Summary: Easter message
Resurrection Hope in Hard Times
Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Me: I’m like a lot of people in our world today. Grew up in a broken home, bounced between parents, wasn’t particularly popular or good-looking, and wondering if I’d amount to anything to be proud of.
Truth be told, I still wonder about that sometimes!
Pastors aren’t immune from pain and heartache. We go through the same hassles of trying to pay the bills, working hard, raising teenagers, freaking out over cell phone bills, having people angry at us for one thing or another, and trying to keep our wives happy.
We also have all the joys of other people, so I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that I live in the same world you do.
We: We live in a world that’s filled with all sorts of great things.
But it’s also a world filled with a lot of tough stuff, and none of us can escape it. It’s part of living in a broken world.
And if we were all honest, I think we’d all agree that at times it’s all we can do to just sit down, let out a deep sigh, and wonder if there’s really any hope for the world in general or for us in particular.
God: Easter is a season to remind us that there is hope because of what Jesus accomplished between Friday and Sunday.
In a world of hardship and unsettledness, Jesus offers us hope.
All through the gospels, we see Jesus talking about the hope that He offers to those who love Him and obey Him.
He offers peace with God.
He offers the peace of God.
He offers hope in our relationships.
He even offers hope in our finances. And who couldn’t use some of that nowadays, right?
I started a couple mutual funds for my youngest daughters with money they received from the insurance company as a settlement for the accident they were in last summer.
It was a thousand bucks apiece – THEN. I’d tell you what they’re worth now, but I don’t want to cry in front of you.
The Scriptures are full of practical advice about handling money in ways that allow you to meet your needs and have enough left over to bless others less fortunate.
No matter where you’re at in life, Jesus offers hope through His Words and actions for the daily grind of Monday through Friday living. And Saturday. And Sunday. Every day.
Billy Graham has been through the grinder in recent years. He lost his beloved wife, and he is suffering from the effects of Parkinson’s disease, making him unable to continue his crusade work.
In his latest letter to the public, he has this to say about the hope Christ offers us as we go through life on earth:
“My heart goes out to you. Life isn’t always fair or easy. You may feel you do not know where to turn. But one of the Bible’s greatest truths is this: God never abandons us when life becomes difficult. He is always with us and wants to help us, even when things seem to be going wrong. He does not guarantee to reverse every misfortune, but if Christ lives in our hearts, we have His promise that nothing “in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39, NIV).
“What a guarantee! Instead of being fearful about the future, this Easter we can trust and believe that God is working a purpose in our lives. We can have hope!”
We could literally spend years just looking at the multitude of Scripture passages that describe the hope we have in Christ for our everyday living.
But I want to talk about another passage of Scripture that talks about another hope we can have because of the resurrection of Christ, which we celebrate at Easter.
1 Corinthians 15:12-20 (p. 815) –
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.