27 Mar 2016
Hebrews 1Cor 15:14-20 The Tomb Pastor Jason Lim 27 March 2016 Philip Yancey says, “In many respects I find an unresurrected Jesus easier to accept. Easter makes him dangerous. Because of Easter, I have to listen to his extravagantclaims and can no longer pick and choose from his sayings. So what does the resurrection of Jesus mean for you and me then? Find out more here. Slides Audio **Right Click to Do
Philip Yancey says, “In many respects I find an unresurrected Jesus easier to accept.
Easter makes him dangerous. Because of Easter, I have to listen to his extravagantclaims and can no longer pick and choose from his sayings. So what does the resurrection of Jesus mean for you and me then?Find out more here. Slides Audio
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A very good morning to all of you. Welcome to our second English worship service on this Easter Sunday. We are glad you're able to join us as we wrap up our series here on the Passion Week, a look into the final few days of the Lord Jesus Christ, while He was on earth.
This is a journey that brought us from the table to the tomb. We began at the table, the Last Supper, then we look at the tears at the garden of Gethsemane. We looked at the trial that is so unjust and unfair, and yet it was exactly the will of God that the just would die for the unjust.
Then on Friday, we looked at the tree and how Jesus was cursed on the tree, so that He might redeem us from the curse of the law. And this morning we will end this series by looking at the tomb, the empty tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ. Great men have their tombs venerated even right up today. Well-known, famous people. For example, if you go to Qufu in Shandong province, China, you see the tomb of Confucius. If you go to Saudi Arabia in this town called Medina, city of Medina you would see that this is the mosque in which is the tomb of the prophet Mohammed.
If you go today to Sri Lanka you will see the temple of the sacred tooth, because this is where Buddha's tooth is kept right up till today. How about Jesus? Well Jesus has His tomb. But the location of His tomb is unknown today. We don't really know where it is exactly except that it is outside the city of Jerusalem, it's probably in one of the hills where in, is a cave and where there is a stone previously rolled over it.
But what is remarkable and unique about the tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ is that it is absolutely empty. He is not there. This empty tomb is the foundation by the way of the Christian life because if he is still in the tomb then he is a dead man and he is powerless to save. But because His tomb is empty, He is risen and now Christians would have a supreme hope and confidence in His victory over sin.
This empty tomb is witnessed by many people. This empty tomb is a testimony to the reality of the Christian faith. See, what we believe in today is not a myth. It's not a legend, not a fairytale. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a rock solid fact and reality. And today we are going to look at the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, that gives us various accounts of the various witnesses that testify and prove the reality of the empty tomb.
Now, I spent quite a bit of time, actually reconciling or giving a harmonization of the four Gospels with regards to the resurrection or the empty tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ. You might want to take down the references here go back by yourself, and then do your own research on the four Gospels and how it comes to this sequence of events. But here it begins. The empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus is witnessed by several groups of people.
The first group of people are the women. The women here, at least five women, we are told, and this is what happened. "When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Him." (Mark 16:1) The Sabbath was past. What time is this? Well, the Jewish people, they look at a day, from 6 PM to 6 PM the next day. So the Sabbath ends on Saturday, 6 PM.
It's not like how we think of it. We think it starts 12 midnight, no they end a bit earlier 6 PM. So it is likely on Saturday night immediately after the Sabbath, because during Sabbath, you can't buy things you can't work, that's the law for them so right after 6 PM they probably went out to buy spices to anoint Jesus, the body of Jesus. See Jesus was left for dead as it were on Friday late afternoon and they probably have no time to properly treat and embalm the body of Jesus.
And these ladies they love Jesus. Even after He dies, they want to take care of His body. Such was the devotion. So on Saturday night after the Sabbath is over, they buy the spices ready to go to the very next morning.
So in Mark 16 verse 2, very early on the first day of the week. This is Sunday morning when the sun had risen. They went to the tomb.
Now this is where we expand the number of women. Mark tells us there were three, but actually the number of people or number of women who went to the tomb were more than three.
Luke tells us that the “they” here probably refers to Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women. So, at least two women. So together, you have a group of at least five women who early in the morning with the spices ready would go to prepare to embalm the body of Jesus Christ. Now when they went there they had a question in their minds. How are we going to get inside the tomb? Because they thought to themselves, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” (Mark 16:3) I mean this is this is too big an obstacle for us.
