The Resurrection of Our Lord

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Bro. Ben Mitchell

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He's got to hand off a couple of babies real quick. Oh, just bring her up, man.
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She looks cool. She's got her shades on and everything. You only need one hand to turn pages in the
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Bible. Just hold her with the other hand. Thank you, sir.
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Good morning, everybody. So I've been very anxious for this week to come.
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It has been several months in the making at this point. As a reminder, for those of you who may not have been here last week, it was not planned for dad and mom to not be here on Easter Sunday.
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Business trips were planned like 10 months in advance or something like that. I don't think anyone thought maybe Easter could be in March in 2024 or something like that.
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So they would give anything to be with us here today, no doubt. And so the
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Lord worked it out this way for reasons perhaps unknown at this time. But I am excited about it, and I've been looking forward to it for a while.
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Resurrection Sunday is interesting for a lot of reasons. There's only a couple ordinances of the church.
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There's the Lord's Supper. There's baptism. And just about anything other than that is going to boil down to some form of tradition, in some form or other.
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And this particular day is one of those. Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, really the whole liturgical calendar would fall into that category.
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But even though that's the case, not all tradition is necessarily bad.
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We know that tradition can muddy the waters, depending on the particular area that you're talking about.
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But tradition isn't always bad. And this is one case where I believe it's actually quite beautiful.
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I mean, you think about the thought, you have believers all across the world on this particular day celebrating one of the greatest moments in human history.
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And so it is quite the honor to get to fill the pulpit on such a day as that. It is a tremendous blessing to get to do this, as well as have so much family on both sides.
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So I am really excited to get to do this today. And I appreciate all of you for being here.
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And looking forward to get to worship with all of you. If y 'all want to turn to Job chapter 19, time is of the essence today.
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If you guys were here last week, you know exactly what I was talking about or what I'm talking about. So we're going to get right into it.
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And again, we're going to start in Job chapter 19. See if I can get there myself really quick.
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And we're going to start in verse 23. And let's read this brief passage together.
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We're going to be revisiting it here just a little bit. But I like the idea of opening with this.
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So Job chapter 19, starting in verse 23, it says, Oh, that my words were now written.
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Oh, that they were printed in a book. That they were graven with an iron pen and led in the rock forever.
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For I know that my Redeemer liveth. And that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.
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And though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet my flesh shall
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I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.
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Though my reins be consumed within me, but ye should say, why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?
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Be afraid of the sword, for the wrath bringeth the punishment, the punishments of the sword.
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But ye may know that there is a judgment. And Heavenly Father, Lord, thank you so much for this glorious day, the opportunity that we have to get together, not only to fellowship in general.
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Of course, we're so thankful for that opportunity each and every week. But on a day such as this, where saints all over the world are gathering to do the same thing, so many voices being lifted up to you and your praise and your worship.
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And again, in celebration of one of the most glorious acts that you have ever accomplished on our behalf.
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We're so thankful that we get to come together and talk about such an event. And we just ask you to be with this service,
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Lord. Bless this service. We ask that your words are spoken and that this be edifying to everybody present today and everybody listening.
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We ask all these things in your name. Amen. So shortly after finding out that I'd be doing this today,
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I thought about the various ways that you can approach such a massive topic.
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Of course, you can look at it historically. You can look at it apologetically. Obviously, the resurrection is something that's going to be attacked by the devil and through him, you know, any skeptic, any enemy to the word of the
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Lord. And evidentially, apologetically, there's so many different angles that you can take with this massive topic.
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However, given the terribly short amount of time that we have, I decided that we would take a look at it from a particular angle that I've actually been thinking about for the better part of the last 18 months, maybe two years.
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And I think you guys will see why when we get there. And I do believe this will be a very edifying thing for all of us.
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It's a kind of a subtopic that's enjoined with the resurrection itself. And that's going to be one of the things that I want to bring out today, a very specific truth about the resurrection and the reality of that.
