Summary: Talks about why we celebrate Easter.
Resurrection Sunday – 2011
April 24, 2011
I woke up this week thinking about Easter and what it all meant. Easter marks the end of Lent, which is a forty-day period of fasting and prayer for a lot of people. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains Palm Sunday and Good Friday, which helps us remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday. This year Pentecost Sunday is June 12th. Ascension Sunday is June 2nd.
Resurrection Sunday is so huge – what could I say that hasn’t been said before? Then I felt the Holy Spirit say - “Don’t even try. Just remind them again of what Easter means.” So, I want to remind you of some important things concerning the Easter season. The bible says,
“Keep reminding God’s people of these things... Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:14-15
So that’s what I want to do today. I want to ‘correctly hand the Word’ and I want to remind you of some important things. Things that are important to God. He knew how easily we forget, so He was always having the Children of Israel piling up monument stones or putting up markers to remind them of significant things He said or did. He created many holidays and celebrations and commanded His people to celebrate regularly and remember.
So today – let’s remember what this celebration is all about. Sometimes we get distracted by all the hoopla. The colored eggs, the sugar candy, the spring colors, Easter and the Easter bunny – those things are fun and a part of our celebration – but let’s not forget the 1. Load of Sin, 2. Life everlasting, and 3. Love of the Father. First of all,
1. The Load of Sin. Our Sin caused it all. When Eve willingly rebelled against God – sin came into the world and mankind was forever warped and twisted with a bent toward sin. We are born into the world selfish, self-centered, and desiring and demanding our own way. Jesus died to save us from that sin – because the result of sin is death. The consequence of that load of sin is separation from God and His goodness. The Bible says,
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things.” Isaiah 59:2-3
The result of sin is death. The result of sin is separation from God. Sin makes God hide his face from us. Sin makes our prayers ineffective. He won’t hear our prayers when we are willingly in rebellion with Him. Sin caused physical death to come into the world; sin causes alienation form God and His blessings - right now. Ultimately it will cause the ‘second death’ or second separation from God – which we know as hell. Sin, which is willful rebellion against God, is a terrible thing. Paul says,
“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord...” Romans 7:24-25 LB
The answer is in Jesus. Part of the celebration of Easter is the victory Jesus brought us over sin. Jesus conquered sin through his death on the cross and has freed us from the enslaving power of sin.
Paul says, “Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace...”
Romans 6: 12-14
Once, that would have been impossible. It would have been foolish to say to someone “Do not let sin control the way you live.” We were so firmly in sins grip that we could not help it. We were slaves to sin. But because of Jesus’ death on the cross – He not only paid the penalty for our sin – but He also broke the power of sin’s hold on us. Don’t believe that one who says that we HAVE to sin everyday in word thought and deed. They either have not experienced the freeing power of grace or they do not have a right understanding of sin. Some equate imperfection with sin. Some think a deviation from God’s perfect will is sin. It is not. To say so says that Jesus sinned – and He did not. Jesus provided the enabling power to break sins hold on us so the Scripture can says,