Jesus and the Resurrection


Sunrise Service 2024


Good morning. If you would, take your Bibles and turn to the book of Acts, to Acts chapter 2, we'll begin there.
I am thankful again to be able to speak on Resurrection Sunday, Sunrise Service, and I want to begin this morning with the same thought that I have begun the last couple of Sunrise Services.
I want to say this to set us in our minds in the right direction.
We are here this morning not to seek to prove the
Resurrection. We are not here this morning to dispute the
Resurrection. We are here this morning to publicly proclaim that Christ has risen.
As sure as He came, as sure as He suffered in the stead of all that would ever believe in Him, as sure as He suffered for all those that would believe in Him, He was crucified,
He was buried, He rose again, He ascended on high, and He's coming again.
And we cannot be those who seek to argue about it, but rather, as I say, we are here to publicly declare that this one, this
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Son of God, the Son of Man, the
Alpha, the Omega, the One who is from everlasting to everlasting, that He rose from the grave.
And so as we declare that this morning, I want to ask us to look at a couple of portions of the
Book of Acts. And I originally was going to look at one passage, but as I continue to think about it,
I saw in the Book of Acts something that I think is worth our looking at a number of scriptures, and we'll look at as many as time will allow.
But before I do that, I want to mention a couple of things about the Book of Acts in relationship to the
Resurrection, but also in relationship to the themes that are in the Book of Acts, because I think it's important for us to know some of the background thoughts as we consider it this morning.
And there are a number of themes, and I want to just mention a few of them. The first one is this, that as we read the
Book of Acts, we need to remember that it is a continuation of the
Gospel of Luke. If you were to read the last chapter in the Gospel of Luke, it ends with Jesus rising and ascending on high.
And then if you read the opening verses in the Book of Acts, again, we see the resurrection and the ascension of the
Lord Jesus Christ. And so, as you think about it, and you think about how Luke, being in that sense the early church historian, and how he said in the very beginning of his
Gospel that he wanted to declare all things, that the Gospel leads us right into the
Book of Acts, and that's where, again, we are going to see this reality of the
Resurrection. So, I think that is good for us to understand that Luke has taken us from the very beginning, and he continues his train of thought as he opens up the
Book of Acts to us. Another thought just to mention is this.
If you read the Book of Acts, you will find that in the beginning it is the declaration of the
Resurrection by the Apostles who were eyewitnesses. And let me stress the importance of that, that they were eyewitnesses.
They saw, they beheld, they are those who can give us absolute truth because they were there.
That in the Book of Acts, as the Apostles begin to, by the
Spirit of God, open up the truth of the Gospel, that it mainly goes out to the
Jews first. And you remember what the Lord Jesus Christ said, that they would be witnesses where? In Jerusalem, in Judea, and then in Samaria, and then on out to the ends of the earth, or at least the ends of the known earth at that point.
And so in the beginning, the Apostles deal directly with the
Jews, the Israelites, the rulers, those in Jerusalem, and that only after their rejection, and this is where we will think about it a little bit, it's only after their rejection that as the
Gospel, in that way, moves from Jerusalem on out to Judea and Samaria, that then the
Gentiles are being incorporated into the news of the Gospel, and certainly if you read the
Book of Acts, it really is, in the beginning it's the words and the preaching and the ministry of Peter, and then as it moves on, it begins to become more the ministry of Paul to the
Gentiles, and on out as we go along. And here's the third thought, and as I said there are many themes in the
Book of Acts, but this one is where we will start to look at some scriptures, and the reality is this, that much of the
Book of Acts is made up of a series of speeches. Matter of fact, if you were to read through the
Book of Acts, you'll find that there's at least 35 different speeches or sermons that are spoken, and that it comprises actually a third of the book, which you might not think of, but as God used, by the power of the
Spirit, the eyewitnesses, they began to bring messages, dispute with the rulers of Jerusalem and those around him, and it wasn't always the apostles, and let me just say this as a side note,
I think this is important for us, I do not believe there are apostles today, not in the sense in which they were in the early church.
And one of the major reasons for that is that very fact that they were eyewitnesses.
