By Pastor Stan Rankin,
Hamer Church Of God
I remember hearing of a church meeting many Easter Sundays ago. In that service a young man looked over and saw a father with several children singing with conviction the familiar hymn, ”He Lives.” He along with several of his children sang , “I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today. I know that He is living whatever men may say… He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today”.
There was nothing unusual about that except the young man knew what had happened to this family. Just a few weeks before, this man had buried his wife and two of his young children because of the awful disease of cholera that had swept through their community. The young man was amazed to see them in church and lifting their voices in praise and song. He turned to his father and said, “It makes a difference when you really believe it”!
The message of Easter is a message of good news. It is a message that brings hope. It is a message that makes all the difference! In it is a message of life and of the One who is the Life Giver!
The Bible explains exactly what is the meaning of Easter.
We read in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein you stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached to you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
Each of us owed a debt of sins that was greater than we could pay. We were separated from our Heavenly Father because of our rebellion and pride. We were dead in our sins and had no power to bring life. We found ourselves bound in chains and facing the penalty of guilt and eternal separation from God. It was in this lost state that God so loved us. He sent Jesus who died for our sins and rose again to give us eternal hope.
Ephesians 2:4,5 tells us “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love, wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened (made us alive) together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).”
The message of Easter is a message of hope. It is a message of hope to those separated from God because of sin and bound in it’s chains. Christ died and rose again for us to be redeemed.
To redeem is to buy back or to pay the price of freedom. It is taken from the slave trade.
“The word redeem means “to buy out”. The term was used specifically in reference to the purchase of a slaves freedom. The application of this term to Christ death on the cross is quite telling. If we are “redeemed”, then our prior condition was one of slavery. God has purchased our freedom, and we are no longer in bondage to sin or to the Old Testament law. .The streets of heaven will be filled with former captives who, through no merit of their own, find themselves redeemed, forgiven, and free. Slaves to sin have become saints. No wonder we will sing a new song – a song of praise to the Redeemer who was slain(Revelation 5:9). ..Jesus paid the price to redeem us, resulting in our freedom from slavery to sin and our rescue from from the eternal consequences of that sin.”(GotQuestions.org).
A missionary to China was once asked, “why does China need Christ when she has Confucius?” The answer is quite powerful. “Confucius is a teacher and China doesn’t need a teacher. China needs a Savior. Confucius is dead and Christ is alive. China needs a living Savior. Confucius will stand before Christ one day. Unless China receives Christ as Savior, she will meet Him one day as Judge.”
Jesus Christ not only died for our sins, He also lives to save and fill our lives with joy and hope today. He is our present help and our future hope because our sins are covered. In Him, we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sin(Ephesians 1:7).
What a wonderful message of hope! Our past is forgiven and washed in the blood of His sacrifice. Our present is filled with peace and strength through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our future is bright because Jesus has defeated the grave. Nothing and none other can offer us such hope. It is one that the world cannot give or take away. It comes only by you and I turning with all our hearts and believing upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved..”(Acts 16:31)
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”
When we really believe the good news of Easter, it really makes the difference. In this life and in the life to come. It means the difference between misery or peace now. If you really believe , it makes the difference between hope or eternal suffering in eternity.
That is why Jesus said,
“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Believeth thou this?”(John 11:25,26)
And this is why Paul could assure the early Christians whose loved ones had died after believing upon Christ,
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”(1 Thessalonians 4:14-18).
What a difference when you really believe it! Help for today and hope for tomorrow is a reality in Christ Jesus. Will you believe it
By Pastor Stan Rankin,