The greeting.

Grace and peace to you Beloved in the name of Jesus Christ. I pray you are rejoicing in the Lord today. (Dt.28:47, Ps.100:1-3, Rom.6:23, 14:17, Acts 13:52, 16:25)

God has gifted us with the amazing privilege of worshiping Him in His word.

May we come before Him with reverence and awe. (Heb.12:28) May we tremble at His holy word being in His holy presence. (Isa.6:1-13, Rev.1:17, Dan.8:27, Exod.33:18-33, Isa.66:2-5) The empty tomb of Christ, the subject of our sermon, is holy ground. (Exod.3:5, Acts 7:33) 

The Scripture.

Please turn in your Bibles to Mark chapter sixteen. Today we will look at Mark 16:1-13. We are looking at the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from the dead. Lord we believe, help Thou our unbelief. The Bible says it, may we believe it. Be encouraged Beloved, Jesus lives. Hear the holy word of our God; read. 

Mark 16:1.  When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. 5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. 7 “But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.'” 8 They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. 9 Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. 12 After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country. 13 They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either. (Mt.28:1-8, Lk.24:1-12, Jn.20:1-10, I Cor.15:1-58)

The prayer.

Join me please in prayer as we ask God to bless us in our worship of Him. Pray.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We are looking at the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Christ has left His estate of humiliation and with resurrection entered His estate of exaltation. (WLC 51-56)

My main desire is to understand the larger truths of Christ’s resurrection. Maybe in a future sermon I will address the particulars of the resurrection account.  But for today I just want to unpack the main importance of, He has been crucified. He has risen. He is alive!  {OT resurrection texts: Ps.22:29, 71:20, Prov.14:32, Job 14:14, 19:25-26, Isa.25:8, 26:19, 33:24, Ezek.37:13, Dan 12:2-3, see NT – Rev.7:17, 21:4}

I want us to see how the resurrection of our Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ from the dead informs us and encourages us in this Valley of Tears in this present evil age in which we travel in our pilgrim’s journey on our way home. (Ps.84:6-12)

We who live in the valley of the shadow of death need not fear death. (Ps.23:1-4) Our Christ has died. Our Christ has risen. We shall die in Christ. We shall rise in Christ. He is the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Him even when we die, we shall live. Oh beloved, do you believe this? I know that you do! 😊 (Jn.11:11-57, Fear of death: Heb.2:14-18, Rom.8:14-25

Physical death cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ. Physical death cannot separate us from eternal life in Christ.

God is the God of the living. And the not the God of the Dead. Because Christ defeated death and the grave. (Mk.12:18-27) Christ rose victorious on the third day in fulfillment of the holy Scriptures. (I Cor.15:1-6) The sin debt has been paid. His resurrection proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, Jesus is the Christ the vanquisher of death, the giver of the life, the remover of the curse, the bringer of every blessing.

Paul says this…

Acts 13:29. When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. 30 “But God raised Him from the dead; 31 and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. 32 “And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, 33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.

Oh, happy day to be found in Christ the living Savior.  How are we certain of all of these wonderful things beloved?  God has told us.

The revelation of the resurrected Christ.

The only place that we find this truth of Jesus defeating death for His people is in the holy word of God, which is the Bible. And only the Bible is the perfect word of God. The Bible says It is the word of God. It is written. Thus saith the Lord. (2 Tim.3:14-17)

We remember that God reveals Himself to Man in two ways.

The book of providence.

In nature God reveals Himself as Creator and Governor and Sustainer of creation to His creatures. We learn by nature that God is. That God is wise, powerful, and good.

The resurrected Christ is veiled.

This self-revelation of God is enough to leave us without excuse before God. But this revelation is not enough to give us saving knowledge of Him. All men have natural revelation, but without special revelation, they remain in their fallen hatred of God. (Rom.3:9-18, 1:18-32, 8:7, Acts 14:11-18, Mt.5:45, Ps.19:1-6)

Unbelieving man looks at creation and determines that creation is god. Unbelieving man essentially worships self as god. And if God, the true and the living of the Bible, leaves man to himself to read the book of providence, man will grope around in the dark and never find God as the Savior of His sins. He will die in his sins, dying fearing death all his days.

And if God leaves man in this estate, man will die in his sins, only to meet this Risen Christ as the righteous Judge of sinners. But God is a God of love. He does not leave blind men to read His book of providence alone.

The book of redemption.

