Sunnyside First Baptist Church
We were made for Easter!
- Why do we need it at all…If you were with us last week you may remember the whole last part of the message. I want to avoid the the suffering that Jesus was put through…I want to avoid the mocking, beating, the humiliation, the crown of thorns, the ugly walk and the crucifixion.Yet we are brought through it step by step beginning last Tuesday with the “trial”and it continues if you were with us for Good Friday services at The Christian Reformed Church were we ended in darkness.Even though it was only in the afternoon it was dark, it was heavy, it was terrifying as we crucified the Lord.Yet, we re-live the experience every year over and over.Why do we keep doing this over and over… each year. This has to change us. We have to think differently about today, because of today.There is a REASON we need Easter.It goes back all the way to the beginning...6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.----------------------------Willingly after the crafty serpent served up the fruit, they both ate of it22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.--------------------------------That is why we need Easter...Humanity, God’s people, all people need a way to return to Eden after we have sinned and fell so very short of what God demands from us.Our big question for the day is this...What can make the offense of Eden become the victory of the cross?We need some background about the offense of EdenThe Bible tells us that once our world was like a fresh garden...Designed and maintained by the very hands of God. He pronounced it “Good.”There was no need for fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides because everything grew where it belonged without becoming a pest… Including my favorite weed… the goat head.Rain… who needed rain in Eden. The water rose up from the ground like irrigation.IT WAS PERFECT!!!We don’t know how long it was “perfect” is was awhile days or centuries or millions of years.Adam and Eve were put in charge of the whole place.But evil was present… you see long before this there was a rebellion in Heaven and God threw out His “best” angel.12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!------------------------------Why did God do that? Why didn’t he just stamp out this fallen star of heaven?Because from the very beginning God gave us… Choice. To follow Him or the serpent.Adam and Eve believed the serpent… and the penalty was DEATH.That is why we need Easter...The family that they were going to create would be the first to experience death. The family continued to to ignore God and sin.Sin marks our disobedience of God.Sin… Our own doesn’t bother us to much, but others sin drive us crazy.Sin and the effects of sin in our world ultimately lead to death.That is why we need Easter...But the light of Christ broke the darkness of sin. The chains broke off, the prison doors opened and all of humanity could be free from the mark of sin that stains all mankind.No longer do we have to fear death… because death leads to victory.Victory in Christ.Christ came to win over death15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.------------------------------------------That is why we need Easter...Our freedom from death, our victory over sin, our reclaiming of Eden has to come at a cost...God demands a penalty be paid… There must be bloodshed. That blood must come from the perfect paschal lamb. JESUS!The offense of the cross is the sacrifice of the one without sin who has had the sin of the world heaped on His shoulders...That is why we need Easter...On the third day at the break of dawn… they went to the tomb and it was empty. BECAUSE HE WAS RISEN!! HE WAS RISEN!! HE WAS RISEN!!!That is why we need Easter!!!What about the disillusioned ones?What about the ones who are hmph about Easter We all know them, we all have them in our lives. I hope that we have compassion for them and I hope we never stop talking about Easter to them.That is why we need Easter!!!These are the people that we cross paths with who have no hope, no connection, no opportunity, and are on the wrong path to getting it.14 The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. 15 Then I thought in my heart, “The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?” I said in my heart, “This too is meaningless.” 16 For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die! 17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.------------------------------------It is for this man… For these men… For us is this is youThat is why we need Easter...Did you hear it… Did you hear the pain, did you hear the suffering, did you hear the worthlessness, did you hear the rejection.I have NOT heard these exact words but I certainly have heard many like them.Easter is the answer to the disillusioned.This person that the Book of Ecclesiastes is never identified by name. Probably on purpose. We can drop our own name or any others into the description.The writer of the Ecclesiastes concludes the book on a faith note… He had no idea of the coming redeemer. The answer to most of his questions seem to be “vanity.”But listen13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.-----------------------------------------Even after all that he has said… all of the ups and downs, depression, poverty, riches there is still a sense that there is a God.That is why we need Easter...We are to keep his commands… that is the whole duty of man.EASTER IS FOR THE DISILLUSIONED!For centuries that’s all the people had. Jews, gentiles, pagan, Romans, Greeks all either had the curse of the sin that Adam had passed them or the constant striving to find meaning for what they were doing.Those that were “chosen” acted like they were the only one’s chosen. Everyone else was excluded.Even though the scriptures clearly said2 that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.-------------------------------------That was God’s plan from the beginning. His deepest desire is and was that His salvation is known on earth among all nations.It’s not just Jews, it’s gentiles and people of all colors, race and creed.That is why we need Easter...There are some major issues to deal with considering this statement.How does God… Who is a Holy God, Who is a Righteous God, who demands perfection from all of us humans.How does God get what he demands?How does he does He bridge this gap that seems so wide that it is uncross able?Hmmm… Did God have to step back and think about what to do? Did he have to think about something out of nothing to come up with Easter.NO… He knew back when this was recorded15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”-----------------------------A redeemer will be needed and will come and he will come and fulfill the law, and replace it with this… Love God and Love your neighbor.That is why we need Easter...So we come to Easter morning...1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.-------------------------------------As we end let’s go back to where we started...What can make the offense of Eden become the victory of the cross?Mary Magdalene was the first to see the empty tomb… This Mary, one of ill repute, one who Jesus once cast 7 spirits from her.This is the one that was chosen to be the first to bring the news.AND the news was this...Because of EASTER… The offense of Eden HAS become the VICTORY of THE CROSS!!
- Low In The Grave He Lay (Christ Arose)
- Celebrate Jesus
- He Is Risen
- O Praise The Name (Anástasis)
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