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The call of the resurrection

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Text: Matthew 28:1-20

1)       The resurrection calls for a decision

a)       Accept the evidence

When the world seems a defeat for God and you are sick with the disorder, the violence, the terror, the war on the streets; when the earth seems to be chaos, say to yourself, "Jesus died and rose again on purpose to save, and his salvation is already with us."

   Every departing missionary is an act of faith in the resurrection.

   Every peace treaty is an act of faith in the resurrection.

   Every agreed commitment is an act of faith in the resurrection.

   When you forgive your enemy

   When you feed the hungry

   When you defend the weak

      you believe in the resurrection.

   When you have the courage to marry

   When you welcome the newly-born child

   When you build your home

      you believe in the resurrection.

   When you wake at peace in the morning

   When you sing to the rising sun

   When you go to work with joy

      you believe in the resurrection.

  -- Carlo Carretto in Blessed Are You Who Believed. Christianity Today, Vol. 40, no. 4.

See: Ac 2:23-24; 3:15; 10:39-40; Ro 1:4; 1 Pe 1:3.

b)       Deny the evidence

If you don't believe in the resurrection of the dead, you ought to be here five minutes before quitting time!

  ---Sign in a San Francisco wholesale florist shop

2)       The resurrection calls for a declaration

a)       Declaring the miracle (sighn)

The Good Friday service in Dampara Baptist Church, Chittagong, Bangladesh, was packed. Little children sat on the floor in the aisles and across the front of the church. Rows of people stood in the back, craning their necks to see the crucifixion scene as depicted in the "Jesus Film."

   Weeping and gasps of unbelief could be heard in the shocked hush as Jesus was crucified. As the Bengalis watched, they were feeling the agony of Jesus' pain and the disappointment of the disciples.

   In that emotional moment, one young boy in the crowded church suddenly cried out, "Do not be afraid. He gets up again! I saw it before."

   A small boy's encouraging cry gave new hope to the viewers of the film. "He is risen!" is the cry that gives new hope to all.

                ***Relate the feeling of tenebrae service….

b)       Declaring a Messiah

c)       Declaring a message

A group of prospectors set out from Bannock, Montana (then capital of the state), in search of gold. They went through many hardships and several of their little company died en route. Finally they were overtaken by the Indians who took their good horses, leaving them with only a few limping old ponies. Then they threatened them, telling them to get back to Bannock and stay there, for if they overtook them again, they would murder the lot of them. Defeated, discouraged, and downhearted, the prospectors sought to make their way back to the capital city. On one occasion as they tethered out the limping ponies on a creekside, one of the men casually picked up a little stone from the creek bed. He called to his buddy for a hammer and upon cracking the rock, he said, "It looks as though there may be gold here." The two of them panned gold the rest of the afternoon and managed to realize twelve dollars' worth. The entire little company panned gold the next day in the same creek and realized fifty dollars, a great sum in those days. They said to one another: "We have struck it!" They made their way back to Bannock and vowed not to breathe a word concerning this gold strike. They secretively set about re-equipping themselves with supplies for another prospecting trip. But when they got ready to go back, three hundred men followed them. Who had told on them? No one! Their beaming faces betrayed the secret!

   If we have been enamored with Him, whom having not seen we love, we should be unable to conceal the treasure: Our beaming faces should betray the secret!

   L. E. Maxwell

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 180-181.

3)       The ressurrection calls for duration

a)       Jesus Never quits

John W. Yates shared this letter from a missionary who had gone into the jungles of New Guinea:

   "Man," he said, "it's great to be in the thick of the fight, to draw the old Devil's heaviest guns, to have him at you with depression and discouragement, slander, disease! He doesn't waste time. He hits good and hard when a fellow is hitting him. You can always measure the weight of your blow by the one you get back. When you're on your back with fever and at your last ounce of strength, when some of your converts backslide, when you learn that your most promising inquirers are only fooling, when your mail gets held up and some don't bother to answer your letters, is that the time to put on your mourning suit?

   "No Sir! That's the time to pull out the stops and shout hallelujah! The old fellow's getting it in the neck and he's giving it back. And all of heaven is watching over the battlements: 'Will he stick it out?' And as they see who is with us, as they see around us the unlimited reserves, the boundless resources, as they see the impossibility of failure with God, how disgusted and sad they must be when we run away. Glory to God! We're not going to run away. We're going to stand."

   -- John W Yates II, "Overcoming Discouragement," Preaching Today, Tape No. 42.

b)       The message never quits

Let's--all of us--decide to stop trying to convince the world that Christianity is true because Jesus makes us prettier, happier, thinner, wealthier, bigger, more successful, more popular, healthier, stronger, and more influential than everyone else.  Do we acually believe that the world is impressed with our fancy new churches, 12,000 in Sunday School, five services each morning, the "millions" who are watching on television, converted beauty queens and professional athletes, our book sales, or our crusades?  The world is laughing at us--mocking us and the Jesus we supposedly are serving.

   -- Mike Yaconelli in The Door (Sept,/Oct.l989). Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 2.

c)       No retirement plan

To accept the life of Christ is more than a momentary decision. It affects the rest of your life.  There is no retirement plan in the kingdom of God.

Conclusion:          The people who jest about faith don't realize how big a part it plays in everyday affairs. It takes faith to get married because marriage vows are basically promises. It takes faith to send children off to school. It takes faith to get a prescription filled. It takes faith to eat in a restaurant, deposit money in a bank, sign a contract, drive on the highway, or get on an airplane or an elevator. Faith isn't some kind of religious experience for the elite; it's the glue that helps hold people's lives together.

   But remember, faith is only as good as its object. If we trust people, we get what people can do; if we trust money, we get what money can do; if we trust ourselves, we get what we can do; if we trust God, we get what God can do.

   -- Warren Wiersbe, author and speaker. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 2.

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