“Emmanuel’s Verification” – Matthew 28:1-10

April 5th, 2015 – FEASTER

Matthew 28:1-10

“Emmanuel’s Verification”

 

Service Orientation:  For those who believe in the reality of the original Easter event, they have available to them all the resources to live a life of victory, hope, courage, strength and joy.  For those who do not believe . . . Well, good luck.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead . . . — 1 Peter 1:3

 

The question to be answered is . . . Why all the fuss about Easter?  I mean it is only about chocolate bunnies and finding eggs . . . right?

 

Answer:  Easter is the world changing, historically verifiable event that can radically change your life.  Those who put their trust in the Jesus of Easter have available to them all the resources to live a life of victory, hope, courage, strength and joy.

 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single greatest event in the history of the world.  It is so foundational to Christianity that no one who denies it can be a true Christian.  Without resurrection there is no Christian faith, no salvation, and no hope.   (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 24-28, 305)

 

There would be no Christianity if there were no resurrection.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 24-28, 304)

 

The Phrase for the Day is . . . He is risen!

 

If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the Christian faith is a foolish fantasy.  However, if the resurrection of Christ did occur, it confirms His life, message, and atoning work.  It is the basis of our hope of life beyond the grave.  Christ is alive, and the evidence is overwhelming.  Here are some of the reasons we can be so sure.

  1. Jesus predicted His resurrection (Mt 16:21; Mk 9:9-10; Jn 2:18-22).
  2. The OT prophesied it (Ps 16:10; compare Acts 2:25-31; 13:33-37).
  3. The tomb was empty and the grave clothes vacant. If those who opposed Christ wished to silence His disciples, all they had to do was produce a body, but they could not (Jn 20:3-9).
  4. Many people saw the resurrected Christ. They looked on His face, touched Him, heard His voice, and saw Him eat (Mt 28:16-20; Lk 24:13-39; Jn 20:11-29; Jn 21:1-9; Acts 1:6-11; 1 Cor 15:3-8).
  5. The lives of the disciples were revolutionized. Though they fled and even denied Christ at the time of His arrest, they later feared no one in their proclamation of the risen Christ (Mt26:56, 69-75).
  6. The resurrection was the central message of the early church. The church grew with an unwavering conviction that Christ had risen and was the Lord of the church (Acts 4:33; 5:30-32; Rom 5:24).
  7. Men and women today testify that the power of the risen Christ has transformed their lives. We know that Jesus is alive not only because of the historical and biblical evidence but also because He has miraculously touched our lives.  (Kurt E. DeHaan)

 

  1. In His teaching Jesus made some incredible promises for both this world and the next for those who trust Him; for those who are “in Christ”. (Mt 5:3-12; 6:25-33; 7:7-12, 24-27; 11:6, 28-30; 13:44-46; 14:22-32; 16:25; 17:20-21; 23:12; 25:31-36; 28:20; Mk 2:5-11; 9:23; 10:27; Lk 4:18-19; 6:20-23; 7:22-23; 10:17-20; 11:9-13; 12:22-34; 19:10; 21:18, 25-28; John 1:4, 7-12; 3:16-21; 10:10; 4:10-14, 26; 5:19-20, 39-40, 45-47; 6:26-59; 7:37-38; 8:12, 31, 34-36; 9:5; 10:7-18, 25-30; 11:25-26; 12:44-50; 14:1-6; 15:1-17; 16:5-15, 19-28, 33; 17:1-26; Rom 6:5; 8:11-39; 1 Cor 6:14; 15:20-21; 2 Cor 1:20; 4:14; Gal 3:21-22, 29; 4:29; Eph 1:14-18; 3:19-21; 5:5; Col 1:12; 2:9-12; 3:24; 1 Thess 4:14-15; Heb 6:12; Jms 2:5; 1 Pt 1:3-9; 3:9; 2 Pt 1:4; 3:13; 1 Jn 2:25; 3:1-2, 10; 5:11-13; Rv 19:7-8; 21:7)

 

Clinics are crowded with people suffering from a new kind of neurosis, a sense of total and ultimate meaninglessness of life.  —Viktor Frankl

 

Death is the godly man’s wish, the wicked man’s fear.  — Samuel Bolton

 

The center about which every thing else revolves in the Christian life is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).

 

He became what we are…so that we could become what He is.

 

A promise from God is a statement we can depend on with absolute confidence. Here are 12 promises for the Christian to claim.

