Summary: An Easter message.
AM sermon preached at Central Christian Church Easter April 12, 2009
“Putting Doors in Walls”
[SHOW VIDEO AT CLOSE OF COMMUNION SERVICE]
[AFTER VIDEO’S OVER PROJECT SERMON TITLE SLIDE AND LEAVE UP ON SCREEN WHILE I BEGIN SPEAKING]
It’s not over, even when it’s over. That’s at the heart of my message this Easter Sunday morning because if Easter teaches us anything it teaches us that with Jesus it’s not over even when it’s over. We remember that on Friday after they took Jesus down from the cross and laid His lifeless body in the grave, Jesus enemies thought it was over---why even Jesus closest friends thought it was over. But it wasn’t over because Friday gave way to Saturday and Saturday rolled on over into Sunday and according to Matthew 28:5-6, when the women went to the tomb to complete the embalming process of Jesus body they were greeted by an angel who said to them [SCRIPTURE SLIDE] "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”
The reason Easter is a celebration is because Jesus is alive. He’s alive and He wants us to be fully alive. Irenaus said “the glory of God is a man fully alive.” And Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive because what the world needs is people who’ve come alive.”
Some of you have noticed the words “I have come that you may live now and forever” on the wall to your left. That’s a paraphrase of John 10:10. Those words express the idea that Jesus didn’t just come to save us from our sins so we can live in heaven forever---I mean He did come for that reason but that’s not the only reason He came---He came so He could help us to live life now the way it’s supposed to be lived. Jesus wants us fully alive now! But most people aren’t fully alive. Most people just go through the motions of life---just existing but not really living. To see why so many people settle for less than God’s best we have to go back to the first couple, Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were in this perfect environment---and God more or less said to them---all the doors of the world are open to you---enjoy your life, take on different adventures, have fun…you can do whatever you’d like except this one thing---you can go through any door you want to except one. One door is off limits. There’s one tree you can’t eat from---and what did Adam and Eve do?—They went straight to that door and disobeyed. They sinned. And immediately their sin became a wall---a barrier which came between them and God. Adam and Eve regretted their actions but they could not turn back the clock and erase them. It was then that the shame and fear set in. Check out what the Bible says Adam said to God after he’d stepped through the forbidden door--- [SCRIPTURE SLIDE] when I heard you walking through the garden, I was frightened and hid!" Gen 3:10 CEV
You and I have also disobeyed God---we haven’t eaten from the same tree Adam and Eve ate from but in our hearts and minds we know we’ve eaten forbidden fruit. We know we’ve disobeyed God. We know we’ve sinned---and we can sense how our sins have us erecting a wall of guilt, shame and regret. That wall causes us to be distant from God and afraid of Him. [SERMON POINT SLIDE] The Easter story is that Jesus became the door of forgiveness in that separating wall of sin. When Jesus gave His life for us---when He died on that cross on that Friday nearly 2000 years ago---He opened the way for you and I to be forgiven. He became the door in the wall of sin so that anyone who wants to get back into a right relationship with God can.
A lot of people want to downplay the size of the wall of sin they’ve built. They tell themselves and others that basically they’re good people and they carry around this false sense of security. It’s as if they think make a hole in their wall by chipping away at it by doing a few good deeds now and then---or maybe they’re thinking it’s not really all that high and if they just get a good running start they can hurdle the thing. Wrong! They’d have about as much luck trying to high jump their way over the Great Wall of China. Not gonna happen. For you see, sin isn’t simply a matter of the wrongful things we actually do with their bodies---we can also sin in our thought processes. When we begin to get hold of that idea my how much larger our wall suddenly looms. Now the good news is---those people who’ve been thinking they can get through to the Father can get to the Father, only they’ll have to do it the same way everyone does. They’ll have to change their thinking about needing Jesus to be their Savior---and they’ll have to go through Jesus. Jesus made that really clear when He said [SCRIPTURE SLIDE] “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6