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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

04052015 Easter Sunday - Gold Bead - Jesus Christ gives us eternal life!

Sermon Audio
April 5, 2015
God gives us eternal life!
Seated on a park bench in early Spring next to a nurse was a young man.  He stated the following, “My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.””  With this simple phrase, the world was introduced to the profound wisdom of “Forest Gump”.  In this gem of wisdom Forest pin pointed life and the experience most people have of “never knowing what you’re gonna get”.

Unlike Forest Gump, two thousand years ago, God in His Son Jesus Christ told His disciples that He would rise from the dead after His crucifixion.  And in rising from the dead, Jesus Christ would offer all of mankind an eternal gift.  This morning we gather celebrating Jesus Christ resurrection with the phrase “He is risen, He is risen indeed Alleluia!” echoing in our ears.  And we also gather to hear about the gift given to us that is symbolized by the final bead and installment of the Salvation Bracelet Series.  The final bead is Gold and humbly signifies what Jesus Christ is offering all of mankind.  The Gold Bead specifically represents the gift that God gives us…eternal life!

For God clearly offers all of us gathered here the gift of eternal life with His Son’s innocent death on Calvary.  When the disciples and women found the tomb empty, unlike the box of chocolates and not knowing what one would get, the disciples had heard exactly what Jesus would be giving them.  And today we gather here because of this gift given to the disciples and to each of us.  For symbolized in the Gold Bead that completes the story of salvation as told by the Salvation Bracelet is the gem of the knowledge that God gives us eternal life!

There are two questions, we can ask this morning.  The first our society and Satan wants to ask, if Jesus was resurrected, “So What?”  Our society and Satan want us to doubt God and doubt what the disciples found, an empty tomb.  Society wants us to doubt the resurrection and any gift offered by Jesus Christ.  Our society doesn’t understand the significance of the gift God is offering us.  Our society is looking for ways to question God, doubt God and even discredit God.  All because the gift of eternal life God is giving to each of us has eternal value.  Satan and our society clearly do not want us to believe without any doubt in our mind and heart that, “God gives us eternal life!

The value of the gift God gives us with ‘eternal life’ is so substantial.  Compared to the worth of a vehicle we drive, the home we live in, the vacations we take or even the education we receive whether in high school, college or even in the military, the gift God gives is priceless.  All of us have seen the Master Card commercials, but what is different with the truth found of an empty tomb is that this gift that “God gives us… eternal life!” had a heaven and earth-shattering price tag.  The price tag was Jesus Christ death on Calvary.  But Jesus Christ offers us His life, because of His love for each and every one of us who believe in Him and believe that “God gives us eternal life!

Jesus Christ love for us and His willingness to sacrifice Himself in order that we might have eternal life is a game changer.  Jesus Christ wants us to believe in the resurrection and the gift of grace “God gives us…eternal life!”  Jesus Christ wants us to believe, because in our belief, we therefore trust God fully, unconditionally and without question, not only in the forgiveness of sins offered out of His love for us, but eternal life and salvation.  When we exercise the muscle of faith given to us in our baptism, the truth that “God gives us…eternal life!” becomes a certainty we point to and believe in and it strengthens our trust in Jesus Christ and His love for each and every one of us.  For this is the point of the resurrection, the reason we gather here today and especially the clear message of the Gospel we proclaim of Jesus Christ sacrifice for all of mankind.

On June 22, 1997, parachute instructor Michael Costello, age forty-two began his work day like any other.  Teaching skydiving, was something that Michael enjoyed not only doing, but sharing with others.  Gareth Griffith, age twenty one was a novice and was being taught how to skydive safely by Michael.  Jumping in tandem, connected to his instructor, Gareth would learn first-hand how to properly execute every maneuver required before performing his first solo jump.

Everything was normal when they jumped out of the airplane at 12,000 feet.  As planned the two flew through the air in preparation for Gareth’s pulling the rip cord to open the canopy of the parachute.  At the proper time, Gareth pulled the rip cord and the parachute malfunctioned.  With only seconds remaining before gravity completed their descent to earth, the instructor who was above the student plummeting to the ground did something extraordinary and unexpected.  Michael the instructor right before impact rolled over and insured he would hit the ground first and the novice, Gareth, would land on top of him.  Michael was killed instantly, Gareth survived the fall with a fractured spine, but was not paralyzed.

Our society would ask, “So what?”  Today, as we celebrate the resurrection and Easter, we who gather here this morning have landed on top of not our instructor, but our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ, God incarnate gives us eternal life.  “God gives us eternal life!” out of His love for each of us and His sacrifice of Himself for us, so we can share it with one another. 

Consequently the second question we need to ask each other this morning is, “What’s next?”  The Salvation Bracelet we receive this morning is the answer to the second question.  For the Salvation Bracelet is a tool we can use to point to the Savior, Jesus Christ.  With this bracelet and its colored beads and two knots, we have the apparel that each of us can wear and use to tell the salvation story and what Jesus Christ did on Calvary for all of mankind.  We who gather here today can use this bracelet unlike the uncertainty of a box of chocolate and what one will receive, and firmly and faithfully point to Jesus Christ and the Gold Bead and tell others that Jesus died for each and every one of us and in, through and by Jesus death on Calvary, “God gives us eternal life!

For the gift of eternal life is an offer for all of mankind, but especially for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning who are willing to wear, share and firmly believe in Jesus Christ and the gift of salvation as can be told by the Salvation Bracelet.  For no truer statement can be said that in the empty tomb we find, not nothing, but the truth found in a little gold bead on our salvation bracelet that symbolizes God’s grace given unto each and every one of us that believe “God gives us eternal life!”  AMEN.

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