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Sermon 3/27/05 – Easter
Matthew 28:5-7

Friday  Study Ministries
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The angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead” (Matthew 28:5-7)

Church attendance is always “up” at Christmas and Easter.  Parking is more difficult, “your” special place in the pew where you always sit may be taken by someone else, and you are surrounded by people who look vaguely familiar, but you merely nod to them because you suspect they won’t be back for a long time.  This year, pray for them and smile at the one who is in your seat.  Remember that the father in the “Prodigal Son” parable (Luke 15:11-32) had TWO sons and BOTH of them needed the Lord.

Speaking of “Christmas and Easter” church attendees, we’ve had a “Humor” section for some years at the First Church on the Net.  Do you remember the “old” hymns of a generation ago?  The following is a sampling from a “Humor” item sent to us in 2001:

If hymns were written by “Christmas and Easter Christians,” these would be some of the titles of those hymns –

  • I Surrender Some
  • There Shall Be Sprinkles of Blessings
  • Fill My Thimble, Lord
  • Oh, How I Like Jesus
  • I Love to Talk About Telling the Story
  • Take My Life, but Let Me Be
  • It is My Secret What God Can Do
  • Where He Leads Me, I Will Consider Following
  • When the Saints Go Sneaking In
  • Sit Up, Sit Up for Jesus
  • Oh, for a Couple of Tongues to Sing
  • Amazing Grace, How Interesting the Sound
  • Go Tell it on the Speed Bump
  • My Hope is Built on Nothing Much
  • O, God, Our Enabler in Ages Past
  • Pillow of Ages, Fluffed for Me
  • All Hail the Influence of Jesus' Name!
  • I'm Fairly Certain that My Redeemer Lives
  • What an Acquaintance We Have in Jesus
  • Joyful, Joyful, We Think Thee Pretty Good
  • Above Average is Thy Faithfulness
  • We Are Milling Around in the Light of God
  • Spirit of the Living God, Fall Somewhere Near Me
  • Blest Be the Tie That Doesn't Cramp My Style!

There were a few more and you can go back to “Humor” and look for the rest if you want.  But it is even better for us all to go back to the Bible at this time and read the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection.  We need to KNOW that Jesus Christ WAS fully dead and yet He RETURNED from the dead fully ALIVE – forevermore!  Your life will never be the same, for the Holy Spirit will convince your heart that what was done for Jesus Christ (returning Him to life) will be done for YOU when you place your faith in Him.  You and I will be raised to life and will live forever – in Him.

I Surrender Some” becomes “I Surrender ALL” and “I'm Fairly Certain that My Redeemer Lives” turns into: “I KNOW that My Redeemer Lives!” when you BELIEVE in the Lord.

The women in today’s Scripture who went to the rich man’s tomb that Jesus was buried in, did NOT expect to find Him alive.  But He was and they did.  When they ran back to tell Jesus’ key disciples, the apostles, the shocking news that Jesus was raised from the dead, those men weren’t prepared to believe it either!  Even though Jesus told them, over-and-over again that He would die for our sins and return from the dead, they didn’t truly believe until they SAW it was true!  It’s the same for us.  That’s why the Bible contains eye-witness accounts of those who SAW the Risen Christ.  You and I are like “judges” who decide whether to believe the testimony or not. – We want to KNOW and to judge rightly!

The judge in a courtroom has an advantage.  He not only hears the testimony and sees the evidence, but he also has books that tell him how to rule in certain situations.  He has attorneys in front of him, pointing him to certain sections of those books.  As stated, we have the Bible, the literal, authoritative and very real Word of God, but we have even more.  We have been given the Holy Spirit of God.  You can KNOW in and through Him, that Christ IS risen from the dead and you are given HIS life, when you trust in the Lord.

Growing on the east side of our property in Long Beach, California, is the most interesting hedge that obscures the fence between our home and the one next door.  In the spring, that hedge (actually a combination of differing hedge plants) is GREEN with life, and it also contains beautiful orange-red flowers that are startling in beauty against the green of that hedge.  Hummingbirds vie for the nectar, as do bees and other creatures.  Yet in the wintertime, you’ve never seen anything as dead-appearing in your life as that hedge!  It looks like a bunch of sun-whitened sticks somewhere in the desert!  If I didn’t KNOW it would return to life in the spring, I might have it chopped down to make room for something else, convinced it’s gone for good.  But it’s not.  I BELIEVE that hedge is ALIVE and will soon be green again, lovely flowers and all – Actually, I KNOW it soon will be!

In a similar manner, our Lord is not gone, He is ALIVE, and the testimony of the written Word of God and God’s Holy Spirit is sufficient to reveal that Jesus is right here with us.  He is ALIVE - and He will discernibly live in your heart when you place your trust in Him.  “I Surrender Some” becomes “I Surrender All” – to Him.  Let’s trust in Him now:

Lord, thank You for Your Book, the Bible, and for giving us Your Holy Spirit, that we might KNOW that the Messiah, Jesus Christ is alive and ours for the asking right now.  Lord, I believe in You!  Thank You, Lord, for saving me.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
First Church On The Net
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

Our thanks to those who support this growing ministry. 
Please send your tax-deductible gifts to:
Friday Study Ministries
P.O. Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131

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