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Description: Easter means life after death. This is only possible through a resurrection power from outside of this world which is still active today.
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Do you believe in Easter? Do you believe in Easter? Probably most of us say, “Yes, yes, sure I
believe in Easter, it’s just great. It’s just great, it’s the end of winter, it’s the good weather,
it’s the Easter eggs, it’s the Easter bunnies, and it’s the Easter dinners. It’s great and it’s
wonderful. It’s new life, it’s the beginning of springtime, it’s summer dresses, and it’s everything
that’s wonderful and bright and filled with life. Of course I believe in Easter.”
But what I mean is, do you believe in the central fact of Easter? Apart from all the Easter eggs and
coming to church and the daffodils and the Easter lilies, do you believe in the central fact of
Easter? Do you believe that Jesus defeated death? Now if you could think of just you and me talking
without your friends or your relatives that all think you believe certain ways, seriously, do you
believe that Jesus defeated death?
I think a lot of us when we’re faced with that, say, “Well, we all have our ways of looking at
things. That’s kind of a private thing, isn’t it? We all believe different ways about different
things. It’s a lot to swallow isn’t it that this Jesus of Nazareth defeated death. All of us here
are going to see each other laid in caskets and we’re going to see each other laid in graves, and
we’re not going to see each other again. It’s a bit hard to believe that anybody can defeat that.
The Easter story is really nice and it’s good for children and it’s good for those of us who need
help in times of bereavement, but that’s a lot to believe. I’m sure you don’t blame me being a bit
skeptical about that.”
Loved ones, Easter is for skeptics. Easter is for skeptics. It’s for those of us who have
intellectual difficulties. It’s for people like ourselves that Easter exists. Easter faced one of us
immediately, as report came that Jesus was raised from the dead. There was one of us right there.
Now, I’ll show you where he is, he is in John 20, if you’d like to look at him. There are many of us
that sympathize with this dear guy because we don’t like stuff that’s mystical or that’s
otherworldly and this guy represented all of us.
John 20:24-27, “Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his
hands the print of the nails, and place my finger on the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his
side, I will not believe.’ Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was
with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’
Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it
on my side; do not be faithless, but believing.’
Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and My God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have
seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ Now Jesus did many other signs in the
presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
That’s the heart of Easter.
A man like us, standing in a room with open holes in His hands and a gaping spear wound in His side
and nobody mopping up blood, that’s it. Holes in His hands, and a gaping spear wound in his side and
nobody mopping up blood. But in fact, one who is a skeptic, poking his finger into the hole in the
hand to see if it was a phantom, that’s Easter. Easter isn’t mystical. Easter isn’t otherworldly.
Easter isn’t dreaming.
You may say, “Yeah, but so long ago, 1900 years ago? We have stories that have been believed that
are far shorter than that. It’s been 1900 years, how can you tell the same story was told then as
it’s told now?” Well, it was told the same way 300 years ago. This is one of the most precious
things we have. Well, it’s not. The most precious thing we have is the church and each other and
Jesus. But this is one of the most precious material things we have. It’s a 300-year-old Bible.
Somebody turned these pages before the Declaration of Independence. Shakespeare may have turned
these pages and that’s amazing. He was alive when this Bible was in existence. It’s 300 years old. I
bought it in England 5 or 10 years ago.
And here it is, the same story. But Thomas, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” It’s the same story. Three
hundred years ago, it was the same story. I have in this little book, a picture of a piece of
manuscript that you can see in the university library in Manchester, England. It’s dated 125 A.D.
and it’s part of the Gospels. 125 A.D., that’s not 300 years ago, that’s 1800 years ago and it’s the
same story. It’s the same story.
The record of Jesus’ resurrection is one of the surest facts in the whole of the world’s history
because not only does this manuscript tell of it but also there are thousands of manuscripts. There
are thousands of ancient manuscripts that tell the same record of Jesus’ resurrection. In fact,
loved ones, to get rid of the fact of Jesus’ resurrection, you would have to destroy thousands upon
thousands of ancient historical books that make reference to the resurrection of Christ. You would
have to destroy not only books that are included in the Bible but also books that are written by
people who are antagonistic to Christianity. But not only that, you would have to wipe out
ceremonies and memorials that have been practiced and observed down through the centuries from the
year 30 A.D.
