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Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
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November 14, 2020 1:00 am


Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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November 14, 2020 1:00 am

Have you seen the Risen Christ with your spiritual eyes? Pastor Russ Andrews talks about having hope in Jesus, exploring Mark 16: 1-8.


This is Robbie Dilmore from The Christian Car Guy and Kingdom Pursuit, where we hear how God takes your passion and uses it to build a kingdom. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it and share it. But most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. a system of rules and regulations?

I can do this, but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, a local triangle ministry glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.

For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Heavenly Father, we just come before you tonight. Thank you, Lord, for the fact that you are on the throne, that you, according to Hebrews 1-3, hold all things together, that without you, everything would come unraveled. And even though we may see things as being unraveled, we know that they're not, that you're directing history along according to your divine plan. And you've sent your Son, Lord, that we might have this blessed assurance. When we place our trust in Him, Lord, you promise us eternal life.

And you tell us in John 14 that you're preparing a place for us. And what great hope we have. Lord, we love you.

We give you all the praise and glory. And I pray now that you prepare all of our hearts, Lord, to hear the word that you have for each one of us tonight. It's in your name that I pray. Amen. Well, tonight I want to talk to you about hope. And my prayer is that everyone who leaves here tonight and everyone who's listening, if you don't have hope, that you will seek the one who can give you hope.

We're going to be looking at Mark 16, verses 1-8. One of my favorite movies, as I think all of you probably know, is the Shawshank Redemption. I know I've talked about this before, but you're going to hear about it again tonight.

Do you know why? Because I want to hear about it again tonight. I have to say it is my favorite movie of all time. The film portrays the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker who spends nearly two decades in Shawshank State Prison for a murder that he did not commit, the murder of his wife. And while he's in prison, he becomes friends with a fellow inmate by the name of Ellis Redding, who goes by the nickname Red. Andy was an accounting wizard and the warden who was laundering money for the prison took a liking to Andy and brought him into his fraudulent scheme. However, one day Andy, you may remember the scene, he locks the door to the warden and he turns on those two Italian female singers and he blares it all through the prison and they have to bust down the door to get Andy to turn the music off. And so Andy ends up in a place called The Hole. I never want to be in a place like The Hole. It was solitary confinement, about four or five feet wide, about ten feet long and had no windows and I have very bad claustrophobia.

So if I ever end up in prison, which I might one of these days, somebody come get me out, okay? So one scene in the movie shows Andy after he's just been released from The Hole, sitting down in the mess hall with Red and some of their other prison buddies and he tries to explain to them that being in The Hole was really not that big a deal to him because of what he had on the inside. And you may remember that Red just didn't understand what he was talking about. He almost got angry with him.

He said, what do you mean? And Andy explained to them that what he had on the inside was hope. And men, I want to tell you something. I've had hope in my heart for heaven and eternal life since I was about ten years old and I placed my trust in Jesus. And I've been looking forward to my heavenly home just like a ten year old looks forward to Christmas morning. See, hope is the anchor that believers cling to during the storms of life. And believers are the only people in the world who have any reason for hope. And the reason, men, is because we are the heirs of what is promised in the Bible. According to the Bible, those who place their trust in Jesus have an incredible future in store for them.

And I want to try to give you a glimpse of that tonight, a future that is really beyond description. Did you know that the apostle Paul who wrote most of the New Testament was actually called up to heaven and he was able to hear and see what heaven looked like? And when Paul tried to describe what he heard and surely must have seen, he couldn't find the words. So here's what he says in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 about this experience. He said, I know a man in Christ who was caught up to the third heaven. The first heaven, men, is what you look up in the daytime and you see the sun shining in the clouds. That's the first heaven.

The second heaven, you need a telescope and that's when you look deep into the galaxies and all the stars in the universe. And the third heaven is paradise. The thief on the cross was caught up to paradise the day he died on the cross. And so Paul says, I know a man, he's talking about himself, in Christ who was caught up to the third heaven. He was caught up to paradise. He heard and I believe he saw inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. Paul never tells us what he heard or saw, but don't you know that it gave him hope? When he went through all those trials and tribulations, the stonings, the imprisonments, he had to endure that because he was a follower of Jesus. And yet he had this hope with him always. The Apostle John was also given a vision of heaven while he was on the island of Patmos.

