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The Empty Tomb

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
April 7, 2023 12:00 am

The Empty Tomb

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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April 7, 2023 12:00 am

It’s a sign of hope like no other grave on earth.

In Touch
Charles Stanley
In Touch
Charles Stanley
In Touch
Charles Stanley
In Touch
Charles Stanley
In Touch
Charles Stanley
In Touch
Charles Stanley

Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Good Friday, April 7th. Today, Christians pause to reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but the story doesn't stop there. His resurrection followed soon. Prepare yourself for Easter by focusing your attention on the significance of the empty tomb.

I'd like for us to look at this 24th chapter of Luke for just a moment, and I want us to look first of all at the discovery these women made at the empty tomb. If you'll move back up into verse 54 of chapter 23, you'll notice and remember now that Joseph of Arimathea has obtained permission to remove the body of the Lord Jesus Christ from the cross, and he with some of his friends were able to remove that cross and then lay it down. So by the time they had obtained his body and took it to the garden next to Calvary and prepared it, it was getting late. And if you'll notice in chapter 23 now, verse 54 says, and that day was the preparation and the Sabbath drew on. Now by the preparation, it means this was the Sabbath of the Passover week and all the preparation had to be made before six o'clock on the day in which the Lord Jesus was crucified so that what was happening in the barrel of his body had to be done as quickly as possible.

And I believe the implication of the scripture is it was not finished because if you'll notice in verse 55, it says, and the women also, which came with him from Galilee followed after and beheld the sepulchre and how his body was laid. And what they would do was simply carve out of a stone, a hollow place. And in that hollow section, they would carve out what would be like a stone slab just made right under the rock.

And they would make it a certain length, a length long enough to fit the body. And of course this had already been done beforehand, not in preparation of the body of Jesus, as far as those who had owned it was concerned, but it fitted perfectly. And these women watched them bind his body and stretch it out on that slab.

They knew exactly how it was done. They stood back and watched these men roll the stone in front of that tomb. Then the day of rest, the Sabbath day. Then the scripture says early on that Sunday morning, and I believe it's Mark who says, as the sun begins to rise on the horizon, early in the morning at the breaking of dawn, a group of women come. Now, one of these, it's seemingly the leader of the group was Mary Magdalene, the one from whom Jesus cast seven devils.

Mary, the mother of James was there, Joanna, and several other women. And they were coming for the purpose of anointing the body of Jesus. Now, they didn't expect him to have been risen from the dead. Had they expected that, they wouldn't have brought anything. They would have come rejoicing and praising God he wasn't there. But the scripture says they came with perfumes and ointments in order to sprinkle his body. On their way to the tomb, there was sorrow and heartache and heartbreak, thinking of all the wonderful things that Jesus had said to them.

And now their responsibility that he was gone, that he was dead. Suddenly from sorrow, there was shock with an earthquake. Then there was surprise when the angel said, he's not here, he is risen. And my friend, the greatest mouthful of words ever spoken is that simple phrase, he is risen.

If you put that in the Greek, it's just one word. One word did something that the crucifixion could not do. The word crucified implied to people that day, the end. It meant the shattering of dreams and the shattering of hopes and the shattering of promises. It meant the end of everything. Crucified, they knew what that meant. But when that angel said in one Greek word, he is risen, that meant the birth of everything their hearts had hoped for and dreamed for and longed for.

He's not here, he is risen. And they looked and what did they find? Something very unusual. They did not find what they would have expected to find. Because you see, suddenly their surprised hearts were in a state of suspense and suspicion.

What has happened? Imagine for a moment the absolute shock of being confronted with the angel of the Lord and having been told that the Lord Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. When they walked into that tomb and saw that his body was gone, what they noticed was his grave clothes were in perfect order exactly as they had been laid. Because you see, when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he just evaporated right out of those clothes. So that these grave clothes, the windings of the body were left as if suddenly he just evaporated right out of it.

Then the angel said to them, do you not remember what he said? How he must be delivered in the hands of evil men? How he'd be crucified?

How he would be buried and how he would raise from the dead? Do you not remember that? Then the scripture says they began to remember. And I can imagine when they began to recall the things he had said about the very occasions their heart became frantic, they began to be thrilled and excited inside and the angel said, now look, you go and tell his disciples what has happened. And the scripture says they ran and they found Peter and John and some of the others.

The scripture says when they related to Peter and John, the other disciples, that Jesus had risen from the dead, that he was no longer there, they said, ah. They said the same thing that men said to you and to me today. Don't give me that.

