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April 4, 2021 7:00 pm
Have your Bibles with you today.
Turn with me if you would to the first Christians chapter 15 will be looking at versus 12 320 Neff Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead. How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead, but if there is no resurrection of the dead. The not even Christ has been raised and if Christ has not been raised in our preaching is vain in your faith is vain. We are even failed to be misrepresenting God because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised with the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised in Christ is not been raised, your faith is futile.
You're still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If, in Christ we have hope in this life only we of all people most to be pitied, but in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep that with me as we got our Lord in prayer.
Heavenly father we pray for Nicole as today as she is still in the hospital still dealing with some heart issues. We pray heavenly father that you would have mercy on her and help her that she might get whale, pray heavenly father also for Ray Greene who was burned very, very badly this week in an accident and profile that you would have mercy on him and help him to heal quickly. Heavenly father. Our hearts are pounding this morning with joy.
We have the privilege of worship and we are worshiping a dead Savior on the cross we are worshiping the living Lord who has defeated death of his sinless life. This is Easter morning. We worship you are living Lord, every Lord's day, but this day we focus on your resurrection. We glory and all the evidence. The stone rolled away the empty tomb eyewitnesses change lives of the disciples we stand on the truth of your resurrection.
It's not just a hope.
It's a certainty. It's not just a promise into reality.
We pray for our nation today. Lord father. We had a good start are founders of the most part loved you and wanted to build this nation on biblical principles.
They wanted liberty and they fought for it and in your sovereignty you created a society that was open to produce churches that sent missionaries to the four corners of the earth. We were at one time the most mission minded nation on earth. We took that for granted we compromise with evil and one by one. Our freedoms are being removed help the church to stop compromising and stand for truth, Lord, grow your church, even in the midst of persecution brighten our witness make us like Christ. Ford is in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray.
Amen. You may be seated a when I was in seminary. We had a student led revival. I had the privilege of preaching in one of those services in in that particular service. They had a young student to comment and share his testimony in right before I preach and I will never forget his testimony. Hey I came up to the pulpit with tears in his eyes and he said to us I could be inhaled today.
These are just three years ago I was flunking out of college I was drinking like a fish house party like crazy and womanizing every opportunity I got the said I never gave a thought to God I never gave a thought to eternity is in one day. Been drinking heavily and he walked across a busy road not looking where he was going.
He got hit by car. He said he was knocked unconscious. He was in a coma for a little over a week he said finally came out of the coma is there in that hospital bed and he he said he woke up and he was absolutely scared to death. Didn't know what to do didn't know who to talk to us about two days after that, a nurse came walking into elderly nursing him walking into his in his room there in the hospital. She shut the door behind her and she said I'm on a break right now in the Lord is put on my heart to come and talk to you. She said you could very easily be dead right now, the Lord, for some reason has spared your life, and she said I just want to talk to you about Jesus cannot do that and he said yes ma'am, you sure can. And she opened her Bible up and she share the gospel with thing and she share the gospel with Eamon in the Lord just broke him and he was deeply convicted, repented of his sins right there and trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. With tears streaming down his cheeks. He looked out of does he suggest I want you to know if this was not me just turning over a new leaf.
He said this was not me getting religion.
He says I have encountered the risen Lord and I will never be the same again. Brothers and sisters that Christianity is a revolutionizing life-changing encounter with the Lord is not a religion is a relationship and that's why we are here this morning we have not come here today to to mourn over a dead Savior on the cross we have come here this morning to hail a conquering king. We've not come here this morning to to study the teachings of the holy man who lives 2000 years ago and then died and his body is decaying in some Judean tune.
We have come here this morning to worship the living Lord on his throne living Lord who is who is sovereign over his entire creation books. There is no greater day for the Christian than this.
This is Easter.
