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The Wonder of the Resurrection!

Easter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:01
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Introduction:
Moments of wonder! (blow your mind; take your breath away)- Starry sky along the North Shore; asking my wife to marry me and hearing yes; holding my little boys for the very first time; the moment I understood that because of Christ’s blood and His resurrection from the dead I was invited to participate in Everlasting life. The whole of human history knows no other event more wondrous than the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!
This morning we are going to examine the wonder of the resurrection. To day is a day of celebration as we worship our RISEN Lord. And to see just a brief glimpse of the wonder of the resurrection turn with me to Matt 16.13
Matthew 16:13–18 KJV 1900
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Vs. 18 will be our key verse. Using this verse as a spring board we are going to examine the wonder of the resurrection in three areas.
The resurrection of Jesus is wondrous because:

I. It is Unstoppable in Power

A. What the power of the resurrection defeats

Matthew 16:18 KJV 1900
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
We need to do some preliminary exegetical work to begin with:
#1. What is the rock?
Many different answers to that question:
Rock is Peter
Rock is Christ
Rock is Peter’s confession
Rock is Peter- answer of the Catholic Church
Seems like from the context that Jesus built the church in-spite of Peter, not because of Peter
Matthew 16:23 KJV 1900
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Also, Peter is the one that denied the Lord three times- hardly seems like a good building material for the church.
Rock is Christ-
Christ cannot be the builder and the foundation
Rock is Peter’s confession-
Matthew 16:15–17 KJV 1900
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
It was Peter’s faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God that would be the foundation of the church. We will get back to this idea in a little bit.
#2. What are the gates of hell? And what does it mean that they will not prevail against the church?
This is a metaphor for demonic forces- it is talking about Satan’s declaration of war against the church. The idea of this view would be that all of the forces of hell itself cannot defeat the church.
Problem- this understands the gates of hell as something that is offensive in nature. When is the last time you saw someone use gates as an offensive weapon? That doesn’t make sense.
OK some the forces of hell are understood as defensive. Then the idea would be that the church has the authority to attack, to go on the offensive. The church will be able to spread the gospel and see souls saved and all of the forces of hell will be unable to stop it. It is true that the church has the authority to spread the gospel, but not from this text.
Gates of hell is lit. Gates of Hades, this is not a reference to the lake of fire.
The term NT term Hades is equivalent to the OT term Sheol. Sheol means the realm of the dead.
Psalm 9:13 KJV 1900
13 Have mercy upon me, O Lord; Consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death:
Gates of death lit. Gates of Sheol. Gates of Sheol = Gates of Hades.
So what exactly is Jesus saying here in Matt. 16.18
Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades, the gates of death shall not prevail against it! We are asking the question what does the power of the resurrection defeat. Answer: death itself. The power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is wondrous. It is so powerful that not even the gates of death can stand in the way. We can’t even begin to understand the amount of power that took place during the events of the cross and the resurrection. We can only see the physical, we have no idea of what is going on behind the scenes, on the spiritual side of things.
We often say that the physical suffering that Christ endured on the cross was horrible, but that the spiritual side of His suffering was unimaginable. We cannot even comprehend what the spiritual agony of being separated from the Father and bearing the wrath of God for the sins of the world was like. We only have physical clues from the events of the cross as to the spiritual agony that took place. The sky was darkened, the ground shook, Christ cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsake me.” The spiritual side of Christ’s suffering was overwhelming.
The same is true for the power of the resurrection. We cannot not see the spiritual power that took place during the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. All we have are small physical clues as to the nature of the unstoppable power of Christ’s resurrection.
Matthew 27:45–46 KJV 1900
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Invisible Spiritual agony
Matthew 27:47–50 KJV 1900
47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. 50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
Notice what happens next:
Matthew 27:51–53 KJV 1900
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Veil torn from top to bottom- just the barest physical sign or the spiritual power taking place here. The way, the access into the Holy of Holies in now open. Sinful man can enter into God’s presence. What power is on display here!
The earth shook and rocks were torn in half, split open, earth-deadening crack and THE GRAVES WERE OPENED!!! many bodies of the saints which slept (dead) AROSE and came out of the graves (when) after his resurrection. Matthew is combining events here, and I think he is doing it no purpose. He is lumping together the physical manifestations of the tremendous spiritual power going on from the moment of Christ’s death all the way until his resurrection from the dead. Now that is power! The gates of death were opened and not even death itself could stop the power of God in the resurrection.
This tremendous power is primarily spiritual in nature, and it is available not just for those in Jesus’ day. It is available for you! How is that?
Colossians 2:12 KJV 1900
12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
You are risen with Him (Christ), through faith in the operation of God. Operation is the Greek word ἐνέργεια, describes a state of action, powerful working of God. So you are risen with Christ. By what means are you risen? By the means of the powerful working of God, Who (Father) has raised Him (Son) from the dead.
In other words the same unstoppable power, the unimaginable power that was on display in the resurrection of Christ from the dead, that same power is available for you, the powerful working of God that raised Christ from the dead can raise you from the dead as well!
Notice what else this power can do for you
Colossians 2:13–15 KJV 1900
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
V. 14- canceling the record of our debt, He took it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.
V. 15- with this power he also spoiled/disarmed rulers and authorities putting them to shame by triumphing over them.
So the power of the cross and the resurrection are available to you and it has the power to
Raise you from the dead
Make you alive with God
forgive you all your trespasses
Cancel out all of your sin debt with its legal demands
Disarm the power of Satan
Put Satan to shame
Triumph over Satan
Brake open the gates of death itself and guarantee you a share in everlasting life.
This is the unstoppable power of the resurrection!

