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GOOD NEWS FROM
A FAR COUNTRY
Intro: Ill. Vladimir Lenin was a driving force behind the Communist Revolution of 1917 and was the first dictator of the Soviet Union. He died in 1924 and his body is on public display.
Periodically, those responsible for Lenins body have to take him out of his glass case and wash the corpse with chemicals and repair areas that have become damaged. Today, there is little left of Lenin, most of what you see is wax and makeup.
Some years ago, Dr. Adrian Rogers and his wife Joyce were in Russia, and while they were there, they visited Lenins Tomb. People are given strict instructions that they are not to speak a word as they walked through the mausoleum.
Dr. Rogers said that his wife Joyce, normally follows all kinds of rules, but as they came to every guard, she said, My Jesus is alive. To every single guard she said, My Jesus is alive. My Jesus is alive. And not one of the guards made any remark back to her. She knew that her Savior was not in a tomb and she wanted to share the good news!
Proverbs 25:25 says, As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. Today, we have exciting news to share! Today, we celebrate the glorious news that our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ is not dead and lying in a grave. Today, we celebrate the fact that He is risen from the dead and that the tomb He occupied is empty!
The exciting news that Jesus is alive is news we need to hear and share again and again. It is news that should cause rejoicing. We are here today because somewhere along the way we heard the glorious news that Jesus is alive. That news gives us hope today. The hope of His resurrection should fill our hearts with joy! Our Jesus is alive! Hallelujah!
I would like for us to take some time this morning to return to Jerusalem and look in on the events that took place early that Sunday morning. I would like for us to hear the message of the resurrection as it was shared by the angel of the Lord that came to the tomb of Jesus.
At dawn on the first day of the week, three days following the crucifixion of the Lord, some of the women who had trusted Him, followed Him, supported Him, and had been faithful to Him all the way to the cross, approached His grave to finish preparing His body for burial.
They came there that morning with spices expecting to find the body of Christ still lying in a tomb with a stone rolled over its mouth, and being guarded by Roman soldiers! They were in for the surprise and shock of their lives. Rather than finding the dead body of Jesus, they heard news that energized, and encouraged their hearts. They heard news that shook the earth to its very foundations. They heard news that still reverberates down the corridors of both time and eternity!
As that little band of women approached the tomb that day, the earth shook, an angel appeared, and he rolled away the stone from the mouth of the tomb. The angel did not roll the stone away so that Christ could come out; he did so that they could go in!
That gleaming angel whose countenance was like lightening, and whose clothes were as white as snow then sat upon the stone which he had rolled away! The soldiers who were there to guard the tomb were so shaken by what had happened and by the appearance of the angel that they became as dead men!
The women approached, and the angel answered all the questions that filled their hearts before they had a chance to say anything. That angel preached a powerful message that morning. I want to share it with you today. He brought Good News From A Far Country. The facts of the angels message are what I want to share with you today.
I. v. 6 THE COMFORT OF
THIS GOOD NEWS
(Ill. This message said )
A. Be Calm - Having already experienced the events of the previous days, these ladies were filled with fear and anxiety (Ill. The arrest, the crucifixion and the burial; the fact that they had left all to follow Him). Their hearts were already heavy and troubled over the death of their Lord. They became even more troubled at the sights that met them as they approached the tomb early that morning.
The message of the resurrection is stay calm; have faith; dont be troubled or anxious! (Ill. Jesus, Mary and Martha John 11:20-26) We can experience calm, peace, rest through any situations, and circumstances that we face in life because of the resurrection!
Why? The resurrection of the Lord
Jesus Christ from the dead proves that our God is sovereign and in absolute
control! If He can raise His Son from the dead, then there is nothing our God
cannot do! (Ill. Eph. 3:20;
B. Be Courageous - The message of the resurrection should give us courage!
It should instill courage in our
hearts because death was defeated for all who believe in Jesus,
It should give us courage because he lives, and is seated at the right hand of God praying on our behalf, Heb. 13:5; Heb. 7:25!
(Ill. The empty tomb inspires awesome courage in those who experience its power! Ill. On May Day, 1990, a parade was taking place in Moscows Red Square. All the official might of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was on display that day. There was a huge procession of tanks, missiles, troops, and salutes to the Communist party elite. Behind the tanks surged a giant crowd of protesters, shouting up at Mikhail Gorbachev. Bread!...Freedom!...Truth!
As the throng passed directly in front of the Soviet leader standing in his place of honor, some Russian Orthodox priests lifted a huge 8 foot tall crucifix into the air. The cross emerged from the crowd. As it did, the figure of Jesus Christ obscured the giant poster faces of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin that provided the backdrop for Gorbachev's reviewing stand.
