The Evidence of Easter
Jesus is Alive.
Jesus is Alive for real. No, wait, we Christians. We actually believe that this happened. It's important for our faith that this actually did happen. You see all religions. They tell amazing stories about things that their gods and their God has done. But we believe that this is so much more than a story. We believe the two thousand years ago. Did Jesus die on a cross that he was dead when they put him in the Tomb and 3 days later. He rose from the grave. He's alive to this day. He still moving and working in this world. He's still reaching out to lost people and saving Sinners just like you and me.
You see if Easter never happened. If Jesus didn't actually really physically literally rise from the dead 2000 years ago. We are all wasting our time here and that is not just me talking. This actually comes from the Bible itself 1st Corinthians chapter 15 verse 14 says this and if Christ has not been raised other words of this never happened. Our preaching is useless. And so is your face. There's no preacher named John brought us who expands on this and I love what he says. He's just this the resurrection was the sign Manual of the deity. And I don't know we don't use that term sine manual anymore. So boom explain what he saying basically when a king would send out and eat it or send out anything the king would actually sign the top of the document with his authorized signature and basically that signature authorized everything else that the king said as coming directly from the King. He sent that this one act is the thing that authorizes everything else that he's not. He says it's it was the Seal of The Sovereign of the universe to his claim. It declared him to be all he that he had ever profess to be and show it establishes the truth of all his teachings and the truth of the whole Christian Society continues the great fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Is the central fact of the evidence of Christianity? In other words if Jesus did not rise from the dead the Bible is not true. If Jesus did not rise from the dead he is not the Son of God that he claimed to be if Jesus did not rise from the dead you are still dead in your sins and transgressions you have no hope there is no hope for life change. There is no hope for being better. There is no future. Hope for any of us. We should just all go and try to live life the best that we know how but
Les Paul finishes saying that passes you said but Christ has indeed been risen.
Christ is risen. Jesus is Alive. But since our whole faith is founded on this one thing.
How do we know? But this one thing actually happened. It's none of us were there. None of us saw it. It happened so long ago. There were several people who said that they saw it. But how do we know that? They were telling truth? How do we know that we can confidently believe this one fact the Jesus is Alive.
Today we're going to look at the evidence of Easter because the good news is the god of the universe has been faithful to give us good evidence that we can look back to even today. So that we can confidently have faith and hold on this fact. Because yes if Jesus isn't allowed then we have no help but if he is.
Can we have more hope than anyone else in the entire? universe
it's a what I want to do today is I want to give you four key pieces of evidence. Four things that want to consider this morning.
The evidence of Easter if you're filling in blanks, here's the first one. God has given us the testimony of eyewitnesses and scripture the testimony of eyewitness isn't scripture when we read the books of Matthew Mark Luke John and we read some of the letters of Paul like letters of 1st Corinthians. We are getting a view from the people who were actually there men and women who saw all of these things take place. Now if you believe in scripture if you believe in God, I believe that the Bible is true. I probably don't have to give you any more evidence than that. And if you lived in scripture and you've experienced the power, you know exactly what I'm saying is true, but there may be some people here who can I have their doubts about scripture and that you understand and I just wanted to say a few words to you at this moment cuz you're probably thinking if my first point at my first evidence is the Bible and if that's all I've got then I'm just wasting your time because you might think that the Bible is just some book and it can like some stories and some ancient things you might think of people of Faith as as those who are gullible and people who would rather adopt fairy stories than then deal with the harsh realities of Life. Maybe just maybe you think that anybody who can believe in stories about people walking on water or raising from the dead or talking donkeys are all these amazing things that the Bible talks about and you never seen anything like that. You never experienced like the anything like that. Maybe you think that we're just crazy and we haven't bought these things through
If you're here, and you don't believe like we believe first of all, I want to say welcome. You're welcome. Everyone has doubts. Everyone has struggles. Everyone has questions and I hope that you find this place a safe place to explore. You don't have to believe like we do to keep coming to keep asking questions. And if you want to cut question me and talk to me after service or anytime I'm available for for talking these things out and it's so if you're here, I don't want you to think that I'm kind of making fun of you or what and I hope that that you won't make fun of me, but maybe you will maybe you'll call me a fool for believing these things. But I do I've been called worse so it's not going to hurt my feelings. But I believe in the Bible for lots and lots and lots and lots of reasons more reasons than I have time to go into today.