There are no more eyewitnesses to the resurrection. There are those who can, by the
Spirit of God, understand the Gospel, but the very fact that they were eyewitnesses, and even
Paul, as he was an eyewitness as he saw the risen Lord, and so again, my friends, there cannot be apostles in that way today.
But in these series of speeches, and some of them are by the apostles, some of them by Stephen, one by Stephen, one by Philip, and then even some by unbelievers, and then certainly by the apostle
Paul, one of the central thoughts, and this is my point this morning, the resurrection of Christ is central to the
Gospel. Without a risen Savior, we have, in truth, no
Gospel to offer. Remember what the apostle Paul said? If Christ be not risen from the dead, then what?
Then our faith is vain. And so it's my intent in the few minutes that we have to show and demonstrate the centrality of the resurrection and how that truth was incorporated in the opening of the
New Testament Church, and it was, again, it was central to their message.
It wasn't a side note, it wasn't an add -on, it was the very focus of the
Gospel. Before we look at a specific scripture,
I want to say this. Jesus did not rise from the dead to become the
Savior. Jesus did not rise from the dead to become the
Messiah. He arose from the dead because He is the
Savior, because He is the Messiah. And if you think about that, is that not what it said in Psalm 16 when it said of Jesus that you will not leave my soul in Sheol, you will not allow your
Holy One to see corruption? Jesus rose from the dead not to become the
Holy One. He rose from the dead because He was the Holy One.
And we need to understand that, that He was, before the foundation of the world, the
Lamb that was slain, the One who was prophesied in the Old Testament, the
One whom all the Old Testament prophecies look for and look to, and that you and I, again, are here this morning to declare publicly before all that this
One, this Holy One, this Righteous One, this altogether lovely One, was prepared for us before time began.
Let us consider a few scriptures this morning together.
The first one is in the book of Acts, in chapter 2. And because of time, I cannot read the whole sections, but I trust that you will at least believe me that in setting these contexts.
In Acts chapter 2, which is the great opening sermon of the
Apostle Peter as he's empowered by the Spirit of God, and he begins to take the
Jews in their mind back to the prophecy of Joel and how that prophecy was fulfilled in the
Lord Jesus Christ and that pouring out of the
Spirit of promise was something that was prophesied many, many centuries ago and that as he brings this to their attention, he wants them to understand that this is not something that just arose out of thin air, but this was something that was predicated upon the prophecy, upon the purpose of God, upon the plan of God.
Now I want you to look, if you will, at verse 22, and again, trusting that you will go back and read these sections.
But here's the point. Peter first gives them understanding from what the
Old Testament had spoke of concerning the coming of the Messiah. Now look at verse 22.
Men of Israel, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which
God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves also know, him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands and have crucified and put to death.
Now let us just think about this. He takes them back to the prophecy of Joel, of what
Joel had said would come forth, and then he applies to them their guilt in crucifying the
Son of God. So he relates the truth that was foretold, and then he applies the guilt that they had by lawless hands have taken and crucified.
But here it is now, verse 24, look at it. Whom God raised up having loosed the pains of death because it was not possible that he should be held by it.
You see it? First, prophecy. Second, personal guilt.
Third, God raised him from the dead. Again, in verse 27, look what it says.
It says, because you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will you allow the
Holy One to see corruption. Then again, in verse 30, therefore, being a prophet, knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that is of the fruit of his body as he speaks of David and how this one would come forth from David's loins, that according to the flesh he would raise up the
Christ to sit on the throne. That's why we're here today. We're here today to bear witness that that one who was foretold and that one who by the hands of lawless men was crucified, that God has raised him up.
And again, my friends, a gospel without the resurrection is in truth no gospel at all.
And so as you think about this and as the focus of the resurrection from the very opening of the
New Testament church is displayed, that you and I would remember that, that without that truth of the resurrection, we really have no hope.
And our hope rests in a risen Savior, not a dead
Savior. There were many that were so -called redeemers and saviors, and where are they?
They're buried in the grave. But this one, this Jesus, he's where? Where is he this morning?
He's on the throne. He is reigning. He is ruling. He is coming again.
Lest the gospel ever be compacted down into just the resurrection, it's not, my friends.
It's the promise, the coming, the suffering, the burial, the ascension, the resurrection, the ascension, and the coming again.
There it is, friends. We don't need to complicate the gospel. We don't need great theological thought.
