Sermon: The Biblical Story
Summary: We need to be reminded of the significance of the resurrection, which can at times be obscured by the cultural trappings of Easter. The story of the resurrection begins in Genesis when sin came into the world and God made the promises. This is fulfilled in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, which is not only a benefit but a model for us.
Know: Jesus resurrection is the most significant even in history and provides redemption and a model for life
Feel: Dedication to the example of Christ
Do: Reflect on how the world can at times obscure or distort the message of scripture and discuss ways we can deal with this for ourselves, family, brethren, and even unbelievers. Discuss the overall story of the Bible and how being able to understand and articulate the larger picture is beneficial for self and others. Identify ways the Gospel is a model for living.
Scripture Reading: Col 3:1-4
1. This is the time of year for Cadbury egg commercials
a. Bunnies and eggs a custom for many people this time of year
b. The rabbit a symbol of new life in the spring
c. Colored eggs a reminder of blooming of spring colors
d. In many cultures, egg is a symbol of rebirth
2. Could give a history of how bunnies and eggs associated with resurrection
a. About lent season leading up to Easter celebration
b. Could talk about how Easter bunny and eggs evolved
- Pre-Christian pagan symbols of the egg and hard
- The symbols had been changed and Christianized, no longer
have pagan meaning attached to them
- Used as incentive for children - if good, Easter bunny will leave
you colored eggs to find
- Evolved into the Easter egg hunt
c. All that might be interesting
d. But I want to stand back and look at the bigger picture
3. We know that much of what we see is a human tradition
a. Human tradition is not bad, in fact, it is often good
- It is good when it roots us in our identity
- It is good when it reminds us who we are
- It is good when it is meaningful
- eg: Thanksgiving, 4th July celebrations, birthdays, etc.
b. Human tradition can also be bad
- When we treat it as though it came straight from God
- When it becomes a thoughtless, meaningless activity
- When meaningless, can wind up serving the symbols rather than
what they represent
- When 4th of July becomes drunken brawl, Thanksgiving becomes
time of gluttony, etc.
c. Human tradition can be good or bad
4. What about our Easter tradition?
a. People do various things
- Put on Sunday best and go to church
- Sunrise service
- Have a big Sunday picnic
- Easter egg hunt at the park
b. These are wonderful traditions; evoke precious memories of years past
- I remember those Sundays with family
- It was a delightful, wholesome time
c. But I want to step back and look at the larger picture
d. Some observations:
I. The world can distort good things
A. Throughout history, the world has twisted good things of God,
sometimes beyond the point of recognition
1. Early American saw colonization as advancing the Kingdom
a. Wanted to model the new nation under God
b. This was a good thing, righteousness exalts a nation
c. But many became confused, equated gov't with Kingdom
d. Kingdom is in this world, but not of this world
2. And there are many, many other examples
B. What about our Easter tradition?
1. How many can tell about the Easter bunny?
2. How many can tell about the resurrection and its significance?
a. There are more people that have difficulty with this
b. What does a bunny have to do with it?
c. Is the bunny and egg in the Bible? no.
3. Let me fill you in on one of Satan's tactics
a. Satan doesn't usually bully and threaten
- He can do this sort of thing
- He is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour
- In Revelation, he is a seven headed dragon with
beasts to intimidate and coerce
b. But Satan more often is much more subtle
- The serpent in the garden didn't intimidate
= Had an intellectual conversation
= He twisted God's word - You shall not die
= He downright lied
= Based on his lie, man ate the fruit
- In Revelation, one of Satan's allies is called the
great whore of Babylon
= A whore's wiles don't include intimidation
= Satan's tactic through her is seduction
c. Satan deceives and uses human agents (Jn 8:44)
- Satan by nature is twisted, no truth in him
- He is a liar
- He is the father of all lies
- He is the father of those who lie
4. A deceitful tactic, twist the truth beyond recognition
a. Make Satan seem harmless, even cute
- First image pop into mind with Satan?
- Medieval art depicted him as horrible, scary
- How is he often depicted today?
b. Make Jesus seem harmless, even cute
- First thought many people have of Jesus?
- A weakling, harmless, wouldn't hurt a fly
- Perhaps many think of the baby Jesus
- But how many think of King of Kings on white horse?
c. Downplay the seriousness of sin and death
- World ridicules idea of sin and connection with death
- Many Christians can barely articulate doctrine of sin
d. Many ways it has been downplayed
- Through ridicule, ignorance, deceit
- Replace the seriousness of it with a cute bunny
- Commercialize it, subdue message with marketing
- I wonder how much all of this obscures the Gospel
C. ILL: I remember talking to groups of kids after seeing Hercules movie
1. They talked about gods in the movie, Zeus, Athena, Hades, etc.
2. I asked about how this squares with the Bible
a. The Bible says there is but one God, not many gods
b. Bible doesn't even mention these Greek "gods"
3. Response - Oh all of that came BEFORE the Bible
4. Do you see the importance of talking with your kids regularly?
a. Kids minds are working
b. They are trying to integrate all they see into a whole
c. They need guidance from trustworthy parents
D. What is the first thought that pops into minds when you say, "Easter?"
1. Probably the Easter bunny. Many NEVER think of Christ
2. This is an excellent opportunity
3. Like Paul on Mars Hill when he saw a pagan altar as a jumping
off point to talk about the truth of God, we can as well
4. Can talk about the truth of the resurrection and significance of it
a. What about the bunny, and eggs? It a human tradition
- Can remind us of life, resurrection, renewal, etc.
