Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Matthew 28:1 – 10
What are you looking for?

(Ill.) A man opened his car trunk one day to find a dusty package. Opened it and remembered that he had bought a necklace for his wife as a Christmas gift, but had forgotten to give it to her. Embarrassed, he took the gift home and presented it to his wife. When she saw it she burst into tears of joy. It was their wedding anniversary and she thought he would forget.
What are you looking for today?

I. The women came to look at a tomb.

A. They had their expectations:

1. They expected to find a large stone they could not move.

2. They expected to find guards who probably would not let them by.

3. They expected to find a tomb with the body of Jesus.

4. They did NOT expect to find a living Jesus.

B. We have expectations:

1. When we come to church, is it routine or for an encounter with God?

2. When we come to God, what do we expect to find... a loving God, an angry God, a permissive God, etc...?

3. Today what we find is the Almighty God, Creator of the Universe... who is interested in being involved in your life.

C. Let’s take a reality check.

1. What does the resurrection mean?

a. The resurrection means we have a LIVING God.

b. The resurrection means God has CONQUERED death.

2. The resurrection changes everything.

a. “the sting of death is sin” [1 Corinthians 15:56]

1.) Death has been swallowed up in victory

2.) And has no power over us [1 Corinthians 15:54]

b. The awesome power and majesty of God moves into our lives.

1.) If we have been to the cross, now we must go to and understand the empty tomb.

2.) The power of the resurrection goes beyond anything we can humanly understand.

3.) When it gets a hold of us, it changes us completely.

c. The cross is who we are, the empty tomb is how we live.

1.) Without the resurrection, our faith is useless and we are still in our sins [1 Corinthians 15:17]

2.) With the resurrection, we have power and freedom from sin now. [Romans 6]

II. What the women found changed history.

A. The angel’s message makes us think.

1. “Not here” – You are looking in the wrong place.

(Ill.) When Adam and Eve sinned one of the first consequences was the sense of shame. So they sewed leaves together to cover themselves. In a sense they were trying to cover their sin. Only God can do this.

2. “He has risen” – You are looking for the wrong thing.

(Ill.) The next thing Adam and Eve did was run from God. Possibly they thought this would solve their problem. In a sense they were running from the only one who could forgive them for their sin. Only God will solve the problem, and they were running from that solution.

3. “Just as He said” – You are not listening.

(Ill.) When Adam and Eve were confronted with the truth and responsibility of sin, they blamed someone else. In a sense, they refused to take personal responsibility. God provided a blood sacrifice to cover their shame and remind them of their sin. At the cross God provided a blood sacrifice to cover our sin and shame and to take it away forever.

4. “See for yourself” – You must respond. There is no other answer to life, sin and death, than Jesus: crucified, risen, and coming again.

III. The woman’s reaction can be a positive model for our reaction.

A. There was an emotional response.

1. Emotional responses are natural. They motivate our behavior.

2. The resurrection is a strong emotional event.

3. There are two emotions, fear and joy. When Jesus met them, He said, “do not be afraid.”

B. There was a physical response.

1. They hurried, as they were told to do. (Probably did not need to be told to hurry.)

2. They delivered the message and became the first witnesses to the resurrection.

C. There are three things to do.

1. At the cross, you must yield your sin and guilt to Jesus.

2. At the empty tomb, you must yield your expectations, actions, thoughts, and feelings to Jesus.

3. Once freed, go tell others! This happens as we encounter the power of the resurrection in our lives.

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