Easter 2015 Sermon Notes

2015.04.05 Easter Sunday: The Supernatural Power of God

Memory verse: Matt. 28:6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer, But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom.

An indisputable truth about Easter is that it doesn’t make sense. It flies in the face of all that we as humans believe. How is it that one man, who lived two thousand years ago, could pay a debt that we owe today? You see, it doesn’t make sense that He could do this for you and me.  It’s just not natural. For something like that to be real…it would have to be supernatural. And indeed, it was!

Matt. 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.  4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. 5  But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” 8  So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. 9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” 11  Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. 16  Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. 

Just a few days before the events of Matthew 28, Jesus hung on a cross. His body being drained of every ounce of life. He cried out on that cross, He suffered excruciating pain. As soon as Jesus died on the cross, all creation shook…all of hell’s fury raged…all of heaven cried out in mourning…The rocks literally split wide open…The graves rumbled…King Jesus was dead. And even in His death, there was the supernatural. Today, let’s see if we can make sense of what doesn’t make sense. The Supernatural Power of God.

  1. Supernatural power   -  The events of Easter took SUPERNATURAL POWER. Power that goes beyond what makes sense in the natural realm.

Matt. 28:2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

– The earth shook because of this power

– An angel had been sent to reveal to the world that King Jesus had risen

– The angel spoke to those gathered in that graveyard…

Matt. 28:6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

– It takes supernatural power for someone to come back from the grave

– Whenever supernatural power of God is revealed, something else quickly happens…it always results in the supernatural presence of God.

2. Supernatural presence   –  SUPERNATURAL POWER brings SUPERNATURAL PRESENCE

Matt. 28:7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

– Christ’s resurrection was amazing in itself, but it’s purpose was not to simply prove a point, it was so that humanity can be in the presence of God.

– The veil in the temple was ripped to shreds when Jesus died. Why? Because when Jesus paid that price, it paid the entrance fee for all of us to stand in His presence.

– And not only in His presence today…but in His presence forever. But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom.

His death was to give us peace.

3. Supernatural peace

Matt. 28:18 “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Everything within us tells us we don’t deserve this. Everything within us tells us it doesn’t make sense. Everything within us tells us it can’t be this easy.  Everything within us tells us that He just can’t desire to be with me.  (Luke 24:13-36 – Jesus appeared and it still didn’t make sense to them.) POEM

Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer, But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom

Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Powerful Truth of the Gospel by Jessica Falwell

It’s easy to think we’re going nowhere
we’ve failed too many times, nobody cares
We’ve been told we won’t make it, our chances are small
Or that we’re mess ups, we’re failures, we’re not worth it at all

We think we’ve no value, no future, no place
That anything we try blows up in our face
And just when we think we’ve faced all we can bear
The Lord reassures us that He is indeed there

He’s been there through it all, helping us on the way
Watching over us and loving us even when we stray
The fact is, we’ve ignored Him, lived only for ourselves
We made our own choices and put Him on a shelf

We tried to make things work, do it on our own
We’ve pushed Him away and now feel so all alone
Everything around us, everything we see:
The sky, the ocean, the leaves on a tree

He made it all and it screams out his praise
The beauty, the wonder, the power of His name
It all points to Him because He made it all
And there’s no point to even try and stall

He deserves, He craves, and desires our heart
Why do we deny Him? After all, we’re His works of art
We’re important, we’re beautiful because He made us that way
He gave us talents and gifts so why don’t we obey?

Satan. That’s why. Cause we took of that fruit
We gave into temptation and let sin take root
We lie, we cheat, we kill, we steal
We give in to the lies and let sin take the wheel

We resisted God, denied Him, and spit in His face
We deserved death for our sins but someone took our place
God sent Jesus, His beloved only Son
To finish the fight that we had begun

To be whipped, mocked, and pierced with nails
To wash away our sins, to tear down the veil
He hung on a cross, innocent between thieves
Crying to the sky, “My God why forsake me.”

