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June 15, 2008 AM



LK 24:1-7

INTRO: It had no doubt been a somber and agonizing Sabbath day for the disciples of Jesus. Mark's gospel tells us that "they mourned and wept" (Mk 16:10). I can certainly appreciate their grief. The intimacy of the disciples surrounding Jesus was ever evident. It was assuredly more that a "teacher/student" relationship. For Jesus to have been taken from them in the way in which He was no doubt added to their pain. Of this much I am sure. There were no resurrection expectations among them on that Saturday. They expected to go to the tomb for the final burial preparations. It was that for which they were prepared and that which they intended. As the morning of the first day of the week dawned, they were not ready for what they found!

    1. Mk 16:1-3 - "And very early in the morning the first day of the week..."
      1. Joseph & Nicodemus had left burial details incomplete
      2. so, the women were coming to finish the burial process
      3. problem? how to move the stone away from the tomb's opening? (that is one indication of their not expecting His resurrection)
    2. Lk 24:2-7 - "And they found the stone rolled away..."
      1. fact: the body of Jesus was not in the tomb - they were perplexed
      2. the good news - "He is not here, but is risen"
      3. the "two men" reminded them of Jesus' words (Lk 9:21,22)
    3. Mt 28:11-15 - And what about the guards at the tomb?
      1. they reported to the chief priests "all the things that were done"
      2. the concocted story - "His disciples...stole him away while we slept"
      3. the Jews' leaders could not have a risen Jesus - they had to have some plausible explanation for the empty tomb (was it really plausible?)
    4. Jno 20:1,2,11a - Mary Magdalene and the empty tomb
      1. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb with the other women (Mt 28:1)
      2. seeing the open tomb, she immediately ran to Peter with the only conclusion she could imagine - "they have taken away the Lord..."
      3. recall Lk 8:2 - doubtless, from this grew great love, appreciation
    5. Two important things to remember at this point...
      1. Jewish leaders wanted all to believe the disciples' had stolen His body (and they knew differently)
      2. the disciples thought others had stolen His body
      3. so, the tomb was empty - all agreed ... but what happened to the body?
    1. Jno 20:11-18 - The first of His appearances was to Mary Magdalene
      1. notice that she thinks someone has taken His body
      2. when Jesus called her by name, she recognized that it was He
      3. v. 17- probably His way of asking her not to cling to Him since He would not ascend to the Father for some time - more important? go and tell
    2. Mk 16:12 - This second (or, third?) appearance was to two disciples
      1. Luke's gospel tells us they were going to Emmaus (Lk 24:13)
      2. explanation for their sorrow? Lk 24:19-24 - it was the third day; the tomb had been reported empty; "but him they saw not"
      3. Lk 24:31 - "...and they knew him..."
    3. Mk 16:33-36 - He appears to a group of the disciples
      1. it was already being reported that He had appeared to Peter (v. 34)
      2. now, late on this first day of the week, He appears to confirm identity
      3. their first reaction is fright and terror (Lk 24:37)
      4. He challenges them to behold his hands and feet (marks of crucifixion)
      5. interestingly, "they yet believed not...and wondered" - a ghost? a spirit?
      6. so, after eating fish and honeycomb, they realized it was He!
    4. Jno 20:24-29 - Another Lord's day appearance
      1. Thomas had apparently not seen the Lord on the previous Lord's day
      2. and he manifests the same disbelief which had been evident in the others
      3. note vv. 28,29 - you and I are numbered among those of v. 29
    5. 1 Cor 15:3-8 - Appearances too numerous to question, to doubt!

CLOSE: The only thing which could have transformed a dispirited band of disciples into the courageous men and women they became must be the resurrection. As Peter and others said on Pentecost, "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses" (Acts 2:32). To preach the cross with no mention of the resurrection is to leave the message incomplete.

Cecil A. Hutson

15 June 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)