In love, God sends blind, deaf, dumb, and dead men another book, a book that can impart sight, even new life. God sends to man His book of redemption. (Gen.3:16, Jn.3:16)  It is God’s merciful pleasure to reveal Himself as a Savior to sinners. A Savior that turns sinners into saints. 

Only in the Bible do we learn of God as our Savior. Only in the Bible are we told about our sins.

The Bible tells us why people die. People die because Adam sinned. And God cursed Adam and all things with death because of his sin. And we are born in Adam. People die because the wages of sin is death. People die because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  (Rom.5:8-21)

But the Bible is not primarily a book of denunciation and death. The Bible is a book of life. The Bible is a book about God giving new life to those dead in their sins, resurrection from the dead. The Bible is a book about Life personified coming in the flesh, defeating death and giving us eternal life. (Rom.6:23)

Only the Bible tells us about Jesus Christ. Only in the Bible are we told about Jesus dying for our sins and rising for our justification. (Rom.4:25) And I stress ‘only’ in the Bible. This is why the Bible is utterly necessary for our salvation. (WCF 1.1, Dt.29:29, Ps.19:7-14, 2 Tim.3:14-17)

The resurrected Christ is vital.

The place of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in our holy faith is vital.

There are certain truths, truths about Christ – who He is and what He has done, that are vital to be a Christian, necessary to be a Christian. And denying these truths one cannot be a Christian. Such as, denying the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth of Christ, His atoning death, and His bodily resurrection just to name a few.

The resurrection of Christ, in our nature, shows us that our Federal Head was successful in His work of redeeming His bride. The resurrection of Christ proves that the Father accepted the sacrifice of His Son on behalf of His bride. The resurrection of Christ proves that Christ defeated death, the grave, sin and Satan. Again, all this in our nature for His people.

Christ has died for us. Christ is risen for us. Since our Head rises, we His Body will also rise.

Acts 26:23. But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles. 

I Corinthians 15:1. Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

I Peter 3:21. And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead then we have no true basis for our faith in Jesus.  The apostle Paul says as much in First Corinthians.

I Corinthians 15:12. Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

Oh beloved, do not spend more time with unbelievers than is necessary, except to share the Good News of Jesus with them. Bad company does corrupt good morals. Listen to a steady diet of unbelievers and you will question your faith in Christ, in His word, and in life after death. Spend too much time with mockers and will lose your joy in Jesus and hope of heaven.

You see Beloved when we get away from the Bible alone being our only rule for faith and practice then we no longer believe that the death of Christ satisfies all of God’s justice for our sins.

Once we get away from Bible-alone Christianity the old idol self rears its hydra-head and we seek salvation by the church or by our good deeds. Or as it often the case, when we get away from Bible-alone Christianity we no longer call sin ‘sin’. And therefore, we no longer really hope in the crucified and risen One for salvation. We are far too busy with buying and selling.

Once we get away from Bible-alone Christianity we no longer consider ourselves as pilgrims upon the earth looking for our resurrection from the dead. We then live like we will never die. And we try to make earth our heaven.

It is only the Scripture that informs us to live is Christ to die is gain, to be absent from the flesh is to be present with the Lord. (Phil.1:21, 2 Cor.5:1-10)

Let me give you an example of the ease of slipping away from Bible-alone Christianity. Or in our context, slipping away from the Bible alone says Christ died for our sins, the Bible alone says that Christ rose from the dead victorious over sin and Satan and death – for us, for our resurrection, for our eternal life to live with God in heaven.

When my dear wife was away last week, I spent my evenings watching YouTube videos of one fellow in particular, a very intelligent fellow, a professing Christian, debating moral and social and religious points with atheists and socialists. (Peter Hitchens)

Though I greatly enjoyed listening to him, quite often he would seek to prove some moral or religious truth by an appeal to logic or reason by some economist or philosopher or some poet. He would not say, well the reason this or that is true or not true is because the Bible says so.

This to me was a disappointment and also an error on his part. And I am not here entirely discounting any worth to using man-based arguments in favor of God’s truth. His purpose was to interact with economics, politics, and certain social or moral issues but not necessarily tied to Christ.  His purpose is not to evangelize the lost or to edify the found. But that is my only purpose Beloved. It is for this that God has given me life and then new life in Christ. (I Cor.1:17, 2 Tim.4:1-16, 2 Tim.3:14-17)

Man-based arguments do not save or sanctify us in Christ. Man-based arguments do not atone for our sins. Man based arguments do not comfort us when we are dying upon our death beds. Man based arguments do not encourage us that when we die, we will rise to new life and go to live with God forever.

