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He Is Risen Indeed

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
April 17, 2022 7:00 pm

He Is Risen Indeed

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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April 17, 2022 7:00 pm

How should we regard the message of Christ's resurrection- Pastor Greg Barkman preaches from the gospel of Matthew in this Resurrection Day message.

Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Beacon Baptist
Gregory N. Barkman
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

I'm told there is an ancient fable about a lion who was successful in luring his victims into his cave with many promises and assurances of delight and safety to be found within, but one intended victim refused to enter the cave saying, I see a lot of footprints going in, but I don't see any coming out. That's pretty much the way it is with the grave, isn't it?

We see a lot of footprints going in, but we see very few coming out. Thousands and millions and billions of feet have marched into the grave, but only the smallest handful have ever come out. The tomb of Nazareth, the god-man who died on the cross and was buried in the tomb and then arose from the grave, gloriously raised from the grave, never to die again. And so the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is a marvelous account to consider. And as a matter of fact, there is more historical evidence, I am told, for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ than nearly any ancient personality, more evidence for that than for the life and death of Plato or Aristotle or Julius Caesar.

Jesus Christ is a man who came to earth or came to earth to become a man and lived on the earth like you and I live upon the earth and died on the earth as all of us one day shall die. But the ratio between births and deaths is 100%. Everybody who was born dies. All of us who are here because of the miracle of the first birth will someday die and leave our bodies behind and our souls will go into eternity, and we need to be considering that time for sure. Many, many attempts have been made to explain the empty tomb, but none of them has gained any particular traction even among unbelievers except the one account that is given to us in the Bible, namely that the tomb is emptied because Jesus Christ arose from the grave. And that alone explains all the evidence that we have for the empty tomb. And so as we examine the account of the resurrection of Christ in Matthew chapter 28, I think we can see several things in this chapter that call our attention to themselves.

First of all, in regard to the claim of the Bible that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, what should we do? And the first thing we should do is to examine that claim. It is an amazing claim. It is an incredible claim. It is a preposterous claim in many ways.

Could it possibly be true? And we need to examine it. And in fact, we see that Christ himself invites our examination. When the ladies, Mary, the two Marys arrived at the tomb that early Easter morning and found the stone rolled away, that defies explanation for it took a large company of men and probably some levers and machinery in order to roll that stone in front of the tomb, and it would have taken something similar to roll it away. But they found that stone rolled away and an angel sitting on it. And what did the angel say? The angel said, come and see. Come and look. Come and examine.

See for yourself. Make an examination of the tomb so that you can understand what has taken place here. And as we know, they did examine, and yet they still were not certain what had taken place. They were wondering. Mary later said to the one she thought to be the gardener, if you have taken his body away, show me where you have laid it so that I can come and attend to him and honor him in his death. And that one she thought to be the gardener said, Mary. And suddenly she realized this is Jesus. He's not dead.

He's alive. But examine. Examine what took place.

Examine the claims of what took place to see if there is reasonable validity to them. Here are the events that led up to that resurrection morning. Christ died an agonizing death about 3 o'clock in the afternoon on Friday, one of the most agonizing deaths that can be known to mankind. Crucifixion upon the cross by the design of Rome was to be a painful, painful death.

And indeed, it was. Upon his death, he was quickly buried because the Sabbath day was approaching. So Joseph of Arimathea, who was himself, we are told a counselor, and that means he was a member of the Sanhedrin, one of the 70 who ruled the nation of Israel, one of the few in that number who had not consented to the death of Christ. And Joseph of Arimathea, along with Nicodemus, remember him from John chapter three, who came to Jesus by night, a Pharisee, and said, We see these miracles that you do, and we know that that's not normal, that nobody can do these, except he has the power of God upon him. And Jesus spoke to him and said, Nicodemus, except you are born again, you shall not see the kingdom of God. And in that encounter in John chapter three, we wonder what happened to Nicodemus. He went away.

Did he believe? And we come to the end of the story at the death and burial of Jesus, and we find out that it is Nicodemus, along with Joseph of Arimathea, who buries him in Joseph's tomb in great honor. And thus his burial took place. The Sabbath is coming. The Jews must wait for the Sabbath to arrive.