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And we're going to get to that shortly. But first, what I want to do is I want to walk through the story itself, similarly to how we did last week, as we, in preparation for today, walked through the crucifixion narrative.
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And we're going to take a look at what's essentially the seal of our faith. That is the resurrection of our
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Lord. Now, last week, we ended with the narrative of the crucifixion in Matthew 27, 50.
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That's the verse that we left off with. So we're going to pick it up at verse 51. And we're going to quickly walk through the remaining verses of that chapter, verse 27, leading into the resurrection story, beginning in chapter 28.
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So we're going to be looking at the events that took place after Jesus gave up the ghost and surrounding his resurrection.
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So let's pick it up. Matthew 27, verse 51. And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the earth did quake and the rocks rent.
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We briefly touched on the significance of that event last week. The veil being tore is a huge part in the overall story here and essentially what happened at the crucifixion, immediately following it.
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And that is the separation between God and man being removed. And the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came out of the graves after his resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared unto many.
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Now, when the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus saw the earthquake and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying,
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Truly, this was the Son of God. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed
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Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him. Among which was Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Joseph and mother of Zebedee's children.
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When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea named Joseph, who also himself was
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Jesus' disciple. He went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
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And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out of the rock.
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And he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulcher.
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Now, the next day, the followed after the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together into Pilate saying,
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Sir, we remember that this deceiver said while he was yet alive after three days,
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I will rise again. Command, therefore, that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, steal him away and say to the people, he is risen from the dead so that the last error shall be worse than the first.
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Pilate said to them, You have a watch. Go your way. Make it as sure as you can.
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So they went and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone and setting a watch.
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So in the events immediately following Christ's crucifixion, when the religious leaders of the day stood at the foot of the cross, mocking
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Jesus in every form and fashion you can imagine, the mockery continued even while Jesus was still in the grave, as the
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Pharisees here, of course, call him a deceiver. And they even mocked his claims regarding his resurrection.
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Of course, they didn't believe it. But what they were worried about is that his followers would plot a fake resurrection.
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They got Rome involved once again. Now, the involvement with Rome there as they put the seal on the grave and as they put the soldiers in front of the grave was particularly significant.
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Their involvement in sealing that, guarding Christ's tomb, it's a very important note regarding the testimony of the resurrection as an historical event because of Rome's involvement there.
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The Lord has all of those details here, obviously, intentionally there. And at the end of chapter 27 is pretty key, obviously, in leading into what we're about to get into here.
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So let's begin at chapter 28 now and let the narrative continue. And we will begin the theme of our
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Lord's resurrection. In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came
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Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher. Now, these women, they were notably at the cross when
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Christ's men had scattered all around in fear of the Jews. And, of course, we're aware of Peter's denial and the rest of the disciples were nowhere to be found at this particular time except for John.
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That was the one exception. But John and then these women devout to Christ who had followed him throughout his ministry were there and they witnessed all of the brutality that we talked about last week.
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They were some of Jesus's closest friends and loyal followers. And that loyalty surpassed any amount of fear and trepidation that they perhaps should have had, especially after witnessing the devastating scene, again, that we discussed last week.
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But it says that they came to the grave to look at the grave of Jesus. They simply wanted to see the tomb where Jesus was laying, but they also wanted to anoint to Jesus's body.
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And in the Mark and the Luke account, the gospel accounts in Mark and Luke, we learned that they were carrying spices along with them.
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They were coming to anoint his body and to kind of honor him in that particular way.
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But it's important to note that despite their loyalty to him and the fact that they were going to see his grave, they were going to honor him in the anointing.
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They weren't necessarily expecting to actually see a risen Lord. They weren't expecting any kind of miracle.
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The execution that they had witnessed just a few days prior was so horrifying that it apparently shook their faith to the point where they forgot
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Jesus's own words that he had given them not too long before all these events took place.
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There's no indication that they were actually expecting to find Jesus not in the grave.
