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April 23, 2019 2:50 pm
What 2000 years ago a man named Jesus died on the Roman cross. He was buried in the tomb and on that first Easter Sunday.
He literally and bodily rose from the dead, that the cross is MJ. The term is MJ. The song is rolled away and that Christ is risen, Christ is risen is risen, the date you were saying about him up from the grave he arose and reminded me that when I was baptized before my 17th birthday. That was the song that him and the little church where I was baptized and I understood and a fresh way then, and increasingly so. The importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that when I was being baptized. It wasn't just going through a formality. It was as a young man as a young teenager that I had confessed my faith in Jesus Christ and that was being symbolized in my baptism as I was dying with Christ being buried with Christ and being raised to Christ, to walk in newness of life. This is why the resurrection is so central to the Christian faith and among world religions. The resurrection of Jesus Christ stands unique.
The tomb of Abraham in Habre in Israel which I visited is occupied, the term of Buddha is occupied the tomb of Mohammed is occupied and is visited by millions every year, but the term of Jesus is empty.
We believe in an empty cross and an empty tomb and the risen Christ and the Paul said as he wrote to the Thessalonians in first Thessalonians 4 verse 14 we believe that Jesus died and rose again to essential facts of the Christian faith that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, that he was buried, and that he rose again from the dead. I believe that, and I trust each one of you believe that not just as some theory not just us on the theological dogma, but because you in the very depths of your heart and soul.
I further Have had an encounter with the living Christ. So I want to consider a very simply, this Easter Sunday two things I want to something a little of the evidence of the resurrection, because I am by nature a skeptic, and I think some of you may be, and particularly if you're not a follower of Jesus Christ. Are you may say well it's all very well to get excited and have this wonderful music and all of this in the people up into some kind of emotional frenzy, but I'm not really sure that Jesus is alive, so I want to think of that and then secondly I wonder think of the relevance that it has for you and for me. First of all the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Well first of all, it is historically true that Jesus died on the cross was this man who lived some 2000 years ago. Born in Bethlehem. Growing up in Israel and then in his early 30s taken and being crucified and died on a cross, he was crucified by Roman soldiers, professional executioners preaching long nails about 5 to 7 inches were told about 3/8 of an age square and he took his hands in these faith and they nailed him to a cross and that's the way to die. Think we would agree. I just to make sure that he died. One of the soldiers took a spear and pierced the side of Jesus. After the death of Jesus, the chief executioner. The Roman centurion and the Romans knew how to kill people.
We had done it before and under the chief executioner of the centurion. He then made his report to pilots pilot was a Roman governor Pilate was the judge who would deliver Jesus up to his crucifixion in although Pilate was very ambivalent about that, but eventually because of the political pressure in the social pressure on them is a very cowardly thing and he delivered up Jesus to be crucified, and after the crucifixion, the Roman centurion then reports to the governor that I had appointed by the Roman Empire and said to the pilot server as a prisoner has been killed. He certifies that Jesus had actually died.
There is no doubt that Jesus died on the cross knew so many people would crucified the true, the Romans specializing crucifixion as they crucified thousands of people, but is certainly true of this man Jesus that he actually died on the cross. Secondly, Jesus was buried in the tomb. The Romans normally were quite happy to leave the cops on the cross, the rocket was a warning to people to behave there with a superpower. They were in control in the acts of rebellion had to be slammed on and a dead person on the cross was a way to get people's attention so they didn't quickly bring the deceased from the cross. They just left them there for days, weeks, possibly even months on these classes, which were just to rough pieces of wood put together, but the evidence is clear that in this case and the death of Jesus. He did not stay on the cross are two of his followers. Man called Joseph in the little town of Arimathea and Israel and Nicodemus Nicodemus, one of the religious rulers and who it appears that during the time the Lord was in our I became a follower. Perhaps a secret follower, but they come when they hear that Jesus has died and the ask permission if they can take him down from the cross and the permission is given, and I'm sure with great love with great tenderness. They take Jesus from the cross to characters nails from his hands and his feet and taken down and then the Jewish custom. There wrap them in the coffin and a linen cloth with with spices and then one of them. Joseph, a man of some means that the term is a new term, and nobody had ever been in it before to my kind of cave and so they take the body of Jesus and alienates in the tomb and the garden garden tomb and then to ensure that the body is Save a great stone is rolled in the fronts of the cave. Jesus dies is the condign from the cross put in this term. Now the juice remembered that during the life of Jesus.
There was talk about his resurrection they really believed it, but in order to be sure they thought well during his lifetime.