Mikhail Sergeyevich! one of the priests shouted, his deep voice cleaving the clamor of the protesters and piercing straight toward the angry Soviet leader. Mikhail Sergeyevich! Christ is risen!)
C. Be Confident - The command to fear not should fill our hearts with confidence because Jesus always keeps His Word! His promises are real, and certain. His words are true! We can count on Him. He will do what He says! Ill. Every promise He has made is a promise He can and will keep.
· He will meet your needs, Matt. 6:25-34; Phil. 4:19.
He will keep
provide you a home in Heaven,
return for you one day,
· He will walk with you every step of the way, Matt. 28:20, Heb. 13:5.
He will keep
you close and clean,
resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ gives us a lively
(Ill. As Vice President, George Bush represented the U.S. at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Then, just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev's wife performed an act of great courage and hope, a gesture that must surely rank as one of the most profound acts of civil disobedience ever committed: She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband's chest. There in the citadel of secular, atheistic power, the wife of the man who had run it all hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was another life, and that that life was best represented by Jesus who died on the cross, and that the same Jesus might yet have mercy on her husband.)
II. v. 6 THE CHALLENGE OF
THIS GOOD NEWS
A. A Challenge To Examine Come and see the place where the Lord lay - It is an invitation to examine the claim of the resurrected Lord. His body which had been previously placed inside the tomb by Joseph and Nicodemus no longer lies where they had placed it. It could not have been stolen away because Roman guards sealed the tomb. The empty tomb is a powerful argument!
It is interesting to know that no search was ever made of his body though the officials would claim that it had been stolen, Matt. 28:11-15. There were never any arrests made of any of the disciples though one would think that they would have been the likely suspects, Matt. 28:13.
If we examine the claims of the
resurrection, and they have been examined by the greatest of minds for 2,000
years, there is no other explanation but that Jesus did just as He had promised,
(Ill. You may have never heard of Sir Lionel Luckhoo. But if you open the Guinness Book of Records youll discover he is listed as the most successful trial lawyer ever - he had successfully defended 245 murder cases in a row!
To give you an idea how good that is, Perry Mason was a TV show about an unbelievably good lawyer. The producers had him lose a case after 70 successful ones, because they didnt think anyone would find him credible.
Yet despite his fame, success, and wealth he felt empty inside. The older he got the more meaningless life appeared. Then at 63 he turned his analytical skills to the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. He found that the message of Jesus resurrection satisfied his personal needs and his intellectual questioning.
I have spent more than forty-two years as a defense trial lawyer in many parts of the world. he later wrote. I say unequivocally the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt!)
B. A Challenge To Experience - The message of the angel who rolled the stone away is also an invitation to experience. The word see means to know. Jesus not only wants you to believe in the resurrection of Christ, but He wants you to know Him, to experience Him in a personal way!
A recent survey shows that nearly 80% of Americans say that they believe in the resurrection of Christ, but that does not mean that 80% know Him. The resurrected Christ wants you to know Him! It is not enough to just know the facts, you must know the Lord!
(Ill. We live in a generation marked by knowledge. Think about the CD and DVD and Internet. Knowledge is increasing at an astonishing rate. Some scientists say that our knowledge is doubling every six months. Yet, while men learn more and more, they are steadily moving farther away from the Lord.
In 1948, General Omar Bradley said, We have grasped the mystery of the atom, and rejected the Sermon on the Mount... With the monstrous weapons man already has, humanity is in danger of being trapped in this world by moral adolescents. Our knowledge of science has already outstripped our capacity to control it. We have too many men of science, too few of God.
Mankind has accumulated so much advanced knowledge that the simple story of the crucifixion and the resurrection seems too simple and old-fashioned. But, that is the only message that will save the lost soul, Rom. 1:16; Acts 4:12; 16:31.
Have you met the risen Lord? Have you invited the risen Lord to live inside you, and to deliver you from spiritual death? If your knowledge of Jesus begins with a baby in a manger and ends with something about a bunny and an egg, then you need to know that there is more to the story than that.)
(Ill. Why were the cross and the resurrection necessary? Ill. Rom. 5:1-10; 4:25. The same message of invitation extended by the angel still stands today. The Lord died for you and He rose again for you! If you will come to Him, He will save you too!
When He does, you can experience the power of His resurrection, Phil. 3:10. That is the abundant life Jesus referred to in John 10:10.)
