Posted on 04/08/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
Good morning, and happy Resurrection Day! Today we celebrate the fact that we do not serve a dead Savior. We do not visit his tomb to pay respect to dry bones. And we do not follow him in to the grave without the knowledge that if that same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us, he will raise us up into brand new lives, and that we will live in everlasting joy!
Stand to your feet, and let's welcome the Holy Spirit into our midst today.
Lord Jesus, we magnify and glorify your holy name! You are the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End! You are the One who overcame death and the grave, the spotless Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the word!
And you rose bodily from the grave just like you said you would, so that we who follow you can rise up out of our graves of slavery to sin, our graves of confusion and turmoil, our graves of our empty lives, and can live in true freedom, peace, joy, and the fulness that only your Holy Spirit can bring, like rivers of life bubbling up from within.
Lord, we ask you to minister now to our brothers and sisters who have asked for our prayers.
We pray for Naydi's friend who has a physical need that, without your intervention, could cause her vision to deteriorate. We ask that you provide for her needs, that you pour out your love upon her, drawing her into your embrace, and bringing the healing and life, breathing into her a newness of spirit, and a restoration of those things that have been touched by this disease, in Jesus' name.
We pray for Peggy's husband who is addicted to crack cocaine. Lord, you came to set the captives free, to bring liberty to those in chains. Just like you set many of us free from lust, from violence, from drunkenness, from fear, from suicide, and from too many things to mention which had control over our lives, you can set Peggy's husband completely and gloriously free!
We ask that you send your Holy Spirit to hover over and all around Peggy's husband. Bring him to the point that he knows he needs to be free, and show him you are his answer. Bring Salvation, deliverance, and restoration to Peggy's husband, in the name of Jesus.
Now Lord, I pray a special outpouring of your Spirit on those here today, and on those reading or listening later. Move here today in a mighty way. As we celebrate the resurrection of our risen Savior today, come and confirm your Word with signs following. Demonstrate in each one here the resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead, and may none of us leave here the same.
And we ask these things in the precious name of Jesus.
Please remain standing, and click-touch the pulpit for a notecard or follow along with the overhead, as we worship the risen King with song.
HALLELUJAH FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE
Lifted me from the miry clay
Forever, I will never be the same
Cause You came here
From the everlasting
To the world we live
The Father’s only Son
And You lived
You rose again on high
You opened the way for the world to live again
Hallelujah, for all You’ve done
CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY
Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
HE IS LORD
For he is Lord, he is Lord
He has risen from the dead, and he is Lord
Every knee shall bow,
every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord
Jesus, you are Lord! And we worship you today. We will not wait until it's too late, when those who refuse to accept your priceless gift of eternal life have their eyes opened by force, but we choose today to bow our knees before you and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
Speak to us now through your Word. May every heart be receptive to your Word, and may new life spring forth in us today. And it's in Jesus' name we pray.
You may be seated.
Week before last, we talked about the blood. We talked about the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
We talked about the precious atoning blood, and how the blood of Jesus is the only thing that can wash away our sins and reconcile us with God.
We saw that without blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.
We saw that if the blood is applied to the doorposts of our lives, and if we stay within the protection of the place covered by the blood, the judgement of God coming upon the world will pass us by.
Jesus, who never sinned like all of us have, who deserved only glory and life, who healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, opened deaf ears, gave sight to blind eyes, and raised the dead back to life; This Jesus saw the eternal price you would pay for your sins in hell, and he said, "Father, here I am -- send me."
He took on flesh, walked this earth, resisted every single temptation to sin to which you and I fallen time and time again, showed nothing but mercy and love to the weak, the sick, the downtrodden, the broken hearted, and those held captive by sin.
And then he allowed us, sinful twisted people, to whip him to the point of death, beat him, spit on him, rip out his beard, drive spikes through his hands and his feet, and hang him up, bleeding and naked, so that as he died for you and for me, those passing by could mock him, ridicule him, and spew hatred at him -- he who was dying for THEIR sins too.
And so we talked about that precious blood that is available to wash you clean today, that is waiting to completely clean your slate no matter what you have written there, and is powerful enough to completely break down that wall that is separating you from God and from everlasting life in the Kingdom of God.
Are you washed by the blood today? Are you spotless and blameless before God? Are you set free from the control sin used to have over you?
If so, then share the message of the attoning blood with everyone you meet.
If not, then God's Holy Spirit is speaking to you right now, saying, "This blood is for YOU. Jesus paid the price for YOUR sins so that YOU can be forgiven, YOU can be made blameless, YOU can be seen by me as holy and righteous, and YOU can have everlasting life and joy instead of eternal death and anguish."
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, "Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest."
