Easter – Off to See the Queen!

palaceHave you ever watched one of the royal events broadcast from England’s Buckingham Palace?  The pomp and pageantry is second to none!  Whether it be a speech, wedding, or some other function, when the Queen of England is scheduled to speak thousands of people gather together to hear her.  And this is understandable – she is the Queen of the land!  Except…she is Queen in name only.  While Elizabeth is universally accepted as the Queen of England, all those who accept her as such will also be in universal agreement that she really has no authoritative power whatsoever.  She issues no decrees that the citizens must obey.  She commands no armies.  She has no real authority at all, and her office is celebrated only as a tradition and out of a sense of duty.  Perhaps this sense of duty comes out of the past, originating from the long history of the office and the memory of the many good things accomplished by royalty in times long past.

Living in the Bible Belt of the United States, this week before Easter Sunday strikes me as being similar to the preparations carried out in England before a royal event.  Flowers are being ordered, new clothing is purchased for women and children, celebration dinners are being planned with the menu’s being discussed among the family and friends that will be coming together.  On Easter Sunday, the pomp and pageantry will be on full display!  Pastors will have fresh flowers displayed, new paint on the walls, extra volunteers working and a specially prepared sermon on hand.  The churches made up predominantly of older folks will have their pomp done one way, and the younger purpose-driven or postmodern folk will be “keeping it real” by using their own styles (they too will have a special pomp and pageantry for the occasion, even if it’s the way they casually deny that they have pomp & pageantry).  Every church going by the name “Christian” will have something special going on this coming Sunday, with many of the preparations being very similar to those of a royal event.  But the preparations aren’t the only similarities, and fresh flowers aren’t the only things in common on display.

I cannot help but notice that in the same way throngs of people come to hear from a Queen with no real power, throngs of churchgoers do the same as they flock to hear of a Lord with no power.  Please don’t misunderstand…the Lord Jesus Christ has both ultimate power and authority over all creation (so in that the comparison doesn’t stand).  But many, many of the people who are faithful to attend the annual Easter service recoil from the idea of the Lord having authority over them.  They claim that, as with the queen, there is no real-life authority.  They don’t claim it verbally, but they claim it in a more practical way with their take-home reaction of the sermon.  A truly biblical Easter sermon will not only cover the resurrection of Christ, but also why He came in the first place.  It should discuss our guilt in breaking God’s laws, and how the fine must be paid if the judge is to remain just.  Throughout many Easter services over many decades, America’s Bible Belt Christian has heard the message of the King (that we are to trust Christ’s death was in our place & repent of all sin) and rejected it with both their words and deeds.  It is as though many inwardly say, “Attending an Easter service is fine but give up my pornography, alcohol, or those lies so needed during the course of business?  Well, now this “religion thing” is going too far!”  It is the standard belief of multitudes that attending church is a good moral influence, a beneficial discipline that should be carried out from time to time, but giving up something like, well, unmarried sex?  Out of the question.  WAY out of question!!  The queen is a good show, and in the same way so is the message of Jesus.  It is a feel-good tradition of the past that carries no weight.  Good moral influence?  Yes.  Authority that is to be respected and obeyed?  Well…not so much.  Obviously, salvation isn’t earned by the good works performed from someone who reforms after a sermon.  But submission to the call of repentance (a change of mind) will be made evident in the lives of those who have truly repented, the ones that are truly trusting in the savior’s sacrifice.  The inward change when a person is truly saved invariably shows itself outwardly in the life of the one who is now a believer.  Repentance and faith can indeed be seen on the outside.  If you have ever read 1st John or Matthew 7, you will understand that this is a VERY biblical concept.

For many who attend a church that preaches the whole counsel of God (the good news of salvation preceeded by the bad news of sin and guilt) there is often a dangerous tradition of resting in the pew under the delusion that they are at a royal English event.  A great show, but one without authority.  To them, the message given is delivered only for tradition and social custom.  If the queen were to give a speech in which she demanded obedience, these same folks would react with incredulous denial.  They would openly scoff at the idea of England’s Queen ever having real authority over their lives.  If attending the Easter service at the church this Sunday, these same folk would never scoff at Christ openly, but their refusal to humble themselves in repentance and cling to Christ alone has the same element of prideful independence.  The obvious difference in this comparison is that while the Queen really doesn’t have authority, the Lord Jesus Christ does.  Through Him and for Him all things were made, and in the end every knee will bow in acknowledgement of His Lordship!

What about you, dear reader?  Do you have the Easter dinner selected, the flowers selected and the plans in place for where you will view the pomp and pageantry this Sunday?  Are you filling a cultural tradition and your family’s expectations while having no intention whatsoever of humbling yourself, trusting Christ for forgiveness and obeying Him as your Lord & Master?  Please allow me the freedom to make a suggestion – If you simply want a good show, take a European vacation and visit Buckingham palace.  It would be better for you on the Day of Judgement to have visited the Queen, heard her message, and denied her authority than if you go to church this Sunday and do these same things.  Scripture tells us that from whom much is given, much will be required!  The Lord Jesus Christ has offered forgiveness for those who repent and believe.  Will you?  Will you acknowledge Him as your Lord (meaning you are His slave)?

Remember, regardless of how fancy your church decorations may be, it isn’t Buckingham Palace and the message inside isn’t from a paper monarch like the Queen.  The sermon (if you are in a true Bible-believing, law & Gospel, repent and believe kind of church) is the message of the living King.  Hopefully, you attend such a church.  All too many churches now view Easter Sunday as the “Black Friday” of church growth, and give little to no thought as to a biblical presentation of the Gospel (repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name), but rather try to give the audience what they want, hoping they will become return customers.  Please take the time to think about these things – it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

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One Comment on “Easter – Off to See the Queen!”

  1. www.awatchmanonthewall.blogspot.com Says:

    POWERFUL word. Thanks. I do not go to church on Easter Sunday – for much the reason above.

    Thank you for these words of truth. Thy Word is Truth.!!!.

    Reply

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