Faithlife Sermons

Fear and Joy

Easter 2018  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Notes & Transcripts

Easter Sunday

Have you ever seen the difference between a Christian funeral and a funeral for a nonChristian?
You can usually spot them right out of the box.
The Christian funeral is filled with hope.
It’s not that there is denial about the person who’s dead.
We are well aware of the person who’s dead.
If he’s a Christian who died, the odds are that there has been a church who has surrounded him in the days, weeks and months leading to that final breath.
Collectively, the church has watched the person who died struggle with breathing, seen the pain, and grimaced as they watched him cough what’s in his lungs.
They are well aware of death being there.
So it’s not an avoidance of death.
The hope is there because the Christian knows that when a believer dies, he is taken to be with the Lord.
This hope isn’t well-wishing, or empty headed positive thinking.
It’s based off of something.
True, the Bible talks about there being a resurrection.
Throughout the Old Testament, there was the hope of a resurrection.
Adam looked forward to it.
Abraham looked forward to it.
David looked forward to it.
Daniel looked forward to it.
But there’s proof for this hope as well.
That proof is found in the resurrection of Jesus.
On Friday we remembered the crucifixion of Jesus.
We remembered His hanging on the cross and His brutal death.
We remembered His body being buried in a borrowed tomb.
But then on Sunday, on Easter Sunday, and every other Sunday, we celebrate His victory from the grave.
The victory from the grave not only says that it is possible for their to be a resurrection, but Jesus’ victory from the grave, demolishes the power of the grave over those who belong to Him.
It’s this event, it’s this resurrection, that all of Christianity is about.
Christianity is like many other religions.
It has a holy book.
It has a God.
It has it’s rules.
It has it’s theology.
But what really sets it apart is … it’s real.
You remove the resurrection and none of that is worth anything.
You remove the resurrection of Jesus Christ and:
He was a fraud.
His teaching was from a crazy man.
And whatever noteworthy things we find in the Bible, would find themselves to be unreliable, because the one who spoke them would not be the God He claimed to be.
And even worse if you remove the resurrection of Jesus … then He wouldn’t be the God-Man who died on the Cross to pay for sin … He’d be the man who simply died.
And if all Jesus did was die … then your sins are paid for.
And when you die, all you can expect to face is Hell for your sins.
And if you still have to face your sins … then death is a scary thing.
Sample run
I recently had a conversation with someone about a Christian that I know who is dying.
I was talking about the certainty that this person is going to die.
We don’t know when.
But we know it will happen.
The person I was talking to said, “Wow! That’s scary. Death is scary.”
That statement right there is why we need Easter, it’s why we need the resurrection of Jesus.
Why do we need it?
Because death is scary.
says, “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,”

Easter Sunday

Christianity is like many other religions.
It has a holy book.
It has a God.
It has it’s rules.
It has it’s theology.
But what really sets it apart is … it’s real.
You remove the resurrection and none of that is worth anything.
You remove the resurrection of Jesus Christ and:
He was a fraud.
His teaching was from a crazy man.
And whatever noteworthy things we find in the Bible, would find themselves to be unreliable, because the one who spoke them would not be the God He claimed to be.
And even worse if you remove the resurrection of Jesus … then He wouldn’t be the God-Man who died on the Cross to pay for sin … He’d be the man who simply died.
And if all Jesus did was die … then your sins are paid for.
And when you die, all you can expect to face is Hell for your sins.
And if you still have to face your sins … then death is a scary thing.
Easter Sunday … it’s the Super Bowl for preachers.
It’s the big day.
Do I get nervous?
Sure I do.
People come expecting me to preach a good sermon, or at least a better sermon then normal.
It’s a big day because on this one day, more people go to church than any other day of the year.
It’s on Easter Sunday when people come out of the woodworks and come to church.
There are some people I haven’t seen since last Easter, or since Christmas Eve.
And it’s on this day, that anyone who identifies with Christianity in any way, comes to church to show off that identity.
Easter Sunday is a big day, it’s an important day, because it’s on this day that remember the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.
Sure we celebrate that every Sunday of the year.
But it’s this day, this specific day during the calendar year, where we say this was the day of the year that Jesus was resurrected.
But Jesus didn’t resurrect just so we would be brave and wear pastel colors and go to church once a year.
He is the second person of the Trinity.
He died for a reason.
He has all authority.
Wear pastel colors and
And He resurrected for a reason.
And that should have a real affect on our life.
He is Master.
Let’s look at the very end of Matthew 28:1-10
I was talking about the certainty that this person is going to die.
We don’t know when.
But we know it will happen.
The person I was talking to said, “Wow! That’s scary. Death is scary.”
That statement right there is why we need Easter, it’s why we need the resurrection of Jesus.
Why do we need it?
Because death is scary.
says, “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,”
This will show us the great event of the resurrection, and what impact it should have on our lives.
Read
Please don’t listen to this sermon just to check this off your spiritual to-do list for the year.
There are three actions, three things that are urged for those who hear of the resurrection.
And if you walk away with anything today, please walk away with these three things.
We are:
Urged to believe
Urged to go
And Urged to rejoice.
And these three things will serve as our outline for the morning as well.