He did say that he was going to rise from the dead, and so perhaps some of his father's will come secretly in seal the body from the tomb and then say was resurrected so let's prevent that.
So was this big stone in front of the two and then secondly, and very importantly, they put a guard again these are professional soldiers.
These are tough men that on security of the garden tomb standing in front of the tomb to God that no one comes to steal the body of Jesus. So what we have we have Jesus who died on the cross we have Jesus who was buried in the term but fired. Of course, in central to the Christian faith absolutely essential. One of the great fundamentals. The essential fundamental of the Christian faith is that Jesus rose from the grave and use it while I can believe that he died. Believers could not term but that people about resurrected. I really struggled to think of this personhood be died for a few days actually rose from the dead. While we have in the Gospels we have wonderful evidence evidence that would hold up in any court of law and fact, the first witnesses of the empty tomb were woman because what happens. Well supernatural thing happened. The Angels Came and rolled away the stone and that these soldiers who were meant to be standing guard. They were at where it is and put to sleep. They were unable to oppose the mighty power of God and raising his son from the dead, and so the tomb is empty and that first Easter Sunday but alley the morning as some woman come they deeply love Jesus member the disciples. The man devastated anything. This is the end of life that that leader Jesus the Christ. This crucified and so these dear woman come on to the resumes once they realize that the term is empty. Isn't it interesting that the first witnesses to the empty tomb onto the resurrected Jesus were not man but were woman using the lies that significant a significant number of reasons, but one is this that in the first century culture woman were not regarded as competent witnesses you wanted to build a case that was a male-dominated culture.
Could you say and so woman's testimony were disregarded. So if the writers of the Gospels were trying to fabricate a case trying to lie trying to spin this at where we would say they wouldn't have woman is your witnesses, they would have bandwidth of reputable man, why woman because that's the fact woman actually saw the empty tomb and the risen Christ and he told some of the disciples, and particularly two of them to have their leaders, Peter Simon Peter and John. John who really love Jesus. That's more the other disciples at these two men come and to hear the report and they run to see if it's true, and to the amazement, the tomb is empty and they testify that a record is written in Scripture. They testify that the term is MJ and they see the risen Christ because on that first Easter Sunday evening.
The disciples are together, and no doubt Peter and John there saying we saw Christ and then to the letter amazement and how they must've got down on their knees because right in front of them appear the resurrected Jesus using we believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus not just any spirit somehow was out there floating around. No, he literally bodily rose from the dead, and he appeared to the disciples and knowing their skepticism and their fear in order to reinforce the position that it was Christ the one who had died on the cross, the one who was buried in the tomb. He says to them. He shows them his hands and decide that it is the very evidence for the crucifixion and they realize that this is Christ as he says to them, peace be with you. They saw Jesus from the dead Christianity would have been stamped out in a moment. In what way will if you could produce the body.
If you are saying that this individual Jesus of Nazareth.
This teacher this medical worker who ever he claimed he was. If you're saying that Jesus actually rose from the dead lay quickest way to stamp out such nonsense.
If you are one of the Jewish leaders are one of the Roman leaders would have been to produce the body of Jesus.
But as in the wonderful to think that for over 2000 years. With all of the skepticism with all of the examination with all of the archaeology with all is going on. No one has ever produced the body of Jesus and no one ever will. Why because he rose from the dead and we read what Paul is saying writing some years on after the resurrection, saying that hundreds of people saw the risen Christ the disciples that Paul said I am the last one I saw the risen Christ. Imagine the case when you're trying to establish the resurrection and you have one witness after another witness after another with the sake we saw him. We were there in the upper room when he appeared to us here 500 other say yes we were on this occasion and the risen Christ appeared to us. Strong evidence is needed, and also think of this when Jesus was crucified. The disciples were devastated. They were afraid they thought they possibly themselves would be killed, but hope so – they had misunderstood an important aspect of the teaching of Jesus because they thought that he was going to set up his kingdom there and then overthrow the Romans he would be a literal king in Israel and that they would be right there with him.
And when Jesus is killed in hopes of dashed the freight know what transform them because only a few days later after the crucifixion of Jesus.
They are in downtown Jerusalem in the very center of Jerusalem opposing the very people who killed him, and saying you put Jesus on the cross.
What gave them such boldness. What gave them such power as of though the world was turned upside down and then this little faith is a word in this tiny little country of Israel was going to. This message was going to penetrate the known world, just in Amanda. A few of a few years. What caused that.
