Faithlife Sermons

The King Lives - Easter 2018

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Jesus the King lives and it changes everything.

Notes & Transcripts

Introduction

Happy Easter! Y’all look nice!
That defining moment.
A defining moment changes everything. It’s a pivotal point of our lives.
A defining moment in my life:
Teenage years (photo?)
fatherhood
Owning my faith
We need a defining moment - because at the moment things are all messed up
You can’t make dead things live. We need the Resurrection!
1 Peter 1:3–5 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1
Something changed Peter to go from a coward to a leader.
What changed Peter? It wasn’t some great religious teaching / moral standard / fuzzy feeling. He saw a dead man living.

What Happened?

*Answer: Jesus was who he said he was.
(The Empty Tomb)
What happened? The tomb was empty.
John 20:1–10 ESV
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 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. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and 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 a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.
John 20
Peter himself explains the change is because of the resurrection of Jesus. This was the defining moment in his life.
Three facts that beg for a conclusion that can redefine your life.
With these facts we are looking for the TRUTH - not opinion, not preference, not feelings.
When we ask “What happened” we’re looking not for what is ‘true for me, or true for you.’ Instead, we are looking for what is TRUE.
Illust - you go to leave today and you get to your car and someone is already sitting in it. You ask what they are doing in your car and they tell you that they feel that it is actually their car. You tell them you don’t care what they are feeling - it is YOUR car.
(maybe not, I haven’t seen your car - maybe you’d say ‘Good luck and Godspeed - there’s a bill for repairs in the glovebox.’)
You’d tell them what they feel doesn’t matter - you can’t both be right - you don’t both have your own truth - it is either your car or it isn’t.
The reality of truth outside this building in the parking lot exists inside this building as well. Either Jesus is God or he is not. Christianity’s claims that the only way to God is through Jesus is either true or untrue. It cannot be true for some.
Christianity is not one way among many different ways to God
Paul says if Jesus did not rise from the dead Christians are to be pitied. If the resurrection did not happen, then Christianity is a lie, let’s go home and stop wasting our time.
But if the resurrection did happen, then Christianity IS true - and it changes everything - it can define your life.

Jesus really lived.

In his essay, “Why I Am Not A Christian,” philosopher Bertrand Russel writes:
“Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him.”
However, it is actually the opposite which is true. The claim that Jesus was a myth or a legend can be made, but cannot be made based on the facts of history. In fact, there is virtually no credible scholar today that would deny that a man named Jesus lived in first-century Palestine, who had many followers claiming he could work wonders, and that he died under Roman authority around 33 AD.
All of these details can be gathered through historical writings completely apart from the New Testament.
The fact is, Jesus really lived.

Jesus really died.

The second fact is, Jesus really died.
Roman soldiers were expert killers. It was their job and they were good at it. In addition, the rule was that if they allowed a condemned man to live, the soldiers in charge would be condemned to the same death.
Jesus had been brutally beaten with scourges that would often times leave other men dead. One historian writes it was not uncommon to see men disemboweled during the scourging or see the victim’s rib go flying.
In addition to the beating, Jesus had a crown of thorns shoved on his head, was forced to carry the patibulum, or the cross beam which could weigh up to 100lbs.
At the execution site, Jesus had nails drilled through his wrists and feet so that he would be literally hanging from the cross. Victims of crucifixion died not due to blood loss but due to asphyxiation. This is why they would often break the legs of the victims to speed death - they were unable to push their body to a place where normal breathing could occur.
Finally, we’re told that a Roman soldier thrust a spear into Jesus’ side and both water and blood flowed out. This is a medical phenomenon that people in the first-century would not have understood - that upon death the sac surrounding the heart begins to fill with a clear fluid.
John Ankerburg and John Weldon conclude:
Indeed, survival from crucifixions was unknown; just as today, men simply do not survive the firing squad, electric chair, lethal injection, or gas chamber. Because the law has decreed the prisoner’s death, even if a first attempt fails, procedures are repeated until death occurs. Death by crucifixion was just as certain as by any modern method of execution; there was no escape.
McDowell, Josh. Evidence for the Resurrection: What It Means for Your Relationship with God (p. 168). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The tomb is empty.