–     God’s presence — “I will never leave thee” (Heb 13:5)

–     God’s protection — “I am thy shield” (Gn 15:1)

–     God’s power — “I will strengthen thee” (Isa 41:10)

–     God’s provision — “I will help thee” (Isa 41:10)

–     God’s leading — “And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them” (Jn 10:4)

–    God’s purposes — “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil” (Jer 20:11)

–     God’s rest — “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28)

–     God’s cleansing — “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9)

–    God’s goodness — “No good thing will He withhold from them that work uprightly” (Ps 84:11)

–   God’s faithfulness — “The Lord will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake” (1 Sm 12:22)

–     God’s guidance — “The meek will He guide” (Ps 25:9)

–     God’s wise plan — “All things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom 8:28) (Our Daily Bread, January 1, 1985)

 

We are Easter people living in a Good Friday world.  — Barbara Johnson

 

  1. Talk is cheap. The resurrection proved that what Jesus promised will come to pass.  (Mt 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-14; Lk 24:1-49; Jn 20:1-21-23;  Acts 1:22; 3:15; 17:3; 26:1-32; Rom 1:1-4; 1 Cor 15; 2 Cor  4:14)

 

Thomas couldn’t believe without sufficient data, because the implications were just too staggering.   ( Steve Brown;  If Jesus Has Come,  104-5)

 

Well over three hundred verses are concerned with the subject of Jesus’ resurrection in the NT. We are told that this event is a sign for unbelievers (Mt 12:38-40); cf. Jn 20:24-29) as well as the answer for the believer’s doubt (Lk 24:38-43).  It serves as the guarantee that Jesus’ teachings are true (Acts 2:22-24; 1 Cor 15:12-20) and is the center of the gospel itself (Rom 4:24-25, 10:9; 1 Cor 15:1-4).  Further, the resurrection is the impetus for evangelism (Mt 28:18-20; Acts 10:39-43), the key indication of the believer’s daily power to live the Christian life (Rom 6:4-14, 8:9-11; Phil 3:10) and the reason for the total commitment of our lives (Rom 7:4; 1 Cor 15:57-58).  The resurrection even addresses the fear of death (Jn 11:25; 1 Cor 15:54-58; cf. Heb 2:14-15) and is related to the second coming of Jesus (Acts 1:11; Rv 1:7).  Lastly, this event is a model of the Christian’s resurrection from the dead (Acts 4:2; 1 Cor 6:14; 1 Thes 4:13-18) and provides a foretaste of heaven for the believer (Phil 3:20-21; 1 Pt 1:3-5). (Gary R. Habermas, The Centrality of the Resurrection, 245).

 

The gospel writers, however, and every other leader in the early church realized that their supreme role in life and history was to proclaim the reality of the resurrection and the many other truths about Jesus Christ.  Although the disciples, and most of Jesus’ other followers, were slow to believe their Lord actually rose from the dead, they soon became so overwhelmed by its reality that they could think or talk of little else.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 24-28, 306)

 

Historian and Oxford professor Thomas Arnold wrote:

The evidence for our Lord’s life and death and resurrection may be, and often has been, shown to be satisfactory; it is good according to the common rules for distinguishing good evidence from bad.  Thousands and tens of thousands of persons have gone through it piece by piece as carefully as every judge summing upon a most important case.  I have myself done it many times over, not to persuade others but to satisfy myself.  I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.  (Wilber M. Smith, Therefore Stand: Christian Apologetics, 425-6)  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: Matthew 24-28, 314)

 

III.  The resurrection is God’s “Amen” to Jesus’ “It is finished”.  Jesus has proven that all His promises are will be kept.  Now we can truly live.  (Jn 1:4, 9; 10:10; 14:6; Rom 1:1-4; 1 Cor 15:58;  2 Cor 1:20; 1 Tm 6:19; 2 Pt 1:4; 1 Jn 1:1-2; 4:9; 5:11-13)

 

The Resurrection is God’s “Amen!” to Christ’s statement, “It is Finished.”  — S. Lewis Johnson

 

Tim Keller, at the Gospel Coalition conference in 2013, made an intriguing statement: ‘Resurrection makes Christianity the most irritating religion on earth.’  Why is that?  Because you can argue about ethics, doctrines, rituals until you are blue in the face; people are free to believe what they want.  What does it matter?  But the resurrection means everything is changed.  If Christ is not raised, then Christians are to be pitied for wasting our lives.  But if Christ is raised, then that means it would be insane to ignore Him and His claims.  (David Robertson, Magnificent Obsession–Why Jesus Is Great, 109)

 

The resurrection is the proclamation of the fact that God is fully and completely satisfied with the work that His Son did upon the Cross.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, Exposition of Chapters 3:20-4:25, 244)

 

