Summary: The Resurrection was the ultimate turnaround! This message is for many who have fallen and need to ’rise up.’ We can have a clean slate, a new plan, & a fresh start! Link included to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Presentation.
A fresh start or a new beginning - it’s something we all need from time to time. So this Easter, as we revisit the greatest turnaround ever (Jesus’ victory over death), let’s do so not only looking at what happened that day, but also at what Jesus offers us when we desperately need our own fresh start or new beginning.
I read about one lady that was the church organist. The church was having a 6:30 am Sunrise service. The woman over-slept and at 6:31, the pastor called to see if she was on her way. She jumped up out of bed, hastily got ready, and arrived about 30 minutes late. The next year, her phone rang at 5:30 am and the pastor said, "Marge, I’m calling to say that Christ is risen and you had better be."
In April, 1994, Easter fell on the same day as daylight savings time…it was our first ever Easter Service in full time ministry. We thought we were arriving at church 45 minutes early to get things ready, but actually we were 15 minutes late. In we walked in front of a record crowd, and then had to do our preparations for the next few minutes as everyone stared and looked at their watches, some whistling the “Final Jeopardy” theme music!
Praise God that believers get up to go to the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day, but even more, we should praise God that Jesus got up on the third day!
We read in Matthew 28:54, "And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."
It’s one thing to fall down, and all believers do from time to time…but sadly, there are many today who never get up. They remember how it used to be with them and God, and how they used to go to church and live their life, but somewhere along the way they fell and didn’t get back up.
One of the biggest factors that keeps many from serving God like they should is not peer pressure or lack of desire, but guilt. I have talked to many people who have done something in their past that they are totally ashamed of. Or they fell out of church years ago and would be embarrassed to return.
The problem is we are looking backward instead of forward. Jesus said,
No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
13 …this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
You may have fallen, but I have good news today: You can get up! And you must now go forward.
Just do this—tell God you are sorry and then start over. Once you have received His forgiveness – get back up and serve Him with all your heart. He does give fresh starts. When my kids do wrong, they are punished and get forgiveness, and after that we all move on and strive to do better. When I mess up and end up in the dog house, I tell my wife that I’m sorry, then I do all sorts of penance, and eventually am granted probationary status once again! Don’t let Satan keep you from living the Christian life because he keeps bringing up your past. Just respond to God in the present and change your future. The past has passed and can’t be changed, but your future is unwritten.
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
You’re not a failure because you fall…only if you don’t get back up If you get up just once more than you fall then you’re a success! That’s called “failing forward.”
God loves you just as you are – and he loves you too much to leave you that way!
[that’s the kind of unconditional love we should also have for OUR children, our spouses, and for each other in the church]
Psalms 103:14 “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” [that’s unconditional love]
God still wants you! He’s there all the time, waiting patiently in line! He’s sovereign and can make lemonade out of lemons like us!
Wanna talk about an ultimate mess, and an incredible turnaround, just look at Jesus’ time on earth.
Talk about turnarounds. Jesus came to earth to personally solve our sin problem. Yet he was rejected by the masses, betrayed by a friend, deserted by his followers - then tortured and killed. At that point, humanity’s destruction was not only justified, it was sealed. It was a damnable Friday.