LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Pastor Rick Warren highlighted parts of his sermon on how the resurrection of Jesus Christ "changed everything" with scenes from the popular docudrama series "The Bible" during a lunchtime worship service at Saddleback Church on Good Friday. The message will be given again several more times before the weekend ends.
"How did 12 peasant fishermen, tax collectors, farmers – how in the world did they multiply – 12 followers of Jesus to one out of every three people on the planet [identifying as Christian]? The answer is the Resurrection," said Warren to about 2,000 people in attendance and an online viewing audience. "The resurrection of Jesus changed everything. It split our calendar to the A.D. and the B.C.
"No other event has impacted the world so much as the resurrection of Jesus Christ," he said.
Warren also said it is amazing to think about the fact that Jesus never wrote a book, "in fact he never wrote anything down," and yet there are more books written about Jesus than any other subject in the world.
He added, "Jesus never composed a song, but there is more music written about Jesus Christ than any other subject, bar none, in history. Jesus never drew any pictures or did any sculpture, [but] more art has been made about Jesus Christ than any other subject in history."
Jesus never traveled more than 100 miles from where he was born, Warren explained, "and yet, you can find followers of Jesus in every nook and cranny of the planet."
The reason Christianity spread is because "it's really good news," he continued. "It's not bad news. It's really good news – no, it's great news. Do you know where the word 'gospel' came from? People talk about sharing the gospel. That's just the old English word that means 'good news.'
"Christianity, the message of Jesus, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, is good news when you understand it," Warren said. "[The Resurrection] produces six incredible benefits in our lives."
Dramatic scenes from History Channel's "The Bible" shown during the sermon included a part of the crucifixion, the discovery of a risen Jesus, and Jesus talking to the disciples after his resurrection.
Warren outlined the six benefits along with Bible verses during the rest of his sermon. The "fill-ins" for the sermon notes:
1. We can be free and forgiven by Jesus' death. (Isaiah 56:6-10, Romans 4:25)
2. Jesus defeated death so we don't have to fear it. (2 Peter 1:16, Acts 1:3, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
3. We get to have God's spirit inside us. (Acts 1:8, Ephesians 1:19-20)
4. God loves us unconditionally. (John 3:16,17, 1 John 13:34-35)
5. God has a greater purpose for our lives. (Mark 8:35, Acts 15:26, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Philippians 1:21)
6. We can be certain of a future in heaven. (1 Peter 1:4, 1 Corinthians 2:9, John 14:6, Romans 10:9)
Saddleback Church began showing its Easter service, "How the Resurrection Changed Everything" via webcast on the church's website every two hours on Friday. Warren begins his first radio show, "Daily Hope," on Monday. Locally, in Southern California, the show will air on KBRT AM 740 and KPRZ AM 1210.
Easter services from Saddleback Church can be viewed on the Web: http://saddleback.com.