Faithlife Sermons

HG169-175 Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-11, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-19 Easter Day 2018

Harmony of the Gospels  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  19:15
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Christ is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!
In Macedonia we greet each other on Resurrection Day by saying:
Христос воскресна! Навистина воскресна!
Christ is risen! Truly He has risen!
Matthew 28:1–15 NKJV
Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
He lives!
Just after World War II, a Methodist leader in London named William Sangster contracted a disease that gradually paralysed him. Eventually even his vocal cords were paralysed. On Easter Sunday—his last Easter on earth—his daughter came to visit. Using stiffened fingers, he scribbled a message: “How terrible to wake up on Easter and have no voice with which to shout, ‘He is risen!’ ” Then, pausing a moment, he added, “Far worse to have a voice and not want to shout.” We feel like shouting today because this is Easter, and Christ has risen from the dead.
And as for the disciples they were never the same after that first Easter. It affected how they felt, how they viewed the world, and what they did for the rest of their lives. They never got over it.
Easter is our greatest celebration as Christians, because it focuses our minds on the highlight of the Christian faith—the death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, His rising physically, visibly, bodily from the tomb, His remarkable return to life following His torturous death.
This is the story and the miracle of Christianity. It ties together all the other strands of our faith.
As scientist Henry Morris put it, “The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. If the resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth.”
Jesus being raised from the dead is crucial to our faith. If it didn’t happen then we are still in our sins, still going to a lost eternity. Why is it so important? If Jesus had died and stayed dead then what would have happened then? Nothing. Nothing would have happened. There would be no Christianity. No consideration of a life given. We would have heard no more. Perhaps in the annals of history it would have mentioned someone who had done some miracles and died. But no one would have visited the tomb other than His mother and some of the women. There would be no story to tell.
It is the fact that He did not stay dead that changes the whole thing. It is not usual for someone to live after they have been dead. We are so blasé about this. We don’t realise how ridiculous this sounds the first time we hear this. He rose from the dead? What planet are you on? Zombies are fiction. The dead stay dead. Of course, we know that this is not true of Jesus and that is why it is such a miracle. Jesus coming alive again, not as some undead, but back to life in reality means that sin has been defeated. If sin has been defeated so has the consequence of sin, which is death, so now death itself has been defeated. He conquered our enemies. And He is the living proof.
According to Acts 1:3 Jesus “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days”.
Notice those three words:
Many—not just one or two indications.
Infallible—this means irrefutable, certain, convincing.
Proofs—these are solid evidence, admissible in a court of law.
And many people down through time have tried to disprove that the resurrection ever happened – and so undermine the cornerstone of the Christian faith. There are good and bad examples. The Roman Guard at the tomb spread fake news. Money blinded them and so they spread falsehoods. The disciples stole the body, that was after they got through the whole guard and rolled a gigantic stone out of the way all whilst we were sleeping. This story should never have held up except people will believe what they want to believe. But then we have examples of those who, though initially against were fair minded such as:
Albert L. Roper
Albert L. Roper was a prominent Virginia attorney, a graduate of the University of Virginia and its law school, who eventually became mayor of the city of Norfolk. He once began a thorough legal investigation into the evidence for the Resurrection of Christ, asking himself the question: “Can any intelligent person accept the Resurrection story?” After examining the evidence at length, he came away asking a different question: “Can any intelligent person deny the weight of this evidence?” He published his findings in 1965 in a book called ‘Did Jesus rise from the dead?’ He became an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and became teacher of the Men’s Bible Class for 14 years which gained 7000 members.
Frank Morison
Frank Morison was an English journalist who viewed Christianity with disfavour and set out to disprove the Resurrection of Christ. He poured over the evidence, absorbing all the information he could, marshalling his arguments. Not only was he unable to disprove the Resurrection, but also he was compelled on the weight of the evidence to become a Christian himself. His book became a powerful argument in support of the historicity of the Easter event, entitled Who Moved the Stone?
Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell was a young university student looking for a good time. He found religion unsatisfying and lived for parties and popularity. One day he noticed a group of students engaged in Bible study, and he became intrigued by the radiance of one of the young ladies. He asked her a reason for it, and she replied, “Jesus Christ.” He scoffed at her, but she challenged him to intellectually examine the claims of Christianity. After much research, he admitted that he could not refute the historical reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He became a Christian and the author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict.
And, of course, we recently watched a film called the Case for Christ by another once Atheist, a journalist with the Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel, who based on the evidence became a Christian and defender of the faith.
According to this next verse the Resurrection of Christ was predicted in advance:
1 Corinthians 15:4 NKJV
and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
There are over 300 prophecies relating to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the Old Testament, some of which we have heard in recent days such as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 which speak of the suffering of Jesus. An example of another prophecy is one that speaks of the resurrection in:
Psalm 16:10 NKJV
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
Following His Resurrection, Jesus remained on earth for forty days, appearing at least ten times to various individuals and groups. The genuineness and historical reliability of these accounts are well attested. Some people assume that Christ only appeared to His hardcore believers. That isn’t true.
First, all the disciples were sceptics; none imagined that He would rise from the dead. Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked Him for saying He would be put to death and rise again.
Second, Thomas was a vocal and determined doubter:
John 20:24–29 NKJV
24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Third, James, the Lord’s half-brother, had ridiculed and rejected Christ (John 7:1-5).
And fourth, Saul of Tarsus was the greatest enemy to His movement (Acts 8:1; 9:3–5).
How else can the transformation of Saul of Tarsus be explained? What about the change among the disciples?
John Stott wrote:
“Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection. It was the resurrection that transformed Peter’s fear into courage and James’ doubt into faith. It was the resurrection that changed the Sabbath into Sunday and the Jewish remnant into the Christian Church. It was the resurrection that changed Saul the Pharisee into Paul the apostle and turned his persecuting into preaching.”
Not only that, they were all willing to die, and you would only do that for something you really believe in.
Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook, 2005 Edition March 27, 2005: Why I Preach the Literal Resurrection of Christ

