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Resurrection Sunday 2020

Easter 2020  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:45
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Introduction:
In inconvenient times like these when we are separated from our Christian brothers and sisters during such a Holy holiday, I would like to tell you: I am with you. Praying for you & with you. Looking forward to a future and redeemed earth with you.
State and local officials are doing a good job keeping us as safe as they can. However so far, it seems several empty promises are being made in the media & from the government, whether local or national. The one that bothers me the most, and probably bothers you too, is how this social distancing order in the UP was first slated to last only two weeks, then three, now six weeks with rumors of it lasting to the end of May. It is beginning to feel like there is no end to this— now we know that is not true and there is an end, but anytime that any official says when it will end is starting to feel like empty promises.
Today, I stand here to tell you of an “empty” promise. In fact, it is the greatest “empty” promise ever made! Unlike with our presidents & govenor, this is a fulfilled promise—the empty tomb promise!
He is Risen!
Last week, we followed the account given in the Gospel of Luke that started the Holy Week—Palm Sunday, so let’s start this blessed morning with Luke 24:1-12
Luke 24:1–12 ESV
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
My goal today is to celebrate with you what Christ's resurrection means to us. I want to explore with you some depth to the magnitude of the Resurrection with the result that you leave here shouting out in joy (or for our homedwellers, shouting) and in happiness over Christ's wonderful work. Also, I want to remind you of how critical Jesus' bodily resurrection is to us. I sincerely hope that at the end of this service, you'll have no other reaction but rejoicing and praising God with authentic happiness and gratitude. To help show the incredible weight and glory of the Messiah’s resurrection, let’s take a look back to the passage we read together in the congregational reading in 1 Corinthians 15. We read vv.1-8 already, {{1Cor 15:1-8 }}
1 Corinthians 15:1–8 LEB
Now I make known to you, brothers, the gospel which I proclaimed to you, which you have also received, in which you also stand, by which you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the message I proclaimed to you, unless you believed to no purpose. For I passed on 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 up on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve, then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, the majority of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all, as it were to one born at the wrong time, he appeared also to me.
This passage is where I primarily want to be this Easter morning, but Paul did not address this specifically to Grace Baptist Church, originally he wrote to a troubled church.
They had many problems in the Corinthian Church:
Divisions (1:10-Ch. 2)
Carnality (Chs. 3-4)
Immorality & Arrogance (Lawsuits against other believers) (Chs 5-6)
Self-Centeredness (Ch11)
Doubt (Ch. 15)
Their Theological Problem they faced was a society discarding the foundations of the Gospel.
Chapter 1 - Christ's Crucifixion powerless to the mighty Greco-Roman Empire
Chapter 15 - Christ's Resurrection was, not only rejected, but actually repulsive
Some in the Church of Corinth were into the popular Greek philosophy of their time which taught that the body (being Physical) was bad (everything physical was bad) and the best solution is to shed the physical body with death, so the idea of Christ's physical resurrection and eventually the believers' physical resurrection did not sit well with pop culture. Take any point of history, there is a tenant (or more) of the Gospel that the mainstream society rejects. But the resurrection is what Paul says is important now for their church, but why? Why is it so important? Liberal Theologians are quick to throw out the resurrection because it is so hard to believe and the world cannot fathom an actual dead person coming back to life. Should we de-emphasize or even forget the Resurrection altogether for the sake of better reception of Christianity—to make it more believable? NO! but why?
Now look to verse 12:
1 Corinthians 15:12–15
1 Corinthians 15:12–15 ESV
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
our preaching is in vain
The "vain" word there in Greek is kenos meaning foolish, without purpose; or untrue— Paul obviously thinks the Resurrection is very important to believers! Okay then, what exactly happened at Christ's resurrection?
Well…First, The Resurrection Happened

The Resurrection Happened

Easter Sunday is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Jesus died on the cross for our sins verse three tells us. But the resurrection is the proof that what he said about himself and our future is true. So what are the facts?
It was first preceded by suffering and death -- The Cross
It took place on the first day of the week (all 4 gospels confirm)
It was announced by the angels (Mt 28:5-6 pp Mk 16:5-6 pp Lk 24:4-6)
The disciples were reluctant to believe it (this is recorded in all 4 Gospels)
The disciples saw the evidence and were ultimately convinced to the point of giving up their lives!
The risen Christ appeared to many people-- as we saw with the congregational reading today
The resurrection was followed by Christ’s entry into glory (1Cor 15:24-29)
This resurrection is authentic and verified!
Transition:
It happened! now let’s us consider some other aspects of the resurrection.

