Six of our seven grandchildren have made at least one trip out of the United States during their college years. This was recommended highly as a part of their education believing that a contact with the outside world would be broadening and give them a new concept of what it is to live outside of the United States.
When I visit with them about these experiences abroad, it is evident that the goal has been accomplished. Their eyes have been opened that not all the world’s population enjoy the blessings we have. It is also believed that we could learn from parts of the world, and such knowledge would enrich our lifestyle.
On this Sunday I would like to emphasize that looking at our future through the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives the Christian an eternal dimension to life. Life without the promise of eternal life limits our days to a few years on planet earth. Science has increased our longevity, for which we are thankful. However, ultimately we die and are left with the question, What happens after death?
On a visit to my home many years ago, my father and aunt asked if I would go with them to visit their brother and my uncle who was dying. I did and we had an enjoyable visit until it was time for us to leave and I asked if I could read him a few verses from the New Testament. He replied by saying that he had lived for more than 80 years and would soon return to the dust. He didn’t care to have the Bible read to him. When I asked if he did not believe the message of the Bible, he replied, “Only parts of it like the Golden Rule, but nothing that refers to life after death.”
Three heavy hearts were in the automobile as we drove away that day. Hearing a brother and an uncle say that he rejected the thought of eternal life brought tears to the eyes.
Just think of it Ð the Easter message gives us a whole new understanding of the future! Travel can broaden our view of the world, but only faith in the risen Christ can give us a whole new look at eternity. That is the Easter message!
In Luke 24:1-12 we learn that some women went out to the tomb planning to anoint the body, and they were wondering who would be able to roll the stone away. However, when they arrived, the tomb was open. The women walked in and found no body. Two men (angels) announced that Jesus had risen. They then reminded the women of what Jesus said, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again” (verse 7). Then the women remembered, and they ran off to tell the disciples the Easter message: Christ has risen!
That morning their lives were changed. They did not have a dead Master, but a crucified and risen Lord.
The disciples carried this message with them until their death. If you turn in your Bible to Acts 10:34-43 you have an example of the disciple’s preaching.
Peter was in Caesarea visiting in the home of a man called Cornelius. He had been sent there by God to share the Gospel with him. Here was Peter’s message to Cornelius and the group assembled at his home:
“Christ commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God has appointed as judge over the living and the dead. All the prophets testified about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
While Peter was still preaching, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep the people from being baptized with water?”
A few days later a small church was established in Cornelius’ home. This is the way the kingdom has been built from that day to this Ð one person telling another person that Christ is their crucified Savior and living Lord and then inviting their friends and relatives to ask Christ into their hearts. This would make them God’s children. That message has never changed.
The people of the world need to hear this message, and the Church of Jesus Christ must proclaim it to them. Unbelievers are looking for answers for their confused minds. In many churches they are not hearing those answers, and so they do not return.
In the first part of this sermon, I mentioned that I asked my Uncle Lars if I could read this message of Christ’s dying for our sins. Again, he said, “No.” Think of what a difference this message would have made in his life if he had only let me be used by the Holy Spirit to lead him to Christ and live his few remaining days with the assurance of his salvation. But as far as we know Lars entered eternity alone to stand before a loving, but righteous God. Yes, our hearts were sad.
The comfort of Job is the comfort of all who on this Easter trust Christ, for they can say, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25).