Summary: Easter message based on how Jesus - mighty to rise - is also mighty to save.
Mighty to Save
Easter Sunday, April 4 2010
I struggled with this message probably more than any message I’ve ever preached in my 10+ years of preaching.
I started the message earlier in the week, but had some health issues get in the way of working in it more.
As the weekend drew closer, I began to realize that my initial thoughts probably weren’t where the main thrust of the message should be.
And let me tell you, until about 5:00 last night I didn’t know really just what direction I was going to go.
I was on my face begging God to tell me what He wanted me to say, and finally the thought kept coming back to me that I needed to focus on one thing:
The resurrection means salvation to everyone who will take it.
It was kind of like, “If I had only one opportunity to talk to someone here on Easter, what is the one thing they would need to hear?”
And this is it. The resurrection means salvation to everyone who will take it.
Maybe you’ve grown up hearing that your whole life, but it’s never really sunk in before and you’ve never acted on that before by putting your trust in Jesus.
Maybe you’ve never really heard that before. Either you didn’t grow up going to church much or you went to a church that didn’t talk much about needing to take hold of the salvation Jesus bought for you with His blood.
I don’t know. But if you’re here today and you’ve never really acted on the good news of the resurrection then this message is mainly for you today.
The reason Easter is such a big deal is because when Jesus rose from the dead, He made it possible for you and me to go to heaven instead of paying for our sins on our own in hell.
And so, at the risk of bothering some of you by my repetition, I’m going to spend my time today simply telling you about taking hold of the salvation Jesus made possible by His death and resurrection.
For those of you who already have that taken care of, I would just be grateful if you’d pray that I would communicate clearly and that those who do need to hear this will hear it clearly and respond to Jesus, okay?
If you’ve been coming here for a while you’re used to seeing a note-taking guide with blanks to fill in.
Today, however, I just want you to listen. You can take notes if you want – that’s why we put a sheet in there.
But I don’t want you to worry about filling in the blanks. I want you to focus on hearing what God has to say to you today through His Word, okay?
The foundational passage I want to use for our time today is 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (p. 815) –
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.
Huh. Kinda sounds like Paul didn’t take for granted that the people he was writing to had it all figured out and didn’t need a reminder once in a while about the main essentials of the gospel of Jesus.
Kinda like us, I think.
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.
In verses 3-8 of this passage, Paul lays out the basics of what we call the gospel message – that Jesus came to die for our sins and that He rose again.
And he lays out the fact that Jesus had been seen alive by over 500 people, most of whom were still alive when Paul wrote this and could have refuted anything Paul had to say about it.
That’s important because from the time Jesus arose to now people have tried to deny that Jesus rose from the grave.
I don’t know about you, but I’d hate to stand in front of over 500 people and call them liars. They’d probably all be bigger than me – even the girls…