what happened
on that first Easter morning.
Instead, it’s a sermon preached by Peter
in the house of Cornelius, a Roman centurion,
who was a Gentile.
The sermon is short.
(That’s the kind Sam likes)
Peter preaches who the Christ is,
and what He did.
Peter also preaches the power of the Holy Spirit.
The beginning and the ending of this sermon
are pure Gospel gems.
In the beginning,
Peter makes the point that "God shows no partiality."
Now, this statement is not shocking to us.
But it was to those who heard Peter preach it.
In those early days of the church,
a strong group believed that in order to become a Christian,
you first had to become a Jew.
They followed the Old Testament laws of purity to the letter.
They also considered the Gentiles as unclean.
So, Peter, in his sermon, hit that heresy head-on.
And he hit it hard.
"God," he said, "shows no partiality."
Jesus Christ is the Lord of all - both Jew and Gentile.
Every person is clean
because that person has been washed
by the blood of Jesus.
And Christ rose from the dead to give life to everyone.
However, it is the conclusion of Peter’s sermon
that is the focus of the meaning of Easter.
"He (Christ) commands us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was ordained by God to be the judge of the living and the dead."
Peter says that the resurrection means
that we are to preach Jesus as the living Christ.
When Peter uses the word "preach" here,
he does not have in mind a pastor in the pulpit.