An Emptiness Full of Promise

by | Mar 31, 2024 | Podcast, Sermons

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Preacher: Pastor David Ball

Scripture: Mark 16:1-8

The world offers us empty promises for where we can find hope, joy, love, and peace. Easter Sunday offers us an empty tomb where we can find the abundant life full of the promises of God. The tomb was empty, Jesus conquered sin and death forever, come let us give praise to the risen King.

Transcript

Well as I said the the Easter Sundays are becoming more I’m aware more and more the older I get just how precious and special these days are especially because everything else that we hope in everything we believe in all the joy that we have is all dep dependant upon the resurrection from the dead as Paul proclaimed just a a few verses before our reading from this morning starting in the 17th verse he said if Christ has not been raised your faith is futile and you are still in your sins then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished if in Christ we have hope in this life only we are a people to be most pied the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the the grave is the foundation of everything we believe it’s the foundation of every reason why we’re here in the hope that we have everything else depends upon it this why I think it’s important to to talk a little bit about uh the historic evidence for the resurrection because that’s one of the biggest arguments you hear from people right people don’t rise from the dead uh how in the world could this be true this is some myth that that Christians just uh just like to to believe but if we really subject the gospel narrative to uh even to the scrutiny of of historic evidence it it passes with flying colors and there fact there’s four there are four evidences or proofs of the Resurrection uh if we look at this from a historical uh academic standpoint and the first proof is this that the the tomb was empty the tomb was empty when those first women that we just read about came to the tomb that Jesus had been buried in just three days before it was empty no one ever argues against that fact some say the disciples must have have snuck in and and stolen the body have you heard that one before you know that that could have happened uh but the gospels tell a different story don’t they they tell us a story of a disciples who were incredibly cowardly and afraid scared for their lives it it’s not reasonable to believe that they were so so brave uh that they would have been so bold to have attacked the the Roman guards who were uh who were guarding uh the Tomb in order to steal Jesus’s body away some say it was just a big conspiracy right derived from the disciples just to perpetuate the idea that Jesus actually Rose from the grave I don’t know if you you ever read any of of Chuck coulson’s uh writings on his experiences from uh being a chief orchestrator of the Watergate uh scandals uh but he writes about how it is absolutely impossible to have that many people involved in a conspiracy and for someone not to blab the truth at some point Coulson knew from experience there’s also a reality that if the tomb really was not empty and this was just some trick uh on the the disciples part uh then the Jewish and Roman authorities though if that had been true they would have just produced the body right they would have just produced the body they would have quelled all of the the rumors and speculations and everything that was going around that this Jesus the tomb was empty and that he had risen from the grave the second evidence we have of Jesus’s resurrection uh from the grave is those first Witnesses those first Witnesses the gospel accounts uh all agree they all agreed that it was women who were the first Witnesses of the empty tomb in Mark’s gospel we just read it was Mary Magdalene it was Mary the mother of James and it was uh salomi in the first century women’s testimony was considered invalid why in the world would the gospel writers have made women to be the first Witnesses of Jesus’s resurrection if that unless of course that was the way it actually happened they wouldn’t have risked it they would have thought of a more plausible way at least in their culture of having witnesses that could stand up in court and could uh could be considered valid the third proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the disciples Newfound courage they Newfound courage just think about it because the gospels make it perfectly clear if you were here on uh on if you were here for Monday Thursday or on Good Friday or if you’ve been reading hopefully this week the word of the Lord and the gospel account of uh Jesus’s

betrayal and abandonment the gospel accounts make it all very clear the disciples were terrified they were terrified they all abandoned Jesus for fear of the Jews and of the Roman authorities they locked themselves up in the upper room right because were told because of the fear that they had so something changed something changed in in a mighty way for them and what that what changed for them was their encounter with the empty tomb and the Risen Christ it emboldened them to actually break out of their shelter of fear to begin to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ uh to the people around them they proclaimed the

resurrection where did this new found courage come except for they believed it because they saw him they saw the Risen Christ and it changed them forever the fourth proof is the disciples died for their faith in Jesus they gave their lives because of their faith and conviction this had indeed been been some kind of big lie that had just been drummed up by the disciples to perpetuate this myth that they had created that Jesus had risen from the G grave great but they never would have been willing to die for it they didn’t get rich they didn’t didn’t Prosper not in a worldly sense they died nearly all of them were martyred because of their belief in Jesus Christ’s Resurrection from the dead what greater evidence is there than the blood of the martyrs for Jesus’s resurrection from the dead the resurrection is absolutely foundational and essential to our Faith it’s the lens through which we see everything else around us not only is it the foundation of our faith it’s how we see the world it’s how we see ourselves as CS Lewis said I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else the resurrection changes the way that we see life as followers of Jesus Jesus Christ we see life through this Resurrection it helps us make sense of the world it’s what gives us hope even when all hope seems lost it’s the reality that brings joy and peace into our lives even when

