Summary: This is an Easter sermon and how the resurrection provides us with the gift of eternal life that continues on for believers after the average earthly lifespan.
1. OPENING ILLUSTRATION - 28,798 DAYS
2. CONNECTION BETWEEN EASTER AND YOUR MORTALITY
3. DEATH IS THE DESTINY OF ALL
4. RESURRECTION – THE ANTI-AGING GIFT
5. THE STORY OF LAZARUS
6. GOD HAS PLACED ENTERNITY IN OUR HEARTS (THE DESIRE TO LIVE FOREVER)
7. YET WE SQUANDER LIFE BECAUSE OF SIN
8. THE HOLY SPIRIT PROVIDES US ZOE LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
9. CONSLUSION – WE CAN CHOOSE HOW TO LIVE THOSE 28,798 DAYS
- APART FROM GOD
- OR BORN AGAIN WITH GOD and live beyond the 28,798 days
Today, since it is Easter Sunday, I thought we would start with a resurrection story. But it will be a story that you may or may not be familiar with. It will actually be a story from the book of John starting at chapter 1. It is a story of the resurrection of Lazarus. We are going to be looking at John 11:1. I am not going to read through the whole section, just a few parts of it. Just sit back and listen and enjoy the story. (John 11:1 scripture read here.) Being Easter, I thought I would start out by offering you what I would call an Easter gift. By a show of hands, I suddenly decided I want to offer you $28,798, how many of you might want to take me up on that offer? A few. Don’t rush the stage please. I have to add a qualifier to it. I would like to give you that money, but it has to come with one condition. The condition is that is all the money you are going to receive for the rest of your life. No more wage checks. No more Social Security. No more cash. No more tips. That is all you get. Now it is still a nice chunk of change. You could buy a nice used car. You could buy a new appliance like a refrigerator or a high-definition TV. Maybe you could buy enough groceries for a year. Possibly even put a deposit down on a new house. After that, you would find there is not a whole lot of money leftover and you would be pretty much reliant on the kindness and generosity of your friends and family. The bad news is I am not going to offer you that gift.
The good news is I am going to remind you of a gift that you have all been given and that is the gift of life. I suspect that everybody in this room, with a few exceptions, is breathing today. Their heart is beating. They are breathing. They have been given the gift of life. Some of you are thinking that is nice, Chuck, but what does this sermon still have to do with this $28,798. Really, it doesn’t have a lot to do with $28,798 but it does have to do with 28,798 days, which happens to be equivalent to 78.9 years, which happens to be the average life span in America. We know that is the average. You have people that tragically die young but you have people that live long past that. Some of you know that our oldest living member, Louise Decker, was 109 years old when she died a few weeks ago. When she was born, God deposited not 28, 798 days into her account but 39,000+ days. That is what God does in some sense. The moment that we are born, it is like he deposits this big check and puts it in there and it is 28,798 days. The trouble is he doesn’t tell us how to spend it. He just says go spend it. You can spend it any way you want. As we know, many of us spend it a little bit recklessly. Especially in our younger years because when you are at the age of newborn up to 12, you aren’t even thinking about death. Death is the farthest thing from your mind. You aren’t even thinking about the fact that people age except when those two people come to your house every few weeks and they are bearing gifts and you call them grandma and grandpa. That is their concept of aging. They have no concept of death except when unfortunately one or both of the grandparents pass away and the parent has to explain death to the young child. We know that children are pretty durable. They rise up to the occasion and they have other things on their mind. They have placed to explore. Trees to climb. Ball games to attend to. Video games to play. Whatever it is. Their minds are preoccupied with other things.
Before they know it, they hit the ripe old age of 12 and they have already gone through 4,000 days and their count is down to 24, 418 days. But they don’t care because that exciting rollercoaster age is in front of them that we call adolescence. You get to become a teenager. It is exciting times. We know that teenagers have a little bit more of an understanding of death because, sadly, sometimes they experience a tragic death of a friend in an accident or a shooting of some sort. But again they are durable. They get by. They do a nice memorandum-type thing in the yearbook and they are on to other things because there are so many important things out there like what did you download from iTunes this week or what did you upload to Instagram or where do you get those cool headphones they call the Beats that cost about $100 now or who is taking who to the dance? Better yet, how am I going to get rid of this zit before the dance? Those are the most important things. They just go through life. They are just enjoying it. Then one day they wake up and hit that major milestone, 21 years old. The problem is they have dipped into that account quite substantially. At 21, based on the average, they only have 21, 133 days remaining. But they don’t care because in the eyes of the world, they are adults. The bad news is that, in their mind, they still see themselves as teenagers. They just want to play. They are in the magical 20-something years. Now they are legal. They have an ID and can do just about anything they want so they decide they are going to travel the world or ride across the country on a bike or spend the night down on Carson Street getting smashed out of their mind. They can do that stuff. Until the money runs out and then they begin to realize I can’t just have all these experiences. So what do they do? They move back home into their old room. Dad isn’t really excited about it. Mom is ecstatic but dad can’t stand it. Mom wants the little boy to come back home because she misses him. Dad is like get out of the house.