This is the day that we proclaim to the entire world that our Savior is alive now, though very similar in the very core of the gospel is the cross of Jesus Christ. But when sheet when God the father raised Jesus from the dead will win that happened when God the father raised him from the dead, glorious things took place, for it was his stamp of approval on everything that Jesus said in everything that he did gave purists in this regard, raised Jesus from the dead. He was making a promise to us a promise that gives us unshakable hope that everything he told us is true today. We are looking in the greatest chapter in the Bible on the subject of the resurrection and Paul is ask a very very important question and that question is this. Should a person even consider Christianity there. There a lot of demands that Jesus gave the Christian faith, since any man be my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me pay a sedative if people have hurt you and people of offended you, you have the responsibility to forgive those people. He said that we are to go to the 2nd mile in and turn the other cheek. Those are things that just cannot go against the grain of everything that our world stands for today and these are things that are world just don't understand that I world doesn't really like and if it is true that the average lifespan for an American today is about 78 years. That's a very short period of time, and if it's a very short period of time. Do we really want to spend this little time that we got on earth worshiping God. Serving Jesus Christ and serving others should should we want to do that when we got the opportunity to to really experience a lot of materialism and some great sensual pleasure, what, why not just be radical hedonist when I just didn't enjoy the pleasures of the sensual pleasures that we have at the world. Why don't we just enjoy every kind of drug and commute chemical stimulants, then we can find's that we would feel a little bit better when I go that route. Why worry about the poor and the and the broker and then the and and the hurting when we can just focus in on number one on our sales. The answer to that question is found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I remember a few years ago, watched television movie called the day Christ died and the movie was just about the last days of Jesus and it it we came was coming to an end and the soldiers took Jesus a lighting down on the cross.
I tied his hands and his feet to the cross and then the one of the soldiers came over him took a huge spike put it on his wrist and then took the hammer and Pam the. The spite went through his wrist and and that's seen the guy that was playing the role of Jesus just lurch forward great pain. He opened his mouth as loud as he could just scream and layout and in a horrible, terrible pain and and then they just brought that that one particular shot to a steel shot. They just stopped it right there. They left it there for just about a minute and then they brought the two words across the screen.
The end and I can remember screaming at the TV know that's not the end. And to say so is is just the implied ally. One day an art museum little boy was walking through checking out the different paintings and he walked up to one particular painting.
He was looking at it intently just gazing at mesmerized by an elderly man came up to him and looked at and said son what you look at so intently little boy look back at him.
His concern is that this is a picture of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who died on that cross in order that he might pay my sin debt. Manson will fight you son and he walked on.
Often he went down the halls looking at the picture himself and after just a few moments. He said he felt a tug on his pants leg and looked down is that little boy. He said son what you won't. He said sir I forgot to tell you something he didn't stay on that cross. He rose from the dead, don't you know that is the rest folks and and without without the resurrection. Christianity does not make sense.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very heart of Christianity. I would submit you today that Christianity without the resurrection is total absurdity. Yet we have pseudo-theologians all over our world today trying everything they can to convince us that Jesus is not alive that he never truly rose from the dead.
We share a copy of the few with you. The guy name Gordon Kaufman who's a Mennonite professor at Harvard Divinity school and he wrote a systematic theology book and is systematic theology book, he made the statement at the resurrection of Jesus Christ is nothing more than hallucination on part of the disciples is a group called the Jesus seminar group and every once in a while they show them an interview these people on the PBA PBS and they'll show them in and the people on PBS call them Bible scholars. Let me assure you they are not, but this is slimming region.
This statement Jesus seminar founder Robert Funk is bent on convincing the world that the historical Jesus is not worthy of worship, said Funk, Jesus himself should not be must not be the object of faith that would be to repeat the idolatry of the first believers. His stated objective is to liberate Jesus. The only Jesus.
Most people know is the mythic one they don't know the real Jesus. They want the one that they can worship the cultic Jesus fellow current cofounder John Dominic Crossan took dead aim at the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Time magazine reports Crossan's pontification the tales of internment and resurrection were latter-day, wishful thinking. Instead, Jesus's courts went the way of all abandoned criminal bodies was probably barely covered with dirt vulnerable to the wild dogs that run the wasteland of the execution grounds song on Palm Sunday 2001 Dilworth Methodist Church in Charlotte North Carolina invited Episcopal Bishop John Spong to come and preach to that congregation. They came in and he preached and he attacked Orthodox Christianity at every venue and ended his sermon by laughing that the idea of a physical bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. But sin ends and in Romans chapter 10 verse nine. It was the apostle Paul.
He said if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Listen, you can't be a Christian if you don't believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and hears this Methodist Church in Charlotte North Carolina that brings in a lost man to preach heresy to their congregation God have mercy on their souls, even Thomas Jefferson, one of our most famous presidents not only denied the resurrection, but I filed against it. Listen to this statement. Thomas Jefferson, a great man nevertheless could not accept the miraculous elements in Scripture. He edited his own special version of the Bible in which all references to the supernatural were deleted Jefferson in editing the Gospels can find himself soloing solely to the moral teachings of Jesus. The closing words of Jefferson's Bible or these.