circumstances would dictate quite the opposite it’s the truth that chases the fears and the worries of the world away when they inevitably begin to creep in and it gives us the courage and the strength to face even the dangers that are around us just as it did for those first disciples who witnessed firsthand Jesus’s resurrection from the dead so the hysteric the evidence it’s important don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not true or it doesn’t pass the evidence test because it does but of course it’s more than that right so much more than just being factually historically true that’s where we have to begin but it goes on from there you know the idea of emptiness isn’t very popular uh no one likes being empty right uh none of us like it what are the kind of things we usually uh associate with emptiness uh empty gas tanks that’s not good uh empty houses empty

wallets empty hearts

and then there’s the worst empty of them all and that’s empty promises maybe there’s nothing worse than empty promises uh in this world you know when someone promises you something that they they cannot or they they will not follow through on those kinds of promises they’re worthless they’re meaningless and the worst part about them is they leave us they leave us devastated defeated they can suck the life right out of us you know Ken Burns and his uh I don’t know if any anybody saw his baseball documentary uh it was a good one he does really good documentaries but uh one of the one of the lines was baseball is full of empty promises baseball’s full of empty promises good thing K’s not in here now and all our little baseball players you know so many players want to make the big leagues right that’s every that’s every kid’s dream that was uh if you played baseball that was your dream as a kid you were going to play in the big leagues but only 10% of players who even get drafted by a major league baseball team will ever actually make the majors that’s one out of 10 who just get who even get drafted who made it that far that means that nine players never have their dreams fulfilled for them baseball’s full of empty

promises now if baseball’s not your thing how about the Antique Road Show anybody anybody like the antique red show I love watching the antique red show I don’t watch it all the time but you know if it’s on I’ll stop you know it’s great it’s great drama um people come you know with their old stuff and uh the antique experts bring them in they you examine it and they bring them in and talks about that particular piece and what it means and where it came from and uh the buildup keeps going you know and you’re watching you’re like oh yeah this is going to be great uh until finally that payoff moment comes comes and you find out really what we all want to know what’s it worth right what what’s it really worth uh I love when someone comes and they they found that that item in their attic you know or they were going through a parent or a grandparents house or some barn out in the middle of uh Rocky Mount North Carolina and uh and they find this item that no one uh you know that’s been lost forever uh maybe it was an old wooden Bowl seems worthless only to find out it’s actually worth over $100,000 you know these are great uh one woman brought I watched a Chinese jade collection that her father had had acquired when he was stationed in China uh and and she had done nothing to get it she hadn’t earned it right uh she had simply just kept it in a box in the Attic but when she uh brought it uh she found out that it was worth over a million dollars yeah but as much as I love those stories right those are the good ones the ones that really keep me going and this says more about me than it does the show probably I love it even more more when that person who comes in just knowing that what they’ve got is worth something incredible right this is the this is the nest egg that’s going to uh going to pay for the rest of rest of their lives only they find out that it’s fake and worthless like the Irishman who came in with the 19th century uh portable toilet uh and he he bought it in an auction for around $2,000 cuz he just knew that that was going to be worth a fortune I mean who doesn’t want a portable toilet only to find out by the appraiser that it was worth maybe you know a hundred bucks you know I love those are the ones that those are the ones that keep me watching uh but that was empty empty promises right empty promises something that that poor old man thought was worth something was worth nothing ended up being worth worthless and you can see how in that when you watch the show how his whole face was just overcome with bitter disappointment all his hopes dashed that’s what happens when we deal with empty promises in this world and the world that we live in makes a lot of promises makes a lot of promises promises about how we can become Healthy and Wealthy and and wise and happy and fulfilled find success and and power Promises of of peace and and contentment love joy hope the world makes all kinds of promises is about how we can find it and they’ll all be ours if we can just get them work harder and longer than everyone else around us save more make smarter Investments and you’ll get there but at the end of the day the promises that the world makes they’re full of emptiness they’re full of emptiness they’re empty promises they can’t deliver what they say they can they’re meaningless and worthless money will never make is happy success will never fulfill us human Ingenuity and science can never guarantee our health and and Longevity the way that we were longing for it to we can’t find contentment and joy in anything we do on our own because we’re always left wanting more longing for more because the world always promises that one more thing is what you need that one more thing that one more thing if you can just find that one more thing or accomplish that one more thing then you’ll reach it but there’s always that one more thing there’s always that one more thing the truth is working longer and harder and only looking out for ourselves most often at best ends in a stomach alter and at worst ends in a heart attack long before we ever enjoy the fruits of anything and when we buy into those empty promises in the end we’re left with a piece of junk that we can never take with us when our time on Earth is done and even worse we often find ourselves full of bitterness disappointment at all the things that we never got that we thought we deserved discouraged defeated you know as is my uh custom uh to quote great 80s songs that make make the point for me uh this morning comes from Naked Eyes uh and all you children of the 80s know this one or you may know their their their their bigger hit of course is uh Always Something There to Remind me you know that one uh but this one’s promises promises he said they say never had a doubt in the beginning never a doubt trusted you true in the beginning I loved you right through you made me promises promises knowing I’d believe promises promises you knew you’d never keep you can’t finish what you start if this is love it breaks my heart deep deep and Brilliant there’s nothing deeper than a good 80s song I’m telling you I’m telling you but it’s the empty promises of This World In the End they’ll break our hearts and they do break our hearts Hearts because the world offers promises that are full of emptiness so that word empty it really is a negative thing nothing good ever comes from being empty or does it there’s one kind of emptiness that can actually bring hope and meaning and joy and peace and love into our lives there’s an emptiness that can actually bring life an emptiness that brings healing and restoration in all the ways that we need most it’s the emptiness of Easter hold with me on that for a minute while the world offers promises that that are full of emptiness Easter offers us an emptiness that’s full of Promise sounds kind of silly doesn’t it how can this be but you see my friends The Emptiness of Easter means that the cross that Jesus hung from is empty the tomb where they lay made his lifeless body it’s empty yet it’s an emptiness that offers us the promise of Life a promise full of Hope and meaning and joy and love and peace life is far from meaningless because of the empty tomb life is far from hopeless there’s so much more in that empty tomb than we ever could have hoped for or desired and it’s all because that that e on that Easter morning the tomb was empty an emptiness that was full of more life than we could ever desire or hope for and certainly more than we

