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April 1, 2018 4:42 pm
Two sisters who lived to be over 100 years old and they're very proud that they had lived so long enough to tell people when their ages were asked that a very carefully regulated diet the exercise every day in the gym. The eight innumerable vitamins lived a very regimented like some would say rather boring, but the life they chose. But even they eventually died. One day there were in heaven and the reflecting on the beauty and wonder wonder of heaven on one side to the other. It's a pity we used to eat so much yogurt and fiber and exercise every day in the gym, would we could have been in this wonderful place. Years and years ago heaven. Do you believe in heaven for such a place member John Lennon's big hits. Imagine there's no heaven know how below us above us only sky that we think but there's no heaven or hell, if that's what you think what you think happens to you on that. Do believe that there is life after death is difficult for us because we are living in this world that we see and that we understand that all of us will die one day however much we exercise over many vitamins and we consume how often we are working out at the gym we we realize that, but what you think about life after death. While this Easter Sunday 22 you want to say this but the Christian answer today is not fire and in ignoring it. I find that many people refuse to deal with her own mortality. I remember one of our present professors at seminaries. It was talk talking to us about conducting funerals and sponsors. He said to us, and it really struck me. I never forgot it. He said you got to deal with your own mortality deal with mortality is difficult for us is not is why many people refuse to to make wills is why many people find it difficult to think of life when they're no longer here of leaving their loved ones is very difficult that many people just ignore it. They ignored the reality of death. Perhaps even more commonly people fear that were told that this is the greatest fear that people have the fear of death. We understand no one can defeat that on Monday were going to die and that brings people to great great fear particularly when they are diagnosed with an illness. Perhaps when they're there traveling from their flying and have this terrible terrible fear of death so you could ignore that you could feel her dad. The Christian answer, however, is to face death please. How can anyone face that I can we really deal with that while he was a Christian answer to it.
Those of us who are following Jesus can face day. Yes we do. Followers of Jesus can face that because of this that our Lord Jesus, the one that were following the one in whom we place our faith, our Lord Jesus Christ has gone into dad has conquered that has defeated dad and that's why were celebrating this morning on this Easter Sunday and saying that Christ is risen, we believe that and because he has defeated that we can look at that and faced because we realize that there is a wonderful life beyond that and it is a life of the place prepared by Lord Jesus Christ. People say the cliché is where there's life there's hope. Followers of Jesus go much further and we say this quivers that if there is hope. That is hope for those who trust is in Jesus Christ our hope goes beyond this, that, because according to the Scriptures. Not only did Christ die for our sins and was buried, but he conquered that he's alive forever more than one of his most famous sayings. He says this time, the resurrection of the life that amazing statement, one who is God, Jesus Christ, God incarnate, says I am the resurrection and the life. So this Easter morning. I'm glad you're here and I want you to listen very carefully just for a few moments because what I say I believe is of the utmost importance. Every single one of us. I want you to think with me not thinking is difficult for us. I think most of us would agree that were in a society that culture which is not known for his deep thought. If you notice what we do is people when were standing in line in the grocery store when were standing in line at Starbucks waiting for the coffee when were in the airport. What we do, you do what I do I pick up my phone. We used to talk to people that were barely dinner following undoing.
It's almost as if were afraid to be alone almost as if were afraid to think it's almost as if were afraid that we can deal with quietness that we can deal with solitude that we can do with asking ourselves some deep and penetrating questions yesterday good and I were driving her car needed gas and we pulled into the gas station, but this is here in Charlotte. All I want to do is to fill up the tank with gas. Do you know that there is no gas station TV coming. Do you want to watch TV when you're pumping gas and I'm quietly pumping gas and deep theological thoughts.
Okay, I was thinking about lunch, but it sounds much better when I say that theological thought and some guy on the TV is shouting at me about refinancing my mortgage something I don't intend to do and something a bite of rocket loan and I'm just wondering to be quiet.
