A message for Easter Sunday morning sunrise service:
Easter is what we could call the cosmic U-turn of history. Up until Easter, everything had been moving downhill to more and more corruption, destruction and evil.
But Jesus put on the brakes to this and spun all of creation around by his death and resurrection. He set all on the road of re-creation by turning the whole universe onto an upward course leading towards healing, reconciliation and restoration.
This re-creation will culminate in a new heaven and new earth, which will be pristine, perfect, pure and perpetual. Because of Easter that’s where the universe is now going. Are you coming along?
Let’s look at two parts of this cosmic U-turn.
First, on a physical level. God, as you know, created all as good, and perfect; but when Adam sinned, the whole creation was twisted. If we think of the universe as a complex mechanism, when Adam rebelled and chose to follow Satan rather than God, every part of that mechanism was violently bent and warped. The machine still works, but with gears grinding and an out of balance spinning, like a washing machine with an unbalanced load.
Adam’s sin brought into existence the second law of thermodynamics: that is, everything moves from order to chaos. His sin brought in death and destruction, pain and problems, tragedies and tears, sickness and strife, thorns and thistles. His sin also brought storms and earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions, the death of stars and random electrons.
Everything went from beautiful, supreme stability to ugly destruction and deterioration. In Rom 8:22 it says, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” But we also know from Rom 8:21 that because of Jesus’ resurrection, the direction of all creation has been reversed; and that at the right time the physical universe “…will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
For those of us who are born again, we have the initial aspects of our new life, but wait for the fulfillment of the re-creation of all. As Rom 8:23 says, “…we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
A Second aspect of this cosmic U-turn of Easter is on a spiritual and relational level. Jesus’ death and resurrection brought the possibility of U-turns for every human being.
No longer are we faced with the inescapable certainty of eternal separation from God, of powerful punishment for our rebellion, of spending forever in Hell, of having broken relationships and dysfunctional lives. Satan wanted to keep us there in this bondage to evil, but Jesus opened the way so that every person can choose to spend eternity with God in Heaven–or to reject His offer of forgiveness and new life.
In the great U-turn of the resurrection, Jesus made it possible for us to move
from the dominion of darkness into the Kingdom of Light;
from slavery to sin to serving the Savior;
from being entirely sinful to being Holy in Christ;
from being condemned to being forgiven;
from being eternally dead to eternal life;
from being the conquered to being more than conquerors;
from being God’s enemies to being His Children;
from being evil of old nature to the purity of our new nature;
from being in continual corruption to continual renewal;
from hatred, jealousy &competition to forgiveness, love & grace;
from being in hopelessness and despair, to certain hope of heaven;
from being controlled by anger & fighting to having peace and joy;
from struggling for significance to resting in His provision;
from being in a meaningless existence to purpose, power & praise.
Yes, in His resurrection Jesus began the reversal of history, He made possible the U-turn of the universe, and of our lives. The question this morning is: are we joining Jesus in making this reversal in the course of history?
Is it a reality in our history?
Every day, in each of our decisions, there is the possibility of making such a U-turn, of reversing the destructive decision of Adam, for we can instead, in the power of Christ, reject Adam’s act and make the re-creative decision to obey what we know to be true, thereby joining God in the re-creation of the universe.
Are we following Jesus in daily reversing our thoughts, our responses, our decisions so we can line up with the new creation, our new nature, His new way?
Are we daily choosing to make the U-turn
From selfishness to submission;
From fear to faith;
From worry to worship;
From self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness;
From dissatisfaction with life to deep satisfaction in Jesus;
From following our own ideas to submission to the Word;
From doing what everyone else is doing to being like Jesus?
Or are we going along with the norms of nominal belief and the self-centered self-destructive ways of the world?
The answer is most certainly “yes” to both questions–because there is always room to grow in following Jesus. We need to listen to the prompting of the Spirit as He uses the Word, other believers and conviction to point out the next area where He wants us to repent, to make another U-turn and follow Him more fully.
At Christmas we often say, “Many Happy Returns.” At Easter we can say, “Many happy U-turns!” Let us enjoy and enter into the great Reversal of History.
Picture: a u-turn at the cross