As a follower of Jesus, there should be no more important or celebrated time of year than Easter. The truth that should be celebrated is the message of the gospel; the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:17, "if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." The foundation of our faith is Christ who overcame death and the grave. His great sacrifice on the cross paid the penalty for sin and made peace with God. Easter is a celebration of hope and life - both abundantly and eternally. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead..." 1 Corinthians 15:19-20
Like any thing of great importance in life, preparation is key to making the most of the occasion. Here are a few thoughts and ideas to implement as your family prepares for Easter.
# 1 - Remember Christ's Sacrifice
Have you ever had anyone tell you that they have both good news and bad news? Maybe they even asked you: "Which do you want first, the good or the bad?" The message of the Gospel is a message of good news however, we often choose to overlook the bad news. You can't celebrate Christ's victory without remembering His sacrifice. Our sin against God demanded a payment of death, a death that Christ willingly submitted himself too. The God of the universe took our place, carried our cross, and faced a penalty that should have been ours. Think of the words of Isaiah 53, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." Consider starting a reading plan that highlights the events leading to the cross. I encourage you in the weeks leading up to Resurrection Sunday to take time as a family to read and remember the account of Christ's suffering.
#2 - Examine Your Heart
The book of James uses a great picture to help us understand what our response to God's Word should be. He describes a man who looks in the mirror, and sees the changes that need to be made but does nothing. Unlike that man, James challenges us to be doers, and not just hearers of the Word! A natural response to remembering the sacrifice of Christ is to examine our own hearts for sin. One of the best ways to celebrate victory over sin, is to live in freedom from sin. Choose to worship God this Easter by submitting in obedience to His Word. Consider the prayer of the psalmist as he writes in Psalm 139, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Set an example in your home by examining your heart, confessing sin, and turning to God.
#3 - Pray for an Opportunity to Share Christ
Good news is meant to be shared. Easter is a rare opportunity in that even those who don't follow Jesus take time to stop and celebrate. There is a great opportunity for you and your family to share the hope you have in Christ. Take time to share your testimony with a friend or co-worker, and why Easter is so special for you. Invite others to join your family at church this Easter or watch the Easter presentation online. Use your social platforms to highlight and celebrate Christ over the next few weeks. Pray as a family the way that Paul did in Colossians 4 "that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ..." Our mission statement at Bible Baptist is to "Seek Christ and Share Hope. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead and direct you to a person who you could share your hope with this Easter season.
Over the next few weeks, prepare your heart and your home to celebrate our risen Saviour. Never lose sight of Christ's sacrifice on the cross and victory over death. Christ died for our sin, so that we could live free from it's penalty, power and one day it's presence. The resurrection means that we are no longer slaves to our sin but now free in Christ. He came back to life, so that we can be made alive! That is the message of Easter. Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Remember these powerful words spoken by the angels that very first Easter, "...Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen..."Luke 24:5-6
Christ is our Living Hope!
- Pastor Levi