A Rock ‘n Roll Resurrection! (3/27/16)

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 in Sermons | 0 comments

Christ our Lord is Risen Today!  This is not only a historical event, but a reality that should shake our being on each and every breath we take.  Pastor Jim’s Easter Sermon encouraged us to Experience the Resurrection; not just to commemorate it once a year.

Click the below “Play” button and scroll down to follow along (the recording is from the 11:00 service)…


The scripture was Matthew 28:1-10.  Click the following Drop Down box to follow along.  Pastor Jim read from The Living Bible, and the New International Version is shown below…

Matthew 28:1-10

1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.

3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.

4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.

6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.


It’s Now or Never…

On Easter, every preacher is tempted to overstate the familiar message.  So let’s be like the chicken that decided to lay an egg on the California freeway.  The rooster said:

“Here’s how you do it- Lay it on the line and do it in a hurry!”


All Shook Up…

Does the resurrection affect you?  Anyone alive in the 60s and 70s can remember the Apollo moonshots.  Here’s a description from Joe Needleman about the launch of Apollo 17 (the last moon landing), which occurred in 1975.  This account was included in Bill Moyer’s book “A World of Ideas II”…

I was an observer at the launch of Apollo 17 in 1975.  It was a night launch… and there were hundreds of cynical reporters all over the lawn; wisecracking, and waiting for this 35 story high rocket…. apollo-16-877336_960_720 _400x300

The countdown came, and then the launch.  The first thing you see is the extraordinary orange light, which is just at the limit of what you can bear to look at.  Everything takes a few seconds for the sound to come across.  You hear a WHOOOOOOSH  HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!  It enters right into you…

You can practically hear jaws dropping.  The sense of wonder fills everyone in the whole place, as this thing goes up and up.  The first stage ignites this beautiful blue flame.  It becomes like a star, but you realize there are humans on it. 

And then there’s total silence…

What do you think it would have been like to observe the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave?  I suspect you would have experienced something similar to what Jacob Needleman experienced at the Apollo 17 launch.  On this Easter, is our relationship with God taking off like a rocket?  Or, is it all too familiar and routine?

Does the Resurrection have any effect on you at all???


Goin’ Out of My Head, Over You…

During the crucifixion and resurrection, Nature got it.  All of this was a big deal; nothing routine about it.  Nature was listening to Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons and was going out of its head…

There was a violent earthquake…

(Matthew 28:2)

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land…

(Matthew 27:45 )

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom….

(Matthew 27:51)

The earth shook and the rocks split….

(Matthew 27:51)

The tombs broke open…

(Matthew 27:52)

The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life…

(Matthew 27:52)

The crucifixion and the resurrection set nature spinning out of control.  It knocked creation off balance.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”   Matt 27:54

And this isn’t the only event in history where we see creation reacting and responding to the presence of the Lord.  Take a look at the following…

Psalm 104:32

He who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

Nahum 1:5

The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.

Psalm 114:7

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob…

Job 26:11

The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke.

Psalm 97:4-5

His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.

Exodus 19:18

Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently…

Habakkuk 3:10

The mountains saw you and writhed. Torrents of water swept by; the deep roared and lifted its waves on high.

Revelation 20:11

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.

Then how can we treat Easter as just another Holiday, instead of the Holy Day that it is?


Shake Rattle and Roll…

If the earth responds to the presence of the Lord, how is it that God’s people don’t “shake Rattle and Roll” at His presence?  Or even if they do, it’s reduced to a “tip of the hat” Easter Celebration that happens once a year.  Why???Crucifixion _Evgraf_Semenovich_Sorokin

Do we not understand that Jesus died a very painful death because of you and me?  We tend to wave palms on Palm Sunday, and then skip past Maundy Thursday and Good Friday so we can celebrate Easter Morning.  But there is no value in the resurrection without Good Friday.  There’s no forgiveness without the suffering and death that Jesus endured before Easter Morning.

God doesn’t wink at sin.  And to see how serious sin is, you’ve got to look at Good Friday.


