Easter

SERMON LEFTOVERS 4.17.17

 ‘What Hope are you Buying’

 

1 Peter 1:3-9   

 

Easter offers a “living” hope (v3)

Every hope your soul can lift up is merely a wishing hope

We cannot guarantee that our hopes will be obtained, or kept

Biblical hope is different, it’s knowing rather than wishing

Easter’s hope is given by Jesus Christ who is v3 the ‘Lord’

Easter’s hope is guaranteed by Jesus Christ who was ‘raised’

The Apostle Peter calls this a ‘living hope’

It cannot wither, or die, because (v5) the ‘power’ of God keeps it

You cannot match that, the world cannot match it, and human religion cannot match it

What is this living hope?

Jesus who died on a cross to pay for our sin, was raised in victory over our sin and death

Those who trust in Christ, (v1) are born again:  God does something we don’t!

v4 our new life includes an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading

v3 This hope is not to those who deserve it, but according to God’s Mercy

Right now this mercy is ready for anyone in any condition  

     “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”  Romans 10:13

Are you willing to acknowledge you need to be saved? 

Is God giving you faith to believe that Jesus is the One who saves?

Will you submit to call on him:  Jesus, forgive me and have my life

 

The hope of Easter can withstand a messy world 

Disappointments, suffering, conflict and loss are inescapable (vs 6-7)

The Bible doesn’t try to claim that faith will remove all of them

Bible does claim that hope in Christ can stand up to all of them

God is in every difficulty, with the same intensity he had in saving us

God is purposeful in every trial, regardless of people’s intention, God causes it to be for our good

God tells us how it ends:  Christ victoriously returns to glorify his people

Life is hard, heartaches are real, but our joy remains

Nothing can diminish hope that is imperishable – undefiled – unfading

If our trust is in Christ, it’s impossible to be hopeless

“Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us” Romans 5:5

The promises we have in Christ are both unchanging, and glorious

When we feel hopeless, it’s because we are not fully trusting Christ

Our hope can actually increase with our difficulties,

Trials freshly remind us that our hopes belong in Christ alone

 

Resurrection hope keeps us in anticipation (vs 8-9)

The best is always yet to come

Christ whom we love above all else, is ‘preparing a place for us’

Our aging body will be raised new, and our soul will be made complete

It is coming!  Life that’s whole and joy that is undisturbed

We have hope now, but its greatest fulfillment is still ahead

Our hope is in Christ, so it is fulfilled (v7) when he is revealed

Do you love Christ?  You will be with him, that’s anticipation!

 

Are your hopes merely wishes?  Does your joy survive the battering of life?

Christ is alive to give you hope that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading

 

EASTER LEFTOVERS 3.28.16

Is Jesus alive? It really does matter

 

I Corinthians 15:14-19

We all want to fill our life with what really matters. You may have nothing against Easter, but you wonder – does it really matter?

 

Many people think Jesus’ resurrection is an empty myth

The Bible itself describes the implications if that is true

If Easter is not true, Christianity calls itself empty and foolish

v14 our preaching would be empty: it is meaningless to be here talking about a myth

v14 our faith would be empty: it is foolish to trust in Jesus to give life if he is lifeless

v15 we would be misrepresenting God, by making up what he has done

The entire weight of Christianity rests on whether or not Easter is true

 

There is An Even Bigger Implication About Easter

v17 “If Christ has not been raised . . you are still in your sins”

We are all sinners! We know it’s true, but we cover it over

We tell ourselves, ‘I’m not as bad as other people’. But you are still a sinner

Or we think, ‘I have done more good stuff than bad’. But you are still a sinner

God is perfect and this has a couple unavoidable implications

(1) He will not allow sin to enter and ruin heaven

(2) He must judge all sin – and we are all sinners!

Human religions respond: “You must do certain things to get rid of guilt”

They place the weight of our eternity on our being faithful enough to earn forgiveness

This may appeal to our pride but it doesn’t change reality: no religious activity or good works can undo that “we are still in our sin”

Christianity is totally different, it declares God did it all

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”  (John 3:16)

We cannot undo our sin, so God came to us to remove the guilt of our sin

Jesus died and was raised for one purpose – to save sinners

If Easter is false, then no one has solved our sin problem

We cannot save ourselves, so if Jesus was not raised, we have no hope

 

The Importance of Easter Is In What It Proves

1. Jesus’ resurrection proves he was not just a man

The Bible says, Jesus was declared Son of God by the resurrection from dead (Romans 1:4)

Some have lived after people thought they had died, but no one has raised themselves out of the grave

2. Jesus’ resurrection proves the purpose of his death was accomplished

Death is God’s penalty for sin and Jesus died to pay for that penalty

Jesus’ resurrection shows us there is no penalty left on the sins he died for

 

How Can We Know If Jesus Really Is Alive?

Jesus’ death was very public so was his resurrection

Over centuries many who tried to disprove it, ended up believing

The great proof God gives is strong, because it comes from the inside

No matter how strongly verified, a proof can be ignored

But Christ proves himself by what he does in us

Let God prove himself to you by what he wants to do in you

How do we receive from Jesus the life he gives?

