Summary: An Easter sermon appropriate for Sunrise Service or Good Friday Service
Sermon – Easter Sunrise/Worship
March 31, 2013
Lanier Christian Church, Gainesville, GA
David K. Simpson
He lives in Me!
20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - Galatians 2:20 New Living Translation (NLT)
Good Friday reminds us in a very personal way that “He died for me.” Christians reflect in various ways upon the sacrificial death of Christ on a Friday so many years ago. But, any thoughts that only "observe" the cross and fail to internalize it are missing the point. He gave himself for me. Say it. Feel it. Mean it. It’s true. Jesus loved me and gave himself for me.
For those who have given their life to the one who gave his life for us there is another amazing truth: Christ lives in me!
Really? He wants to be part of my broken and shattered life? Absolutely. But he won’t leave you that way.
He’s done it before. He was born in less than ideal circumstances. As an infant he experienced smelly filthy conditions surrounded by shepherds who probably hadn’t bathed in weeks. But, he transformed his rugged birthplace into a holy place that we remember fondly each Christmas.
At twelve years old he was surrounded by the pride and arrogance of the Pharisees and scribes who thought they knew it all. But, he transformed those teachers and their attitudes and they were amazed at his teaching.
He encountered people with leprosy. A terrible disease that caused those who suffered from it to be called “untouchable.” But, Jesus touched them and made them whole.
He dined with people the community called “sinners.” He offered them hope and forgiveness. For those who responded to his offer, their names changed. They became known, not as sinners, but as disciples.
He was tortured by the horrors of the cross. His heart was broken as he took on the sins of the world. He experienced separation from his father. He suffered and died in agony for us. Yet, this instrument of execution, the cross, became a symbol of hope and forgiveness recognized by millions around the world.
Most people honor their heroes…their leaders…their great teachers… upon their death. Funerals are held to remember and to praise the life of a loved one. But, Jesus was buried unceremoniously. No funeral, No procession, no accolades, no time for words of comfort or praise. He was treated as a criminal. Only a few tended to his needs upon his death. One friend claimed his body. This same friend gave up his own future tomb for Jesus. A few women hastily prepared spices for his burial.
He was buried in a tomb carved out of the hillside. A large stone was rolled in front of the opening. And the darkness that surrounded the cross extended into night.
But we know something today they did not understand.
No tomb on earth can contain the Son of God. Not even the shadow of death itself can stop the life-giving, hope-filled power of God himself! And on that Sunday morning, at dawn, when light shattered the darkness, Jesus obliterated death. He rose to life!
As you look at your own life…you may see filth, pride, arrogance, disease, or sin. Jesus can change all that, but he must be allowed inside to do it. He wants to enter into the messiest parts of life and bring change.
I don’t know what has you chained today. I don’t know what barriers you have erected to prevent Jesus from living inside your life. I just know that our Lord Jesus Christ is very good at breaking down walls! Death itself could not hold him.
Rest assured…that at the death of every believer, there most assuredly will be life again in heaven. Jesus said at the tomb of Lazarus, one of his dearest friends. “Because I live, you too shall live.” But we don’t have to wait until death to experience this life. He wants us to let him restore life now to our often meager existence. He said: “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” He meant now!
The miracle of the resurrection is more than Jesus coming back to life again. It’s the miracle of His life-giving Holy Spirit that he left for us when he ascended to heaven. “I am with you always,” he told his disciples. The same Holy Spirit that produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That’s not you…that’s Christ in you that produces those qualities.
So what are you waiting for? The cross brought us forgiveness of sin, but the resurrection brings us life.