No one but the Romans will openly violate the Sabbath by moving around and working and carrying out normal activities on that day. And so the disciples of Christ, the women who were attending his death at the cross, they all are waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, and early, early in the morning before the break of day. They make their way to the garden tomb. And then as the sun is just coming up across the horizon and the first rays are shining into the garden, they make their approach to the tomb to make this astounding discovery. The tomb is open.

The tomb is empty. Angels are attending it. The guards have all swooned. They have all fainted dead away on the ground, and Jesus Christ is not there. What do you make of that? Examine. Come and see, said the angels. Examine for yourself.

Complete a thorough investigation, as thorough as you are able to do. I have long been intrigued by a book written by a man named Frank Morrison entitled Who Moved the Stone? If you look for Frank Morrison on Wikipedia, you may not find him because that's his pen name, so you'll need to look for the name Albert Henry Ross, and there you will find him. Born in England in 1881 and died in 1950, he was a reporter and a writer. He was a skeptic, and he thought the claim of the resurrection of Jesus Christ had to be a myth, and he really thought the myth ought to be dispelled, that people should not be misled by that myth any longer. And so, being an investigative reporter, he gathered together all of the evidence, and he began to write the book, and when he wrote the book, instead of it being a book to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it turned out to be a book that proves the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The first chapter is entitled The Book Which Refused to be Written. He wanted to write one to disprove what he considered to be this false claim of Christ's resurrection, and instead the evidence pointed in the opposite direction, and he became a believer. And he wrote a book laying down the evidence which he found.

So clear is his evidence, so logically is it put together that many erroneously assumed that he was a lawyer, but he's not. He was a writer. He wrote a couple of other books as well. But nevertheless, his book is profoundly impressive and very difficult to deny or to defy. In fact, there have been a number of prominent people who, after reading that book, became believers in Jesus Christ. You can buy the book today. I looked it up on Amazon, and there are a number of editions that are available, each with a different cover, so it's been a very well-circulated book down through the years, and you can buy one even now if you're interested in doing so.

Who moved the stone? There's another surprising declaration that I came across many years ago, and I had tucked this away in a file, and I came across it as I was rummaging through some files on the resurrection this week in preparation for today. This is an article written by George Cornell that appeared in the Burlington Times News in 1984, and I clipped it out, April 23, 1984. Now, only you older folks will remember the name George Cornell, but he was a religious writer for the Associated Press back in days when the Associated Press had, believe it or not, religious writers.

I don't suppose they have any of those today. I'm not aware of it, though I may be mistaken about that, but he was well-known in his day. And on this particular Easter Sunday, his column was about a book that was written by an Orthodox Jew declaring that the resurrection of Jesus Christ had to be true.

Can you believe it? An Orthodox Jew who wrote a book claiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ has to be true. Now, I'll read a portion of this article. This Jewish professor, he is a professor, or was at that time, of a school in Germany, his name is Pinchas Lapidae, and he wrote, without the resurrection of Jesus after Golgotha, there would not have been any Christianity. Lapidae writes in a book, The Resurrection of Jesus, a Jewish perspective recently published by the American Lutheran Church, Augsburg Press of Minneapolis. Although affirming the resurrection, Lapidae contends that Jesus was not the Messiah, long awaited by Jews, and rejects the Christian concept of him as the divine son of God.

However, he does regard Jesus as the savior of the Gentile church, seeing it as springing from and complementing Judaism according to its universal God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but differing in considering Jesus divine. Lapidae, a Jewish specialist in the New Testament who teaches at West Germany's Gottingen University, writes, the experience of the resurrection as the foundation act of the church, which has carried faith in the God of Israel into the whole Western world, must belong to God's plan of salvation. Lapidae sees Jesus as a significant link in God's work toward redemption, but says he's not the final redeemer, since the world remains far from redeemed. He came to redeem the world, but the world is not yet redeemed, and so, says Lapidae, he could not be the promised Messiah. Nevertheless, he contends that Jesus' resurrection was real, and the best proof of it is probably the realistic way in which the two oldest gospels, Mark and Matthew, describe the painful death of Jesus, cry of despair on the cross, noting that the disciples were totally disappointed on the verge of desperate flight because of the very real reason of the crucifixion. He adds it took another very real reason in order to transform them from a band of disheartened and dejected Jews into the most confident missionary society in world history.