They were wondering, but never mind, they were so dedicated and devoted they will go. Of course, unknown to them the night before something miraculous happened. Matthew tells us "behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it." (Matthew 28:2) So their fears were in the sense, unfounded.
They were still thinking that as they get there the entrance will be blocked. So when they got there and saw that the stone was moved aside, they must be surprised. They must be shocked and one of them, one of the five ladies thought the worst. She thought that someone must have stolen Jesus, moved away the rock, went in, got the body and ran off.
And so she was upset, she was concerned and she is Mary Magdalene. John 20, verse two tells us, Mary Magdalene upon seeing the stone rolled away, jumped to conclusion, if I may say, assumed that the body was stolen. And so she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved. So she ran to Peter and John and said to Peter and John, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
So imagine this five of them going early in the morning seeing the stone rolled away, Mary, without waiting without looking in, she just ran off to tell Peter and John, the two key disciples of Jesus. The rest of the women stayed behind. And the rest of the women now, "they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but they when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus." (Luke 24:2,3)
So they did a bit of CSI. They said, “Something's wrong. I must go in and check. Make sure that's really, that He's not here. So they went in and when they were perplexed about what's happening, behold, look, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel, brightness before them. An angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified." (Matthew 28:5) "And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”" (Luke 24:5) What a great question. Don't you know? Jesus is alive? Why do you seek the living among the dead? "He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified and on the third day rise." (Luke 24:6,7) Don't you remember this? Ladies?”
Now "go tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him just as He told you." (Mark 16:7) The angels are saying, in essence, God had already said this, Jesus had already told you this. He is not dead. He is alive. But what I like is this phrase. “tell His disciples and Peter.” There's a warmth and consideration for Peter. I mean Peter is the one who denied the Lord three times. An angel in effect is saying. “Hey we have not forgotten Peter. God has not forsaken Peter. Go tell him Jesus is alive. So the group, first group of people who saw the empty tomb were the women.
Now the second group would be Peter and John. Now how did Peter and John know? Well, very simple, Mary had run ahead to tell Peter and John. So now Peter and John come to see for themselves. "So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first." (John 20:3,4) I've always wondered why John talks about this. Why does he say I ran faster than Peter? A bit “hao lian” don't you think? John I'm not sure if he is the younger man older man, but well both of them ran and I came ahead of Peter, ha ha, ha.
And John now stooping to look in, saw the linen clothes lying there, but he did not go in. So John was satisfied just to take a peek into the tomb seeing the linen clothes stayed out. But Simon Peter, huffing and puffing probably. Wah John, you can really run ah. Followed him, "went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in the place by itself." (John 20:6,7)
The significance of the folded cloth is this. Up till today there are people who say, "Jesus did not rise from the dead. Jesus' body was gone simply because there are people who stole His body. It maybe the Jewish priests. It maybe the Roman soldiers. Someone must have stolen Him." But no, if you were a CSI detective you will know if someone steals something, you probably have no time to unwrap and fold the cloth and put it there nicely for you. The linen cloth tells us Jesus is not stolen but He is risen.
Then the other disciple, that is John, who had reached the tomb first, also went in. He saw and now he believed. He was reminded of the prophecies and the words that His Master had said whilst He was with them. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture that He must rise from the dead. So the disciples now went back to their homes. So group two. You got the sequence? The women, Mary went off to tell Peter and John, Peter and John came.
Now the third group is really just one person and it is Mary Magdalene herself. Now Mary Magdalene came and saw. Now you say why didn't Mary Magdalene come with the apostles Peter and John. Probably because the apostles ran so fast she couldn't catch up and don't forget this is her second leg. She has really been here, went back, come and, and so she came a little later than Peter and John. John 20 verse 11 tells us "Mary stood weeping outside the tomb and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb."
