Let us pray: Dear Savior, how glorious and majestic is Your name in all the earth! You came to earth and saw the despair caused by death. And then in love for us lost sinners You resolved to conquer death by dying for us and then rising from Your grave on Easter morning. Today You offer us a cradle to grave benefits package-blessings while we live and heaven when we die and resurrection for our bodies on the last day. Lord, give each of us the power to believe in Your victory so that we may reap the peace of mind that results from such Godly security. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR RISEN AND VICTORIOUS LORD!
TEXT: Ps. 16: 8-11: “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in you presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Fellow Redeemed Sinners For Whom Christ Was Raised From The Dead:
Security. We want it. We demand it. We’ll do almost anything to have it. For the sake of personal security we’ll risk long lines at the airport. For the sake of financial security we’ll risk the gyrations of the stock market. For the sake of health security we run, exercise, eat healthy, and pop a whole lot of pills. Security is so important to us that we’ll pay almost anything for it. Total up all those facets of security that I’ve touched on and the cost in literally in the trillions of dollars. But what about your “soul security”? What kind of security are you betting your soul upon?
No amount of airport security can totally insure us against terrorism. If you doubt that you haven’t read the newspapers lately about smuggled knives and even guns aboard planes. No amount of stocks or bonds can insure us against financial ruin, either. The dot com meltdown proves it. No amount of exercise or medical care can insure us against death. Jim Fixx, the author of “The Book of Running” died of a heart attack at age 45. The Olympian Florence Griffith Joyner died of a seizure at age 38. Death is inevitable. O, I know that scientists are trying to discover that elusive cure for death. But, are you willing to bet your eternal soul that they’ll be successful?
I find it amazing and very sad that in the modern workplace “Happy Easter” greetings are usually met with stone cold silence. Everyone wants security; but it seems very few want God’s gift of eternal security. Why is that? Is it pride, meaning we think we can handle even death on our own? Is it the ostrich mentality of making believe it can’t happen to me? Or, perhaps it’s just fear and even a combination of all three?
Well, my friends, God can and has conquered all these fears by sending us a Savior. Christ conquered death by rising to life! And in the process He has provided us with:
OUR JOYFUL SECURITY THIS EASTER DAY!
Although King David wrote the words of our psalm, they’re really about Jesus. Peter reveals that fact in his great Pentecost sermon when he applies these words to Jesus: “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Even though we confess Christ as our Savior, very often we’re shaken, aren’t we? Worry and unease descend upon us when the doctor informs us: “Your blood test raises some questions.” Or when the stock broker calls to tell us: “Your largest stock holding just got cut in half.” Worry looms large when you discover your name on that list for the company lay-offs. But none of these things means that God has abandoned us. Our worry and anxiety are self-inflicted wounds. Unlike us, Christ never questioned His Father’s goodness. He never inflicted wounds of worry upon Himself. Even while praying in Gethsemane, Jesus remained glued to His Father’s goodness and love. After all, He ended His prayer with: “Not My will, but Yours be done.” Yes, Jesus didn’t crumble in the face of death because He knew a glorious truth. He knew that He would rise to life again! And when we set the Lord before us in faith, Christ will give His strength and His victory and His eternal life to each of us, too.
Today we know that Godly security is ours. We know that death cannot claim our bodies forever. We know that because Christ arose from our very graves. “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”
Jesus possessed inner joy even in the face of death because He knew His body wouldn’t rot. He knew a cemetery wouldn’t be His final home. He knew that He would breath again, walk again, talk again, and experience joy again. He knew His bodily resurrection was a certainty. This is what Easter is about. This is why we have come to celebrate this morning. Jesus is immortal and He wants to give His immortality to each and every one of you. He wants you to be remembered not only in 2002 but in 2050, 2250, and 22,050! Yes, by raising us to eternal life you and I will never be forgotten. For you cannot forget someone who is standing before you alive, well, talking, and laughing, can you?
Jesus promises us, “Because I live you will live also.” Yes, I know we’re made of dust, of carbon and various other elements. I know that the atoms of deceased humans lie scattered all over this planet. But since God knows all things, He also knows where those atoms are. And in whatever form He finds them, “By the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, He will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”
We humans put a price tag on everything. In fact, we usually don’t value something unless it costs us. We somehow think: “If it costs a lot, it must be valuable.” One of my fellow pastors once said about people who were slap-dash in their communion attendance: “If we started charging them $500 to commune, maybe they’d take it a bit more seriously.” Well, his point is well taken. We don’t think security is good unless and until it costs us time, money, and emotional commitment. Free security? Human nature scoffs at such a thing. And that fact, my friends, is the reason people don’t take Easter seriously. Our eternal soul security cost God the death of His Son. But it cost us absolutely nothing. Christ doesn’t charge you for resurrection. He doesn’t charge you for eternal life in heaven. Instead, He offers it to you freely. He bids you to simply take it. And if, if, you grasp hold of His gift in gratitude and love-blessings will overflow!
Our Psalm talks about this with those words: “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” I’ve seen those blessings, that joy, living amidst untold human sorrow among my fellow believers. I’ve seen cancer patients that glorified God for their disease because it brought them closer to Him. I’ve seen older people who were wiped out financially, yet didn’t complain because they were rich in Christ. Knowing you’re going to heaven, knowing that you’ll live again, breath again, and laugh joyously again without any pain or sadness such faith-created happiness is the only thing that makes life worth living for and death worth dying for!
Remember Linus, the Peanuts cartoon character? He’s the poster boy for insecurity. He always is pulling his security blanket with him. A blanket may be a silly object to find security in. After all, it’s simply a piece of flimsy cloth. But as we get older and become adults, our “grown-up” security blankets offer the same false hope, don’t they? That’s why it think it’s funny and ironic that God once wrapped His true and lasting security in mere strips of cloth within the manger. Likewise, when Christ was placed in His tomb, strips of cloth surrounded His body. But on Easter, those strips of cloth were wrapped around nothing! For Christ arose to life-for you! Our joyous Easter security is a living, breathing Savior Who is actively watching over your life and waiting to embrace you in glory. Trust in Him and you will find an answer to your pain, your fears, your worries, and yes, even your death. Because He lives you shall live also! Amen