What changed them. The change was this they had seen the resurrected Christ when that absolutely change your whole view of life that you saw a person who is nailed to a cross and now he is alive. They're going to be persecuted there going be thrown out of their homes are going to lose their jobs. Early Christians there going to be so long persecuted some of the number even killed that didn't stamp out the Christian faith, but as the Navy and is clarified to the. The blood of the monitors being the seed of the church and this is happened in the first century that the more the church was persecuted, the more people ridicule them the greater and more effective. The message of the gospel was they were transformed with her was saying about evidence.
Jesus died on the cross. Secondly, he was buried in the tomb third. He rose from the dead.
The evidence is clear you may rejected with evidence is clear that Jesus is alive. Now you say well John, that was 2000 years ago. Yes, but think of the relevance of this, the relevance of the resurrection of Jesus is crucially important for your past you say in what way will in the chapter we read from first Corinthians 15 the great chapters on the resurrection which I command you to read. Paul argues very logically and very powerfully that if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, the whole of Christianity crumbles, and in particular, there is no forgiveness of our sins, he says of Christ first Corinthians 15 verse 17 if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins is a I was that when there's a logic and that that I'm still in my sins and Jesus is raised from the dead will think of this. Why did Jesus die the Christian faith is not just that Jesus died not just that he died on the cross.
Many people died on the cross, not just that he was a marketer. Many people are being monitored with the basic truth, but you notice it.
As we read first Corinthians 15. As Paul says this is our first importance. These are the critical truth. The fundamental truths of the Christian faith that Christ died but for our sins.
That's it. That's it. That he died for sins we celebrated that on Friday evening, but Christ was sinless, takes the sin of the world, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and because Jesus Christ not only died for our sins, but was raised from the dead. This means that is for you and for me the possibility of our sins being forgiven. Is it well, I'm not sure if I've said in the not know if I like that were designed rather negative incentives rather old-fashioned way.
What is it sin is failure more than the regret is more than a mistake. Sin is acknowledging that before God we have come short, we have messed up and because of that because I've messed up in God's eyes, possibly yours as well, but settling God's eyes.
I need to be forgiven. We will you acknowledge that today you may be a very kind person, you may be in the most generous, kind person on all of North Carolina. Of the 10 million people live here, you may be one of the best but I can say and I don't think you can really contradict me is that you're not perfect.
You've messed up even the best of people. The nicest of people sometimes do and say nasty things, but we are all characterized by failure on Tuesday last week Manchester United. I was playing Barcelona I like Manchester United so was a tough day in the and in the champions league and Manchester United have arguably the best goalkeeper in the world live again on the Spanish and there he is in his home country playing for Manchester United but Barcelona have this incredible flare told nicely to call toward one brilliant goal which no goalkeeper collaborative stop. But then Macy comes and he shoots and you look at it. Anything you know my mother couldn't save that well not really my grandmother. She's in heaven, but I think I could've saved that and you see David to hear this wonderful goalkeeper with amazing reflexes. The previous week here for me to say it seemed impossible that pharmacy was as reflexes incredible and so he goes down, we see Nancy's good David to his discomfort, I think, was that the poll just slips in the room goes in finance and and I'm sure David Harris thinking. I can't believe I missed that his grandmother could have got the thing is not perfect and you know in your life that there are things that you have said and things that you've done and things that you've thought and pictures that you've had that as you look back you see I can't believe I did that. I can't believe I said that I can't believe I had that evil thought in my minds, that's a dilemma. But all of a sudden the Bible says that all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Life is full of regrets like this, failures. This is the universal human condition. When you locate politicians and weather cover-up in the span on all of the lies that are there ways you know how terrible with exactly the same. What do we do something wrong defensive whenever confronted well it was him it was her I wasn't me, denial, finger-pointing, difficult as needed to come to the point and say no. I am responsible.
I have done wrong and into a world of sin than the darkness.
God in his great love sends his son, our Savior, to come and to die on the cross for our sins. I find it interesting when I speak with people who disagree with the Christian viewpoint and I asked them how do you deal with sin in your life. How do you deal with guilt and with shame. Central to the Christian faith is this, if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be set that's it. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins that he was buried, and that on the third day he rose from the dead, according to the Scriptures and so I say to you today as you think of the relevance of the resurrection.
It is crucially relevant for your past because that is sitting there and the only way for forgiveness is through Jesus Christ who comes in great love and grace. Who knows how bad you are and offers you is who pays the price for your sin.
The offers you salvation and forgiveness using only the risen Christ. Only the one who pays the debt of sin can offer you forgiveness not be wonderful that you could walk out of the sanctuary this morning all of the sin than the failure in the shame and the mistakes of the past had gone totally gone. Totally forgiven solely God could deal with your past and wife. It totally clean.