They are laid they Jesus rolled a great stone at the mouth of the sepulcher and departed. Thank God that is not the way the story really ends. Let me ask you something doesn't matter will apostle Paul believed that it did matter and the Greeks in his day of believe that the body was inherently evil in the stolen spirit was separated from the body and so when a person died though the soul had had nothing to do with what the body had done the evil that he done in his life. So the soldiers went on to joyful eternity. And so they saw no need in a resurrection, and they laughed at the resurrection of Christ in first Corinthians 15, Paul wrote the greatest treatise on the resurrection. That is ever been written, and I one of focusing on a few verses this morning to show why Christianity makes no sense without Easter.
If Jesus is still dead and there was no resurrection, then there certain things that will will follow and I will share five of them with you today. Number one, if there was no resurrection that are preaching is profitless. Verse 14. And if Christ is not risen, that are preaching is vain little at the that a the ESV translates at his funeral.
The word literally means empty or meaningless and folks what this is saying is this, that if Jesus is not resurrected from the dead. Then I my life is been a waste all the time that I spent at seminary and all the time that I spend each week getting ready and prepared to preach the word of God to you is just absolutely unnecessary and all the time that you spend coming to this church and hearing the word of God and spending time in the Scripture at home, completely unnecessary, you may as well just go to the coast and spent some time fish and or or or go to like Norman get on the boat and have a good time or spent time playing just ball with your kids because it really doesn't matter if Jesus is not resurrected from from the dead, books, DL Moody, the great evangelist of the 19th century assigned one of his young preacher boys to come and preach one night in a tent revival.
The boy came and he preached a good sermon. The powerful sermon on the cross, but that the end of his sermon. He said I want you come back tomorrow night and when you come back tomorrow. Nice of them will be preaching on the resurrection.
Moody took them off to the side after everybody else is gone that night and he said young man.
He said you're not immune to be here tomorrow night.
He said I got you assigned to preach somewhere else. I said a lot of the people that were here tonight are not good to be back tomorrow. They just won't be able to come. It says so what you did tonight was you preach to them half of the gospel and he said I want you know that half the gospel is no gospel at all.
People are dead, Redeemer is no Redeemer at all.
Paul said in in Romans chapter 1 verse four. He said Jesus Christ was declared to be the son of God in power by the resurrection from the dead. As I said before, the resurrection of Jesus Christ was God the father stamp of approval on everything that Jesus said and did. If Jesus had not risen, it would have proven that he was a liar of phony and a fake.
The first part of this chapter Paul is is telling us and explained to us what the gospel is does a beautiful job in it and add it with it and it's amazing how much time he spends in proving that that the resurrection was real only just read you verses three through eight. They are the first part of verse first Corinthians 15 he said, for I delivered to you as a first importance what also received that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scripture that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas the end of the 12 and then he appeared to more than 500 brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive. The sum of fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James that all the apostles. Best of all to one untimely born. The appeared to me love what he says in verse six he said look, if you don't believe me.
They said there was a time when Jesus appeared in his resurrected body to over 500 people at a time. So if you don't believe Lisa go Ashley and most of them are still living were told that Harry Houdini was the greatest escape artist ever live. I would take Harry Houdini. They would time up putting in a casket and need escape get out of it. They were taking men and time up putting in a canvas bag throwing into the ocean and he get out of it. One method after another. They used to try to to try to time up in an and to keep him from escaping. And he escaped every time, but in 1922 Harry Houdini died they took his body. They put in the casket they buried him. 6 feet under the ground and I want you to know it is body is still there, decaying and rotting in that grave death. He could not escape. But the resurrection is what separates us from every other religion. Where are the key figures of every other religion. Confucius is dead and in the gray Mohammed is dead and in the grave Buddha is dead in the gray ship to is dead and in the gray but the grave could not hold Jesus Christ.
He is alive. So first of all, if Christ is resurrected and not resurrected. Then preaching is just profitless. Secondly, if Christ be not risen that our faith is foolish. Verse 14 again says if Christ be not risen.
Our faith is vain somehow same word that is used to describe the preaching here. Vain means empty or meaningless if Jesus is not alive than were fools to believe the holiest and Paul desperately wants us to know that he is not a deceiver and that he's not a charlatan.
Verse 15 says this we are even found to be misrepresenting God because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised, you see Paul do not want to leave us with the impression that there was any way on the face of the earth that he could be an arrow is only take what happened to me.