The communion of the Lord’s Supper has been observed, without a break, for over 1900 years from the
year 29 A.D. And there are other ceremonies that men and women have observed. You would have to make
absolute mess of the Christian traditions, the Jewish traditions, and the traditions of all the
ancient civilizations including the Roman and the Greek, in order to disprove that Christ’s
resurrection took place in the first century of our era.
But not only that, you would have to wipe out or explain in some other way the amazing phenomenon of
the Christian Church that has continued to survive despite all kinds of opposition and prosecution
and you would have to explain away thousands of lives that have been changed by a power that is
beyond themselves, thousands of bodies that have been healed by a power that is bigger than
themselves, because that’s the fact. The power that enabled Jesus to live without a heart
transplant, or without a kidney transplant, or without blood transfusions, the power that enabled
Him to live again, remained in our world and continued to be used to transcend the laws of nature.
That power life that raised Him up despite the normal laws of nature requiring Him to be dead, that
power is still alive and was used from the earliest days to overcome the same weaknesses of physical
nature. I’ll tell you one of those loved ones, if you’d like to look at. It’s in Act 3:6. There was
a man that used to sit at the gate of the temple. He’d been lame from when he was born and he held
out his hand for some alms when Peter was passing and then in Acts 3:6,
“But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazareth, walk.’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet
and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and walked and entered the temple with them,
walking and leaping and praising God.” Loved ones, the way Peter explains that is a few verses down
in verse 16.
Acts 3:16, “And His name, by faith in His name, has made this man strong whom you see and know; and
the faith which is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”
That same power gave this man power to walk. That power that made Jesus able to live with gaping
wounds in His hands and in His side remained in the world. That power, loved ones, has power to
rearrange the protons and the neutrons of matter. That’s what happened. Look at Acts 12:6-7.
Acts 12:6-7, “The very night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two
soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison; and behold,
an angel of the Lord appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter on the side and
woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his hands.” And Peter walked out of the
In other words, the power that enabled Jesus to stand with open wounds that should have killed him
days ago, the power that enabled him to appear in different places over a period of 40 days, moving
at tremendous speed, the power that enabled him to walk through walls, that power remained in this
world and continued to be used by his followers to heal sicknesses and to enable people to live
despite the physical weakness in their bodies.
Loved ones, that’s what has continued right up to this present time. That’s what caused the miracles
that were seen in the New Testament times. I’ll point you to them in Hebrews 11. It’s that great
chapter you know that tells about the amazing things that happened in the early centuries.
Hebrews 11:33, “who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped
the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of
weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by
resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better
life.” All of these things were done by a power, a resurrection power that is beyond our normal
human strength. That power is still alive in our world. There is a power of life that enables you to
live despite the weaknesses of physical nature and that power still exists today. It is still here.
Do you believe in Easter? That’s not the real question. The real question is do you speak Easter?
I’ll give you the verse now, and then I’ll explain it. It’s Romans 10:9-10, “because if you confess
with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you
will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips
and so is saved.”
When you get a cold, do you like me, (or like I used to), do you say, “This cold is killing me! This
cold is killing me, it’s just wearing me out!” If you say that, you’re proclaiming that you don’t
believe in Easter. You’re proclaiming that you don’t believe in Easter. Because when God raised
Jesus from the dead, He destroyed the power of sickness to incapacitate us for the things that God
has given us to do. That’s what the Bible says. When God destroyed death in Jesus, He destroyed
sickness. He destroyed the power of sickness to incapacitate us. He made that power over sickness
available to every one of us who has faith and who confess that faith with our lips. And wherever we
confess that faith with our lips, that power begins to be activated in our lives. And wherever we do
that, that power begins to deal with the sickness within us.
Now, it’s up to God, it’s up to God what He does with your sickness. It’s up to God whether He
leaves the symptoms there and gives you strength to fulfill all that you have to do in your job or
in His commands to you, despite the symptoms. It’s up to Him whether He makes His strength perfect
in the midst of your weakness and gives you that resurrection power so that you can carry on despite
the dripping nose and despite the cough. It’s up to Him to do that or it’s up to Him to decide if He
wants to remove the symptoms from you.
Indeed it’s even up to Him if He wants to decide to take it to heaven. He knows what He needs in
heaven. The one thing that you can be certain of is, you won’t go to heaven because of the sickness.
