I Will

by | May 7, 2023 | Podcast, Sermons

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Preacher: Pastor David Ball

Scripture: Acts 15:1-21

The Apostle James quotes from the prophet Amos to settle the dispute that arose in the Early Church concerning the Gospel of God’s grace to the Gentiles.  James site three promises that God made to his people, “I will return”, “I will rebuild”, and “I will restore”.  The Gospel of Grace is that we have a God who returns to sinners to rebuild their lives on the firm foundation of His grace and restore them to eternal life with Him through the glory of His Son Jesus Christ. 

Transcript

Heavenly Father thank you for these ancient words Lord it is our prayer that that is true that our hearts are open that we come with Open Hearts Lord but we know we we can’t do that on our own Holy Spirit we need your help I need you to help open our hearts to that we may receive your word for us this day so will you come to Holy Spirit lead us to the throne of grace that we might find help and mercy in our time of need and Jesus we pray this in your mighty name amen you may be seated
this is the Super Bowl Sunday of the church right this is the Resurrection Sunday it’s the celebration of the Resurrection which everything else depends upon if Jesus Christ wasn’t raised from the dead then our hope is in vain because we’re still dead in our trespasses Romans 6 tells us that the wages of sin is death if Jesus did not rise from the dead then we are all still dead in our trespasses in our own sin but today we celebrate that the the that is not the truth that’s not the end of the story that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead for our salvation on that first uh Easter morning over 2 000 years ago as uh as we were told in our uh reading this morning as Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb to try to go see Jesus’s body where he had been laid as she got they got there there was an earthquake and there was an angel of the Lord sitting on the stone which he’d rolled away and what they found when they got there was that tomb was empty it was an empty tomb but it was a tomb although it was empty it was a tomb that was full of Hope an empty tomb full of Hope and it is still an empty tomb that is full of hope for us today and the Easter message it isn’t complicated uh in fact the Easter message is exactly what the angel proclaimed to the Mary’s that first morning this this is what this is what they what he said 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 now come see the place where he lay then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead and behold he is going before you to Galilee there’s four words really that is the main thrust of the of the Easter resurrection message come see go and tell come and see go and tell first of all he says come and see for yourselves come and see for yourselves that he’s not here the tomb is empty and then having seen it for yourself now go and tell the rest of the disciples go and tell there’s a sense of of urgency and I want to look at each of those for just a moment with you uh this morning that first word come it is a wonderful beautiful word of invitation have you ever received an invitation that you were just so excited about that you got that invitation maybe it was a wedding maybe it was a birthday party or a cocktail party or whatever it might have been uh but you were so excited it was something you had just been hoping for and you really wanted to go and and it made you feel special it made you feel like loved and cared for and kind of a part of something like you were significant because you know the opposite can happen too right and uh you’ve probably had this experience I know I have and that is when you didn’t get the invitation doesn’t make you feel very good does it you don’t feel very welcome you don’t feel included in fact it makes you feel more like an outcast you know I have a uh or a hat a great aunt uh a name is Aunt great aunt sis uh and great aunt sis was married a man from Birmingham England uh and then moved over there for most of the years to to live with him uh but they would return uh every once in a while they kept a house here in Jacksonville and they’d returned and I remember as a little kid going over to her house you know but it’s one of those houses that was just like packed with antiques everywhere and pictures on every table and uh and one of the pictures that was in that room uh in the living room was a picture of her having tea with the Queen of England um and and next to it was the invitation that she had received to have this tea it wasn’t just like one-on-one you know they it was like there’s special events where they invite a whole bunch of people if you’ve done you know if you’ve done a lot of charitable work I think you get included in the invitation but nonetheless she had a picture of her and the queen and the invitation right there and boy would she tell you about that invitation and that tea uh when you’d go and sit down with her she felt so honored she felt felt like it was just so special to be included we’re receiving an invitation from the god of the universe the God of all creation to come to come to the empty tomb he’s welcoming us that’s how much he thinks of us that’s how significant we are to him to come and see come and see for yourself what’s here come and see what you’ll find when you enter into this empty tomb that I have provided for you so what would you see he said he said to them come and see what exactly will they see well for them they saw literally right the empty tomb they saw literally where where Jesus’s body once had laid they could see it for their own eyes well we don’t have that same experience today do we we can’t go into the tomb I’ve been to Israel I’ve been I’ve been to the places where they think might have been the tomb you know you can at least go and see an example of what kind of one of those caves that have been hewn out of the rock might look like but we don’t know which one it actually was so we can’t duplicate it but you know C.S Lewis uh has a powerful quote in fact if you’ve ever actually read the but you probably haven’t uh the front cover the back cover of the uh of the bulletin I have it printed right here it’s been here every week for I think the last like 10 years um and uh and now I have a chance to say something about it uh this is what what C.S Lewis wrote he says I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen no only because I see it but because by it I see everything else you know this morning it was actually quite perfect maybe the Lord was doing this for me and so I feel sorry for everyone who didn’t get to see a sunrise this morning um but you know this morning it kind of played into that perfectly you know we didn’t get to see the sun actually Rising this morning but we saw its light it was dark and even through the clouds even through the overcast even through the that darkness and the Mist that was and kind of still is you can see light the light shines through it C.S Lewis understood that even though we can’t see physically with with our eyes the resurrection and the empty tomb we know it’s true because by everything else we see it’s light everywhere and that means you know if we go back to what I told you before in Romans 6 for the wages of sin is death Paul said but the free gift of God is eternal life in his son Jesus Christ he’s saying we see that that life all around us because the tomb was empty we have hope we have joy because death doesn’t have doesn’t have the last word death has been conquered Jesus is the firstborn from the dead and when we put our faith in him we too share in his resurrection life but this is where we kind of get get sideways sometimes we think this is just a Preferred Future you know this is just something that awaits us until we die then then it’ll then it’ll happen but that’s not what Resurrection Life is that’s not what Paul was saying when the wages are sin or death but the gift of God is life and his son Jesus Christ that eternal life that Resurrection Life Begins right now it’s a life that is alive to God and that means because sin has been conquered because death has been conquered because the devil has been conquered we always have hope the the Light of Christ is shining into every darkness that exists in our lives the fear the bitterness the hate the disappointments that we have in light and life those clouds that are gathering they cannot block out the son of the Resurrection if it’s true they can’t you know there’s often been debate about that you know what do you see you know what what what what what’s the whole deal now today about the resurrection and that empty tomb and Scholars have been debating this forever I was a religion major at the University of North Carolina and Chapel Hill very Progressive place they they don’t believe the the gospel to be uh to be truly the word word of God um and for the most part that’s a little unfair to throw that over everybody but I was there so most of most of the time um and and you know and there was always debate about what happened here it must have been some sort of great conspiracy you know they must have all conspired together to make this event uh just just say that Jesus they went in and they took Jesus’s body and they they stashed it somewhere just to begin perpetuate this whole myth well that even falls apart the whole conspiracy there you can’t have that many people that are all part of the same uh the same uh you know conspiracy and not ever have a conflicting report uh not they when they got tortured and died for it later but you know what was the message that they always proclaimed it was the resurrection that is what meant everything they were eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead that’s the message that they were sharing you know but going back to the academic world uh there’s at least three things there’s all kinds of debates and but there’s at least three things that I found at least for my time there and in the academic world that all Scholars could at least agree upon they disagreed on other parts of it but they did agree upon this that the Tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty by a group of women on the Sunday following the crucifixion they’ve said okay that that we can agree on a tree that that’s the historical testimony here that we would that we believe uh number two that Jesus disciples had real experiences with the one that they believed to be the this risen Jesus that that that we have those accounts and that’s historically reliable if we’re going to rely upon any history from Antiquity at all then then we believe that the testimony is sound you know that they believed that they had encounters with the Risen Jesus and as a result of the preaching and and of these disciples about Jesus’s resurrection one at many and most often at their own peril uh this message of the Resurrection it exploded it exploded to the point of overtaking the whole Roman Empire