Cells on the Damascus Road and all of a sudden Jesus Christ the resurrected Christ appeared to me and he was so glorious and so powerful that I feel down in the dirt, trembling and shaking. He was so glorious that it blinded me and Jesus rebuked me for my antagonism against him, and against the church and Jesus told me that I could not win this battle and Jesus call me at that point in time to be the apostle to the Gentiles, and he said I was an apostle born out of due time house all the resurrection of Christ, then there was John the apostle good first John chapter 1 said that he saw the resurrected Jesus. He said I sewing with my eyes. I touched him with my hands are hurting with my ears and it was Peter. He said I ate fish with the resurrected Christ we we illness chore. The Sea of Galilee put his arm around my shoulder.
We walked on the shore and he asked me three times.
Peter do you love me.
Then on that first Easter morning Peter got to the tune when he got to the tune the stone to been rolled away. Scripture tells us that he ran into the tomb and when he did he saw the grave clothes of Jesus. They are in the grave because were lying there and they were not unraveled. But what they were deflated like a balloon is a great close were like, like a mummy.
I have shroud that was wrapped around Jesus and they took long linen strips and they wrapped them around and around and around and when he got there. These that the strips were not unraveled it all. It was like a deflated balloon. What happened when Jesus was resurrected.
He just came right up out of that was great close and and when he did he walked right through the rock of that case as that tune and a just walked out a lot a lot of people have the idea that the angel came and move the stone away. Let Jesus out hold other Internet to do that. Hey a you he roll the stone away to show every body that Jesus was not in there and don't you know that Peter saw the resurrected Christ ascending back to the glory just be seated at the right hand of God the father.
It was Thomas who set us all the nail prints in his hands and in his side.
Then in John chapter 21 Jesus the resurrected Christ appeared they are on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and that the couple. The disciples were out fishing and and they were coming back in their boat had called anything. Jesus screamed out to them to catch any fish they said no, nothing. And he said will go back and little bit take your nets and thought on the rights of the boat you catch fish and I through the nets on the rights of the boat and when he did like they brought in 153 large fish so much I can hardly hardly get the nets in and I love what the good what John says here, I thought, is very interesting. He says none of the disciples dared ask him who are you, for they knew you it was the resurrected Christ so friends don't think the disciples may have just been in error concerning the resurrection, for they are ours telling us with everything that's in them that they need that Jesus Christ was alive that he had risen from the dead, New Mexico will, maybe it was all a hoax.
Maybe they were in cahoots to start a new religion, will I know that's not true because of how they died. They were martyred for their faith and by that time Judas Iscariot is already out of the picture. Each committed suicide. 11 disciples left out of those 11 disciples. All of them were martyred, but one and that was the apostle John, and he was thrown into a vat of bolo live through it. How were they martyred some by crucifixion, some by being killed by the sword. Somebody in stone and some by being burned at the stake, but it was all horrible, horrific martyrdoms, they went through a difficult time. One of the things that the Lord has shown me is in my life here on this earth is the us that sometimes a man would be willing to live for a lie, but no man will purposely, willfully dive for alive books the apostles were not deceivers.
They were flaming witnesses to the resurrection of Christ and the prison. In prison itself could not stop them from talking and flogging could not subject them up and even death. Couldn't shut them up for here we are 2000 years later, and what are we doing we are testifying to the fact that these apostles believed and need that Jesus Christ rose from the dead heart .3. If Christ is not risen, then sin is sovereign. We have verse 17 verse 17 says if Christ be not risen, then you are still in your sins. You see your sins cannot be forgiven if Jesus is still in the grave, the death of Jesus on the cross. Without the resurrection is not worth half a hallelujah and up and in Romans chapter 4 verse 25. Paul said it this way, Jesus was delivered for our fences, but he was raised for our justification.
In other words, if that resurrection is a hoax, then salvation is not even a possibility.
Fourthly, if Christ be not risen, then death has dominion looked down verse 18 with me. Verse 18 says, and there is no resurrection. Then they which are fallen asleep or perished in other words, always Christians that have died or noun hail.
My grandmamma live to 90, age 94.
She died back in 1976. She had a tremendous influence and impact on me. I saw Christ in her life like I didn't see Christ in an that anybody on you back at that time she loves the Lord looks forward to talking with her again and fellowship, and with her again with my if Christ is not risen to my grandmother's inhaled today. I had a sister who didn't live but two days she died still in the hospital and never got to see her name is Karen and my mother and dad talked about her to me a lot and I look forward to that time where I can meet with her again and talk with her again and I look forward to that day.
But if Christ be not risen. She's inhaled today.
My dad died 15 years ago I had missed him horribly. I look so forward to to the future where dad and I can fellowship together again and together worship the Lord Jesus Christ. But if Christ be not risen my dad's inhaled today by Beauchamp.a liver two months ago.