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What they did have was a tremendous amount of sympathy for the one whom they had followed all the way to his death.
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And they were going to anoint him. Like I said, they were going to honor him in that way. But their faith had waned and it had waned considerably.
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It wasn't enough, though, to keep them from having that desire to honor their master.
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They still wanted to do something, even though that faith had been waned to such a degree.
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Verse 2 says, And behold, there was a great earthquake. For the angel of the
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Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone from the door and set upon it. Now, perhaps everyone remembers, we just read it a moment ago as well, when the veil was torn.
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That a great earthquake had occurred immediately following Christ's giving up the ghost.
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And now we have another one. So we had one great earthquake that kind of signified or represented the very unique event that had just occurred.
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And now we have another one to usher in yet another very significant moment. The word behold at the beginning of verse 2, it indicates that this was a very sudden, a very shocking surprise to the women, as well as the soldiers that were present.
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This just absolutely came out of the blue. And it did so in a way that pretty much, quite literally, shook all of these people to their core.
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The word great, when it says there was a great earthquake, it's the Greek word megos. It's where we get mega from.
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So this was quite literally a mega quake that surely would have spurred on a considerable amount of fear for anyone that was present.
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Here we have some of these devout followers of Jesus, these women, as well as the Roman soldiers.
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And it's not surprising that they were all deathly afraid at this particular moment.
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But what caused that earthquake? What caused this sudden, shocking, unexpected event that made everybody scared?
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It says, for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven. So the arrival of this angel was so great that it had caused this great earthquake.
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Now, it's important to note something really quick. The angel descended, but he didn't descend because he needed to let
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Jesus out. That was not part of the job description for this particular messenger of the
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Lord. That wasn't his purpose in descending. By the time that the earthquake hit, the angel had come, the stone was then rolled away, but Jesus was already alive at this time.
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He was already alive. He had already risen. He was already glorified. And so the purpose of the angel wasn't to set
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Jesus free or anything like that. This was meant as a special kind of testimony to what had already happened for these women who were coming to, again, show their sympathies to their
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Lord. This earthquake and the angel that followed, again, acted as these divine testimonies for the magnificent event that had already taken place before he descended.
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In verse three, it says, his countenance was like lightning and his raiment white as snow.
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So this wasn't an angel in unawares, so to speak. This was an angel that had just arrived from being in the presence of God himself, and he was radiating the glory that was cast upon him as a representative of God, much like the glory that shone on Moses' face.
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If you guys recall him descending from Mount Sinai, he had seen the mere backside of Jehovah, and he descends from the mountain, his face shining like the sun to the degree that the people were afraid of Moses.
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And so this angel, just like Moses radiating the glory of God, when he witnessed him, this angel is radiating the glory of God, again, being in his presence right prior to this particular descension of this angel.
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It says in verse four, and for the fear of him, the keepers did shake and became as dead men.
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So these soldiers, they shook, literally. And the root word for the
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Greek there, sio, it's the same root word for the word earthquake. It's the same root where we get seisma or seismic.
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This was a seismic event for these soldiers. That's how bad these particular guys, some of the toughest guys around, were shaking.
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They were shaking out of sheer terror at this site, and they were literally falling into a state of unconsciousness because of it.
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And verse five says, and the angel answered and said into the women, fear not ye, for I know that ye see
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Jesus, which was crucified. Now, keep in mind for a second, unlike Peter, James, and John, these women were not at the
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Mount of Transfiguration. They did not get to witness that brief moment where Jesus's glory on earth was unveiled, and those men that were present actually got to see it for a second.
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They weren't there. They had not experienced that particular event the way that some of the apostles had.
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And so when they see this angel, this is a completely new experience for them. They had never before witnessed such immense unveiled glory the way they were at this particular time.
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And it was terrifying to them. It was something that they couldn't have ever imagined up until this point that they're now seeing it themselves.
