Sermons

Sun, Apr 01, 2018

Easter 2018

I love Easter… I love the Gospel accounts of the resurrection. Wouldn’t it have been awesome to live when Jesus walked on the earth and seen with our own eyes these events. Experienced together, but from their own perspective.
Series:Easter
Duration:45 mins 53 secs

1 Corinthians 15:1-22  

 

1  Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 

2  by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 

3  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 

4  and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 

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. 

7  After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 

8  Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 

9  For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 

10  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 

11  Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 

12  Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 

13  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 

14  And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 

15  Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. 

16  For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 

17  And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 

18  Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 

19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 

20  But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 

21  For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 

22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 

 

 

I want you to know something today church. I have an agenda today… I want everyone here today to go to heaven. Not right this minute, I know you family activities to go to. I mean when you die or when the Lord returns in the Rapture one day. 

 

I love Easter… I love the Gospel accounts of the resurrection. Wouldn’t it have been awesome to live when Jesus walked on the earth and seen with our own eyes these events. 

 

Experienced together, but from their own perspective. 

 

 

 

We do not believe Jesus rose from the dead just because the Bible tells us. That would be enough, but the news of the resurrection of Christ is not just biblical, because its factual. It’s historical. This one event in human history has changed the course to human history. 

 

Like Paul is proclaiming in 1 Corinthians 15, We believe Jesus rose from the dead… 

 

To see Him dead…they saw the beating, they saw His body ravaged by the Roman guards as the flogged him with a ‘cat o’ nine tails’, a wooden handle wrapped in leather with multiple strands of cord about 2 1/2’ long coming from it for a whip with pieces of metal and bone fragments tied on the end to inflict pain and to literally tear the skin off His body. It was a mens of torture.  

 

 

When you read the Gospel Narrative… the end of the gospel story is a complete surprise to everyone…the only ones there were a few faithful women and John.

 

Paul, I believe Jesus rose from the dead… Paul known as Saul didn’t believe in Jesus when Jesus was crucified. Paul saw Jesus death as mission accomplished as a Pharisee of the Jews, a persecutor of the church.

 

James the brother of Jesus doesn’t show up in the Gospel accounts during the last week of Jesus life. He didn’t believe His brother was the Lord. He believed his brother was nuts.

 

 

The resurrection changed everything. This is history that changed the world… 

 

You recall the backstory… The Jews were hoping a Messiah would show up… Someone would rescue them from the heavy handed Roman government.  

 

So who shows up on the scene? A guy names John the Baptist… dressed to the nines in clothing. made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist. John was a Vegan, he ate locusts for protein and enjoyed wild honey.

 

His message… Buckle up folks… Its time to get ready… God is about to do something of epic proportion! You need to repent so you will see what God is about to do.

 

They Jews asked John, are you for real or are you suffering from Messiah complex like all the guys before you?  

 

John says, John 1:27,   “It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose Birkenstocks sandal strap I am not worthy to loose." 

 

 

John let the people know in no uncertain terms that If your heart is not right you will not see the promised Messiah. What was true then it true today. 

 

You might find this interesting. I know I do… Jesus had many followers but not because He was a great teacher, Jesus had many followers because He was a good healer, a good feeder. He touched peoples lives, He fed them, forgave them and made them well… that is why the people followed Him. 

 

Read the Gospels and you will find… most people understood little to nothing that Jesus taught… Jesus teaching was complicated, He spoke in parables… His teaching was hard to understand. He didn’t make friends most of the time when He taught and the longer He taught the more people walked away. Yet, more and more people kept coming to check Him out. 

 

Heck, even Jesus closest followers would take Jesus aside and ask privately, “What the heck did you mean when you said where is the bread?” (Matthew 16:9)

 

The large crowds caused a major conflict with the Jewish authorities because the masses began to turn from the jewish teachers and began to follow after Jesus and this created a problem as the Jews authorities controlled the temple and therefore controlled how worship was practiced, how worship was to be done. 

 

Jesus had harsh things to say about the Pharisee, and the Saducees, as well as the keepers of the law… Everyone understood that they were sinners in need of a Savior and He was letting them know He was the One who could forgive them and offer them eternal life. And to prove it He did the impossible, and in doing the impossible the resurrection became believable.  