Precious and Few are the Moments We Share…

Day after Day, Night After Night, God teaches us of His salvation.  He calls us to do the same and share the power of the resurrection with others.  Not just on the Monday after Easter, but Day after Day.  Day in and day out all of creation is “Rockin’ and Rollin'” with God.  The resurrection isn’t a one and done thing.  We keep experiencing it.  We Keep sharing it.  Here’s how Eugene Peterson paraphrases David’s words in Psalm 119:1-2…

God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.

Madame Day holds classes every morning, Professor Night lectures each evening.

(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

You see the same theme in…

Psalm 8:3

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place… what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 

Psalm 50:6

And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God himself is judge.

Romans 1:19-20

Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Psalm 148:3-4

Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars.   Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.

Isaiah 40:22-26

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.  No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.  Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

God uses Creation to declare His glory.  Can He use you???

Does the resurrection affect you?  Do the people…

  • you work with,
  • go to school with,
  • play golf with,
  • go bowling with,
  • go shopping with,
  • sip tea with…

Do they know that you’re a Christian?  Do your friends and associated know that you like “Rocking and Rolling” with Jesus?  Do you take advantage of those “precious and few” opportunities to share with them your precious moments with the Savior?

Jesus didn’t die for a religion; He died for a relationship!

He Lives… Within My Heart!

To know the power of the resurrection and to feel its affects we must Experience it.  It’s not enough to observe it as a historical event.  Head knowledge isn’t good enough.  We must get it into our hearts.  We must live it.  It must become a part of us.

Alfred Ackley expressed the power of the resurrection so well…

He Lives, He lives, salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart!

He lives within my heart. 

Once you experience something, you’ll never forget it.  It will live within your heart.  It will endure in your memories.  To experience the resurrection is to let it to become imprinted on your mind and to allow it to change your focus and outlook.

Experience the Sonrise Every Day!    Signboard 2016-03-26 Sonrise _IMG_3152

No, that’s not a misspelling.  During Pastor Jim’s sermon, the signboard outside of our sanctuary declared the same message…



The Angels Experienced the Resurrection

Gordens Calvary garden tomb

On their way to the tomb, the women asked on another “who will roll the stone away?

As it turned out, God had already thought of that and He provided an angel to do the heavy lifting.  The angel who rolled back the stone came along with his own “ELO Light Show.”  Matthew tells us that he rolled back the stone and defiantly sat on it…

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.

What’s so cool here is the audacity of the angel who basically disrespects the government and the religious leaders (who sealed that heavy stone in place).  The angel “Rocks and Rolls” the stone and then sits on it!  It’s as if the angel was anticipating the Christian Contemporary song by Dallas Holmes which says in part,

Go ahead and say I’m dead and gone, (But) you will see that you were wrong.

Go ahead, try to hide the Son, But all will see that I’m the one. 

Because I’ll rise again.l  Ain’t no power on earth can keep me back.

When the angel sat on the big rock that had been rolled away, he proclaimed the triumph of completed work.  The angel wasn’t just there.  It wasn’t just his job.  He was “into it.”  He Experienced the resurrection and proclaimed God’s glory.

Our sins are no match for God!


The Guards Experienced the Resurrection

The experience of the guards may not have been as pleasant, but they certainly felt the effects of the resurrection.  Matthew 28:4 tells us that they “became like dead men.”

They stood as corpses.  They shook in their sandals, longer than the ground shook during the earthquake.  The ones keeping watch over the dead became as dead.  They were scared stiff.


The Women Experienced the Resurrection

When the women got up early in the morning, they were feeling pretty sad and depressed.   But when they left the tomb, they may have been singing “Jesus is my Rock and He Rolled my Blues Away”!

They came to anoint Jesus’ body with spices to give Him a more appropriate embalming and funeral service.  En route they were concerned about who would move the stone for them.  But once they saw the stone rolled away and Experienced what was going on, they became filled with wonder and joy.

The good news of His resurrection became their message to share.

Did you connect the dots with me?  Everyone present that day felt the effect of the resurrection.  They EXPERIENCED the resurrection.  They were hit by a life changing power and nothing was the same afterwards.  They were moved and they wanted to tell others. It’s OK to be a Holy Roller!