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So obviously you might ask, what made their fear less severe compared to these tough soldiers?
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Like why did not these women fall to the ground and become unconscious, shake themselves into unconsciousness?
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Well, the answer of course, is that it was grace. The only way that they could have played out this event and come out not unconscious, come out conscious, actually know what's happening, be able to hear the words of the angel, is by the divine providence that the
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Lord extended to them. Because the glory that this group witnessed, it shouldn't have been discriminatory.
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It shouldn't have been in such a way that some of them fell, some of them didn't, some of them made it out okay, others didn't.
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It should have knocked all of them on the ground as it did with the soldiers. But even though the tough soldiers fell into a coma themselves, the loyal women of God, while they were afraid, they were still standing.
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Now I want us to keep something in mind here as the angel begins his discourse with these women.
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The women that were present had certainly remained loyal and faithful to Christ, certainly while he was alive on earth, and even after his death to a degree.
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But they were here to dress Jesus's dead body. They weren't here to see his resurrected body.
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As I mentioned a minute ago, their faith had waned. The events that had occurred just a few days prior had shaken their faith to a considerable degree.
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And because of that, there was a clear lack of faith here, as loyal as they were. And as much as they wanted to honor their master, there was still a lack of faith.
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But notice that when the angel comes and he talks to them about this issue, he doesn't do it with rebuke.
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He doesn't even do it with frustration, despite the fact that Jesus had told them what to expect on this morning, more than once in days, months, and even years prior to all of this taking place.
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Again, they are loving. They are loyal. They are devoted to Jesus. But they find themselves in a place of weak faith.
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And it's notable to see here, and the way in which God handles it through his messenger, this angel, because at least in this instance, he doesn't discipline it.
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Now, there are times when maybe some rebuke is necessary. Of course, we know that Peter was rebuked a fair amount of times.
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But in this particular case, there wasn't discipline. There wasn't frustration. There wasn't anything upsetting from the angel's point of view, even though the weaker faith was present.
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The lack of faith even was present. So through his messenger, what is
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God in this particular context for these women? Well, he's caring. He's comforting.
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He's about to give them words of encouragement, rather than words of rebuke. And this is the way, more often than not, that the
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Lord treats his own, even in their weakest times. There's no excuse or human reasoning that can justify weak faith.
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The women didn't have any reason to be doubting and to show up to the tomb, not expecting a risen savior, if they trusted in their master while he was alive and believed his words, that on the third day, he would rise again.
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But despite the fact that you can't justify the weak faith, that it's not okay, it just is what it is.
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It's always wrong to disbelieve the words of the Lord, but there's always grace.
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And we see this grace signified right here in this story. We need to remember that ourselves.
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This is a particularly good example that we can apply to our lives when we're experiencing doubt and weak faith.
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That the grace comes through taking that doubt to the Lord and confessing it to him.
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And when we do that, he returns with that blessed assurance that we can have once again.
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We're going to experience the weak faith. We're going to experience the doubt numerous times, more times than we could even count, perhaps, but he's still going to be loving.
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The grace will still be there. And he's given us the information we need all throughout the New Testament for regaining that assurance that we had to begin with.
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In verse six, it says, he is not here for he is risen as he said, come see the place where the
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Lord lay. Now, the first thing I want to point out here really quick is an interesting parallel between this account of the resurrection and the account of the crucifixion that we looked at just last week.
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Notice or remember last week when you get to, let's see here, verse 35, just look at it really quick.
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Matthew 27, 35. It says you have the buildup to the moment in which the atonement is about to take place.
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You have Simon carrying the cross. Of course, prior to that, you have the beatings, you have the torture, you have the mockery, you have the fake trial at the
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Sanhedrin. You have the betrayal before that, the agony in the garden. You have all of these things with a lot of detail across all of the gospels.
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And you get to the moment the crucifixion actually takes place. And what does it say in verse 35 of chapter 27?
