Summary: Here's a sermon for Easter Sunday which includes the story of how a popular Easter hymn was written.
What We Believe About
the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,
3to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
4And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me;
5for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
6Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
8But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
9Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
10And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel,
11who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
Today I'm going to tell you the true story of Alfred Ackley.
Alfred Ackley was born on January 21, 1887 in Spring Hill, Pennsylvania. He received musical trainÂing from his father in New York City and at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and became a great cello player.
After graduating from Westminster Theological Seminary in Maryland, he was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1914, and served as the pastor in Wilkes-Barre and Elmhurst, Pennsylvania, and in Escondido, California.
For a few years he worked with evangelist Billy Sunday, and also served as assistant pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
More of that story a little later!
Jesus is the Cornerstone of our faith.
Today, we are going to look at what the Bible says
about His bodily resurrection.
Our doctrinal statement in Article II, Section 1E says plainly,
" We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His ascension into Heaven, and in His work as our High Priest and Advocate."
We serve a risen Savior!
Jesus is alive today!
No matter what the critics say, Jesus is alive and well.
Of all of the "religions" of the world,
Christianity is the only one that has a crucified,
yet risen, Founder.
Christianity is the only faith that has a risen and living Savior!
Jesus is very much alive, and, thank God, He is!
If Jesus were dead,
we would have nothing on which to base our faith.
Then, we would only have a "religion."
Religions are man-made and make no eternal contribution.
The fact that Jesus is alive gives us,
not just hope in this life,
but a hope for the next one!
How do we know that Jesus was resurrected from the dead
and not stolen from the tomb?
Reason # 1. Jesus said that He would be resurrected.
So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?" 19Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 20Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" 21But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
Reason #2. The apostles preached about it.
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
Reason #3. He was seen by more than 500 witnesses.
and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.