We just need to declare the truth. And as Peter opens this up in the book of Acts, that is what he does.
He premises the gospel. And if you look at it, friends, at that point, after all that prophecy, there and then only, he then offers them hope.
He then offers them forgiveness of sin. He then offers them a new life.
He then takes them to understand that this one, who is exalted in verse 33, therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and have received from the
Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he poured out this which you now see and hear.
Therefore, in verse 36, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this
Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. When they heard this, they were cut to their heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do?
And now he gives them hope. Peter said to them, repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ with a remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the
Holy Spirit. And again, I submit to you, the gospel was that which was central.
Not only was it central then, my friends, it's central now. Again, what hope would we have this morning?
Why would we gather this morning to celebrate, to declare a Savior who did not rise from the dead, who did not overcome and conquer death, who did not gain the victory?
Of what use would it be for us except to sit out here and be chilly? Let me demonstrate this to you again in Acts chapter 3.
The context is the healing of a lame man, and as Peter and John go, and this man has been lame, and he's raised by Peter.
Remember what Peter said, silver and gold I don't have, but what I do have I give you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Rise, and again, predicated on what? A risen Christ, that this man is again given newness of his body.
But I want you to read with me at least from verse 11 through verse 16.
Now as the lame man was healed, held on to Peter and John, and all the people ran together to them in the porch, which is called
Solomon's, greatly amazed, so when Peter saw it, he responded to the people, Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this?
Why do you look so intently at us as though by our own power or godliness we made this man walk?
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant
Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate when he was determined to go.
Again, there's the pattern, right? He takes them back to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, takes them back to the
Old Testament, takes them back to the promises of the one that was to come. And then he says to them, again, laying upon them their guilt that they delivered him up and they denied him in the presence of Pilate when he was determined to go.
But you denied the Holy One and the just and asked for a murderer to be granted to you and you killed the
Prince of Life. Do you remember in Isaiah that great prophecy of the coming of Christ?
What was one of his names? It was the Prince of Peace. The Prince of Peace is the
Prince of Life. The Prince of Life is the Prince of Peace. And again, it's predicated on the fact of what is spoken of in verse 15.
You killed the Prince of Life and here it is. Whom God raised from the dead of which we are witnesses.
Again, we are here to declare that we are those who believe in the resurrection, trust in the resurrection, look for the promise and the glory that comes with the resurrected
Savior. And it is then and then only, look at it in verse 16, he then offers them hope.
Here it is again. And his name, through faith in his name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know.
Yes, the faith which comes through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance as did also your rulers. But those things which
God foretold by the mouth of all his prophets, that Jesus would suffer, he has thus fulfilled.
Repent and believe and be converted that your sins may be blotted out so that times of refreshing may come to you from the presence of the
Lord. Again, my friends, that's the pattern. Prophecy, Old Testament promise.
Guilt for having rebelled against that very truth that was prophesied.
So, the resurrection and then the hope.
Again, I say to you and I hope to stress, I hope it's ingrained in our minds that without a resurrected
Savior, we are not only dead in our sin, we are without hope.
And this world this morning, my friends, they gather and it just boggles my mind.
We'll chase an Easter bunny, we'll chase Easter eggs, we'll jump out of planes and do all kinds of ridiculous things, but when it comes to believing that this one, this
Jesus rose from the dead, so many people are so dead in their souls.
Even as I looked across the street this morning and my neighbor had his boat out, he was ready to go out and praise the fish
God. Isn't it great that we praise the living
God? A risen Savior, one who is far above all and to all, one day they will bow.
And then let me ask you to continue as we look in chapter four, and this is a continuation of what he has begun in chapter three.
Let me ask you to read with me just a few verses. So they arrest him.
They arrest Peter and John because he healed the man. And then in chapter four, verse five, and it came to pass on the next day the rulers and the elders and the scribes as well as Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander and as many as were the family of the high priest were gathered together in Jerusalem and when they set them in the midst, they asked them by what power or by what name have you done this?
Then Peter filled with the Holy Spirit said to them, rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we this day are judged for a good deed done to this helpless man by what means he has been made, well, let it be known to you all, to all the people, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom you crucified, whom
God raised from the dead by him this man stands here before you all.