You’ll go because He wants you. Or, you’ll go because He has something for you to do. But you won’t
go because of the sickness. Because when God destroyed death in Jesus, He destroyed the power of
everything that leads to death. It has to appeal to your common sense whatever you think about
spiritual healing. It’s just logical that if you destroy death, you destroy the power of everything
that leads to death. That’s plain common sense. If you destroy the greater, you destroy everything
less than it and sickness is what causes death.
So when you destroy the power of death to incapacitate our physical bodies, you destroy the power of
sickness to incapacitate our physical bodies. And that’s what happened right through the New
Testament. You could look at it if you’d like in Matthew 8:14. This was the normal life loved ones,
for people who believed in Jesus.
Matthew 8:14, “And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, He saw His mother-in-law lying sick with a
fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and served Him. That evening they
brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and He cast out the spirits with a word and
healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took our
infirmities and bore our diseases.'” That’s it.
That is, it plainly states that when Jesus died and was raised in Calvary, He took our sicknesses
and our infirmities and bore them in His own body so that those of us who have faith in Him and who
speak that faith forth, can live in such a way that we are not incapacitated by those diseases. It’s
up to God whether He removes the diseases, whether He removes the symptoms, but the promise is here
that God has destroyed the power of sickness to incapacitate us. But it’s more than that.
For all of you who have lived under discouragement and depression for years, it’s more than that.
The Bible says that the world was crucified with Christ. When God destroyed our sickness and our sin
in Jesus, He destroyed the principalities and powers that work in our world. All the strange spirits
that work in the financial realm to bring all kinds of twists and turns to our national economy, all
the principalities and powers that work underneath the people that you work with in your day-to-day
jobs, that make them critical, that make them antagonistic to you, all the principalities and powers
in the spirits that lie behind the things that operate Murphy’s law, that make the thing always fall
on the wrong way, that make the thing always work the wrong way, all the principalities and powers
and spirits that work in your life to make things go so wrong, the things where you sense there’s no
control and no one in control, God destroyed that world in His Son Jesus. Every one of us who
believe that, and truly believe in Easter and believe that in Easter there is an Easter power, a
resurrection power that can overcome the weaknesses of the physical body and can change
circumstances and can change financial problems and personal problems, every one of us who live that
way and speak that way, begin to experience that power operating in us.
Here’s what I am asking you to do. When the clotheswasher goes on the blink and it’s full of
clothes, when the car is just about to breathe it’s last, when your job situation is just beyond
anything that you can make any sense of, would you stop talking as if there’s no Easter power? Would
you stop? I know it because I’ve done it better than you. We Irish can cry in our beer better than
you Americans can.
So I can tell you the story from the inside. You know what we do, we say, “That washer has gone
again. Everything is going wrong! The car’s breathing its last, and the washer is gone!” Stop that!
Stop that hellish talk. That is what it is. It is hellish talk. We’re all so bright, aren’t we, when
we hear somebody saying, “Oh you’ll never amount to anything.” We say, “Oh, what a terrible thing to
say. Don’t say that to them. It will discourage them, and make them failures.”
Well, what about this other stuff? You think the washer can’t hear? You and I know it’s not the
washer that can’t hear, everybody else around us can hear. Moreover, we can hear. And I’d ask any of
you men. Is it easier to tackle a difficulty from the top or below? Is it easier to tackle a problem
at work if you go to the job that day filled with enthusiasm and optimism or if you go to the job
that day filled with pessimism and worry and despair? Purely on a psychological it just makes sense.
But it’s not the psychological level that’s important. This is not a game. Loved ones, the fact is,
there is a power that has been released at Easter that is able to begin to move in our ordinary
everyday lives and yes, can affect the protons and the neutrons in that wood, (Pastor tapping on the
pulpit). Sure it can. What do you think God affected? What do you think He affected when He was able
to take a dead body and make it live again? Of course He affected the protons and neutrons.
What do you think He did with the protons and neutrons and their speed when He was able to get that
body to walk through walls? Of course He affected it. Of course He is the Creator of the world. He
is able to change things by this power that He released in His son Jesus. He is able to change
them, if we will confess with our lips and believe in our hearts that God has raised Jesus from the
If you say to me, “Well, how should we talk?” When the washer goes on the blink, you say, (you force
these dumb, miserable, rebellious lips to form words) “I thank God that He has a solution for this.