First we are urged to believe.

This account in Matthew, begins on Sunday morning.
Jesus died on Friday.
Saturday, was the next day.
It was called the Sabbath.
And technically, the Sabbath began at sundown on Friday night.
The Sabbath would end, at sundown on Saturday night.
Now it is Sunday morning, and the sun is just starting to creep up.
Two women, both named Mary, were going to the tomb of Jesus.
They weren’t going because they thought it was Easter morning.
And they weren’t going because they thought Jesus was alive.
They were going because Jesus was quickly buried on Friday, and they wanted to finish preparing the body for burial.
On the way to the tomb, there was a great earthquake.
It wasn’t just a little earthquake.
We in California know about little earthquakes.
People from the rest of the world, are afraid of our earthquakes.
I don’t know how people in the midwest handle tornadoes.
I don’t now how people on the east coast handle hurricanes.
We occasionally get earthquakes.
Our buildings are made for them.
It’s rare that a picture frame moves during an earthquake.
But when we go through an earthquake, we say, “Oh that was just a little one.”
But on this morning, the first Easter morning, there was a great earthquake.
The Greek says it was a mega earthquake.
And why did this earthquake happen?
Because an angel sent from God had descended from heaven.
The earthquake wasn’t the rolling away of the stone.
It wasn’t Jesus coming out of the grave.
It was this holy angel -
He was sent straight from the throne room of God.
Verse 3 says that his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
You ever go to the beach and spend all day in the sun and get sun burned real good.
You come home, hop in the shower.
Dry off.
Then you feel your skin … it’s on fire.
It’s still burning.
There is residual heat coming off of you because you’ve been in the presence of the sun full force all day, and it’s cooked you.
This angel has been in the presence of God.
And he came down to earth.
Ripping through the atmosphere.
Causing a severe earthquake.
And when he arrived, he was shining, because he’d been in the presence of God.
Just like you and that sunburn, with the heat that radiates off of you even after a cold shower.
He’s been in the presence of God, and the glory of God is reflecting off of him in a bright light.
This same angel, rolled the stone away, and was found sitting on the stone that had kept the tomb secure.
Stationed at the tomb were Roman guards.
And when they saw this blazing angel, they fell down as if they were dead.
The women arrive.
They see the guards knocked out.
They see the angel sitting on the stone.
Then the angel calls for them to believe.
Verse 6 says, “He is not here, for He has risen ...”
Look at verses 5-6,
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.”
“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.’”
This is something that they already should have known.
“He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said ...”
The resurrection of Jesus shouldn’t have been a surprise
There are 3 things that we believe and that Jesus has victory over.
First, He has victory and has authority over all earthly powers.
In a strange case of irony, while the women never seemed to get the memo that Jesus was going to resurrect from the grave, the Sanhedrin did, those who sentenced Jesus to death.
On the Sabbath, the Chief Priest and Pharisees went to see Pilate.
Pilate was the Roman governor at the time.
In the previous chapter, in , they said to Pilate, “and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”
What this means, is though they didn’t believe that Jesus would resurrect, they had heard the message, they knew that Jesus said He would.
Pilate, the Roman governor of the area, issued some Roman soldiers to go and stand guard at the tomb.
These guards were sent to guard the tomb, to make sure no one gets in and takes the body of Jesus out.
But understand, Jesus is greater than the Jewish priests, He’s greater than the Roman guards, and He’s greater than any earthly government.
Jesus has victory over earthly powers, because He created earthly powers.
says, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
This tells us what to believe about Jesus.
He’s not a contending force, or one of many things that demands our allegiance.
