Summary: Easter gives us hope in four areas; Hope of Forgiveness; Hope of God's love; Hope of Eternal Reward; Hope of Eternal Life
“Easter Hope” April 2, 2017
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man,the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.”
Spring is in the air. I see the world coming alive. Flowers are adding color to our drab, cold, world. The days are getting longer and warming things up. Animals are giving birth to chicks and kits and pups and colts. And the new life is bringing the world joy. It’s a great time of the year. I love it! But most importantly and the greatest thing of all is it is a celebration of Resurrection Sunday. Without it the world would remain cold and ugly and lifeless and worst of all – hopeless. Listen.
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
But thankfully it doesn’t stop there. It continues:
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:20
Do you see that if Jesus didn’t come back to life we would be hopeless? We would be pitiful. The world would be a very unhappy and unwelcoming place. But it isn’t! It is a happy, joyful, hopeful place because Jesus is alive! He came back from the dead. He lives! We serve a RISEN Savior!
This morning I want to talk to you about Easter Hope. Hope, at least Biblical Hope, is more than a wish. We say things like, “I hope it doesn’t rain.” Biblical hope is an expectation that God will keep His Word. Hope is a trusting expectation of whatever God promises will happen. So hope of eternal life is not a “I sure wish it happens”. It is an absolute expectation of the certainty of the promise.
For many people Easter is about Easter Bunnies and Easter eggs and Easter egg hunts and Easter baskets. And those things are okay. They are a part of the celebration. I enjoy the colors and the sights and the tastes of Easter. But it is so important to remember and to celebrate what Easter is all about. It is about HOPE. Let me share four hopeful things that Easter brings to us.