I thank God that He has an answer to this. I thank God that in a moment, we’ll see this solved and
that already the power that He released in His son Jesus is moving and will either give me the
wisdom to do this or will move even in that miserable old solid matter and will change the way the
protons are in the steel and will deal with a particular thing, a particular hose that is broken.”
You start talking as if you believed in Easter, that’s it. That’s it, loved ones.
If you say to me, “Oh, that’s intellectual dishonesty.” It’s intellectual dishonesty not to say
that. Every time you write the date, you state that this is intellectual honesty. You write 1985
A.D. Anno Domini not B.C., not Before Christ. You don’t write 1985 the world before Christ, you
write 1985. This is the 1985th year of the world’s life since Jesus came and released His
supernatural resurrection power into our universe. Every time you write the date loved ones, you
declare that we’re living post-Christ. We’re living in the days that have followed the revelation of
Christ and the release of His resurrection power among us. It is intellectual dishonesty NOT to talk
victoriously and triumphantly. It is.
Oh brothers and sisters, will you think about it? Think about those situations that we find
ourselves in. You’ve just discovered the overdraft and you’re just about to say to her, “Why did you
not send that last check in?” or you’re just about to say, “We’ll never pay that other bill.” At
that moment believe Easter. Believe Easter. Stop getting all worried about what will happen. “Well,
what will happen? Will the washer just start going?” That’s not your problem. That’s not your
Even if you say to me, “If I do it, when I get sick, will I get well?” That’s not your problem.
That’s up to God what He will do. You have one responsibility and that is to believe Easter. In the
midst of a predicament or a difficult situation, be it with a clotheswasher, or an automobile, or a
recalcitrant child or with a disagreeable colleague or with a business situation that cannot be
solved, at that moment, thank God with your lips that He has released in Jesus a power that is
already beginning to sort this thing out and that you’re confident that that thing will be solved.
Loved ones, that’s it. Is that hard? Is that hard? I am asking you to stop crying and start
laughing. Is that hard? That’s not hard. That’s what Easter is.
If you say to me, “Oh it’s a trick, it’s a trick.” It’s a trick in that it’s “unto you according to
your faith.” That’s a basic spiritual principle. God says, “It will be unto you according to your
faith.” If you believe that, if you begin to live that, and you begin to speak that, you will begin
to see this power being released in your life. That’s the miracle, that’s the amazing thing about
Loved ones, it is for you, even if you’ve come to church this morning and you think, “Oh, it all
sounds a bit strange and I’ve never been very religious.” You don’t have to be very religious, just
start being honest intellectually and start making your responses to problems line up with the fact
that God has already solved those problems in His son’s death on Calvary. Will you try it?
Just begin. Think of it. If it doesn’t work this week, you have another wonderful 40 to 60 years to
be miserable. So why not try it for a week and then you can get back into misery on your own. It
appeals, doesn’t it? It just seems right. The problem is that you think it’s too good to be true.
But actually it is true, loved ones. That’s what Easter is about, that’s what Easter is.
So, I am not going to ask, do you believe in Easter? I am going to ask, will you live Easter? Will
you start living Easter in your home, by the words that you speak? Speak life, not death and God’s
life will begin to move into the situation. Oh yes, it works. The situation will be changed. The
situation will be solved. Let’s pray.
Dear Father, You know how difficult it is for us to think that this could be true, it seems too
wonderful, seems just too good to be true, seems too easy and yet Lord, those words stick in our
throats because we realize it isn’t easy. It’s easier for some reason to speak pessimistically. It’s
easier for some reason to blame everybody else. It’s easier for some reason to complain. Lord, we
repent of that now.
We tell You we’re sorry Father for that kind of behavior. We tell You we’re sorry for all the misery
we brought to our loved ones by doing that. Father we’ve tried to protect our own rears by that kind
of behavior. Lord, we are prepared to start going out on limbs of faith. We’re prepared to start
saying what we do believe: that You have crucified the world in Christ. You have borne our
sicknesses and carried our pains. You have defeated the principalities and powers that make things
go wrong in our jobs. Lord, we’re going to start saying that we believe that and we’re going to
start confessing that with our lips and expecting You to move mightily in our lives. We commit
ourselves Father, to living Easter, each day of our lives, for Jesus’ glory. Amen.