Monday, March 28, 2016

Three Reasons You Can Shout for Joy Because of Easter

British preacher W. E. Sangster writes of the time when he first began to notice some uneasiness in his throat and a dragging in his leg. When he went to the doctor, they found that he had an incurable disease called progressive muscular atrophy. Told his muscles would gradually waste away, voice fail, and eventually becoming unable to swallow, Sangster threw himself into his work in British ministry work figuring he could still write and he would have even more time for prayer. "Let me stay in the struggle Lord," he pleaded. "I don't mind if I can no longer be a general, but give me just a regiment to lead." He wrote articles and books, and helped organize prayer groups throughout England. 
As predicted, Sangster's legs eventually became useless and his voice went out completely. But he could still hold a pen. On Easter morning, just a few weeks before he died, he wrote a letter to his daughter.  In it he wrote, "It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice to shout out loud 'He is risen!' But I now realize it would be even more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout at all."
Sangster is right - we should want to shout for joy about Easter! It is a sad thing to understand what Easter and the resurrection means for us and not want to shout for joy about it! Let me give you several reason you can shout with joy about the Resurrection of Jesus.

1. The Resurrection tells you that you can count on God's promises.

During his earthly ministry, Jesus promised us that He would rise from the dead, and on the first Easter morning, that promise was fulfilled (John. 2:19-22). The Resurrection of Jesus, and the fulfillment of this promise, empowered and reinforced the disciple's faith. And it should do the same for us - because if Jesus' promise about the Resurrection is true, then all his other promises to us are true; such as the forgiveness of sins in Jesus, that He will be our constant companion, that we can have security knowing God will never forsake us, and we can have eternal life with God. If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, none of these promises would mean anything. The Resurrection of Christ is proof that we can rely on God and His promises. 

2. The Resurrection means you can enjoy life to its fullest.

Last month, a grandfather who was very dear to me died – and were it not for the Easter hope I have in Jesus’ resurrection, I would have no joy in thinking about seeing him again in Heaven. I would only have the grief in knowing I had lost him forever. But praise God that I have this assurance in Jesus Christ!

And I want you to have that joy too! To know that you are in a personal relationship with a resurrected Lord who will give you a life that is abundant with joyful experiences and meaningful purpose. Jesus described why he came to earth this way: 
“I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” – John 10:10
When you are in a relationship with Jesus, you can be completely sure of your future and the problems of this present day will not seem quite so formidable. With Christ and the promise of the Resurrection even the worst of times are still the best of times.

3. The Resurrection means your life can have meaning and purpose.

The Apostle Paul once said, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). The apostle sensed within himself not just the philosophy, the ideals, or influence of Christ but the person of Jesus. Christ moved in a radically new way. Easter promises us that He still does this to our lives. When salvation comes to our lives, Christ enters our hearts. God puts “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1: 27). He gives our lives purpose and meaning.

In giving our lives purpose, God like a heart surgeon cracks open your chest, removing your heart— poisoned as it is with pride and pain— and replaces it with his own. When you are united with Christ, when God hears your heart, He hears the still-beating heart of his Son and the vision and purpose of Christ's life becomes your own.

Rather than tell you to change, he creates the change. Do you clean up so he can accept you? No, he accepts you and begins cleaning you up. His dream isn’t just to get you into heaven but to get heaven into you. 

What a difference this makes! Can’t forgive your enemy? Can’t face tomorrow? Can’t forgive your past? Christ can, and he is on the move. You aren’t stuck with today’s personality. You aren’t condemned to grump-dom. You are changeable. You are tweakable. Even if you’ve worried each day of your life, you needn’t worry the rest of your life. So what if you were born with all of the problems and disadvantages you have now – you don’t have to die with them! God will change you through the same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead.

And he will change you to be like Jesus.

So shout for joy to the Lord because of Easter and the Resurrection. As W.E. Sangster said, "It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice to shout, 'He is risen!' – but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout at all."