Celebrating the Gospel
I want to begin this morning by doing what Paul did with his Corinthian audience in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. I want to make known to you the gospel which I regularly proclaim to you, which also you have received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved. The glorious message of life is “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Though the resurrected Savior is to be celebrated and worshipped every time Christians are gathered together, we have set apart this day in particular to rejoice and to celebrate over the fact that God’s only Son lives never to die again.
I do not care to offer anything new. All I care to do this morning is draw our minds to the fact that 2,000 years ago, by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, Jesus Christ died on the cross after being nailed to it nailed by the hands of wicked men, but “God raised Him up again putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.”
I want us to consider this day the purpose of the resurrection of Jesus, and why we as believers have every reason to celebrate. Like Paul, my desire is that we would all know Him and the power of His resurrection.
Vindicates the Son of God
Why should we rejoice this Easter Sunday? Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Paul declares in Romans 1:1-4:
“Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
How do we know that God become flesh and dwelt among us? That the Creator of heaven and earth condescended and took upon Himself the limitations of His creation? That the Infinite wrapped Himself in the finite.? That the Maker of man lived as one? How do we know that Jesus of Nazareth, is one with the Father? That He is the I AM? That He is the image of the invisible God? That all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Him? That He explains the Father? How do we know that Jesus Christ is truly the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature? He lives!
The irrefutable fact of the resurrection proves to the entire world that Jesus Christ is exactly who He claimed to be. Just consider the purpose of the gospel accounts. They are written so that one may know the claims of Jesus, and understand His works which validate those claims, and conclude that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and that by trusting in Him they may have life in His name.
We cannot have life in His name if He is not who He says He is. Peter acknowledged who He was. Jesus asked him, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus affirmed this, and as Mark 8:31 says:
“He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
The temple of His body would be destroyed, but in three days He would raise it up proving Himself to be Christ the incarnate Deity. His resurrection vindicates Him as the Son of God, and we should rejoice over this.
Confirms the Faith
Why should we rejoice this Easter Sunday? Jesus Christ, as the eternal Son of God, atoned for our sin. Paul says in Romans 4:25:
“He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”
How do we know that He who knew no sin became our sin on our behalf? That He, as the sinless and perfect Lamb of God, bore our sin on His body on the cross? That He became a curse for us? That He was pierced through for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquity? That He truly poured out Himself to death bearing the sin of many? How do we know that when He said upon the cross, “It is finished,” that He made an actual atonement for sin? How do we know that God was satisfied by the sacrifice of His only Son whom He loves? He lives!
The undeniable reality that Christ is not decaying somewhere in the earth, but is alive and well at the right hand of the Father, proves that our pardon is secure. As Peter says:
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”
Christ secured for us an eternal redemption with His blood. He appeared once to put away our sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and He will appear a second time without reference to sin for those who eagerly await for Him. Since He lives, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him. His resurrection confirms our faith in Him, and we should rejoice over this.
Validates the Believers Hope and the Unbelievers Dread
Why should we rejoice this Easter Sunday? Since the eternal Son of God who atoned for our sin lives, we too shall live. Jesus says in John 11:25-26:
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.”
How do we know that there is life after the grave? That though our bodies return to dust our spirits will return to the God who gave it? How do we know that the dead will live either to everlasting life, or to eternal disgrace and contempt? He lives!
The indisputable truth that Christ rose to life on the third day never to die again validates both the believers hope of eternal life, and the non-believers dread of eternal death.
The Christian knows with certainty that since God raised up the Lord, He will also raise us up by His power. We who have been raised up with Christ have been promised that when Christ is revealed in glory we too shall be revealed with Him, for we have died and our lives are hidden in Him with God. We know that when He appears we shall be like Him. We know that we shall be changed. We know that we will be glorified, not on the basis of our person and work, but on the basis of faith in His substitutionary work on the cross as the sinless Son of God. Paul says to the believers in Corinth:
“That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own…So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable…the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
Jesus’ resurrection proves to us that death has no power or effect over those who rest solely in Him. The chant of the Christian truly is, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” His being alive today verifies this truth for us, and we should rejoice.
Remember that the fact of the resurrection is not only a matter of supreme importance to the Christian, but the nonbeliever as well. Since Christ is alive, all who are not trusting in Him for salvation are above all people most to be pitied. They are devoid of the truth, dead in their sin, separated from the life of God, and destined to endure His wrath for all of eternity. Jesus said:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
My plea for anyone that does not know God, and is not obeying His gospel, is that you would turn from your sin and trust in Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Him. Be reconciled to God through Christ. God made Him, who knew no sin, to become sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. He proved this by His resurrection. The Scripture says that if you confess with your heart Christ as Lord, and believe that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. He will not cast aside anyone who comes to Him. Call upon Him and be saved.
Every Reason to Rejoice
Today, there is every reason for us in Christ to rejoice! Jesus has proved Himself to be who He claims to be, and we who rest in Him are secure, having our sins freely forgiven and given the hope of eternal life by grace through faith in Him alone. Rejoice in the fact that He lives!
 Acts 2:22-24
 Philippians 3:10
 John 1:14
 John 10:30
 John 8:58
 Colossians 1:15
 Colossians 2:9
 John 1:18
 John 20:31
 Matthew 16:15-18
 John 2:19
 2 Corinthians 5:21
 1 Peter 2:24
 Galatians 3:13
 Isaiah 53:5
 Isaiah 53:11-12
 John 19:30
 Isaiah 53:10
 1 Peter 3:18
 Hebrews 9:12
 Hebrews 9:26,28
 Hebrews 7:25
 John 14:19
 Ecclesiastes 12:7
 Daniel 12:2
 1 Corinthians 6:14
 Colossians 3:1-4
 1 John 3:2
 1 Corinthians 15:51
 1 Corinthians 15:36-38, 42-44, 50, 52-53
 1 Corinthians 15:55
 John 3:16
 John 14:6
 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
 Romans 10:9