“WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?” SERIES
Message #6 – “On the Third Day” (EASTER)
CWBC – 4/1/18
INTRO – Art Linkletter, radio & TV personality of the 40’s, 50’s, & 60’s. Had a segment on his show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things” where he would ask kids a question & get their answers. Kids would normally be 3-8 years old & would say some kind of cute thing.
Like my granddaughter, Selah. Several weeks ago, struggling to get into her car seat. Finally she cried out, “Oh, everything is a fail! I’m sorry, Jesus. I just can’t make this day right. Just color the pages of my soul with chopped tomatoes!”
Vicki’s story – 3 yr old little girls coloring. Vicki sitting w/ them watching them color & talking about Easter w/ them. Sad that He died, but that we are happy that Jesus is in heaven, & that JESUS IS ALIVE!
“My mama said my granddaddy’s in heaven, & he doesn’t hurt, & he’s not sad, & doesn’t cry, & one day we will be here with him & we will live there forever! Nobody’s sad…everybody’s happy…” And when she starting talking about that, a little Mormon girl, said up w/ wide eyes, & said, “What???” Little girl repeated herself & told the little Mormon girl that in heaven, we are going to live forever! The curiosity of the little Mormon girl was so powerful, as he facial expressions said, “Tell me more!” So, she told her the TRUTH of the Gospel & the resurrection again, planting the seeds of the TRUTH in the heart of this little Mormon girl.
Joe McKeever’s story – My friend Cathy (who is now an MD) was babysitting little Will, who was maybe 4 years old. At one point she was humming a hymn. “What’s that song?” Will asked. “It’s about Jesus,” Cathy answered. She asked Will, “Do you know about Jesus?” “Um huh,” Will answered. “He died.” Cathy said, “Yes, he did. Then what happened?” Will said, “He git up.” Which, incidentally, is almost literally the meaning of ANASTASIA, the Greek word for resurrection. STASIA means “to stand” and ANA means “again.” Little Will stated a profound biblical truth when he said, “He git up!” Say that w/ me – “HE GIT UP!”
Whether you are 3 or 4 years old, 33 or 34 years old, 73 or 74 years old, or 103 or 104 years old, the truth of the resurrection should still stir our hearts & rock our worlds! The fact that, b/c of the resurrection, granddaddies who are Christ-followers & die will certainly be in a place where there’s no pain, or sadness, & where all of us who are Christ-followers will go one day & be reunited w/ them. And that’s the truth for ALL of us who are Christ-followers, no matter how old we are.
It’s also true that the FACT that Jesus came out of that tomb – or as Will said, “He git up!” – sets us as Christ-followers apart from every other religion in the world. B/c “He git up,” you & I have the possibility that we will “git up” one day, too!
Grab your Bibles or open up your Bible app on your phone or iPad to 1 Cor. 15, & let’s read verses 3 & 4. Page 961 in pew Bible. Would you stand please as I read these verses?
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 English Standard Version (ESV)
“3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”
This passage in 1 Cor. 15 is so important in our belief in the Gospel – the Good News about Jesus Christ! These 2 little verses are pregnant w/ profound meaning & profound truth for us. It’s what we must proclaim with our lips & live out w/ our lives. We must BELIEVE this – REALLY believe this!
- Believe it to the point that it affects our career choices
- Believe it to the point that it affects our marriage & our families
- Believe it to the point that it affects how we spend our money, how we spend our time, how we spend our energy
- Believe it to the point that if affects how we treat strangers, how we treat folks who are different from us, how we
APPLICATION – The resurrection of Jesus Christ is absolutely THE most important Biblical truth we have!
Or to put it another way: It just don’t get no better than this!
Not the best grammar, but definitely gets the point across!
What does the resurrection mean for us today?
It means that there is HELP for us.
My daddy died Dec. 20, 2016. As much we loved him & as much as he loved us, he can’t help us anymore. Can’t give advice anymore. Can’t fix stuff for Mama. Can’t be the “Good Neighbor” State Farm agent any more. Can’t give us any more money when we are in a financial pinch.
Vicki’s daddy died Jan. 11 of this year. As much as we loved him & as much as he loved us, he can’t help us anymore. Can’t give wise counsel anymore. Can’t preach another sermon. Can’t pay for another meal at Jerry’s fish house any more.
But even though Jesus died, too, b/c of the resurrection, He still helps us. He promised in John 14:16 that He would send us another Helper after He was gone. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever…” And He did that Helper! He sent the Holy Spirit. And He’s with us now to help us as Christ-followers in whatever situation we find ourselves.
What situation are you in right now where you need some help?
It means that there is HOPE for us.
Anybody here today needs some hope? There are so many people in our world today who are living without hope. They don’t have any belief or assurance that things are going to get better.
- Stephen Hawking – brilliant scientist who battled ALS for about 50 years before dying on March 14 of this year. Was also an atheist. Had this to say about heaven & the afterlife: “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail,” he told the “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” (http://time.com/5199149/stephen-hawking-death-god-atheist/)
That’s a person who has no hope. You see, hope means “confident expectation.” It means that there is something for us to look forward to. And for those who are Christ-followers, our hope is found in Jesus Christ! He lived. He died. He was buried. He rose again. He ascended back to God where He is interceding for us at the right hand of God right now. And He’s coming again!
“KEEP YOUR FORK” – There was a woman who knew that her time on earth was limited. So as she was getting her things in order, she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.
She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.
“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.
“What’s that?” came the Pastor’s reply.
“This is very important,” the young woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”
The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.
“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young woman asked.
“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the Pastor.
The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. When we would sit down for a big family meal, after we were through with the main course & my grandmother would be clearing the dishes away, I always remember that she would lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!”
So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder “What’s with the fork?” Then I want you to tell them: “Keep your fork ..the best is yet to come.”
At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled & told them the story.
For us as Christ-followers, the best is yet to come because of the hope that we have in Christ b/c of His resurrection! He’s coming again!
It means that there is HEAVEN for us.
John 14:1-6 – “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
There had to be a resurrection so Jesus could go & prepare that place for us! If He had stayed in the grave, there would be no heaven, no eternal life, no joyful reunions at the South Central Gate.
CONLUSION – What does the resurrection mean for us today?
- There is HELP for us.
- There is HOPE for us.
- There is HEAVEN for us.
IT JUST DON’T GET NO BETTER THAN THIS!