You went to the store and there's knives even outside the store where some of us stand with our wives go into the store. Other speakers again with some really terrible music go down to the beach see a college and young adults are going to Wrightsville Beach have been there. The problem is invariably something's going to bring a boombox under a new thing. Where can we think some badger here and when you to think I want you necessarily to accept what I say I'm not the authority but I'm going to revert to Scripture to give you the Christian message at a very fundamental level. Could I trust you the kind of thinking person who's asking yourself what is life all about why my here on this life is just as us to live getting a job.
The family live comfortable plan for retirement, and so on and so forth. What life is about.
What about dad for the life after death where my going when I died to the point is this.
If Jesus really did rise from the dead, and you may not believe it but if Jesus really rose from the dead. I believe that in a sense. Nothing else really matters. That is the pivotal event of all of human history. It's a pivot so events of all of eternity. But God sent his son Jesus Christ into this world who died on the cross for our sins, who was buried and on the third day he rose again so Christianity believes that Jesus rose bodily from the dead, have your Bible turn with me to first Corinthians 15 I'm going to read about in this where Paul and this wonderful chapter of the resurrection.
I commend this chapter to you. If you're intrigued by the subject of the resurrection.
58 versus a Morgan result 58 versus what Paul is arguing.
I would say brilliantly arguing that Christianity stands or falls on this truth that Jesus not only died, not only, but it was buried, but rose from the dead. Here he summarizes in a very beautiful way, the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. In first Corinthians 15 verse three Eunice apostle Paul writing for I delivered to you eyes off first importance that Paul wrote in the New Testament, 52,407 words at the law, but he saying, really, this is off first importance. Don't miss this. This is crucial business fundamental this is pivotal to what I'm saying here Paul.
Fortunately for us, crystallizes the Christian message. He states it and is kernel its core. This is what it's all about but I delivered to you as a first importance what I also received that Christ listening died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures reflected on that in Good Friday that Christ died for our sin in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried verse four that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. This is what we call the gospel, the good news is a good news. This the good news of the gospel. The central truth of the Christian faith is this the Jesus is the son of God is God incarnate, the God sent his son Jesus to this world. Unlike all of us. He was sinless he was perfect and he died on the cross thousands, millions of people have died. Many, many thousands of died on the cross. The Romans were experts in execution and crucifixion.
The favorite form of execution, not just the Jesus died on the gospel.
The gospel is that Christ died for our sin as substitute. He died for me. Apostle Paul said elsewhere, Christ died for sins in accordance with the Scriptures is buried and then on the third day, Paul says he was raised from the dead. So if you believe that the Jesus is the son of God, that he died on the cross for your sins. This means that you to repent of your sins, turn from your sins realize that Christ paid the penalty for your sins, was buried, and rose again and is eternally alive and if you call on Christ coming from your sins and ask him to come and to save you and to forgive you and to give you eternal life. He'll do that and you will use a biblical expression you will be saved believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Soon the third day by an act of Almighty God. Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead. This was a bodily resurrection. Paul proves it. Verse five he says, and that he that is Jesus appeared to Cephas, then to the 12 was witness.
It's this is a historical fact that six then he appeared to more than 500 brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some of fallen asleep.
Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all is the one untimely born, he appeared also to me very significant. Paul is saying there many witnesses of the resurrection.
People who saw Jesus after he was raised from the dead, and the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is overwhelming. We believe that the tomb is empty. Couple weeks the privilege of leading a group of young to Israel and the Lord willing, will go to the garden tomb and will see the tomb, and we will rejoice that the tomb is empty, the Jews and the Romans after the crucifixion. After the burial would have loved to produce the body of Jesus to refute any idea that he was raised from the dead because he during his life.
He prophesied that he was going be raised from the dead, but they were unable to produce the body of Jesus. Why because he was raised from the head and he appears to many people.
After the resurrection and the New Testament is something amazing. It tells us that the first witnesses of the risen Christ were woman women first saw the empty tomb woman first saw the resurrected Christ.
Why is that significant because in the first century Jew Jewish jurisprudence and their culture. Regarding to the legal system, the testimony of women was regarded as worthless. Even if you have multiple women giving evidence in a court of law did not come for anything.