I mean, she's still overwhelmed with grief, she still consumed with this thought, Jesus must be stolen so she wept and now she takes time to look into the tomb and when she looked in she saw two angels. Now interesting. The angels did not appear to Peter and John. appeared to the women and to Mary Magdalene. So here the angels "sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." (John 20:12,13)
She still didn't realize what Scripture has prophesied. But at this point, the angels stopped talking and "she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus." (John 20:14) Interesting, right? Something must have changed about the appearance of Jesus. She could not recognize Him. Maybe you could say she's so overwhelmed with grief she could not see or recognize anyone. Maybe, but probably He looked a little different now.
And Jesus said to her, “ Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking.” Supposing Him to be the gardener someone who takes care of the tomb and the grave she said to Him. “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away." Is it you who took Jesus away? Jesus then said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to Him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). And "Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.'" (John 20:17)
Great comforting words and so Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, not only is the tomb empty, but "I have seen the Lord.”-and that He had said these things to her.
So group one, group two, group three. Well, the ladies from the first group are now returning to tell the disciples. And on the way back the women witness something amazing too.
Because as they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell His disciples and behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings. Hi ladies. Good morning!” I'm not sure what the greetings are but “Peace be unto you.” But Jesus greeted them and they came and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.
You say, Pastor, why do you put this after Mary Magdalene? Wouldn't it more natural that after the ladies turned back, Jesus will meet with these ladies and Jesus meet with Mary Magdalene? But that was what I thought until you read Mark 16 verse 9, where it says Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene. So its first, Mary. And after meeting with Mary on route back, the ladies, Jesus somehow went ahead of them. I think we could travel great distances in great speed with the resurrected body and so Jesus met with the ladies, subsequently, and they worshiped Him.
And Jesus said to them the same thing, "Do not be afraid, go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me." So it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women, at least five with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seem to them an idle tale. And they did not believe them. I say, "Cannot be! Cannot be that Jesus is alive!" You see that's how hard it is for them to believe. That Jesus is risen. I wish in those days they had handphones. Take photo of the empty tomb. Jesus, it will be the highest rated Tweet and Facebook post ever all right, if they had handphones then. But they didn't and they did not quite believe.
So you have three groups and there is a fourth group - the soldiers and the Jewish leaders. Here we are told "for fear of him", this is the fear not of Jesus, but of the angel, alright. For the fear of him, because the angel appeared at night after the earthquake, the guards trembled and became like dead men. They were stunned like vegetable. And "some of the guards then went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place." (Matthew 28:11)
I mean, they were trying to give an account of what happened. That there was an earthquake, angel came and Jesus left. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, these chief priests gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers. They were trying to bribe the soldiers trying to keep them silent about the resurrection of Jesus. Cannot let people know He rose from the dead.
Because remember, He said that He will rise and if He rose from the dead we have been wrong and we will be in trouble. So by all means we must keep these soldiers silent. And said, tell the people the lie not the truth - "His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep." (Matthew 28:13b) Just lie..just say that you guys were slacking sleeping and and the disciples stole Him. The disciples now will be in trouble. We will get them. But, but, but, but if we are asleep we will be in trouble. Don't worry. "if this comes to the Governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." (Matthew 28:14) We will somehow do what we've done with you. Silence him. You will not be in trouble. You'd be spared. Just go tell people the disciples are criminals. "So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day." (Matthew 28:15) To the time Matthew wrote this Gospel, this story is now well known. These Jewish leaders were bribing these guards to tell a lie.
But the reality is, Jesus has risen. Even the soldiers and Jewish leaders have to accept that.
Finally, there were others who witnessed the empty tomb. In Luke 24, we are told that on the very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about 7 miles from Jerusalem and they said "Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but Him they did not see." (Luke 24:24)
So, obviously, on the very same day, the news has spread and there were others who, on hearing this also sped to the tomb and saw the empty tomb.
And the fact is this. Account after account, story after story, group after group, they came to the empty tomb of Jesus and could say "He is not here, but He has risen." Nobody stole Him. His clothes were nicely folded. He rose just as He said.
Imagine on Friday if you read the Straits Times, or maybe the Jerusalem Times, it would have read, in the obituary section: “Jesus Christ, 33, a Carpenter from Nazareth, born of Joseph and Mary crucified by order of Pontius Pilate for treason against Caesar.”