B. How the power of the resurrection is obtained

Matthew 16:18 KJV 1900
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Upon this rock I will build my church. What is the rock again? It is Peter’s confession about Who Jesus is.
Matthew 16:15–17 KJV 1900
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Upon this rock, upon your profession of faith in Me, that was revealed unto you by the Father- I will build my church and bring to bear my power so that the gates of death will not prevail.
How do we obtain the power of the resurrection? Through nothing else, than faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It was not Peter’s works that Christ would build His church, but Peter’s faith.
That means that the only way you can access the power of the resurrection is by faith. Going to church will not give you this power, reading your Bible will not give you this power, saying a prayer will not give you this power. On and on the list could go. The only means by which we may be saved from the power of our sin, and the power of death, and the power of Satan is through faith in the person of Jesus Christ.
Colossians 2:12 KJV 1900
12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Risen with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Ephesians 2:8–9 KJV 1900
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Romans 10:13 KJV 1900
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Call on Him in faith!
Romans 10:9 KJV 1900
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
How do men say that I am? Lots of answers out there.
Important question, who do you say that I am?
If you will put your faith in Christ alone to save you from your sins, then the power of the resurrection will be available for you. The wonder of resurrection, the celebration of this day because Christ rose again from the dead- can be yours as well!
The resurrection of Jesus is wondrous because:

