Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

3-29-04

Title: What Easter Gives Us



Text: “Declared to be the Son of God with power...by the resurrection from the dead.” 

(Romans 1:3-4).




Bible Reading: Romans 1:1–4, 4:24–25, and 8:11








Introduction:


Just after World War II, a Preacher by the name of William Sangster, came down with a disease that gradually paralyzed him. 


Eventually, even his vocal cords were paralyzed. 


On Easter Sunday, his last Easter on earth, his daughter came to visit. 


Using stiffened fingers, he scribbled this message to her: “How terrible to wake up on Easter and have no voice with which to shout, ‘He is risen!’” 


Then, pausing a moment, he added, “But it is even worse to have a voice and not want to shout.” 


You and I should feel like shouting today, because this is Easter, and Christ has risen from the dead. 


But, just what does that mean to us here and now, in this twenty-first century? 


The answer is in the Book of Romans. 


It is Paul’s greatest declaration of Christian truth. 


Three times in Romans, the apostle Paul refers to the great results of Easter. 


He says that they are:

1. Easter confirmed Christ’s identity.

2. Easter cancelled sin’s penalty.

3. Because of Easter, we can celebrate eternal life.


So, you can see, Easter has a lot to give the Christian man and woman.  


The resurrection of Jesus is the very heart and soul of the Gospel.  


In simple terms, the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  


His death is very important, but where would we be without the resurrection?  


The resurrection was so important to the Early Church that it became their message to the world.  


It’s a shame that today, that in most of our churches, the resurrection message is relegated to Easter Sunday only. 


It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. 


Our message to the world should be the same as the Early Church—Jesus is alive! 


And we don’t have to wait until Easter to tell others.


And for the Christian, Easter should be an exciting time and a happy time. 


So, let’s look at what it is that Easter gives us.


First, Easter Gives Us Confirmation of Christ’s Identity (Rom.1:1–4).


It proves who He is.  


Paul begins his letter to the Romans with a significant reference to Easter.  


He writes, “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” 


This passage answers a couple of very important questions.  


These questions are often debated by great preachers and theologians in great universities, but the answers are simple and Paul has the answers.  


The first question is, “How do we know Jesus Christ was truly human—that He was a man?” 


Paul answers, “We know, because He descended from the seed of David.”  


You can trace His linage right back to that great king of Israel.


It’s right there in the genealogy given in the first chapter of Mathew. 


He was the descendent of a historical king, and as such, He was spoken of in Old Testament prophesy, when it said that the Messiah will set upon the throne of David.  


In the New Testament, Jesus is even called the Son of David.


The second question is, “How do we know He was truly divine—that He was God?”  


Paul answers, “The Resurrection verified it.”  


You see, the Resurrection did not make Him the Son of God; it simply revealed who He was. 


His resurrection proves that He was accurate when He said, “…“You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world” (John 8:23).  


Jesus came from heaven to earth, and He lived as a man.


He came to save mankind, through His death on a cross.  


Along the way to the cross He walked the dusty roads of Palestine, teaching His disciples and doing many wonderful things.


But the days of walking along the dusty roads in Israel are over now; He has come back from the dead in mighty power.  


His resurrection proves He is the Son of God. 


If Jesus had lived a wonderful life and died a heroic death, and if that had been the end of Him, He might have been listed with the great and heroic, but He would have simply been one among many.  


However, His uniqueness is guaranteed forever by His resurrection.  


The others are dead and gone, and have left behind only a memory.  


But Jesus lives on, and His presence is within us.  


He is still mighty; He has great power.  


Many people have the mistaken view that other founders of the world’s religions claimed to be God, but that isn’t so. 


Abraham and Moses, the founders of Judaism, didn’t claim to be God. 


Mohammed, founder of Islam, didn’t claim to be Allah, and Buddha didn’t claim to be God. 


Among the leaders of the world’s best-known religions, only Jesus claimed to be God. 


But what proof did He give? 


Let me answer that question with an illustration. 


If a police officer knocked on my door late at night, I’d ask to see his credentials before letting him into my house. 


Just because people claim to be something doesn’t mean they are. 


Christ claimed to be God, but what were His credentials? 


He said, “Destroy this temple (referring to His body), and in three days I will raise it up” (John 1:19). 


He said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth ” (Matt.12:40). 


He taught that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected and killed, and after three days rise again (Mark 8:31). 


Easter fulfilled those promises and bear out His claim to be God.  


We follow a living Savior, who loves us.  


That’s important!


Let me illustrate how important it is that Jesus was raised fro the dead.


If you became lost in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where the undergrowth is so deep and dense that in some areas you might never be found again, what would you do? 


Suppose you came upon two park rangers, both of them wearing their traditional green uniforms.


But suppose one of them was alive, and the other was dead from a heart attack. 


Which would you want to follow out of the woods? 


When it comes to eternal matters, who are you willing to follow? 


The dead leaders of the world’s religions or the only founder of a major religion who claimed to be God and who proved it by rising from the dead.  


Follow Jesus, because He is God and He proved it.