He is in fact Lord of all things.
There is no government, there is no power, that ever escapes His sovereignty, or is accidentally put in charge.
Jesus is Lord.
The second thing to believe is that death cannot contain Jesus.
When Jesus was buried, a large stone was rolled over the entrance.
It served as a seal, a door to keep people out of the tomb.
Who rolled the stone away?
The angel.
But the angel wasn’t letting Jesus out.
It wasn’t as if Jesus was knocking on the stone entrance to the tomb, and saying “A little help here.”
Jesus didn’t need help out.
In , Jesus says that He has the keys to life and death.
He doesn’t need help coming alive.
And He doesn’t need help getting out of the grave.
After His resurrection, He would often appear in rooms that had no doors, or windows.
He has this glorified body.
He is not like us.
So when He was resurrected, He could get out, even while the stone was still sealing His grave.
If the stone wasn’t keeping Jesus in, why was the stone rolled away?
Look again at , “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.”
It was open so the women could go into the tomb, and verify that Jesus wasn’t in there.
It was opened for their benefit.
We are to believe that Jesus is alive right now.
Don’t speak of Jesus as if He’s dead on a cross.
Don’t speak of Jesus as if there’s a tomb in Jerusalem, with His body still lying in it.
We believe that Jesus is alive, and is now seated next to God the Father, having all authority.
And the third thing to believe is that if Jesus is alive … you don’t have to fear death.
I was recently talking to someone about a Christian that I know who at some point is going to die.
This person I was talking to said, “Wow, that’s really scary. Death is scary.”
And he’s not alone.
People are scared of death.
And death is so scary, that the whole topic of death is avoided.
Think about how we talk about death.
When someone dies, we don’t say, “So and so died.”
We say, “He passed on.”
To say, “He died.” Sounds cold.
Funerals don’t happen as much.
We call them, “Celebration of life.”
Afraid of saying those words, “Death.”
And if Christ hasn’t resurrected … there is plenty to be scared of.
says, “… it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,”
I’m sure we try to live good lives, but the reality is that we have all sinned.
You have sinned.
We sin by:
Lying.
Stealing.
Lust.
Hatred.
Speaking carelessly of God.
Have you ever thought there was something about God you didn’t like, and so you decided to believe something different?
That’s idolatry.
You’re making up a new god.
And if we have sinned, then the thought of facing God and being judged by Him is a scary thing.
The consequence for these sins, the consequence for just one sin is death, it’s Hell.
That makes death scary.
When you think about all your sins and the finality of death, there’s a huge regret, wishing that you did things differently.
But unfortunately, once you’ve done something, you can’t undo it.
And so, if we were to face God on our own, He being a good judge, won’t simply say, “Well, you you’re sorry, so I’ll let you go.”
If He is just.
If He is true to His Word, He must judge you.
But for the Christian, death doesn’t need to scare us.
And here’s something big for all of us to understand.
When Jesus was on the Cross, He was being judged for those that God loves.
We had a debt to God, a sin debt.
God placed our sins on Jesus.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
His resurrection means that the sin debt was paid for.
And if Jesus is resurrected, then we will be resurrected.
says, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.”
Basically, if Jesus has the keys to life and death and has power over death, then He can certainly bring us with Him.
I told you I was talking to someone who said that death is scary.
I then went on to tell the person that death doesn’t have to be scary.
If you have a savior, who has power over death, you don’t have to fear death.
The angel urged the women to believe.
And the result of this belief is that they wouldn’t be afraid.
In verse 5, the angel says to the women, “Do not be afraid ...”
And to everyone who is here, I urge you to believe.
There is nothing to fear if you believe that:
Jesus is sovereign over all powers.
That Jesus has conquered the grave.
And that Jesus will resurrect all those who He has died for.

