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Easter 2017
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April 16, 2017
Morning Service

Spring can be a very busy season.  We are getting the yard and garden ready for summer, cleaning the maple helicopters out of the gutters, starting up kids’ spring sports and right in the thick of that comes Easter.  Now we have to prepare the family gatherings and egg hunts.  Before we start this part of our service this morning, I want to encourage you to focus on the “reason for the season.”  I ask you to please leave all the busyness of the season outside and be fully present in this moment.

Let’s pray.

 I want to paint a picture for you with scripture real quickly this morning; a picture of you and of me and I will need your help as well.

 Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,

 

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have come between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, from hearing.

 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

·         What Easter is really about is a big word called “Subsitutiary Atonement.”  That is an intelligent way to say I owed a debt I could never pay and Jesus paid it for me.  He was my substitute and died the death I deserved. Without Jesus, we are helpless and hopeless in our journey to have fellowship with our Creator.

 

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (17)  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.

 

Song:  “He paid it all”

 

Hopefully through this “Passion Week” you have walked along with Jesus and tried to experience what His journey was like.  It all started with the joy of the triumphal entry, then came the anger at the money changers at the temple, and that was followed with the wonder of some of His final teachings.  The emotions continued as we experienced the sadness of the last supper, the anguish of the prayer in the garden, the hurt of betrayal and desertion, the confusion of a mock trial, and the agony of the cross.  Today we celebrate that the story did not end there, it was really only the beginning.

 

Luke 24:1-8  And on the first day of the week, while still very early, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.  (2)  But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.  (3)  And going in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  (4)  And as they were much perplexed about it, it happened that, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.  (5)  And as they were afraid, and bowed their faces down to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  (6)  He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,  (7)  saying, The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and the third day rise again?”  (8)  And they remembered His words.

 

Luke 24:33-43  And they rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem and found assembled the Eleven and those with them.  (34)  And they said, the Lord has indeed risen, and has appeared to Simon.  (35)  And in the way they related the things happening, and how He had been known by them in breaking of the loaf.  (36)  And as they spoke this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace to you!”  (37)  But they were terrified and filled with fear, for they thought they saw a spirit.  (38)  And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?  (39)  Behold My hands and My feet, that I am He! Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see Me have.”  (40)  And when He had spoken this, He showed them His hands and feet.  (41)  And while they still did not believe for joy, and wondered, He said to them, “Have you any food here?”  (42)  And they handed to Him a piece of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb.  (43)  And He took it and ate before them.

 

What does this Easter story really mean to me?  Why is this so important?  Do you remember the picture the scripture painted of us earlier?  We are sinners deserving death but Jesus paid it all for us.  By dying on the cross, He paid for our sins but in rising from the grave He conquered death forever.  In the Roman letter Paul explained how our baptism was our death, burial and resurrection.

 

Romans 6:3-11  Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?  (4)  Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father; even so we also should walk in newness of life.  (5)  For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection;  (6)  knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.  (7)  For he who died has been justified from sin.  (8)  But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,  (9)  knowing that when Christ was raised from the dead, He dies no more; death no longer has dominion over Him.  (10)  For in that He died, He died to sin once; but in that He lives, He lives to God.  (11)  Likewise count yourselves also to be truly dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Let me tell you of a story of a Good Friday funeral, and putting the “U in luve.”  Easter is God’s way of putting “You into love.”  He died for our sins and rose to grant us life.

 

Easter grants us hope of a tomorrow beyond the grave.  Sin and death have been conquered forever.   We celebrate today that Jesus is now lifted high as our Lord, Savoir, and friend.  Please listen and worship along with the words of this powerful song.

 

Let’s pray