Yes, the resurrection is relevant for your past, but the resurrection is also relevant for your presence because you say well this is wonderful but no Monroe unit euro past the parents. Are you a raise in a Christian home on the offense that I'm I wasn't raised in a Christian home and this Christianity. I really couldn't handle it. I really would mess up. I know you would mess up.
You don't need to tell me I'm a pastor I do with people messed up every day.
I understand I understand how you feel about that. I feel exactly the same by myself. I'm not naturally religious left to myself.
I want to do my own thing I want to set my own standards.
I want to close my own life. But when you to understand something. This is the uniqueness of the Christian faith. What are we celebrating today that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. That means that he's alive and becoming a Christian isn't just saying. While I agree with this. These articles of faith of Calvary church and working on.
That's not the Christian faith. Yes, there are doctrines that you must acknowledge that Jesus is the son of God. They died for your sins that he rose again. Yes, you can acknowledge them intellectually and still remain in your sins. What's the difference because when we and we emphasize this about this a strange language to because you're saying to me. Well Jon, I am a member of the church at a been a Christian all my life and I was I was baptizes a child or an adult or taken communion and of God is all of that and you can go through all of that and all of that as well and good in his place, but it still begs the question, do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior because the Christian faith is having a personal relationship with the living Christ, who not only forgives our sins is difficult for us to get our minds running the but he makes us human Bible calls that being born again and furthermore Christ is living Christ lives in us is what Paul sets Christ lives in me. So there is a power that is a grace that is our spiritual transformation that by ourselves, we can continue to live a Christian life know we are drawn to the dark side of things left to ourselves. You know, there are neither grades of power, not just a power I did the person of Christ within me and that is a promise of the gospel that when you come humbly, turning from your sin. Confessing your sin and crying out to Christ. Not only will he forgive your sins he'll come and indwell you and change your so that as you follow Christ you will become more and more like him. Let me use another sporting illustration wife is coming at 11 to the much board which is not here this morning at night so I can use these two sporting illustrations. Some of you watch the Masters golf and some of you here play golf. Let's take some individual who normally scores or do say 95 you've never played part golf in your life. Well, maybe you lied about the pre-'s rights even miniature golf. You struggle. Let's face it, and so here you are and you're watching the Masters and here is Tiger Woods's amazing golfer. I just think how effortless it seems.
And could you imagine that you go to play golf one day and in a medical Tiger Woods is a dwelling and you take that club and that the signs you take is a sound of Tiger Woods and the way you grip the club is a group of Tiger Woods and one incredible swing right when you like to swing the ball like that makes exciting certain easy doesn't it. And as you swing that club was the swing of Tiger Woods why he's living in sight and you are totally dependent on Tiger Woods of the major friends with us.
What is with the Christian life is too high. I couldn't do this, I would myself could begin I'm I'm the only person you know. But Christ lives within you.
That's why one of the key virtues of the Christian faith is humility.
I need you every hour I need your help, Mark. I need your help to do this by my husband and I need your help but I love my wife but I I want that spiritual life, I need that grace. I did that that strength. I'm working with difficult boss.
I need your help in than the one that of the Christian life promises, but Christ is living Christ will never leave you and he will give you all of the strength and all of the grace and all of the comfort you need for each moment. Yes, it is relevant for your past, we've for your present what about your future.
All the resurrection of Jesus is crucially important for your future. You see, other than the return of Jesus. Every one of us will die every single person 100 years from now you know one of us will be here on this planet. Some of us will die in the next few months.
Some of you children may live for 1819 years, possibly, but one thing is certain, that is not one person here who can stop that coming my astrophysicist on it.
What you think should happen to you, not me, you enter the source of what you think is going to happen to you when you die that many ideas of life after death. Give her some. There's the atheistic belief that death ends everything that many people who say that Bart Ehrman who is the distinguished Prof. of all things of religious studies at UNC Chapel Hill. He believes that on death is total extinction just like the fly you. You killed yesterday atheist you you live or die. And there's just endless oblivion total annihilation total extinction is one view. Then there's the Jews universalism, which is the view that all people of all time ultimately will be saved. Ultimately will get from heaven, there may be a few exceptions, like the Hitler and the Stalin's and Osama bin Laden's in the acts of marketers. Possibly they may not make it, but we're in church on Sunday and we were going to be mentally doesn't really matter what you believe different beliefs, but the schedule of your lifetime trying to nice person and I will make it universalism, then there is a growing belief in reincarnation. The belief that an individual lives his or her life. When our thighs and then comes back again. They have a lot of birthdays is happy returns-returns-returns. The Scripture says, however, is appointed for men to die from events once and after that comes the judgment. The book, the belief in reincarnation. Then there's the belief in purgatory, which supposedly is a place where people go after Danforth unification before the enter into heaven over the Jesus teach.