The Resurrection had to Happen

First the resurrection had to happen because…

Christ’s resurrection fulfilled many promises

Promises By the OT Prophets-- look back at verse three in 1 Corinthians 15
1 Corinthians 15:3 LEB
For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures,
“according to the scriptures”
1 Corinthians 15:4 LEB
and that he was buried, and that he was raised up on the third day according to the scriptures,
“according to the scriptures”
What Scriptures? Luke agree with Paul and answers this in the Book all about the impact of Christ's resurrection: ACTS Acts 2:25-35 (Peter's sermon at Pentecost; he quotes from Ps.16:8–11 & Ps 110:1) “He explains what David says concerning [Jesus]...
Acts 2:30–32 LEB
Therefore, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, by having foreseen this, he spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he abandoned in Hades nor did his flesh experience decay. This Jesus God raised up, of which we all are witnesses.
God cannot break His promises to David and so He must raise the Messiah from the dead to fulfill them.
Acts 13:34-35 (quoted from Isa. 55:3 and we see Psalm 16:10 again)
Then in Acts 26, Paul is on trial before King Agrippa and testifies that he is saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would happen: "that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”
These are the promises By the OT Prophets- but then there are the promises By Jesus himself concerning his resurrection
The Gospel of Mark has several promises by Jesus, chapter 8
Mark 8:31 LEB
And he began to teach them that it was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer many things and to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be killed, and after three days to rise.
Then in chapters 9 & 10, Jesus tells the disciples for the second & third time about His Death AND promises his resurrection.
Now look at John 2:18–19
John 2:18–19 LEB
So the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign do you show to us, because you are doing these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up!”
then John explains that the temple is Jesus' body therefore promising He will be resurrected.
Transition:
With these promises, the resurrection had to happen. Next the resurrection occurred because…

The Resurrection had to Really have Happened

Why?

Christ’s resurrection demonstrated God’s power

Romans 1:4
Romans 1:4 LEB
who was declared Son of God in power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ our Lord,
“by his resurrection”
The power of Christ is demonstrated also by resurrecting others—such as Lazarus in John 11. Lazarus was in the grave for three days and was raised back to life.
Then, as we observed on Friday, Christ at the Cross in Matt 27:50-53
Matthew 27:50 LEB
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit.
Matthew 27:51 LEB
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook and the rocks were split.
Listen here to verse 52
Matthew 27:52 LEB
And the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,
Matthew 27:53 LEB
and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
THAT IS POWER!
We could turn to even more passages of Christ's resurrection power: Luke 7:22 pp Matt 11:4-5; also Matt 9:23-25 pp Mrk 5:38-42; Luke 7:14-15;
So we see that the resurrection is promises fulfilled and as a demonstration of God's power. Additionally:

Christ’s resurrection is central to Christianity

As the foundation of our faith

Romans 10:9 which I am sure many of you know "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that you will be saved."
Romans 10:9 LEB
that if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
“God raised him from the dead”
This is part of believing in the Gospel!
Then in our passage this morning (1Cor 15:14)
1 Corinthians 15:14 LEB
But if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain.
Without the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity is not true.
Christ’s resurrection is central to Christianity:

As the basis of our justification

It is the bases of our right standing before God!
Romans 4:25
Romans 4:25 LEB
who was handed over on account of our trespasses, and was raised up in the interest of our justification.
“raised for our justification
Then Romans 8:34
Romans 8:34 LEB
Who is the one who condemns? Christ is the one who died, and more than that, who was raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

As the core of our hope

This Hope is that we all --both believers and non believers--will be resurrected in a physical body, except the non believer won't be rejoicing at this time! Acts 24:15
Acts 24:15 LEB
having a hope in God which these men also themselves await: that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.
“A resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
Think of how this BLESSED Hope carries us through in times of a death of a loved one which unbeliever cannot share. Look further down in our passage in 1 Cor. 15:54-57
1 Corinthians 15:54–57 LEB
But whenever this perishable body puts on incorruptibility and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: “Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Then, going back to Peter at Pentecost in Acts 2:24, Peter says:
Acts 2:24 LEB
God raised him up, having brought to an end the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
JESUS IS GREATER THAN DEATH not even death can stop our Savior!!!

As the proof of believers’ resurrection

Romans 8:11
Romans 8:11 LEB
And if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also make alive your mortal bodies through his Spirit who lives in you.
our physical bodies will receive life after death!!
Transition:
Not just promises fulfilled, a powerful demonstration, and the foundation of Christianity, but finally, we'll look at how…

