Summary: Hope... it is something that everyone is looking for! This Easter we need to understand that Easter is about hope!
The Hope of Easter
a. Evangelism Linebacker Video
b. Now that is what I call gentle, positive reinforcement.
c. Now that is a funny video… but there is some truth involved there…
i. It seems like Easter has shifted from celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, to being all about the bunny… “that’s not funny, cause it’s nots about the bunny!”
d. So what is Easter all about? Why do we gather here to celebrate this day?
e. Obviously, we are celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
f. But I think we should not forget this very important principle… Easter is a bout HOPE!
g. Turn with me to I Peter 1:3-5
i. “3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
h. This morning I want you to know that because Jesus is no longer in that grave… because He came bursting forth in life on that third day we CAN have hope!
i. Does anybody in here need some hope this morning?!
j. I know that the majority of you sitting out there this morning have felt the sting of hopelessness at some point in your life.
i. Maybe you’ve experienced hopelessness because of trials in your life that were beyond your control… victims of abuse… sickness… loss of job… divorce!
ii. Maybe you’ve experienced hopelessness because of failures in your life… careers that didn’t pan out… rebellious children who’ve gone astray… addictions that have trapped you.
iii. Maybe you’ve simply come to the realization that all pursuits in this life apart from God are void.
k. Irregardless… we all know, to some degree, what this feels like!
l. But this morning, in the words of our pastor… I’ve got GREAT NEWS! There is hope and of all days… Easter brings such a hope into our lives.
m. But how do we experience this hope? How can we have, not a dead hope… but a LIVING HOPE?
n. That is what we are going to talk about this morning.
o. We can have this living hope by…
II. Trusting in His Grace!
a. 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
b. II Thessalonians 2:16-17 – “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”
c. Why are so many living in despair? Because they have failed to trust in the grace of God!
d. You know who I believe were the most miserable people in all of Scriptures… the most hopeless of all… The Pharisees!
e. You see, the Pharisees had this concept when it came to life after death… If I can be good enough… If I can go to temple enough times, carry out every ritual, say the right things, dress the right way, memorize enough scripture… if can act holy enough, then I’ll make it.
i. And so their whole lives they are chasing after a standard that they can never obtain.
ii. Romans 3:23 tells us this, “For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
iii. This word “sin” was an archery term and it meant “to miss the mark!”
iv. And this verse tells us that we ALL have missed the mark… what is this mark? It is the holiness of God… it is a standard of perfection that God holds for Himself and NONE of us in here have come even close to meeting that standard!
f. Yet still today many believe that if they can be a good enough person… if they can go to church enough… if they can pray enough, read the bible enough, look holy enough…. Then they’ll be ok!
i. But guys the Scripture is clear… we can NEVER be good enough!
ii. I always tell our youth, true Christian faith is not a religion it is a personal relationship… and we can only have this personal relationship when we fall totally and completely in the arms of grace!
g. You know, believers in Christ can still fall into this rut as well!
i. Don’t raise your hand… but if I asked all those in here this morning who are believers in Christ if they have ever messed up big time… I know for a fact hands would go up all around this room.