It goes on, I'll stop. Here are men, capable men, who have examined the evidence very carefully, and what did they conclude? Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Jesus Christ is risen indeed. Jesus Christ went bodily into the tomb, and on the third day, he arose bodily from the tomb. Jesus Christ arose.

Jesus Christ is alive, and even if you are an unbeliever in the Scriptures, there is much evidence to point to that fact. There are two things that I think are very difficult to refute and to explain apart from the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Number one that Lapidus made reference to is how do you explain the incredible change in the disciples?

And number two, why didn't the enemies of Christ produce the body and dispel the myth of, in fact, it was a myth? How do you explain this incredible change in the disciples of Jesus Christ? Clearly, they were discouraged. Clearly, they were disheartened.

Clearly, they were fearful. Clearly, they were of very weak faith, nearly unbelief as it came to the prospect of Christ's resurrection, though he had told them over and over and over again that he would rise from the dead. Nevertheless, they were in utter despair when Jesus Christ died upon the cross.

And yet in the passing of only a few days, we find them bold, courageous, defying the authorities, defying soldiers, defying government, defying the world, willing to go to prison, willing to lay down their lives for the Lord Jesus Christ. How do you explain that change if there really was no resurrection of their Savior from the dead? And why didn't the enemies of Christ produce the body? Well, because as we read in Matthew chapter 28, as some declared, the disciples came and stole the body away.

But that takes us back to the first problem, doesn't it? If the disciples stole the body away, then they knew he hadn't risen and they would have continued to be fearful that their ruse, their hoax would be discovered. And so they would remain timid and fearful and cautious and hiding.

But instead, they are bold and courageous and public and willing to sacrifice everything for the cause of Christ. There is every reason to say it is impossible that the disciples stole the body. So if he didn't rise from the dead and somebody else stole the body, the question is, number one, why? Why would the enemies of Christ take the body and thus give credence to the claim that he had risen from the dead? And number two, if they did so when the disciples were proclaiming Jesus rose from the dead, why didn't they say, boom, here's the body, you dummies?

But they didn't because they couldn't, because there was no body, no dead body, because Jesus Christ arose from the grave. That's what the evidence indicates. Are you willing to examine the evidence? Are you willing to let the facts inform you concerning this momentous claim? Are you willing to follow where the facts will lead you? There are some who looked at the facts and said no. Even Pinchas Lapidus, as amazing as he is, willing to take the facts that he cannot deny and to declare the conclusion that is the only possible correct conclusion, nevertheless is not willing to go the next step and follow where those facts lead to, namely that Jesus is the Christ, he is the Messiah, he is the Son of God, that his resurrection from the dead proves these things.

But you see, for him to believe that, for him to claim that is going to destroy his whole life, his whole religion, his livelihood, his community, his relationship to his community, it's a high price to pay and he evidently is not willing to pay it. How much are you willing to resist the evidence and to suffer the consequences of doing so? Is it worth your eternal soul to refuse to deal with the facts that point so strongly and so clearly to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave? Yes, in the face of Christ's claim to resurrection from the dead, what should we do? We should, number one, examine the evidence.

Number two, we should worship him. That's what the women did when they came face to face with these claims. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them saying, rejoice. So they came and held him by the feet and worshiped him. And later in the chapter, we read of the disciples gathering together in Galilee at Christ's appointment.

And what did they do? They worshiped him. And in John's gospel, we read about Thomas, who was absent from the first gathering of the disciples on that resurrection evening when Jesus Christ appeared to them in the upper room, 10 of them present, Judas gone, Thomas gone. And Jesus appeared to them and they eagerly and excitedly said, Thomas, we have seen the Lord.

