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Hope, power, love and joy

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1 Peter 1:3-9

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Peter writes: ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’.

He praises God for what God has done. God has taken people who were spiritually dead and has made us spiritually alive.

And he goes on in this glorious passage to speak of how, because of this new birth, Christians are new people. We were dead, but now we are alive.

1. We have a new hope. 
‘He has given us new birth into a living hope .. into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you.’ (v4)

We cannot separate this hope from the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It is the ground of our hope: because God raised Jesus from the dead, we know that he can raise our bodies.
It is the foretaste, the preview, the model of our resurrection. The bible speaks of the resurrected Jesus as a first fruit of the general re…

An all age talk for Easter Sunday

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Matthew 28:1-10
[Ask children to give out stones to everybody in the congregation, and then use them to act out the first point of the talk]
Today I'm going to ask us to look at our stones and use them to remember two particular stones.

1. The stone at the tomb
We read of two women today: Mary Magdalene and another Mary, the mother of James and Joseph (we don't know who she is) 
They come to 'look at the tomb'. They wanted to see the place where Jesus was buried.  People do that. It helps them think of the person who has died. 
Let's imagine this is the tomb.  Can I have a few people to be the stone. [stand them in front of the 'tomb' - and tell them to look rock-like, big and mean - nothing is going to get past them].
We put stones in front of tombs to keep the living from the dead, and the dead from the living. 
On this particular occasion they didn't just put a stone between the body of Jesus and us - they also put a human guard. (some soldiers)
It didn't d…

The sixth cry of Jesus from the cross: It is finished.

We turn now to what was the sixth cry of Jesus from the cross.
‘It is finished’ (John 19:30)
I guess it could have been a cry of anguish – the whole thing was a waste of time, but the farce is ended. It might have been a cry of relief – the suffering is over.
But we are to hear this as a cry of victory.
‘It is finished. The task that I have been given has been accomplished.'
John writes, ‘When Jesus had received the drink ..’. He has already mentioned this drink in John 18:11. There Jesus commands Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
What is this cup? In the Old Testament we are told that the cup is the cup of the wrath of God, of God’s hatred against sin. So Psalm 75:8, ‘For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs’. Jeremiah 25:17, ‘So I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations to whom the Lor…