This is the stone which was rejected by you builders which has become the chief cornerstone.
Now just think about it. He then, he used the same manner although he changes the order a little bit because he goes in verse 11 and he relates something from psalm 118 this is the stone which was rejected by the builders who has become the chief cornerstone.
Still he reminds them of what was foretold long ago and it can be no other than one that's in view in that psalm but the
Lord Jesus Christ. And then, if you look at it in verse 10 then he applies the guilt whom you crucified and then there's that central truth whom
God raised from the dead and then in verse 12 he offers the gospel.
He presents the truth that is built upon, predicated upon that very reality that Christ was not held by the grave nor is there salvation in any other for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
We are saved this morning, friends. We have been redeemed this morning.
And to all that would ever hear it's the same truth, isn't it? That we, as we present the gospel we need to present the whole gospel.
Not only the fact that he came with that all men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil and there is no other hope there is no other way to be right with a living
God other than through the faith in the Son of God who so loved us that he gave himself for us whom the grave could not hold.
That's again why I say to you we do not need to I don't know how else to say it.
We don't need to dress the gospel up, friends. We need to simply declare it.
We need to simply tell people that this one, this Jesus was the one who before the foundation of the world was purposed and planned and promised and he came and he suffered and he died and he was buried and he rose from the grave and he ascended on high and he is coming again.
Now you can't get all that out of an Easter egg even a chocolate one. If you would, turn to the book of Acts again, chapter 13.
Now here's what I had said to you in the beginning. This is where it now moves from, if you will, the ministry of Peter and it begins to move away from the
Jews and from the Israelites because they have rejected it in large measure and it now becomes, to a great extent the ministry of Paul and as Paul is in Antioch of Pisidia having been sent by the church in Antioch in Syria he begins now and he will follow the same pattern that's why
I say to you it's simple, friends it's a direct truth but let me ask you to read with me just a little bit in Acts chapter 13 and so here he is if you would, look at verse 24 and this is
Paul and he says this verse 23 he says, for this man's seed according to the promise
God raised up was for Israel a savior Jesus after John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel and as John was finishing his course he said, who do you think
I am? I am not he, but he behold, there comes one after me the sandal of whose feet
I am not worthy to loose men and brethren sons of the family of Abraham those among you who fear
God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent to those who dwell in Jerusalem and their rulers because they did not know him nor the voices of the prophets which are read every
Sabbath have fulfilled them in condemning him. My friends, the pattern is still there he speaks about the prophets, he speaks about the promises that were foretold he speaks about that which
God had revealed in times past and he says to them that they had rebelled, they had denied him they had, if you will crucified him though they found no cause of death cause for death in verse 28 though they found no cause of death in him, they asked
Pilate that he should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning him, they took him down from the tree and they laid him in a tomb verse 30 but God but God raised him from the dead isn't that glorious?
and that with the very heart and soul of what we are able to enjoy what we are able to look forward to what
God had raised him from the dead and the whole world and all of the evil and all of the principalities and powers and everything that hell could throw at him they threw at the
Lord Jesus Christ nailed him on a tree the grave could not hold him he conquered death he overcame it we celebrate what he has done and we are able to enter into what he has done and it becomes ours is that not worth some chili bones this morning friends?
