Brothers and Sisters,
Easter is approaching fast. This Sunday, we will celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. Hallelujah! He is risen, indeed!
The death and resurrection of Jesus is the heartbeat of the church. It is the message we were given to proclaim. It is the very mission of the church. It’s what we were made for.
And that’s why we’ve asked you to invite at least five people to come to one of the Easter services. That’s why we’ve asked you to talk to your neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, even strangers, and invite them to come and hear the good news. That’s the mission. So go to work, church!
But beware as you do. For there is no other time when the evil one will seek to exploit our weaknesses, insecurities, and our sins to throw us off track. He will agitate us, press us where it hurts, enflame our passions and our pride, scratch at old wounds and dredge up long-settled conflicts. He will seek to divide us and stifle us. He wants to drown out the message of hope and push people back into the darkness.
Don’t take the bait. Or if you have, spit it out! God’s mercies are new every morning. “If you confess your sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). So spit it out. Go to your trusted brother or sister in the Lord and confess and repent, and thereby be renewed in your spirit and your focus.
And pray for one another! Pray that each would have the strength to stand and the confidence in the mission and kingdom of God. Pray for me, your pastor, that I would be strengthened in the Lord to resist the schemes of the devil and to proclaim the righteousness of Christ to all who come. Pray that we would act in love and unity toward one another (1 Corinthians 1:10) and that we would be gracious towards outsiders (Colossians 4:5). Pray that we might be the display of the grace of God in Jesus Christ that we are meant to be as the church. Pray that we might resist the devil, that he would flee from us (James 4:7).
And let’s remember to keep the main thing the main thing.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for you feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:10-20).