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Summary: An Easter message comparing the thief (Satan) to Jesus as the life giver. Will we choose his lies or choose HIS life? Will we live in despair or hope?

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Sermon

Lanier Christian Church

Easter, April 20, 2014

David Simpson

From Heartache to Hope

(The Thief or The Giver of Life?)

Romans 5:8, John 10:10; Romans 15:13

Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 10:10 - The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

“Thief” - the very word stirs up hurtful and frustrating emotions. You can’t say the word with a smile on your face. Thief...someone who steals...someone who robs you of your valuables.

Have you every had anything stolen? I have....on too many occasions. The first theft I experienced was when my eight track tape deck was stolen out of my first car. The window was smashed and they ran away with the tape deck and a few 8 track tapes. If they only knew it’s value today they would have left it alone! Another thief entered my life when my Ford pick-up truck was stolen from the church parking lot (at our previous location). Once again the window was smashed and this time the thief took the entire vehicle. It was found by law enforcement in another county two weeks later - burned.

I was not happy. I was angry. Someone had taken something of great value and usefulness to me. It took me a couple of days to settle down and realize it was just a material possession.

There have been other thieves in my life... and yours too...perhaps more damaging than the loss of material things.

The thief of wasted time has robbed me of precious moments that could have been better spent.

The thief of bitterness has robbed me of my peace.

The thief of lies and false accusations has robbed me of trust.

The thief of apathy has robbed me of purpose.

The thief of hatred has robbed me of love.

The thief of despair has robbed me of joy.

The thief of doubt has robbed me of faith.

The thief of the mundane has robbed me of passion.

The thief of negative attitudes has robbed me of potential.

The thief of isolation has robbed me of fellowship.

The thief of selfishness has robbed me of service.

The thief of conceit has robbed me of worship.

The thief of defeat has robbed me of hope.

These are subtle thieves that eat away at our character, our personality, our purpose and our soul. And unfortunately, I have often not been angry or frustrated at such loss, like I was that of my truck.

These thieves have caused much damage in my life. What about yours? And yet, I know, that the cause of such injury and loss is due to the fact that I allowed the thief to enter in the first place. Oh, it may have been a small opening. It may have been a weak moment. It may have been a lapse in judgment. But, none the less, the breach was made, and the thief entered without resistance.

I’ve never known the names of the thieves that took my possessions over the years. But, I know the name of the one who has robbed me of my virtues. His name is Satan. Jesus calls him thief..THE Thief.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

He is Satan which means “adversary.” The adversary wants to steal you away from your commitment to the Savior....kill your desire to follow Him...and destroy your faith.

And Satan doesn’t stop there. His greatest weapon against us is death. Who among us has not felt the sting of death? Death has robbed us of loved ones near and dear to us. Wives and Husbands. Mothers and Fathers. Sisters and Brothers. Sons and Daughters.

Relatives. Friends. Neighbors. Work buddies. Death is not limited to age or status or time.

But, because of the resurrection of Jesus...there is an alternative.

Jesus said: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Jesus has always known that the greatest enemy we would face is that of death.

When Satan stole Adam and Even’s innocence, which ultimately brought about their death, God began to set his plan in motion to give hope to the world. Yet, because of sin’s damage, and Satan’s limited power, we die. The Bible says: Romans 5:12....

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned...” Those are the facts.

But God doesn’t look kindly on the theft of life. The heartache of death is replaced by hope. Because of Jesus, death is no longer the end, it is the beginning! 1 Corinthians 15:22 says: For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

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