Sunday, April 1, 2018

Sermon -- Easter Dawn (April 1, 2018)

GENESIS 1:1 – 2:3


In the name + of Jesus.

     It was not only the first day of the week; it was the first day ever.  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  Prior to the beginning, there was nothing.  But out of nothing, God brought forth life.  Out of darkness, God brought forth light.  Out of chaos, God brought forth created order.  God created heaven and earth for mankind, and then God added mankind to the earth.
     While God had simply summoned everything into being throughout the week of creation, God invested himself in the creation of man and woman.  The LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7)  And later, the Lord took a rib from the man's side.  And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman (Genesis 2:22)  The man and the woman were the crown of God's creation.  They were created for him to love them, and for them to love him.
     But man's love turned away from God to himself.  To this day, man lives for himself.  He despises God for his word.  He uses other people for his own pleasure.  He lies to cover his sins.  He schemes to take what is not his.  He even desires to be God, making his own rules and crafting his own version of truth.  For this, every man who is alive must die.  His heart and mind have been darkened.  Even the world has been subjected to chaos.  Though man tried to make himself lord of everything, he ends up with nothing.
     When the Lord was done with his creation, God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)  God loves what he has created; therefore, God did not destroy it.  God sought to reclaim, rectify, and restore everything which was corrupted by sin and death.  Rather than obliterate his creation, God invested himself into it once again. 
     Just as the Lord did not simply summon man into being but personally and intentionally formed him, so the Lord personally and intentionally took on the form of man.  The Lord became a man so that he could take into himself all that corrupted mankind.  Even though he was true God, Jesus did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.  Rather, he bore the guilt of mankind who exalts himself over God.  Even though Jesus is obedient and innocent, he made himself sin for us—smeared with every accusation.  The Lord invested himself in saving us by becoming one of us, by assuming the guilt that is ours, and by dying the cursed death we deserve.
     That was on Good Friday.  The Lord rested on the Sabbath.  But today is the first day of the week, the first day of the new creation.  Today, Jesus Christ is risen from the grave.  Out of death springs forth life.  God brings forth light to those who dwell in darkness.  Out of the chaos of sin and death, God brings forth a new created order. 
     Jesus Christ is the first man, a creation of flesh and blood, to rise from the grave to live forever.  He who is your Savior is a man just like you are.  And now through Jesus, mankind has victory over death.  The body which God has created is now reclaimed and will be restored to the life it was supposed to have.  Mankind, whom God created to love, God has now redeemed.  The Lord has invested himself not merely in creating mankind, but also in redeeming mankind.  Your humanity is exalted, and at the resurrection of all flesh on the Last Day, God will raise you up with a glorified body to live without sin forevermore.  God has brought forth a new creation.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

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