2012 04 08

Easter Promises

Reverend Anthony R. Locke

April 08th, 2012  www.FirstPresTucker.org

1 Peter 1:3-9 Easter Sunday 2012 English Standard Version

3   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4   to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,

5   who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6   In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

7   so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

8   Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,

9   obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.[1]

There’s a lot of people in the world today trying to tell us how to think – about race tensions, how to think about the American debt crisis, how to think about expensive welfare programs, abortion, contraceptives and child rearing.

There’s a lot of people in the world today trying to tell us what to believe – like how mankind evolved from the mysterious appearance of a single celled life form, how trees and the environment are more sacred than human life, how values and ethics are relative to our unique circumstances and how God should not be welcome in the public square, commerce, law and government.

And most of us are not energized to fight these battles. We are all bearing under the weight of our own pain and our own suffering. Verse 6 grieved by various trials.

And yet, in the midst of this broken world there is a word of encouragement. There is a Comforter who speaks words of truth, telling us about a man who came to stop this madness. There is One who has the energy to go the distance. To bind the strong man that oppresses us. To end suffering and pain by bearing our punishment on the Cross.

And no less than the Father Himself has thundered from Heaven to tell the whole world that this person is His only begotten Son. He lived a perfect life. He escapes the curse of death, yet for our sakes He chose to suffer death on a cross that we might be reunited with our Heavenly Father.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Blessed be the Spirit! And Blessed be our Redeemer, the Lamb of God, the Savior of the World!

Like a breath of fresh air we feel the presence of our Father who is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wise, powerful, holy, just, filled with goodness and truth. He shines His light on this dark world and awakens our soul to His glory revealed in His Son.

And we are introduced to a warm God. The God of the Bible is not a distance deity who is looking to judge us, but a Heavenly Father who enjoys spending time with us. Genesis introduces God as a frequent visitor who likes to take walks in the cool breeze of a Sumer day.

That’s how the Bible portrays the Father. He is gracious, loving, compassionate and longsuffering with His people.

And our God wants to tell us what to think about the Gospel Guarantees. And God wants to tell us what to believe about His Easter Promises.

According to his great mercy,

Before God can talk words of wisdom, God must change our hearts. Cold hearts can’t reach out in love to our neighbor. Cold hearts prematurely judge people of other races. God must give us new hearts by the resurrection.

So according to His Great Mercy, God gives us a regenerated heart for His laws and a warm heart for others.

God unlocks the prison doors of our own making to release us into the light of His glorious grace. The Easter Promise is that we too can be born again to a living hope.

Our hope is not in a dead person. Easter weekend is fairly gloomy if we only experience Friday and Saturday. Easter morning will reverse our sorrow if we allow God to tell us what to think and what to believe about that glorious morning.

Luke tells us that (Luke 24:1-12) On the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb and the body of Jesus missing.

And they didn’t figure it out. So God sent two angels in dazzling apparel.

The women were so scared that they bowed down to the ground. The angels spoke saying “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.

God wants to tell us what to think about this life, this world and the life hereafter.

The angels remind the women what was told them by Jesus, saying Remember how Jesus told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

And the women remembered his words. In the words of Jesus we will find salvation.

Later that day Jesus confronted a few disciples for closing their minds and hearts to His Easter promises. Jesus had to confront the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Luke 24:25-28 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Has the Holy Spirit ever showed you how the Bible is a treasure map to the glory of God as revealed in Jesus? The disciples had cold hearts and had not fully believed.

After their road trip ended they entered a town to rest for the night. As they were eating dinner, Jesus broke the bread and their eyes were opened to behold the risen Christ!

What will God need to do for you to believe His Easter Promises?

Later that week the disciples were in a locked room for fear of the Jews. And in that fear and confusion, Jesus appeared to them and said, (Luke 24:36-49) Peace to you!”

Jesus spoke words of peace and comfort to terrified hearts.

That’s one of the greatest needs our hearts can hear at this time in our nation’s history. Our economy and morality is in decline. The church is in decline and the world is in a mess. We need the Easter Promise that there is peace through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

There are Promises of salvation and glory attached to Easter, and we need to let God speak those promises to our hearts that we might deepen our faith.

Even us who are slow to believe like Thomas. Jesus isn’t looking to lop us off or cast us out of the family. Jesus is seeking to strengthen our confidence.

Jesus said to Thomas, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

The Divine Easter agenda is to bring us all to unquestionable faith that Jesus is risen from the dead, that our Savior has power over the grave, that we are forever safe in the family of God and our future is as secure as that of Christ Himself.

God the Father wants to remind us of His precious word that everything written about Jesus in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

And our transformation happens when the Holy Spirit transforms our hearts to understand God’s love and mercy toward us. He is a loving Father who comes to us with great compassion.

Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.

Do you believe enough to be willing to live and speak these Gospel promises to others? Our life bears witness to the new resurrected life of Christ or the power of death and sin. Which do you reflect? Life or death?

The Father has shared these Gospel promises of Easter to bring us to faith and make us witnesses of a living hope.

Matthew 28:17-20 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

God will never leave us nor forsake us! Jesus has all power in heaven and earth! We are commissioned to be witnesses of these Gospel promises. What story could be more glorious than this?

There is an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for us. The resurrection power guards the people of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Our current experience of the power and blessings of the resurrection are only a foretaste of glory divine. We have not yet imagined the great things God has prepared for those who love Him.

And the sufferings of this present world only work to purify and display our faith which is more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire. Do you feel like your life is just one big test of faith? By fire? That’s not far from the truth! And as you persevere in your faith you are showing your faith to be genuine. How glorious!

That we may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. You are a trophy of His grace. You are the prize that was set before Jesus for which He suffered. You are the Apple of His eye. You are His beloved.

God loves you with an everlasting love. His cross overcomes our sin. His pain brings us peace. His poverty makes us rich. These are the promises of Easter.

And what should be our response? We have not seen him, yet we love him.

Do you love God? It’s a hard question. An easier question is, “Do you love Jesus?” But if we were to understand that love for Jesus, or God, is only displayed by our keeping His commandments, then either question might make us equally uncomfortable.

Which is why God comes with great mercy! God, in His great mercy tells us what to think and what to believe. We need to let the Spirit convince our mind and hearts that the Easter Promises are true.

And though we do not now see him, we believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls

What you think and what you believe will determine the destination of your soul. Why not let God make that decision for you. Why not confess your sin, cast aside your own ideas about life and it’s purpose, and embrace the glorious purpose God has planned for you.

Your heavenly Father designed you for eternal fellowship with Him and the rest of the family of God. Don’t listen to the world. Believe God.

Maybe for the first time in your life, let God tell you how to think this Easter. You are loved with an everlasting love. Believe and receive God’s love.

These are the promises of Easter. Jesus is alive, He is risen and preparing eternal blessings for His people. May we believe and be changed.

And may God bless you this Easter weekend with all the blessings He has to give. Amen.

[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

I want to buy him

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