II. It is Unending in Hope

A. How the hope of the resurrection transforms

Matthew 16:18 KJV 1900
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
“I will build my church”
“the gates of hell/of death shall not prevail against it.”
There is an incredible amount of hope in that thought. Hope is a confident expectation of the future. Christ will accomplish the will of the Father- He will bring His church. Christ will not leave the church in the grave, not even the gates of death will prevent Christ from raising us to newness of life, from participating in everlasting life. This is certain, this is the object of our hope. It enables so much of our Christian life. It enables our joy, and our perseverance. It enables our peace, and our faithfulness. It enables our service and our worship. The hope of the resurrection is unending.
Paul said it this way:
There were some in Corinth that were teaching that there was no resurrection from the dead.
Paul makes the argument that if there is no resurrection for believers then Christ Himself has not been raised.
1 Corinthians 15:14 KJV 1900
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
1 Corinthians 15:17–19 KJV 1900
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
If all we have is hope in Christ for this life only, then we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead! Paul proclaims! What a contrast of misery on the one hand if Christ be not risen, and unending hope on the other hand knowing that Christ is risen indeed!
Want proof of this?
John 20:19 KJV 1900
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
Where were the disciples? Locked away in a room in fear. Why? They though Jesus was dead!
In Luke 24 we have the story of the road to Emmaus
Luke 24:17–21 KJV 1900
17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
With no hope of the resurrection how did the disciples respond? With fear and sadness! What about after they knew and believed in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? What was the transformation like?
This is the account of Paul preaching in the city of Thessalonica. Paul reasoned with the people from the Scriptures
Acts 17:3 KJV 1900
3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
Some believed, but others formed a mob and attacked the house that Paul was staying at but could not find Paul.
Acts 17:6 KJV 1900
6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
What a transformation! From fear and sadness, to turning the world upside down for the sake of Christ. What was the difference? The hope of the resurrection.
I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail. That is a hope that transforms.

B. What the hope of the resurrection guarantees

I will build my church and the gates of death will not prevail against it!
The hope of the resurrection guarantees a future.
1 Peter 1:3–6 KJV 1900
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
Our hope is living, it is alive, it is lively, the believer’s hope is genuine it is real it is vital. Our hope is alive and true, it is not empty or vain! How? because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. What does our living hope look like? What is our confident expectation? An inheritance!
Incorruptible- impervious to corruption and death. Our inheritance cannot be corrupted or killed. It is sure and cannot be altered or undone.
Undefiled- our inheritance is pure. It is not tainted by sin or stain or blemish.
Unfading- our inheritance will not loose its pristine quality or character. It will not fade.
You are being guarded by the very power of God all the way until the last time. Your future is guaranteed. What a hope! What does Peter say? In this you greatly rejoice!!
Illustration: Grandma Ruth- would have been 92. It’s OK to die. The only reason I could say that was because of the hope of the resurrection.
I will build my church, and the gates of death shall not prevail against it.
How Firm a Foundation:
V. 4- The soul that on jesus hath leaned for repose—
I Will not, I will not desert to his foes.
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!
Do you have that hope?
Believer, do you live your life based on that hope? Or do you live in fear and sadness?
This is a great wonder. And it can only be found in the resurrection!
The resurrection of Jesus is wondrous because:

III. It is Unalterable in Victory

A. What the victory of the resurrection looks like

Matthew 16:18 KJV 1900
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Gates of hell / gates of death will not prevail. In the end even death itself will be defeated all because of the resurrection. It’s victory is complete.
1 Corinthians 15:20–23 KJV 1900
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
In the context of the resurrection Paul then describes the ultimate victory of Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:24–28 KJV 1900
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
This is the victory of the resurrection of Jesus! This is the culmination of the power and the hope and the victory. In the end the last enemy, death itself, shall be destroyed, and the Son will lay everything at the Father’s feet and God will be all i all for all of eternity. This is a victory that is sure, and complete, and wondrous.

B. What the victory of the resurrection means for me

1 Corinthians 15:30–34 KJV 1900
30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? 31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. 33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
What would be the point to putting ourselves in jeopardy for the gospel? What would be the advantage of spending our lives living for Christ? If there was no victory? If there was no resurrection? But there is a resurrection and there is a victory, therefore, DO NOT BE DECEIVED. Rather wake up from your drunken stupor- Awake to righteousness and sin not!
Illustration: Knowing the end of the game (DVR) means I can endure the pick 6. Because I know the end of the game.
I will build my church, and the gates of death will not prevail against it. We know the end of the game. We know we have the victory. How should that change us?
How do you need to respond to the resurrection today?
Do you need to wake up? Do you need to be awed by the resurrection all over again so that it actually effects the way you live? How many of us really live in light of the wonder of the power, and the hope, and the victory of the resurrection? I think every one of us could use a bit of a wake up call. I think every one of us would do well to reflect and wonder and have your mind blow and have your breath taken away because of the resurrection of our Lord.
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