Summary: An Easter sermon challenging people to not just acknowledge and celebrate Easter, but to experience the life changing power of the resurrection.
Easter means different things to different people. For some it’s about bunnies and eggs – completely secular. For others, it’s about family get-togethers – represents comfort and the warmth of home. And to a few, it’s just another day – completely atheistic . . . God is not involved. But to many (especially those of us gathered here and in churches all over our community), it’s much more than those things.
To us, there is a connection with something greater. There is a meaning that is much deeper. This year I want to challenge you to not just be reminded of the story, to not just observe the day, but to experience the difference Christ can make in your life.
Most, if not all, of us are familiar with the story of Christ and his suffering on the cross. We probably know that he died on that cross for our sins. And we know that we observe Easter to celebrate his resurrection from the dead.
We talk much of his death and its importance > sacrifice / atonement / payment . . . . but it’s his resurrection that brings power to the story. W/o the resurrection, it’s just the story of another great teacher who was loved by the masses, but misunderstood by the establishment. W/o the resurrection, it’s the story of a misguided prophet with a Messiah complex who ran afoul of the law. W/o the resurrection, it’s just another religion.
Today, I want us to look at the benefits that Christ’s resurrection brings to us. If we’re going to experience it, we need to know what we’re looking for. We need to know what that difference looks like.
In Romans 6, the Apostle Paul is describing what it looks like to be alive in Christ. To experience the resurrection in our own lives.
Passage >> Rom 6:5-14 NLT
Have you ever wanted a new life?
A whole new identity – witness protection program. Move to Montana and become a buffalo rancher? A chance to start over – leave the old behind . . . the mistakes, the pain?
"Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin."
That’s new life! We may not get a new id card with a new name and address, but we get something of more eternal value and importance – we get set free from the power of sin. The scriptures say that the wages of sin = death. So the power of sin brings about death. If we are set free from sin’s power, then we get to experience life!
1 Cor 15:21-22 NLT
"So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life."
Some might ask, “Then why do people still die?” Because physical death is really not part of the equation.
We measure life quantitatively, i.e. we measure it with length of time. We celebrate life annually. We throw parties and give presents.
But God measures life qualitatively, i.e. he measures it with purpose and meaning in light of eternity.
2 Cor 5:15 NLT
"He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them."
Where else can we find purpose and meaning than in living for something / someone greater than ourselves? Where else can I find eternity other than in Christ, the one who defeated death and rose from the grave?
The Message says it like this:
“He included everyone in His death so everyone could be included in His life. A far better life than people lived on their own.” 2 Cor. 5:15 (Msg)
What is this better life Jesus offers? It’s more than what we classify as the Good Life. Good home, family, job, health.
God brought you here today to give you more than the Good Life. There is something better. There’s way, way more than just the Good Life. Good Life is okay, but there’s more. You were made for more than that . . . you were made for a better life. That’s a life of purpose and meaning. A life that is no longer enslaved to sin and death. No longer enslaved to the hurts and habits that bring about death. That’s the kind of life Christ died and rose again to give you. He rose again to empower you to live. And we really live when we find our life in Him.