Easter Sunday 12 April 2020

Emmanuel Baptist Church

Sunday 12th April 2020 - Easter Sunday

CHRIST IS RISEN, HE IS RISEN, INDEED.

If we were meeting in Emmanuel today we would be singing some of the great Easter hymns and what a wealth of Easter hymns there are. Here are a few:;

Christ the Lord is risen today; Hallelujah. Sons of men and angels say;….

I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives!....

“Up from the grave He arose.” (Low in the grave He lay….)

The strife is o’er, the battle done. The victory of life is won…..

Let’s just spend a few moments looking at that first one.

Christ, the Lord, is ris'n to-day, Hallelujah.

This first line tells us the great news that we celebrate today. At the time the disciples were scattered, they had fled after the trial of Jesus. Were they scared that they would be caught and put to death too? But as we read in Luke 24 - Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they]and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared; and surprise, surprise they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. And not only that, the body of Jesus was not in the tomb either. Luke goes on to tell us And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments  Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!

No wonder we can sing with the angels  “Hallelujah” – God be praised, as it says in the second line

Sons of men and angels say, Hallelujah.

We can sing with joy, not only today but every day because Christ has redeemed us from the power of sin and death. It is a song of triumph, the battle has been won over sin and death. For us who are believers the condemnation of sin has no power over us, Christ has triumphed. Death no longer holds sway over us as we know we will one day reign with Christ in heaven forever and ever.

Raise your joys and triumphs high, Hallelujah.

Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth reply. Hallelujah.

The rest of the words of the hymn are given below. Meditate on the wonderful truths that are contained in the following lines.

2 Love's redeeming work is done;

Fought the fight, the battle won.:

Lo! the sun's eclipse is o'er.

Lo! he sets in blood no more.

 

3 Vain the stone, the watch, the seal,

Christ has burst the gates of hell;

Death in vain forbids his rise,

Christ has open'd Paradise.

4 Lives again our glorious King!

"Where, O death, is now thy sting?"

Once he died our souls to save;

"Where's thy vict'ry, boasting grave?"

 

5 Hail the Lord of earth and heav'n!

Praise to thee by both be giv'n!

Thee we greet triumphant now,

Hail! the RESURRECTION — thou.

And finally we have the witness of Christ himself, as we read in the apostle John’s words in Revelation 1:17-19, And when I saw Him (Jesus), I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen

Christ is alive for evermore; our salvation is secure for eternity!

A fortnight ago I reminded us of some of the missions and folk for whom we pray. Can we also remember;-

Tear Fund Tearfund says that they are “responding to the coronavirus through our network of local church partners around the world. We’re helping them to promote the right messages to prevent its spread (particularly around good hygiene and sanitation), and to correct any lies and misinformation about the disease. We’re giving advice on how to care for and look out for their communities; to have an answer for tough theological questions about why the coronavirus has happened; and to encourage them to pray for an end to the outbreak.”

Helena, our sponsored child in Ethiopia. Compassion UK says that “The countries where we work are striving to slow the spread of the coronavirus through restrictions on public gatherings or quarantines. Our frontline church partners are working within these restrictions, and most have suspended group and project-based activities while offering alternate programming in the form of home visits, phone calls, and smaller gatherings. Our staff and project teams in country are doing all they can to support children, their families, and their communities.”

Sasra Pray for their Scripture Readers as many of our armed forces are supporting the Health and emergency services.

Leprosy Mission They are already involved with sick and vulnerable folk. Let’s pray that this virus does not stop their vital work.

And don’t forget those we know and their family members involved in the NHS and care work:-

Lindsay is working in RD&E Wonford.

Sue Stockdale’s daughter Joanna  a nurse at the North London hospice, 

Douglas and Margaret’s two daughters, Gillian and Rachel are both nurses and granddaughter Bryony is a midwife,

Bernard and Pat’s sister-in law Gerri (Kelly) a senior nurse in the Nuffield Hospital, Cambridge.

Isobel’s nephew David, is a GP in the Midlands, he has recovered from a bout of Covid 19.

Sue Cousen’s daughter Sarah and granddaughter Amelia are working as carers until their nursing course are reconvened.

Chris and Felicity’s daughter Rachel is a speech therapist, in Whanganui Hospital, New Zealand.

Christiane’s grandson Adrian is a paramedic.

Arthur and Jean’s daughter Julia in Taunton and granddaughter Lucy in London are nurses.

Jane Cooper and her sister Emma are carers in Arcot House where Nora Crow is; also those caring for John Melville in Trowbridge and for Jenny Gregory and Barbara Perchard in Sidmouth Nursing Home. And finally those caring for Anne Phelps living in her own home in Sidmouth

I have repeated this passage again as it seems so pertinent to this season of Easter and our personal circumstances.

Hebrews 12:1-3    Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

And a benediction

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Heb 13:20-21)

And remember, STAY AT HOME, keep washing your hands and keep your distance if you have to go out.

God bless you all,
Chris