The second result of Easter is that It Gives Us the Cancellation of Sin’s Penalty (Rom.4:24–25).


When talking about the righteousness of Christ, Paul had this to say: “It (the righteousness of Christ) shall be imputed (or assigned) to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”


The Bible Knowledge Commentary puts it like this: “Christ’s death as God’s sacrificial Lamb (John 1:29) was to pay the redemptive price for the sins of all people (Rom.3:24) so that God might be free to forgive those who respond by faith to that provision. Christ’s resurrection was the proof (or demonstration) of God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice (Rom.1:4). Thus because He lives, God can credit His provided righteousness to the account of every person who responds by faith to that offer.”  


Now, that’s a little hard to follow, so let me see if I can make it a little easier to understand.  


At Calvary, our sins were put on Christ’s account; or another way to explain what took place, is to say that we ran-up a debt of sin, but Jesus paid our bill. 


And the other thing that happens when you trust Christ is that God puts Christ’s righteousness on your account.  


“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 


Jesus lived a sinless life, even though He was tempted more that any man; therefore, He was righteous in the eyes of God.  


And when we place our faith in Him, something happens; we receive His righteousness by God giving it to us.  


There isn’t a thing anyone can do to become clothed with God’s righteousness except have faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior from sin.  


What can be more wonderful than to know that your sins are forgiven?


The third result of Easter is that It Gives Us the Celebration of Life Eternal (Rom.8:11). 

 

This is what Paul said about that in the 8 th chapter of Romans, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” 


What Paul is saying in this verse is that all men die, because they’re human. 


Sin came into the world, and along with sin came death, which is the result of sin.  


Therefore, all men eventually die; but the man who has Christ and His Spirit will rise again.  


You see, the Christian is one in Christ.  


The child of God is on his way to eternal life; death is only a brief interlude that has to be passed through on the way.  


Now, Christ died and rose again; and the man who is one with Christ is one with death’s conqueror and shares in that victory.  


We are essentially connected to Jesus by His resurrection.  


We actually share the life of Christ, somewhat like a limb that’s grafted into a tree shares the life of the tree.  


The life of Christ is our life now.


Those who know and follow Christ have a sure hope of a resurrection of our own, and of eternal life. 


Robert Ingersoll, a doubting Thomas of the modern era, rejected belief in the Resurrection, but at the casket of his brother he wondered whether or not something might lie beyond the grave. 


“We cry aloud,” he said, “and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry.” 


So, you can see that he had a pessimistic attitude concerning God’s Word.  


But Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25 –26).  


Satan believed he had defeated Jesus when He died on the cross, but that opinion only lasted three days, because the resurrection conquered sin and death and gave Satan a knock-out blow.


When the shepherd boy David knocked out the giant Goliath with a stone from his slingshot, he rushed over to the fallen man and, taking the giant’s own sword, cut off his head. 


Jesus did that with Satan. 


Using the devil’s own weapon, death, He defeated him. 


Hebrews 2:14–15 says: “....that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”


It was necessary for Christ to die in order to destroy the power and fear of death. 


That doesn’t mean that death and Satan have been destroyed, however, they have been made ineffective. 


Through His resurrection, Christ broke the hold which Satan possessed over man.


These bodies that you and I have will be put into the grave one of these days, if the Lord tarries.  


However, the Holy Spirit is our assurance that our bodies will be raised from the dead.  


We are given the Holy Spirit of God as the first installment of the life to come.  


We can enjoy a foretaste of what eternal life is going to be like.  


Friends, I am looking forward to the day when I will be done with this human body.   


I am waiting for the day when God will give me a new body, a spiritual body, in which I will still be able, even in heavenly places to love Him and serve Him. 


Because Christ was raised from the dead, we shall be raised from the dead.  


The Holy Spirit will deliver us from the “body of this death”—this old nature.


Conclusion:


Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan tells the remarkable story of a man who set out from the City of Destruction, hoping to journey toward the Celestial City. 


As he trudged out of town, beginning his journey, he bore a heavy burden on his back. 


It weighed him down. 


It was the burden of sin and guilt. 


But then the pilgrim met a man named Evangelist who pointed him in the right direction. 


Coming to a hill called Calvary, the pilgrim knelt at the Cross. 


The burden fell from his back, rolled down the hill, and disappeared forever into the empty tomb.  


All of us carry a heavy load of sin, until we give it to Jesus.  


What better time could there be to do that, than at Easter, when He received new physical life.  


Because of Easter, we can receive a new spiritual life too; we can be born again.


Easter gives us everything our hearts and minds need—confirmation of Christ’s identity, cancellation of sin’s penalty, and celebration of life eternally. 


All of it is yours for the taking, for the believing, for the accepting. 


Will you come to Christ today and trust in Him?


People who trust Christ are God’s children on their way to glory. 


The Redeemer has defeated death and the devil, and He understands how His people feel as they face the temptations and trials of life. 


When you come to Him by faith, you come to a sympathetic High Priest who can meet your every need. 


I pray that you will trust Him!


Amen.


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