Sermon for 04.07.24 “Easter makes a difference”

EASTER 2, APRIL 7, 2024
Text: Acts 4:32–35
Theme: Easter makes a difference
Other Lessons
Psalm 148
Epistle: 1 John 1:1–2:2
Gospel: John 20:19–31

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The first reading serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Eternal God, we approach Your throne of grace, mindful of the message
declared by John in his first letter, recounting the Word of life made
manifest among us.
He speaks of what was seen, heard, and touched—the very life of Jesus, Your
Son, made tangible in our world.
Through these sacred testimonies, we encounter the living truth of Christ,
drawing us into deep fellowship with You and each other.
Lord, in Your light, we see our shadows and acknowledge our sins.
We often stumble in darkness, veering away from Your path.
Yet, Your faithfulness shines bright, promising forgiveness and
purification from all unrighteousness through Jesus, our advocate and
As we come together in worship, fill us with the joy of fellowship that
John spoke of, a fellowship with You and with Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Empower us to live out this truth, reflecting Your love and righteousness
in our daily walk. Amen.
(E) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

(A) Easter Sunday may be over for this year, but the season of Easter is
definitely not.
(1) Our church year gives us six more Sundays of the Easter season.
(2) But even that is not enough.
(3) Every Sunday serves as a “little” Easter.
(4) Christians worship on Sundays because Jesus arose from the dead on the
first day of the week.
(B) Easter still matters in the church calendar, but what difference does
it make in our lives?
(1) Easter Sunday can certainly create an emotional high:
(A) great music,
(B) powerful preaching,
(C) a church filled with people.
(D) We can all get excited about that, but how about this Sunday?
(E) Or the next Sunday?
(F) Pretty soon we’re back to the same old, same old.
(C) So what difference does Easter make—for you?
(1) Our text for this morning shows us how Easter does indeed Makes a
Difference in the Lives of Those Who Believe It.
(I) Making gods out of ourselves and our possessions ends us in the
grave—until it doesn’t.
(A) Our text for today shows what a difference it made in the lives of the
first Christians.
1) And what a difference!
2) People sold all their property and gave it to the apostles for relief of
the needy. That’s hard to believe, isn’t it, especially in this day and age?
(B) “What’s mine is mine” is the common, natural, and believable way of
thinking nowadays.
1) The mindset is something like this:
a) If you have need, maybe I’ll do something about it.
b) I might do it, but it’s not a sure thing.
c) After all, I have needs too:
1) bills to pay,
2) things to buy,
3) family to tend to,
4) lots of stuff.
5) You can’t expect me to take care of you.
6) In this world, you’re on your own.
7) Maybe the government will help, but don’t expect me to bail you out.
(C) That kind of thinking is easy for us to understand.
1) We do it all the time, and not only us.
2) So does everybody else.
3) It’s not even anything new.
4) The ancients used to argue about whether the sun traveled around the
earth or the earth around the sun, but both were wrong.
5) Not only the earth and the sun, but the entire universe goes around me.
6) I am the center of it all.
a) My hopes,
b) my desires,
c) my fears,
d) my thinking all center on me
e) not you, not even God, just me.
f) We call that sin.
(D) Satan’s first temptation to Eve was to replace God with herself.
Genesis 3:5 (NASB95)
5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
1) It wasn’t true, but ever since, the devil has been repeating this lie,
and human beings have been falling for it ever since.
2) They:
a) define their own values,
b) make their own rules,
c) and do what pleases themselves, including with their possessions.
d) They—or better, we—make gods out of ourselves and so out of our
possessions too.
e) I earned it,
f) I bought it,
g) and I’m going to do what I want to with it.
h) It’s mine.
(E) But that, too, is a lie.
1) What we have in this life depends entirely on the goodness and gifts of
a) our talents,
b) our opportunities,
c) our successes
d) all these are a result from what God has done for us.
2) Moreover, what Paul said to Timothy is still true:
1 Timothy 6:7 (NASB95)
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything
out of it either.
(F) Of course, by the time Eve discovered that Satan’s temptation was a
dead end—literally, it was too late.
1) We do the same thing, every one of us.
2) We think that we are in charge, until we’re not, but then it’s too late.
3) The wages of sin is death!
4) It all ends in the grave—until it doesn’t!
(II) Easter changes that by restoring us to the love of God and his free
gift of eternal life.
(A) For Jesus Christ is alive, risen from the dead.
Romans 6:23 (NASB95)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1) That is the difference that Easter makes!
2) Our Lord’s resurrection overcame the penalty for sin, death, because His
crucifixion overcame sin itself.
3) He took the sin of all upon himself:
a) starting with Eve,
b) then Adam,
c) and then every last one of their descendants, including those yet to
come, including you and me.
4) But now Jesus is alive:
a) just ask no-longer-doubting Thomas.
b) Our God and our Lord is alive!
c) Sin has been paid for;
d) death has been overcome.
(B) Everything is different now.
1) Because of Easter, we know that what Jesus told us about God is true.
2) He is our loving Father.
Ephesians 2:1 (NASB95)
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
3) The Lord took the initiative to redeem us.
Romans 8:32 (NASB95)
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how
will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
4) Our heavenly Father takes His perfect, tender loving care of us and
provides for us, and at the end of this life, He welcomes us into the next,
into the paradise about which Jesus spoke to that penitent thief on the
5) The devil is still lurking around, and, for sure, sin rears its ugly
6) But neither devil nor sin can take away what we have in Christ:
a) the God who loves us.
(III) Therefore, Easter also frees us to respond to the needs of others,
whatever they may be.
(A) That’s why those first Christians could respond as they did to the
needs of others.
1) Christ had freed them from the sin of self-interest.
a) God had filled their hearts with his love; and that love overflowed to
others, and:
Acts 4:34 (NASB95)
34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of
land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales.
(B) Of course, we live in different times.
1) Perhaps physical needs are not so pressing.
2) But in addition to the basics, people still have needs:
a) respect,
b) companionship,
c) purpose,
d) security.
3) How good are we at supplying things like these to others in our
a) Since God takes care of us, we can take care of others, giving not only
our money but also our time, energy, talents, and—most fundamental of
all—our love to one another in response to whatever challenges life brings.
(C) Perhaps this sounds like a sermon for “Stewardship Sunday” instead of
for Easter, but these first Christians have given us an example that we
cannot ignore—not now, not ever.
1) Easter means something.
a) It changes lives.
b) It changed their lives.
c) Easter makes a difference in the lives of those who believe.
d) So what about you?


