Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Full of Hope (Easter Sunday)



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THE EMPTY GRAVE


My Easter basket is empty this year. The empty basket can symbolize the feeling of emptiness that many people experience. Many people who seem to have “everything” feel empty. People try to fill the emptiness with many things that give temporary satisfaction. I believe that the only thing that can truly fill the emptiness is faith in the risen Jesus.

Text: 1 Corinthians 15

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (vv. 3-4).

The list of eyewitnesses (vv. 5-8) is a powerful piece of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus:
  • Peter and the Twelve. The one who denied Jesus became someone who was willing to die for Jesus.
  • More than 500 of Christ’s followers. Many of these people were still alive when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians.
  • James, the half-brother of Jesus. Before the resurrection the brothers of Jesus “did not believe in Him” (John 7:5).
  • Paul, the former enemy of Christians. The church’s most feared persecutor became its greatest missionary.

FULL LIVES


How does the empty grave fill our lives with hope? In 1 Corinthians 15, we discover three reasons why we can be full of hope:
  1. Our faith is not empty (vv. 12-19). "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith" (v. 14). Don’t despair, your sins are forgiven!
  2. Our future is not empty (vv. 20-24, 35-38, 42-57). "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (vv. 19-20). Don’t despair, your life will be transformed!
  3. Our labor is not empty (vv. 58, 30-32). "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (v. 58). Don’t despair, your service matters!

DON’T GIVE UP!


The empty grave fills our lives with hope.

Keep on believing; keep on hoping; keep on working. We are not believing in vain; we are not hoping in vain; we are not working in vain.

There are over 100 books in print with titles that include the phrase “…That Changed the World.” Here are a few examples:

Gunpowder: The History of the Explosive That Changed the World
Mayflower: The Voyage That Changed the World
Model T Ford: The Car That Changed the World
Glass: The Story of the Substance That Changed the World
The Cable: The Wire That Changed the World
Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World
The Twist: The Story of the Song and Dance That Changed the World
Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World

You might wonder how the twist or mauve changed the world, but there is another book on the list that really is about a world-changing subject: The Weekend That Changed the World: The Mystery of Jerusalem’s Empty Tomb.

The empty grave has changed my world. Has it changed yours?