The Resurrection Really, Really Happened

Christ’s resurrection is easily defended from common attacks both then and now
The resurrection confirmed Jesus, the Christ, as God John calls Jesus’ miracles “signs” throughout his gospel and the resurrection John 20:30-31 is the climax "sign" that Jesus IS God, confirming his identity beyond all doubt; Other passages Rom 1:4; Acts 13:33, Hebrews 1 and 5 all quote Psalm 2:7 showing that God declared Jesus: Son of God
The resurrection is confirmed by the date It happened on a day that one can easily point to in history (it is datable, not fictional, not imagined) As mentioned in our Luke passage earlier, Christ raised on a Sunday-- the First day of the week! It is actually the reason we corporately worship together on Sundays--because the resurrection happened on the first day of the week!
The resurrection is confirmed by the empty tomb The disciples couldn’t lie about that since the tomb was right outside of Jerusalem, where anyone could just walk to take a peak for themselves. Sure, unbelievers try to explain away the empty tomb, but all the explanations crumble under scrutiny, whether uttered then or today.
The resurrection is confirmed by many witness Go back to our passage in 1 Cor. 15:5–11 The various appearances of the risen Christ are offered as proof. His appearance to Peter (15:5a) His appearance to the apostles with Thomas absent (15:5b) His appearance to the 500 (15:6) His appearance to James, (15:7a) His appearance to the apostles with Thomas present (15:7b) And finally, His appearance to Paul (15:8–11) just in this one passage alone
Do you think that Paul could write this in AD 55, so soon after the resurrection--around 20 years-- if it were a lie? Even Paul points out that most the 500 are still alive! And they could confirm sightings of the risen Christ if questioned.
His appearance was in the FLESH -- He was not a ghost or imagined Luke 24:37-39 - Post Resurrection, Jesus shows them he's FLESH & BONES John 20:27- Doubting Thomas touches Christ
The resurrection is confirmed by the radically changed disciples They went from their witness defeated right after Christ's death to still undefeated today across the globe. What man would ever die for what he knew to be a lie? Islamist extremists blow themselves up for a lie, but that is because they wholeheartedly believe a lie. The Disciples died for what they believed…the truth Peter went from denying Christ, then hiding from the Jewish officials: to preaching boldly at Pentecost in front of the Jewish officials (blaming them for killing God's Son), to eventually hanged upside-down on a cross.

So What?

So what does the resurrection me to us, here, now? So what if The doctrine of the resurrection was under attack back in Corinth in AD 55. It is attacked, now, here in America. Let's switch to the negative view… What if the Atheists were right, or Muslims, who say Christ was not even on the Cross, that a lookalike was on the Cross? What if they were right that Christ didn’t raise out of the grave? Muslims would be happy if Christians denied the resurrection-- in fact, they are trying to infiltrate Christianity through the new religion Chrislam -- which is Islam's efforts to get us to deny the resurrection. Does Paul entertain this false reality? Look at verse 16 of our passage: 1 Corinthians 15:16–19
1 Corinthians 15:16–19 LEB
For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised either. But if Christ has not been raised, your faith is empty; you are still in your sins. And as a further result, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have put our hope in Christ in this life only, we are of all people most pitiable.
We are to be pitied for living our lives in a lie
The following reflection is from the book The Outline Bible The author comments in our passage on how things would be under these conditions of no risen Christ. He says:"If there is no resurrection, one must be forced to accept the following horrible conclusions:In regard to the Gospel:(v13): The Easter story is a lie. --NO HOPE(v14): Gospel preaching is useless. --Waist of time(v15): Gospel preachers are all liars. In regard to believers:Our trust in God is empty, worthless, and hopeless (v14).We are still in our sin (v17). --enslaved to sin foreverWe are the most miserable of all creatures (v19).Those who live, suffer, and die for Christ are fools (vv.29–31). --a Waist of their livesIn regard to deceased believers (v18): They are forever dead, never to rise again." -- This is the hope of an atheist What a bleak false reality!Leave here thankful, glad, joyous that these conclusions are not true…Paul continues in 1 Cor. 15:20-23
1 Corinthians 15:20–23 LEB
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since through a man came death, also through a man came the resurrection of the dead. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own group: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ’s at his coming,
Because Jesus was raised from the dead in his glorified body, we too shall be raised from the dead in our glorified bodies. All of our diseases, frailties, and weaknesses will pass away and become nothing on the day of our resurrection. This Easter Sunday, please understand that the resurrection of Christ guarantees the resurrection of all who trust in Him. It is the proof that what Jesus said was true.
God is REAL, Jesus is REAL, and the resurrection did occur just as God said it would happen. Do you now see how important the resurrection is to us?
God created us to be with him.
Our sins separate us from God.
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds. —no church attendance, no baptism, no good behavior will get you to heaven.
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life.
Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever.
Finally, remember that in this difficult time, our hope is in Christ and His resurrection.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, not on the circumstances of this world! He is faithful, loving and kind, and He is risen! The resurrection has occurred: He has risen, He has risen indeed! Praise GOD!
PRAY
With your heads bowed and your eyes closed, who here this morning would say, "I needed this, I needed the reminder of what the resurrection means to me"? May I see your hands? And again, With your heads bowed and your eyes closed, who here this morning would say, "Josh, I don’t have this joy or this happiness about the resurrection, but I want it, I know I need the resurrection to change me" May I see your hands?
GIVE GOSPEL INVITATION
Christ Died for YOU, not only that, but Christ Rose for YOU to prove to you who he is and prove what He says is true. Jesus Loves you and wants you to enjoy Him. The Deacons and I, here, are willing to introduce you to our Savior TODAY, this is so important to take care of your relationship with Christ today
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