Summary: Fourth in series about Jesus’ life. Focusing on resurrection, preached on Easter.
March 27, 2005
I’m honored to be able to share with you this morning. My understanding was that you guys had decided, "You know, we want to get a really special speaker. Why don’t we call the best preacher in the city and ask him to speak." And they did and he said "No".
So they said, "Well if we can’t have the best speaker, as least we can get the smartest one." So they called him and he said "No".
And then they said, "Well, if we can’t get the best or the smartest, at least we can get the best looking." And they called him and he said "No".
And finally one of them said, "Well, we can always ask Brian at the Wesleyan Church." And so Pastor Steve called. And what could I say, I’d already said "no" three times.
Easter is, in my mind, probably the most important holiday we celebrate as followers of Christ.
Is Christmas important? Absolutely. It set things into motion regarding the life of Jesus on earth. Absolutely important and essential.
What about Good Friday? Isn’t that important? You’d better believe it is. Without the cross, we would still have to pay the penalty for our own sins.
But Easter is the event that validates and seals the deal about all Jesus said and did on earth, and for all eternity.
Without Easter, we have no hope, and hope is the theme of my message today.
I’m speaking as one who is absolutely convinced that Jesus rose from the grave. And so I’m not going to use this time to convince you of that historical fact.
However, I will leave you with one piece of Scripture that helps convince me:
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
And so all my comments will be from the perspective of someone who’s already convinced to the point of dying for it.
If you’re not there yet, but would like to know just why I believe so strongly that the resurrection is real, I’d be happy to talk with you one on one sometime.
But today I want to focus on what the resurrection does for us. And in doing that I want us to look at 1 Corinthians 15:19-20 -
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Hope is the theme of all of Scripture. Contrary to popular opinion, the Bible isn’t just a book filled with rules and do’s and don’ts.
Those are in there, but they’re there because a loving Father wants to protect us, so we can enjoy our lives as we live for Him.
But my point is that all through the Bible, we find God offering hope to those who’ll take it, and we find people taking God up on that offer, and having their lives changed forever.
Today my intention is to offer you hope, whether you have been walking with Jesus for a long time, or if maybe you haven’t even taken that step of faith.
So let me take you through two areas in which we have hope because of the resurrection of Jesus.
And my hope is that as you leave here today that you will have a new appreciation of what Easter’s all about.
Let’s get started. First...
He rose to give us hope for today.
Our verse in 1 Corinthians says this: If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
Well, to me that majorly implies that there is hope for this life. It’s not just for heaven - we have hope for the here and now, while we’re on earth.
So what kind of hope do we have for today? Let’s look at just three ways we have hope, okay? The first way Jesus gives us hope for today is in the...
1. Forgiveness of sin.
...if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
This is when forgiveness is first applied. Belief in Jesus - including his death and resurrection brings forgiveness of every sin you’ve ever committed. EVERY SIN - no matter how big or small.