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And they crucified him. There's not a lot of detail there. There's not a lot of description. In fact, there's no description.
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And as we said last week, the reason why is because the gospel writers knew there didn't need to be a description.
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The word crucifixion was a very off color word to use in ancient times. It was such a brutal, reprehensible form of murder, of punishing crimes, that it carried connotations that ancient writers did not even want to convey in their writing.
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And so they would stay away from the word itself. The gospel writers have absolutely no issue using the word plainly, but they did not have to take it further than that.
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They didn't need to give us a description because everybody reading this knew exactly what they were talking about.
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They pictured the vivid scene in their minds the moment that they saw this word. But now here we are in chapter 28, verse six.
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And what does it say? It says, he is not here for he is risen as he said. There's not some great elaborate description of what played out in the tomb.
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There's not the scene of Christ, raising out of the cloth and whatever the scene may have looked like.
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None of that is here. It simply tells us he is risen as he said. His promise was kept. It's an interesting parallel with the lack of description that we are given with the crucifixion.
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In fact, I should say no description. It's just a plain fact. The two most significant moments that act as the crux of these narratives we've been looking at are left without description because I'll say it one more time.
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It simply wasn't needed. Now the apostles later shed some interesting light on the resurrection itself in some of the later epistles.
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And this is really cool. This is the kind of stuff that is so encouraging. It's hard to even put into words because the amount of revelation that we are given is small, relatively small as the book is.
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The Bible, the word is relatively small as it is and how much more information sometimes we may wish we had.
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Of course, John ends his gospel saying, oh, how many books could have been written on the things that I've seen. There are things that are sealed up in revelation that we are not going to know for some time.
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We wish we had more, but at the same time, there is so much there that it's incomprehensible.
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And the apostles later, again, they don't necessarily give us the scene, but they do tell us how it happened.
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In Romans, and I'm just going to give you all some citations here. Feel free to write them down because these are beautiful parallels.
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But in Romans 6, 4, in Galatians 1, 1, and in 1 Peter 1, 3, we learned that Christ was raised by the father, that the father was the one by his power that raised
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Christ from the grave. But then you get to Romans 8, 11, and we learned that he was raised by the
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Holy Spirit. Paul specifically points out there that it was by the
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Holy Spirit's power that Christ was raised from the dead. And then you have John 10, 18, which seems to clearly indicate that Christ raised himself when the time was come.
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So what does all that mean? Is that disharmony in the gospels and in the New Testament? Is there confusion there?
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There's no confusion when you start going throughout the New Testament and you see the ease in which the apostles had and spoke regarding the
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Trinity. The Trinity, of course, is something that there's no comparable thing to it.
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And so because of that, if something is truly unique, you're never going to have an analogy that's good enough if it's truly unique.
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Because by definition, it's unique because there's nothing else like it. And yet, despite some of the more complicated details, perhaps not necessarily being able to come up here and show you how the math works, so to speak, things that we will find out someday when we are glorified and we have better understanding ourselves, we can still look throughout the
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New Testament and see the ease with which the apostles talked in Trinitarian terms. And this is one of them.
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We learned that it was by the Father's power that He was raised, by the Holy Spirit's power that He was raised, and it was Jesus Himself that it was by His power that He was raised.
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It's by the unified power of the Trinity as a work ordained to be accomplished by the
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Godhead together, all of them in perfect unity, that He was raised. It's an absolutely beautiful example of the way in which
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God interacts with His plan and with His creation, including history, including time.
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He does it in ways, again, that kind of go beyond any way we could describe it.
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But we do know that it was by the power of the Trinity, by the Father, by the Son, by the Holy Spirit, that these things took place.
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So that's some light that is shed on the moment of the resurrection later on throughout the
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New Testament. Now, in Luke, we learned that these women remembered His words at this particular point.
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If you're looking at the synoptics side by side, we learn at this particular time, the women did remember
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Jesus's words as they're hearing the testimony of the angel speak to them. And they remember hearing that He would rise from the grave.