He's risen from the dead. And Thomas said, I won't believe unless I can see the nail prints in his hands, unless I can examine the spear print in his side. He demanded examination. He demanded evidence. And then exactly seven days later on the following Sunday evening, when he was present with them gathered together and Jesus Christ appeared once again and said, Thomas, feel my hands. Feel the nail prints in my hands. Thomas, examine my scar. Examine my body for the evidence of crucifixion and recognize that I am the very same one who was crucified, who is now standing alive before you.

And Thomas didn't even feel his hands or his side. He just fell on his face and said what? My Lord and my God. He worshiped him because this claim of resurrection tells us who he is.

He is the Son of God. It's interesting, isn't it, of all the people who came out of the grave, and there are a handful recorded in scripture. There are a couple in the Old Testament in relation to the prophets, particularly Elijah and Elisha, who were raised from the dead. There are a couple in the New Testament, the son of the widow of name that Jesus raised from the dead, and Lazarus, the well-known one that he raised from the dead. Though, as I say, those raised, those rose again from the dead. They were restored to life, but not to eternal life. They died again.

They are the unusual ones whose footsteps walked into the grave, came out, and walked in again and did not come out until Christ returns to raise his children from the dead. But of all the people who were raised from the dead, there's only one who predicted his own resurrection, and that's Jesus. He said he was going to rise from the dead. Lazarus didn't say that. He didn't expect that.

The son of the widow of name didn't say that. He didn't expect that, nor did anybody else. None of the others who were restored to physical life for an extended time upon the earth predicted that that was going to happen. They didn't know it was going to happen. They didn't expect it to happen.

They certainly didn't cause it to happen. But there's one, Jesus of Nazareth, who said, I will die and I will rise, as has been told us in the Old Testament Scriptures. And predicting his own resurrection, he accomplished his own resurrection because he had the power to do so, and that certifies that he is who he claims to be. And if he is who he claims to be, the eternal son of God who became man and died and rose again, then he ought to be worshiped. And let us, like these women, cling to him in worship. He is Lord. He is Lord.

He is risen from the dead, and he is Lord. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. What should we do? Number one, we should examine. What should we do? Number two, we should worship. What should we do?

Number three, we should overcome. That is a very intriguing account that only Matthew gives us about the guards coming into the city and talking to the people who had assigned them their responsibility to guard the tomb and explain to them why the tomb is empty. That's pretty hard to explain when they were supposed to guard it. They explained what happened to the chief priests and the elders, and they got together and they consulted. They didn't deny what the guards told them. They didn't disbelieve it. They fully believed it, but this was a real problem for them and for their desire to be rid of this one that they had crucified upon a cross. And now he has risen from the dead.

What shall we do? And so big money, big lie, and big influence. Big money. We're going to give you lots of money if you will simply say that his disciples stole his body while you slept. Oh, now wait a minute. If we say it happened while we slept, we're in trouble. And if this comes to the ear of the governor, we will secure you. You don't need to worry about that.

We've got more big money where this big money came from. We can take care of it. And so go out and tell this story.

Tell this lie. Which is a reminder that when it comes to the truth of God's word, there's always going to be opposition. Always. Not occasionally.

Always. Always opposition. And here's opposition to the account of Christ's resurrection from the grave. The official report is the disciples stole the body. Now we've already dealt with why that is impossible to support. But nevertheless, that's the report that went forth. You can't always believe the official pronouncements of government, can you now?

That was the official report that went forth, supported by those who had influence, supported by those who had money. But it was in opposition to the truth. And the fact is that whatever the Bible claims is going to be denied and opposed and undermined and mocked by some.

Precisely because if for them to accept it is true, lays claims upon them that they do not want to accept. If these things are true, then Jesus Christ is Lord. He is God. If Jesus Christ is God, then I must surrender to him and follow him and obey him as my Lord and Master.

