Summary: An Easter Sermon Jesus’ resurrection assures us that death is no longer in a position to cause us fear
Intro – A man had a checkup and then went in to see his doctor to get the results. The doctor said he better sit down – that he had bad news and worse news for him. Which did he want to hear first? The man was a bit puzzled and said he'd rather hear the bad news first. The doctor said, "The bad news is that you have only 24 hours to live." When he heard that, the man jumped up, totally shocked. He paced back and forth and said, "24 hours to live? I can't possibly get my affairs in order that quickly. I can't believe this! What could be possibly be worse news than this?" The doctor said, "The worse news is that I was supposed to tell you this yesterday, but I forgot."
What is the worst possible thing that could happen to you today? Of everything that could go wrong in your life, what would be the worst case scenario – the thing that can’t be any more terrible? Would it mean losing something? Losing someone? The very worst that could happen –what is it?
I want to suggest to you that it was identified long ago – that the worst thing that could happen to you or me personally, our very worst enemy, is death.
I. The Worst Enemy – DEATH
You have to understand that I’m speaking from a human perspective here. And, even though we’re going to speak about how Jesus conquered death, death is still an enemy we face, and it’s the last one that will be completely defeated.
December 26th (2004) a tsunami hits southern Asia. We don’t listen to the news as they report how 297,000 people had their hair messed up. We don’t wait in sober silence to hear the way 297,000 people are going to have to pay higher gasoline prices. We don’t get a sick feeling in our stomach as we’re informed that 297,000 people are really lonely. We hear about 297,000 people whose lives are ended, and we agree that’s the greatest tragedy of the whole thing .
You can list all the things that get you down in life. You can go ahead and make a chart of the people and things that cause you the most stress and distress. I can still tell you that the worst problem you have isn’t financial, it isn’t about a relationship, it isn’t about school, it isn’t even about your intelligence or business competition. The biggest problem you face in life…is death.
That’s true because of …
1. It comes from the worst source
We’re at a disadvantage today because the only world we know is the one with death in it, but that’s not how it always was. We need to go back to the way it was created. We need to consider Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, before death was even a part of the mix. We know death wasn’t there because of what God said,
Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
You see, death is a punishment. I’ve never really liked punishments, have you? Enemies defeated in a war are put to death. Criminals convicted of capital crimes are put to death. That’s what God had Israel do. And when man sins, the first and worst result of it is death. Romans 6:23 says the payment for sin is death.
Romans 5:12 …sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men…
I Co. 15:21 says it too – death came through a man.
Satan knew that getting Adam and Eve to sin meant death. Do you think he’s after your best interests?
Hebrews 2:14-15 [Jesus] shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil
Death isn’t “just natural.” It’s nature gone awry. It’s a reminder that something has gone terribly wrong with creation. With all of creation’s beauty, with all of the ways that it declares God’s power and divine nature, it’s still stained. It’s still “subjected to frustration…in bondage to decay…groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
No wonder death hurts so much. It’s the very worst power that Satan can hold over us.
2. It’s irreversible (by human means)
joke - Zachary, LA - Alan, 5 years younger than his brother Brent, was learning how to count by fives. So, he was using their ages to help him remember the next number. "I'm 5 and Brent is 10. When I'm 10, Brent'll be 15. When I'm 15, Brent'll be 20... " Before long, his family tuned him out, until they heard him say, "When I'm 95, Brent will be 100, and when I'm 100, Brent will be dead." Even little guys understand some things about death!