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Resurrection Peace

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
April 9, 2023 7:00 pm

Resurrection Peace

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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April 9, 2023 7:00 pm

Join us as we worship our Resurrected Lord- For more information about Grace Church, please visit www.graceharrisburg.org.

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Have your Bibles with you. Turn with me if you would to John chapter 20 and we're going to be looking at verses 19 through 23. Jesus said to them, Bow with me as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, I pray for our sick this morning, Jeremy Carriker, Jim Belk, Esther Carol, Nicole Lowes. Pray for Lance Walker and Elsie Camaro and Janet Hoffman.

Have mercy on these Lord and help them to heal. Heavenly Father, this is our favorite day of the year. This is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of your son. When our world is attacking us with confusion and anger, misunderstanding and hatred, we have hope and peace because we know that Jesus Christ is alive. Lord, help us to live like we believe that. Help us to prepare for our own exit from this world. The resurrection of Christ reminds us that this world is not our home.

We're just passing through. Lord, we pray for our nation. We pray for mercy. Lord, we need a spiritual awakening.

Seldom in our history has there been such hatred for Christ and his people. Open blind eyes, regenerate dead hearts. Show us Jesus. Help me to preach this morning with guidance from your spirit and give us resurrection peace. For it's in Jesus' precious and holy name I pray. Amen.

You may be seated. Today is Easter. It's the greatest day of the year for the Christian.

It's the day that we celebrate the resurrection of our crucified Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There's never been another event that took place on this earth that can compare with the resurrection of Christ. Folks, we can claim that which no other religion can claim and that is that Jesus Christ is alive. Buddha's dead. Confucius is dead. Mohammed is dead.

Shinto is dead. Their bodies are decaying and rotting in a tomb. But Jesus Christ is alive. The grave could not hold him.

Death could not defeat him. Jesus is alive. And folks, when God the Father raised Jesus Christ from the death, he was putting his stamp of approval on everything that Jesus Christ did and everything that Jesus Christ said. We have not come here today to mourn over a dead corpse on a cross. We have come here today to worship the living Savior on his throne. Folks, what I want to focus on this morning is resurrection peace.

And I'm talking this morning about a peace that we can have now and a peace that we can experience forever. I want to begin this sermon with an illustration of a man that I have great respect for. His name was Stephen Ulford. He is with the Lord now.

He died back in 2004. He's one of the greatest expository preachers that I've ever heard. And I was in 1984 at a Bible conference and I heard him preach a sermon called The Will of God and Peace. And he shared an illustration in that sermon about an experience that he'd had as a time when he was in his early 20s. And he was raised in South Africa. His dad was a missionary there. He came to know Jesus when he was just a young boy. And then he grew up and he was in his teenage years. And he felt like the Lord was calling him to preach, but he ran from it.

Didn't want to do that. And he went to his dad and he said, Dad, I think I want to be an engineer. Would you send me to an engineering college in the United States? And his dad did that. He went to that college. He was there for four years, did extremely well. His grades were great.

The professors started bringing in companies that wanted to talk with him. But about a week, about a month before he was to graduate, he was in a terrible motorcycle accident. And it knocked him unconscious.

He was in the hospital unconscious for several days. Finally he woke up from his unconsciousness and he looked over on the table beside his bed and there was a letter there sent from his dad from South Africa. He opened the letter up and when he read the letter he saw that it was written a week before he was in that terrible accident. And he started reading the letter and his dad said, Dear son, the Lord has put a great burden on my heart about you. And the Lord has been laying on my heart that God has called you to preach. And he said, If God has called you to preach and you don't do it, he said you will never be happy again. He said, If God has called you to preach, Stephen, you would do well to be obedient to him.

Stephen was laying in that bed. Several of his bones were broken. He was laying in that bed and he began to weep. And he began to realize, yes, he had been running from God. And he began to realize how important it was for him to be obedient to God's calling to him. And so he cried out to the Lord, Please forgive me for what I have done.

Lord, I am ready to obey your call. Well, the next week he went to see the dean of his school. He hobbled into the dean's office on crutches and he said, Sir, I'm quitting school.

I am pulling out. And the dean was absolutely shocked. And he said, Why, Stephen? He said, Because God has called me to preach. And he said, I've already enrolled in a Bible college.

