Sermon title: Christ, Crucified, RISEN and Coming Again          Luke 24:1-7, 36-43

    Immanuel Baptist Church - July 30, 2017

 

 

Immanuel Baptist Church describes itself  as

"a church preaching Christ, crucified, risen and coming again"

So, today's sermon is the THIRD in a 4-part series

on what that means-what it means to be

"a church preaching Christ, crucified, risen and coming again."

 

Today I'll focus on what it means to preach "Christ RISEN"

and I'll conclude next week

with "Christ coming again." 

 

In brief, preaching "Christ risen" means

preaching that Jesus Christ rose from the grave

and that He is our living Savior, Lord and King.

 

Preaching "Christ risen" means that

after dying on the cross

to pay the penalty for our sins-

after He took upon Himself

the punishment meant for us-

Jesus arose from the dead

to lead us through

our remaining days in this world,

and to give us everlasting life

in a new world

under God's Kingdom.

 

In our responsive reading

we read part of Matthew's account

of Christ resurrection.

All 4 of the Gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke and John-

give us various details of what happened:

 

Jesus died on the cross,

and the Roman soldiers stuck a spear into His chest,

to confirm that He was dead.

After getting permission

from the Roman governor Pontius Pilate,

a wealthy Jewish leader Joseph of Arimathea,

who had been a secret disciple of Jesus,

took Jesus' body to bury it.

 

The Sabbath was about to begin on Friday evening,

so, together with another secret disciple, Nicodemus,

Joseph hastily wrapped Jesus' body in linen cloth

with spices, according to their custom.

Then the two men placed Jesus' body in a new tomb

that Joseph had already had cut out of rock for himself.

They rolled a huge stone

against the entrance of the tomb.

And, on the governor's orders,

the tomb was sealed,

and soldiers were posted to stand guard over it.

 

The Jews, including Jesus' disciples,

rested on Saturday, the Sabbath.

 

On the third day-

Sunday morning-

Mary Magdalene and other women

who were Jesus' followers

brought spices to the tomb

to further prepare the body.

They worried among themselves,

puzzling over how they would be able to roll back the stone.

But, when they arrived at the grave,

they found that the stone had already been rolled back.

 

The soldier guards were dazed like dead men

at the sight of an angel from God

who had rolled back the stone.

And the tomb was empty.

 

The angel told the women who were looking for Jesus' body,

'He has risen.  He is not here.  Go, tell His disciples.'

 

According to Luke 24:6-7,

the angel at the empty tomb said,

"He is not here, but is risen!

Remember how He spoke to you

when He was still in Galilee, saying,

'The Son of Man must be delivered

into the hands of sinful men,

and be crucified,

and the third day rise again.'"

 

 

The disciples expressed disbelief at first.

 

But Jesus appeared alive to Mary Magdalene,

and to the other women.

 

Then Jesus appeared to two of the disciples

as they were walking on the road to Emmaus.

 

And then He appeared to Peter, and to the other Apostles-

on a number of occasions.

 

There were many eye-witnesses

that the crucified Christ was now alive.

 

1 Corinthians 15:5 tells us,

"He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once"

 

Finally, while the disciples were watching,

Jesus was caught up from them into the sky,

and disappeared from their sight

as He entered a cloud.

========================

 

How were the early disciples affected by all this?

They had been greatly saddened and discouraged

by Christ's crucifixion.

Even though Jesus had been telling them

that He would be killed

and would rise on the 3rd day,

they hadn't really grasped it.

 

And when the risen Christ did appear to them,

they could hardly believe their eyes.

 

But now that they knew Jesus was alive from the dead,

they were empowered to preach.

Acts 4:33 tells us,

"And with great power the apostles

were giving their testimony

to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus."

 

Even when hostile mobs or Jewish religious authorities

threatened them with death

if they kept preaching about Jesus,

they were not afraid.

Enemies had killed Jesus,

and that didn't stop Him,

so why should it stop us?

 

When the disciple Stephen was arrested

and put on trial for preaching about Jesus,

he was dragged from the courtroom

to the place of execution.

Acts 7:59 tells us that,

as they were stoning him to death,

Stephen called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

He wasn't afraid.

He knew that the risen Christ could raise him, too.

 

At John 11:25  Jesus had told Lazarus' sister Mary,

"I am the resurrection and the life.

Whoever believes in me,

though he die, yet shall he live,"

 

At Revelation 1:18 the risen Christ

told the Apostle John,

"I have the keys of Hades and of Death."

 

So, we can't be held prisoner by Death or the Grave,

because Jesus holds the keys.

He can use those keys to unlock Death

and let us out.

And His own resurrection

proves that He will.

 

1 Corinthians 15:20 says,

"But now Christ is risen from the dead,

and has become the firstfruits

of those who have fallen asleep."  

Christ is the firstfruits,

and the rest of the harvest includes us.

 

At John chapter 14, Jesus gave us that assurance.

John chapter 14 is one of my favorite Bible passages,

because it is so comforting.

Jesus Himself is speaking here,

and He is speaking right to our hearts.

[   READ   John 14:1-3  ]

 

So, our hope is in the heavens with the risen Christ.

He promises to take us home with Him,

when we die.

======================

But, what about in the meantime?

Will Jesus have nothing to do with us,

until the time to call us home?

 

No, that isn't the case at all.

The risen Christ takes an active interest

in each one of us,

and an active interest in our churches.

 

In the opening chapters of the Book of Revelation,

we get a glimpse of heaven,

and how Jesus takes an interest

in things going on here on earth

in churches that call themselves Christian.

