Summary: An Easter Message.
April 8, 2007
Dakota Community Church
Beyond the Bunny
We are celebrating the focal point of human history.
The message of Easter has changed my life.
Five truths from beyond the bunny
1. Heaven is a free gift.
Almost everyone thinks that if there is a heaven they will be getting in because they are a “pretty good” person.
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
- Paul was beaten, stoned, jailed several times and finally killed for holding to this claim.
- A free gift cannot be earned. It doesn’t matter how good you are.
- A free gift cannot be deserved.
2. Sin made man ineligible for heaven.
You may protest that this is not fair but I have a news flash for you – life is not fair.
There are people bent on doing wrong and there are spiritual forces of evil that want to kill steal and ultimately destroy you.
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
We cannot live in the presence of holiness. When people come into God’s presence unprotected they die.
I had an interesting time while doing prison ministry once. Have you ever gotten defiant with the LORD? In his presence there will be no backtalking.
2 Samuel 6: 6-7
When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.
Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory."
And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."
Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."
3. God is both just and merciful.
(A.) God’s justice means there must be a penalty for sin.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
(B.) God’s mercy means He provides a way of escape.
And that way of escape is:
4. Jesus came to suffer the penalty of your sin and mine.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."