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4/4/2010 8:59 AM
Minister Ty Alexander
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Happy Pascha (Easter) to you all! Last year on this day, I was unexpectedly moved to write my first sermon. This was before I had begun any formal ministry. That morning on April 12th, 2009, I was planning on doing my usual Sunday routine before going out at 10 am. However, I was redirected when I was brought to Isaiah 57:18 and felt compelled to write a sermon based on the content of that Scripture...
4/4/2010 9:04 AM
Happy Pascha (Easter)
I was directed to Isaiah 57:18 today in the section titled
"Comfort for the Contrite."
Like Isaiah, I am preparing a road to build up God's people.
"Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of My people."
It used to be that I had no idea what Easter Sunday was all about, but I'm a quick learner and this year I know its true significance. No longer is it about Easter bunnies, painted eggs and candy for me. Those were distractions from the world. On this day we should concentrate on what Jesus did and what it means to you.
In simple terms, this is the day, the 3rd day after Jesus' crucifixion and death that He was resurrected and risen again into eternal life. But what does that really mean? Just a guy, some two thousand years ago who died and rose again by God's power? It is so much more than that, my friends.
God sent his Son to us as a sacrifice, the most high of sin offerings, for our benefit, because He knew we were powerless to save ourselves from destruction. For thousands of years He saw us fail to live morally. Mankind and each one of us has sinned or broken God's laws - in mind and in action. Unholy we are by nature and though that is unacceptable in the Lord's eyes, He still offers mercy for our wrongs.
For in Isaiah 57:16, God says,
"I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint before Me - the breath of man that I have created."
"I was enraged by his sinful greed; I punished him, and hid My face in anger, yet he kept on in his willful ways. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel."
Israel in today's context is us, my friends - you and me and all our brothers and sisters in the faith - and the healing God promises us is through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. For that is why Jesus died and rose again. It was an act of sacrifice and rebirth, both literal and symbolic to make absolutely clear His message to us - that through confession of belief in Jesus and what He did, we too will be reborn and saved into eternity.
Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection was also an anointment, for on that day He became the gateway by which we all must look and walk to in order to gain access to Heaven and eternal fellowship with God.
"shout it aloud, do not hold back,"
and raise my voice like a trumpet. We have all rebelled against God, but it is also certain that He grants us healing and mercy - Grace - through our Lord Jesus Christ. Because it is by faith in Him and speaking outwardly that faith, that we are granted Grace, for Jesus said,
"Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I will also disown him before My Father in heaven"
This is not easy, I know. I grew up on scientific theory and found it hard to accept stories from people long gone and from text that could become unreliable because of mistranslation. But like anything that is true, the truth was proven to me through mountains of evidence from many different areas of knowledge that line up to say the same thing: The stories in the Bible are true.
How can that be? I was reluctant, to say the least, because I was raised on the American values of independence and think for yourself attitude - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our Founding Fathers spoke those words in context - that we have the right to be free and happy, but we, our generation, has taken that out of context and strayed to the far extremes of independence. Unfortunately, much of the world has also fallen to this mentality.
The next step to our promised healing is realizing the folly of this attitude and step out of it and step into the right light. That step allows the next, which is to acknowledge God completely by understanding His ways and following in them.
All God wants from you is acknowledgment. First through His Son, Jesus, and second by continuing in the perfect example Jesus gave of a life within God's laws. That is the light we are to walk in. Do that and
"Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here I am."
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