If you grew up in Texas, you’re no stranger to the cry, “Remember the Alamo!”  It echoed across a field near modern-day Houston on April 21, 1836, as the fledgling Texan Army defeated General Santa Anna of Mexico.  The roar of remembrance brought the Texans courage in thinking of the 180 men who held out at the Alamo for 13 days, effectively being a thorn in the side of Santa Anna before they were all killed.  The remembrance of the Texans with Sam Houston gave them the courage to advance against the Mexican army despite its greater strength.

Like the Alamo, there are many things we must remember and be reminded of, and some of them are more important than we may realize.

A husband and wife remember the day they stood before God and others and made a vow, thus avoiding giving up and throwing in the towel on their marriage.  Their remembrance caused them to hold fast, stand firm, and not give in. In two months, the US will honor Memorial Day, when those who gave their lives in the military service of their country are remembered and celebrated. Remembrance of their sacrifice should cause us to never take our freedom for granted. It should challenge us to serve instead of being selfish.

As we move into Good Friday and Easter, I am taken back to about 2000 years ago when the Apostle Paul wrote to some early and struggling Christians to encourage them to hold fast and stand firm in their faith.  Paul testified to the early saints in the ancient city of Corinth that he wanted to “remind you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this Gospel, you are saved if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”

Like so many of us today, these early Christians were bombarded with voices all around them calling them away from God and into the lies of the perishing world.  They needed to be reminded of the hope they had embraced in Jesus Christ. In Biblical Greek, that hope, or Gospel, which means Good News, is based on the prime importance “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

The firm foundation is the good news that we can have peace with God, and it all comes down to those three historical facts. That Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.  Jesus did not die as a mere martyr or a rebel but willingly laid down his life to pay for our sins. That was his clear mission, and he even said in Luke 19:10 that he “came to seek and save the lost.”  The burial impresses upon us that he died; he did not merely pass out under the strain of the Roman executioners. The historical fact of his resurrection proves his divinity and that his sacrifice for our sins was indeed sufficient. Those three historical events make the good news possible that we might have peace with God where no religious service ever merits us enough to erase our sins or allow us into the presence of a Holy God.

The historical death, burial, and resurrection alone answer the sin question that separates us from God. The first Christians needed to be reminded of this reality, which dictated their present function and future hope. For us today, it is also a clarion call for now and eternity.

When we remember the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection, we no longer fear what the world fears.  The greatest fear is death, and as many have said, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” But when we know that Jesus defeated death, we can see it as genuinely moving onto the bigger side of eternity. Paul almost taunts death in the passage – “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

What do we have in this certainty?  In Ephesians 1:7, Paul says that we have an assurance that our sins have been forgiven, and likewise in Romans 5:1, that “because we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Because of this remembrance, what can we look forward to? Ephesians 2:13 teaches us that “now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  We can be assured of walking with Jesus now and confident of being with Christ throughout eternity. Hours before Christ went to the Cross, he encouraged his 12 apostles not to be discouraged because there were many rooms in His Father’s house, concluding, “If that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” That same promise applies to us today.  At the fruition of everything, Revelation confidently encourages that the time will come when “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Finally, at the end of Paul’s life, he looked toward the crown of righteousness, which was in store for not only him but all who have longed for the appearance of Christ.

Easter reminds us that we have these realities; more than that, we can and must press on in this world regardless of what the enemy throws at us. To the early Christians in Corinth, Paul challenged them with these final words near the conclusion of the letter: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain”. (Corinthians 15:58)

The gospel message has not changed, as it cannot change.  The Gospel of Easter can neither be taken away from nor added to.  Because of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, there is good news, and we can, no, we must live accordingly.  We do not have to fear what the world fears.  We can live with a purpose far exceeding anything that flesh and blood can provide. We can look forward to when the master will tell all who have loved Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  When we remember Easter, we can be different.

 

 

 

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