Central Baptist Church
Friday, April 26, 2019

Morning Worship Sermon

 
 
HE’S ALIVE!
 
John 20:1-18
 
John 20:1-18 “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. 11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as   she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.”
 
 
          History is replete with many wonderful and glorious days.  We wouldn’t even know where to start in order to recount some of them.
          We will simply say that the most wonderful and glorious day in all of history was the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
 
          Now John is not trying to prove the resurrection.  He has a two-fold purpose :
 
 
1.  To give the evidence that led him to immediately understand and believe the resurrection.
 
2.  To give enough evidence that anyone who was willing to believe, could believe.
 
          To the person who will honestly and objectively examine John’s account of the resurrection, John’s evidence is convincing.
 
          A historian wrote the story of Jesus’ life.  As he finished his book, he left Jesus hanging on the Cross.  He was simply saying,
 
“That was the last of Him.  That was the end of a dream.”
 
          As you enter into many cathedrals and Catholic hospitals you will see Jesus still hanging on the Cross.
 
          Oh dear folks, the Cross was not the end, death could not hold the Son of God!
 
          Now we all agree Jesus did die on the Cross.  He was dead, dead, dead.
He was not in a coma or swooning as some say, He was dead!
 
          Joseph and Nicodemus came and tenderly took His body down from the Cross and placed it in a new tomb.  There Jesus’ body rested for a while.
          But on the third day, the first day of the week, He arose and walked out into the world.
 
          The resurrection of our Lord proved many things :
 

 
1.  Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
 
2.  Every claim He ever made was true.
 
3.  He has all power in heaven and on earth.  He had the power to break the bonds of death and the grave, and He has to power to save us.
 
 
4.  It proves also that there is a resurrection for us.  He will not ascend into heaven and leave us in our graves permanently.
 
          Without the resurrection Jesus is a liar and as thus He cannot be our Savior.  He would simply be a  false Messiah.  Disprove the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Christian faith is vain.
          But thank God, He did all He said He would do!
 
 
          Today we have a living Savior!
 
         
          It takes a living Savior to save us when we’re lost, comfort us when we’re sad, and to strengthen us when we’re weak.  Then it takes a living Savior to take us home to Heaven when we die.
          And dear friends, we have One!  We have a living Savior!
 
 
          Jesus is alive!
 
         
          Folks the tomb was simply a punctuation mark, a pause in a story that began in eternity past, a story that began before the foundation of the world!
 
          Everything that followed the birth of our Lord was filled with humiliation.
          Now everything that followed His burial was followed by glory and power.
          As the hours after His burial dragged by, Jesus’ friends and disciples were languishing in despair.
 
          Jesus was dead, and all their dreams had come crashing down!
 
          The resurrection story begins with a woman whose love for Jesus was the most important thing in her life.
          This love would not let her sleep.
          Drawn by her love, she arose long before daybreak and made her way to where the body of Jesus lay.
 
 
John 20:1 “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.”
 
 
          Look at Mary, how brave she is unafraid of the dark, unafraid of the graveyard, and unafraid of the guards.
 
I John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.....”
 
 
          Her heart is so filled with love that there’s no room for fear or any other thought.
          What she saw when she arrived at the tomb must have filled her with astonishment and      apprehension.
 
         
          The seal was broken!
          The soldiers were gone!
          The stone was rolled away!
 
 
 
John 20:2 “Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and   to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.”
 
          The disciples never dreamed that Jesus had risen through His own power.
          They hadn’t understood His promise to do so.
         
          They’ve stolen His body, but why? :
-  Maybe to have it handy should rumors of a resurrection begin to circulate.
-  Maybe they intended to dump His body in a common grave or even on the city garbage heap.
 
 
          All  Mary knew was that the grave was open, what other explanation could there be? 
 
 
          They’ve take our Lord’s body!
 
 
John 20:3 “Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.”
 
 
          Such a critical point needs to be made here, “Peter therefore went forth”.  If a man wishes to discover the empty tomb, he must get up and “go forth” to look at it.
 
 
          He must investigate, then he will see.
 
          Getting up and “going forth” is the only way any man will ever discover the risen Lord.  A man will never find Jesus while he’s resting in the comforts of this world.
 
