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A0303_Because He Lives

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Date:      8th April 2007                                                                         (Sunday AM)                                                                       Ref: A0302

Place:     Kambah P.S.

Title: Because He Lives

Text:        & Luke 24:1-9

Illust:     Show Gaither Israel Video – The Old Rugged Cross & Because He Lives

The twin high points of Easter, the Cross & the empty tomb, sung in Jerusalem at the site of the Garden Tomb, beneath a rocky outcrop just outside the Damascus Gate – A, garden, a tomb, & a hill that looks like a skull.

I.                   The Old Rugged Cross

A.               Crucified

i.                 In the Philippines, up to 20,000 people watched as more than a dozen men were nailed to crosses and scores more whipped their backs in a gory ritual to mark the crucifixion. – This is off the wall. Christ was crucified so that we didn’t have to be.

         Colossians 1:20  and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. (NKJV)

ii.               The crucifixion was not a passion play, not a religious spectacle; no it was a cruel form of public execution, one through which the victim was made to suffer.

         Matthew 27:33-35 33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink. 35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” (NKJV)

iii.             The cross was a necessity, on it the price was paid for your sin & mine.

         Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (NKJV)

         2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NKJV)

       Think about for a moment what it means to take your sin on Himself!

B.               He Died Upon the Cross

i.                 Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, - important that we understand this. He died! Because the empty tomb & resurrection is so clearly fact, many have tried to explain it away by saying that Jesus, only fainted.

ii.               Ridiculous assertion. These were hardened Roman soldiers. They had seen death close up many times. They knew dead when they saw it. Crucifixions were not uncommon in occupied lands. We can be assured He died. – Pilate himself was surprised that Jesus had died so soon.

         Mark 15:44 Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. (NKJV)

iii.             The centurion gave Pilate an assurance that Jesus had died, he had after all heard him cry out His last cry & saw the spear go in Jesus side. Notice the Romans did not break Jesus legs. They knew He was dead.

         Mark 15:39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” (NKJV)

         John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (NKJV)

       As one author writes “We are told on eyewitness authority that “blood and water” came out of the pierced side of Jesus. The eyewitness clearly attached great importance to this. Had Jesus been alive when the spear pierced His side, strong spouts of blood would have emerged with every heart beat. Instead the observer noticed semi-solid dark red clot seeping out, distinct and separate from the accompanying watery serum. This is evidence of massive clotting of the blood in the main arteries, and is exceptionally strong medical proof of death.

II.                 He is Not Here, but is Risen

A.               An Empty Tomb

i.                 All those burying Him had no doubt He was dead. That’s why they put Him in a tomb. Then on the 3rd day it all changes. - & Mark 16:2-4

ii.               The stone has been rolled away. & Luke 24:3 – I like the next few words of verse 4. “greatly perplexed” How to explain the empty tomb has perplexed men & women since that day. They may mock, scorn, deride & dismiss but try as they might they can’t escape the silent witness of the empty tomb.

iii.             Christianity is not a nice philosophy about peace and love it is a faith in a risen Lord, in the fact of an empty tomb. This was the nightmare of the religious leaders. & Matt 27:62-66

       They had a professional guard & an official seal. ~ In his book “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” Albert Roper writes: “The Roman seal affixed to the stone before Joseph’s tomb was far more sacred to them than all the philosophy of Israel or the sanctity of her ancient creed. Soldiers cold blooded enough to gamble over a dying victim’s cloak are not the kind of men to be hoodwinked by timid Galileans or to jeopardize their Roman necks by sleeping on their post.”

B.               He is Risen

i.                 The truth is clearly evident: & Luke 24:4-6a – Mohammed / Confucius / Buddah / Krishna all the false religions, their founders are dead & occupying their tombs. – Jesus alone has conquered death and is alive. This is what makes Christianity different – We serve a risen, a living saviour.

ii.               Irrefutable: - Plenty of witnesses.

         Mark 16:12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. (NKJV)

         1 Corinthians 15:5-6 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. (NKJV)

       When therefore the disciples began to preach the resurrection in Jerusalem and people responded, and when religious authorities stood helplessly by, the tomb must have been empty. The simple fact that the Christian fellowship, founded on belief in Jesus’ resurrection came into existence and flourished in the very city where he was executed and buried is powerful evidence for the historicity of the empty tomb. William Lane Craig

iii.             Not a ghost not a spirit manifestation but Jesus in a resurrected body. – He deliberately showed His disciples a physical manifestation of Himself. & Luke 24:38-43

III.              Because He Lives

A.               I Can Face Tomorrow

i.                 The resurrection is absolutely essential, not just for our salvation but also it is the foundation of your hope. Who do you pray to? – Jesus the one who died in your place, is risen from the dead and is seated beside the Father to intercede on your behalf.

         Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (NKJV)

         Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (NKJV)

ii.               We have assurance through the resurrection

      That you can rest your faith & hope in God

         1 Peter 1:21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (NKJV)

      Jesus is who He claimed to be, the Son of God.

         Romans 1:4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (NKJV)

      The forgiveness of your sins

         Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (NKJV)

      All the needed power for life and service.

         Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, (NKJV)

iii.             The criticalness of the resurrection from the dead cannot be overstated. Our eternal destiny, our own immortality, the coming judgement all rests on the resurrection.

       If the Resurrection is not historic fact, then the power of death remains unbroken, and with it the effect of sin; and the significance of Christ’s death remains uncertified, and accordingly believers are yet in their sins, precisely where they were before they heard Jesus’ name. W. J. Sparrow Simpson

         Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (NKJV)

B.               God’s Master Plan

i.                 God’s master plan to restore the relationship with Him that was broken in the Garden some 6000 years ago culminated in the crucifixion and was clearly demonstrated and proved through the resurrection, the fact of the Empty Tomb

ii.               The Christian Church went forward in the power of the Holy Ghost to transform the world, one individual life at a time. -

       Without the belief in the resurrection the Christian Faith could not have come into being. The disciples would have remained crushed and defeated men. Even had they continued to remember Jesus as their beloved teacher, his crucifixion would have forever silenced any hopes of his being the Messiah. The cross would have remained the sad and shameful end of his career. The origin of Christianity therefore hinges on the belief of the early disciples that God had raised Jesus from the dead. – William Lane Craig

iii.             Easter is a time to remember the death & resurrection of Jesus, but if you think about it this is not really a Christian concept. – We should strive to every day, every moment of every day remember the cross. Let us try to keep the cross ever before us. Our banner, our standard, the mark of our salvation. – Remember that it is Because He lives we can face the challenges, the trials, the joys the sorrows of  each and every day – Not just Easter.

IV.             Altar Call

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