First Baptist Church of Minneola
- Because He Lives (Amen)
- Christ The Lord Is Risen Today (Easter Hymn)
- He Lives
- A prominent California minister, John Ortberg, is known for his quote:At the heart of Christian faith is the story of Jesus' death and resurrection.INTRO - Christ was hardly dead when Jewish leaders began to plot way’s to discredit his life and ministry.Deny the resurrection, and all Scripture prophesied about Him, all He said of Himself, and all His followers have said of Him becomes a great big lie.Denying the resurrection continues to challenge Jesus’ followers.Some of Germany’s finest theologians even fell trap to it concluding that everything in the Gospels is a myth with nearly nothing historical.However, resurrection, being raised from the dead, is not new at the time of Jesus.Elijah raised a boy, Elisha raised the Shunammite’s son, Jesus raised both Jairus’s daughter and Lazarus.Nor did resurrection end with Jesus:Peter raised Dorcas and Paul raised Eutycus.That makes me glad because I know it hasn’t ended:and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.The empty tomb should point us to the resurrection, not to deny it happened.Without the resurrection, all hope is gone, Christianity is a lie, and everything taught through Scripture is one big con job.Seems its easier for people to believe in a lie than the truth.Should give us an idea of the sort of people we confront in life.They think lies the truth and truth to be lies.EST - Our text tells us Jesus’ tomb empty and grave cloths left behind.ESS - We’ll explore three things that even unbelievers know to be true.OSS - We’ll end with an opportunity to address what we believe to be true about Jesus’ resurrection.TRANS - Let’s begin with PRAYER and then read our passage.PRAYWhat does it say?Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.What does it mean?The resurrection of Jesus Christ is what makes today special.Paul wrote:And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.Thank God for Jesus’ resurrection and that we are no longer punished for our sin!Satan is known for attempts to disprove what we know to be true about the resurrection.Without the resurrection, Christianity disappears.The text we read argues against the idea of thieves steeling the body of Jesus.People discovered the tomb empty on that first Easter Sunday.The powerful of the day didn’t want the truth known:And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.I am happy to preach from the text of John which proves the resurrection is true.Jesus arose from the grave alive!Theft and the MomentILL - have you noted that all bank robbery scenes basically go like this.Somebody yells, “Its a stickup. Everybody on the ground.”The scene then turns to somebody forced to put money into a bag with the robber yelling, “Faster, hurry up!”Even when nobody is around, a thief is not going to take their leisure.Somebody could show up at any point and catch them in the act.John and Peter rush to the tomb, Peter finds the grave clothes as they were inside the tomb.The thieves took the body but spent time to remove the grave clothes and place them neatly in the tomb?I hardly think so.Even if they had, they’d been in a hurry to get the body gone and tossed the clothes in a pile.But the text tells us Peter found the clothes lying as if Jesus simply went through them.Have you ever seen a ballon after the air is gone from inside?That’s how Peter finds these grave clothes.TRANS - So, the evidence against thievery is strong.Theft and the MessILL - Many years ago my parents were burglarized. Mom and my nephew, Ridge, walked in to the house an noted that things were out of sorts. The television pulled from wall and wires dangling, tools out in garage, and other things appeared shuffled. Once mom determined they were burglarized, she, also, figured out why the job was not finished. The burglar was still in the house. He fled while they were there leaving a burning cigarette in the master bedroom closet burning on the carpet.In the early nineties, I was burglarized. I noticed the door to my storage building swinging in the breeze. I looked inside and noted lost of stuff missing and how the place was a mess.Some years back the church was burglarized. Door frames were busted through, the sound-booth in disarray, and the place was a mess.Thieves don’t take their time, nor are they concerned for keeping things tidy.Taking a body without the grave clothes pretty dumb in itself.BAK - Unlike our modern embalming methods that keep the body from decomposing, a dead body then started to turn once the life was gone.They couldn’t prevent nature from decomposing the body, so they wrapped it in spices to help cover the scent of the decaying body.Joseph of Armathea took care of that for Jesus.He was wealthy, a follower of Jesus’, and wouldn’t had skimped on wrapping the body correctly.Thieves don’t take time and do leave a mess.They’d not unwrapped the body, it was slimy, messy, and smelly.Thieves may not be the smartest, but not that dumb.TRANS - So far we’ve noted that thieves are their for the shortest possible moment and aren’t concerned for leaving a mess behind.Theft and the MenWhat sort of people would steal Jesus’ body?BAK - Let’s get a better picture of the scene of the tomb.It was sealed:So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.The guards were seasoned fighting machines. They were not rookies. Most probably they were older, not old, but ready to move into retirement. They’d not wanted anything to mess up their plans. Any error, and they’d be killed.Nobody would’ve wanted to mess with these guys.Jesus’ followers were to afraid to approach the tomb.Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.”The ladies waited to add spices to the linen wrapping.The idea of stealing was a lie started by the enemies of God who didn’t want the truth about the resurrection to spread.TRANS - We noted how thieves rush and ravage.We noted nobody of the time dared to steal the body of Jesus.The government wanted him dead. The Jews demanded him dead. The disciples thought he was dead.Nobody dared to defy the Roman guard.What should we do in response?Even today, opposition to Jesus Christ and the story of the resurrection is embraced by the enemies of God who choose to believe stupid theories instead of clear teaching of the truth.The evidence of his resurrection in this and several other appearances before and after Jesus went to heaven is clearly explained in Scripture.The resurrection symbolizes the power of Jesus to give new life to his followers.When Jesus did show Himself to people after His resurrection, He showed himself to those how loved Him.Jesus sought the fellowship of his own.Today He seeks those who will become His and those who are His.If today you want to know and belong to Jesus I want to tell you how.If today you do belong to Jesus I want you to tell others how.(end)
1 Corinthians 15:17ESV
- Christ Arose
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