Summary: An Easter Sunrise Sermon.
“So We Proclaim”
By: Kenneth Emerson Sauer
Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is historically the foundation of the Christian Church.
It is presupposed in every part of the New Testament and is appealed to as a most certain fact which can confirm all other truths!
“He has risen!”
This fact brought to life the Christian Church and this fact sustains the Christian Church through every century, every year, every hour, every minute of every day!
The sign of our faith is not so much a crucifix as it is an empty cross….
…it is not an hourglass in the aging hands of time, but an angel at the door of an empty tomb!
Actually, the sign is not really any sign at all…
…instead, it is the very Presence of a very alive Lord and Savior!
After the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ the followers of Jesus were terrified and hopeless people…
…hiding fearfully behind barred doors in an upper room in some back street of Jerusalem.
They trembled at every knock on the door…
…they feared the same fate that had come upon Jesus.
But after the Resurrected Jesus appeared to them---they were people who had been transformed!!!
Fear was transformed into courage…
…uncertainty was transformed into strong and radiant faith.
Soon they were out in the open streets of the very city that had dealt so brutally with Jesus…
…proclaiming with passion and joy the great salvation that had been made possible through this mighty resurrection that has proved that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Almighty God!
This is the heart of the Gospel…
…and as Paul tells us in our Epistle Lesson for this morning it is “of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day.”
… “by this gospel” we are saved…
…On this gospel we take our stand!
This is salvation!
This is salvation when our lives become “Christ-centered” instead of “self-centered” based on our faith in the Resurrected Christ!
God, like any true earthly parent who vicariously takes upon Himself—in agony—the wrongdoings of an erring son or daughter, “in Jesus Christ” takes upon Himself the sins of men and women made in His image.
God bears the blame and shame Himself.
It was for our sins that Jesus died!
And the weight of our sins were carried by Jesus in full.
Part of the proclaiming of the Gospel is the revelation…
…not only of the shamefulness of sin—as it is so clearly dealt with by the Cross…
…but also that the payment for sin is death and judgment!
Jesus really died and was buried!
What closer identification can there be between God and humankind? God died the death we deserve!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
For those of us who believe…
…this is the cause of our great joy!!!
Christ is alive!
The chains of judgment are now broken…
…hell has no hold on those who believe…
…there is nothing to fear…
…Because Christ’s resurrection is our assurance that through faith we are forgiven people!
And because of this…we who believe no longer have to worry about the grave!!!
Death now has a new and different face!!!
A little girl whose path from school led through a graveyard was asked if she was afraid: “No, I just cross it to reach home.”
The Bible tells us in First Timothy Chapter 2 that there is “one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.”
The Bible tells us that if we repent and believe the gospel…we will never even taste death…but will pass from this life to the next!
Right now, for a short time, we live in an enclosed valley called earth, and Christ’s resurrection takes us to a new height to show us a world which is much greater than we ever dreamed.
As Paul says in our Epistle Lesson: “so we proclaim and so you have come to believe”…
Because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ we are under a new responsibility:
…We are compelled to live according to our new life in Christ…
….We are compelled to strive to fashion our world…
…so that as many as can be saved will be prepared when we reach that larger home beyond our valley.
Our mortal days are not some “five-year plan”:
…our valley now is an eternal world!!!
The Resurrection is the great divide of human history!
Therefore, we shall dare to stand on the Resurrection…even if it means standing alone!