He said, Stephen, you don't need to do that. He said, In just two weeks, you'll be graduating. And he said, Your grades are so good, you don't even have to take the exams.

You'll pass with flying colors. He said, So why don't you just go ahead and get your degree. And then if this ministry thing doesn't work out, you'll always have your engineering degree to fall back on. And Stephen said, That's exactly what I don't want. He said, I don't want a bridge that I can scamper back across if things get tough. He said, I don't want to lean on anybody but Jesus Christ. And he stood before the dean of the school and he said, I appreciate all that you've done for me.

But he tore his transcripts up and gave them back to the dean. I remember him looking at us with tears rolling down his cheeks. And he said, People, he said, I did not know that this kind of peace even existed.

He said, I knew at that point in time that I belong to God and I knew what God had called me to do. Peace, is that not the heart cry of every person who walks the face of this earth? Why is it that suicide is the number one killer of our teenagers today in America? Is it not because of a lack of peace?

Why is it in our society that there's all this restlessness and all this discontent? The reason is a lack of peace. Well, this morning we're looking at the disciples who were intimidated. They were terribly frightened and they had no peace. They were worried, they were sick, they were anxious and they were without peace. I've got six points that I want to share with you this morning as we look at resurrection peace.

And my first point is the time. Verse 19, the first part of that. It says, on the evening of that day, the first day of the week, probably around 8 o'clock at night, resurrection had occurred earlier that morning before sunrise. Jesus had already appeared to several. He had appeared to Mary Magdalene, a few women. Probably by this time he's already appeared to the two disciples on the Emmaus road.

In Mark's gospel, we are told that the angel came and spoke to a group of women and said to the group of women, I want you to go back and you tell the disciples and Peter that Jesus has risen from the dead. Kind of interesting that he uses that term and Peter. Peter was already a disciple.

Why did he say that? Because I think that Jesus knew and the angel knew that Peter at this point in time, after denying Jesus three times, that Peter didn't feel like a disciple anymore. That Peter didn't feel like part of the family of God anymore. He probably thought Jesus would never forgive him.

They are letting him know, no Peter, you are still part of the family. That's what Peter needed to feel down in his heart was what I feel every time we sing the beautiful song in this church. He will hold me fast. He will hold me fast. When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast.

When the tempter would prevail, Christ will hold me fast. I don't know about you, but it brings great comfort to my heart when I think about a broken disciple like Peter. I know sometimes God has to rebuke us, the Lord has to chasten us, but there are times when I just need his strong shoulder to cry on. There are times when I need for him to hold me and let me know that he loves me and that he will never leave nor forsake me. I think that's what the Lord is doing for Peter.

And Peter feels this comfort and he knows that the Lord is real and he has not forsaken him. So that's the time. And isn't it a glorious thing that God's timing is always perfect? He's never early. He's never late.

It's always absolutely perfect. My reformed faith has helped me in understanding this. In Hebrews chapter 9 verse 27 is a great verse. And it says this, There is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment. You and I have an appointed fixed time and we're going to die. And we are not going to slip through the cracks somehow and die before God says that we are to die. Folks, I can't tell you how much unnecessary false guilt that there's going on in our world when a loved one dies and we don't believe that God is sovereign over that death.

Folks, we need to understand. I mean so many times we think, Oh, if I had just done this or if I had just done that, then my loved one would still be living. Or if the nurse had been better to my dad, then he'd still be living today. Listen to what Ecclesiastes says. There's a time to be born. There's a time to die.

Folks, we are not going to die until God's perfect time. God's perfect time. At 8 p.m. on Resurrection Sunday, disciples are gathered together in the upper room.

They're gathered together in that upper room. This is the place just four days before that Jesus had washed their dirty feet. This is the place where Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper and there they are at 8 o'clock.

I think that takes us to point two and that is the fear. Look at verse 19. On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the door is being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, Peace be with you. The disciples were scared to death. That's why they all ran when Jesus was being arrested. And now they have seen what happened to Jesus that the religious leaders having scourged, beaten, spit on, mocked and nailed to a cross and now these same wicked people, these same wicked people who did this to Jesus are now probably coming after them. They are probably going to try to end this Christianity stuff to keep it from spreading. They'll have to kill the disciples. It already started some bad rumors that the disciples had stolen the body out of the tomb. Nothing true to that but they could use that against the disciples because the disciples were very afraid of the danger that they were in. Alistair Baggs said the following about the disciples in the upper room.