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Apparently, though, it was just too simple. Or I should, no,
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I'm sorry. Apparently, it was too much for them to believe at the time, as simple as it sounded when it was proceeding out of Jesus's own mouth when
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He was telling them. The side of the crucifixion, it was just too much for them to believe after that took place, even the short amount of time in between the death and the resurrection.
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And then after this, after they recalled His words, after the angel had given testimony to His promises kept, they were shown the evidence of the resurrection.
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And in Luke, we learned that the angel actually stooped back into the tomb and reiterated everything
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He had told them prior to them going into the tomb because He needed to alleviate the utter shock that these women were still under.
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At this point, they are now looking at the linen laid across the bed of stone, still wrapped.
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They're looking at this totally bewildered and the angel comes back in. And then in John's account, we learned there was actually a second angel, one at the head, one at the foot.
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And they were both there saying, don't be afraid, He is risen. Here's the evidence. In verse seven, it says, and go quickly, tell
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His disciples that He is risen from the dead and behold, He goeth before you in Galilee. There shall you see
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Him. Lo, I have told you. Now keep Galilee in mind because in verse 10, that's gonna be important.
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So put a pin in that for just a second. Verse eight says, and they departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy and did run to bring
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His disciples word. Now, I want you guys to consider for a minute the very significant change in attitudes, in emotion that has taken place just within a very brief span of time.
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And in verse eight, it really, really pops out at you. Prior to this, you had the scene so terrifying that two of the toughest guys in the country literally shook themselves into a coma.
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And these women witnessed the exact same event. They were also scared. They were also unsure.
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And even our devout followers of Jesus needed a supernatural reassurance that everything would be okay.
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Again, it was by grace that they didn't fall over themselves. But now, after all of that, after witnessing the open tomb and Jesus's body absent from it and the angels giving testimony, they are now running with fear.
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The fear is still there, but there's an extra added component that was not there before. And that is the joy.
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With great joy, they are running. This is the moment when the shock turned into an acceptance that He truly is alive and they could feel it.
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And they knew it was true. And they knew, they remembered His words. They recalled it. And they are now witnessing the fulfillment of that promise.
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And a promise that they knew was about to change the world for the rest of human history as everything would unfold from that point forward.
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Verse 9 says, And as they went to tell the disciples, His disciples, behold,
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Jesus met them saying, All hail. And they came and beheld Him, excuse me, and they came and they held
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Him by the feet and worshipped Him. They recognized His deity immediately.
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There was no trepidation at this point. I'll put it that way. They recognized
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His deity and the fact that they were able to... This is just an important note to keep things in mind as you have conversations with people of varying beliefs and interpretations of Christ's deity.
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They held Him by His feet and worshipped Him. This indicates He was not some emanation, not some aberration or an illusion or some kind of dream that they were seeing at this time.
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It was Him. He was physical once again, but in a different state.
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But they were able to grab Him. They were able to embrace Him. They were able to feel Him. It's not some spirit, some ghost -like emanation that they were witnessing.
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Verse 10, So Galilee, this is the place that Jesus began
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His ministry. It's the first place where He preached the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven, worked the miracles for the first time, redeemed souls for the first time, and taught in the synagogues.
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It was the first place where He was hated, where He was rejected. It was the same place where they would see
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Him risen. Now, He totally avoids Jerusalem, the city of David, the place where the temple still stood, which is a really phenomenal thing to think about.
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The capital of the religion of God that had been diluted for 400 years prior to the arrival of John the
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Baptist still stood, and the religious leaders still facilitated it at this very moment, post -resurrection.
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But Jesus doesn't go there. He doesn't go to the capital of what is now a dead religion, but He goes to Galilee, where He will now give
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His great commission. We, in Wednesday night, we were talking about Dave brought up Galilee because that's where He did
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His first miracle. It's where He turned water into wine. And we were asking, what's some of the significance of His location?
