Summary: This Easter sermon takes a look at the Resurrection as a must for the Christian faith. It is the last sermon in a series based on Ron Lavin’s book, "I Believe, Help My Unbelief: Another Look at the Apostle’s Creed."
“It’s All About the Resurrection”
(Salvation Through the Son – Part Three - I Believe, Help My Unbelief Series)
Easter, April 20, 2003
Purpose: This final sermon in a series, based on Ron Lavin’s book “I Believe, Help My Unbelief; Another Look at the Apostle’s Creed”,
You probably don’t remember the name Nikolai Ivanovich Beukharin nor should you. But during his day, he was a powerful man on this earth. A Russian Communist leader, he took part in the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, was editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda, and was a full member of the Politburo. His works on economics and political science are still read and studied to this day.
There’s one particular story about Nikolai. It’s about a journey he took from Moscow to Kiev in 1930 to address a huge assembly on the subject of atheism. Addressing the crowd, he aimed his heavy artillery at Christianity hurling insult, argument, and proof against it.
An hour later, when he was finished, he looked out at what seemed to be the smoldering ashes of the people’s faith. “Are there are any questions?” Nikolai demanded. Deafening silence filled the auditorium, but then one older man began his slow but steady pace to the lectern.
Standing shoulder to shoulder to the communist leader, he surveyed the crowd first to the left then to the right. Finally, he mustered all the strength he had inside him and shouted the ancient greeting known well in the Russian Orthodox Church, “Christ is risen!” and en masse, the crowd stood to their feet and the response came crashing like the sound of thunder, “He is risen indeed!”
This morning we end our series on the Apostle’s Creed with the strongest statement of our faith.
We’ve talked about God, the Father Almighty who created, and his creating.
We’ve talked about the Spirit, and the forgiveness of sins, about being liberated in the greatest
sense of the word.
And we’ve talked about Jesus, his being truly human and truly divine, and his descent into the hells and hollow places in our lives through his suffering, crucifixion, and death.
But today I come to you with this simple message of faith, “On the third day, he rose again; he ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father and will come again to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the resurrection, we believe in the life everlasting.”
But in the same way Paul had to remind the church at Corinth, so we too need to be reminded of the gospel that we have received and on which, we have taken our stand.
For it is by this gospel we are saved…that Christ died for our sin, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day, and that he appeared to the twelve, and to Paul, and will eventually come and appear to the whole world.
This is the Easter message. I stand here today, in this pulpit, to proclaim this word that…
Christ is risen! And will you join me in saying, He has risen indeed!
I. It’s All About the Resurrection.
This is an amazing time isn’t it? As we look around, we see great events playing out on the world stage:
Democracy is being brought to regions of the world that have never understood the dignity
of the individual citizen or the joy found in liberty.
World health organizations are scrambling to stem the tide of the SARS virus. Even the
Roman Catholic and Episcopalian churches, have changed the way they take
communion in response.
The ability to communicate ideas and beliefs to any part of the world and to any person in
the world is quickly becoming commonplace.
And the ability to move produce and goods around the planet makes it possible as never
before to bring significant relief to regions of the world that suffer.
These world-shaping events are so important. They are literally changing the course of our history. And, as I watch and wonder, I often doubt whether the real action isn’t out there somewhere instead of here in the community, in this church.
But, it is at those times I’m reminded that it’s not about me, it’s not about what Wakelee Church does and doesn’t do, it’s not about our abilities or disabilities…when it comes right down to it…it’s all about the Resurrection.
Paul said if there’s no Resurrection, then all the preaching is useless.
If there is no Resurrection, our faith has no value.
If there is no Resurrection, we become false witnesses.
If there is no Resurrection, we are still living in our sins.
If there is no Resurrection, then we are to be pitied among humankind.
But Paul was quick to proclaim, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, (he is) the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”