Summary: Jesus’ resurrection enables us to be conquerors. God has gone to incredible lengths for us, how will we respond?
Dare to Conquer Again – “Up From the Grave” Lent 2003
Easter Sunday, April 20, 2003 – Romans 8:31-39
These epitaphs are reported to be from actual tombstones:
On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:
Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102. The Good Die Young.
In a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:
Here lies Johnny Yeast. Pardon me For not rising.
In a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery:
Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake. Stepped on the gas Instead of the brake.
In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery:
Here lays Butch, We planted him raw. He was quick on the trigger, But slow on the draw.
A lawyer’s epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange. Here lies an honest lawyer, And that is Strange.
In a Georgia cemetery:
"I told you I was sick!"
Anna Hopewell’s grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont:
Here lies the body of our Anna, Done to death by a banana.
It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low, But the skin of the thing that made her go.
Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York:
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the way down. It was.
In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:
Here lies an Atheist, All dressed up And no place to go.
I have one more, this one a serious one:
Outside the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, who took Jesus body from the cross and placed it in his own tomb: The voice of the angel of God, saying: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
We are here today to celebrate the central fact upon which all of Christianity hangs: Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus is Alive! The angel announced it, the disciples saw Him, and we experience Him in our lives today. Death could not keep him, He broke its power and rose victoriously and in doing so bought for us salvation and forgiveness and freedom from sin. And today we want to celebrate that historical fact, and embrace the risen Lord Jesus. That is what Easter is about! A Sunday School teacher asked her class on the Sunday before Easter if they knew what happened on Easter and why it was so important. One little girl spoke up saying: “Easter is when the whole family gets together, and you eat turkey and sing about the pilgrims and all that." "No, that’s not it," said the teacher. "I know what Easter is," a second student responded. "Easter is when you get a tree and decorate it and give gifts to everybody and sing lots of songs." "Nope, that’s not it either," replied the teacher. Finally a third student spoke up, "Easter is when Jesus was killed, and put in a tomb and left for three days." "Ah, thank goodness somebody knows" the teacher thought to herself. But then the student went on: "Then everybody gathers at the tomb and waits to see if Jesus comes out, and if he sees his shadow he has to go back inside and we have six more weeks of winter.”
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? … Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Have You Met Jesus?
Most of us have heard the essential message of Easter over and over – and we heard it again in that passage of Scripture: God did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us – Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – lives still and sits at God’s right hand and acts on our behalf.
The passage contains two incredible resurrection promises – a promise that God will “give us all things,” and a promise that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Two amazing promises, expressed in a beautiful poetic way. But they are not for everyone. They are not universal promises.