If God had not raised Him from the grave we might draw the conclusion that our Lord was not able to bear the punishment of the guilt of our sins, that it was too much for Him, and that His death was the end.  But He was raised from the dead; and in raising Him up God was proclaiming that His Son had completed the work, that full expiation has been made, that He is propitiated and completely satisfied.  The resurrection declares that, and it is in that sense that He is “risen again for our justification.”  It is there we see it clearly.  The work was done on the Cross, but here is the proclamation that it is enough.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, Exposition of Chapters 3:20-4:25, 244)

 

On a logical level, the Christian worldview is the only one that is not self-refuting.  Moreover, because it is based on historical events, it can be proven.  Most religions are, and have always been, based on myths.  Christianity is unique in that it is founded on specific historical truth claims, notably the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The historical evidence is sufficient to compel agreement from any fair investigation of the facts.  So Christianity is not just a creed or a philosophy or good ideas about how to live our lives.  It is truth.  (Charles Colson, The Good Life, 317)

 

Everything sad will become untrue.

 

“Jesus Changes Grave Situations.”

 

The resurrection isn’t just a surprise happy ending for one person; it is instead the turning point for everything else.  It is the point at which all the old promises come true at last:  the promises of David’s unshakable kingdom; the promises of Israel’s return from the greatest exile of them all; and behind that again, quite explicit in Matthew, Luke, and John, the promise that all the nations will now be blessed through the seed of Abraham.  (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 236)

 

The crunch comes in {1 Cor 15:}verse 17:  if the Messiah isn’t raised, then your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  In other words, with the resurrection of Jesus a new world has dawned in which forgiveness of sins is not simply a private experience; it is a fact about the cosmos.  Sin is the root cause of death; if death has been defeated, it must mean that sin has been dealt with.  But if the Messiah has not been raised, we are still in a world where sin reigns supreme and undefeated so that the foundational Christian belief, that God has dealt with our sins in Christ, is based on thin air and is reduced to whistling in the dark.  (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 247)

 

The revolutionary new world, which began in the resurrection of Jesus–the world where Jesus reigns as Lord, having won the victory over sin and death–has its frontline outposts in those who in baptism have shared his death and resurrection.  The intermediate stage between the resurrection of Jesus and the renewal of the whole world is the renewal of human beings–you and me!–in our own lives of obedience here and now.  (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 249)

 

When Paul wrote his great resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, he didn’t end by saying, “So let’s celebrate the great future life that awaits us.”  He ended by saying, “So get on with your work because you know that in the Lord it won’t go to waste.”  When the final resurrection occurs, as the centerpiece of God’s new creation, we will discover that everything done in the present world in the power of Jesus’ own resurrection will be celebrated and included, appropriately transformed.  (N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, 294)

 

Paul wanted them (the Corinthians) to understand that for the Christian, life down here is simply hors d’oeuvres.  It is just the first course.  It is the soup course.  (Alistair Begg sermon, “The Good News of the Resurrection”)

 

“Hope is the very stuff of life; it keeps the farmer on the tractor, the prisoner alive, the student at the books, and the patient watching for the morning. Hope fills present sacrifices with joy and keep us at worthy tasks even though rewards are small and those who say “Thank you” are few.   This hope is not whistling in the dark nor is it activated only by spring flowers.  Rather it is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” — Fred Craddock

 

Worship Point:  FEASTER 2015 is our feeble attempt to celebrate the significance of what Jesus has done for us.  As you enjoy the music, the fellowship and the food remember the victory, hope, courage, strength and joy that comes through the reality of the resurrection of Jesus.

 

 

Gospel Application:  Do you see that the promises of Jesus are the only hope you have of getting out of this FWS alive?

 

Without the resurrection we have no hope.

Without the resurrection we have no purpose.

Without the resurrection  have no future.

Without the resurrection  we have no life.

Without the resurrection we have no reason to get up in the morning.

Without the resurrection we have no way to change to enjoy a better life.

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Never forget the hope we have as a result of the resurrection of Jesus.  Otherwise, this world can suck the life out of you.

 

“Jesus gave up any right to independence, he was born in a borrowed manger, preached from a borrowed boat, entered Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, ate the Last Supper in a borrowed upper room, died on a borrowed cross and was buried in a borrowed tomb.”  (Leighton Ford;  Transforming Leadership, 33)

 

I tried to conceive not existing but it was impossible.  Why?  Because as a human being I am made in the image of God and God has set eternity in my heart.  The inner witness tells me death is not the end.  The resurrection tells me death can be the door to a glorious new life.  (David Robertson, Magnificent Obsession–Why Jesus Is Great, 111)

 

Christ is risen

He is risen indeed!

 

 

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