Summary: With this Vision for the Easter Mission, you will have a reason for being where you are. Peace, Joy & Hope was Christ’s Easter Mission for the World. What is your Easter Mission?
Opening Illustration: As a large crowd of Iboga Christians of Western Tanzania gathered to worship one Easter Sunday, a crazed mother lion was stalking their village. The crowd froze in fear. The village preacher encouraged them to pray to God, who locked the lion’s jaws for Daniel. Suddenly, a lightening bolt struck the lion and she fell down dead! And eleven people came forward immediately to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior!
1. Mission of Peace [v. 36]
• Is there peace in the world today?
• What about peace with the Jews & Arabs?
• For the Jews, peace meant every kind of happiness possible on earth
• Peace implied that it led to true happiness
• Peace was a quiet state of mind, which was contrary to great sadness
Luke 2: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” - Angels
John 14: 27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – Jesus
Philippians 4: 7 “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Illustration: In 1555, Nicholas Ridley was burned at the stake because of his witness for Christ. On the night before Ridley’s execution, his brother offered to remain with him in the prison chamber to be of assistance and comfort. Nicholas declined the offer and replied that he meant to go to bed and sleep as quietly as ever he did in his life. Because he knew the peace of God, he could rest in the strength of the everlasting arms of his Lord to meet his need. So can we!
2. Mission of Joy [v. 41]
Nehemiah 8: 10 “……..Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.“
John 15: 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Luke 15: 7 “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
Illustration: As a third-century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend: "It’s a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians--and I am one of them."
3. Mission of Hope [v. 44]
1 Thessalonians 5: 8 “………. the hope of salvation.”
Titus 1: 2 “in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,”
Illustration: As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev’s widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev’s wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband’s chest. There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.