In Moses’ time, while the Israelites were wandering through the desert, some of them wanted to return to Egypt.  They preferred the comfort of slavery to the uncertainty of freedom.

But once you’ve Experienced the resurrection and encountered the living Christ, you can’t go back.


The Emmaus Disciples Experienced the Resurrection

Bob Seger pleas for us to revisit the Old Time Rock ‘n Roll, and that song moves us.  TODAY, God invites us to revisit the “Old Time Religion” and to take the Old Resurrection Story of the shelf and allow it to rock our world and then to roll with it into resurrection power and victorious living!

This is exactly what Jesus did in Luke 24:27 the afternoon of the first Easter, when He appeared to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus.  They were headed out of Jerusalem, confused and bewildered.  But Jesus took out the “old time religion” and reminded them of what had already been revealed…

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.


Jesus said that He was “The Way, the TRUTH, and the Life.” (John 14:6).    In that conversation with His disciples, Jesus demonstrated the truth His central role in God’s plan…

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me…
“But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set.  If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.   But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you.


Come on, Come On, Now Touch Me…

Matthew wants to stress that the “whole earth shook” on that first Easter morning.  Everything changed.  Even our calendars changed and they are now defined by the moment of Jesus’ resurrection.

But to be changed ourselves, we must experience the resurrection ourselves.  In John 20 Jesus tenderly called Mary’s name and allowed her to touch him.  In Luke 24, the disciples didn’t recognize Jesus until He broke bread with them.  In Mark 5 a bleeding woman was healed when she simply touched Jesus.

We must experience Jesus and His resurrection ourselves in order to understand the power of Easter.


Experience the Earthquake!

Easter is a life changing Experience. People who Experience the Resurrection are changed forever.  On Good Friday the world did all it could to Jesus.  On Easter Morning, God did all He could for the world!  And the earth shook.  You don’t explain that- you EXPERIENCE that!  You feel it.  It goes right through you.

In the 1950s there was a devastating earthquake in China.  As a result of the earthquake, a huge boulder was dislodged from a mountain, thus exposing a great cache of wonderful artifacts from a thousand years ago.

A new world became visible.

When the stone was rolled away that entombed Jesus, and the earth shook, we got our first glimpse of a new world, God’s new Kingdom.  It is a world where death doesn’t have the last word, where injustice is made right, and innocent suffering is vindicated by the intrusion of a loving and powerful God.

But we won’t experience the resurrection empty tomb unless we allow it to change us. Unless we faithfully enter the tomb like John did, we won’t “see and believe.”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.  Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.  Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,  as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.

Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 

John 20:3-9

The empty tomb announces the new covenant:  WE CAN have all of our sins forgiven.  We CAN live victorious.  But we must Experience the Resurrection to feel the Resurrection Power.

Does the Resurrection have any effect on you at all???


Enter, See, and Accept

Jesus isn’t calling us to join a new religion.  He wants to have a relationship with us!  The Resurrection becomes useless to us if it becomes watered down by fear or secular influences. We can’t Experience the Resurrection if we see Easter as a Holiday instead of a Holy Day.

God wants the Resurrection to change us.

What if Mary and her friends stayed home on that Easter morning?  What if John and Peter didn’t rush to the tomb and look in?  And what if we don’t accept the forgiveness that God is offering to us.

During the administration of President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837), a man named George Wilson was convicted of robbing the United States mail and was sentenced to be hanged.  Intercession was made on Wilson’s behalf, and President Jackson granted Wilson’s pardon.

But Wilson refused to accept it!

The authorities were perplexed, so they turned the problem over to Chief Justice Marshall.  This was his conclusion:

“A pardon is a slip of paper, the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned.  If it is refused, it is no pardon.  George Wilson must be hanged.

Resurrection Power and salvation is available to all, but you’ve got to accept it.  It might be now or never.

Have we Experienced Easter, or do we hang on to our bunnies and chocolate eggs like a worthless presidential pardon?

The choice is yours!


Quiz Time!

As you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read, give this quiz a try.  If you don’t understand an answer (or if you disagree with the “correct” answer, post a comment)…

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