He is Risen! In this sermon Tim unpacks 5 reasons why the promises of Easter are the hope of the world! Why is the death and resurrection of Jesus so important? We hope you draw nearer to Jesus as you listen and we encourage you to find you hope and resurrection life in Him!
Sermon preached by Tim Giovanelli on Sunday April 4th 2021.
- Welcome this Easter Sunday! He is risen – he is risen indeed!
- And after last year, being in lock down at Easter, I have to say, it feels amazing to be together, celebrating the good news of Jesus victory over death!
- We came together on Friday night here at church to eat together and remember Christ’s death for us.
- My daughter Hope told me that yesterday is called Sad Saturday. I asked why… and she said because Jesus is still dead!
- But today is resurrection Sunday! May our joy abound… that no matter how we have come this morning… this we know. Death has been defeated!
How did 12 peasant fishermen, tax collectors, farmers – how in the world did they multiply – 12 followers of Jesus to one out of every three people on the planet identifying as Christian?
- The answer is the resurrection
- The resurrection of Jesus changed everything..
- No other event has impacted the world so much as the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- it is amazing to think about the fact that Jesus never wrote a book, in fact he never wrote anything down, and yet there are more books written about Jesus than any other subject in the world.
Jesus never composed a song, but there is more music written about Jesus Christ than any other subject, bar none, in history.
- Jesus never drew any pictures or did any sculpture, but more art has been made about Jesus Christ than any other subject in history.
- Jesus never travelled more than 100 miles from where he was born, and yet, you can find followers of Jesus in every nook and cranny of the planet.
And the reason Christianity spread is because “it really is good news”
- It’s not bad news. Some people seem to think Christianity is bad news… just read the comments section of some newspapers…
- It really is good news. Do you know where the word ‘gospel’ came from? People talk about sharing the gospel.
- The word gospel was used in the Roman empire to spread the news a new Emperor was on the throne…
- A new Lord was now ruling in Rome… so the gospel was sent out….
Well after the resurrection of the one they had called the King of the Jews, it was like a shaken up bottle of champagne.
- The cork was popped and the message spread everywhere!
- The good news of Jesus who has defeated death and brought us into a life giving relationship with God is now Lord!
- And the gospel spread about a new King on the throne.
So today I want to talk about the promises of Easter in our lives!
The thing that Hope was most looking forward to was her Easter eggs…
- Frustrating because they look so big (so much chocolate) and yet they are hollow… (have one to crush)
- They are kind of like what so many people in this world put their hope in… things that look great but end up being hollow.
- Self empowerment programs, the latest spiritualties, get rich quick schemes…
- But if the world might be offering us empty promises…
- The promise of Easter is an empty tomb full of promise!!
So this Easter Sunday, here are 5 reasons the promise of Easter is the hope of the world…
Firstly, Easter means we can be free and forgiven by Jesus’ death.
A friend of mine who did ministry in prison said that some of the inmates who had become Christians were more free than the people he met outside of jail…
- How could that be?
- Well he said that it had to do with their lives being set free and forgiven by Jesus…
Jesus said everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
- In other words, the thing that truly imprisons a person, are the things we do wrong… the things that diminish our lives and hurts ourselves and other people!
- I had a friend at school whose Dad had a secret entire second family in another country in Asia… and then it all got revealed… and it was crushing for his Australian family.
- My friend hated it and what it had done to his family… and yet he then revealed to me that he was now dating two girls at once.
- That is how sin works… the very thing that we hate becomes the very thing that enslaves us.
But if we allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives, we can be set free.
- Jesus said “whom the son sets free is free indeed.”
- Galatians 5 says “it is for freedom that we have been set free”
- Romans 3 says “we are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus.”
That’s the promise of Easter… that the very things that enslave us and diminish our lives can be forgiven by Jesus… we can be set free!
- Jesus the one who lived a perfect life, endures the cross to win the forgiveness of sins…
- It is the beautiful exchange that can change a persons life!
- His sinless life, self sacrificed for our sinful lives.
- A punishment we deserved, taken on, because of love, by one who lived perfectly.
- Ephesians 1:7 says “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins”
Secondly, Easter means Jesus defeated death so we don’t have to fear it.
It must have been amazing to have been there on that first Easter Sunday morning…
- For his disciples to have seen him betrayed, crucified and buried would have been crushing!
- And yet death we are told could not keep him down.
- Jesus had said, “I am the resurrection and the life. All who believe in me will live, even though they die.”
- And now it had all come true!
- The one who had promised to rise from the dead was now alive! And if he could rise from the dead, then his promise to us is true.
As Paul says, “Death has been swallowed up in victory!”
- You know, we do all we can to avoid death… and as a society we have largely managed to remove it from being a part of our daily lives…
- I think that was part of what was so shocking in the last 12 months… reading about the death toll of Corona Virus around the world.
- Death is confronting.
I remember one of the big local stories here in Manly a few years ago.
- In the Manly Daily we read of some residents opposing the building of a funeral parlour in Manly…
- I quote from the Manly Daily, “Manly residents say they are appalled over a proposal for a funeral home in their neighbourhood, arguing they do not want “death and bereavement on their doorstep.”
Well rather than avoid it, I would rather face death with confidence is Jesus resurrection, and the promise that we too will be raised to life with him!
I heard of a son and Dad driving… son was terrified by a bee that had got in the car!
- The dad was ninja quick and grabbed the bee, pulling its stinger out! He then said, there is no need now to be afraid…
- The bee was still in the car, but the sting was now gone!
- And similarly, we don’t need to live with the fear of the sting of death… it is still something we will all face… but its sting is gone.