          Maybe today you’ve been sitting and waiting for Jesus to come to you.  If so, why don’t you get up and “go forth” to Him right now?
  
 
Luke 9:23 “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
 
          Then came the morning!
          Then came the first day of the week!
          What a day it was going to be!
          Jesus was going to rise!
          The disciples are going to be forever transformed!
          The sun was going to shine again as hopes and dreams are reborn.
          Look at Peter and John, two people as opposite as two people could be. 
 
          John, the thinker. 
          Peter, the impetuous.
 
          John, affectionate.
          Peter, the rough, crude.
 
          Two people of totally opposite characters, yet they both loved Jesus with all their hearts.
          That person who does not see things just like you do, well, listen up he or she loves Jesus just as much as you do!
 
         
          The flowers in God’s garden are of different colors and aromas, but they are all planted by the same Spirit.
 
          Don’t judge by appearance, and by the way, you're not qualified to judge any way.

          Now let’s look at :
 
 
John 20:5-7 “And he (John) stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.”
 
 
          By the way, the stone was not rolled away to let Jesus out, it was rolled away that we might enter.
 
          The scene is still vivid in the mind of John, even now as he writes as an old man.
 
          Something was very strange here. What John saw as he stooped to look in gripped him.
          Why would the authorities have bothered to unwrap the body, then neatly rearrange the grave clothes.  Why not take the body, clothes and all?
 
 
          The facts are before them, all they need do now is to draw the right conclusions.
          The body was gone – no doubt about that.
 
         
          There was no evidence of vandalism or haste, everything was orderly and in place.  It was as though the form of a dead man was preserved, but the body itself was gone.
 
          The only logical conclusion?
 
 
          Jesus had risen from the dead!
          Jesus had calmly laid aside the grave clothes, had donned His resurrection garments and quietly left  the tomb.
 
 
John 20:8 “Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.”
 
 
          All the clues pointed to the resurrection.  Then and there John believed.  It was incredibly and gloriously true, Jesus was alive!
 
          Folks the world needs a risen Savior.
          Only a living Lord can save men.
          Only a living Lord can influence the world as He has.
          Only a living Lord can change the stream of human history as He has.
 
          One day He’s coming back, not to hang on a cross, but to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords forever and ever.
 
          H.G. Spafford, a business man in Chicago lost his business and home, he sent his wife and four daughters to live with some friends in France while he rearranged matters and things improved. 
 
 
          In the middle of the Atlantic the ship sank and Spafford’s four daughters drowned.  His wife, one of the survivors, wired her husband from France, “Saved alone, what shall I do?”
          H.G. Spafford put his trust in God and wrote a song which has comforted thousands since that time :
 
 
“IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL!”
 
 
When peace, like a river, attendeth my soul,
 
When sorrows like sea billows roll!
 
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
 
It is well, it is well with my soul.
 
 
          Folks it take a living Savior to make a man feel that way!
          Today we live in a world of stress:
-  wars and rumors of wars on every hand
-  drugs and crime are epidemic
 
          The future looks bleak, but all this ought not worry a Christian for he has a living Savior and all is well with his soul.  It is well for all of time and eternity.
 
          Let’s close with this :
 
John 20:10 “Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.”
 
 
          By doing this they missed a blessing.
 
 
John 20:16 “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.”
 
 
          They missed the blessing of seeing the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, but can you imagine the stir they made at home.
 
 
          They would go over it again and again, “I’ll tell you, He is alive!”
 
          “There’s no other explanation, Jesus is alive!”
 
 
          Unbelievers have conjured up alternate theories :
-  Christ did not die, he only swooned on the cross and in the tomb
    He recovered and escaped into the night and later showed Himself to be alive.
-  The disciples stole His body and made up a lie about Christ’s resurrection.
-  Those disciples were so intent on a resurrection that they hallucinated.
 
          All desperate attempts of godless men to avoid the fact of the resurrection, to avoid the fact that Jesus  is alive!
 
          So this resurrection story appeals first to the mind.  It confronts us with facts.  It presents us with the  initial proof and evidence.
 
         
          Many more proofs follow, but these were enough to convince John.
 
 
          Is it enough to convince you today?