River Church NOLA
April 4 Easter Sunday
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  • Graves Into Gardens
  • What A Beautiful Name
  • Good Morning! Jesus is Alive! Happy Easter everyone. Today, along with churches all over the world, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our culture can’t understand why Jesus would be willing to die for the world, but He did it our of love. It was God’s love that caused Jesus to offer himself on the cross as the payment for the sins you and I have committed. It’s God’s love that continually offers us a new and amazing life through the the Risen Savior.
    Today, we celebrate and we worship the Risen Jesus!
    Not only is this Easter Sunday, but it’s the beginning of a new sermon series called Love Reigns. How may think that our culture needs a little more love today? Over the next three weeks… four including today, we will explore the ways God’s love… not his wrath… wipes out out the pain of our past, transforms our present and gives us hope for our future.
    Usually people underestimate the power of love. I say it’s the most powerful force on earth and that most people will do all sorts of things for love…
    How many of us guys have done all sorts of things to win the hearts of our girlfriends and now spouses.
    I watched all 6 episodes of the original Pride and Prejudice. Now that’s going for the home run…
    Love makes us do all sorts of things…

    Love is the driving force behind our sacrificial actions toward our families and friends.

    We will gladly pay any price to show hoe much we care. Love is powerful and it causes us to do amazing things. Now, Before there was ever an Easter Sunday, there was a Good Friday and before there was a resurrection there had to be a death.

    1. There can be only one king

    For 33 years, Jesus Christ walked the earth while serving the hungry, healing the broken, and delivering the oppressed. He announced the coming Kingdom of God and the restoration of all things. He claimed to be the Son of God, and many believed him to be the true King of all things. He claimed to be the Son of God. This caused a lot of conflict where Jesus lived and ministered. The ruler at the time of that area was Rome who had set up a puppet king… Herod the Great. Herod was constantly afraid of someone taking his kingdom from him or undermining his authority. He actually killed most of his family because he felt they were threats to his rule. So, Another king was a threat to him… there was room for only one king and it wasn’t going to be Jesus if Herod had anything to do with it. Both Herod and Jesus could not rule Israel.
    So the Jewish leaders and the Roman Centurions worked together to get Jesus arrested and charged. He was brought to trial for his claims to be God. He was convicted and beaten, nearly to death. He was then made to carry his cross all the way tot the hill where he would be killed.
    Matthew 27:32–42 NLT
    32 Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). 34 The soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it. 35 After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. 36 Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. 37 A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. 40 “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!” 41 The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. 42 “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him!
    One thing that marked the crucifixion was ridicule and the people ridiculed him and mocked him. They hung a sign over his head that read King of the Jews even though they did not believe him.
    The priest mocked him yelling at him … save yourself. Let me say this… He could have.
    None of them understood that the true test of who Jesus was and what he could do was not if he could save himself from the cross, but in his ability to overcome death with the resurrection.

    The test of who Jesus was and is what in His ability to overcome death at the resurrection.

    Sometimes we miss the proof of Jesus’ Lordship because we are expecting him to prove himself in certain ways but he does something different than what we thought he should have done.

    Too many people have decided that they will not trust in Jesus unless he meets their expectations

    Unless Jesus gives them this job… lets them date or marry this person… heals their relative… stops world hunger or violence… they will never trust him nor obey his authority. Unless he does what they want him to do, they won’t recognize him as God … as king.
    This is the same mentality that the people at Jesus crucifixion had… they wanted him to prove himself on their terms. It’s alo the mentality that caused Herod to be part of killing the Son of God. When we refuse to believe in Him unless he does tings our way, we rob ourselves of seeing His mighty work in our lives.
    Herod was not the last person to struggle with the idea of Jesus being in charge. It’s an idea that is all too prevalent today. a Congressman recently said that God’s will was no concern in Congress. … It better be.
    In our lives there can only be one king. It’s been said that on the throne of our hearts sits the one who rules our lives. We must choose whether that is going to be Jesus or whether it will be ourselves.
    sit in the chair. When we are on the throne, we make decisions based on what we want and that often leads to selfish living. When we do this, we hurt people around us… people that we often care about.
    The other choice is to put Jesus on the throne of our lives. (get out of the chair) We listen to his leading. We put others first. We live sacrificially.
    So when it comes to the way we think, speak and act, there can only be one king,
    If Jesus were to be dead, none of this matters, but if he rose from the dead, and he did, then that changes everything.

    The resurrection changes everything!