But you say I don't just believe in the Bible because it's a book because I've read lots of books and just because I've read lots of books doesn't mean that I believe in all of those books. I don't believe that God created the universe just because the Bible tells me so I believe that God created the universe because he's giving us lots of evidence in unit in the universe as well. Hasn't he? Me think about it just a second. When you really think about this world and creation and you see that everything in this world had some kind of cause something that made it happen. How can you say is it reasonable to really say that all these little things and individual things in the universe have caused but the entire universe didn't come from anywhere. It was just kind of this accident that they just happened. That seems unreasonable to me. And I believe in all of these things. I believe that God has left imprints of himself in creation. We talk about Resurrection Sunday. Don't you see the entire world is experiencing a kind of Resurrection right now a few months ago. The ground was Bear. There was no green. The trees were all dying and dead. Everything was just completely gone. And now we have life exploding where it seem to be. Absolutely none beforehand. We could go on and on and on and talked about all of these things. But even secular non-believing historians will look at scripture and they will look at the immense amount of copies of the original manuscripts that we have and say that we know with a 99.5% accuracy that the thing that we have written in our Bible today is what was written by Peter and what was written by Paul and what was written by Luke and what was written by Matthew all of these things this says exactly what they wanted to tell us and they were riding down the very things that they had seen.
Now I'm not going to sit here and pick and think that I'm going to convince everyone here based on that. But if you know Scripture Power, you know that what I'm saying is true. If you don't I want to give you three other pieces of evidence evidence that is not just scriptural but evidence that is agreed upon historically. Evidence that you go back to history and you can look and see that these things that I'm about to say are absolutely 100% true. And I want you to ask yourself could these things have happened? Would they be possible if Jesus had not really been who he said he was and if he had not done what he said he did. Let's go to the second one. the explosive growth of the church Jesus had a following during his lifetime, but he lived in this kind of Podunk corner of the Roman world. You would think if God was going to send his son he'd send him into a major metropolitan area or send him into any number these places where he could have had a greater impact during his lifetime, but the truth is any impact that Jesus might have had was tragically cut short when he was arrested when he was hung on a cross and when he was murdered. by the Jewish leaders and the Romans now you think you're following somebody put yourself in the original disciples position. You're following this man and then you put your hopes in him. You've left your job your career you like everything and all of a sudden he's arrested key is dead. You would think that would be the end of the Jesus movement. Wouldn't you? You would think that that would put a damper on the plans of the disciples and their hopes and yet the church was founded after Jesus had died and supposedly risen from the dead. The church was made up of a group a ragtag group of 120 of Jesus followers. These people were not wealthy these people were not Scholars. These people were not influential these people were not any thing of the sort and yet these 120 people took a message that Jesus was alive and that message has filled the entire world you look back and you compare the humble beginnings of this church of these people who were following a dead Carpenter. And ask how in the world did these 120 people you we have more people probably in this room right now than they had when they started you want to figure out how to change the world. You want to figure out how these 120 people just started this movement and yet within 300 years that only did it influence Rome so much. It actually became the official religion of Rome and here we are today in Naples Texas talking about this 2000 years later of movement that started supposedly after Jesus had died. How in the world do you explain this? Is it possible? Is it possible that there is something to what they were preaching? Is it possible that there's something to what they were saying they honestly believe that Jesus was alive and we'll talk about that in a few more minutes. So we have number one. We have the eyewitness testimony scripture number to we have the explosive growth of the church number three. the conversion of Skeptics inversion of Skeptics What are the strongest evidences for me as I look back on history? Is the conversion of a man by the name of Paul?
If you look at Paul story, it absolutely makes no sense. Most of you know, Paul as the man who wrote half of the New Testament most of you know him as a missionary who spread the entire shirt throughout the Roman World. It seems like single-handedly, even though it wasn't just him doing it.