 

In John’s Gospel chapter 11, Jesus did a miracle that changed everything… Jesus rose a man from the dead… Lazarus had been dead for 4 days in the grave and his body stunk… When Jesus said, Lazarus come forth, the people went wild… Jesus conquered death…the final enemy had been defeated. No one could do this but God… 

 

And yet heres what happened. Instead of believing, three groups of religious people were united against Jesus…  

 

The Pharisees believed in the resurrection

The Saducees did not believe in the resurrection  

Keepers of the law sought to please Rome…

 

These groups never got along until now, until it came to Jesus. They come together to figure out a way to eliminate Him before He eliminated their livelihood and their concept of God.  

 

John 11:48, “If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation." 

 

 

In essence, the Romans will take away both our temple and our nation. 

 

And who said there is a separation of church and state. Here they come together. 

 

They all agree, We have to stop Jesus.  We don’t want to lose our authority…If Rome gets wind that we have lost control they will take away our control. Not to keen on the idea of giving up their authority they plot from that day forward to kill Jesus.  

 

As the plot thickens the story line slows down so we don’t miss the details. 

 

Mathew, Mark, Luke and John… All four Gospels tell this story of Jesus resurrection. All four Gospel give us great detail…  

 

They were eye witnesses themselves and there were still alive eyewitnesses to the events that took place that they wrote about and who could refute the events if they were not true … Its only been 30-40 years after Jesus resurrection that Matthew Mark Luke and John wrote down their account of Jesus resurrection. 

 

They had an agenda… Their agenda was clear… they wanted people to know that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah as He is unique from every other religious figure that has ever graced the earth. He was killed and three days later just as He said, He rose again from the dead! 

 

John 2:19, “Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." 

 

 

If this were a fictional story you would think that Matthew Mark Luke and John would have painted themselves and the other apostles in a much better light than how they were presented in the Gospels. 

 

You have Peter “the Rock” popping off and Jesus putting him in his place each time. Get behind me Satan… What is it to you Peter if John lives until I return… I’ll never deny you Lord. 

You have Thomas doubting the ressurection… I won’t believe until I see and touch His wounds 

You have Paul calling for the death of Christians chasing them all over the world and having the favorite son Stephen killed. Not a good foundation for reaching people with God’s love. 

You don’t even hear a mention of James, Jesus half brother

And poor Mathias… he doesn’t last at all as the replacement for Judas. So much for casting lots

And yes, don’t forget Judas, one of the original gang of 12. He sells Jesus out for $30 bucks basically, (figure of speech. Save the emails to correct me that it was 30 pieces of silver)

Then Judas hangs himself. 

 

If the resurrection was not true this is not the story line you would want to write about the guys you left to change the world while you were gone. 

 

What best described the disciples of Jesus. They were two things, 

1.Real scared

2. Real selfish 

 

The Gospel accounts lay out the cold hard facts, warts and all as they say. The good the bad and the ugly. 

 

Simply put when the chips were down the disciples ran away… 

 

Peter who is the leader of the church… 

In Matthew 26 a little girl asks Peter if he too is a follower of Jesus and Peter responds I don’t even know who you are talking about. 

 

Heres a bummer… After Jesus is crucified, none of Jesus friends stick around for His funeral. 

 

In John 21 Peter and some of the disciples decide to join him and go fishing. Might as well go back to what we were doing before we met Jesus…  

 

Nothing makes sense for anybody… Confusion mounts and fear ensues. If they did that to Jesus we must be next… 

 

Now here is something that is interesting… Are you aware of Roman crucifixion and its custom? 

 

You don’t bury people when they are crucified. You leave their body out as a human bird feeder. They let the bodies rot on the cross. Yet we have a guy… 

 

John 19:38, “After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus.”

 

A rich guy, named Joseph of Arimathea, a distant cowardly follower of Jesus pays Pilate for the body of Jesus so he can give Him a proper burial. After all, Jesus is Jewish and Jewish law prohibited that a dead body remain out in the open over night. They were to be taken down and buried. Only the Jews held to the practice of burial. Most criminals were left on the Cross to rot and be be eaten.   