Listen to this. On the Sunday evening following Jesus' death, we can imagine his disciples going through a similar experience. Maybe one of the disciples said, Do you remember how excited and hopeful we were when he walked on water? Perhaps another added, I remember him weeping at the tomb of Lazarus.

I won't ever forget that. In all their reminiscence, they doubtless felt a stabbing awareness that they would never again on earth see Jesus' face. Of that they were convinced. They were fearful of the future. They had just witnessed Christ's execution and they locked the door behind them worried that they would be the next targets. Deuteronomy chapter 20 verse 8, God is giving the people of Israel some instructions on how to muster an army. God tells Moses to go to his military officers and tell them to find out who, which soldiers are fearful and scared. And he said, Take those soldiers and get them out. Don't let them be part of the army. Get them out. Why?

Because fear is contagious. Remember Gideon? Gideon getting ready to go against the Midianites and what did he do? He said, All right, I want to know how many of you are afraid?

22,000 lifted up their hands. He said, All right, go home. Get out of here.

Why? Because fear is contagious and he didn't want the true soldiers to be affected by that. How horrible is fear? Revelation 21 eight says this, But the fearful and unbelieving and the abominable and murderers and whoremongers and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire, which burn with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. This is Jesus who said that.

And he said, he gives a whole list there of people who are going to die and go to hell forever and ever and ever. And the first one on the list is the fearful. He puts the fearful above murderers and whoremongers and sorcerers and idolaters. We think fear is just a little flaw. We think fear is just a little peccadillo. We think fear is just a benign weakness.

No, no, no. The Lord tells us that to be fearful is to be unfaithful. To be fearful is sin. Fear is the greatest enemy of faith.

Some of you are struggling in your marriage right now because you're afraid to let the walls down and be vulnerable and be open. Let me ask you something. What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of rejection? Are you afraid of being taken advantage of?

Are you afraid of not being loved back? Second Timothy chapter 1 verse 7 says, For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Fear does not come from God.

Fear comes from Satan. Now, am I saying that as Christians we shouldn't fear because the Christian life is an easy life? No, I'm not saying that because the Christian life, brothers and sisters, is war. Listen to what David Jeremiah said. Some people believe that when they accept Christ they will receive a get out of stress free card and they'll live a life of uninterrupted bliss.

To be honest, when I became a believer I picked up a few new problems I hadn't had before. Jesus never offered a false promise. At every point he warned us that troubles would follow our path and that obedience to him would actually increase our persecution. But he is also the one who said, These things I have spoken to you that in me you may have peace and the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer.

I have overcome the world. Jesus himself felt pressure. He was distressed as he watched Mary weep over the death of her brother Lazarus. He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. As he contemplated the cross he felt genuine anxiety. As he waited for Judas to betray him he was troubled. He is a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses. As the death of our Lord Jesus came near his disciples began to be very anxious about their life situations and Jesus comforted them with these words. Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me and my Father's house or many mansions.

If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there you may be also and whither I go you know and the way you know and Thomas responded and said Lord we know not whether thou goest and how can we know the way and Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.

They should have remembered that. Jesus gave them those words four days before this in the upper room but they are frayed to death and they're trembling and shaking. That takes us to number three and that's the resurrected Christ verse 19 and 20. On the evening of that day the first day of the week the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews Jesus came and stood among them and said to them peace be with you. When he said had said this he showed them his hands and his side then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Verse 19 tells us that the doors in that upper room were locked because they had such great fear of the Jews so they locked the door and then all of a sudden with the doors locked Jesus appears he walks right through the wall.

How could he do that? He's in a new glorified resurrected body. This is a body that has no limitations.

It is a body that is absolutely perfect. It is a body that can walk through a wall. When Jesus was resurrected from the dead he came right up through his grave clothes and left them there like a deflated balloon. When Jesus came out of the tomb he didn't move the stone away he just walked right through the wall and later on the angel came and moved the stone away. He didn't move the stone away to let Jesus out.

