Summary: A sermon for the 3rd Sunday of Easter

Third Sunday of Easter

Luke 24: 36-49

"Are you ALIVE in CHRIST?"

36 ¶ As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them.

37 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit.

38 And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts?

39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have."


41 And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"

42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,

43 and he took it and ate before them.

44 Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled."

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,

46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,

47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

48 You are witnesses of these things.RSV

A young, ambitious pastor was called to serve in a certain church. He was warned by his predecessor that the congregation was "dead".. But he accepted the call because he believed with God’s guidance he could bring life to that church. He was an optimist and he worked hard, visiting the members, preaching his best sermons enthusiastically, he tried to develop an outreach or lay visiting program so that visits might be done in the homes of the active, the inactive and new people moving into town. The harder he tried, the more he knew that his predecessor was right, this was a dead church.

The spark for ministry, the excitement of preaching and sharing the gospel message was not there.

So one Sunday he made a startling announcement to the few who were gathered for worship. He said, "In as much as you are a dead congregation, unresponsive to resuscitative efforts, unresponsive to any effort of pumping life into the workings of the congregation, in as much as the vital signs of the congregation are dead, I will conduct a funeral for this ’dead ’church next Sunday morning at 10:30."

The members. the few who were there, buzzed with excitement following the service. One said, "What’s ’s he trying to pull anyway?" Another said, "I don’t understand?"

The pastor and his announcement of a funeral for the church was the main talk of the tiny rural town during that week The phone lines were hot with talk, the coffee shop was filled with men talking about what they expected next Sunday.

Sunday arrived, and as the people gathered, there was an open coffin in the front of the church. As the 10:30 hour approached, the pastor looked out and saw that every pew plus some chairs were filled for this funeral service.

He began the funeral service by reading scripture, he shared prayer, he even gave a very sad sermon on the demise of this over 100 year old church and congregation.

After he finished his sermon, he did something which again startled the membership. He asked the members to please rise and past slowly by the open coffin to pay their last respects to this now dead church. Slowly, they shuffled pass the coffin, their faces assuming disconcerting expressions as each peered inside.

The coffin was empty except for a mirror.

As each person peered into the coffin to view the deceased each looked upon his or her own face.

Are you Alive in Christ? This is the second Sunday since Easter and and we can ourselves if the resurrection has made us alive in Christ?

Are the vital signs of this church alive with the power of the Easter Resurrection?

In our gospel lesson, Jesus is calling the disciples together and telling them they are witnesses to the resurrection and they, the disciples, should preach forgiveness to all nations beginning with Jerusalem as Jesus said in verses 46 to 48

46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,

47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

48 You are witnesses of these things.

In these verses, Jesus is laying out the beginnings of the church.

The signs that a church is alive with the power of the resurrection are many, however, this morning I would like to look at one sign worship.,

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Browse All Media

Related Media

A God-Man Down
PowerPoint Template
Empty Grave
PowerPoint Template
Talk about it...

Sheena Brown

commented on Apr 19, 2007

Tim, I do so enjoy your sermons. They always have an important message to say in such an easy way to understand. God Bless You Sheena

Gaither Bailey

commented on Apr 30, 2008

Tim, I always try to read your sermons prior to working on my own message. You have provided me with many useful illustrations. I appreciate your creativity.

B Townsend Waddill, Iii

commented on Apr 23, 2009

Tim, I enjoy your sermons as well, but the illustration about the church funeral was awesome! When I read the part about the mirror in the coffin, I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Thanks for your illustrations.

Join the discussion