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved”  (Romans 10:9)

“Confess” – that you are a sinner who needs Christ

“Believe” – in who Jesus is and what he has done

 

Is Jesus Dead or Alive?

It really does matter, for your eternity and in your life now

Your sin can be forgiven – totally and forever!

Your trust will be in Jesus who is alive and able to help!

Your life will have purpose, because Jesus controls our eternity

It really does matter how we respond to Jesus today

Is he at work in your heart right now? Don’t push him off

Do you want to believe? Ask him to give you faith

SERMON LEFTOVERS 4.06.15

Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence      

There is no shortage of people who claim they can ‘make our life better’

Oprah interviews them, QVC sells their products, and on Election Day we put them in office

Even as skeptics, we find it hard to resist the claim: “Eat all you want and still lose weight!”

The Astronomer Carl Sagan, wrote

‘Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’

This is a requirement that Christianity has no problem meeting

Christianity makes extraordinary claims

We do this because Jesus made extraordinary claims about himself:

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28)

“I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matt 24:35)

Jesus went further; he made claims greater than anyone who ever lived  

“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)

According to Jesus claims about himself:

There are not many ways to God – there is only him

There are not different paths of truth – it is all found in him

There are no other sources for eternal life – only Jesus gives it

How could Jesus make such claims?

When challenged on the authority behind his claims, Jesus once responded:

“Destroy this (body) and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19)

Jesus declared that his resurrection from the dead would be proof that his claims are true

Jesus can make greater claims than anyone else, because he still lives

There is no better basis for making claims about life, than by defeating death

The bodies of everyone else who had theories about how we should live – are dust

Resurrection is so extraordinary a claim; others don’t try to make it

Christianity alone boldly says;

Jesus lives, or all we believe is a lie!

Christianity has stood on this claim, since the first Easter

Many have wanted to disprove Jesus resurrection, but all have failed

Resurrection should interest us, since we all die

Death presents an enormous problem that we cannot fix

1.  Death brings us (who are sinners) before God who is perfect

2.  Death brings us to the appointed time of judgment

“It is appointed for man to die once and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27)

This is God’s world and he judges us by his standard, our standards and measurements will not matter

Jesus solved this huge problem of our facing God who judges all sin

Jesus, the Son of God, became a man and lived without sin

Undeserving of death, he gave his life to pay the penalty the Father requires for our sin

How can we be sure? 

The resurrection proves that the penalty Jesus died for was paid in full

Because Jesus is alive now he can help you now

“(Jesus) is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25)

Jesus came for the express purpose of restoring us to God

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25)

‘Believing’ in Jesus, means we accept and act upon his claims

We do this by confessing our need and submitting to His rule

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)

What do you believe about Christ, and about yourself?

If there is truth you do not know about Jesus death and resurrection – do you want to know it?

If Jesus is alive now to save those who trust in him – will you call out for him to save you?

SERMON LEFTOVERS 4.21.14

“Someone you can believe”

Matthew 28:1-6

We are a skeptical people, and we have good reason:

Much of what we’re told is hyped and fails to live up to the promises

We expect public figures to speak in disingenuous ways

And the experts keep changing their opinions and advice

What does all this have to do with Easter?

Easter shows us there really is someone we can fully believe

Jesus fulfills what he promises, including his own resurrection!

Jesus said he would be in the earth three days (Matthew 12:40)

Another time he said, “destroy this temple and in three days I’ll raise it up” (Matthew 26:61)

Jesus even described how his death and resurrection would come about (Mark 8:31 & 9:31)

Jesus spoke so often and clearly about his resurrection, that his enemies sealed and guarded his tomb (Matthew 27:63-66)

If we can believe Jesus about his resurrection, we can trust the rest of what he said

Jesus said, he “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10)

Jesus came to “save” us in our greatest need

Our ‘greatest need’ is that which has the greatest consequences

Sin has the greatest consequences, because it involves our eternity!

Jesus said, “all judgment” was “given” to him (John 5:22)

We say that we want justice, well so does God!

God, who sees every sin, must confront and judge all our sin

How that final judgment is resolved was put in Jesus’ hands

Jesus said, he “came to give my life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28)

Jesus didn’t bring ideas about what to do with our guilt; he brought himself and totally solved our greatest need!

Jesus died in our place, to pay for the guilt of our sin

How can we receive what Jesus did for us?  The Bible is clear, it is not by what we do, it is through faith in what Christ did for us.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” Romans 10:9

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6)

We hear many religious claims, so how do we know this one is true?

Jesus promised huge and wonderful news, and Easter proves it! This is what makes Easter worth celebrating

Christ’s resurrection, after bearing our guilt, proves the debt he died for was paid

Easter shows that Jesus’ unique claims are not arrogance

However, Jesus claims don’t stop there!

We hear so many opinions, how do we know what is best?