No beloved, for these things we only appeal to the word of God, the holy Bible.

I Thessalonians 4:13. But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.  14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:10. but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

Our comfort is only grounded upon – God has said, God has promised this to me. Beloved to give up a Christian faith founded upon the Bible alone is to lose God in Christ and all that comes with that. Live upon the Bible. Live upon Christ presented in the Bible. You will live and die happily. (Heidelberg #1, 2)

The reception of the revelation of the resurrected Christ.

Perhaps I should say a brief word about receiving or not receiving benefits of Christ death and resurrection. I have been assuming the truth of this all along.

The only people that truly benefit from Christ’s death and Christ’s resurrection are those people that truly believe in Christ.

When I say believe or to have faith, I always meaning saving faith or graced faith, faith that trusts in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.

By this I mean to distinguish between saving faith from the faith of demons. I sometimes refer to demon-faith as rote-religion because they are one in the same in that they are not saving.

This is demon-faith. Demons believe in God. Demons believe in Christ. They know Christ is the Holy One of Israel. (Lk.4:34, Mk.1:24, Mt.8:28-34) Demons watched Christ die. Demons watched Christ defeat death and the grave.  And they hate Christ. They oppose Christ. Christ to them is their angry offended Judge, the One that will cast them into the Lake of Fire. He is their judge. He will cast them into hell. (James 2:19)

This is rote-religion (as opposed to true religion). (Isa.29:13) Many professing Christians (say) they believe in Jesus, they say they believe He died for their sins, they say they believe He rose three days later. They can quote the Apostle’s Creed or the Nicene Creed.

But there is no heart change. No love to God. No love to Christ. No love to Man. No hatred of sin. No striving after holiness. No fighting against the world, the flesh and the devil.

But their faith rises no higher than the demons. Their ‘faith’ never takes their sins to Jesus as their Sin-Bearer. Their faith never trusts Christ, never loves Christ, never serves Christ. They only say they believe because their parents taught them to say it. The Holy Spirit never taught them to say, Jesus is MY Lord. Jesus died for ME. Jesus rose for ME. (I Cor.12:3)

Only those with true Spirit-gifted faith in Jesus as their Savior truly believe He died for our sins and He rose for our justification.

Listen to how the writer to Hebrews defines faith.

Hebrews 11:1. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 

My point with that is this, true Believers in Jesus simply believe that the Bible tells us. We live like simple trusting loving children in our God. His word says Jesus died and Jesus rose. Then we conclude, that is exactly what happened. And we do not question our heavenly Father.

We bring our sins to the blood of Christ. And we rest that in Him we are forgiven. We take our fears of dying to the resurrection of Christ. And then we rest in Him knowing after our death we will live with Christ. We build our whole life on Christ. We trust for life after death in Christ.

We walk by faith in His word, in His Son who loved us and died for us and lives for us. (Gal.2:20) You see Beloved, Christ’s atoning death was a miracle. Christ’s resurrection from the dead is a true miracle. In fact, God come in the flesh, Immanuel, is a true miracle.

The unbeliever says, virgins do not give birth and dead men do not rise.

Christ said He would rise from the dead. Therefore He did. He says we will rise from the dead. Therefore we will.  It is that simple beloved.

The lessons taught by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Let’s conclude by summarizing the three lessons that Christ’s death and resurrection teach us, and these three things are connected. 

In the resurrected Christ we are raised from spiritual death.

One, we learn that Christ raises us spiritually from spiritual death to new life in Himself.

Ephesians 2:1. And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,  2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),  6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

We once were dead but now we live in Him. We were spiritual dead to God. By God’s grace in God’s Christ we are alive to God. We know God. We are known by God. And we love God. And we experience His love for us. Life from death. A true miracle. (Lk.15:24, Eph.2:1-7)

John 5:21. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes…25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;

I believe this is the first resurrection that the Bible speaks about. (Rev.20:5-6) The second resurrection being on the Last Day to receive our glorified body. (I Thess.4:16, Rev.20:11-15, Jn.5:28-29)

In the resurrected Christ we are received into heaven.

The second thing Christ’s defeat of death teaches us is that upon the moment our soul leaves our body it ascends up into heaven to be with our Lord.