Jesus taught that are two ways there's a broad road which leads to destruction, eternal destruction, we call that hell then said Jesus, there's a narrow way which leads to life eternal so work according to the teaching of Jesus was this option when you die, you're going to go to heaven. A place of eternal joy, or you're going to go to hell, a place of eternal punishment some time ago time CNN donated a poll of people's beliefs and heaven and hell. Those who said they believed in the existence of heaven were asked this question immediately after that.
Which of the following do you think which of the following do you think will happen to you. 61% said go to heaven. 15% said go to purgatory 5% said reincarnated 4% said is the end of your existence 1% said go to hell? Listen to what about you, but you would you think you're going to go is the message of Jesus message of Easter that Jesus Christ has defeated death he has conquered – he went into dad he experienced the darkness of that he shattered the gates of that and he is risen. He's alive. That's why we get excited about it and therefore he is the only way to have an is it well limited on there's many ways know there's not many ways Devon was many ways to help but there's only one way to heaven and that is the one who came from heaven to died on the cross was buried and rose again and returned to heaven and says if you believe in me, you will have eternal life that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, that is, will not go to hell, but will have ever lasting life and so only Jesus can say who's the man God. I am the resurrection on the life. He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. So when the Christian dies physically.
They are eternally alive spiritually. We in that sense will never die. What an incredible future we have is the people of God. This is the message of the gospel. This is the good news that if you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved, you will receive eternal life, and I'm asking you now to place your faith in Christ, not just to think about Christ, not just to come to church on Easter Sunday were glad you're here. But to acknowledge that Jesus died for your sins that he was buried, and that he rose again and through the power of Almighty God, he has conquered that you cannot conquered that I can't conquered that we die we dine.
There's nothing we can do about it but Christ can because he has died. My dad he's paid the punishment of mine send and as he says to his disciples so powerfully because I live, you shall live also. How is the hands because as a young boy I place my faith in Christ.
I was united with Christ. The baptism that I referred to symbolize that I am united eternally united with Christ. His dad was my dad's life is my life. The Scripture makes it clear that God never dies.
God is eternally alive and the only hope for salvation. The only way to heaven is Jesus who said himself on the way, the truth and the life.
No one comes to the father apart from me you think you can stand before a holy God by yourself this Easter morning we humble yourself to Christ is the only one who bridges the gulf between a holy God and sinful people like us what will happen to you. One second after you die heaven or hell. We should trust in Christ, your sins will be forgiven.
The risen Christ will indwell you and you will receive eternal life, and have this wonderful assurance of ever lasting life today. This Easter Sunday. I'm proclaiming to you with all of the authority of Scripture with joy and with the testimony of millions and millions of people down through the centuries putting myself who know for a fact that Christ is alive that we've come to Christ have been saved by his grace that Christ is alive, he's risen from the dead.
This is not religion. This is the church I'm proclaiming that Jesus is alive and the Gallic is infinite love and grace were you seeks a personal relationship with you when you want to Christ, we realize you can't live a perfect life. You can get rid of your sin by yourself you can do nothing.
So you come as a helpless person unable to save yourself where do you come to come to the cross where you see your sins being atoned for.
You come to the living Savior and cry out to him to Savior. Jesus says he who believes in the son has eternal life if you never believed in the sun. We believe in them. No, we join me as I pray because everyone who is the living Christ in their hearts and their lives will live eternally in heaven today trust Christ as your personal savior. If you're not a believer in Jesus we asked for his help to tell others about determined to and to draw on his pollutant.
His strength and discomfort wherever you are in your spiritual life today and if you're not a saved.
If you're not saved, we would you pray with me, not just to repeat words but you know in your heart, but Christ died for your sins. He was buried on the third day he rose again. According to Scripture we pray with me God in heaven.
I know I've sinned my stop and repent of that.
I confess I make no excuses. Thank you for your love. I don't deserve that. Love. Thank you is a look to Jesus that he died for my sins. I don't believe him. He is the son of God, risen from the dead, and I asked him to come to see me now. I believe that Jesus is the son of God is my Savior, Lord Jesus come into my life and cleanse me and give me the gift of eternal life and in your power. I seek to live for your glory in Christ's name.