He gave up His life, the earth quaked at the news-
We had crucified Jesus, the King of the Jews
He died with the burden of overwhelming sin
The sins of us all, even those whose lives were yet to begin

Nailed to the cross and He paid the price
The spotless lamb, the ultimate sacrifice
Three days passed as he laid in the tomb
It seemed hope was lost, we had met our doom

But it wasn’t over, God had a plan
You see, Jesus wasn’t just an ordinary man
With a flash the Son of God was no longer where he laid
The Lord, our Savior, had risen from the grave

He defeated death and sin, made every wrong, right
He’s the way, the truth, and our hope in life
Through Him we can reach an everlasting peace
So What are you waiting for? Fall down to your knees

Call out His precious and holy name
The name that deserves all glory and fame
He died for us so that we can be with Him
He offers us freedom from pain, sorrow, and sin

You may think you’ve no purpose, but He disagrees
God has a plan for you, you just need to believe
Accept Him now and live for Him
All praise to the Lord forever, Amen!

Celebrate America at TRBC – July 1

On July 1, Thomas Road Baptist Church will conduct its annual Celebrate America event in Lynchburg, Va., and I would like to invite all my Falwell Confidential friends to join us.  We will have loads of fun for the entire family, including: “Slidezilla” (a four-story-tall water slide), rock-climbing wall; inflatable moonwalks; an obstacle course; a caterpillar maze; pony rides; a petting zoo; a car show; and much more.  Once it is dark, we will also stage the largest fireworks display in Central Virginia that will shake the surrounding mountains.

The day will also feature our God & Country music program that will honor our veterans and the Judeo-Christian founding of our nation.  Further, there will be lots of food and fellowship with people from all over the country throughout the day.  Best of all, it’s all free (other than the food) and there’s no charge for parking.

It all takes place on July 1 from 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.  So if you’re looking for a great day of family fun and fellowship, join us in Lynchburg as we celebrate America.

The Ten Commandments At School

Here in Virginia, a county school board recently voted to provisionally remove a Ten Commandments display at a public high school, substituting a page from a history textbook.  The Board for Giles County Public Schools made the decision because a lawsuit against the American Law and Government display is underway.

Our friends at Liberty Counsel say the page being used depicts the “Roots of Democracy” and begins with the Ten Commandments stone tablets.  The books states, “The values found in the Bible including the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus inspired American ideas about government and morality.”  Liberty Counsel says the Virginia Standards of Learning requires students to learn about the foundational principles of civilizations and the foundations of law and government.

“A display on the foundations of American law and government would be incomplete and inaccurate without the Ten Commandments.  Any student of history knows this basic truth,” said Mat Staver.  He’s absolutely right.  But many in our nation want to conceal the importance of the Ten Commandments in the foundation of our law.  Remember that John Jay, the first U.S. Chief Justice of the United States, stated, “The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next.  Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.”  Those are wise words but they are considered offensive to modern secularists who want to purge such expressions from the public square.

The IRS and Churches

This week, an IRS official told pastors in Washington to be careful about political activities that might endanger a church’s tax-exempt status.  The Associated Press reported that Peter Lorenzetti told the Faith Leaders Summit that pastors should avoid endorsing or opposing candidates or making contributions to their campaigns.  Lorenzetti said that churches were free to distribute voter guides that inform voters on political issues as long as they do not favor a particular candidate.

This can be a confusing issue for pastors and church leaders.  Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, had this to say about this topic. “Not one church has ever lost tax-exempt status for supporting or opposing a candidate for public office.”  Mat added, “Pastors can always speak on biblical issues.  Further, pastors and churches can encourage members to register to vote, urge them to vote, and educate members about the views of candidates on a variety of issues.”

