This morning I want to share with you a few facts about Easter. First, did you know that Easter is all about change? God took the worse possible situation, the death of His own Son, turned it all around, and used it for good. Easter also changed history. Every time we write a date, the focal point is Jesus Christ. Every time we write or see the term AD or BC, this reminds us that Jesus Christ, who was here on this earth, split history. It is the most important event in history, and more than that, Easter is still changing individuals’ lives like me and you today.
“10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Jesus died and rose again so we can reconcile to God. The purpose of Easter is not only for religious people. If you have little or no religious background this morning, this is still your holiday. Jesus didn’t come just for the religious people. As we read through the New Testament, we will find that Jesus was interested in people’s relationship with God. The religious people in Jesus’s time made their relationship with God about a list of rules, regulations, and rituals.
“32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Easter is God’s invitation to you, and the invitation is to have a changed life. You may say that you are a pretty good person with a decent life or maybe you are nice and friendly. Or perhaps you live in a great place with good weather, and you may think you are mostly a decent person. And you are probably a pretty good person. Many people think that way, but this is nothing compared to what you could be. That’s what Easter is all about. It’s how to change from just being good to a better person in Christ.
Let me tell you how you don’t become a better person. You don’t become better by trying harder. You might say, I will try really hard, and I will struggle and do better. But that’s not the way to do it. To become a better person, you need to do three things.
- Open your mind to God’s power.
- Open your heart to God’s grace.
- And open your life to God’s love.
We as humans often think we want to change something about ourselves, and we go about trying to make a change by changing something external. Maybe we will begin to comb our hair differently or change the clothes we wear. Or we change what we drive. Perhaps we have a blue bike, and we decide to change to an orange one instead. Or maybe we change to a different type of transportation altogether. Changing the external parts of us like our clothes, hair, or how we look does not change us. We’ve got to work on the inside, which is what Easter is all about. It’s about change inside of you, and the first step is to open your mind to God’s power. We have to change how we think in our minds about God.
2 و با این جهان متشکل نشوید، بلکه با تجدید ذهن خود دگرگون شوید تا بتوانید آن اراده خوب و پسندیده و کامل خدا را ثابت کنید.
This scripture tells us that we change our lives by changing the way we think and opening our minds to the possibility of God. The possibility that God exists, He loves us, and He has the power to help and care for us. This is the kind of change God wants to bring in Easter. But first, we have to open our minds to the possibility that God exists. In today’s society, many people want to tell us that God is not real. These people try to influence us and our youth by telling us that God is not real. But if we do not believe that God is real, He won’t have any power in our lives.
“18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:”
Paul tells the Ephesians that some turned away from God and didn’t believe He was real. These people often endeavor to talk to young people and tell them that they don’t need to believe in God and that He is just a myth. This morning I want to proclaim to you that Jesus came, and Easter is for us to know that God has the power to change us. If you want real change in your life, then you have to open yourself up to believe God is real and has the power to change you.
Next, I want to talk to you about the need to open your heart to God’s grace. So first, we open our minds to know that God exists, and second we need to open our hearts to God’s grace. You may ask this morning, what is grace? Grace is a multifaceted term, and sometimes it isn’t easy to explain. Grace is when God gives you what you need instead of what you deserve. Grace is when God forgives you even before you ask. Grace is when God forgives you and gives you a second chance, a third chance, and a fourth chance to start over. We all need grace, and we need to open our hearts to His grace.
We usually do not experience grace from other human beings. For example, if you drive too fast in America, the police will pull you over and give you a ticket. You can beg for grace and ask him not to write you a ticket, but most of the time, the police say, no, I will write you a ticket, and if you don’t like it, you can go to court. But God will show you grace 24 hours a day. You may say, wait a minute, I earn what I have! But where do you think you got your brains, mind, or arms? Everything we have, even our lives, we wouldn’t have if it were not for the grace of God. This grace is essential, and we find that God wants to shower His people with grace. God says to us, come to me, bring the good, the ugly, the embarrassing, and the stuff you are ashamed of. Bring it to me, and I will show you grace! This is the God we serve and why He came. This is why He arose from the dead – to give us grace.
“8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
Did you know you can not buy God’s grace? It is simply a gift of His love, forgiveness, and His help to change us. So if you want to change and be different, you must open your mind to God’s power, and second, you must open your heart to God’s grace. Believe He wants to forgive you and give you a fresh start. Finally, you need to open your life to God’s love. No one will ever love you like God. He loves you unconditionally. God doesn’t base His love upon anything you do. He loves you because He created you. He made you to know Him and for you to love Him back.
Jesus Christ proves how much God loves you because He came and died on the cross before you even knew and understood. You might have heard before that God loves you. Some people say, so what if God loves me, but it isn’t just words. And if you’ve never felt the love of God, then you’ve never been changed by it. When you experience and feel the love of God, it begins to transform you on the inside. Open your life to God’s love so you can feel it.
There is a story in the Bible that Jesus told we call the story of the Prodigal Son. This son left his father and went on his own to live an ungodly life. One day this son woke up and remembered how his father cared for him. So he made his way back to his father. Do you know what this father did? He threw a big party to welcome his son home! God will do the same for you. We aren’t born into this world to go to school, get a job, make a bunch of money, spend it, and die. God created us to have an eternal relationship with Him – a relationship that extends past this life.
So Easter changes everything. But we first need to open our minds to know God is real. We need to open our hearts to His grace. We need to open our lives to God’s love, and this morning Jesus has His arms wide open for you.