Only Christianity provides a comprehensive explanation for the reality of death and a satisfying answer for the problem of death; and only Christianity has authenticated its message by providing a Leader who actually arose from the tomb

Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook, 2005 Edition March 27, 2005: Why I Preach the Literal Resurrection of Christ

The Resurrection completes the gospel and fits into the entire structure of biblical theology. It is so woven into the warp and woof of the biblical plan of salvation that the entire Bible is held together by it, and the entire plan of salvation depends on it. Without the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, nothing in the Bible makes sense.

Conclusion: He is alive! He is alive indeed! He showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs, and we can preach the literal Resurrection of Christ with intellectual integrity and spiritual joy. He is alive today!

Jesus was raised because the penalty for sin had been paid in full. It means that because Jesus rose from the dead we are accepted by God fully and without condition other than to believe in Jesus.
Those who know and follow Christ have certain hope of a resurrection of our own, of eternal life. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25–26). Because He lives we live.
1 Corinthians 15:55 AV
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Jesus rose from the dead that our sins might be forgiven, that we might once again feel inwardly clean. It proves that Jesus is God. When we come to the Risen Lord in repentance and faith, He forgives our sin, washes our hearts, and makes us new. That was David’s message. That was Christ’s message. That was Peter’s message. That was Paul’s message. And today, after all these years, it is my message and our message. Easter gives us everything our hearts and minds need—confirmation of Christ’s identity, cancellation of sin’s penalty, and celebration of life eternally. All of it is ours for the taking, for the believing, for the accepting.
It’s crazy, it’s wonderful – this is just the beginning – He is alive today – for those who have already trusted Him He lives in us. He is also there in Heaven interceding for us to the Father. When we sin we can look to Him and trust for forgiveness because the price is paid in full and Jesus just shows the nail prints in his hands and the Father is proud to look at us through His Son with the gift of righteousness He has given to us.
With His Holy Spirit living in us in His resurrection power we have all that we need for life and godliness.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, hallelujah!

Benediction

Hebrews 13:20–21 NKJV
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Bibliography

http://www.newrivernotes.com/topical_history_books_1929_history_of_virginia_roperalbert.htm
https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/prayers/easter-prayers-celebrate-resurrection-day-victory.html
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