Saturday will be all the feature, newspaper reports on how this man deserve to die. He's not the Son of God. He is a liar. He has cheated people. He is a terrible guy and the disciples would be absolutely overwhelmed. They will be slammed on social media, everybody will be laughing at them.
But on Sunday as you switch on the television. Of course I'm kidding. but as you switch on the television, you open your news websites, flashing across your screen will be breaking news. ChannelNewsAsia or ChannelNewsJerusalem, “Memorial services have been canceled. Please do not send any flowers. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Friends are invited to a praise service in 40 days on the Mount of Olives, just outside of Jerusalem."
It would have been a mind-blowing event. This is exactly what Jesus had said. Exactly what He said. “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19)
"An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:39,40)
Jesus is risen just as He had prophesied. You see, this is foundational to the Christian faith.
Now why do we spend so much time looking at the various groups, because God is desiring to show and to prove that the resurrection of Christ is not a fairytale or a myth or a legend.
It is a verifiable fact, testified by good witnesses, a great number of witnesses. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 15, we are told that they are at least 512 witnesses if you count them. Probably a lot more, but 500 over have seen the resurrected Christ and this is foundational because if Christ has not been raised then what I'm doing here today is absolutely a waste of time. Why you're here this morning is absolutely a waste of time and your faith in Jesus for all these years is absolutely in vain. If Christ be not raised.
If Christ be not raised, your faith is futile and today, you are still in your sins. Regardless of what you do, you are still a sinner. If, however, in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. In other words, if you live your life for Jesus and you forsake the things of this world. Then I say to you if you have been hoping in Jesus alone you are the saddest people in this world.
If He is not risen, why do you put your hopes in Him? But this is the great reality - "in fact Christ has been raised from the dead." (1 Corinthians 15:20) Now the preaching is not in vain. It is vital. Now your faith is not in vain. It is vital. Now you're no more in your sins and now it makes sense for us to sacrifice and to live for Jesus Christ.
So it is a event greatly witnessed and this is something very objective. You know, we sing a song, "Because He lives." It says, "you ask me how I know He lives." Sorry the song is "He Lives." "You ask me how I know He lives." What is the next stanza? "He lives within my heart."
Now this is how we tell people. How do you know Jesus lives? "Oh because He lives within my heart." Now that is true. Jesus lives within my heart. He's changed my life. There's no doubt. But there is more to that. You ask me how I know He lives? The Bible says so and the witnesses say so and the empty tomb says so! Facts, not just feelings. Objective reality, not subjective emotions. You ask me how I know He lives. the Bible says so. Of course it doesn't rhyme in the song, that's why not there.
But what the Gospels, the Word of God is saying is that there's an objectivity to this and that is the key message in the book of Acts. In the early church, what were they preaching about? Were they preaching about health and wealth, and having a better life? No they were preaching the resurrection of Jesus. And that is the central theme throughout the epistles found in the Bible.
So why did the angel roll the stone away? Most people would think he rolled the stone away so that Jesus can come out. We almost have a picture that Jesus is trapped inside the tomb. Jiak lat...I'm risen but I cannot get out..this is terrible..jump jump, hit the head and cannot get out..I'm trapped. So angel come roll the stone. Wrong.
I think Jesus is able to pass through objects. That's because in John 20, when the doors were shut ,suddenly Jesus was in the middle of the room. So the stone was rolled away not for poor Jesus to get out but for people and witnesses to come in.
It is God's will for us to witness the objective reality - "in fact Christ has been raised from the dead." (1 Corinthians 15:20) Let me end by saying, what are the implications then? What does it mean for your soul? If Jesus is risen, what does it mean for you? So what? I like what Philip Yancey has to say. He said, "In many respects I find an unresurrected Jesus easier to accept. Easter makes Him dangerous. Because of Easter, I have to listen to His extravagant claims and can no longer pick and choose from His sayings." Because Jesus rose from the dead, He is Lord. I can't pick and choose what He says now.
Even the crazy extravagant saying of 'Deny yourself and take up the cross" is what it is for me. Because if He is to be Lord at all, He must be Lord of all, and there is nothing more extravagant than the Man who was more marred than any man. The Man that was brutalized and beaten and left for dead should rise again the third day. Now Easter is dangerous because it calls me to die to self and to live in obedience to my Lord. What does it mean for you then?
