(A Series on Jesus)
C.R.11/15/87p.m. John 20:1-31
PROPOSITION: Personal encounter with the resurrected
Christ is the answer to the darkness, fear and timidity of mankind and results in a work of the Spirit within that empowers the church to announce forgiveness of sin and freedom from bondage.
- THERE is an Afrikaans word called "pieperig".
- I DON'T know if I have talked to you about this word before......but the closest I can find in the English language is "whimpy".
- AND even whimpy doesn't say as much, for me, as "pieperig". (Try saying it with me)
* It means "eh"...with the wrist limp.
* It can't go bowling because the finger nails may break.
* It can't go on a picnic...because there may be bugs.
* It can't go out and play...because it needs its beauty rest.
* It wears one of those sun hats...with the floppy brim to go outdoors.....to keep from sun stroke.
- YOU know what I am saying. "Pieperig" is too fragile, too dainty to do anything but smile a limp smile.....and do nothing heartily.
- WELL, now that you have the picture...I can get on with the message.
- THERE are too many pieperig Christians in the Church of Jesus today.
* They can't say "no" to the devil....in fact, they are very afraid of him.
* They can't take very much heat...without running for shelter.
* They need their rest.
* They can't do very much...because they may break their finger nails.
* They don't stand for very long periods of time...without folding.
* And when the battle rages...and there is the sound of swords clanging on every side....they are last seen down on all fours crawling for the nearest exit.
- IT is a very common phenomenon.
- AND the only antidote is the resurrection power of Jesus Christ....
* Not a sermon on it.
* Not a book on it.
* Not a tape on it.
* But a personal revelation of resurrection power in your spirit....that starts like a stream and ends in a volcano from within.
- THE church of Jesus is missing resurrection power today.
- THE resurrection of Jesus was the pinnacle of His work on earth.
- IT was proof that His words were true......because, in addition to everything else He spoke concerning the kingdom of God, He prophecied that He would be in the tomb for three days and then raised from the dead.....and it happened exactly as He said.
- IT is proof that He was who He said He was....the Son of God. That He had the power to lay down His life and the power to take it up again. (John 10:18)
- IT is proof that the cross and the blood of Jesus was perfectly acceptable to the Father.....for it was by the word and power of the Father that He was raised from the dead.......His work on the cross was complete.
- IT is proof that the work of the cross was successful....that Jesus had broken forever the power of satan and had taken the keys of death and hell, triumphing over both by His sacrifice and resurrection.
* In fact, without the resurrection, the cross was not enough to save you.
* Peter says in I Peter 3:21&22...."It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand....with angels, authorities and powers in submission to Him."
* In fact, Paul says in I Corinthians 15:14...."...if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."
- PAUL is saying that your faith will be "pieperig"...without the resurrection power of Jesus revealed in you.
- IF you haven't had it for a long while......you need a new Holy Spirit dose of revelation concerning the resurrection of Jesus and what it means for you today.
- TURN with me to John chapter 20....the resurrection chapter.
- THERE were three different groups of believers......in three different conditions.....all changed from "pieperig" to powerful....by their personal encounter with the resurrection of Jesus.
- IN fact the center, around which the whole resurrection story pivots in chapter 20....is verses 21-23 where the resurrected Lord said;
"Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
- YOU have to admit that there is power and authority in those verses.
- THOSE verses reveal the church.....working in resurrection power.....to set captives free by the message of the cross, and confirm the bondage and ultimate destruction of those who reject the blood of Jesus.
- AND the context of these verses....is the personal revelation of resurrection glory to believers.
- LET'S take a quick look at three different encounters with resurrection power.
II.MARY'S ENCOUNTER WITH RESURRECTION
- CHAPTER 20 opens with;
" Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance."
- SHE could not believe that the resurrection had happened...so she chose to believe the worst......"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put Him."
- THAT is just like a believer that is not walking in resurrection power.....they believe the worst......of others and themselves as if the resurrection had not happened and Jesus was not alive in resurrection power.
- NOT only do they believe the worst....but they insist on telling others right away. Misery loves company. Mary ran back to the other disciples to tell them the terrible bad news.