Don't you know better than that? I don't believe that. I want facts. Don't give me your religion. Don't give me some spiritual attitude. Men, I don't believe anything I can't see, feel and touch. And the scripture says they said to the women, you're just talking in riddles.

That's an idle tale you're passing on to us. But as they thought about it and as those women began to relate what the angel had said about the things that Jesus had said, Peter, curiosity got the best of him. And he said to young John, let's go see for ourselves. The scripture says the young John outran Peter to the tomb. When John got to the tomb, he stooped down and looked in. And he gives the account of what he did in John the 20th chapter. The scripture says he stooped down and looked in, peeped around to see if there's anybody in there. When Peter got to the tomb, panting out of breath, he rushed inside and looked for himself. And then John came in and looked and what did they find? They found those same grave clothes perfectly laid out just as if the Lord Jesus Christ had evaporated right out of them. And John says of himself in that 20th chapter, and when he looked, he believed.

Isn't that great? He just looked and he believed. Can you imagine the tremendous surge of hope that ran in the heart of that young disciple probably could have been 18 or 19 years of age. He looked into an empty tomb and must have reasoned quickly. Those clothes were in such perfect array, he would not have been stolen out or they would have taken his body.

Robbers would not have stolen his body or they would have run through his clothes to see if anything was on his body. Something miraculous and supernatural had happened to the body of Jesus because those grave clothes were so laid, he had evaporated. And the very position of those clothes was an eloquent declaration that the Lord Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. Then they began to share it.

They began to share what they had seen and what they had felt. Now when I look at that story of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, make application in my own heart. I know today, my friend, that the only reason you and I have hope in this life and assurance and promise and joy and peace and happiness and all the rest is because that empty tomb made it possible for you and me to have a full heart. I want you to turn to 1 Corinthians chapter 15 for a moment because I believe that Paul has placed it and said it beautifully in the 15th chapter as he describes the effects of an empty tomb. Beginning in verse 13.

He puts it in the negative and I want us to change it around the positive for a moment. Verse 13, for the whole chapter deals with the resurrection. But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain and your faith is also vain.

Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God, just liars. Because we've testified of God that he raised up Christ, whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. Or if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain. He says, and ye are yet in your sins, then they also which are falling asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Now I want us to note just for a moment. As you look at that empty tomb, it simply said to those people, he's not here. But it said far more than that. And years later Paul the Apostle having come along, having witnessed on that Damascus road, the living Christ demonstrating invisible form before him, shocking him, dumbfounding him, bringing rebellious Saul of Tarsus to the position to say, Lord, what will thou have me to do? He received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior. He knew him as Lord and Savior in life. And in this 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, he says to us that the empty tomb of Jerusalem provides for man a full heart. And if man is to have a full life, there's several things must be settled.

And let's look at these and turn them around in the positive way. First of all, if you'll notice in verse 17, he says, and if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain. My friend, he did rise from the dead. Our faith is not in vain. It is full. It is complete. It is established.

It is linked to a rock. We do not have a vain faith because you see, vain faith means that it is empty. It has no real object upon which it can believe.

But Paul said, that's not true. But because the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, you and I have a faith that has as its object Holy God. We have the Holy Spirit living within us. We can pray and be heard of God. We can talk to one another in the power of the Holy Spirit and see men's lives change. If you'll notice in verse 14, he says, and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching in vain. Turn that around. If he is risen, the witness and the sharing of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ is not vain, but a powerful penetrating witness in the hearts of men to change the way men live. Why? Because he's risen.

And why is it so? Because you and I are living in the power of the resurrected life of Jesus Christ. Listen, my friend, if your concept of Jesus is no more than the fact that he was a babe born in Bethlehem, and we see him as a tiny, sweet boy growing up to the age of 12 and in the temple, and we see him only healing people and teaching and in this sweet, wonderful way in which he walked about, if that's all that you see, you're missing something. Well, you see, when he rose from the dead, what did he do? But release in the heart of every believer the same power that he has. That is the resurrected power of God, which means Christ dwelling within you makes you sufficient for every single thing. And my friend, that's why the people of God ought to say, Hallelujah, the tomb is empty, but the heart is filled.

Filled with what? It is still the presence of Jesus Christ and his power. Second thing I want you to notice, not only does he say that our faith is valid, but secondly, he says our forgiveness is certain. Look if you will in verse 17, and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain and ye are yet in your sins. Suppose you and I had to awaken every morning with all the guilt of all of our sin of all of our years. Is it not true that at times in your life when you've been disobedient to God and the awful tremendous burden of guilt begins to rest upon your life and you think, my God, my God, forgive me. And he forgives you generously.