III. v. 7 THE COMMANDS OF
THIS GOOD NEWS
(Ill. The message of Easter is a message filled with commands! Once we have experienced the resurrection! Once we have come, and once we have seen...we are commanded to go and tell. Sadly, the great themes of our Lords death and resurrection have ceased to touch our hearts!)
(Ill. British minister W.E. Sangster contracted an incurable disease that slowly caused his muscles to waste away; his voice to fail and his throat to become unable to swallow. He continued in ministry, right up until the point where his voice had gone and he could barely hold a pen. On Easter morning, just a few weeks before he died, he wrote in a letter to his daughter: It is terrible to wake up Easter morning and have no voice with which to shout He is risen! - but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout.)
A. A Command To Depart - The angelic message is an imperative message. It calls for action, for engagement on our part. The angel says to the ladies...... Go!
Are we living as though our Lord is risen and living within our hearts? Are we sharing the message that He lives with others? We are not to linger near the tomb, but we are to take the good news that it is empty and that Jesus lives into the entire world.
The message of the resurrection calls us to action! It calls us to engage in the work of the risen Lord!)
B. A Command To Deliver - go quickly, and tell The word quickly means without delay! These women were commanded to go with a sense of urgency spreading the good news that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead!
The message of the tomb is still the message for this hour, Come, see .go quickly and tell. The message that we have been given is an urgent message. It is an urgent message because...
1. People Are Dying - Thousands die daily without knowing the risen Lord. It is imperative; it is urgent that we reach them with the news of the resurrection! It is urgent that they know that he lives so that they may live also!
(Ill. Birth Rate: There are 128.9 million births per year. Every second of every day 4 babies are born into this world. Every single one of those babies comes into this world a lost sinner in need of a Savior, Rom. 3:23; Psa. 58:3; Rom. 5:12.
Rate: Every year 57.9 million people die in this world. That is 2
people every second of every day. 110 each minute; 6,619 every hour and 158,857
every day slide off into death. By the time I finish preaching this message
some 4,800 people will die. Most of them will die and go to Hell. They need to
hear the Gospel, Rom. 10:14, 17.
They need to hear today,
2. People Are
Deceived - Many are deceived, and worship gods that do not exist. They have
been blinded by Satan, 2 Cor. 4:4.
The only hope they have is hearing the good news of the death, burial and
resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ,
Every body of every deceased leader and founder of every major religion in this world is in a tomb somewhere. But, you can search every tomb in Israel and you will never find the bones or the dust of the Lord Jesus. (Ill. I was just there, and He is gone!)
We know our Lord lives. It is our
duty to take the gospel to those without the living God,
3. People Are Despondent Go quickly and tell His disciples - The disciples were despondent after the days of Christ. They hid behind locked doors in fear! It was imperative that the message be shared with them so that they might be stirred from their despondency! The Lord lives! He promised it! He fulfilled it! It has happened just as he said!
People who do
not know the Lord have no hope and they need to hear the Gospel of salvation
through the grace of God and the blood of Jesus. The Gospel is a message that
brings hope to all who hear it and receive it by faith, (Ill. The thief on the
IV. v. 7-8 THE CONFIDENCE OF
THIS GOOD NEWS
(Ill. Those who will hear the angels invitation; those who will come and see and then go and tell; have some wonderful promises given to them.)
A. The Lord Precedes Them he goeth before you - We can spread the news of the risen Lord because he precedes us! Because He walks before us, and guides us, and instructs us, and lives in us, we can accomplish great things through Him, Phil 4:13; John 14:12! He is working ahead of us, preparing the way and preparing people to hear what we have to say about Him!
He is with us no matter the circumstance, Matt. 28:18-20! Hallelujah, we do not minister alone, or within our own power. He goes with us and He enables us to do all His will!
B. The Lord Presents Himself To Them there shall ye see him Oh, they ran to spread the news, but they also ran to see Him, v. 9! It wasnt long until they ran right into Him!
One day we shall see the risen Lord face to face! We serve Him with gladness and joy today because we know that we will see Him in His glory some day.
Conc: As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. The greatest news I ever heard was the exciting news that God loved me; Jesus died for me; and that He rose again and would save me if I came to Him.
Have you experienced the good news from that empty tomb 2,000 years ago? Is Jesus your Savior today? Are you ready to meet him? Does the risen Lord live in your heart? You can be saved today! If He is calling you to come to Him, you need to come to Him today.
If you are saved, ask yourself this question, Am I living like I believe in the resurrection? How long has it been since you thanked Him for being alive in Heaven and in you?