The third fact to consider is that the tomb is empty.
Explanations for the empty tomb:
Swoon Theory - Jesus didn’t really die. He passed out and was revived in the tomb and left on his own power.
Illust - I cant walk on a lego without screaming like a girl and limping for a week, and somehow we are supposed to believe that Jesus walked several miles with holes in his feet. 
Wrong Tomb - Mary Magdelene and the disciples (and the Roman guards, and the millions of people who have visited the site for thousands of years were just a bit fuzzy on the directions.
The rightful owner of the tomb would have stepped forward
The many enemies of Jesus, the disciples, and Christianity would have, at some time, found the right tomb and produced the body.
Stolen Body - Someone(s) stole the body to make it look like Jesus was resurrected.
Neither the Romans nor the Jewish leaders would have stolen the body.
How would disciples who were terrified cowards be so bold as to brave a guard of soldiers to steal the body.
John mentions the grave clothes neatly folded. I’ve never robbed a grave personally (wait . . . no), but I would imagine it would be a rush job, not ‘take your time, no rush, the guards won’t mind if we tidy up a bit.”
The only conclusion that best fits the evidence of these three facts is that Jesus rose from the dead as he claimed he would.
*Have you ever honestly considered the evidence of these facts of Jesus’ resurrection? (notice I didn’t ask ‘do you have any objections’)
Here’s the problem, many people suspend an honest review of the facts because of unanswered expectations.
Ex. Dr. Bart Ehrman, professor of New Testament and early Christianity at University of North Carolina has stated “I came to realize that I simply no longer believed the Christian message. A large part of my movement away from the faith was driven by my concern for suffering.”
ILLUST - (Going back to the car illust)- It would be as if you took the time to give the person who hopped into your car after church evidence that it was indeed your car - you show them the keys that operate the locks, the paperwork in the glovebox, the details you know about the car that no one else would. But this person ignores those facts because they can’t understand how this could be your car since there is a complete collection of Justin Bieber CDs in it. (there is an explanation - you’re a Beebs fan)
The unanswered expectation shouldn’t cause someone to ignore the facts. When I get to heaven I have a lot of questions, but my questions about what I don’t know doesn’t negate the truth of what I do know.
There are additional evidences to support the claim that the best explanation of the three facts are that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead.
500+ witnesses - Paul was writing within a generation of the actual events and he claims that in addition to the Twelve disciples, there were more than 500 witnesses that can confirm that Jesus was alive.
The original disciples went to a tortured death maintaining the claim that Jesus was resurrected. The disciples had every reason to believe the opposite:
Their leader was dead, and his claims of being the Messiah did not match their understanding of the Jewish Messiah.
They had nothing to gain from lying about Jesus’ resurrection
They would gain no power - they were tortured and killed (people may die for what they believe to be true, but they will not die and be tortured for what they know to be false)
They would gain no money - they lived poor lives and shared what they had for the poor.
They
Their leadership in this exploding new religion brought them only trouble. Something happened that was real enough to radically redefine Peter’s life.
These three facts show that:
Jesus wasn’t faking death
Jesus wasn’t missing
Jesus wasn’t a pawn in a plot or a hallucination
Jesus wasn’t a figment of an imagination or a misplaced corpse
Jesus wasn’t a mostly-dead liar or carefully-concocted legend
Jesus IS ALIVE!
The implications of this is a life-changer.
*Have you ever honestly considered the evidence of these facts of Jesus’ resurrection? (notice I didn’t ask ‘do you have any objections’)
made the coward Peter lead
Here’s the problem, many people suspend an honest review of the facts because of unanswered expectations.
Ex. Dr. Bart Ehrman, professor of New Testament and early Christianity at University of North Carolina has stated “I came to realize that I simply no longer believed the Christian message. A large part of my movement away from the faith was driven by my concern for suffering.”
made the doubting Thomas a believer
made the killer Paul a preacher
ILLUST - (Going back to the car illust)- It would be as if you took the time to give the person who hopped into your car after church evidence that it was indeed your car - you show them the keys that operate the locks, the paperwork in the glovebox, the details you know about the car that no one else would. But this person ignores those facts because they can’t understand how this could be your car since there is a complete collection of Justin Bieber CDs in it. (there is an explanation - you’re a Beebs fan)
The unanswered expectation shouldn’t cause someone to ignore the facts. When I get to heaven I have a lot of questions, but my questions about what I don’t know doesn’t negate the truth of what I do know.
If you were in Peter’s shoes and entered the empty tomb and saw the risen Christ could it be that you would suspend the questions leading to your doubt that are unrelated to the facts in light of the evidence before you?
‘But I don’t see Jesus’ - the evidence is just as strong. We often claim as certain things which require us to make conclusions based on facts and not evidence from our senses (historical figures / our own history)
“The evidence for Jesus' resurrection is so strong that
nobody would question it except for two things: First, it is a very
unusual event. And second, if you believe it happened, you have to
change the way you live.”Wolfhart Pannenberg
The implications of the resurrection are a life-changer.
made the coward Peter lead
made the doubting Thomas a believer
made the killer Paul a preacher
1 Peter 1:3–5 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Why Does it Matter?

*Answer: It changes everything.
(The Living Hope)

The empty tomb redefines your past.