He died when the most peaceable dancers I've ever seen any Christian diet was a sweet sweet death but I want you to know that if Christ be not risen, then Bob Beauchamp's piece that he had was nothing but a false peace for he's inhaled along with every other Christian.
The apostle Paul and James and John and Peter and John Calvin and Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards and DL Moody and Charles Spurgeon and Chuck James Boyce and RC Sproul and all these Christians who we love and looked up to our inhaled today if Jesus Christ is not risen from the dead.
Don't tell me the resurrection of Christ does not matter. Folks if Jesus Christ is not not alive in this life is nothing but a bad joke.
I guess we could say it this way if Jesus Christ is still in the tomb, then nothing really matters that Jesus Christ came out of that time the nothing but that matters. First Corinthians 1525 to 26 says for he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. Death is read this to you.
Death is the ultimate enemy because it takes everything away from us. Think of all the things we strive mightily to preserve and keep from losing and death steels them all, site, hearing, taste touched male the capacity to speak to communicate to enjoy any kind of pleasure all gone. The ability to move about the exercise control over our surroundings to influence others friends and family gone. Our possessions are divided up giving away our friends and loved ones abandoned us and find other companions and we are put into a box in the ground. Death is not a friend. Death is an enemy but the enemy of death will absolutely be destroyed. The resurrection of Jesus Christ and the day it showed that the power of death over mankind has been broken when he returns will be resurrected. Also, we will be restored to life in this life will not be subject to death. It will be eternal is the application we no longer need to fear death.
We can freely enjoy life knowing that the time and manner of our death is in God's hands. More importantly, we know that death is not the end we can obey God even when obedience involves the risk of loss.
Knowing that we cannot lose that which is most precious life in Christ we have won the battle with death was Jim Elliot said a man is no fool to give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
I held a funeral service 42 years ago for a lady in my first church in Creekmore North Carolina and I will never forget you in the pulpit, preaching the funeral service.
I looked at her 80-year-old husband and he was amazingly composed. Every once in a while a tear would roll down his cheek. After the service was over I walked outside with the men put my arm around his shoulder, and I said Norman you seem to be doing well.
Are you all right and he said oh I'm fine. He says because Anna is with Jesus now. He said she is look forward to this day for 65 years and I did want to mess it up by feeling sorry for myself. Praise God, Norman Tucker could rejoice when he felt like grieving. Why because Jesus Christ lives and because Jesus Christ lives.
So to Santa Tucker you see if Jesus was still dead. Then death has dominion but if he's alive than he has conquered death. Jesus was hanging from the cross. In the last seconds of his life and will in her last breaths he cried out. He said it is finished. When he said it is finished, then, that the demons all rejoiced and they said of himself, we've one.
And for the next three days is Jesus dead body lay in the tune that there was just kind of a black dark cloud that hovered over the entire world at that time and then on that Easter morning, that glorious Easter morning Jesus rose from the dead, and he wrote us in the day and with a message and that message was not Jesus defeated. That message wasn't Jesus defeated the enemy and folks, one of the great enemies. The last enemy is death .5. If Christ be not risen in the future is fearful. Verse 19. If, in Christ we have hope in this life only we of all people most to be pitied, appalled, it means the Christian life is not happy and joyful. What he meant was this, if your skull yourself a Christian and you to spend your time worshiping pricing coming to church and reading your Bible and you're going to study all about heaven and euro spent all this time doing all that and it's never going to happen. You're not going to heaven and Jesus is not really alive then were nothing but a bunch of poor deluded fools, but if he is risen. We can rejoice because our future is certain without the resurrection isn't just Christianity that doesn't make sense.
Life doesn't make sense.
But here's the truth. Jesus Christ is alive, Jesus wins, Jesus wins and no matter how tough this life might get no matter what kind of persecution we might have to endure folks Jesus is alive and when we see him face-to-face. It will be worth it all and then let's pray heavenly father we use here.
People need God sent Christ exalting C and destroying life-changing revival we need the fire of the Holy Spirit to make us holy Lord, the truth of the resurrection of Christ should change us forever.
If Jesus came out of that tomb and everything he ever said indeed are true and life-changing.
We get excited about ball games and movies and TV shows and concerts. Yet we fail to revel in the glory of the fact that Jesus Christ is alive, he rose in the day and is right now raining from his throne in glory. Forgive us Lord, and help us to be so excited about being your servants that all the junk that usually rings our bail would pale into insignificance. Thank you for the privilege of worship. May we never take it for granted. We love you Lord, we thank you for loving us forts in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen