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Wonderful Words of Life Radio Sermon \\ April 11, 1971 \\ \\ THE MESSAGE OF THE EMPTY TOMB \\ Luke 23:50-24:11 \\ \\ Easter is about an empty tomb.
The tomb belonged to a wealthy merchant from Arimathea named Joseph.
He \\ owned the tomb for he had prepared it for his own burial.
It was located in a garden not far from Golgotha.
\\ \\ Soon after the soldiers had found Jesus dead and had pierced His side with a spear allowing blood and water to \\ escape, the body was given to Joseph by Pilate.
Nic¬odemus came along to help.
This good man was a secret \\ disciple of our Lord who allowed the fear of losing his position to keep him from ever declaring so publicly     to \\ his eternal shame.
There were also some faithful ladies present to give some aid.
\\ \\ With hearts heavy and holding back their tears of grief, they cleaned and wrap¬ped the dead body.
They \\ thought they were burying their last hope.
They tenderly car¬ried the body down the incline to the tomb, placed \\ it on the stone slab in the tomb.
The tomb was hewn from solid rock and a large stone had been prepared to \\ cover the op¬ening.
\\ \\ By the time they had the stone in place, a group of soldiers arrived to stand guard at the tomb.
The Jews had \\ requested their presence because they were afraid His body might be stolen away by His disciples.
They were \\ familiar with something He had said about coming out of death.
They wanted to take no chances on some hoax \\ being pull¬ed off.
They knew He was dead now, and they planned for Him to stay dead.
\\ \\ The body of Jesus was in the tomb through the night Friday, through the day Sat¬urday, and through Saturday \\ night.
Just about the crack of the dawn on Sunday morning some faithful ladies were on their way to the tomb to \\ finish the preparation of the body for burial.
They had prepared some ointments for the body.
As they walked \\ along, they wondered to themselves who would roll the stone away.
Just before they got to the tomb, they felt \\ the earth sway beneath their feet.
There was a rumble like that of an earthquake.
The soldiers who were \\ stationed by the tomb heard the noise.
When they turned toward the tomb they saw a shining stranger roll the \\ stone away from the door of the tomb and sit down on it.
The guards were frightened to death.
When they were \\ able, they hastened into the city to turn in their report.
\\ \\ When the women arrived, they found the shining angel still there.
He greeted them and invited them to see the \\ place where Jesus had been buried.
He told them the dead Christ was now alive.
He sent them away to tell the \\ disciples and Peter that He was alive.
\\ \\ In a while Peter and John came for a firsthand inspection.
The tomb is empty.
The clothes in which He had been \\ buried are there, but He is gone.
Before the day is finished, they are confronted with even more evidence.
They \\ have a face to face en¬counter with the Living Christ.
These were the first of several encounters over the next \\ several days, until the day when He went from them on a cloud back into the hea¬vens.
\\ \\ We have four separate accounts of this incident found in the New Testament.
When Paul wrote to the \\ Corinthians, He said there were at least five hundred brethren who had seen Him and could bear witness to the \\ validity of His resurrection.
But what does it all mean?
What is the message of this empty tomb?
As I look into the \\ empty tomb this morning, I hear three great proclamations.
\\ \\ THE EMPTY TOMB PROCLAIMS PARDON FOR OUR SINS \\ The world has always had a sin problem.
Since the Garden of Eden, man has been a disappointment to Cod \\ and himself.
The world into which Jesus had come less that thirty four years before was no different.
It had tried \\ everything.
\\ \\ The ancient world had bathed the world in the blood of its sacrifices.
The peo¬ple had taken the law and had \\ been frustrated unto despair in their attempts to live by it.
When these had seemed to fail, they had gone on \\ pilgrimages to other gods.
They were worse.
\\ \\ Jesus was announced by John the Baptist as the One who could do something about the sins of the world.
John \\ identified Him as the "Lamb of Cod that taketh away the sins of the world".
Jesus had talked to His disciples \\ about His being a "ransom for the world".
The last night He spent with them He had talked of establishing the \\ New Covenant in His blood.
Jeremiah had described this covenant as the One that finally did something about \\ the sin problem.
\\ \\ On that dark Friday Jesus offered Himself for the sins of the world.
As the Great High Priest Ho presented \\ Himself on the altar for us.
But did God accept His sacrifice?
\\ \\ The empty tomb declares that He did accept it.
Paul later writes, "Who was de¬livered for our offences, and was \\ raised again for our justification" ( Romans 4:25).
The resurrection is the visible evidence that God has \\ accepted Him in our behalf.
\\ \\ Dr. Donald Barnhouse illustrated this truth like this.
He said it is like paying a bill.
You walk up to the counter with \\ the bill in your hand and the money in hand with which to pay it.
You lay both of them on the counter.
The clerk \\ counts the money, tears the bill in two, writes on one part of it paid in full, and hands that canceled part back to \\ you.
That bill can never be collected from you again.
Anytime they would try to collect all you must do is present \\ your canceled stub.
It tells the story.
\\ \\ So it is with our Lord!
On the counter of Eternity, He presented our bill.
He presented the cash of His own life to \\ pay our bill.
On the first day of the week the Father gave us the canceled stub in the resurrection of His Son. \\ \\ Based on this glorious fact, we declare that by faith in this Christ you can be eternally set free from your sins.
\\ Paul declared, "But the Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we \\ preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath \\ raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with \\ the mouth confession is made unto salvation for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" \\ (Romans 10).
\\ \\ Look into that Empty Tomb!
The One who was in here is alive.
If you will call upon His name, and confess Him as \\ your Lord, He will remove all of your sins this morning.
He will save you.
He has paid your debt to enable Him to \\ do this very thing.
\\ \\ THE EMPTY TOMB PROCLAIMS POWER FOR OUR STRUGGLES \\ If the Cross is the symbol of weakness, the empty tomb is the symbol of power.
Look into the tomb!
It proclaims a \\ living Christ who is our contemporary.
He is vic¬torious over even death.
He lives now! \\ \\ The early disciples experienced this power as His presence with them.
He declar¬ed just before leaving for \\ heaven, "And lo I am with you always even unto the end of the age".
He kept His promise.
When Stephen dies in \\ loyalty for Him, Jesus is stand¬ing there to welcome Him into the doorway of the house of God above.
Again and \\ again in some moment of trial, He comes to stand with Paul.
\\ \\ Paul wrote the Philippian letter from the Roman prison.
Yet he notes, "The Lord is at hand".
When telling \\ Timothy of his trials, he notes, "But the Lord stood with me".
Samuel Rutherford who was imprisoned for Christ \\ wrote to a friend, "Christ came into my cell last night and every stone flashed like a ruby".
\\ \\ But even more they experienced Christ as a presence in them.
It was the presence of the risen Christ in them, \\ made real by the coming of the Holy Spirit, that explained the strength and victory of their lives.
Paul would write, \\ "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me".
Again He would write, "Christ liveth in me, and the \\ life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the Son of Cod who loved me and gave Himself for me".
\\ \\ In the last hours of his life Oliver Cromwell called for a servant to read to him from the Bible.
He specifically \\ requested that he read the book of Philippians.
When he came to the thirteenth verse of the fourth chapter, \\ Cromwell stopped him.
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