See Sermon Transcript

Full Sermon Transcript

Pastor Chris Paavola:
Well, once again everybody, good morning. My name is Chris Plum. I’m a senior pastor here at St. Mark and it’s wonderful, wonderful to be with you guys on this day. I love Easter. I love just everything about this day, just when God’s house is full of God’s people. I love deviled eggs mean I love them. I’ll get a little bit of everything anyway. But yeah, I love to see everybody dressed up and looking great, all the pastel colors. Turn to the person next to you and tell ’em you look beautiful because you do. You do.
And most importantly, I love just celebrating the fact that he has risen.

Response: He’s risen indeed, Hallelujah!

Pastor Chris Paavola:
Indeed he is! It’s an incredible day and my hope for you this day, and I guess during the service and then really during my message is for you guys to just realize how important, how significant, impactful the resurrection is to your life, your daily life. And if you are wherever you are on your faith journey, if you are at the point where you’re just like, I don’t know anything. I don’t even know what I don’t know about Jesus, I don’t know anything about him. Or if you’re like, I’m just investigating him, or if you’re all the way over here and you’re sold out for him, wherever you are on this spectrum of this thing called faith in Jesus, it is a significant day for you as well!

And that’s what I hope, just the next few moments to help you really understand and appreciate. I mean, actually just from a purely historical perspective, even the most casual objective observer looks at this day and goes, yeah, this is the most significant and most important day in human history. Really. There’s no other day that has had the effect or the implications like the resurrection from the resurrection has changed the way our political systems, it’s impacted our education system and who should and shouldn’t be educated. And the way we teach, it’s impacted the arts and the sciences and his influences everywhere. And we name kids Christian names and we name hospitals, Christian names, and we name cities, Christian names, and we move our calendar because of his birth. And it’s not just because he was a nice guy though. He was. And it’s not just because he did some great things, though he did. It’s because his followers for two millennia. Now billions of followers have believed in their core that he has risen. He has risen.

I told you, man, you got to keep your head on a swivel. I’m going to be coming, so just be ready. Yeah, they believe that he has risen indeed. And it is changed everything. We’ve been in a series called Empty During this month, in the days leading up to Easter, we’ve been looking at the empty objects and the story of Jesus leading up to the resurrection. And really it just became more and more apparent as we went through these empty objects and started talking about this concept of being empty. That empty is never ever a good thing. Empty is okay. I guess a parent looking at an empty diaper, that’s a good thing. But every other circumstance it is not a good thing. Parents are like Amen. But in every other circumstance, empty is not a good thing. For instance, when we were first married, we had a beater of a car and it got us where we needed to go.

It wasn’t pretty, but the fuel gauge and the car didn’t work. And so the only way to know when we needed to fill up the tank of gas was to reset the triple odometer every time we filled up the gas tank. And that works in theory until someone forgets to do it. And as Ashley would tell you, from the side of a highway, empty is not a good thing. Or my kids, they will take cereal boxes. They’re in the back right now, and they’ll pour the cereal and they’ll finish the cereal box and then the sugary goodness at the bottom, they like spread that all over. They’ll take the said empty cereal box, close it back up and put it back in the cupboard.

And dad comes down for breakfast and he will tell you, empty is not a good thing. It drives me nuts. Or when we were first, when we bought our first house, and you know how when you buy a house, you stretch the dollar as much as you can. You want to get as much home for your money as you can, and you’re like, Ooh, I’m really uncomfortable. You stretch as much as because you want this house. And so we stretched, and then I forgot that I wrote a check and we went away on a trip out of state, and I went to use my debit card and it was declined. And I’m like, what? I go to the ATM and it says, insufficient funds. Your bank account is empty. I will tell you, we had to get really creative to get home. Why? Because empty is not a good thing ever until Easter. And Jesus, Jesus brings good news to the empty. Jesus brings good news to the empty things. And it’s not just like this moment, this event where, I mean, you think about it, these disciples, these followers of Jesus, they lost their lives and their livelihoods because they refused to stop talking about that Jesus was alive and risen from the grave. And this truth, but empty suddenly became a good thing, empty changed.

And if you give yourself enough time to think about it, and you dare to give it enough thought, it starts to have implications. Like for instance, if you are sitting in an empty house that used to be filled because your kids are now gone in college or a loved one passed away this year, if you’re sitting in an empty house, you can rejoice because heaven will be full of loved ones. Why? Because the tomb was empty. Or if you are sitting there and your strength is empty and your health is failing, especially as you near life’s ends, you can rejoice because there’s going to be a day where you are a new creation perfectly and wonderfully made without any pain or suffering. Why? Because the tomb was empty. Or your bank account, let’s say your bank account is empty, you can rejoice because the God who promised to take care of you and provide for you and intervene for you, oh yeah, he’s alive. He is not dead, and the tomb is empty. Or if you feel like you near life’s end and you come before holy God, and you have empty handed nothing to show, you have no righteousness of your own, you can rejoice because he gives you his life and his righteousness in place of your unrighteousness. Why? Because the tomb is empty. He’s risen.