He moved the stone away to show us he wasn't in there. Folks and now Jesus just walks through the wall right through it and he stands there appears before his disciples. In Luke's Gospel we'll give a little more detail. The Jews believed that when a person died that the death angel would come and take that person to his final destination. Now all of a sudden they look at this one who has just walked through the wall and they're thinking to themselves, oh no, this is the death angel. They're thinking, oh no, the Jews are going to kill us and the death angel is here. We're getting ready to check out. We're getting ready to die.

This is it for us. Listen to what Luke says. As they were talking about these things Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, peace to you. He thought they saw a spirit and he said to them, why are you troubled?

Why do doubts arise in your heart? See my hands and my feet? That is I myself. Touch me and see for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have and when he had said this he showed them his hands and his feet. So first of all they touch Jesus and they say this is not a ghost. This is not a spirit. This is a real body and Jesus says, see touch me. I am flesh and bones. Then Jesus immediately removes the fear from their heart.

Brothers and sisters this is absolutely glorious. He says peace be unto you. The word peace comes from the Hebrew word shalom. That means the removal of fear. I want you to know if you go through your scriptures you will find 365 commands that tell us do not fear. That means that you have a different command from almighty God through his word every single day of the year that you are to fear not. When the angel came to the shepherds that were out in the field on the night that Jesus was born the first thing the angel said to the shepherds was fear not. Well on Mary when the angel came to speak to her to tell her that she was going to give birth to the son of God as a virgin he said to her fear not.

When Joseph was concerned that Mary wasn't telling him the truth and the angel said Mary is telling you the truth she is going to be the virgin that will give birth to the son of God and he said to Joseph fear not. Folks you and I as Christians don't have to fear anything but one thing and that is God. I want you to know that Isaiah chapter 8 verse 13 says Sanctify yourself in the Lord. Let him be your fear, let him be your dread and he will be to you a sanctuary. If you are a true child of God you don't have to fear death, you don't have to fear disease you don't have to fear demons you don't have to fear circumstances you don't have to fear anything but God.

And if you fear God he will be to you a sanctuary. You say but how is that possible with sky rocketing inflation? How is that possible with rising health cost?

How is that possible when you hear that China is joining forces with Russia and Iran and Saudi Arabia and North Korea? How is that possible when we see transgender women who are being filled with testosterone hormones and are going absolutely nuts going into a school, a Christian school and shooting to death little children and then having the trans community rejoice in those killings. Folks there's only one thing that you can have that will change how you feel and how you deal with that and that is shalom. The peace, the glorious peace of God. How does that work? First we need peace with God.

What is that? That is salvation. That's what we need peace with God.

How do you get peace with God? You turn from your sin and you come to Christ in faith. We are saved by grace through faith plus nothing. When you come to Christ and he washes that sin away he forgives you then he imputes to you the righteousness of Christ.

And so what has happened? He has taken your sin and given you his righteousness. That is peace with God.

It is absolutely glorious and it's an objective thing. But then there's peace of God. Peace of God is different.

It is somewhat subjective. When you get peace with God, peace of God then God has done something in your heart that is so powerful that it passes all of our understanding. He has taken away the sorrow, taken away the turmoil and given us absolute peace. Brother and sister, we need both. We need peace with God and then we need the peace of God.

It takes us to point four and that is the enlistment. Look at verse 21. Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you.

As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you. The disciples will later be called the apostles. The word apostle means the sent ones. Jesus is commissioning them. He is telling them that they have a role, that they have a calling.

And their calling is to take the gospel to the world. The world has no peace. The world has no joy.

The world has no understanding. And the world is headed to an eternal hell. And so Jesus sends the disciples out to go tell the world that there is hope and that hope is in Christ. Now, we as Christians have been given that same commission and we are to take the gospel to a lost and dying world. Jesus will say to many professing Christians on that last day, You didn't serve me. And those Christians say, What do you mean we didn't serve you? Yes, we did serve you too. Don't you remember we put a big cross up on the top of our steeple at our church. We put your picture on the stained glass window. And Jesus will say to them, The legitimacy of your effort is not to be found in your structures and your programs.

