Saturday, April 19, 2014

What DID Easter Mean To You?

DID?  What does that mean?
So, why phrase it like that.  Shouldn't Easter always mean something to us?  Why put it in the past tense. There are already so many articles and posts relating to the pre-Easter hype, I figured I would post something that I know most people will not read until at least Easter evening or later because it will not post to emails nor will I put it on FB until then.

The Question
The thought I want to present is this.  Does the meaning of Easter, and the sentimentality that even the most well-meaning of Christians attaches to it, carry over to the rest of our lives?  Does the passion with which we infuse Easter, inform the way we represent the gospel the rest of the year?

The Problem
We all know that Christmas and Easter are the only days that some ever come to a church service.  If for no other reason than that, I am not against churches putting on big productions or just making a big deal out of the Easter service in general.  I certainly think we should recognize that opportunity and make the most of it.

What concerns me is that many, many "Christians" get excited about Easter, but the rest of the year you would barely know they knew Christ by their behavior or the words coming out of  their mouths.  Or, maybe there is nothing inherently wrong in their words or behaviors but, their is also nothing obviously right.  There is nothing overtly Christian about their daily faith walk.  This is true of all of us from time to time.  It is a truth we must WAR against.

What's The Big Deal?
Matthew 10:32-33 says that, "Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men,  I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven."  Granted, this is in the context of a discussion regarding persecution, but let me ask you something.  How easy is it to be excited about Jesus around Easter?  Do you find yourself being more bold around Easter regarding letting others know you are a Christian?  It is easier then, is it not? Everyone expects Christians to be excited about Jesus around Easter.  It is a Christian holiday.   So far it has not received the same wrap as CHRISTmas as far as it concerns the name Christ being in the title of so many things.  No one is asking us to have "holiday egg hunts" for example.  All of the secular associations with Easter are still labeled as Easter products or events.  Let's face it, persecution in this country does not hold a candle to the persecution in other parts of the world.  And yet we often remain silent about our faith. Why?

What Will You Do?
The real test comes the rest of the year.  Does the meaning of Easter bring as much anticipation of what God may do, and celebration of what He has done, one week after the holiday is over?  How about one month? Don't get me wrong, I have been as guilty of this as anyone, and I am as tempted as anyone else to feed the hype more around the holiday than at other times.  But is this ok?  Should the phrase, "I wish it could be Christmas all year long", not apply to Easter also?   What will you do?  Will you go back to the status quo or will you carry the momentum of the holiday forward?

I want to challenge all of us.  I want to encourage us all to strive to remember the gospel truths that make Easter so special to begin with.  I want to encourage us to ask ourselves everyday how the gospel can inform every day of our lives and everything that we do and say in that day.

Jesus lived the perfect life that we could not live.  He died the death that we deserve to die.  He made statements that inform us as to what our Christian walk should look like.  For example, "if you love me, you will keep my commands"(John 14:15-30), and before He ascended to the right hand of the Father he gave us the Great Commission(Matthew 28:18-20).  Christ paid the price for our rebellion against the Father on the cross so that we could spend eternity with Him.  I don't think commanding us unto allegiance and obedience is to much to ask considering the alternative.

I have fleshed out the message of the cross many times and most people reading this have probably heard it in the last twenty four hours at a church service so I will not go there.  If you are intrigued by this discussion and have questions feel free to email me and we can dialogue about it.  My email is at the top of the blog page.

If you are well versed in the gospel message, then I pray that this will serve the purpose that I intend.  That is, essentially, to cause us all to contemplate our day to day representation of the gospel to others in our sphere of influence.   Let us apply the instructions of Jude 1:20-23, keeping ourselves built up in the faith with the tools that God has provided and looking for the opportunity to share the truth of the gospel with others, perhaps snatching some out of the fire.

Remember yesterday's fervor as you celebrated Christ death, burial, and resurrection and apply it to tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.  Defend always, the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints(Jude 1:3)

One of my favorite closings from the New Testament letters is also from Jude 1:24-25.  It states, "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever, Amen."

Coram Deo (Living before the face of God),


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