 

In Revelation 1:18, 

the risen Christ introduces Himself 

to the Apostle John like this:

18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. "

 

And then Jesus tells John

to write messages to 7 prominent Christian churches.

 

As we begin reading

in Revelation chapter 2,

notice how well Jesus knows "the church of Ephesus"

[   READ   Revelation 2:2-7   ]

 "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place-unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

 

7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."'

 

Then the risen Christ has John write

to the church in Smyrna and to the church in Pergamos.

 

And the 4th church to receive a message is "the church in Thyatira."

Beginning at Revelation 2:18,

Jesus says,    [   READ  Revelation 2:18-29  ]

18 "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,

 

'These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 "I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 "Now to you I say, and[h] to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations-

 

27

'He shall rule them with a rod of iron;

They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels'[j]-

 

as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.

 

29 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'

 

Jesus likewise has a message for each of those 7 churches.

He knew all 7 of them quite well-

their good points, and their failings.

He told 5 of them to 'Repent, or else…',

but he had just positive words

 of commendation for the other two.

Hopefully He finds Immanuel Baptist Church

like those two,

that received praise instead of a rebuke.

 

=============================

 

Remember, too, that the risen Christ is interested in us

not just as churches,

but also as individuals.

 

==================

 

Although He is not visible to us,

Jesus promised at Matthew 28:20,

"'I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'"

 

How?

Jesus' promise is explained at John 14, verses 15-23: 

[  READ  John 14:15-23  ]

 

15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever- 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

 

19 "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

 

22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?"

 

23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."

 

 

We today can come into a personal relationship with Jesus

that is just as real

as what the First Century followers experienced .

That's because

everyone who puts faith in the risen Christ

 is "born again" spiritually as a child of God.

 

At John 3:3-7 Jesus explained it this way:

"'I tell you the truth,

no-one can see the kingdom of God

unless he is born again. . . .

I tell you the truth,

no-one can enter the kingdom of God

unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

Flesh gives birth to flesh,

but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

You should not be surprised at my saying,

"You must be born again."'" (NIV)

 

We are born again

when we trust in Jesus to save us from our sins

and commit ourselves to follow and obey Him.

 

God then adopts us

as his children,

sending his Holy Spirit into our hearts.

 

Galatians 4:6  says,

"To prove that you are sons,

God has sent into our hearts

the Spirit of his Son, crying 'Abba! Father!'" (NEB)

 

("Abba" was a term Jewish children used

when addressing their human father,

and a term Jesus Himself used

when addressing his heavenly Father.)

 

In some way that is beyond our understanding,

Jesus actually comes to live with us and in us

when we believe in Him and choose to follow Him.

 

Yes, it is beyond human understanding,

and that is why, at Colossians 1:27,

the Apostle Paul refers to it as

"this mystery, which is Christ in you" -NIV

 

It really is a mystery-beyond human understanding-

but the Bible assures us

that Jesus actually comes to live in the hearts

of his followers:

Ephesians 3:17  says

"that Christ will live in your hearts by faith" (NCV)

 

Because we come into

this close spiritual relationship with God

as His adopted children,

we can find super-human strength

to overcome our inborn tendencies to sin,

and we can look forward to eternal life:

Romans 8:9-11 says,

"You, however, are controlled

not by your sinful nature but by the Spirit,

if the Spirit of God lives in you.

And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ,

he does not belong to Christ.

But if Christ is in you . . .

he who raised Christ from the dead

will also give life to your mortal bodies

though his Spirit, who lives in you."

-NIV

 

So, following Jesus

is much more than reading about an ancient historical figure

and trying to live and love the way he did.

It is much more

than just joining a church.

It is a real relationship with a real live person-

the risen Son of God.

 

But how can you become a follower of Jesus?

We can believe that He died for our sins,

that He rose from the dead,

that He is alive today,

and that He accepts us as his followers.

 

Jesus is not visible to us,

but that doesn't stop Him from hearing our prayers

and answering our prayers.

 

Romans 10:9 says,

" if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

 

So, if you tell Jesus right now

that you are sorry for your past sins,

and that you want to leave them behind

and begin a new life by following Him,

He will hear you and will forgive your sins

and you will be born again.

 

It doesn't have to be out loud.

Just say in your heart,

"Jesus, I'm sorry for my sins.

Save me and teach me to follow you."

Jesus will hear your prayer.

 

It doesn't have to be in church.

After church when you're alone

you can say that simple prayer:

"Jesus, I'm sorry for my sins.

Save me and teach me to follow you."

Jesus will hear your prayer.

 

You don't have to have the exact words.

Jesus knows you inside and out.

He knows your thoughts and can read your heart.

 

It's not some formula of certain words that saves you.

It's Jesus who saves you.

 

 

 

 

If you come to Jesus,

sorry for your sins,

and asking Him to save you and to teach you to follow him,

He promises to do that-

to receive you and accept you.

 

At John 6:37, Jesus said,

"'I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.'"   (Today's English Version)

 

And YOU will never be the same.

You will now have super-natural help

to overcome your bad habits

and to live a new life as a follower of Jesus.

 

You will have that help,

because Christ is RISEN from the dead.

Jesus is alive.

 

 

And He is right here in this church today.

Christ is RISEN, and He is right here among us today.

 

At Matthew 18:20  Jesus said,

 

"For where two or three

are gathered together in My name,

I am there in the midst of them."

 

Let me read that again:

At Matthew 18:20  Jesus said,

 

"For where two or three

are gathered together in My name,

I am there in the midst of them."

 

 

Immanuel Baptist Church preaches "Christ risen,"

and that risen Christ

is right here today,

in the midst of us.