Summary: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the foundation of our faith.
The Truth about Easter
April 4, 2020 Easter Morning Service
Immanuel Baptist Church, Wagoner, OK
Message Point: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the foundation of our faith.
Focus Passage: Matthew 28:1-10
Supplemental Passage: But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. (1 Corinthians 15:12-22 NLT)
Introduction: In 1943, OSS agent Walter Langer wrote in A Psychological Analysis of Adolph Hitler “people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.” [https://history.stackexchange.com/questions/49147/what-is-the-origin-of-this-hitler-quote-regarding-lying] There has been a lot of fake news in the news. And it hard to tell who is lying and who is telling the truth. Our culture lies to us all the time, especially about Jesus, because it wants to suppress the truth. Well, today, I’m going to expose some “fake news” about Easter and provide the truth, according to God’s word, and the implications that come with the truth!
I. The Fake News
a. The word “Easter” is not in the Bible. Some think the word came from “Eostre” the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring and fertility. There is now widespread consensus that the word derives from the Christian designation of Easter week as in albis, a Latin phrase that was understood as the plural of alba (“dawn”) and became eostarum in Old High German, the precursor of the modern German and English term. [https://www.britannica.com/topic/Easter-holiday]
b. Easter eggs have nothing to do with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter eggs have their origin in the 13th century when the Catholic church prohibited the eating of eggs during the Holy Week. But, hens still lay during that time, so they decided to decorate them and call them “Holy Week Eggs.” [https://www.britannica.com/topic/Easter-holiday]
c. The Easter Bunny has absolutely nothing to do with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The custom of associating a rabbit or bunny with Easter arose in Protestant areas in Europe in the 17th century but did not become common until the 19th century. Originally, at least in the US, the Easter Bunny only brought baskets of goodies and eggs to children who have been good, shadowing the tradition of Santa Claus. [https://www.britannica.com/topic/Easter-holiday]
d. Jesus didn’t really die on the cross; He only fainted from the pain. (Swoon Theory)
e. Jesus didn’t really come back to life; His disciples stole His body. (Matthew 28:12-15)
f. Muslims believe that Jesus was miraculously switched with Judas at the crucifixion. [Qur'an (Sura 3:55; 4:158)]
II. The Truth (Matthew 28:1-10)
a. Jesus DID die (1 Cor 15:3)
b. Jesus was buried in a tomb (1 Cor 15:4)
c. Jesus rose from the dead, just as He said He would (1 Cor 15:4)
d. He appeared to the two women at the tomb, His Disciples, over 500 people at one time, appeared again to His Disciples, then ascended to Heaven in the presence of the Disciples. (1 Cor 15:5-8)
III. The Implications (1 Corinthians 15:12-22)
a. If Jesus did not come back to life, there is no forgiveness of sin.
b. If Jesus DID come back to life, all who believe by faith are forgiven their sins and granted eternal life.
c. The only way to Heaven is through Jesus. (John 14:6)
Application/Call to Obedience: Today, we are faced with a choice. Both have eternal consequences. You can refuse to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. The consequences of this is that you will face judgment without mercy. You simply cannot be a Christian if you do not believe Jesus rose from the dead. Or you can choose to believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The consequences of this choice is complete forgiveness of all your sins and the guarantee of eternal life with God in Heaven. The Bible says “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10 NLT)