He forgives you every single time you're willing to come and ask him to forgive. Can you imagine waking up tomorrow morning and resting upon your shoulders and upon your heart, the awful guilt of every single thing you've ever done. I tell you, dear brother, you could not live through the day if you and I understood the awful guilt of sin in our hearts until the Lord Jesus Christ takes it away. You say, well, what about these people who are lost? What about men who've never trusted him as their savior?

How do they live? My friend, is it not true that when a man is confronted with the reality of Christ, when a man is confronted with the actuality of his guilt, when a man faces the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, when a man is able to see the awful sinfulness of his soul, what does he do? But cry out, my God, my God, save me. You know why he does? Because he cannot live with himself. And he says, because the Lord Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, he said, we have been saved, delivered, freed, liberated, released from the guilt of our sin.

Could you tell me something else that can do that? If the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified at Calvary, which he was, that's an established fact, historically and every other way, if he was crucified upon the cross, if he were crucified there, died there, and that were the end of the Lord Jesus Christ, you and I would never have any confidence or forgiveness. You know what we would be doing? We would be doing the same thing that some denominations do today when you ask somebody if they're saved, and they say, well, I hope so. And you say to them, what do you mean you hope so? Well, I don't think you can ever know.

What do you mean you can't ever know? Well, we just believe that you asked the Lord to save you, and you never know to the judgment whether you're saved or not, my friend. That's not what that book teaches. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is valid fact. Here is God's proof. Here is God saying to man, I have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as sufficient atonement for your sins, and the moment you're willing to accept him as your savior, your sins are forgiven, past, present, future, all of your sins, all of the sin of mankind, and it becomes actual in your life when you accept him personally, every single thing in your life is clean forever. The atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary, the shedding of his blood took care of all the sin of all mankind, but it is only applied to the heart that's able to believe. If there is no resurrection, there is no forgiveness. If there is no resurrection, there is no cleansing. If there is no resurrection, man must face holy God. You see, if you accept the fact that there is a God, and you deny the fact that there is a resurrection, then you must accept the fact of standing before a holy God with all of your sin, unforgiven and being condemned, because you see, if Jesus Christ is not risen from the dead, there is no salvation. And if there is no salvation, man has to face a holy God with all of his sin.

What does he do? He's simply condemned forever because he carries his sins to the judgment. But the third thing he mentioned, notice, he says not only that we have the promise of forgiveness of our sins, but he said our future is secured. Notice what he says in verse 18, then they also which shall fall asleep in Christ, the perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

What is he saying, my friend? In essence, simply this, if your life is not right with the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot tell me this morning you're happy. Because you see, the only way to have a full life is to believe in an empty tomb. And if your faith in the empty tomb is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that he rose from the dead, and your faith is New Testament faith, a faith which acts, a faith that gives itself to him, my friend, your life no longer needs to be empty. And I believe the one word that best describes America today is empty hearted.

We've got everything that money can buy, but the one thing money can't buy and that's a full heart. A life that is fulfilled with peace and joy and security in this life in Christ and in the life to come in him. And I want to encourage you this morning, if you've never trusted him as your Savior, and as your Lord, I want to invite you to life. You may have been existing, but you've not been living. My friend, if you're not a Christian and God called you today, and you had to give up your life, that would be it forever. You say, well, would I be annihilated?

No. No, you'd go to torment and dwell until the great white throne judgment at which time you'd be judged and sent into the lake of fire forever and ever and ever. But for the believer, the resurrection of Jesus Christ says the moment he calls you from this life, relax and rest because eternity is yours with him.

I wonder today if you know in your own heart that you can put your finger on a time in your life when you say, at that moment I settle once and for all. You see, the Bible says, if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved. You know why I didn't say believe that he'd been crucified?

Anybody can believe that. But when you believe that he's been raised from the dead, that is an act of faith whereby you commit yourself to the risen Savior, the risen Lord. My friend, I want to invite you this morning to step up on life's highest plane, the life that is lived in him, Christ indwelling you, releasing his life through you, the all-sufficient omnipotent power of Christ dwelling and abiding in your heart and producing through you and providing for you everything the human heart could desire in Christ Jesus. Thank you for listening to The Empty Tomb. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-07 07:40:12 / 2023-04-07 07:47:56 / 8

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