- SO Peter and John run to the tomb......prepared by Mary for the worst.
- ALL the preaching of Jesus on His resurrection had not done any good....or they would have said to Mary, "Of course He is not there, He said he would be raised on the third day......Hallelujah!"
- BUT preaching was not the answer for Peter and John....it needed to be a personal revelation.
- THEY see the neatly folded grave clothes.....and we know from verse 8 that at least John believed.
- MARY didn't.
- SHE stands at the tomb weeping. The word in verse 11 really means sobbing uncontrolably.
- THERE is no power in her life. There is no joy. The One she loved is gone....Jesus is dead, to her, and the only thing the empty tomb means to her is that somone has stolen His body.
- AND she is crying.
- ANGELS do not even help someone who has not seen the resurrected Lord. In verse 12 and 13 two angels ask her why she is crying....and she tells them what she told the disciples....."Jesus' body is stolen."
- CAN you see how useless you and I are without a personal revelation of resurrection? Angels standing right in front of you don't help.
- NEXT, she turns away from the angels, to leave the garden and runs right into Jesus, but is so blinded by her weakened condition that she doesn't even recognize Him!
- HE engages her in conversation...but she still does not realize that she is talking to the Lord.
- SHE thinks she is talking to the gardener....and wonders if he has perhaps stolen Jesus' body.
- THEN Jesus calls her by name......in the way He used to many times before....and something comes alive in Mary. She has a personal encounter with the resurrected Christ.
- AND her life is forever changed.
- SHE runs to Him and throws her arms around Him in worship. She has tapped into resurrection power.
III.THE DISCIPLES ENCOUNTER WITH THE RESURRECTION
- THEN, no one sees Jesus for a whole week.
- AND the 10 disciples are going to be next....to receive resurrection revelation.
- LET'S look at them before...and after.
"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews...."
- THEY were afraid of the crowd....afraid of the whole town.....The heat had become too hard to handle so they had gone into hiding........behind locked doors and barred windows.
- I WONDER how many believers are in that condition today?
- GONE into hiding. Afraid of the opposition. Barred windows. Locked doors. Not going anywhere. Not doing anything. Just sitting there in the dark waiting for something bad to happen.
- WHEN right through the locked door...comes the resurrected Christ.
- WHAT a shock.
- WHAT good news! You go into hiding and He comes in right after you....through the door.
- "PEACE be with you!"
- WHY peace?
- THEY were sure the crowd hated them. And they were not too sure that if Jesus was raised from the dead...that he would be too pleased with them on account of how they had all acted at the crucifixion.
- HOW many believers today are missing out on resurrection power....because they are convinced Jesus is mad at them and secretly they are hoping that He won't show up in their lives because they don't want to get yelled at.
- BUT He came through that door to show them resurrection power.....and they were overjoyed, says verse 20.
- AGAIN He tells them, "Peace be with you."
- IN other words..."Calm down......I am here in resurrection power for you."
- AND they are so changed at that point by the power of the resurrection.....that He comissions them to GO.
IV.THE DOUBTER'S ENCOUNTER WITH THE RESURRECTION
- WELL, there is always a skeptic in the crowd, and when Jesus had shown Himself to the disciples......Thomas had been absent.
- AND when they told him what had happened, he refused to believe.
- HE said;
"Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
- THERE are those who refuse to be any different......and the only thing that will ever change their lives is a personal encounter with the resurrected Lord.
- THOMAS' doubts didn't upset Jesus.
- HE just showed Thomas His hands and side and said, "Stop doubting and believe."
- AND Thomas was changed.
- IN fact, tradition tells us that Thomas went to India and began a tremendous work there.
- AND then Jesus blessed you and me....right from that scene with Thomas, and I believe and chose to receive my blessing from Him tonight, here with you.
- JESUS said, in verse 29,
"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
- THAT'S me. That's you!
- ASK Him to show you a new revelation of His resurrection power tonight.
- RECEIVE your blessing, your commission, your faith, your power tonight as you look on the resurrected Lord.
I DO BELIEVE