and I think if you take all those three together and you’re willing to be to be honest I believe that there’s only really one plausible and reasonable explanation and that is that Jesus did in fact rise from the grave that Jesus is the firstborn from the dead that it really did happen but you know even that isn’t enough

just to believe rationally and the truth of the resurrection and that the tomb was actually empty uh that’s great you know good for you uh but that’s not enough that’s not enough to experience for ourselves the Resurrection Life you see when that angel invited them to come and see to see doesn’t just mean to to be able to witness it with our own eyes and to have that empirical evidence right there before us it’s undeniable that’s not what it’s saying it’s saying that word to see it means to experience it means to come and encounter it for yourself and so what we’re being invited into is not just to to argue about the plausibility and to believe that it could have happened is to enter in come to the empty tomb encounter it for yourself experience the hope and the joy of the Resurrection from the dead that there’s a God who loves you so much that he was willing to Die For You on the cross that he was raised again conquering death for all time that we might be with him for all eternity where he’s always long for us to be that’s the hope of the Resurrection to come and encounter it and experience it for ourselves and friends when we do when we do just as Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came and encountered and experienced that empty tomb and were filled with joy we’re told they left and they ran with fear and joy that fear of this this awe and wonder of the Majesty of God and what’s happened here but but also they were filled with joy we’re told the power of the empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus bore hope and joy in their hearts and they were told go and tell so not only were invited to come and see and experience Jesus when we have and when we know the joy and the hope and the Peace of his resurrection in our own lives the messages go and tell this is urgent they ran they left the gospel accounts are pretty much are all the same in that they they went with urgency to tell everybody and it didn’t end there did it they told them they went and told others and the message kept being told and kept being told and kept being told because that is always the message for us who have encountered and experienced the joy and the hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ for our own lives that we are alive with God forever through him it’s we’ve got to go tell other people you know when I was in a Falls Church Virginia which is just on the other side of the Potomac from from DC and it’s only a couple miles from uh from the Pentagon I was there on 9 11 working at a church there uh and we were all huddled there and and the senior pastor’s office just as many I’m sure all you were watching on this little TV that he happened to have uh we were all just huddled around watching this Darkness probably one of the darkest moments in our country’s history we’re just watching this moment just this Darkness this fear

this utter disappointment and Devastation before us but something was different that happened once we kind of gathered ourselves in solid what would happen we weren’t filled with Dread or that we needed to all run home turn on the TV and just bury ourselves somewhere we were filled with this different notion one is that wait a minute we’re a people of the Resurrection we’re a people of Life we’ve been given New Life In Christ that means in the midst of even this Darkness There’s Hope and there’s joy and there’s there’s purpose in their meaning and other you know our first thought was people need to know this and so we ran all over town posting signs we’re holding a service come on back to the church let’s come together to pray and to worship come together to encounter once again the empty tomb that death has been conquered that sin Reigns no more that we have been resurrected with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ friends the message of Easter the message today for you and me is to come and see experience the joy and the hope of the Resurrection by putting your faith and trust in Jesus when you’ve experienced it for yourself to go and tell others it’s urgent the time is now others need to hear it others need just behind the Light of Christ in the midst of the darkness of this world and of their own lives let us come and see and let us go and tell amen foreign

in Jesus name amen

 

 

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