Come to Jesus today. Ask him to forgive you for your sins, and apply to your soul the blood he shed for you at Calvary. Ask him to be your Lord and Savior. And then confess with your mouth that Jesus is your Lord. And you will be saved.
"For with the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made, resulting in salvation." (Romans 10:10)
Then last week we talked about the tomb. We read the Scripture in which Jesus says that unless a seed falls into the earth and dies, it remains as it is. But if it does fall into the earth and die, it springs forth into life and produces many more like it.
Before we are born again by the Spirit into the family of God, we are just a lifeless potential. What we could be is locked up within us, just a blueprint designed by the Master Architect.
We may see that potential, we may see some of our giftings and abilities, or we may not even know why we're on this earth at all. But no matter how much or how little of your potential you see, until you come to Jesus and surrender your will, your life, your seed to fall into the earth and die with him, you will have nothing but a dry, dead seed, only a could-be.
But when you surrender your life to the Master, and let your potentials, your hopes and dreams, your desires, and your heart fall into his earth, and trust it all to his hands, then something begins to happen.
You begin to be broken by the water of his Holy Spirit, and are fed by the nutrient-rich soil of his Word, found in the Bible. And as you stay in this place of obedience to his Word and seeking after the life of his presence, you will begin to grow roots, and soon you will see new life spring forth from the ground, as the God who lovingly formed you in your mother's womb continues to form you into the great man or woman he created you to be.
If you have not yet surrendered your life into his hands, or if you have popped up out of the soil to seek the things of the world, today the voice of the Lord is calling out to you, and Jesus is saying to you right now,
"Behold, I stand at your door and knock. If you'll hear my voice and open your door, I will come in, and together we will have a great feast of joy and life." (Revelation 3:20)
Open the door to Jesus today, and let him make something wonderful out of your dry and empty life.
And so we talked about the blood Jesus shed for you. And we talked about the tomb in which Jesus was laid. And we see that we must be washed by his blood and follow him into the grave if we are to experience true and everlasting life.
And yet if the story ended there, we would have just another story. If Jesus was crucified and rotted in his grave, we would have just another good man, or another prophet or teacher.
If the life of Jesus ended in the grave, we would have no real hope, for if the one we follow and trust with our lives was overcome by death, then we cannot expect anything in our own lives past the grave.
And yet, thousands of years before Jesus took on flesh and walked this earth, this prophecy was written concerning him.
We read this prophecy in the book of Psalms, chapter sixteen, verses nine through eleven, which say,
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see decay.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
You see, thousands of years before it even happened, it was written and determined that the body of Jesus would not see decay.
If someone finds some old box from the past that has dry earth and bones in it, we don't have to try decoding the worn out writing on that box to know that it's not the remains of Jesus.
In the Old Testament, we find 300 distinct prophecies concerning the first coming of the Messiah into the world. All 300 of these were fulfilled completely in Jesus.
One brilliant mathemetician, Dr. Peter S. Ruckman, states that the odds of Jesus fulfilling all 60 of the prophecies concerning Jesus' claims to be the Son of God, his dying on the tree at Calvary, and rising the third day, the odds of all 60 being fulfilled by one person are one out of ten to the 895th power. If you can see the overhead, you can see a that this number doesn't have a name. It's too large to imagine. There have not been that many people and animals combined since the creation of the earth.
The fact is, only 60 of the 300 prophecies concerning Jesus, all of which he fulfilled, could not possibly be perfectly fulfilled on one man. But they were.
In fact, not only were all 60 of these fulfilled, but all 300 concerning his birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection were fulfilled in Jesus.
If the chances of Jesus' fulfilling the prophecies concerning his life are simply impossible to ignore, why should we be surprised that the remaining ones about his resurrection are true as well?
It is only because our eyes are blinded by sin and darkness that we would not understand what Jesus meant when he said in John 11:25,
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."
And just as Jesus fulfilled every prophecy concerning his death for you and for me, and just as Jesus fulfilled every prophecy concerning his temporary visit to the grave, so Jesus fulfilled every prophecy concerning his bodily resurrection.
You see, we do not follow a great man, a prophet, or a teacher, just another man who lived, died, and whose body is with us to this day. We are not part of some religion, one of many ways to find God.
Rather, the Founder of our Faith is alive. His tomb is empty. He is not just another man, but he is the Eternal, Almighty, One and Only True and Living God, who lived, died, and rose again so that the way to Life could be opened for YOU.
Jesus died not as a martyr, but as the sacrifice for our sins.
Jesus was laid in the tomb not as a rotting corpse, but as a sleeping seed, broken and bleeding life to all those who believe.
And Jesus rose from that tomb not as a spirit, or a memory, or an ideal, but as the risen Savior of all the peoples of the world.