It means, number one, because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is a glorious salvation. "“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem." (Luke 24:46,47)
If Jesus is not alive, is not risen from the dead, there will be no forgiveness of sins. But because He rose from the dead, the good news of the world today is, there is forgiveness because He has won it for us. He is risen to prove it is available for us. So go and tell the good news. And friends and loved ones today believe the good news. The resurrection is a fact and if you believe in Him, it will not be in vain, you will be forgiven of your sins.
By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, there is salvation in no one else, because there's no one else who died and rose again for your sins.
No one else, tell me if there is anyone else. I tell you there is no one else. There is no salvation in any other except in Jesus Christ. And so today, in Romans, it says "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) If you believe that He is the Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah, who came to die for our sins and He did not just remain dead but He rose again. He is victorious. You believe this, you will be saved. Guaranteed, because His resurrection is guaranteed. My friends, the Christian faith is not the illogical one where you just anyhow believe, some myths and some legends and some fairytales. No. This is God's Word. This is the reality in history time past. And you are, you will not be ashamed if you believe in Jesus Christ.
I want to say also to those who are Christians; the resurrection means a lot for our sanctification. Wah, big word. Well, sanctification is simply a process of being more like Jesus, that's all. Sanctification is a process of being less like the world and being more like God more like Jesus Christ, living less sinful lives, living more holy lives.
The resurrection enables sanctification. Without the resurrection, no sanctification. But with the resurrection you can walk in newness of life. Why? "We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4)
See, before Jesus came and rose again, before He could do this, we were all slaves to sin. We must obey sin. Do you know that? We are slaves to sin, we must obey sin. We are owned by sin. No choice. But the old guy that is a slave to sin, is now dead.
Not only did Jesus die for me. The glorious truth of the cross is that I died with Jesus. Jesus died for me, pays for the penalty of my sin. I dying with Jesus deals with the power of sin. Dying with Jesus means I'm no more a slave to sin. I am now someone who has a new life, serving a new master, Jesus. So when you meet with trials, when you meet with temptations, you're tempted to sin, you might feel I've no choice but to sin. No, no, no. You don't have to anymore.
Not that you won't sin, but you don't have to sin. You can trust in the indwelling Spirit. You can believe that you have a new position and an identity in life and you don't have to walk in sin anymore.
It's a positional truth. But this positional truth is vital if we are to live in holiness. Glorious reality because of Christ, we now can have holiness, sanctification, newness of life.
Thirdly, it's obvious. Because of Christ we can go through sufferings, because of His resurrection, we have hope. Hope even in the midst of the deepest pains. Hope even though it looks absolutely messy. You know why? Because Jesus was messy, His body was messy, it was ugly, it was brutal. It was marred but there is a power of God to raise Him to glorious life.
Life looks messy but you can be sure, one day it would all make sense. Jesus Himself said,” I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live.” It's a glorious hope for all of us.
Like I said Friday and Saturday must be absolutely depressing days for the disciples. But on Sunday, dawn breaks, not just outside, but within their heart. Now I understand. Now with this hope that Jesus, this reality, Jesus is alive. I'm going to go into more sufferings. I'm going to preach the Gospel. I'm going to suffer loss, but that's absolutely fine because Jesus is alive.
Number four. If Jesus is risen from the dead it allows me to live sacrificially. See, if Jesus is not alive, you could not live sacrificially.
Paul tells us, "What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'" (1 Corinthians 15:32) The logic is this, if there is no resurrection and we all die and we're going to face a terrible eternity, then I say to you the best thing for you to do today is just enjoy your life now.
I mean if there is no future then enjoy your life now, eat and drink and be merry that's all you need to do.
But if there is a resurrection to come and there is a glorious hope, then I will fight with the beasts. I will go through my pains. I'll suffer the hardships. I'll give my life for the advancement of the Gospel. My goal in life is not to eat and drink, because tomorrow, I live! Because of the resurrection we will never lose. Therefore, I'm willing now to lose my life that I may find it.