There are historians today who questioned whether they're not there was a Jesus because Jesus never wrote anything Jesus never did some of these kinds of things that people typically want to do in order to be remembered and yet nobody who knows anything about history doubts that there was an apostle Paul you can look back and you can see the imprint that he has left on history and it's not just talked about in the Bible. It's talked about all over the Roman world. There was a poll. And Paul did do the things that he said he did in the pages of scripture. He wrote the things that he said he wrote in the pages of scripture. But here this guy who became a champion of Christianity. He was actually Christianity's number one. Enemy before he became a Christian he was responsible for going and breaking into churches house churches karting everybody off arresting him having them stoned to death all of these things because he was jealous. He did not believe in Christianity. He thought it was a cult. He thought it was an offshoot of Judaism which was the True Religion and because of this he thought he was doing God a favor by killing Christians and yet How did somebody like Paul make such a 180 degree turn? How did he leave this life of success that he had in Judaism. He was successful. And check it up a life of suffering a life of imprisonment a life of beatings by preaching the name of Jesus. Why would somebody do that? He tells us himself in the book of 1st Corinthians. He says this. And last of all he Jesus appeared to me also as to one abnormally for you continues for I am the least of the Apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle because I persecuted the Church of God, but by the grace of God, I am what I am and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them yet not I but the grace that was with me everybody listen to me or what caused Paul to change his course in life. It was a few years after Jesus supposedly died and supposedly raised again, even though he didn't believe in it at that time. The Jesus appeared to the man who was persecuting the church. Jesus in his grace Paul says he should have had nothing to do with me. After what I have done. He should have come down and accuse me and said the word and I burn in my ass. She's right there. He should have come in and punish me for everything that I was doing. But the god of the universe was pursuing me despite my sinful action despite these things that I've done because he loves me and the same God who was still living in Paul's day is living today and he is pursuing Sinners left and right and Skeptics one after another are converted are converted are converted. And here's the thing if it was just Paul we can maybe make the case that he was just crazy for doing something like this. There are crazy people in the world today. There are crazy people in the world is well, maybe he was just crazy. But Paul wasn't the only one who took up this cause it wasn't the only one who walked away from this and came to The church and suffered for the name of Jesus. Even Jesus own Brothers will give it to him as our James. He actually wrote the book of James in the New Testament and Jude who wrote The Letter Jude in the New Testament both of these men. They did not believe in Jesus while he was still alive and yet after he rose from the dead. Both of them became leaders in the early church. Now many of you have siblings and I have to ask you this question what in the world would it take for your brother to convince you that he was.
But it wasn't just Peter it wasn't just pull it wasn't just James. It wasn't just John. It wasn't just a name after name after name who continually came to the realization. The Jesus is Alive and that hope and that Joy they found better than anything else in this world offered and so they turn and they walk and they never ever looked back.
But here's the fourth piece.
the eyewitnesses died for their beliefs
now at this point you'll probably question me and you'll say that's seems a pretty weak piece of evidence because people died for causes all the time. People die for religion people die for political causes. Those are the two things that people still are willing to sacrifice their lives for but why did they do this? Because they believe it right? They believe in the cars that they were willing to fight and they are willing to die for but here's the difference about the original eyewitnesses.
If they had made this up as some claim that they do some claim that these people got together after Jesus had died and said, you know what we really need to continue the story. We really need to kind of Steel Jesus body and hide it so that nobody ever produces it and then we can say we can just tell everybody that he is alive and then will gain followers after us and then, you know, everything will be good and then will be taken care of for the rest of our lives and that's what some people think the early church fathers that the early church people the apostles that they actually did. I don't buy it. You know why because those same people who supposedly made this up this big elaborate hoax this change the entire world. These same people were willing to go to their deaths. To be tortured to be beating all of these things in order to continue this lie.
Listen people will die for something that they believe in. That's true. But have you ever met anybody who is willing to die for a lie?
Because what would motivate them to come up with? This is a hoax. It would be self-interest. Right? It would be selfishness that they would do this so that everybody would look at them and see how great they are and then take care of them and give them money and do all these things.
But the moment it got hard. The moment that self-interest the moment that lie started to lose its luster and started to help get them the life that they wanted. They should have walked away from it. They should have work and they should have turned back but they never ever did.