Death did not defeat Christ. Christ defeated death, just as He said He would. The resurrection proves that. After death Christ resides in Paradise. After death our soul will rise and reside at the bosom of Christ in Paradise. Jesus says to those who love Him, where I am you shall be also. The resurrection is His tangible guarantee.

In the resurrected Christ we are resurrected.

The third thing Christ’s resurrections proves is what I said earlier that we also shall rise from the dead on the Last Day– rise to glory and not to shame.

I Corinthians 15:49. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55 “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (I Pt.1:1-7)

Being certain we will rise again like Christ. Jesus takes away from us the fear of death and He takes away from us the fear of living. We no longer live for ourselves. But we live for Him who died for us and rose again. (2 Cor.5:15, Rom.6:5-6)

Amen

Study Questions.

  1. What are some similarities and differences concerning the resurrection of Jesus in the four gospel writers? (Mt.28:1-8, Mk.16:1-13, Lk.24:1-12, Jn.20:1-10)
  1. What are some truths that OT saints were told about resurrection by God? (Ps.22:29, 71:20, Prov.14:32, Job 14:14, 19:25-26, Isa.25:8, 26:19, 33:24, Ezek.37:13, Dan 12:2-3. see NT – Rev.7:17, 21:4)
  1. What does natural revelation teach men about God? (Rom.3:9-18, 1:18-32, 8:7, Acts 14:11-18, Mt.5:45, Ps.19:1-6)
  1. What does special revelation teach us about God. (Gen.3:15, Jn.3:16, 2 Tim.3:14-17, Ps.19:7-14, I Cor.15:1-58, Rom.5:8-21, Rom.6:23, Rom.4:25, WCF 1.1, Dt.29:29)
  1. What are some doctrines/truths we must believe in to be a true Christian? Is it necessary to believe e Jesus rose from the dead to be a true Christian? Why? Or why not? What are some doctrines that we may err in but still be a true Christian? (Jn.1:1-18, Acts 26:23, I Cor.15:1-9, I Cor.15:12-19, 1 Pt.3:21)
  1. Describe various ways Christians and churches leave a Bible-alone form of Christianity in favor of forms of manmade Christianity, a Christianity made up by man. Why is Bible-alone Christianity necessary? Why is it so hard to keep the Bible alone our rule for doctrine and practice? (2 Tim.3:14-17, Phil.1:21, 2 Cor.5:1-10, I Cor.1:17, 2 Tim.4:1-16, I Tim.6:11-21, Mt.28:18-20, John 17:1-17, Rom.10:1-17, Mk.7:1-23, Col.2:6-23)
  1. Describe true faith in Christ versus false faith in Christ. What distinguishes the true from the false? Describe the faith of demons. Describe rote-religion. (Heb.11:1, Jn.3:16, Rom.5:1-10, Rpm.10:1-17, Mt.7:13-29, Eph.2:1-9, Jn.1:10-13, James 2:19, Isa.29:13, I Cor.12:3, WCF 14.1-2)
  1. How is the natural man, the unconverted man, dead spiritually? Dead to what? To whom? What can the natural man not do because of his spiritual deadness? How does God in Christ make the spiritually dead man alive in Christ? (Rom.3:9-18, Eph.2:1-9, Jn.3:1-9, Lk.15:24, Jn.5:21-26, Rev.20:5-6)
  1. What happens to the body and to the soul of a Believer in Jesus when we die?(Gen. 3:19, Acts 13:36, Lk. 23:43, Eccl. 12:7, Heb.12:23, 2 Cor. 5:1-8, Phil.1:23, Acts 3:21, Eph.4:10, Lk.16:23,24, Acts 1:25, Jude 1:6-7, 1 Pt. 3:19, WLC 86, WSC 37)
  1. What happens to the body and the soul of Believers at the return of Jesus Christ on Judgment Day? (Rev.20:1-15, I Thess.4:16, Jn.5:28-29, I Cor.15:49-58, I Pt.1:1-7, Mt.25:23, Mt.10:32, I Jn.3:2, 1 Cor.13:12, I Thess.4:17-18)
  1. What are some ways that the resurrection of Jesus and our own promised resurrection should influence the way we think, feel, speak and act here in this life? (Col.3:1-3, 2 Cor.5:15, Rom.6:5-6, 2 Pt.3:8-18, I Tim.6:12-21, 2 Tim.4:1-8, Titus 2:11-15)

 

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