Response: He is risen indeed, Hallelujah!

Pastor Chris Paavola:
And then it keeps going, though this day is significant and meaningful.

Because after, after you let this reality kind of come over, you look around at the things that you used to care about. I had this conversation all the time with people who become followers of Jesus and they’re like, man, I don’t get what’s so worked up and I’m not so anxious about all these other things that I used to care about. And it’s this line from the hymn that I love all the things of the world grow strangely dim because of the resurrection. I see it happen again and again, time after time, these things that you used to care about suddenly feel empty, like that corner office or that promotion that you thought was going to make you successful or that metal in sports that you thought was going to make you meaningful or that crown from homecoming that you thought would make you beautiful, that F 3 54 that you thought was going to make you powerful. Those things are nice. They’re not bad things, but they’re nothing to build your life on at some point because Jesus has risen from the dead. You look at those things and they start to feel as hollow as the empty grave. They just don’t matter as much. You’re like, they’re nice, but this is nothing to build my life on.

It just kind of pales in comparison. I mean, if everything, he’s risen from the dead. This means everything he said, everything he claimed, everything he taught about you and about himself and who he claimed to be and about heaven and eternity, all of it is true. It’s true because he predicted and pulled off his own death and resurrection. It’s true. And everything just kind of, well, now, nothing really matters the same anymore. This is all that matters. And it fills you. There’s this line. There’s this line in a biography of Jesus written by a first century follower named Matthew. And it just kind of stood out to me this year as I was reading it, because Jesus speaks with Mary and the women and they see the empty tomb and Jesus and the thing, all the stuff Matthew says. So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid obs. I mean he’s risen from the dead, yet filled with joy. I love this picture. They’re running from an empty tomb and they’re filled with joy. It’s this immediate effect of the empty tomb. Not only do things suddenly lose their weight over you, but all of a sudden you’re instantly filled, you’re full fulfilled. And it is not just joy. You’re filled with hope. You’re filled with peace.

Scripture says you’re filled with power. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is now available and accessible to you and your life. And you’re filled with this power. And then like you’re filled with meaning and purpose and you’re filled with mission because the grave is empty. And other words, my friends, because the grave is empty, your life is not because the tomb is empty, your life is not. And so we talk about the historical perspective or how it makes the things of this world feel empty or it fills you with all of this joy and hope and peace. But all this means it changes the way you live your life. And so I’m looking at a room full of people wrestling with the empty. So if you’re a follower of Jesus in this room and you’re wrestling with empty pockets, empty bank account, empty pantry, empty stomach, an empty nest, an empty relationship, whatever the word empty means to you, however it haunts you because of the empty tomb, because of Easter, because of Jesus, you can look at that thing dead in the eye, un flinching and unwavering and say to it with all the authority and declaration power. And the same fervor in your voice that Mary had as she ran from the tomb. And you can say, he is risen.

Response: He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

Pastor Chris Paavola:
And changes everything. And then if you’re here today and you’re not a follower of Jesus yet, this is an incredible day for you. This day when Jesus declares victory over sin, death and hell. The same can be true for you, victory over sin, death and hell. That’s why this day matters so much to so many of us. If you wait, I’ll just say this, okay? If you wait to have, lemme make sure I say this right. If you wait to have all of your questions about Jesus answered before you begin following him, you’ll never follow him. I am the guy talking right now, and I still have questions about Jesus. I still have questions about God. But the only question that matters for you is what do you think happened on Sunday morning? And if you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, that’s the only question that matters. That’s enough for you to take those first few steps and begin to follow him, and it helps you answer every other question to follow. That’s enough.

That’s enough. That’s all you need. And so I want to give you the same opportunity to declare your faith in the resurrection with the rest of us. Because scripture says, when you believe in your heart and confess that your mouth, that Jesus Christ is Lord and risen from the dead, you will be saved. And so I can think of no better way for us to end our time together by giving you an opportunity to do so. Invite you guys to all stands as we close in prayer. Heavenly Father, we thank you for this incredible plan that you had to redeem us and then raise us to life that we may live with you forever. What love would drive you to go to these links for us and we stand in awe of that. And we thank you, God, for your power that raised Christ from the dad, and now he’s seated with you, champion of life, the victor over the grave, the conquering king. And so God, we join our voices together. Whether we’ve believed this for decades or this is just the first day, but we declare with all the saints before us, for our forgiveness and our salvation, what we believe to be true, that he is risen.

Response: He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

Pastor Chris Paavola:

And Lord, now we join our voices together praying the prayer your son taught us to pray, saying Our Father, who arts in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.