To listen to Rev. Sandy's Sunday, April 11, 2021, Message, click  here or read it below. 

Easter’s Over; Now What?
 Acts 1:1-14
 
Good Morning to the followers of Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team and to all who are listening to or reading this message via Facebook and our Website!  What a glorious opportunity we have to praise and worship God on this day!

Today’s message comes from Acts 1:1-14, and you can be turning there in your Bibles.  We may wonder, after Easter Sunday, what do we do now?  There are 50 days before Pentecost so what do we do until then?  With that question in mind, let’s begin reading our scripture.

1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.

13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Let’s pray:
Father,
As we gather together through the technology of the internet, I ask that Your Truth saturate our hearts today.  Help us to stay focused on You.  May the truth in Your Word guide our lives.  I pray that our hearts will overflow with joy and that we will have a strong desire to share the good news of Jesus' life, death and resurrection wherever we go.  May our lives model Christ in all that we do and to those we encounter.  

In Jesus’ name,
Amen

In his sermon, “What Happens After Easter?” Rev. Terry Blankenship shares the story, “LOOKING FOR ME.”

The boss of a big company needed to call one of his employees about an urgent problem with one of the main computers. He dialed the employee’s home telephone number and was greeted with a child’s whispered, "Hello?"

Feeling put out at the inconvenience of having to talk to a youngster, the boss asked, "Is your Daddy home?" "Yes," whispered the small voice.

"May I talk with him?" the man asked. To the surprise of the boss, the small voice whispered, "No."

Wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, "Is your Mommy there?"

"Yes," came the answer.

"May I talk with her?" Again, the small voice whispered, "No."

Knowing that it was not likely that a young child would be left home alone, the boss decided he would just leave a message with the person who should be there watching over the child. "Is there anyone there besides you?" the boss asked the child.

"Yes," whispered the child, "a policeman."

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee’s home, the boss asked,

"May I speak with the policeman?"

"No, he is busy," whispered the child.

"Busy doing what?" asked the boss.

"Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Fireman," came the whispered answer.

Growing concerned and even worried as he heard what sounded like a helicopter through the ear piece on the phone, the boss asked, "What is that noise?"

"A hello-copper," answered the whispering voice.

"What is going on there?" asked the boss, now alarmed.

In an awed whispering voice, the child answered, "The search team just landed the hello-copper!"

Alarmed, concerned and more than just a little frustrated, the boss asked, "Why are they there?"

Still whispering, the young voice replied (along with a muffled giggle), "They are looking for me!"

What are we looking for now that Easter has passed?  We should be looking to share the Gospel with the lost.  

As believers, Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19 what we should be doing:  “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  

As Christians, we have a task to complete, a job to finish and a mission to accomplish; we shouldn’t get complacent or lethargic and fail to fulfill our responsibilities as believers.  

As we go about our daily lives, are we looking for opportunities to share Jesus with the lost?  Have we found any opportunities? Are we really looking for opportunities?  If we refuse to fulfill our charge, Jesus can and will use others to carry out His mission. 

Additionally, in today’s scriptures, Jesus is showing us three things we should do after Easter.

First, verses 4-5 tell us that there is a time for WAITING.

After Easter is over, Jesus shows us that this is not the time to hurry on to the next event in our lives, but a time to stop, to reflect, to let the true meaning of what we have just experienced change our lives.   

So the disciples returned to Jerusalem to wait.  In verse 14, maybe we see our answer to our question, “now what.” “They all joined constantly in prayer.” For those of us thinking, “What are we waiting on, let’s get out there and share Christ with the people in our lives,” maybe this period after Easter is a time for us to do the same. Maybe we should think about what we have just experienced at Easter; what it means, reflect, pray, discern.

A youth at a Sunrise Service said something I thought was truly insightful.   He said, “Have you let Easter change your life, or did Easter only change your day?” What did Easter do for us? Are we the same today as we were several weeks ago, or do we have a new excitement about Christ, a new feeling about who we are, a better understanding about who we would be if Jesus didn’t travel to the cross?

Second, in verses 6 and 7, we see there is a time for WONDERING.

Do we ever wonder why Jesus had to die on a cross?

Billy Graham once said, “The cross shows the seriousness of our sin, but it also shows us the immeasurable love of God.”    

We were so covered in sin that we were not even worthy of the CRUMBS beneath the Lord’s table. But God is a God of mercy, of love, of forgiveness. No matter how bad we think we are, no matter what we have done, no matter what is in our past, the cross is even bigger.  God’s love and forgiveness still covers us. We can’t just KNOW this, we need to OWN this, we need to CLAIM this and be changed by it!

Even as we have been waiting and wondering, there is still one more thing for us to do. 

In verse eight, we see there is a time for WORKING.

In addition to the Great Commission Jesus gave us, we are to be a blessing to other people. That’s one of the reasons God doesn’t just zap us up to heaven when we repent of our sin. We need to grow. We need to mature. We need to become more Christ-like. As we do that, we are to build people up and minister to them.  

In Romans 12:4-8 the Bible says:  “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” 

We are saved to serve. The early church walked in service to the King. Every Christian has a place in the Kingdom. Every Christian has been given gifts and talents that are to be used for the good of others. 

Ephesians 4:11-12 says:  “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” 

What are we doing to build up the Body of Christ?  It’s part of our responsibility as a Christian to serve. As we mature, we become better at works of service. The immature think works of service is to please God, and it does; but works of service are not done to win God’s love, they are an expression of our love and faith and obedience to Him.

The Early Church set an example for us to follow. 

1. They walked in Joy
2. They walked in Obedience
3. They walked in Service to the King.

We need to do the same. Easter is over; Resurrection Sunday is over.  What will we do with the life that Christ purposely gave us?  

John 3:16 says:  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Maybe your future right now appears totally messed up and it’s not turning out like you thought. If you put your whole life in God’s hands, He can give you a new future.  

Remember that just when our lives seem to be at “rock bottom”, God can change them.  Someone reading or listening to this might think: “My life is too messed up; God can’t do anything with me,” or “ my life is too far gone; I’ve been living like this for too long; God can’t change me,” or “It’s too late for me; God can’t save me.”

As Jesus was hanging on the cross, a thief hung on a cross beside Jesus.  The thief had a messed up life. Dying there on the cross, in the last moments of his life, many would have said of that man, “It’s too late for him!”

But as that thief hung along side Jesus, with one of his final breaths he said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom”

Notice a word in that sentence “when.” He did not say if you come into your kingdom but when. That thief expressed faith in the resurrection.  Jesus responded to the thief saying:  “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The new law that Jesus enacted, through death on the cross and resurrection three days later, makes victory possible for everyone. But some have been unwilling to take the steps that are necessary in order for that victory to be a reality in their life. They have never accepted the gift of salvation that Jesus offers to all. They have never surrendered their will to His so that they can live in constant obedience to Him. Today could be their victory day. Today could be the day of their celebration. 

If this is you, realize today that the work has already been done. All you have to do is to join the winning team.  There’s no better time than now to repent, turn to God and respond to His grace.

If you’ve known God but walked away from His call on your life to do your own thing, then it’s time to stop in your tracks and repent all over again and get back to fulfilling God’s plan in and through your life. Tomorrow may be too late.

May you be blessed in Jesus' Name, Amen! 

When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing.   Since that isn't possible, please click here and may you be blessed by singing along with "O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee."

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