Easter Sunday Morning: Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10
God’s love, God’s Son, God’s command, God’s purpose
‘When the Holy Spirit comes on you... you will be My witnesses... to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8).
This great advance of the Gospel - Salvation reaches ‘the Gentiles’ (Acts 10:45; 11:1,18) - is a movement of ‘the Spirit’ (Acts 11:12).
The Spirit speaks through the Word (Acts 10:44; 11:15).
In God’s Word, we read of
(a) God’s love for the whole world (John 3:16);
(b) God’s Son who died for ‘the sins of the whole world’ (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2);
(c) God’s command that ‘the Good News’ should be preached to ‘everyone’ (Mark 16:15);
(d) God’s purpose that there should be disciples of Christ in every nation (Matthew 28:19).
‘Every person in every nation, in each succeeding generation, has the right to hear the News that Christ can save... Here am I, send me’ (Youth Praise,128). ‘Go forth and tell!’ (Mission Praise, 178).
God’s love is an everlasting love.
‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness’ (Jeremiah 31:3).
So often, we have been like ‘the prodigal son’ (Luke 15:11-24). We have walked away from our Father’s House. We have wandered off into ‘the far country’. We feel that we are far from God, yet still He draws near to us. The Lord is at work in our hearts. He is bringing us ‘to our senses’. He is reminding us of His love. He is drawing us back to Himself. In love, He is calling us home again. He is speaking to our hearts. He is saying to us, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’. As His love reaches our hearts, ‘the prodigal son’ becomes ‘the returning son’: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son’. ‘Bring me back, let me come back, for you are the Lord my God!’ (Jeremiah 31:18).
God’s Son is our wonderful Saviour.
‘The Lord is my Strength and my Song. He is my Saviour’ (Psalm 118:14).
Knowing that Jesus Christ is our Saviour gives us a song to sing: ‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine... This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long’.
Knowing that Jesus Christ is our Saviour, we sing His song with strength, committing ourselves to His service, earnestly seeking to win others for Him: ‘We’ve a story to tell to the nations, that shall turn their hearts to the right ... We’ve a song to be sung to the nations, that shall lift their hearts to the Lord...We’ve a message to give to the nations, that the Lord, who reigneth above, hath sent us His Son to save us... We’ve a Saviour to show to the nations...’ (Mission Praise, 59,744).
Don’t keep your Saviour to yourself. Share Him with others. Win others for Him.
God’s command: Build your life on Jesus Christ.
Be what you already are. Be what God has made you in Christ. This is what God is saying to us here. ‘You have been raised with Christ... You died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:1, 3).
Paul is describing the new birth. Christ has made His home in us. New life has begun. Now that Christ lives in us - what are we to do about it? How are we to live? - ‘Set your hearts and minds on things above’ (Colossians 3:1-2). This is how we are to live. We are to live out the life which God has put into our hearts.
The new life begins when Christ comes to live in us. It does not end there. That is only the beginning. We are to go on, ‘being renewed in knowledge after the image of our Creator’ (Colossians 3:10).
Christ wants to reign in us. He wants to enrich our lives (Colossians 3:15-16).
In Him, there is so much blessing. Let’s enjoy it!
God’s purpose: Christ comes to us. Let us go for Him – Go and make disciples.
Christ is ‘the Lord’ (John 20:2, 18, 20, 25). Christ is ‘my Lord’ (John 20:13, 28). Faith becomes real when Jesus comes to us.
Here, we see Jesus coming to Mary, the disciples and Thomas. Here, we see Mary, the disciples and Thomas - changed by the power of the risen Christ. In love, He comes to them, and they are changed.
(a) Mary was ‘weeping’ (John 20:13, 15). Jesus came to her, and she became a confident believer - ‘I have seen the Lord!’ (John 20:18).
(b) The disciples were filled with ‘fear’. Jesus came to them. He gave them His ‘peace’ and ‘joy’ (John 20:19-20).
(c) Thomas found faith hard to come by (John 20:25). Jesus came to him, and he believed - ‘My Lord and my God!’ (John 20:28).
Through the Gospel, we find faith: ‘These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name’ (John 20:31).
The resurrection declares Christ’s victory over evil, the triumph of His love.
There is no need for fear: ‘He has risen’- His ‘perfect love casts out fear’ (Matthew 28:5-6; 1 John 4:18).
There has to be a new beginning in faith.
First, there was a new beginning ‘in fact- Christ has been raised from the dead’(1 Corinthians 15:20).
Christ has won the victory over the grave. Christ has taken the sting out of death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
Between the new beginning in faith - making disciples (Matthew 28:19) - and the new beginning in fact - Christ’s resurrection - , there is worship (Matthew 28:9).
The fact is not dependent on our feelings. ‘He has risen’ (Matthew 28:6-7) - the fact stands, even when many doubt and few worship (Matthew 28:17).
As we worship, we are strengthened in faith, strengthened for our task. We are to invite people to come to the place where ‘they will see’ Jesus (Matthew 28:10). We are to ‘make disciples’ (Matthew 28:19). Run and tell - with great joy (Matthew 28:8)!