Aintree Baptist Church

In Christ alone, my hope is found

  • Aintree Baptist Church.
  • 96 Longmoor Lane
  • Liverpool
  • Merseyside
  • L9 0EF

Pastor: 07771 696915
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lET'S CELEBRATE: HE'S ALIVE

             


            Easter Sunday

             Let’s celebrate this morning and shout out load that ‘Jesus is Alive!’

Let us remember that in the midst of death and destruction, Jesus stands in the midst and brings His peace. He welcomes all to come now and follow. His work on earth is accomplished and now He is ready to pass His work over to us. With His Spirit as our guide, let us tell out the news for all to hear, that Jesus is alive!

 

Bible Reading: John 20:3-8   The Resurrection

 

Meditation

One look, that’s all it took!

One look,

And I knew beyond all doubt that God was at work,

That Jesus was alive!

I should have known it sooner, of course,

For he’d told us what to expect often enough,

But when the hammer blow fell

We simply couldn’t see beyond it,

Tears blinding our minds as well as our eyes.

It was when Mary came bursting in,

Beside herself with excitement,

That the mist started to clear,

His words about death and resurrection flooding back

And rekindling a flame that had all but been extinguished.

I ran then as I’ve never ran before,

Hope lending wings to my feet,

Heart pounding within me,

Not just from exertion

But from the emotion that had taken hold of me,

The curious mixture of fear and exhilaration.

I wanted so much to believe it was true,

Only I was afraid it might be some cruel hoax

Or fancy of the imagination,

A trick of the mind or, worse still, of our enemies.

But when I went in to the tomb

And found the abandoned grave clothes,

Then I knew,

And my spirit soared in jubilation.

He was not there:

He had risen just as he promised,

Death not able to have the final word.

And suddenly everything fitted into place,

The heartache, the hurt, the humiliation –

It was all meant to be,

All a part of God’s sovereign purpose!

Where we had seen darkness, he had brought light!

Where there had been death, now there was life!

Everything was turned around,

Transformed,

Renewed,

Sharing in the wonder of resurrection.

One look, that’s all it took –

One look, and life was changed forever.

 

(extract from ‘Light of Life’ Nick Fawcett. 2011.Kevin Mayhew Ltd)

 Thank you to Kevin Mayhew for giving me permission to use this material

 

Prayer

Gracious God,

We thank you that our faith

Is not founded on theory or speculation –

On the ideas of theologians or the musing of philosophers –

But is rooted in the living testimony of ordinary people like us,

The testimony of countless generations of believers

Who have encountered the risen Christ for themselves

Through His spirit.

In Him, you came, lived, died and rose again,

Making yourself known through the concrete events of history.

For all who saw for themselves and passed the message on,

Receive our thanks.

And for all that we experience today

Of your continuing love and life-giving purpose,

We give you our praise in joyful worship,

Through Jesus Christ, our risen, victorious Saviour.

Amen.

 

Over two thousand years have passed and there are still many who struggle with the fact that Jesus is alive. They shut Him out of their lives and continue to live their lives as though He never existed. But as we have just heard, it only took one look to see that the words of Jesus came true. We struggle to understand all what happened just as they did back then, listen to words from one of the guards who were at the tomb:-

 

Bible Reading: Matthew 28:12-15  The report of the guard

Meditation

 

I just can’t understand what happened,

How that body could have disappeared like that

From under our very noses.

Oh, I know what some have suggested –

That his disciples stole him away while we were asleep,

That we took bribes to look the other way,

Even that we nipped off for a spot or refreshment,

But take it from me, it’s nonsense,

For we were there the whole time,

Each watching like a hawk,

On the lookout for any suspicious goings-on,

And I can tell you that no one came near the place all night,

Not until those women arrived early the next morning,

And discovered the tomb was empty.

You think they were shocked?

How about us?

We just stood there, gawping in amazement,

Unable to believe our eyes.

It couldn’t be,

That’s what we kept saying,

No way –

But it was,

No doubt about it.

We should have come clean there and then,

Told the world what we knew, even though it made no sense,

But it wasn’t that easy,

For we knew that our jobs,

Even perhaps our lives were on the line –

The penalty for failure.

So when those priests sidled up with their offer of money –

A generous bonus to keep our mouths shut,

And the promise to square things with the governor –

Well, understandably we took it;

We’d have been fools not to.

Yet it still rankled,

Still stuck in the craw –

Not just the dressing-down we received, fierce though that was,

But the strain on our reputation,

The stigma of supposedly having fallen down on the job –

So I’m taking the chance, at last, to put the record straight.

There was no foul-up that night –

We knew our job and stuck to it faithfully.

Don’t forget we were Roman soldiers,

Proud of our legion,

Dedicated to our job –

We’d a reputation to keep up,

And there was no way we were going to let the side down.

No, don’t look at us, we weren’t to blame.

But if not us, then who?

And, more important, how?

For one thing’s certain:

That body was there when we sealed the tomb –

We saw it for ourselves –

But next morning it was gone,

Vanished apparently into thin air!

Something happened that night,

Something quite extraordinary.

Can you explain it?

I wish I could.

(extract from ‘Light of Life’ Nick Fawcett. 2011. Kevin Mayhew Ltd)

 Thank you to Kevin Mayhew for giving me permission to use this material

Prayer

Sovereign God,

We don’t understand how you raised Jesus from the dead –

How you breathed life into his broken body,

How you rolled the stone away from the tomb,

How he appeared unrecognised to Mary in the garden

And to disciples on the Emmaus road;

How he walked through locked doors to be with the apostles;

How repeatedly he appeared from nowhere

To stand among his followers.

What we do understand is this –

That he changed the loves of all who met him,

Turning their sorrow into celebration,

Their despair into hope

And their doubt into faith;

And that he is with us now through his life-giving Spirit,

Remaking our lives in turn,

Giving us joy, peace and a sense of purpose

Such as we never imagined possible before.

We do not understand, but we believe,

We rejoice

And we offer our grateful worship

In the name of that same Jesus,

Our risen Lord and Saviour.

Amen.

              

 

This same Jesus is waiting for you and I to come to him and receive His gift of life. Someone was asked the question, what if this is all true? I believe it is! So, today, don’t let another Easter pass by, but allow the message of Easter to reach into your heart and allow the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your life to make you the person He intends you to be.

Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you, he cares enough that He died for you! So come, for today is the day of salvation. Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.

What will it take for you to realise that this message is Life itself? Come on, take a look and discover the truths of the Bible, open up to its message, open yourself to the Christ the Son of the living God.

 

May our Lord bless and keep you today and always.