After Jesus' death, we see the disciples, still afraid of the Roman soldiers and the religious leaders who had crucified their Jesus.
They had heard the reports from various disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead. And yet, how could he have risen in the flesh?
Scripture tells us that Jesus was beaten so badly that he could not be recognized as a man. How could that broken, mutilated body come back to life? Surely the other disciples must have seen his Spirit, or some kind of vision.
And so we pick up this story in In Luke 24:36-39, which says,
36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”
37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.
38 And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?
39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."
So we don't follow after a dream, or a vision, or a dead prophet, or a collection of religious writings and ideas.
Rather, we serve the One True God, namely Jesus, the one whose name everyone who ever lived will confess as Lord as they bow before him, as we read in Philippians 2:5-7:
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
And while there are 300 distinct Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah's birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection, all fulfilled 100% by Jesus Christ, so there are 500 distinct Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah's second coming to earth.
Jesus came the first time as a baby laid in a feed trough. He will come the second time as the glorified King.
Jesus came the first time as a sacrifice to be hated, despised, rejected, and tortured to death for our sins. He will come the second time as the great Conqueror, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Bright and Morning Star, the Lion of Judah, the one who has eyes of fire, the great Judge, the One True and Eternal Soverign Lord of all the universe.
When Jesus fulfills the remaining 500 prophecies concerning his second coming, we will see him as he is described in Revelation chapter one, verses twelve through eighteen, which read,
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;
15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;
16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.
18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hell and of Death."
This is the Jesus we follow and serve. This is the Jesus we love and obey. This is the Jesus with whom we have a personal, daily, intimate relationship. This is the Jesus we proclaim to the world as the only way to eternal life and the only escape from eternal damnation.
When he returns to this earth in his splendor and majesty, when every tongue, from the athiest to the satanist to you and me confess he is Lord as our knees bow in worship, when his feet touch down on the Mount of Olives, splitting the earth in two, no tongue will confess Budah, no tongue will confess Allah, no tongue will confess satan, no tongue will confess self, for in that moment, in that hour, every doubt or argument or excuse or point of blindness you have right now will be stripped away, and there will be nothing remaining but the truth.
And he is coming for a Bride who has made herself ready.
He is not coming back for a Bride who is sleeping, who is ignoring all those around her who are stumbling in darkness and heading for hell.
Rather, he is coming back for a Bride who is obeying his command to go into all the world and proclaim the good news to everyone that there is reconciliation to God, forgiveness for sins, and eternal life in Jesus and in him alone.
He is not coming back for a Bride who is compromising with sin, committing spiritual adultery with the ways of the world and the carnality of the flesh.
Rather, he is coming back for a Bride who is following passionately after him, watching and waiting for his return, turning from sin and seeking the forgiveness of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit for freedom from whatever may still have them bound.
He is not coming back for a Bride who waters down the truth to please itching ears, sacrificing eternal souls for the approval of man.
Rather, he is coming back for a Bride who is standing up for the Truth, and who will not compromise or dilute the life-breath Word of God, which alone is the power of God unto Salvation.
Just as surely as Jesus was born, he lived a sinless life.
Just as surely as Jesus lived a sinless life, he died to pay the price for the sins of the world.
Just as surely as Jesus died for you and for me, he was laid in a cold stone tomb.
Just as surely as Jesus was laid in the tomb, he rose bodily from the dead.
Just as surely as Jesus rose bodily from the dead, he ascended into heaven.
And just as surely as Jesus ascended into heaven, he will return just as he said,
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Are you ready?
If before this service comes to an end, we hear the shout of the archangel; if before we leave here today we hear the trumpet sound; if before the altar ministry comes to an end, the sky splits open and we see the dead in Christ rise out of their graves; if Jesus returns right now, are you ready?
The question is not whether he is returning just as all the prophecies have fortold. The only question is when.
In Luke 12:40 Jesus says, "Therefore be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
And that hour could be today.
The ministry team can come to the front now.
Don't wait until it's too late. You're not promised your next breath. The Holy Spirit is drawing at your heart, urging you who are lost to surrender your life to Jesus as your Lord and Savior, urging you who are saved to turn from your sin and compromise and complacency.
This altar is open. If the Holy Spirit is pulling on your heart to get things right with God, come to this altar now and speak with one of the ministers.
This is your hour of visitation. Don't let it pass you by.
If you need prayer or ministry for any other thing, this altar is open for everyone.
After you have met with the Lord and he has has done his work in you today, you're invited to join us next door for a time of fellowship.
Come to this altar, and may the resurrection power of our risen Savior Jesus Christ transform you, set you free, and spring forth from you, as you are transformed from glory to glory into the very image of Jesus.