Summary: An Easter message to give hope in the midst of unsettled times.
"HOW TO FIND VICTORY IN LIFE"
Matthew 28:1-10 (NASB)
by Bobby Gilstrap
How can you find victory in life when things around you are falling apart?
Yesterday morning (4/22/00), INS Agents stormed the house where Elian Gonzalas was staying. That little boy was taken from that house to be reunited with his father. The streets erupted in violence.
How can you find victory when life is so unsettled?
This week, we were reminded twice of the incredible evil in our world. First, the OKC bombing memorial was opened reminding us of the 168 lives that were lost in the worst terrorist act on U.S. soil. Second, we were reminded that it was only a year ago when two very sick young men walked into their High School at Colombine shooting and killing classmates and a teacher.
How do you find victory when evil seems to be all around us?
Maybe your areas of defeat are much more personal.
How did you feel this week when you heard that the stock exchange crashed? Fear? Trembling? Glad it recovered? Maybe your defeats are financial.
Possibly you suffered through a recent separation or divorce . . . maybe you’ve lost a loved one . . . maybe you’ve lost your job . . .
We celebrate Easter Sunday as the most victorious day in the calendar of the Christian Church. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is symbolized by new Easter clothes, the bright colors of daffodils and beautiful, white Easter lilies. But most of all, the wonder of His resurrection is symbolized in the hope that beats in the hearts of believers everywhere as they sing triumphantly: "Christ the Lord is risen today."
This morning, I want us to focus on HOW TO FIND VICTORY IN LIFE today and for eternity.
In our Bible reading for today, Matthew 28:1-10; we see one account of the discovery of the empty tomb on that first Easter morning.
READ Matthew 28:1-10
The glorious truth of the empty tomb is that the risen Christ gives us
VICTORY over our past,
VICTORY in the present, and
VICTORY in the future!
"Jesus is Alive!" is the message that lifts Christianity out of the category of dead superstitions and archaic religions and makes it the abiding faith of millions.
The greatest news ever is that Christ the Lord is risen. On the day of the resurrection the angel at the tomb delivered the most important message that has ever fallen on the ears of mankind. Verse 6 records the incredible phrase: "He is not here: for he is risen."
A. YOU CAN FIND VICTORY OVER YOUR PAST
In John 5:25, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live."
Over the years, I’ve seen individuals who would be considered among the living dead. Life to them has become a hollow joke; a substitute for reality. For them life has lost its purpose and meaning. These people are bored and fed up; they have no zest for living. They are defeated by their past. The burden of their sin has become more than they can handle.
I’ve seen these people come in simple, trusting faith to the living Christ. They’ve put their trembling hands into the strong and steady hands of the crucified and risen Christ. I’ve seen them take hold of the living Christ and step out of a casket of broken hopes and dreams to become happy and useful people, filled with purpose and power.
The truth of the empty tomb has never changed. The Christ who walked on this earth nearly 2000 years ago still lives today, forgiving our sins and giving Salvation to those who believe. Regardless of our past, God can forgive us and give us victory over the sins of our past so we can live for Him now.
B. YOU CAN ALSO FIND VICTORY IN YOUR PRESENT
By all appearances, the lives of Jesus’ followers had fallen apart at his death. Everything they knew and understood about Jesus had disappeared. They mourned his death and feared for their own lives. But after His resurrection they found the power to live victoriously day by day.
We also can be assured that Jesus wants us to have victory in the present. Jesus said in John 10:10: "For I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly." Jesus wants us to live an abundant and victorious life regardless of our situation.
I love the story of Richard Moore. He accepted Christ as his Savior on Easter Sunday in 1985 while serving on death row in the Indiana State Penitentiary. One year later, on Easter morning, Chuck Colson and a group of prison volunteers made a surprise visit to death row. They were led through the inner maze of cellblocks to the end of the line where men await execution.