They were woman now if you say what's up on the point is this. If you're trying to fabricate a case for the resurrection of Jesus, you would not have chosen you the chosen men and of course many men did see the resurrected Christ.
Paul is saying this for the first witnesses were woman.
They were the first of the empty tomb.
They were the first to solve the risen Christ.
Also think of this and we reflected on this in Good Friday, when Jesus is arrested when he's trying to before Pilate, when he appears before the Jewish Sanhedrin and suddenly when he's crucified. His followers led me to 12 are absolutely devastated. They thought of the Messiah as a political Messiah is someone who would overthrow the Romans someone who within and then Institute's messianic kingdom with them getting wonderful positions of authority and power and so when Jesus is crucified, then absolutely crestfallen. In fact, more than that. They were afraid because they think they may be the next to end up to this read the New Testament. Something wonderful happens just a few days after the resurrection. These men led by Peter, the leader of mine who denied the Lord a man who was full of bravado and said always be with you, Jesus, all even for you, but he 60s, but here he is no down time Jerusalem.
What's he doing is presenting the good news is saying to the Jewish people, and anyone else who will hear them. The one that you crucified God raised from the dead, and this made him locked in Christ there transformed from being fearful to being dynamic to being courageous.
There persecuted that imprisons their return. Some of the numbers are even monitor would you do that if you thoughts that the resurrection was a hoax. The tall, they had seen the risen Christ and they were prepared to give their lives for Christ because they knew that the die for them was to be with Christ.
They knew that Jesus is triumphant over death relevance is not for us. Is it was wonderful. John not sure if I believe it but it's a nice story but what does that to do with me at this everything to do with you.
Go back to what I say all of us are going to die all of us deserve to die because we broken the law of God. And when you break a law that is a penalty in our legal system today.
If you break the law without it speeding. Whether it's assaulting someone with that it's taking someone's life. There are penalties the penalty varies depending on the severity of the crime. We have broken God's law over and over again, so much so that the wages of sin is death and all of us will die because all of us have since so this is relevant because it is at this very point, we see the uniqueness of the Christian faith is a what's that on the cross Jesus paid the penalty for my sin. I deserved that he comes and he dies my death, he pays the penalty through is that through his shed blood. Only does he do that. He demonstrates that he is greater than that he demonstrates that he has conquered sin that he has defeated the enemy by rising from the dead, so Paul can say in this chapter, first Corinthians 15 is swallowed up in victory.
The wonderful that is swallowed up in victory. You improve that in victory in the same sentence often do you someone dies receives a tragedy. It's awful outside, but Christ has swallowed up that piece conquered that he's triumphant over dad and this is why as followers of Jesus, we can face that because not only is Jesus triumphant over dad. He gives new life we need that because were spiritually dead in their sins and we can save ourselves so that we could get a bit of religion we can try and be kind that we can try to be better people. We can try to reach out to others, and all of that is good in this place, but it does not get rid of the root problem of sin. And this is what Christ through his resurrection because he paid the penalty for your sin he can cleanse you of your sin.
He can wash or whatever your sin as and he gives us is your life so that Christ lives in us and dwells in us, because God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. That is if you believe in Jesus Christ you will receive as a gift eternal life. He is triumphant over that in the New Testament is a story by the mangrove residents who died was a friend of Jesus and was dead four days and his family, particularly sisters, Mary and Martha were in deep grief on the look, the body that is been dead for four days but I see many dead bodies and you don't need to be an MD to know when someone has died. I quickly becomes obvious when someone passes from life today can imagine someone who's been buried for four days and to show how powerful Jesus is to demonstrate to make it abundantly clear that he is the resurrection of the life he stands and says chosen five lines it has come forth. Joint happened. Lazarus and manhood being dead for four days out of the grave.