- If let it go by without comment, there is no telling
how kids are putting it all together
b. The most important thing is the Gospel message
- Where do you go for the Gospel Message?
- Like any story, start at the beginning, Genesis
II. The Gospel Message starts with Genesis
A. Stories should always start with the beginning
1. Same is true with scripture
2. Doesn't begin with, "Repent and be Baptized"
3. Begins with "In the beginning God created..."
B. How does the story begin?
1. Gen 1:1 - In the beginning God created the Heavens and Earth
a. In an orderly fashion, God creates everything
b. Enables all life to reproduce after its own kind
c. It was a marvelous feat of engineering and design
2. (Gen 1:26-27) Crown of God's creation - Man
a. Man is both male and female
b. God took from man's "side" and formed a companion
c. The was the first institution God created - Family
d. (Gen 1:24) - Man leave father and mother, cling to his
wife, the two will become one flesh
3. (Gen 1:28) Man's God given purpose
a. Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth
b. Subdue and rule over the wild earth - have dominion
c. 2:15 - Keeper of the garden
d. 2:19 - Man classifies animals (beginning of science?)
4. (Gen 1:31) The creation was now "very" good - perfect harmony
a. Harmony between man and God and creation
b. Man had peaceful dominion over creation
- Studying creation, classifying things
- Learning so he could perform purpose well
- There was harmony, beauty, flawless
c. Could eat from any tree, except one. 2:16-17
d. Complete innocence and vulnerability 2:25
- They were naked but not ashamed
- We can't even fathom this, we want to hide
- Imagine, no shame, not guilt, total exposure
- We can't imagine that kind of security & trust
C. This beautiful paradise would not last - In comes the serpent
1. Eve had a casual conversation with the serpent
a. Serpent told them they wouldn't die if they ate the fruit
b. Said they would be like God
c. Would know difference between good and evil-smarter
d. Imagine what may have gone through her mind
- Wow! Could it be? Is there more to life than this?
- Is God withholding something from me?
= I could become greater than I am?
= I could become more independent.
- But God said not to, maybe he holding out on me
2. So Eve at the fruit
It was good, it was sweet. This isn't so bad after all!
- Where was Adam when all this happened?
- (3:6) - He was "with her"
- He never said a word, but participated in eating
c. Then, something happened, their eyes were opened!
- Knowledge came flooding in
- Knowledge of guilt, shame, and sin
- Like the serpent said, they know good AND evil
- They were "smarter," but who would have expected?
d. Did they die? Yes and no
- They didn't die physically, lived hundreds of years
- But they suffered worst kind of death as we will see
3. Then they heard God walking in the garden
a. Any other time, they might have run to him like children
run to their fathers when they come home
b. Instead, they just wanted to hide
c. They could hear God calling, "where are you?"
d. Why does God call? Because he is a relational God
- It is not just that he exists, but that he is relational
- Bible tells us in so many ways that God is relational
= Bible calls him our "Father"
= God is love
- God acts in the interest of relationship
D. Now the relationship is damaged, which is death
1. Suffered worse kind of death - death of alienation
2. The essence of death is separation
a. Not just separation from body, but from God
b. When realize you are naked, you cower, you hide, shame
c. That is what happened with God and with each other
3. In the following chapters, see results of sin & death in the world
a. Separation from God is separation from everything of him
- Life turns to death in men
- Righteousness turns to wickedness in men
- Good turns to evil in men
- Men become fools in their sin
b. You see the increase of many things
- Murder, hate, strife, arrogance, greed, adultery
- Every thought of man was evil continually
- The beauty of the world full of horrid, unholy, ugly
c. The world is a wreck; it is dead, separated from God
d. Reign of sin and death in the world has begun
- Left to itself , it will implode
4. But, God gives a ray of hope - A Gospel is coming (Gen 3:15)
a. Emnity between woman's seed and serpent's seed
b. Serpent's seed shall injure his heel
c. But woman's seed will injure his head
d. Reign of sin and death would only be temporary
III. Center of the Gospel Message - The Resurrection of Christ
A. The rest of the story begins 4000 years ago
1. Begins with Abraham
a. Gen 22:18 - In Abraham's seed all nations will be blessed
b. Famine - Danger of death, Joseph saves his seed
c. Egyptian crisis - Oh no! Will Pharaoh kill them off?
