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Not in Vain

The effectual power of Christ's resurrection


I was talking to a friend the other day. "I know you aren't much of a churchgoer," I said, "but I'd like to invite you to church this Sunday for Easter." "Thanks," he said, "That's very kind of you, but I have a tee time reserved for Sunday morning." I don't quite know what came over me—probably a bad case of self-righteousness, but I said, "The day we celebrate the most important thing that ever happened in human history, and you're going to play golf?!" (I hope he'll still talk to me next time we meet.)

When you really think about it, it is astonishing how lightly people take the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fact is, sometimes even we who believe it grow a bit dull to what it means.

All people everywhere have to find a way of making sense of life. That's what religions and philosophies try to do. People look across all the range of human experience and longing, they think about life's big questions and look at the way things are, and they try to find a kind of blanket explanation to lay over all of it. That becomes their religion, their philosophy of life. Everyone tries to do this.

But there are two related historical events—epic, monumental events—that won't fit under any of those blankets: the death of Jesus of Nazareth, the self-proclaimed Son of God, on a Roman cross, and then his literal and bodily resurrection from the grave three days later, never to die again.

What most people who are not Christians do, probably like my golfer friend, is regard those things like they would regard reports of UFOs. Maybe they happened, maybe they didn't; either way, who's to say what they mean?

The Bible says there is no question at all about what these two linked events mean, and ...

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Lee Eclov is pastor of Village Church of Lincolnshire in Lake Forest, Illinois and author of Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls (Moody Publishers). Eclov also leads a gathering of pastors for mutual support and learning called Pastors' Gatherings. To find out more about these Gatherings visit his site

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This sermon is part of the sermon series The Resurrection.See series.

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Sermon Outline:


I. The bottom line of God’s Good News to us

II. God’s grace offers this Good News to even the worst of sinners.