Monday, April 17, 2017

Matthew 28 Sermon- Easter

Matthew 28:1-20
Sermon Notes
The King is Alive
Easter Sunday
April 16, 2017
Lynchburg, Virginia

         The main thing about the Resurrection is that Jesus is not dead. It is not simply that He rose from the dead. He did. He overcame death by that same Spirit that dwells in us. But there is something even more profound than spiritual life after death in this Resurrection. Jesus rose from the dead and He is still alive!
         He is not merely alive in the Spirit. Of course, He is. In fact, His Spirit never died, just like your Spirit will never die. While Jesus was in the tomb, His Spirit was alive. But His body was most certainly dead. But since He is risen in His resurrection body, His body will never die. He is immune to decay and death. He has entered eternal life in body as well as Spirit.  His body will live forever!

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
These women came to the tomb but not in faith to see a living Jesus. They came in despair to mourn a dead Jesus.
Spurgeon notices that the Old Sabbath was dying away. The women approach Jesus on the dawn of the new Sabbath.
The greatest sinners are in need of the greatest Savior. Mary Magdelene, that sinful woman, from whom Jesus cast seven devils, is a devoted disciple of Jesus. She who was forgiven much, loved much.
Calvin points out that it was a sin for disciples to go to the sepulcher to see the dead Jesus. Why? Because He had told them explicitly that He was going to rise from the dead. The apostles were indolent in their response. The women at least hasten to the tomb. Albeit not to see the risen Lord. But the Lord rewarded their ardor to serve Him, even in death. These women receive the high honor of being the first witnesses of Christ’s resurrection. Through this, Jesus teaches the Apostles an important lesson. They must be humble to serve Him. He chooses those who seek to serve Him. The apostles must learn from the women.

2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
The earth must quake when the Savior awakes. The event changed history and the earth shuddered to have it so.
Death had Jesus in its arms but when He broke free, He created a fault between Heaven and Earth. The Earth reeled and the stone rolled.
The Angel of Lord is the presence of God, Himself. He rolls back the stone of sin and death and sits upon at as the victor. No longer can sin and death reign in the lives of those who belong to the risen Savior.
Spurgeon- “That great stone seems to represent the sin of Christ’s people, which shut them up in prison; it can never be laid again over the mouth of the sepulcher of any child of God.”

3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
When God shows up in power, He strikes fear into the hearts of wicked men who are as dead men before Him. But He speaks to the women and tells them not to fear, for they seek Jesus.
But their sorrow was soon turned into joy. The angels proclaim a living Jesus.

7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
These women are given the charge of witnesses, of evangelists. Go and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead. This is the message of power that all who believe on the Lord Jesus will overcome sin and death. We, too, will rise from the dead, in this life and in the one to come.
They are told to meet Jesus in Galilee, Galilee of the Gentiles. This is an indication of where the gospel is soon to go, for Jesus will be a light to the Gentiles.

8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
The Angel of the Lord told them not to fear but they did. The presence of God is fearful. The women are filled with fear and great joy. They fear God and are overjoyed that Jesus is not dead but alive. Their task was to go and tell the disciples. An experience of God will make us fear but let give way to great joy.

9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
The women believed and went. Along the way, they saw Jesus. When you believe that Jesus is alive, you will see Him and worship Him.
The women were afraid of the Angel of the Lord. And now Jesus comes to comfort them. Jesus is the one who calms our fears.

Matt. 28:11   Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. 12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, 13 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
The enemies of Christ also know that Jesus is alive. But instead of humbling themselves before Him, they continue to oppose him and bribe the guards.
The wicked elders know that Jesus has risen from the dead, just as they knew that Lazarus had risen from the dead. Instead of producing salvific faith in them, it produces more envy and enmity. They give large hush money to the soldiers to say that the body of Jesus was stolen away.

14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
The Jews even offered to secure the governor, knowing that the soldier’s failure could cost them their lives. They offer to bribe the governor or to keep up the lie.