In 1 Corinthians 15… the Apostle Paul who was transformed from a persecutor of Christians to one its main messengers after encountering the risen Jesus!
- He writes that because of Jesus resurrection “where oh death is your victory? Where oh death is your sting?”
- When those first disciples met the risen Jesus the sting of death disappeared…
- To such an extent that they would face death themselves for the sake of spreading the good news.
- You know you would be pretty stupid to die for a lie. But Jesus resurrection was not made up – they had seen the Lord alive!
Thirdly, Easter means we get to have God’s spirit inside us.
I think one of the dangers of Christianity is that we get stuck on those first two promises of Easter…
- And of course that would still be marvellous… the forgiveness of sins, nothing to fear in death…
- But the danger is that we are then sitting around, but nothing else really changes! But that would only be half an Easter message.
- You see the promise of Easter is also a power to be transformed.
Listen to this verse…
Romans 8:11 says “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you.”
In other words the same power, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is now alive in us!
- You know powerless Christianity is like a beautiful yacht caught out to sea with no wind! It is not going anywhere…
- But then when the breath of God comes and breathes on you, like a mighty wind catching your sails… you receive power!
- And that is the promise of Easter! The same power that raised Jesus to life now lives in us, meaning we have power to live transformed lives!
Lots of things can improve a person life… healthy eating, getting exercise, having close family and friends…
- But here is the secret… there is nothing like the Spirit of Jesus coming to live in you!
- In Galatians 5 it says the fruit of God’s Spirit alive in you is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control….
- Sometimes people are worried about what will happen to them if they become a Christian.
- Well here is the answer… you will grow in love and joy and peace.
- God empowering presence will awaken patience, kindness, goodness and self control!
Fourthly, Easter means God loves us unconditionally.
So not only do we get forgiven, have the hope of eternal life, be given a power to live transformed lives… but we also do it all secure as loved children of God.
1 John 3:16 says; “This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
- That’s the message of Easter. God loves you and shows it on the cross.
You may wonder how God could love us even though we continue to make mistakes?
- Made me think about my children.
- The other day, I don’t know what came over them… we were in the car and they just started pinching each other and yelling and whinging!
- Must admit, I wasn’t happy… but it doesn’t lead me to kicking them out of the family or joining in the pinching festival!
- I mean they came close… (fingers showing how close)…
- But they are the love of our lives and it is not their performance that dictates our love of them!
In John 8 Jesus says a slave has no permanent place in a family, but a son belongs to it forever!
- In other words, once you trust your life to Jesus you become a child of God… and that means you are unconditionally loved no matter what you do!
- This church is made up of people who aren’t perfect, but their savour is! And we will still make mistakes, but we will always be loved by God.
- 1 John says, God is love.
- And oh what a difference it makes to live your life secured in the knowledge that God loves you unconditionally!
- Easter tells us that Jesus who was motivated by love to lay down his life for us…
- And will continue loving us as we go through life following him.
Finally, Easter means God has a greater purpose for our lives.
One great theological mind, Tom Wright says;
“Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project, not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven.”
- “Colonizing earth with the life of heaven”
- Come on… that alone should make you want to dance!
So not only is the promise of Easter that we are forgiven, that we have nothing to fear in death, that we have power to live a new life and are unconditionally loved…
- The promise of Easter is that we have a great purpose for our lives…
- We get to join God in bringing the new life of Easter to Manly!
The atheist Richard Dawkins once wrote;
- “What are all of us but self-reproducing robots? We have been put together by our genes and what we do is roam the world looking for a way to sustain ourselves and ultimately produce another robot child.”
- I guess if that is all we are, there is no meaning, no purpose to life and no story of where things are going.
- The result of living in that kind of universe is a pretty selfish and meaningless existence.
But Christians want to say… there is more! We are not random. This is not as good as it gets.
- I truly believe that in light of Easter we know there is a God who is in the business of resurrection and making all things new!
- And so we get invited to colonize earth with the life of heaven…
- That’s why through history it has been the children of God who started schools and orphanages and hospitals.
- Knowing that life is not hopeless and history is not meaningless, we get to play our part in the bringing of new life into a broken world.
We don’t have to live selfishly as self reproducing robots…
When I lived in London I became good friends with a girl at my church called Florisa. She was recently awarded by the Italian government the Order of the Star of Italy.
- I am so proud of her.
- On the award is a depiction of the Good Samaritan.
- Over 15 years ago she left her corporate job in London and moved to a refugee camp in Malawi and began working amongst some of the poorest people on earth.
- Because of her faith she set about starting educational and employment programs to help the people of the Dzaleka refugee camp.
- It’s been tough… really tough… but she has seen so much hope get restored into what the world would call forgotten people.
Why would you do this? What motivates Christians to start schools and orphanges and medical clinics?
- In fact what motivates ordinary Christians to love their neighbours and be salt and light?
- Because Easter says life is not meaningless. It is not just destined for decay and death.
- As Christ has risen from the dead, so will we who belong to him, and that work of renewal begins now!
- Ephesians 2:10 says “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.”
You know I’d love for you to make a decision this Easter about who you follow!
Not in things like a hollow Easter egg that turn out to be empty promises… but in the empty tomb that is full of promise!
- Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. All who believe in me will live, even though they die.”
- But you got to believe…
- The message of Easter is we can be forgiven, have the hope of eternal life, that we can be transformed and live unconditionally loved. It means our lives have purpose and meaning!
- So have you responded to the good news? It’s still spreading through the world.
- And we are always being asked to make a decision about Jesus, our Lord.
- Get connected… love to follow you up and invite you to explore faith or join community.
- Ask more questions… brilliant Alpha Course…
- Today I am in… I want to invite Jesus to be Lord.