I know this to be true because Thomas Road Baptist Church has held voter-registration drives and distributed legal voter guides for many years.  There is a lot of scare-mongering on this issue, but pastors should feel free to be vocal in educating their congregations on important political-social issues.  Remember, as believers, we are to pray for our leaders (I Timothy 2:1-2) and be wise in all that we do (Matthew 10:16), including voting.

REACHING KIDS FOR JESUS

Thomas Road Baptist Church will hold Vacation Bible School June 10-14 (6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.).  This year’s theme is “The Quest for the Silver Knight.”  Any of my readers with children or grandchildren in the Central Virginia area are invited to bring the kids for this special week.  Our VBS programs are renowned for their creative programs that feature great songs, games, skits and Bible stories that teach kids about the importance of personally knowing Jesus.  Our church website (www.trbc.org) has an information and registration site for all who are interested.

REMEMBERING THOSE WHO GAVE ALL

My father loved Gen. Douglas MacArthur.  He had a CD of some of the general’s speeches and often listened to them in his vehicle.  On May 12, 1962, in his farewell speech (his “final roll call,” as he called it) at the U.S. Military Academy, Gen. MacArthur gave tribute to the many who have given their lives to protect freedom.  I would like to recall a portion of that speech as we celebrate Memorial Day.

In stirring fashion, Gen. MacArthur stated, “Their story is known to all of you.  It is the story of the American man at arms.  My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago and has never changed.  I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world’s noblest figures — not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.”

He continued, “But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words.  He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism … From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage.  As I listened to those songs of the glee club, in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through mire of shell-pocked roads; to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

“I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death.  They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory.  Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country.  Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.”

On this Memorial Day, I encourage my friends across this nation to recall the sacrifices of the men and women who have preserved freedom on our shores and in foreign lands.  May our hearts be filled with gratitude as we remember those who gave all.  I encourage you this year to shake the hands of veterans, give out a few hugs, and convey your thanks to them for their service.  Our veterans are the true heroes of our nation.

 

GOOD NEWS FOR PRO-LIFE AMERICANS

A new Gallup poll has found that the number of Americans who identify as “pro-choice” has hit a record low (41 percent), while the number of pro-life Americans registered 50 percent.   The organization has been conducting this poll since 1995.

The website, lifenet.net, noted that the poll’s results “are a stunning turnaround from the first survey to ask this question.  In 1995, 56 percent of Americans described themselves as ‘pro-choice,’ and only 33 percent of Americans were ‘pro-life.’”  This is indeed wonderful news.  The key, of course, is continuing to convince new generations of young Americans that abortion takes the life of a living being.

This poll could have a significant political impact, as well.  With critical elections on the horizon, let’s pray that these poll numbers embolden pro-life lawmakers and candidates to be unflinching in voicing their support of life.

 

DAY OF PRAYER IS TOO ‘RELIGIOUS’

A three-judge panel of the Colorado state court of appeals ruled this week that the state’s annual Day of Prayer proclamation is unconstitutional.  The prayer proclamations by both Republican and Democrat governors between 2004 and 2009 are “predominately religious,” the court ruled, adding that they “undermine the premise that the government serves believers and nonbelievers equally.”  The Freedom From Religion Foundation brought suit against the Colorado proclamation.

It never ceases to amaze me that activist judges either do not understand or seemingly ignore our nation’s extensive history of national days of prayer.  From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to World War II and beyond, the people of America have united in calls for the blessings of Almighty God.  This history seems not to matter, though, and America is rapidly becoming a nation of intolerance toward public expressions of faith — expressions that were common and cherished in the days of our founding.

It is a modern tragedy that our courts are purging public prayer and depictions of Christianity from the public square.  Our Founders would be astonished that their beloved nation has arrived at such a point.

 

Jason Crabb at TRBC on May 20

I’m so excited to have Jason Crabb at TRBC on Sunday, May 20.  He’ll be in all of the morning services and will be in concert (FREE) on Sunday night at 6:30pm in the Worship Center.  Jason was recently named the male vocalist of the year and the artist of the year at the 2012 Dove Awards.