The next thing that happens is the second point of the sermon, they were urged to go.

Verse 7, the angel says, “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
This is a part of proving that you believe the message, you go.
There are many who claim to be Christians but they haven’t gone.
They’re in the same place they were 10 years ago, and that’s the same place they were 10 years before that.
On March 4, the winner of the Cambridge half-marathon, Andrew Rawlings, was disqualified.
Turns out, he never actually ran the race.
He gave his race number and registration to a friend of his, who, it turns out, ran really well, beating over 7,000 other runners.
His name was in the race, Andrew Rawlings.
He called himself a runner.
But he never ran the race.
He was disqualified.
There are many so-called Christians who are like Andrew Rawlings.
They think they are in the race, because they went to church when they were younger, said a prayer, or were baptized, but they’ve never actually gotten in the race.
Jesus has warned against this kind of hypocrisy.
says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
In other words, not everyone who says they are a Christian, will enter the kingdom of heaven.
Like Andrew Rawlings, they have the race number, but they’ve never gotten in the race.
If you think you are a Christian, get in the race.
You don’t want to be disqualified.
The angel said, “Go”
Actually, he said, “Go quickly ...”
That means the time is now.
If the first point was that they were urged to believe, then the proof of that belief is to go, to act.
And if you claim that Jesus is Lord, supreme, and God … then it’s time to act.
Because as long as you remain a Christian in affiliation only … you’re disqualified.
The angel urges them to go and tell the other disciples.
There’s a message to tell.
What is that message?
That Jesus is alive.
This is the main thing of Christianity.
There are many great things in our religion.
Camaraderie among believers.
Fellowship.
Fun.
Family.
Service.
Love.
But those are not Christianity.
The heart of Christianity, is this one message … Jesus is alive.
Paul told the Corinthians in , “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”
If you are a Christian, why are you a Christian?
It must be, because Jesus who was crucified, has been resurrected.
It’s not because Christianity has:
Good music
Good culture
Good morals
Good family values.
It’s because Jesus is alive.
And if Jesus is alive … your sins are paid for.
We also, are urged to share that Jesus is active now.
He’s alive, and He’s active.
The angel says to tell the women to tell the disciples, that Jesus is going to go ahead of them into Galilee, and there they will see Him.
Though Jesus died on a Friday, He’s alive on that Sunday.
He’s going to ahead of them.
He’s going to meet them.
They will see Him.
And Jesus is active now.
This is something we need to know.
Things on this earth can be concerning.
There are times when it seems as if that doomsday clock is on midnight.
World War II was one such time.
Then there was the Cold War.
There was the arms race with the USSR.
I remember hearing that there were so many nuclear warheads that the earth could be destroyed multiple times.
I think of a nuclear weaponized North Korea.
There are scary things.
I need to be reminded that Jesus is active, right now.
There is going to come a day, when Jesus will come and rule on the earth.
Where Jesus was telling the disciples He’ll meet them in Galilee, we have this to look forward to as well.
The day will come, when Jesus will come and meet His creation.
And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.””
This comes from , “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.””
He’s going on ahead of us, and will meet His creation in power.
And each of you who are in Christ have this to look forward to, you will see Jesus as well.
One time, Jesus was talking to His disciples, He said, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
Jesus right now is preparing a place for you, and He will receive you into eternity and you will be with Him.
We are urged to share this message.
When you talk of Christianity, what do you talk about?
When you share your faith, what is it you are saying?
This is our message.
The Lordship of Christ.
His victory from the Grave.
His active rule right now.

Lastly, they are urged to rejoice.

The women were told to not be afraid.
It says they left with fear, and then it turned into great joy.
In verse 9, they meet Jesus.
The one who had victory over:
The Romans.
The one who is alive.
The Tomb.
The one who ha
Death.
Was right in front of them!
It says He greeted them.
Understand, this was no simple, greeting.
He doesn’t say, “Sup”
In the Old King James version, when Jesus greets them, He says, “All Hail.”
You could translate this as “Rejoice!”
He’s not saying “sup”.
He’s actually commanding them to rejoice, “You must rejoice.”
He is identifying with His God nature, and worthy of being worshipped.
The women’s fear, was turned into joy.
They fell down at his feet.
And at His feet, on His feet, they worshipped Him.
This is the reality of believing something.
This is the reality of going in faith that what you believe is true … you have joy and you worship God.
Then Jesus tells them a similar message that the angel has already told them, verse 10, “… Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
The disciples are now called His brothers.
His greeting isn’t saying, “Enough, I’ve got a message.”
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
They are now a part of His family.
He begins
Understand what a huge treasure this is.
We are sinners.
says, “the one who practices sin is of the devil ...”
When we sin, it’s not because we are ignorant of right and wrong, we are willingly choosing to do wrong.
In it says that we formerly were slaves of the devil.
This all sounds like we were enemies of God, and of Jesus.
But, now that Jesus has been able to forgive sin on the Cross, He calls those He has saved, brothers and sisters.
says, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are ...”
If you are in Christ, you have been adopted into the family of God.
No longer are you a child of the devil.
Because Jesus has authority over him.
He’s looting Satan’s kingdom, and bringing people into His Kingdom of Light.
This means that if you are a believer, you have been saved to rejoice.
A life of joy and worship of the Savior is the evidence that you believe.
A life of joy and telling others of this Savior is the evidence that you are in Christ.
But there are no shortcuts to this joy.
You can’t have this joy if you don’t believe.
You can’t have this joy if you aren’t in Christ.
This is the result of the Spirit of God dwelling within your heart.

This is my Easter Sermon to you.

I do hope this isn’t my last time seeing you for 6 months.
I hope that this gives you an idea of what a Christian believes.
I hope that this gives you an idea of what a Christian looks like.
And so, to everyone who’s here:
I urge you to believe that Christ is alive and Lord and Savior.
I urge you to go, and make evident that Christ is alive and your Lord and Savior.
For some of you it means it’s time to get in the race.
And I urge you to rejoice because Jesus is alive and Lord and Savior.
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