In fact, the entire book of Revelation is a writing about all the visions that Jesus gave him while he was on Patmos. And John was unable to describe what will be, and so he tells us what will not be. In Revelation 21 verses 3 through 5, John writes, Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain. For the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, Who is seated on the throne?

Jesus. He said, I am making everything new. Then He said to John, Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. Why did Jesus tell John to write this down? Because what John saw and what Jesus gave him to write is trustworthy. You can believe the Bible, man.

You can believe every word in it. You see, there's only one event in the history of the world that can give a man any hope. And that event is the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. And that brings us, men, to Mark chapter 16, beginning with verse 1.

He says, When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb? That was what was on their mind and heart. They were concerned about this. But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled away. And as they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

And don't be alarmed, He said. You're looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has what? Risen. And He is not here. See the place where they laid Him?

He was probably sitting at one end of it. There's nobody there. But go tell His disciples and Peter, He has gone ahead of you into Galilee.

There you will see Him, just as He told you. Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid. Why is the resurrection so important? It's because the validity of Christianity rests entirely upon this one historical event. The resurrection is so important to our faith that without it, we would have no hope.

And by the way, none of us will be sitting here tonight. But we're all sitting here tonight because of one event, the resurrection. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless, and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified that He raised Christ from the dead. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life, we have hope in Christ. Paul says we are to be pitied more than all men.

But he ends it with this. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. This is why followers of Jesus have great hope. Because Christ has risen from the grave, and men, guess what?

He is alive today. The writer of Hebrews says, Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. So let me ask you. Do you have this sure and certain faith which yields great hope? Do you? If you don't, then come to Jesus. Paul's words come from a man who saw the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, and his words serve as a testimony to the truth of the resurrection. So tonight what I want to do is I want to give you some sound evidence to support your belief in this fact. The resurrection really happened.

The tomb really is empty. Jesus is risen indeed. And so when you're out there talking to skeptics, you need to remember this evidence.

This can turn you into an apologist. Paul's testimony, along with the gospel writer, serves as eyewitness accounts. And all you need in a court of law is one credible eyewitness.

And right here I've just given you five credible eyewitnesses. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and Paul. The fact that women were the first to see the risen Christ provides additional evidence to support the truth of the resurrection.

Why is this so important? In the first century, women were second-class citizens. And because of this, they were not allowed to serve as witnesses in any court of law. So if the writers of the gospels made up the story of the empty tomb, as liberal scholars suggest, then the gospel writers would never have used women as the first witnesses. The only reason women are mentioned as the first people to see the risen Christ is because women were in fact the first people to see the risen Christ. And this adds credibility to these written accounts.

Do you follow that line of thinking? Mark 15, 40 says, Later in this same chapter, Mark 15, we learned that Joseph of Arimathea took down the body of Jesus and he wrapped it in linen cloths. And he placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. It was his tomb. He was buried in a wealthy man's tomb which fulfilled prophecy. And then it says that he rolled a stone against the entrance. Verse 47 says, Why am I going over this?

Why is this important? Because these women knew exactly where Jesus' tomb was. Some have argued that the women must have gone to the wrong tomb, but that's nonsense. They knew exactly where it was and they also knew that Jesus had in fact died because they witnessed his death. They actually saw the Roman soldier go and take a sword and pierce his side and they saw blood and water pour forth. They were eyewitnesses. Mark tells us that very early on Sunday morning at sunrise, these women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb. And their main concern, as we just read, was that heavy stone that had been rolled over the entrance to the tomb. And they were worried about how they were going to move it. Well as you know, when they arrived, there was somebody already there. Who was it?

A young man dressed in white. An angel sent from heaven. Now we also learn from the other gospels that the Pharisees had been concerned about the possibility of someone stealing the body and claiming that Jesus had arisen from the dead. So what did they do? Those Pharisees went to Pilate and asked him to put a company of soldiers at the tomb to guard it. We don't know how many soldiers were there, but it didn't take but six to ten hardened Roman soldiers to guard that tomb entrance. Furthermore, Pilate had the tomb sealed with the Roman seal, which was not to be tampered with unless you wanted to be executed.

