The Easter Message

My Easter church magazine article:

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, (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NIV)

The story of Easter, is the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul tells us in the verses above from 1 Corinthians that it is this story, which is of first importance. In fact, when he went to Corinth, he tells us that:

I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2 NIV)

Paul's point is, that the message of the apostles, of Jesus and of the Scriptures is focused on that three days surrounding Jesus' death and resurrection. If we don't understand those three days, then we've missed the whole point. How does Paul summarise it?

1. Christ died for our sins God's king came to die in our place, taking the punishment for our sins, so that we can be forgiven. Our sins are our rebellion against God, shown as we fail to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbour as ourself (Mark 12:29-31). Those sins, like all evil, deserve punishment, but because God loves us, he sent his Son to die for us (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8).

2. Christ was buried Despite what some try to claim, the testimony of the time was clear: Jesus did really die and was buried. This is significant both to confirm that he did take our punishment and to confirm that the resurrection was a supernatural reversal of death.

3. Christ was raised The tomb was indeed empty (in fact, Paul goes on to list the very many witnesses to the resurrected Jesus). Not only are our sins forgiven, but Jesus' resurrection shows he has defeated death (the punishment for sin), and, as he goes onto eternal life, so can we. As Paul writes further on:

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20 NIV)

If this Easter message is the central message, what are we to do with it? Paul tells us:

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2 NIV)

If we are to be saved, we must receive and take our stand on this message, i.e. acknowledge its truth not just intellectually, but by a life built upon it. If we have been saved, we must hold firmly to this message, i.e. we must not be knocked off course, or walk away from it.

Let me ask you three questions to think about this Easter.

1. Do you know the message of Easter as the Bible presents it?

2. Have you received the message, which is another way of asking, have you been saved?


3. Are you holding firm to that message or have you been knocked off course?

Comments

  1. Hi Stephen!

    Was searching Google and stumbled across your blog and recognised you straight away. Do you remember your old school friend? Glad to see that you've kept the faith and God is using you for his Kingdom. You might be interested to know that our religious debates and prayers weren't lost on me. I got saved in 2007 and now attend an evangelical church in Stockport. Hope you get this message!

    God bless you my erstwhile friend.

    Matthew Purves
    truth4jws@gmail.com
    (or see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV70sZzjB1I)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Matthew,

      What a fantastic email to receive! I've just finished watching your talk as well. I've been rejoicing all day to find out you were saved.

      Delete

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