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Summary: If you find the promises of God are just too good to be true then you need to understand what happen at the cross to understand that you are accepted only by your belief that Jesus rose from the tomb: and that is all.

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Title: The Empty Promises of Easter

Isaiah 65:17-25 Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 Acts 10:34-43 Luke 24:1-12

This sermon was delivered to the congregation in St Oswald’s,

in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 31st March 2013.

(A Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).

Prayer: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable to oh lord. Amen.

Summary: If you find the promises of God are just too good to be true then you need to understand what happen at the cross to understand that you are accepted only by your belief that Jesus rose from the tomb: and that is all.

You must admit that the promises of God are just too good to be true. In our world, we are taught that; “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is”; yet the bible tells us that to be accepted by God, all we have to do is believe that Jesus rose from the tomb that Sunday; that he is still alive; and that he is our Lord. That is all.

It is so simple, yet many people struggle to accept it; because they do not feel they deserve to be reconciled to God; but that is where grace comes in. Grace basically means that although we do not deserve it, we earn our place before God by believing in Jesus, and what he did for us on the cross.

Now, if that is all there is to it, you must be saying, well ok, where is the catch? … Is there one? … Well yes there is. … By believing in Jesus we are instantly transformed from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.

In the kingdom of darkness, we are our own God: the world revolves about us, and that we want everything for ourselves; everything is all about us; and in this kingdom people go to extraordinary lengths to make sure everything goes through them; the ultimate goal therefore is to be like God himself, just as Satan promised Adam and Eve.

The kingdom of light however, is the exact opposite. Everything is about Jesus: everything comes from him, and everything returns to him; it is all about him; and absolutely nothing about ourselves.

That is a big catch, so you may ask … why change kingdoms? Well the kingdom of darkness is all about greed, evil and selfishness; me, me and me again. The kingdom of light however is about love, about generosity and helping others.

The kingdom of darkness is about taking, whereas the kingdom of light is about giving. The kingdom of darkness promises us everything, but delivers nothing but death and destruction; whereas the kingdom of light promises us that we will be the lowest, the servants of all, and in ourselves deserving nothing; but in return, we receive everything for God; and that includes life and living.

In conclusion, the kingdom of darkness demands that we get people to run to us, to serve our very wants and desires; to be in abeyance to us, and the higher up we go in this kingdom, the weaker we become, as we give into the flesh.

The kingdom of light however, is all about servitude, and helping others, and the high up we go in this kingdom, the more people we can serve.

So … it does not take a genius to work out that the more people we serve, the stronger and more powerful we must become; because we are working with God, and his word tells us that he will supply all our needs. Can you see the vast difference; it is all about denying yourself, carrying your cross, and aligning yourself with God?

Now, as you know, the world is full of empty promises: and the advertisements, especially on TV tell us that we can be happy … and rich … and famous … and that we can look exceedingly good, if we … but only purchase a certain product, their product.

And it doesn’t take long before we realise that we have been fooled and start looking for something else, concluding that world’s promises are full of emptiness; whereas God is different; on Easter, he gave us emptiness that was full of promise; and it was the emptiness in that very Tomb, that brings us all here today.

This morning, I would like us to think about the promises of Easter; and although there are many, I will focus on three of them; and each promise is marked by something empty; an empty cross; an empty tomb and the empty burial clothes.

The Empty Cross.

We will begin with the empty cross; the very symbol that we have the promise of forgiven sin, and righteousness before God. Let us go back, if we can, to that 1st Easter morning as light broke and we see a few of Jesus followers, four women, on their way to the tomb. Their conversation must have been very subdued as the task before them was a very sad one; the task of anointing the body of Jesus.

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