And so the tomb was shut tight, sealed with the Roman seal, and protected by hardened soldiers. Nothing men outside of a miracle could get in the way of man's schemes. But then, according to Matthew chapter 28, a miracle happened. Matthew tells us that there was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb rolled back this stone, which probably weighed about a thousand pounds. And then that angel sat on the stone.

His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him, it says, that they shook and became like dead men. The reason the angel rolled that stone away was not so Jesus could get out, but so the disciples could get in. Before the women arrived, the guards must have come to and scattered, and to the surprise of these women when they got there, the stone had already been rolled away. And so they went inside and they saw this angel. When I was back in Jerusalem in 2018 with Jim and my wife, we actually went to that very tomb.

We walked into the entrance, we entered the main chamber, and then you just looked to your right, and there was another chamber a little bit lower. And that's where Jesus' body had lain. And so the women were amazed, it says, at the presence of this angel, and they were alarmed. And so the angel said, don't be alarmed. You're looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified, He has risen.

He's not here. And the angel said, look, right here, this is where He was laying. Go tell the disciples what you have witnessed. And remember, Jesus is going ahead of you into Galilee, and there you will see Him, just as He told you. So the women took off, ran back to find the disciples, and they told them what they'd seen. Did they believe it?

No, they did not believe it. So John and Peter take off and run to the tomb because they want to see this for themselves. Peter outran John and got there first, and it says that when he got there, he looked inside and he saw these linen cloths just laying there. And then in John 20, we learned that Simon Peter then arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head.

The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally, John also went inside, and then it says he saw and believed. So y'all get the picture? Why is the Bible giving us so much information about these linen rags and that head cloth?

Do you know why? Because it's more evidence. It's critical evidence.

It's the kind of evidence that you would present in a court of law to prove your case. You need to understand that when Joseph of Arimathea prepared that body, he wrapped it, wrapped it round and round with linen rags. And then he put 75 pounds of perfume, which almost served like glue.

And so you get the picture? It was like a mummy in the shape of a cocoon. And so what they witnessed when they looked in there was a cocoon that had collapsed as if a body had risen through it.

Guess what? A body had risen through it. If the body had been stolen, it would have been unwrapped.

But the cocoon was left completely intact. And this is what John saw. And this is why it's recorded for us. And this is why John believed. Another major piece of evidence to support the resurrection of Jesus is the fact that the lives of the disciples were so radically changed after they saw him in prison. They were called that when they were arrested, they scattered, they fled. But after they saw Jesus in the flesh, after his resurrection, and then when they were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they were willing to die as martyrs. And guess what?

Most of them did. So what happened? Their lives have been changed. So let me ask you, has your life been changed? Anybody that saw the risen Christ was never the same again. So have you seen the risen Christ with your spiritual eyes? If your life has not been changed, men, maybe it's because you haven't really seen Jesus. Listen, not only will your life be changed, but because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, you will have great hope. And listen, you will have eager anticipation for what lies ahead of you when you enter death's door and you enter paradise.

Hebrews 6 19 and 22 are my favorite verses. It says we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He's gone ahead of us. He's waiting for us.

And he's the only one who can give anyone hope. One day believers will escape from this fallen world and we will find ourselves in a place that our hearts have longed for. Even if we weren't aware that even non-believers are longing for a place, they're longing for it. Marty Getz shared that he's a Messianic Jew. A lot of you Jewish songwriters write songs about somewhere over the rainbow.

You heard that song? That they're longing for a place. And the reason they're longing for it is because deep down inside they know they were made for a place other than this world. But we know where that place is.

And that's why we have hope. Andy Dufresne had this hope. He finally escaped from Shawshank Prison after he dug a hole in his cell that led to a pipe that went 500 yards underground. It was a sewage pipe. And he climbed through that pipe that was again 500 yards long. And the thing that allowed him to press forward was because he had hope. He then found his way to a beautiful beach in Mexico known as Zahuatanea.

Andy's hope was that one day his good friend Red would join him. Before he escaped, he told Red that if he ever got out of prison to go to a specific field outside of the town called Buxton, a hay field, and he said, you'll see a big tree. And along that tree is a stone wall.

And if you walk along that stone wall, you'll find a rock that's out of place. He finally got out of prison. He went to that place. He found that black stone. And underneath it, he found a box. And in that box was some money and a note from Andy. And here's what Andy wrote. Dear Red, if you're reading this, you've gotten out. And if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further. You remember the name of the town, don't you?