Jesus is that powerful is the one who gives life is God. He is life. He's the resurrection and the life and the sadness we listen to them the resurrection of the life to see that he who believes in me will live, even if you guys, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
That's the message of Easter, but in Jesus Christ. It is possible to triumph over death as long as your trust is in him as long as you are united with Christ is alive becomes your life John on the great English Puritan is dying and the secretary begins to write like right to a friend and says this. I'm still writes I'm still in the land of the living. John Nolan stopped to second me and says no change that to say I am yet in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living, this world, your thought of this is the land of the dying people die, but Owen understood he was going to the lines of the living. That's why we rejoice when we heard of Billy Graham's one of his many great statement statements which became well-known after he died a couple months ago. He had said the dance for him was only a change of address change address because he was Billy Graham and preached the millions and was clearly a great man of God, not nothing to do with that to do with the fact that as a teenager he trusted in Christ. Continue as you could know that when you die you don't cease to exist.
You entered into a greater dimension of the love of God in the life of God, a change of address. Billy Graham is alive and have been with Christ, and that forever. This is what Jesus is saying in this wonderful statement when you on his followers, and you do you continue to live spiritually forever. Why is that because he rose from the dead, that he still says I am the resurrection, the one who believes in me shall live.
Even if he dies on the life. Everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. This new life is resurrection life can come to you today. Right now, not just in the future when you die with this life. This resurrection life is offered to you as a gift today I when you truly receive it. You are changed from the inside out. Paul says you become a new creation in Christ is some of your sitting hearing is that when I believe in the resurrection. While you can believe in the resurrection and sell the health crisis or Savior, you've got to believe in the resurrection, but is more than that, you have to personally trust Christ and could it be that some of you in the past of said I believe you have never yet received the power of Christ in you forgiving your sins and giving you eternal life were missing this morning with this, the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the pivotal events of all human history. I trust is the pivotal events of your life that Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose again see if it is true come back to the point I made earlier if it's really true that Jesus rose from the dead. Nothing else matters. It is essential that your life intersects with Christ that you have a personal encounter with Christ and are saved by his grace I believe.
I believe examine the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus. I believe because it's the testimony of Scripture. I also believe because I know Christ personally. I know my wife. I know my son.
I know my grandchildren. I know many of you personally but I know Christ personally using John how can you say he's not here in physical form. I understand that by no cries begun when as a boy of 12 to have the message I presented to you, and I cried out to Christ to come in to save me. Forgive my sentence he indwelt me even as a 12-year-old. I knew that life could never be the same that if this is true that life must be different, as indeed as so I give my life to telling people the Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again from that not just a theory, not just the doctrine but the person that you can know who will save you who will claim June who will guide you. Who will indwell you, who as we sign that his father becomes your power because Jesus doesn't merely say on the resurrection and the life. He demonstrates it by raising a man from the dead. He doesn't merely say on the life he himself is raised from the dead and is alive forevermore and my question to you today is you know you and John 11 when Jesus says I'm the resurrection of the life. He ends his statement by saying, as I would ask you, do you believe this in your heart responds large, but I'm asking you. Do you believe this.
I do many of us do not. Just about Christ, but to know Christ. I want to give you an opportunity to pray to receive Christ right now I would only do the prayer saying this prayer is in some magical per formula to get you into heaven know. But if this prayer reflects what you are and if you sense God the Holy Spirit to start your heart you realize you don't know Christ will you pray this with me and then is missing a couple of final songs. My wife and I will make a way through the coffee others will be there. We want to give up your new if you come special gifts will be glad to talk to you about about Christ that is in the looking up a little response cart for like that car tended to not show as you go, bring it to us in the café and make sure that your trust is in Christ, when you pray with me was quite in their hearts lead you in this prayer to receive Christ if this reflects what you are in your own heart Lord Jesus.
I believe you are the son of God. I believe you rose from the dead, that first Easter believe your life. I admit that I've sinned against God of going my own way and repent of my sins. A time for my sin, my sin and my self-centeredness. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Thank you for paying the penalty to all of my sins on the cross and I trust you as my Savior, Lord Jesus cleansed me safe.
Help me to live for you