d. Wilderness wandering due to unfaithfulness
2. Finally make it into the land
1. Rough start during period of judges
2. Then they get Kings, most were bad kings
3. Turn away from God, and enemies sacked them
4. Temple destroyed, scattered. Oh no
3. But God allowed them to return
1. The resettled Jerusalem
2. Rebuilt temple, walls, homes
4. But this is not it, something greater is still coming
1. Coming of Elijah to prepare the way for the Lord
2. Coming of a Servant, Messiah, Deliverer
3. Prophesies of a restoration, a new covenant
4. The glory would be much greater
B. Then Christ came into the world
1. Announced by angels, recognized by even magi from the east
2. God had told the woman, "your seed would crush his head"
a. Isn't that strange, not the seed of man, but of woman
b. Every person born is of seed of father and mother
c. One exception - Mary, conceived as a virgin, one seed
d. He was God in human flesh
3. He taught the people the good news of the Kingdom
a. Taught them what the law was all about
b. Taught and modeled what it means to serve God
c. Modeled prayer and devotion
d. Demonstrated love, compassion, and holiness
4. Started a movement to bring people back to God
a. The greatest command is to love God
b. The second is the love your neighbor
C. He was crucified
1. Toward the end of his ministry, he began to speak of his death
2. Disciples had a lot of trouble accepting the manner of his death
a. Not some glorious death on a battlefield
b. Would be humiliating, would spit on him, ridicule him
c. Peter rebuked him, disciples bewildered by all this
d. They were ready to fight, not die without a fight
3. After a sham trial, crucified with two criminals
4. They crucified him along with two criminals
a. He died, the earth shook, the sun went dark, veil was torn
b. The centurion standing by was frightened, said, "surely
this was the son of God"
D. He rose from the grave - Jesus said he would rise again in 3 days
1. He was hastily buried temporarily just before Sabbath
2. Sunday morning, they came to prepare him for burial
3. The stone was rolled away, and he had risen from the grave
a. He appeared to Mary in the garden
b. He appeared to the disciples in the upper room
c. Appeared to two disciples on road to Emmaus
d. Appeared while they were finishing and ate with them
4. Afterward, he walked to a mountain, watched him ascend
a. They watched until he disappeared into cloud
b. Two angels appeared and reminded he is coming back
c. (1 Cor 15:20-22)- Resurrection means life
d. This is the Gospel Message
IV. The Gospel Message comes with a call
A. It is not just about what God has done for us
B. Will look at three passages - Gospel instructs us how to live
1. (Mk 8:31-35)
a. Jesus makes it clear the Gospel is a pattern for living
b. We need to take up our own cross and follow him
2. (Rom 6:3-7)
a. We are reminded of this in our baptism
. b. Buried with Christ, old self dies, become a new person
c. When we respond, sin done away with, free from sin
d. Walk in newness of life
3. (Col 3:1-4) - You are being transformed, old self died
a. Chapter 3 & 4 talks about the change in you
b. You are being renewed in Christ
c. We are risen with him, we are renewed
C. The Gospel is a pattern for us to live
1. We are crucified with Christ
2. Our old self died, we are renewed in Christ
3. We follow Christ as our example
D. This is the lifelong call of the Gospel
1. Its not about a bunny, or eggs, or anything like that
a. We are reminded every Sunday
b. Sunday is when Jesus rose from the grave
c. This is the heart of the Gospel
2. Have you heeded the call of the Gospel?
a. Have you been buried and raised with him? Water is ready (inv)
b. Have you put your old self to death?
c. Are you seeking the thing above and not below?
Small Group Questions: The Biblical Story
Summary: We need to be reminded of the significance of the resurrection, which can at times be obscured by the cultural trappings of Easter. The story of the resurrection begins in Genesis when sin came into the world and God made the promises. This is fulfilled in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, which is not only a benefit but a model for us
- What is your best Easter memory?
1. Discuss ways that cultural traditions associated with days such as Easter, Christmas, etc. can obscure or distort the biblical message.
2. In communicating on overall summary of the Biblical story to an unbeliever who was unfamiliar with it, discuss what you would include. (Which of these would you include and how: Creation, Sin, Death, Promise, Bondage, Redemption, Atonement, Messiah, Kingdom, Prophecy, Virgin Birth, Deity of Christ, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Second Coming, etc.)
3. What would your summary narrative sound like?
4. (Mk 8:31-35; Rom 6:3-7; Col 3:1f) What point is Jesus making concerning the cross? What is the cross' relationship to Christians according to what Jesus is saying?
5. What call does the Gospel story call us to do? How is the Gospel a model for living for you?
6. What advantage is there in being able to understand and articulate the big picture in scripture?
7. How might this help you as a Christian to deal with things such as Easter?