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness” (John 8:12)

Life is not easy, and troubles are never far away in this messy world

Jesus said, “come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

We’re constantly striving, but does life become more satisfying?

Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)

Many people sound compelling

But when it comes to speaking about life, death and eternity, it’s all just their opinions which they have no power to fulfill

Do you really want to place your eternity in the hands of an “opinion”?

Only Jesus backs up what he says about present and eternal things

Today you can receive what he promised

Jesus has come, he is alive and he does save

Jesus is someone we can believe!

PREPARE FOR EASTER WITH YOUR CHILDREN

by Debbie Huber

Quick word association game:  name some symbols you think of when you hear the word Easter……

Many of you probably responded with words like cross, bunny, basket, eggs, resurrection, palms, candy, etc.

How do we portray why we celebrate Easter to our children?  We have fun traditions that include these symbols like candy, eggs, and Easter baskets, but does your family celebration of the true meaning of Easter go beyond a chocolate cross and wearing nice clothes to church on Easter Sunday?  Does it go beyond telling them “Jesus is alive”?  Or do we also focus on why He died for us?

Easter is the Gospel! 

The greatest impact of why we celebrate Easter happens when we focus on the gospel everyday of the year.  Our children need the hear the Gospel, they need to see Jesus.  They need to see that they are sinners in need of rescue. When our children sin we must show them that is why Jesus died!  He is our rescuer!  And He lives!  The celebration of the resurrection is exciting when we realize that Jesus loves us so much that he rescued us from the death sentence of our sins. If we trust in Christ, we will one day stand before God, not carrying the record of our sins, but clothed in the perfection and righteousness of Jesus!

Here are some suggestions to make Easter a perfect opportunity to preach the Gospel to our children:

Preach the Gospel to yourself regularly to help you demonstrate and speak it to your children.

Spend time as a family reading the biblical accounts of the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus in the Bible.

During your Easter traditions be mindful to bring the focus back to the Gospel.

Pray with thankfulness with your children for Jesus’ sacrifice for sinners.

Ask probing questions so you see if your children understand the Gospel and why we celebrate Easter. (“Why did Jesus die and why do we need a rescuer from our sins?”) 

The Jesus Storybook Bible also is very understandable for children and helps children (and adults) to hear the true reason for our Easter celebration.  Here is an excerpt: 

“The full force of the storm of God’s fierce anger at sin was coming down. On His own Son. Instead of His people. It was the only way God could destroy sin, and not destroy his children whose hearts were filled with sin.

Then Jesus shouted out in a loud voice, ‘It is finished!’ And it was. He had done it. Jesus had rescued the whole world.”

EASTER SERMON LEFTOVERS 4.09.12

“Is there someone we can count on?”

You have heard the saying; “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. We can add this disclaimer: Who you know, better be in power!

When it comes to having a hope for heaven, whose name carries weight?

Buddha claims he discovered the way to ‘enlightenment’

Islam follows Muhammad, saying he was the final prophet of God

Mormons teach that Joseph Smith received a newer revelation

Christians follow Jesus Christ; we believe he alone can save

“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12)

What are we to do with these different opinions?

Can we just choose any name and expect to get the same results?

Do all these opinions reveal that no one really knows?

There are three questions that need an answer

#1. Why is any help needed to enter heaven?

Because in our present condition heaven is a closed door

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)

For those who are thinking, ‘but I’m good person’; have you ever lied, stolen, lusted, been unfair, gossiped, been self-centered, or ignored the needs of others? We all have done many things we don’t want others to see

God who is perfectly just, must punish every sin. Hell is just as real as heaven

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)

Nothing we have done or can do, will change the reality that we are sinners

In our name we cannot enter heaven; our sin is always in way

Some people are offend by this and for that reason they reject it. But I ask you, does our rejecting God’s judgment change it? Isn’t it wiser to find out what God says will enable us into His kingdom

#2.  Why does the Bible say Jesus is the only name that can save us?

Because only Jesus has taken action to remove our sin problem

The founders of human religions merely give us directions saying these are things you should do

Jesus came and did what was needed to save us

Jesus is the only person who lived a sinless life

Jesus died and took the Father’s wrath on himself, to pay the penalty God requires for our sin

When we put our faith in Christ, he removes our guilt

“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23)

Human religions have no power over sin, death or heaven

What is the proof Jesus can exercise power in these areas?

Only Jesus has risen from the dead!

Buddha was cremated and there are temples that hold his ashes

Joseph Smith is buried in Illinois

Mohammed’s grave is a shrine visited by millions

Jesus grave is empty; he is alive to save those who cry out to him!

#3. What keeps you from asking Jesus who lives, to forgive and save you?

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13)

Jesus said, whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37)

Christ will fully and forever save all who trust in him

Right now, are you willing to confess your sin and ask Jesus to forgive you?

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)

If you asked Christ to forgive you, or if you have any questions, I would love to hear from you. I am also glad to send you materials that may be helpful. khuber.wellrooted@gmail.com