If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. . ., and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. . . . If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
(1 Corinthians 15:14-19)
One Easter Sunday, our pastor welcomed all the “Easter bunnies” to church. As a new Christian and a fairly new church attendee, I had no clue what he meant. He went on to explain that he was referring to professing Christians and church members who come to church once a year – on Easter Sunday. You don’t have to be seeker-friendly to know that’s not a helpful way to establish a welcoming environment. More than likely, those who were offended attended another church the next Easter Sunday.
Rather than rebuke people for coming to church once a year, why not take advantage of it? For all the complaining Christians do about the United States being a post-Christian nation, there sure are a lot of people who still come to church on Easter. In fact, there are still many unchurched people who will come to church if we would only invite them. So, while admittedly we are moving toward a post-Christian culture, thankfully, we’re not there yet. The vestiges of Christianity are present enough in our culture that many unbelieving, unchurched people will come to your church this Easter Sunday. So, I propose we take advantage of that and invite our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and colleagues to church this Easter Sunday. Because in most gospel churches, the focus of the music and the message will be the resurrection of Jesus Christ, here are three reasons to invite non-Christians to church this Easter.
1. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis of the Christian gospel.
We believe and preach that Jesus died for our sins and rose again on the third day. This is the basis for our faith and our preaching because in the resurrection God accepted Jesus’ substitute life and death, proved Jesus’ claims, and granted Jesus all authority to judge the world regarding sin (Acts 17:31). If you want unbelievers to hear the gospel, Easter is a great Sunday to invite them.
2. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis of Christian hope.
If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then our faith is worthless, and we have only hoped in Christ in this life only (1 Corinthians 15:19). If Christ has not been raised then we have no hope of a future resurrection either. On the other hand, the Bible says that Jesus did rise from the dead and that because He was raised, we too can look forward to our resurrection. “For,” Paul says, “if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5).
Your unbelieving friends and family are scared to die. They long to hope, and they are placing their hope in what will disappoint them. They need to hear the promise of hope in Christ and his resurrection.
3. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis of the Christian’s conduct (1 Corinthians 15:33-34).
How should we live if Christ rose from the dead? We should live a life that is pleasing to God in all respects (2 Corinthians 5:6-10). John reminds us that if we have this hope in us, we will purify ourselves (1 John 3:3). The hope of the resurrection allows us to live with a heavenly focus, living in righteousness because we don’t want to be ashamed at His coming (1 John 2:28-29). Your unbelieving friends and family know how people behave, and they will see how Christians live differently than everyone else in this world. Why? Because we have an eternal hope, a living hope that gives us an eternal perspective.
So, invite your unbelieving friends and family to church this Easter; it is the basis of our gospel, our hope, and our conduct. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, we should be out playing golf on Sundays or enjoying some family time or whatever brings you the most satisfaction. That’s what most of your unbelieving friends and family are doing.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we are still in our sins and have no hope of eternal life. But Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, just as Scripture announced. And for over 2,000 years, Christians throughout the world have been gathering every Sunday (Lord’s Day) to remember Jesus’ resurrection and to sing, pray, read, see, and hear this gospel of eternal hope preached. This is what we believe! And this is what we want our unbelieving friends and family to know. So, invite them to church this Easter Sunday.