Epic Easter

Easter is when we celebrate the greatest comeback in history. It’s the greatest story ever told. It’s an epic day! Why? Because Jesus conquered death for us and we celebrate the miraculous event of His Resurrection! He is risen! He is risen indeed!

What is more exciting than declaring the risen King? Easter is the prime time to proclaim the living faith of our living Savior! And because our Savior is alive, we are alive, our faith is alive and our church is alive!

As pastors, this is a joy we can’t contain, and one we must reflect when delivering our Easter message. When you are preparing for your Easter message, there are a few principles you should keep in mind. Most importantly, don’t let anything get in the way of the worship experience. Sometimes, we try to spice up the message too much and it becomes a distraction. There is nothing more dynamic than declaring simply and clearly that Jesus is alive! You don’t have to do a lot with that proclamation.

Also, as you approach Easter Sunday, make sure that you prepare your church for the celebration. Take several weeks to look at the life of our Lord in the final days and the final hours through a sermon series. Explore what people want to know, what really happened in those final hours of the powerful journey leading to Golgotha. This countdown to the Cross builds momentum toward Easter.

Then, on Easter morning, they are ready for the Resurrection and celebration that this day brings. I want to share five tips that I’ve learned over the past four decades of preaching that I pray will help you to serve your congregation this Easter.

BE SIMPLE

Easter is not a time for theological gymnastics. You don’t need sizzle. The Word of God is powerful in and of itself. The goal of the Easter message is to be clear and simple. Lay out the Gospel message. Allow the Gospel message to speak for itself. Get to the point. This is not the time to defend the Gospel but the time to declare the Gospel!

BE BRIEF

Most Sunday mornings, I preach for 30 to 40 minutes. On Easter, my messages are shorter, at most 20 to 25 minutes. Long messages at Easter tend to miss the point. Your teaching should encourage and bless the church with the life-transforming message of Gospel, and introduce Jesus to the lost. Plain and simple.

BE COURAGEOUS

Easter is not a time to preach doubts; it is a time to be bold in your faith. Be courageous, take a risk, and claim the boldness of Peter and Paul in the Book of Acts. Be an instrument of the Holy Spirit who stands up and proclaims a confident faith in the Resurrection. People come to hear the boldness of our faith, not the timidity of our doubts.

BE RELEVANT

Your Easter message should be relevant to the Resurrection. What distinguishes Christians from non-believers is our belief in a risen King, the doctrine of the Resurrection. Paul says it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:17: “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” Later in that chapter, Paul says that if Jesus is still dead, we’re pathetic. However, we are not fools. We worship a risen King! So preach the relevance of the Resurrection, the power of Resurrection in life, the certainty that Christ died and through the testimony of the empty tomb, He is alive today!

BE EXCITED

Preach the Resurrection with excitement and joy. Charles Spurgeon told his students, “When you preach on heaven, have a face that reflects the sweetness of God; when you preach on hell, your normal face will do quite well.”

GO BIG OR GO HOME

After the invitation, let the celebration begin! The body of Christ wants to celebrate with those whose lives have been transformed through the testimony of Jesus Christ. Don’t be afraid to swing for the fences here. Come up with creative ways to engage new believers after they have made their decision to follow Christ.

At Prestonwood, we started using “Greeter Stations” (bright orange canopies) in strategic locations at each campus. With so many people walking the halls, these are easy to spot. At the stations we welcome new believers and have decision counselors available to pray for them. We also provide them with a Bible and resources that will help them to learn more about the church and prayerfully will lead them to return.

Expect big things from Him this Easter!

 

 

By Dr. Jack Graham, Senior Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church

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