Zahuatanea. I could use a good man to help me get my project on wheels. I'll keep an eye out for you and I'll have a chessboard ready. Remember Red, hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things.

And no good thing ever dies. I'll be hoping this letter finds you and finds you well. Your friend, Andy. So Red purchased a bus ticket and he headed to find his friend. And as he neared his destination, he was thinking to himself, I find I'm so excited I can barely sit or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel.

A free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope I can see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it is in my dreams. I hope.

Do you long for a place like Zahuatanea? As you sit here, or as you're listening, do you really have hope? I mean real hope. You see, if you're in Christ, then you should have great hope because you are a free man. Jesus has set us free. And like that note that Andy left his friend Red, God has left us a note. It's called the Bible.

And this Bible tells us how to get to heaven. Andy longed to be set free. He lived for that day.

He longed for the beautiful beaches of Zahuatanea. Do you long to be set free? Have you been set free? The Bible tells us that this world is no more a home than that prison was for Andy. Our home is heaven. And that is where our journey will end.

Actually, that's when it will actually begin. But that is only true for a man or woman if that man or woman is in Christ. God has confirmed it with both His promises and His oath. And Jesus has gone before us men to prepare our heavenly home. Like Andy, He is there waiting for us to join Him.

He has not a chess set set for us, but He has a banquet table set. And He's reserved a place for you if your name is found written where? The Lamb's Book of Life. Jesus is the anchor to which we must cling as we journey through this life, which is so often difficult.

And He's the only one who can give anyone hope. Charles Spurgeon said, Christian, meditate much on heaven. It will help thee to press on and to forget the toil of the way.

This veil of tears is but the pathway to the better country. This world of woe is but the stepping stone to a world of bliss. And after death, what cometh? What wonder world will open upon our astonished sight? Johnny Erickson Tada, who's been a quadriplegic for more than 50 years.

She says, I still can hardly believe it. I, with shriveled, bent fingers, atrophied muscles, gnawed knees, and no feeding from the shoulders down, will one day have a new body, light, bright, and clothed in righteousness, powerful and dazzling. Can you imagine the hope this gives someone spinal cord injured like me, or someone who is cerebral palsied, brain injured, who has multiple sclerosis?

Imagine the hope this gives someone who is manic depressive. No other religion, no other philosophy promises new bodies, hearts, and minds. Only in the Gospel of Christ do hurting people find such incredible hope.

Do you know everything she's saying in there? I can point to you in Scripture where it talks about that this earth is going to be restored. John says in Revelation 21, I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old, old things had passed away. Acts 3 21 says that He must remain in heaven until it comes time to restore all things. Romans 8 talks about how the creation longs to be liberated from its bondage to decay, and we also groan inwardly as we wait for our own bodies to be delivered. Do you realize that that's what's in store for us? We're going to get heavenly bodies suited to last forever. And we're going to live on a restored earth with Jesus and every one of our friends and family members who are in Christ. And that's what this life is all about. It's preparation for the next life.

Are you prepared for it? John, in the last chapter, you know the first two chapters of the Bible, Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 talk about the creation of the old earth. Revelation 21 and 22 talk about the recreation of this earth, the new earth.

John gives us a glimpse of heaven in Revelation 22 where he writes, Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Do we need that right now in this world? No longer will there be any curse, because the curse is going to be lifted. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night.

They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light and they will reign forever and ever. My dear Maggie Grimes, who helped my mother raise me, and I went to see her Sunday. Several years ago, she was on the operating table. I don't know if she died. I don't know what happened, but she saw heaven. The reason I know, I don't know how well she knows the Bible, not particularly well, but she described everything that I just read.

She said she was floating and she hates the water. She was floating on her back down a crystal river up to the doorway to heaven. And Jesus opened the door. And when He opened the door, she saw beautiful flowers and lots of children. And Jesus said, It's not your time yet.

There's more work for you to do. And I believe she saw heaven. Do you want to see heaven one day? There's only one way. Jesus said, The way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Let's pray. I want to end tonight with the last 45 words in the Bible. Behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is He who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. He who testifies to these things says, Yes, I am coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Let the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen. for you to join him and over 300 other local Triangle men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-27 21:04:07 / 2024-01-27 21:15:53 / 12

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