deserve that’s exactly what the women found that first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and salomi went seeking Jesus’s body they were going to prepare his his body the way that it was right the way they were supposed

to they were empty inside when they went full of grief and fear they went fully expecting to find Jesus’s lifeless body there otherwise why get the uh get all the spices and get the things that were needed to prepare his body but what they did find was emptiness but it was an emptiness greater than their hearts could have ever imagined they found the empty tomb that was full of life when they got to the tomb that morning they found that the stone had been rolled away for them and a messenger of God appeared to them and when they saw this messenger who was wearing a white robe they were full of fear but listen to what the messenger again said to them you seek Jesus of Nazareth who is crucified he is risen he’s not here I love the Luke’s account of this also adds one beginning part to that and that is this why are you looking for the living among the Dead why are you looking for the living among the dead isn’t that what we do we follow the empty promises of this world looking for life when all it can give us is death with the emptiness of Easter though being filled with promise it’s filled with a new promise an eternal promise all those empty promises the world gives us about where we can find life and life to the full they’re all empty but the empty tomb offers us the promise of of Life of everlasting life a life that’s truly alive A Life That’s full and abundant and complete because the empty T tomb means that Jesus rose from the dead he conquered death death forever while we all face death in our lives death can no longer hold us captive it doesn’t have the last word because in conquering death death on a cross when we put our faith in Jesus his resurrection becomes our Resurrection to New Life see Jesus died on the cross for us he did it because he loves us he did it because he wants us to live with him forever but not just eternally he wants us to live with him now to know him personally as our Lord and savior he wants us to know the life that’s full of Promise here in the present full of Hope and and meaning full of forgiveness and restoration a life where we can find the Fulfillment that our hearts so desperately long for that can only be found in a personal relationship with God through his son Jesus

Christ all a place he wants us to find where all the bitterness the depression that the empty promises of this life have given us

he wants us to know that promise of the empty tomb where all of it can be washed away and we can be filled with the love of God for us and because Jesus died on the cross and then Rose from the grave when we put our faith in him his death becomes our death and his Everlasting Resurrection life brings us to New Life With God forever as the Apostle Paul said it uh in this way in his letter to the Galatians it’s no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me it’s new life that we’re given in Christ meaning we’re truly made alive to God and that means all those those things that the world promises those empty promises of meaning and hope and joy and contentment and love when we’re alive to God the very source of Hope and joy and love that our lives get filled up filled up to over overflowing as Jesus said it in John 10:10 I have come that they might have life and they might have it abundantly or they might have it to the fulls another way of saying it Jesus is telling us where we can find that kind of Life lives filled with the promise of the resurrection and Abundant Life is only possible because of the emptiness of Easter so today on this Easter Sunday the day of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and every day to come remember the world is full of empty promises but the empty tomb of Easter is full of the promise of Life everlasting life that’s for every one of us when we put our faith in Jesus Christ as the Risen Lord Allelujah Christ is risen Lord hallelujah and because he has risen our lives are full of the promise of God today and for all eternity amen amen

amen

 

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