01 May 2011

We Don't Have To See To Believe!


John 20:26-31

"There was a man named Cornelius who was a truck driver that hauled cows. He hauled live cows, and he also hauled dead cows. Some of his funniest stories were about the dead animals he had to haul. He had to haul things from dead cows, to horses and donkeys. He received a phone call on April 1st. The guy who called said to him, “Yeah, I have a dead elephant for you to pick up in Los Angeles.” Cornelius said to him, “Yeah right buddy! You aren’t going to get me on that one!” The guy said to him, “No, seriously, I have a dead elephant for you to pick up.” Cornelius again said, “You aren’t going to fool me today buddy!” The guy was insistent that he had a dead elephant for him to go and pick up. But Cornelius didn’t want to be the object of a prank on April fool’s day. So, he told the guy that if he drove all the way out to Los Angeles to pick up a dead elephant, he would charge him double and he would have to pay for the tow truck that he would need. The other man agreed to this if there wasn’t an elephant. Cornelius drove out there and sure enough, there was a dead elephant. He wouldn’t believe it until he saw it with his own eyes. Getting a phone call on April 1st about a dead elephant is hard to believe." We have all probably heard the phrase “seeing is believing.” Most of us probably know what this refers to right? In order to fully accept something to be true, someone needs to see it with his own eyes. One thing about the society and our culture in which we live is that it is a culture of scepticism.We naturally tend to doubt before believing anything. We need to have proof which we are able to see. We need scientific proof proven by well known people. We need genuine, physical evidence of what you are trying to get us to believe......That is one of the reasons why many people say “I don’t believe in God.” They say, “You can’t give me physical proof that He exists, therefore, I can’t believe in Him.” Our society and culture is not the first ones to think this way.....especially when it comes to Easter Sunday, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many people don’t believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ! In New Testament times the Sadducees were materialists who did not believe in resurrection as the Pharisees did. Even in the church, some people did not believe in the resurrection. Paul wrote concerning this in 1 Corinthians 15......he dedicated a whole chapter to this biblical truth. In 2Tim 2:16-18, Paul says “But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.” Hymenaeus and Philetus were mentioned by Paul as people who did not really believe in the resurrection of the body. John Calvin said “In doing this, they undoubtedly contrived a sort of allegorical resurrection, which has also been attempted in this age by some filthy dogs. By this trick Satan overthrows that fundamental article of our faith concerning the resurrection of the flesh.” Theologian David Strauss systematically denied any miracles in his work, Life of Jesus, and in the twentieth century Karl Barth, along with Rudolf Bultmann, also denied the resurrection of the body. An England deist (which means God started the universe and nature takes over) John Toland refused to believe in the resurrection. All false religions deny this wonderful truth (Mormons, JW’s, Muslims, Scientology, New Age and most liberal churches deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ). This lost and unsaved world denies this wonderful truth that we hold dear to our lives! They are as Paul said "without hope and without God in the world," Eph 2:12. We come to a situation in one man’s life that is full of doubt. Which has been stewing for about 8 days to be exact since Jesus’ resurrection? According to (v26) “eight days later” Thomas is getting more sceptical by the minute as he is yet to see the risen Lord. (v25). Thomas is so sceptical he says at the end of (v25) “I will never believe”. It was this kind of remark that earned him the nickname “Doubting Thomas. He wasn’t the only though! The other ten disciples were no better........Mark 16:10 “She (Mary Magdalene) went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.” This is where God’s grace and mercy flows towards lost sinners........Thomas, like you and me! Jesus confronts Thomas in his scepticism and doubt in the resurrection. (v26). This was a pivotal moment in Thomas’s life! Why? Look at what he says “my Lord and my God”. Not only was Thomas declaring Jesus as his Lord ...but he was also declaring Jesus as his God. Thomas was standing in the presence of the one who holds all things together by His sovereign power! I love what Jesus says at the end this conversation! (v29). Thomas you saw me .......but there will be millions of people who won’t see me until there resurrection............So Jesus says to Thomas “blessed are those who have not seen but believed” What a beautiful statement Jesus makes to one of His apostles! What a comforting truth to the blessed resurrection and promises of Jesus Christ to you and me! Picture a blind person with a guide dog as an example! God wants us to depend on Him by faith just as a blind person depends on his guide dog. That’s why I’m so thankful for the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Even though I never witnessed this act of love for sinners...............I FIND IT A BLESSING AND A JOY TO KNOW ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES THAT........................

1. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST CLEARLY DEMONSTRATES THE POWER OF THE TRUE GOD.

Ephesians 1:19-21 says “and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” This tells us that it is the power of our heavenly Father that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.

2. THE RESURRECTION PROVES THAT JESUS CHRIST IS GOD.

That is exactly what God the Father wanted to communicate to us! Romans 1:4 “and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,”. The Jews crucified Jesus Christ because, to them, he was blaspheming when he said that he was the Son of God, equal to the Father. The resurrection of Jesus Christ demonstrates the truth that he is who he said he was. As it says in (v31)

3. OUR SALVATION DEPENDS ON OUR FAITH IN THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.

In Romans 10:9, we are told how to be saved. It says that "if you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." This means that you cannot be a Christian unless you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This should tell us that even if some people are in churches, if they reject the resurrection of Jesus Christ, they are not Christians.

4. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST DEMONSTRATES TO US THAT ALL THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST ARE TRUE.

Everything Jesus taught was true, including his great promise in John 6:40, "Everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." Jesus' teachings concerning his person, his work, heaven, hell, and the future judgment are all true.

5. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST SECURED OUR JUSTIFICATION.

"Christ died for our sins and He was raised for our justification," Paul says in Romans 4:25.

6. OUR OWN RESURRECTION DEPENDS COMPLETELY ON THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.

1 Thessalonians 4:14 says “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” This is the promise that keeps us from the fear of death as believers. His resurrection is pivotal to our resurrection.

7. THE POWER FOR OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE IN THE PRESENT IS THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION.

Romans 6:4: "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." People ask all the time! "How can we live this Christian life?" We can live by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. He is our hope in our resurrection.

8. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST DEMONSTRATES THAT THIS JESUS CHRIST IS GOING TO BE THE APPOINTED JUDGE OF ALL THE WICKED PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.

In Acts 17:31, Paul told the Athenians, "'For he [God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.'"

Easter Sunday would not be complete without this supernatural act performed by a holy God! The words that Jesus spoke before He gave up His breath “it is finished” would have no meaning unless He rose from the grave! John MacArthur said “The truth of the resurrection gives life to every other area of gospel truth. The resurrection is the pivot on which all of Christianity turns and without which none of the other truths would much matter. Without the resurrection, Christianity would be so much wishful thinking, taking its place alongside all other human philosophy and religious speculation.” We may not have been there when Jesus rose from the grave but we can know for sure that it did happen!! Why? As the Sunday School song goes............”the Bible tells me so!” Blessed are those who have not seen but believe! Stop your doubting and embrace the Cross and the Resurrection! Because John wrote “and that by believing you may have life in His name” (v31) IT'S TRULY FINISHED!

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