04/20/14 God's Not Dead!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 Under: Sermon
Easter Service

Text: Luke 24:1-12 (NKJV)

1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! (God’s Not Dead!) Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.' "8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.

Intro: It seems to be a big topic (God’s Not Dead).

Jesus Christ, conquered death, Hell and the grave forever. Oh what a morning it was when Jesus rose again! Oh what a morning it was when He pulled the stinger from death and gave life eternal to all those who will place their faith in Him. You see: HE IS ALIVE this morning! The tomb was empty. Discovering the empty tomb was the greatest discovery in human history. The great tragedy is that most people either are not aware that Jesus arose or do not believe that He arose. Every person has to discover the fact for themselves. The empty tomb and the risen Lord have to become a personal discovery for everyone.

1. The First Day of the Week: vs. 1

The first day of the week, Sunday, was the day upon which Jesus arose, the day after the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday). Jesus arose before dawn, before the sun arose on Sunday morning. This was significant to the early Christian believers, so significant that they broke away from the common day for worship during the week, the Sabbath or Saturday. They began to worship on Sunday, the day of the resurrection of their Lord. The first day of the week also means that He had been in the grave for three days just as He had said: “For He taught His disciples and said to them, "The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day." Mark 9:31

His resurrection from the dead was a triumph, a conquest over death. Death reigns no more - its rule has been broken. Jesus arose on the first day of the week, Sunday morning. He was in the grave on the Sabbath, unable to observe the laws governing the great season of the Passover and the Sabbath. He was dead; therefore, the law and its observances had no authority over Him. This is symbolic of the identification believers gain in Christ. When a man believes in Jesus Christ, God identifies the man with Christ, in particular with the death of Christ. God counts the man as having died with Christ. Very simply, in Christ's death believers become dead to the law.

2. The First Witnesses of the Resurrection: vs. 1

The first witnesses of the resurrection provide strong evidence of the resurrection. They were actual witnesses of Jesus' death and burial. They knew He was dead, and they knew where He had been laid. They had followed along behind the procession to the tomb. There was no question whatsoever in their mind about His being dead and buried. They had purchased spices and had come to anoint Jesus' body. Apparently they had bought the spices Saturday evening after 6 p.m. when the Sabbath ended. They arose "very early in the morning, the first day of the week [Sunday]" to go and embalm Him. They knew He was dead, and they cared; so they wanted to take care of His body just as loved ones care for the bodies of their deceased.

They were religionists who strictly obeyed the law. They were strict in the observance of the Sabbath. Imagine - their loved one was dead, yet they would not break the Sabbath law even to take care of Him: “Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.” Luke 23:56

The women were obedient to the commandments of God. They were moral and truthful and would never think, much less consider, lying about the death and resurrection of Jesus.

3. The Great Stone Rolled Away: vs. 2

The rolled away stone perplexed the women. “And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this.” The stone had not been rolled back for the benefit of Jesus, but for the witnesses to the resurrection. When Jesus arose, He was in His resurrection body, the heavenly body of the spiritual dimension; and the spiritual dimension has no physical bounds. The witnesses needed to enter the tomb and see the truth.

4. The Body Missing From the Tomb: vs. 3

The account is simple: "They entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus." Jesus was not there: “But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” Mark 16:6 They saw the slab upon which He had been laid, and He was not there.

5. The Two Angels and Their Unbelievable Message: vs. 4-8

There were the two angels and their message. The women feared and fell down, bowing in reverence. "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" There was a rebuke in the question. They were seeking to honor a dead Savior, a Savior who was as all other men are, frail and powerless to do anything about life and eternity. Their whole being -their thoughts, feelings, and behavior - were focused upon a dead Savior.

Just a reminder: "He is not here, but is risen.” The fact was clearly evident: Jesus was not in the tomb. He had been there, for the women had seen Him put there. They had witnessed His death and burial, but He was no longer in the tomb, "He is risen." Startling, unbelievable words... The angels reminded the women that Jesus had foretold His death and resurrection. "And they remembered His words." The followers of Jesus had always been confused about the prophecy of His death and resurrection. They would not accept his words literally, refusing to take His predictions at face value. They symbolized His statements; therefore, they never understood His death and resurrection. Look what happened next, they knew they had been wrong. Conviction struck them and they became the very first witnesses to the resurrection.

6. The Immediate Unbelief of the Disciples: vs. 9-11

The women rushed to the disciples and shared the glorious news. But the news "seemed to them as idle tales: nonsense, ridiculous talk, wild imagination. "They did not believe." they "kept on disbelieving," kept on putting no trust or confidence in what the women was claiming. They were gripped with a skeptical, unbelieving spirit. “After they gathered again in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” Matthew 17:22 (NLT)

The disciples were without excuse. Christ had spent month after month drilling His death and resurrection into His disciples.

7. The Continued Unbelief of Peter: vs. 12

Peter's heart was still drawn to the Lord despite his enormous failure. Hearing that the body of Jesus was no longer in the tomb, he rushed to the tomb with his thoughts flying, wondering what had happened to the Lord. Peter stooped down and saw the evidence: the linen clothes were lying off to the side by themselves. However, Peter did not grasp the significance of the evidence. John said he had rushed to the tomb with Peter and did believe, based upon the evidence of the linen clothes. He also verifies that Peter did not grasp the significance at this point. Peter just "departed," wondering within himself what had really happened.

It is dangerous not to understand the Lord's Word, not to take His Word at face value. Spiritualizing His words, unless the words are clearly symbolic, often leads to serious unbelief and problems. A person has to be open to the evidence of the resurrection. The tomb is empty; He is risen - and the honest and seeking person will be convinced by the Spirit of God. What is needed is to do as Peter did: run to the tomb to see what really did happen.

Do you understand it yet?
Because Jesus lives, you and I can be saved by the grace of God.
Because He lives, we can have our sins washed away forever.
Because He lives, we can go to Heaven when we leave this world.
Because He lives, the grave has no power over those who believe.
Because He lives, eternal live is our present possession.
Because He lives, one day we too will live with Him in that heavenly city.
Because He lives, I'll never have to take a step in this world alone.
Because He lives, there is hope, there is help and there is a home awaiting us in eternity.
Because He lives, I am alive.
Because He lives, my sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west.
Because He lives, my name is written in the Lamb's book of life.
Because He lives, God is my Father.
Because He lives, sin has no more dominion over me.
Because He lives I am saved forever.

The list could go on forever, until we had exhausted all the vocabulary and language of men. What we need to understand this morning is that HE LIVES!! “God’s Not Dead!”

Conclusion: Have you come to the realization that Jesus is alive and NOT DEAD! That He is Who you need? Do you understand what will happen if you die without Him? Do you realize that there is no other way into Heaven than through the Lord Jesus Christ? Did you know that He loves you? Did you know that His death was for you? Did you know that His death will not mean anything to you until you bow before Him in repentance and humility and confess you sins unto Him? Did you know that you could do that very thing this morning and be forever saved today? You can! All you have to do is come to Him. All you have to do is believe in Him! All you need to do is leave where you are sitting and come before the Lord today and be saved by grace!

- He is still showing His hands today! He is reaching for you. Have you come to the tomb?
- Have you looked and found that He is not there? He has risen! HE IS ALIVE. GOD’S NOT DEAD!

45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.” Luke 45-48

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