Born again
Peter had denied Jesus. He had let Jesus down. He had put an end to the relationship and he saw no way to fix it.
The last words he said in Jesus’ hearing was, “I don’t know him.”
Peter’s world had crumbled, the entire purpose of his life he believed was now gone.
. . . But then the empty tomb. Jesus breathed new life and breathed new life into Peter.
He took the relationship that Peter had killed and gave it new life.
May
He took Peter who ran from Jesus and made him the leader of the early church.
Romans 8:11 ESV
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Did you catch that? The same power that brought life to Jesus can bring new life to you. The power that freed Jesus from death can free you from the sin and the struggles you are currently wrestling with.
Birth is the start of a new life, a fresh start.
* Do you feel too screwed up for Jesus? Too bound by your past to ever be free?
The entire message of the gospel is that none of us are good enough. The truth is that all of us have denied Jesus, in living for ourselves we’ve broken relationship with him.
THIS IS WHY JESUS WENT TO THE TOMB. To die the death you should have died. THIS IS WHY JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD. So you can live the life he lives.
This Easter can be not just a remembering of new life, but the very start of new life for you.

The empty tomb makes your life meaningful.

Living hope
The resurrection gives us a living hope.
ILLUST - my kids have asked me if, when I asked Christine to marry me, if I was afraid she might say NO. We had a relationship that gave me confidence. I knew her well enough to know she would say yes (basically, I snookered her). I lived in the reality of a living hope - a confident trust.
My resting confidence in the security of our relationship made the time we were living apart bearable because I had the confidence we would one day be together for life.
If you know your relationship with God is secure - that there is no way he will reject you - because it is based on Jesus and not you, than there is nothing in this life that can shake you.

The empty tomb secures your future.

To an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.
ILLUST - So I’m in the process of updating my life insurance policy. Few things fill me with more gravity than contemplating the end of my life, except perhaps that there are seven people that stand to gain if my life should end and they know where I sleep.
Perhaps one of the greatest implications of the resurrection is the contrast between the believer and the unbeliever as they face death.
Pastor JD Greear points this out when he compares these two statements:
BertrandRussell, who wrote Why I am not a Christian, said that as he neared death the “darkness that I have always feared is finally overtaking me.” Life is unfair and death creeps in only with uncertainty.
who wrote Why I am not a Christian, said that as he neared death the “darkness that I have always feared is finally overtaking me.”
Joni Eareckeson Tada. Diving accident, paralyzed. She says how sad she felt... run, walk. One day, she caught herself envying people who knelt to pray. And then it occurred to me... “The first thing I’ll do with my new legs is drop to glorified knees and worship Jesus who saved me.”3 And then I will do a backflip.
with tragedy, you just have to live as one of the losers...I always contrast that w/ Joni Eareckeson Tada. Diving
accident, paralyzed. She says how sad she felt... run, walk. One day, she caught herself envying people who knelt to pray. And then it occurred to me... “The first thing I’ll do with my new legs is drop to glorified knees and worship Jesus who saved me.”3 And then I will do a backflip. That’s the assurance of the Resurrection.
**You can inherit what Jesus secured. His righteousness for your sin. You can live his life because he died your death.

Conclusion

Defining moment - Jesus film
Illust - Sir Edwin Landseer turns stain into masterpiece.
The other evening I heard an a fascinating true story. It was about an incident that occurred over 100 years ago, in a Scottish seaside inn.
A group of fishermen were relaxing after a long day at sea. As a serving maid was walking past with a pot of tea, one of the fishers made a sweeping gesture to describe the size of the fish he claimed to have caught. His hand collided with the teapot and sent it crashing against the whitewashed wall, where its contents left an irregular brown splotch.
Standing nearby, the innkeeper surveyed the damage. “That stain will never come out,” he said. “The whole wall will have to be repainted.”
“Perhaps not.” All eyes turned to the stranger who had just spoken.
“What do you mean?” asked the innkeeper.
“Let me work with the stain,” said the stranger. “If my work meets your approval, you won’t need to repaint the wall.”
The stranger picked up a box and went to the wall. He withdrew pencils, brushes, and some glass jars of linseed oil and pigment. He began to sketch lines around the stain and fill it in here and there with dabs of colour and swashes of shading. The random splashes of tea had been turned into the image of a stag with a magnificent rack of antlers. At the bottom of the picture, the man inscribed his signature.

Invitation

The stain in your life can be redefined. The resurrection makes that clear.
Nothing more important than these words:
Jesus died for you. Jesus died to take the stain of sin from your life. The evidence is clear that Jesus really did rise from the dead and has the authority and power to offer you new life. *But you need to receive it. The gift of grace is like any other gift - you need to receive it.
What is stopping you form making the decision you know you need to make? What objection could you possibly raise? Is this objection in the face of the evidence or born out of your prejudice?
What is the implication of the resurrection on your life today?
Salvation
Recommitment
Baptism
This is a defining moment in your life. Will you ignore it or allow the King of life to live in you?
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