 

Maybe the most compelling evidence for the resurrection is that of what we call a hostile witness. Someone who will be discredited by testifying on your behalf. Think about this… 

 

Jesus enemies had more confidence in Jesus ministry than the disciples of Jesus did. The disciples are long gone, head for the hills. 

 

But not the religious Jews, the Pharisees, They remember Jesus words. 

 

Matthew 27:62-66 

62  On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 

63  saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise.' 

64  Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first." 

65  Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how." 

66  So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.  

 

This is a joke… think this through…  you really think the disciples are plotting to come steal the body of Jesus in the middle of the night while the tomb is being guarded by a bunch of special opps guys. 

 

Think about this… if the disciples were not willing to die for Jesus when He was alive do you think they would dare risk their lives for Jesus after He was dead. Think about it. Its not logical… 

 

If everything Jesus told you to believe when He was alive was now proven not to be true because He was dead, would you risk your life and go attempt to steal the body. (if Jesus did in fact not rise from the dead)

 

Remember, the disciples saw the horrific death Jesus died. What the authorities did to Jesus they would do to Jesus followers if they attempted to steal the body. 

 

If Jesus couldn’t save Himself how could He save us the disciples had to be thinking? 

 

The moment Jesus died everything He ever said was proven a lie. 

 

Who do you think was anticipating the resurrection? Not’a, no one… No one is anticipating the resurrection of Jesus…  

 

No balloons at the tomb, no NASA count down… 3-2-1… roll way the stone!!!! Ya!!!!!

 

The resurrection is what changed the world. The empty tomb is the proof we celebrate today 2000 years later. 

 

We are Christians because Jesus Christ, Amen! 

 

The women who showed up on Easter morning they were expecting a body to be there. 

 

They found no body… 

 

No body was expecting no body

 

The Book of Acts…

 

We have seen Jesus… You were there… You killed Him!

 

You need to repent… You need to ask God forgiveness

 

 

22 years later after the resurrection of Christ, the apostle Paul pens his letter to the church at Corinth. 22 years is not that is not that long of a time.

 

Paul who was a persecutor of the church at the time of Jesus resurrection… is now is a fully devoted follower of Christ

 

Back to 1 Corinthians 15

 

1 Corinthians 15:1-6  

1  Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 

2  by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 

3  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 

4  and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 

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. 

 

 

What was unbelievable is now believable. What was said to be untrue is now proven true! 

 

If you are crucified you don’t get buried. He was raised on the third day  

 

Jesus was seen by more than 500 people at the same time. Even people who are alive to this very day.  

 

Verse 6: “Some have fallen asleep…” Paul saw death for the Jesus follower as nothing more than sleep. 

 

Death as sleep… because after you sleep you wake up. 

 

Look who Jesus appears too. 

 

1 Corinthians 15:7  “After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.” 

 

 

Jesus appears to His own brother… How do you think that went over? 

 

James, saying with his eyes closed and his head down… I believe I believe… I know, I know, I wasn’t at your funeral. Mom was ticked at me. I know I know, I thought you were nuts. I know I know I said a lot of bad things about you. Heck, you already know all these things why am I telling you? Thats right, confession is good for the soul. You are God. How was I too know. At least now I know why you were Moms favorite. 

 

How can I make it right? Write a book about what you now know. Call it the book of James, you can put it in the Bible. 

 

Verses 8-9:  “Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 

9  For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

 

Then lastly, Jesus shows Himself to Paul, the apostle Paul who at the time Jesus walked on earth was a Christian hater…a persecutor of the church..

 

Paul says the other apostles might have been cowards, but I was worse, I was a murderer. I am the chief of sinners and yet God has loved and accepted me so the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me! 

 

Heres the take away this morning, something to chew on this Easter morning… What you think of when you think about God is of the utmost importance as to how your life is going to go.

 

Your idea of who God is how you will relate to God and what you believe you can receive from Him. 

 

Its important to relate to God in the right way so we can receive all that He wants to give us. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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