Here is the outline of today’s Easter sermon, “Sustainable Joy.” Included are just a few expository comments, not the full sermon.
Main thought: The resurrection of Jesus gives us sustainable joy! How so?
I. It speaks of a new world
As Christians, we have joy in the midst of this messed up world, this sin-sick world, because the tomb of Jesus is open and empty. And that tells us that death is not the end, that sin will not always win, that God intends to and will turn things around one day, that our Savior is victorious over all the stuff we live in each day. The tomb is our glimpse into a glorious future where death is no more, where sin is no more, were suffering is no more, and where the enemies of the gospel will be defeated once and for all. As the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:49, “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust [Adam], we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” God is in the resurrection business – Jesus’ own resurrection demonstrates that! The resurrection shows us a new world and that sustains our joy while we wait for it to come.
II. It speaks of a unique Savior
The Apostle Paul says so in Romans 1:4. Speaking of Jesus, he writes, “and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the resurrection from the dead.” What he means is this: when Jesus was raised from the dead, it was as though God the Father was putting his stamp of approval upon Jesus. The resurrection was God’s endorsement, God’s proof, that this Jesus really is his Son, that Jesus really is the one and only true Savior. The thinking is simple: God would not raise from the dead a fake, or a liar, or a false prophet, or just a special spiritual teacher, because everyone would look at it as an affirmation of that person’s life, ministry, and very identity. God would not raise someone if it risked misleading people. God is a God of truth! And so, when he raised Jesus from the dead, it was as if God was saying, “Will the real Son of God, the real Messiah, please stand up!” And he did!
III. It speaks of a definitive victory
Our Lord Jesus had a definitive victory when he was raised on the third day. He did not earn some title in professional sports or lead an earthly army to victory. No, he rose victorious over sin and death. As the Easter hymn “Up From the Grave” says,
Death cannot keep his prey, Jesus my Savior!
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave he arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And he lives forever with his saints to reign,
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!
The author of the book of Hebrews in our New Testament writes of this victory in chapter 2: “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Heb. 2:14-15).