Matt. 28:16   Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
The eleven seek Jesus at the mountain. They worship him there, but some douted.

The Power of the Living Jesus
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
This is the preamble to the Great Commission. It is the basis on which we preach. Without this, we do not really have the pretext to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Why would we baptized and declare the name of Jesus to all nations if He is not the one who rules heaven and earth?
The Great Commission is not merely to preach Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. It is that Jesus in the One to Whom all power is given. He is the one who rules over all, in Heaven and Earth. In fact, He rules Heaven from Earth. He rules the physical world as a man, as the one High Exalted King. Of course, Jesus is also Lord over all of creation, spiritual beings as well as physical. He rules angels and devils. The former, who willingly submit. The latter who are coerced to acknowledge His Lordship and who are judged accordingly.
But the basis on which we declare the Great Commission and baptize in the name of the Triune God, is that Jesus Christ is Lord of all things.
Our goal is not to make Him Lord over all the Earth. He is already Lord. Our job as pastors, evangelists, teachers and laymen is declare this truth. All men will submit to Jesus because He is the Sovereign Lord. The work of the evangelist is to declare this truth and to call men to submit to Him out of love for Him, for His work on the cross, for His Sovereign Rule over all things.

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
         So, the Great Commission is that Jesus is ruler of all. Submit therefore to Him. Cast your sins upon Him, the One who was despised and murdered upon the tree but who is now risen never to die again.
         In His is life and all who come to Him will experience the life that He now lives. We will be seated with Him who is at the right hand of the Father. We will enter into glory here and an ever more glorious hereafter.

         Furthermore, as I mentioned in the beginning of this sermon, Jesus is not dead. Jesus is alive. His body is alive. He is not a departed spirit.
         I don’t know how much you have thought about this. Have you? We spend a lot of time in struggle in this life. Granted, the life we have now in Jesus is very good. As Christians, we know that He has granted us eternal life. This produces a profound peace in us. Our futures are secure.
         But what does this make of all of our present suffering? Is it enough to say that we enter into the sufferings of Christ? If you want to be like Jesus, you have to suffer, you have to be betrayed, you have to be unjustly accused. This all comes with the territory. You have to count that cost, too.
         But what about the body? What about the Resurrection from the dead? What does that matter? Well, it matters a great deal.
         When Jesus was on the cross, the enemies mocked and laughed at Him. Why? Because He made Himself out to be the Son of God. And everyone knows that the gods are immortal, incapable of death. But here was Jesus dying on the tree.
         They laughed at Him on the cross but He was vindicated in the Resurrection. The kings of earth and rulers killed Him but the Father held them in derision and laughed. He laughed. Why, because He had set His Son on the Holy Hill of Zion, the New Jerusalem, at the right hand of the power on high, from which He would rule until all things are in subjection to Him.
         Don’t you see? When we receive our Resurrection bodies, we get the last laugh. We can laugh at 20 years of sorrows, or 33 years, or 70 or 80 years, because we get everlasting bodies that no longer suffer. Sometimes our present suffering does not measure up to our present blessing. It does really, but you are not that good at Divine Calculus.
         But set that suffering against an eternity of bodily Resurrection Life, in a body yet without sin. No temptations, no pain. Work that is fruitful. Laughter without bitter irony. Blessing without mimetic rivalry. Man living as man is meant to live. Man, and woman and children.
         We do not know exactly what it will be like. But we see Jesus and we will be like Him, ever living, never dying, mortals who put on immortality. Endure to the end for the reward is greater than you can even imagine. Mortals who live in unending light with our risen Lord.
As N.T. Wright so aptly put it, the greater glory is revealed in the life after life after death. The life after is the vindication of all the previous death. It is the upward prize for which we endure. When sin is no more, when bodily death is dead, we will really see Jesus as He is, for we will be like Him. This is the power of the Resurrection.


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