If you're familiar with American history, you probably know of a man by the name of Charles Colson Colson was actually in the the administration of Knicks and he served at the office of public liaison and he himself became embroiled in the Watergate scandal where they were doing illegal wiretapping on on different places, and he actually went to jail for that during his time when he was being called out for the Watergate scandal. He converted to Christianity A friend gave him a copy of CS Lewis book Mere Christianity and you read it and he started reading the Bible and he turned in and recognize that that life wasn't about all that. He thought it was meant to be and he became a Christian and during his time in prison. He began to to look around and see that there were many opportunities for Ministry there. And so when he got out he became a considerable evengelical leader preaching and and doing prison Ministries all over the world, but he he reflects on his time in the Watergate scandal and his his moments there and and reflects on the resurrection and I love what he says it. Just listen to this. He says this I know the resurrection is a fact and Watergate proved it to me how Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raise from the dead. It was a lot more than 12. It was probably about 500 Paul says that he appear to what you say would 12 and 12 men testified they'd seen Jesus raise from the dead then they Proclaim that truth for 40 years never once denying it and continues. Everyone was beating tortured stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren't true knows what he says next Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world when you think about it, you're in the White House 12 of the most powerful man in the world and they couldn't keep alive for 3 weeks. You're telling me that 12 Apostles to keep alive for 40 years absolutely impossible and you can imagine this how many times would Jesus enemies have loved to get somebody to recant and just put that all over the Roman World here. There's this guy you're following who says he believes in Jesus and yet here. He said that he doesn't believe in them all because we put a little pressure on all because we threatened to kill him never happened as far as we know we have absolutely no evidence that any of these Apostle went and did anything like that. They held to their story even Peter the wrestler letter of 2nd Peter. He's in prison. He knows that he is about to die. He says these words for we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus and power but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty whenever the establishment tried to pressure the apostles, you know what they said. Listen, I know that you don't want us teaching in the name of Jesus, but we cannot help but tell about what we have seen and what we have heard.
And I never went back on it. And Peter went to his death.
with this message and so did Paul. So did James the brother of Jesus and James the brother of John? The one after another after another after another people were willing to die. this hope
Because if Jesus is Alive and death is not the end.
Because of Jesus is Alive in it.
And what is our life? the empty tomb Is an invitation to a New Life? And I hope that you're sure you're come back next week cuz we're going to have more time to delve into this new life and what it is and what it entails.
But for right now, I just ask you to consider the evidence no matter where you are. If you believe I hope that these things that I said every kind of strengthen your faith and you look at it and say yeah God has been faithful to give us these things.
Because nowhere in the Bible.
Does the Bible talk about faith is being this absence of thinking?
God has given us good reason to believe.
If you're skeptical. I encourage you to look into these things. Ask your questions talk to me or somebody else here. And in those of you if they have questions don't just dismiss him and tell him all they just need to have faith. Maybe some people need to explore these things out. It's great.
But ultimately the greatest evidence that I see
The Jesus is still alive or testimonies like the one that we just witness for this message.
testimonies of real life change testimonies of people whose lives are still turned around
but the truth of the gospel because Jesus is still alive and active in this world. And he's active in this place. He's active. He's living among each and every one of us who have been baptized. You have the holy spirit inside of us those of us who put our trust in our faith in him.
And if you think the first second that you were just too bad and you've done too much for got to love you. We've already talked about how he he reached in and he pursued the man who is killing Christians if anybody hear a murderer.
Maybe there is.
And even if that's the case, you are not too far gone the god of the universe loves you.
He wants to change your life.
All because it's all all the gods.
Jesus is a lie.
To consider the evidence Church.
Think about it.
And ask yourself. What is God saying to me? in this message
And whatever he's telling you to do. I trust you doing.
Would you staying with me?
Today is a day. a celebration
Is a day of Celebration we we live in a world where we lose so much and we fear losing the things that we want. But yeah, I woke up my kids and my wife this morning I said, you know what? You know, what Jesus is Love You know what that means? That means I get to love you forever. In an awesome we do and so use this day to celebrate what he's done but uses they can celebrate with your family use this day to day. I was reading the passage of Nehemiah and people were we're really convicted by a passage of scripture. They were in the church service kind of like this and and Nehemiah in the Levites in the freezer. I'll tell another this is a day of Celebration go have a joke be joyful. Go eat. That's what today is to take it. You know, many of you work places are closed grocery stores are close places are close. Don't go anywhere celebrate. And think about how good God has been to each of us, even though we do not deserve it.
We'll continue this discussion next time. I hope you guys guys will come back. It's good to see each and everyone of you if you're here today, and you need prayer for anything to elders and I will be up here ready to receive you. If you have questions, we're happy to talk to anybody anytime. So comes out. Let's What's this custody things further? May the Lord bless and keep you.