(A) Speaking of examples, immediately following today’s text, Luke
introduces Barnabas as an example of someone whom the Easter proclamation
changed forever.
(1) He not only sold his property for the relief of the needy (Acts
4:36–37), but he also became one of the great missionaries of the apostolic
a) He took great risks for the sake of the Gospel.
b) After Paul’s conversion, Barnabas befriended him when others were
c) Upon hearing that the Gospel was reaping fruit in Antioch, the Jerusalem
church sent Barnabas to continue the work there, and Barnabas recruited
d) When the Spirit indicated that Paul’s missionary journeys were to begin,
he called Barnabas to the work as well.
e) Barnabas then shared in all the challenges and trials of that first
journey, including persecution in Antioch of Pisidia and Iconium.
f) Along with Paul, he was mistaken for a god in Lystra, where once again
they were persecuted.
g) Nevertheless, they revisited those places in order to strengthen the
faithful and appoint elders in the churches.
h) After returning to Antioch, Barnabas along with Paul defended the
Gentile mission against the Judaizers.
(2) Although Barnabas and Paul separated over a disagreement, the former
continued the mission by going to Cyprus.
a) Church tradition tells us that Barnabas died a martyr’s death.
b) Easter certainly made a difference to him.
c) It ought to make a difference for us and to us as well. Amen.
(B) Let us pray:
Lord. we thank You for the assurance and advocacy we have in Christ, who
not only covers our sins but also intercedes for all of us.
May our worship today be a reflection of the eternal life You have revealed
to us, an offering of gratitude and commitment to Your ways.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, we pray. Amen.
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(E) In the Father…Amen.