And on it goes. If if the Bible is true, then God, in fact, did create the universe and he is judge. And I'm going to stand before him and accountability someday. And so all of these truths are denied and mocked. And it's going to take courage for anyone to stand up to them, to overcome them first in our own minds, our own inclination to timidity and to wanting to go with the flow and not make things difficult for ourselves. But you see, on the one hand, you've got irrefutable claims to truth that you have become convinced have to be so they have to be true. And on the other hand, you've got so much opposition from friends and neighbors and loved ones and community and supervisors at work and on and on it goes who are opposed to what you know in your heart to be true. Now, are you going to be willing to claim this truth in the face of this opposition?

Are you going to be willing and able to overcome it or are you going to sell the truth cheaply for the ease of getting along in this world? Christ rose from the dead. Ha, that's a scientific impossibility.

Well, of course it is. The creation of the universe out of nothing is a scientific impossibility, but it's true. And there really is no good explanation for that except the explanation that the Bible gives us. Science cannot explain how this universe came here. Out of nothing?

Really? Really, out of nothing? That's your claim, Mr.

Scientist? You know better than that. Christ rose from the dead?

That seems to be impossible. And by the way, say the critics, how about all the conflicting stories? When you read the four Gospel accounts, you find different details in every one of them about the resurrection of Christ.

Doesn't that disprove the Bible? Let me ask you a question. If you happened upon a group of fourth graders who are coming from a birthday party and you asked them some questions, it might go something like this. You say to the first one, what did you eat at the party? And she says, ice cream. And you say to the second one, what did you eat at the party? He says, hot dogs. And you ask a third one, what did you eat at the party? And she says, cake. And it was delicious. And you ask a fourth one, he says, potato chips and Coca-Cola. Now, do you assume that somebody's lying?

Come on now. Common sense overrides most of the so-called conflicts and criticism that people lodge against the Bible. That's no conflict. That's just four different people that are telling the particular detail that they noticed and was important to them.

And you've got exactly the same thing in the various accounts. That's no disproof of the Bible. But you will always find some reason, some justification, some rationale that will sound reasonable to one who strongly desires not to believe it, to indicate to them, to prove to them that it must not be believed. But the truth of the matter is that this is truth.

This is fact. And you must overcome your resistance to it or you are going to lose your never-dying soul. You must be honest with the facts. You must be willing to be identified with the truth. And if you do, the risen Savior will exonerate and reward you someday. Yes, we should examine and we should worship and we should overcome and we should proclaim.

That's the end of the chapter. Jesus gathered together His disciples in Galilee on the mountain and said, go into all the world and preach the gospel to all nations. Those who become disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. If Jesus rose from the dead, as He claims, and if Jesus rose from the dead, as all the evidence supports, and if Jesus rose from the dead, as all opposition cannot find reasonable justification to deny, then this is a message worthy of our proclamation, don't you agree? This is a message of urgent requirement for Christ commanded that we proclaim it to the ends of the earth. This is a message that is needed by every person and therefore we need to tell it as far and wide as we can. This is a message that has changed our lives and this is a message that we can help to proclaim.

Each one taking his part, each one using his gift, each one fitting into the work of worldwide evangelism and the ways that he is able. This truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is worthy of our proclamation. It's worthy of our service. It's worthy of our lifelong commitment to spreading it to the ends of the world. First, we must believe it.

We can't be effective in spreading it if we don't believe it and why would we want to? But having come to believe it, then we must proclaim it and we must join others in the proclamation. Yes, He is risen. He's risen indeed.

Therefore what? Therefore if up until now you have been an unbeliever, dear friend, dear friend, dear friend, I'm pleading with you, bow. Bow the knee of your heart. Acknowledge that your resistance has more to do with your love of sin and self than it does with dealing with the truth of the reality of Christ's resurrection. Believe it. Timid believer, become bold because of it.

Why should we hold back? Of whom should we be afraid? And all believers become active in spreading it. Jesus Christ is risen. Yes, He is risen indeed, shall we pray. Father, seal this truth to every heart. By the work of your Holy Spirit, open the reality of this truth to hearts that until now have been steeled against it. And Father, make all of us bold and courageous in the face of it. We ask in Jesus' name, Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-30 05:55:58 / 2023-04-30 06:07:19 / 11

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