My sermon notes from Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015.
Because He Lives!
Luke 24:5–6 (NKJV)
5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen!
2 Corinthians 13:4 (NKJV)
4 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.
Luke 24:1–12 (NKJV)
Matt. 28:1–8; Mark 16:1–8; John 20:1–10
24 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.
Let’s walk through the Resurrection Story here in Luke for a few moments.
5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”
8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
The Results of the Resurrection
The forgiveness of sin has been provided.
Healing has been accomplished.
Deliverance has been supplied.
Salvation is secured.
Forgiveness – 1 John 2:1–2 (NKJV)
2 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
Healing – 1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
Deliverance -2 Timothy 4:18 (NKJV)
18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
2 Peter 2:9–10 (NKJV)
9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,
Salvation – Acts 4:10–12 (NKJV)
10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
“Because He Lives (Amen)”
I believe in the Son
I believe in the risen One
I believe I overcome
By the power of His blood
I was dead in the grave
I was covered in sin and shame
I heard mercy call my name
He rolled the stone away
Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
Every fear is gone
I know He holds my life my future in His hands
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives
To What Will You Say “Amen?”
Three Feasts were established by God at this time. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was the commemoration of the Passover from Egypt. The Feast of Harvest is related to the firstfruits and bringing in the initial items into the household and tithing on the harvest. The Feast of Ingathering is during the time of the latter gathering of the harvest at the end of the season. During these three times of the year, all males of Israel must appear before the Lord.
The second part of this passage relates to God’s promise that an Angel would go before Israel to bring them into the Land of Promise. They must obey Him and follow Him fully in the Land of Canaan. They must totally destroy their enemies: The Amorites, Hittites, Hivites, and Jebusites. They would also be blessed in every area of their lives: food, health, birthing, etc.
God reiterates that He will send hornets into the land and drive out the aliens before them. What enemies are standing in the way of your Promised Land? If you are uncertain of your own victory, of your own promise of blessing, then remember God’s promise to His people: The hornets will go before you and drive out your enemies. God’s hornets are awe-inspiring and fearsome. Believe that God can do it, because He will!
In the first nine verses of this chapter, God gives instructions on how to handle matters of justice. Here are some of the instructions: no false reports, no partiality, help others in need, testify honestly, no bribes, no oppression. These are wonderful admonitions of things to do and not to do when dealing with others in business, in court, or in life.
The next four verses deal with the law of Sabbaths. In this particular passage, the people are instructed to give the land a Sabbath rest from working it every seventh year. There were a few reasons for this. One, sometimes the land needs to be replenished with the plants that grow dying and putting nourishment back into the soil. Also, the soil just needs rest sometimes. Secondly, though, the land will still produce some food. When it does, the poor can harvest that food and it eat in the year of Sabbath. God reiterates the command to work six days and then rest the seventh, so that you, your ox, and your donkey (your family, your workers and co-workers) may get some rest and be refreshed.
These two principles are universal. We all need to deal honestly and equitably with one another in life; and we all need rest to function well. Live a moral and ethical life, but not just for the sake of the law, but for the sake of the gospel. It is very difficult to show sinners a better way if one is not walking in that way. Don’t cheat or steal, don’t oppress another. Live life in a Godly way and rest so that God may refresh you!
The first part of this chapter discusses various ways of dealing with people who steal from others, and those that either steal or damage another’s property. Restitution is a big part of the punishment for theft, and imprisonment is only prescribed when the thief cannot make restitution.
The second part of the chapter deals with fornicators, bestiality, and witchcraft. These sins were punishable, some by financial punishment, and others by death!
The last part of the chapter deals with those less privileged, and how others should treat them. God prohibits usury (loan sharks) and extortion. He even instructs the people to not withhold (steal) from God His just offerings and firstfruits.
These passages discuss how to deal with things, people, and God. Doesn’t all law boil down to those three things? Put God first, treat others with love and respect, and honor other people’s possessions! God makes it easy, if we will just hear His voice and obey!
In this passage, Moses shares how violent crimes should be dealt with. If you kill someone (homicide), you must die. However, unintentional killing (manslaughter) can avoid the death penalty by fleeing to a city of refuge. If you strike your parent or curse your parent, you die. If you kidnap someone, you die.
There are other crimes that may not be punishable by death, but in this Scripture the principle of “an eye for an eye” comes into view. Any damage you cause someone else must be answered with equal damage to the perpetrator.
Then, laws concerning controlling your animals are delineated. If you are reckless with your animals, allowing them to roam free, then you are responsible for whatever damage they may do.
While this seems more like congressional action or a penal code, these are Biblical principles that many municipalities, states, and countries have adopted as law as well. The truth is, all ethics and morality originates with God. We simply interpret and live by the laws as much as possible. When man tries to reinterpret the law of God and change them to suit society or situational comfort, we make errors. We can twist God’s laws, but truth still issues from the Divine, not from man. Let God be God, for we are not!
After the giving of the Ten Commandments (Decalogue), the Lord began to instruct Moses in how the nation should handle daily life in an ethical way. Some of the laws were for worship, others were for business dealings, some for marriage and family concerns. The laws spoken of the this passage had to do with how to construct and altar for worship, how to deal with slaves or servants, indentured servants, and marriages. There are a lot of things delineated in the following passages that outline how an Israelite should live.
The altar was not to be a place of opulence or showiness. It was to be a simple place to offer sacrifice to God. God did not want any other God before Him. Therefore, not even the altar was to be of a material that would draw attention.
A Hebrew servant would be required to serve only 6 years, and then be set free in the seventh year. If he enter servanthood with a wife, then he could take her with him when he was set free. However, if he married a wife while a servant, then he had a choice to make. He could have total freedom, but leave his wife and children behind, or he could remain a servant and keep his wife and children. The mark of the indentured servant was to take an awl punch in his ear.
If a man sells his daughter as a slave or a bride, then she cannot be mistreated by her owner or husband, but must be treated fairly and equitably. This is regardless of whether she pleases her master or not.
God has here established a powerful pattern that will continue to show up throughout the law. God must be the priority in worship, and people must deal equitably with other people. This is the summary of the Decalogue, where the first part deals with how we relate to God, and the last part how we relate to man.
While some of the laws of Moses have little relation to the social conventions of our day, the principles to be learned are also universal. Do not put anything before God, and treat others with dignity and fairness!
Exodus 20:18–21 (NKJV) 18 Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”
20 And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” 21 So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.
God is awesome and even fearful. We humans cannot even see Him face to face because His unmediated glory is more than our finite beings can handle in the flesh. Moses is one of the few humans ever to even catch a glimpse of God’s presence, and that only from behind. When the people saw God manifesting Himself on Mt. Sinai in thunder, lightning, and smoke, they were frightened and retreated from the mountain. They asked Moses to be their representative to God and from God. They wanted nothing to do with God’s presence.
Moses told them something that should have helped them deal with this fear. He stated that God was testing them, establishing His authority before them, and giving them incentive not to sin. This sounds a bit like some efforts called “Scared Straight.” However, we should follow God because we love Him, not just because we fear Him. However, it is important to understand Who God is and who we are in relation to Him. He is God, the Righteous Judge, and the Ruler of all Eternity. Therefore, some healthy reverence and fear are in order, too!