and as Paul lays this out before them verse 32 he then offers them truth and we declare to you glad tidings that promise which was made to the fathers
God has fulfilled this for us their children in that he has raised up Jesus as it is also written in the second psalm you are my son today
I have begotten you and that he raised him from the dead no more no more to return to corruption he has spoken thus
I will give you the sure mercies of David again the centrality of it all look for David after he had served his own generation by the will of God fell asleep and was buried with his fathers and saw corruption there it is again verse 37 but he whom
God raised saw no corruption therefore let it be known to you brethren that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sin and by him everyone who believes is justified from all which you could not be justified by the law of Moses there's the same
Paul as Peter as all others as you and I today when we present the gospel we present the truth of the promise of the gospel the coming of the gospel in the person of Christ the guilt of man for crucifying the altogether lovely one the reality of him being buried in the grave for three days
I was reading this morning and I just could you imagine those women as they ran to the tomb and they went to anoint him and they and the stone was rolled away and the angels told them why do you look for the dead he's not dead he's not here he is risen and then when
Peter and John ran I guess John was faster than Peter because he outran him
I don't know maybe John was in better shape than Peter the reality is that they looked in the tomb and what they saw was nothing but the garments and the linens and the handkerchief and that you and I again you know there's a reality in my understanding
I don't look to a cross for a crucified
Christ if you go to many churches they have a cross but listen my friends in my understanding and just mine
I don't want to see Christ on the cross because he's not there on the cross he's risen they call it a crucifix he died once he arose forever he is seated you and I isn't that what
Paul says we are seated in heavenly places we are in Christ one more
Acts chapter 17 and my friends I challenge you to read through the book of Acts and I believe you'll see the same pattern that I've been speaking of over and over and over again and this one is particularly interesting if you think about it because this is
Paul in Athens this is Paul and I just want to read a little bit just to finish the understanding since this is the last scripture so Paul is at Athens just look in Acts chapter 17 verse 18 and Paul's waiting for his companions to come now while Paul waited for them at Athens his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols it's not
Jacksonville a city given over to idols therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the
Jews and with Gentile worshippers and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there and certain
Epicureans and Stoic philosophers encountered him and some said what does this babbler want to say and others said he seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods because he preached to them here it is friends
Jesus and the resurrection they took him and they said to him and they brought him into the area of Africa saying may we know what this new doctrine is of what you speak here's the opportunity for Paul will you bring some strange things to our ears therefore we want to know what these things mean where all the
Athenians and foreigners who were there spent their time and nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing
Paul stood in the midst of the area of Africa and said men of Athens I perceive that in all things you are very religious for as I was passing through considering the objects of your worship
I even found an altar with this inscription to the unknown God therefore the one whom you worship without knowing him
I proclaim to you God who made the world and everything in it since he is
Lord of heaven and earth does not dwell in temples made with hands nor is he worshipped with men's hands as though he needed anything since he gives to all life and breath and all things and he is made from one blood every nation of men that dwell on all the face of the earth and has determined their pre -appointed times and the boundaries of their habitations so that they should seek the
Lord in the hope that they might broke for him and find him though he is not far from each one of us
I gotta just stop it is so offensive to me that today as we celebrate, declare the resurrection of our
Lord Jesus Christ that there are so many that have have united with that today is celebration of transgender identity they worship an unknown
God they worship idols, they worship things that have no meaning, they worship things that did not give life that does not give breath and sustenance and hope.
Verse 28 verse 27 so that they should seek the Lord in the hope that they might broke for him and find him though he is not far from each of us for in him we live move and have our being as some of your own poets have said we are the offspring of God therefore since we are the offspring of God we ought not to think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone something shaped by art and man's devising truly these times of ignorance
God overlooked but now he commands every man everywhere all men everywhere to repent and I say to you if you read through this sermon this message he follows that same pattern again he speaks about God he speaks about how
God had created the world he takes them back in their mind to the very beginning and then he applies guilt to them when he says to them that they are the ones who have now become worshippers of idols and that God in times past had overlooked but he commands all men everywhere to repent because he has appointed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained and here it is friends he has given assurance of this to all how by raising him from the dead when they heard of the resurrection of the dead some mocked others said we will hear you again on this matter so Paul departed from them but there again friends is the centrality of the focus of the resurrection and you and I we do not need to move listen we don't need to reinvent the gospel we don't need to reinterpret the gospel we need to declare the gospel that the eyewitnesses gave to us that God has given to us through the hands of his prophets through the hands of his servants through the hands of his blessed son that you and I gather this morning and we will close it that way friends
I'm not what I ought to be I'm not what
I want to be but because of the resurrection I'm not what
I used to be so I pray that God would bless us and that God would save and that God would open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf and friends as we gather this morning and I am sure we will have some visitors
I am sure there will be some people here today that will dust off their Easter bonnet if you wear a bonnet
I don't know I don't wear much bonnets but that you and I let's pray this morning let's ask
God to do something miraculous let's ask God to raise some people this morning out of the deadness of sin that they might even not come for the right reason but they'll leave with Christ wouldn't that not be glorious wouldn't that not be
Easter eggs our father and our
God may your word your truth may the faith in your son the lord