But here's the question. Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? Do you love others as yourself? Have you taken the gospel to a lost and dying world?

Would you God that Christians understood that truth? When you become his child, you're enlisted into his service. And you may say, Well, wait a minute, Doug. I thought we were family as Christians. We are family.

But not only are we a family, we're also an army. And you may say, Well, I just don't know about this. I don't know how I can do this. I don't know scripture well enough. I don't talk well enough to be able to do this, to take the gospel to a lost and dying world. Hmm. That takes us to our fifth point.

That's the enablement. How do we do this? Verse 22. And when he said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, Receive you the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for breathed is emphaseo. And in the Septuagint, which is the great Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, in Genesis chapter 2 verse 7, the scripture says that God breathed into the nostrils of Adam and he became a living soul.

That word for breathe is the very same word for breathe that we have right here in this passage. Listen to what John Phillips said about this passage. Now as the risen Lord, he breathed on the apostles so that they might receive divine power in the person of the Holy Spirit. The task before them was a humanly impossible task to evangelize a God-hating, Christ-rejecting world of unregenerate people. Dead in trespasses and sins, organized into a satanically energized system and society.

How could they do it? By the Holy Spirit now indwelling their mortal bodies. The Son had received the Holy Spirit for his mission and now he gave them the Holy Spirit for their mission. Folks, Christianity is not believers just striving in our own power to make Jesus happy. Christianity is us submitting ourself to the Lordship of Christ and then his Spirit living his life through us.

That takes me to my last point and that is the ennoblement. Look at verse 23. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven. If you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld. That's a highly controversial statement because the Catholic Church has taken that and they've said that their priests have the right to offer to people absolution. That when the Catholic priest says that a person's sins are forgiven, they are just as forgiven as if God himself had said it. In Mark 2, Jesus said to the paralytic, Son, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the religious leader said, only God can forgive sin.

And that was true because Jesus was God, he could forgive sin. I had a friend, a lady who had been Catholic. She came to know Christ. She gave up practicing penance.

She gave up the confessional. She gave up the Eucharist. She became a reformed Christian and what a powerful witness she had. But she was on her deathbed and her family were not, they were Catholics. And so the family called in the parish priest. The parish priest walked over her bed and said this, would you like me to hear your confession and give you absolution? And she said, show me your hands. And he took his hands and he handed them out to her.

And she looked at her hands back and forth and she says, you sir are an imposter. For the only one who can forgive sins is the one whose hands are pierced and his name is Jesus Christ. What did Jesus mean when he said this to his disciples? When a spirit-filled child of God uses the Bible, the infallible, inerrant Word of God, that's where the authority is. The authority is not in us. The authority is in God and God's Word gives us that authority.

Here's the question. Do you have shalom? Do you have God's peace? You say, Doug, how do I get it? You turn from your sin and you trust what Jesus Christ did on the cross of Calvary.

That his blood washes away every sin that he cleanses us and then he imputes to us the righteousness of Christ. Many of you know Larry Warren. Larry's the head of leadership at International. His mother is a little over 90 years old. Several years ago she passed away. We were eating with Larry right after that and Larry said, my mom used to have a great way of witnessing. Said when she was witnessing to somebody, she would say, do you have perfect peace? And they would say, no, I don't have perfect peace.

She said, let me tell you how to get it. You turn from your sin and you trust Jesus Christ what he did on the cross and trust that alone that your sins might be forgiven. I want to close with a statement that Aleister Beggs said. He said, in the face of fear our world aches for peace, but longing for it and singing about it will not create it. Peace can only be found in Jesus' words, in me you have peace.

The resurrection doesn't simply mean that there is a Christ. It means that Christ is alive forever and he gives us peace with the Father and peace in ourselves today and forever. Whatever storms are raging around you or inside you, make sure you hear the voice of your risen Savior today saying, peace be with you. Amen? Amen.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your son to die for undeserving sinners like us. Thank you for Jesus' sinless life. Thank you for his saving and redeeming death. Thank you for his substitutionary atonement. Thank you today for his resurrection that broke the power of death over us. Lord, we love you and we praise God for Easter. It's in Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-09 18:20:36 / 2023-04-09 18:33:26 / 13

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