Summary: Easter Sermon to encourage people (especially unbelievers) to live in the love and power of Christ.
Living in Victory Instead of Defeat
Easter Sunday – March 31, 2002
Before I get into the message, I want to share a story I came across while I was preparing for today.
A Sunday School teacher asked her class to write one sentence each on "What Easter Means to Me." One pupil wrote: "Egg salad sandwiches for the next two weeks!"
You know, I just love Easter. I really do. For one thing, it signals spring, and that’s always a good thing, because Spring signals the return of baseball season. I heard that Amen!
I like Christmas to be sure, but there’s something about Easter that is special. That something special is the fact that we celebrate the fact that Jesus, who had been put to death on a shameful cross, was now risen from the dead, victorious over death and the grave.
We’ll never fully understand the significance of that until we meet God in heaven.
Easter is a celebration of victory, snatched from the jaws of defeat. It’s a wonderful holiday.
Let me ask you a question: have there been times in your life when it’s been just the opposite? You thought things were going your way and all of a sudden you find yourself dealing with something unexpected that puts you down with the wind knocked out of you?
I’ve been there. And most of us, if not all of us have, at one time or another.
Life can sometimes entice us along, and just when you’ve gotten a handle on it, it turns around and kicks you in the teeth.
Life isn’t always fair, is it?
Today we’re going to look at how we can have hope in our lives, and get past the mindset that says, “life is hard, and then you die.”
I’m not saying life will be always rosy, but we can go through life with a mindset that says, “sure life can be tough, but God is tougher, and with His help, I’ll make it just fine.”
Our Scripture passage is 1 Corinthians, chapter 15, verses 1-20. If you are using the Bibles in the seats, this can be found on page 815.
By the way, if you do not own a Bible in modern English, please feel free to take one of these from the seats. It is our pleasure to make these available to you at not charge.
Please follow along as I read.
1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.