As such, the apostle argues, in 1Corinthians 15, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Key word here is the word “therefore”. Everybody understands, I need to serve; I need to work hard, but why? Therefore. The therefore links us to the resurrection, to the glorious future. Because Jesus is alive, therefore, serve, sacrifice. Wiersbe says, "Easter is the Truth that turns a church from a museum into a ministry.” Let me ask you, are you a museum relic? Or are you a ministry servant?
It is sad when we call ourselves a church following Jesus to wash feet, but we just are satisfied to be pieces of display on Sunday mornings like a museum. What really gives us life? What will really spur each one of us to greater heights of ministry and sacrifice and service, is Easter.
Jesus is alive, therefore, be steadfast immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. May that be true for Gospel Light. And lastly, because of Easter, we are sent. Because Jesus is alive, He tells us, go and be witnesses of these things. Because Jesus is alive, we are now according to Matthew 28 to go and make disciples of all nations.
I want to challenge Gospeliters, this morning, all of us, we are faithfully coming to church. You faithfully give money for the advancement of the Gospel. You faithfully say your prayers for your lunch, your dinner, your breakfast. Would you today also be faithful to the great commission? This is the deal. This is what is all about.
Would you be discipling people? Would you be helping people come to faith? Would you be helping them be a disciple-makers themselves? Friends, I don't want to guilt trip you by asking how many people you have led to Christ. No, no, no. But from today onwards, in the light of the resurrected Christ, in the light of what He has committed to us - go make disciples. Would you go? Would you start with a family, your classmates, your colleagues, your neighbors. Would you start in prayer say Lord make me a witness, a disciple maker for you. My friends, if the resurrection is a fact. Don't live as if it is not.
Let's bow for a word of prayer together. Jesus is alive. It is so sad when so often we live as if He is not. It is sad when you come and you say, "Who is this Jesus? He is just like any other religious leader." No, He is not. He's the only One who died and rose again from the dead. He's the only One who can set you free from sin. He is the only One who can offer to you, genuine forgiveness. So He calls you today to repent and believe in His Name.
Would you do that today? I urge you, I plead with you, it's for your soul because there is no other name by which you may be saved, not Jason, not John, not Peter, not anyone but Jesus Christ alone. Come, repent and believe. If Jesus is alive, then why are you still entrapped in your pornography, in your bitterness, in your worldliness.
You don't have to. You know that. Because the old guy that was a slave to sin has died with Jesus and now given new life believe that live from that reality. Trust His Spirit in you to set you free from the power of sin. Pray and ask Him to give you victory, day by day, ask Him to make you more like His Son.
Some of you are going through a dark cloud today. Like the disciples, it looks hopeless, dreary, bleak. It maybe a cancer. It may be a divorce. It may be a death. But the gloom of today will give way to the bright glory of a new dawn of life with Christ forevermore.
There is a hope. There is a glorious future. Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Are you living for the things of this world trying to grab as many trinkets as you can, as many cars, as many properties, as many stocks, as many titles, as many accolades? Are you trying to eat and drink and be merry?
Oh, that's because you've forgotten the resurrection. That's because you forgotten that you are not a loser in this life when you give these things up for Jesus sake. You've forgotten that if you follow Jesus, deny yourself, take up His cross, lose your life, you will really find it. It is no sacrifice. It is wisdom, because He lives.
Gospeliters, the great commission is today given to you. It is given to me yes, and I pray will be faithful to that. It is given to you. Why? Because He is risen.
If He is not risen, we have a terrible message to tell the world. A message that doesn't deserve anybody's hearing. He is a dead man. Why bother? But do you know today you believe a glorious message and you are a vessel of this glorious message, the Gospel? Then go be His witnesses! Go pray God use me to bring someone to Your salvation! Send me, equip me, help me. May this heart beat for disciple making, evangelism, discipleship, disciple making. Let this be your heart because that's on the resurrected Lord's heart. Here am I, send me.
So if the resurrection is a fact don't live as if it is not. Father, bless Your Word today to the hearts of each one, whether it's for salvation, repentance, suffering, service, sacrifice, or fulfilling the great commission, everything changes because Your Son lives. May we not forget that. And on this Easter Sunday, may this bedrock of the Christian faith, be clearly established in our hearts and minds. We thank You and we pray all this now in Jesus Name, amen.
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