    2. Love overcame death

    Three days after Jesus was murdered and put into a tomb… to every one’s shock and amazement, he began to appear to his disciples and others. He just started popping up. This had never happened before. They had just killed him… most people saw it and knew he was DEAD. The disciples saw this and knew he wad dead and they were devastated. But now here he was sitting with them … eating with them… talking with them… fully alive and proving he was king over all things… even death.
    The renowned artist Paul Gustave Dore (1821-1883) lost his passport while traveling in Europe. When he came to a border crossing, he explained his predicament to one of the guards. Giving his name to the official, Dore hoped he would be recognized and allowed to pass. The guard, however, said that many people attempted to cross the border by claiming to be persons they were not. He needed proof.
    Dore insisted that he was the man he claimed to be. "All right," said the official, "we'll give you a test, and if you pass it, we'll allow you to go through." Handing him a pencil and a sheet of paper, he told the artist to sketch several people standing nearby. Dore did it so quickly and skillfully that the guard was convinced he was indeed who he claimed to be. His work confirmed his word
    Jesus work confirmed his word as well. They mocked him as he died and up to 500 saw him at one time after he rose from the dead.
    Evil did not have the last word, Love did!
    John 3:16 NLT
    16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
    God loved you so much that he sent Jesus to live with us and to die for us… to pay our bill. When we place our faith, hope and trust in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we will be saved. This is why we are so happy today… it’s why we are here. We have been given the opportunity for eternal life… for a rich and satisfying live here and the worst thing that will happen to us here will not be the last thing that happens to us because we will experience the resurrection and new life.

    The worst thing that will happen to you is not the last thing you will experience

    That’s not all. After Jesus had resurrected, he gave us some marching orders.
    Matthew 28:18–20 NLT
    18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
    Easter is the day that Jesus was given all authority on heaven and on earth. No matter how many doubted, he is the King of the Jews. No matter how many mocked him, He was able to rescue himself, and the entire world, as well. No matter how many questioned his power, he did defeat the cross, once and for all. The love of God was the authority and was now reigning over the entire world and our lives as well.
    His final instruction for all of his followers was to go into the whole world and make disciples. He told them to tell everyone about his resurrection and love to anyone who would listen.
    Now, we have been invited to share the love of Jesus because it will change the world.

    3. Let love reign in you!

    Today, if you consider yourself a Christian, this instruction has been given to you as well. You are to be a part of making disciples. The word disciple means learner. We are to learn the ways of Jesus and help others do the same.
    Being a disciple is a life long process of becoming more and more like Jesus. As we grow, We will become more generous, be more forgiving, serve more, have more self control, learn to be people who live in peace. When we submit to the love of Jesus, we are compelled to live life like him and to invite others to join us. That’s what it means to let love reign over us.
    Testimony - My relationship with Jesus has made me a better person, a happier person, a better parent, a better spouse, a better employee, a better boss, a better friend,
    This is what I want to see in each of you. I want you to experience the wonderful relationship with the Lord that I have had the privilege to experience…
    The last thing Jesus said before he went to heaven was, I am with you always… Maybe you are here today and you feel like God has forgotten you. Listen to me… you are never alone. He has not forgotten you. There is no where you can go nor anything you can do where God will not be there with you.
    I am convinced that in the room today there are two types of people.
    One: there are some here who have never made the decision to let love reign in their lives and to follow Jesus. Maybe you have been waiting for Jesus to prove himself to you and it has not happened yet. Maybe you don’t want to give up control of your life and so you have never submitted to Jesus. Today, I want to invite you to give your life to Jesus. I want to invite you to offer him your heart and to become a disciple and a student of his for the rest of your life. To do this is very simple. Let me lead you in this prayer.
    PRAYER: Jesus, I confess that I have lived my own way and under my own authority for far too long. I have sinned against others and sinned against you. I am sorry and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe that you died and you rose again for me. I welcome your spirit to work in my life and to obey you above everything else. I want to join you in sharing the good news of resurrection. Thank you for promising to always be with me for the rest of my days. Amen!
    If you prayed this prayer today with a sincere heart, you are now a Christian and you are a disciple of Jesus. Try to live each and every day under the reign of Christ’s love.
    Two: there may be some here today who have trusted in Jesus before but have grown tired of obeying him. Maybe you have strayed from Him and have lived for yourself. Easter reminds us that we can once again repent and obey. If this is you today, I want to remind you that Jesus promised never to leave us. He still loves you and is still with you. Commit once again to live for Him.
    Pray for them
    This Easter, may you see the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the proof of his love, and may you let that love reign in your life. May you join God in spreading this good news with the entire world. He is risen. Happy Easter!
      • Matthew 27:32–42TLB

      • John 3:16TLB

      • Matthew 28:18–20TLB

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