Summary: Easter Sunday. A strange place to end up on Easter Sunday, but where God led. The Gospel message: You don’t have to go to Hell. Close with invitation.
You don’t have to go (to Hell)
Purpose: Evangelistic invitation.
1. Struggled this week to find the perfect thing to share with you this morning. Unlike Christmas, which enjoys worldwide attention most of November, all of December and even parts of January, Easter kind of comes and goes without a lot of notice. But for the Christian, it’s the best day of the year.
· Easter story (God’s son born in a manger, taught throughout Judea for 3 years, healed the sick, brought the dead back to life, but was betrayed by one of his disciples, he was put on trial, mocked, beaten and crucified. But on Sunday morning, on Easter Sunday morning, the world changed forever!
· Read Matt. 28:1-10
2. I wanted to share a life-changing message with you this morning. Maybe something new, or maybe something in the Scripture that we hadn’t seen before.
3. Instead I found a short, little story that has occupied my mind all week long.
4. Calvin Coolidge illustration
· “One day, when Vice-President Calvin Coolidge was presiding over the Senate, one senator angrily told another to go “straight to hell.” The offended Senator complained to Coolidge as presiding officer, and Coolidge looked up from the book he had been leafing through while listening to the debate and wittily replied. “I’ve looked through the rule book,” he said, “You don’t have to go.”
5. What a silly little story. But that’s the story of Easter.
6. Read Rom. 6:23 (The choice is before you: the wages of sin - Hell, or the gift of God - Heaven.), Rom. 8:1 (A last-second call from the Governor. A not-guilty verdict. You don’t have to go to Hell!)
7. "Do you have a Savior this morning?"
· I’m not talking about do you believe in Jesus, do you read your Bible, do you attend church or are you a nice person. Jesus didn’t go to the cross so you could have a Bible, attend church or be nice.
· Jesus went to the cross because we chose sin over God. Because we sinned, we were destined for Hell.
· But Jesus made a way, like Calvin Coolidge said, so "You don’t have to go."
8. Have you accepted Jesus as Savior? Have you come to the moment in life where you realized that you were under the burden of guilt and the burden of shame? Have you come to the point where you’re sick and tired of the life you’ve chosen and you’d really like to start over? Have you realized that living a life of sin and rebellion is taking you straight toward Hell?
· The great story of Easter is that you don’t have to go. You don’t have to leave here the same way you came in today.
9. Rose Crawford illustration
· Rose Crawford had been blind for 50 years before undergoing surgery in an Ontario hospital. As the doctor lifted the bandages from her eyes she said, “I just can’t believe it." She wept. For the first time in her life she saw a dazzling and beautiful world of form and color. She could now see. The amazing thing about her story, however, was that 20 years of her blindness had been unnecessary. She didn’t know that surgical techniques had been developed, and that an operation could have restored her vision at the age of 30. The doctor said, “She just figured there was nothing that could be done for her condition. Much of her life could have been different.” (source unknown)
10. Twenty years wasted in blindness. What a waste. Maybe you’re Rose Crawford today.
· Maybe you’ve put Jesus off. Maybe you’ve thought a lot about it, but you’ve never made that move. Maybe you’ve tried this Jesus thing before, but it just didn’t take.
· Try it again.