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Well, I think that He started His ministry there and He's about to end it here for that purpose. He wanted to show the world that it's not where the temple is.
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It's not where the legalizers are, the Pharisees, the religious leaders, that I build my church and lay the foundation for my church to be built.
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I'm going to Galilee, to the place of the Gentiles, and that is where these things are going to happen. Now, addition to this particular gathering, this assembly, in addition to Him giving
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His great commission, there was another purpose that was fulfilled here. And that was that there were 500 plus eyewitnesses present to verify the reality of our risen
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Lord. And all of them heard the great commission themselves. But what's really amazing about that is that you get to the upper room shortly after the ascension, and there's 120
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Christians at the beginning of the church. So there were a lot of eyewitnesses, hundreds of eyewitnesses that witnessed a resurrected
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Messiah that heard with his own mouth proclaim the great commission to his church to go spread this gospel.
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And you had a mere 120 that were actually faithful to that and that actually turned to Him if they hadn't already been turned at that particular time.
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So that's a very interesting testament to what Christ told us about in His parables in regard to eyes to see, ears to hear.
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I mean, how much more amazing does it get or how much more amazing could it get than to see the risen
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Lord give his great commission in Galilee? And yet there were still unbelievers at that time. Galilee is where he presents himself alive and begins the spread of the hope that will cover the ends of the earth, giving man that joyful expectation of death rather than a fear of it, because to die at this point is to be present with him immediately.
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No longer was death something to be afraid of. The Hebrew concept of death, even for believers, was somewhat bleak because everyone knew where they were going was the grave.
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They were going to Sheol. And while promises were certainly there, and while faithfulness was certainly there, that is demonstrated spectacularly with David, but also the prophets, it was still a little bit more of a bleak picture, perhaps just for lack of more clear understanding than what the church was given at this point moving forward.
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And that is death is presence with him. And Paul expounded on that a lot later on.
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But his resurrection means even more to us than the promise of being in his presence. In other words, heaven is amazing as that is.
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I'm going to end the narrative there and Matthew and I am going to go to a couple of other verses here and then we will wrap this up pretty soon.
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Remember the words of Job that we read earlier. You don't have to go there again. But in Job 19,
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I'll start at verse 25 this time. For I know that my Redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.
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And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see
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God whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold him.
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And not another, though my reins be consumed within me. Job, first of all, this is the most ancient book ever written within the biblical canon.
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And here we have a promise of the resurrection. We have a promise of his
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Redeemer being alive, but we also have a very unique promise. And we touched on this just a little bit last week.
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We have a very unique promise in that we will see him with these eyes, just as Job will.
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Now, it'd be wonderful if the Lord comes quickly and maybe we'll get to see him as we stand here today in these present bodies.
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Perhaps we will get to see that glory. We don't know the day or the hour, but we can rest assured that if our time comes to leave this earth prior to his return, we will still see him with these eyes.
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That is the promise that Job gave us here. The expectation of Job was a promise which was later affirmed by the prophets.
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And Daniel and Isaiah, they both talked about the resurrection. And I'm not talking about Jesus' resurrection. I'm talking about the resurrection of our bodies.
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Daniel and Isaiah both prophesied over that. It was affirmed by the prophets and it was sealed by the resurrection of Jesus when he came back from the grave and it will be consummated with the resurrection of our bodies at the
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Lord's second coming. We're going to take a look at some really interesting passages here. And I want you guys to follow along with me.
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We'll move through them somewhat quickly and then we'll be done. Go to 1 Corinthians 15 and start at verse 20.
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Last week, I opened up with Paul's summation of the gospel, which is found at the very beginning of this chapter.
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I said last week that we would read it again for the sake of time. Well, it depends. Maybe we can get to it, but I'm going to leave that where it is for now.
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So verses 1 through 11, Paul's summation of the gospel, unbelievable, beautiful, harmonious.
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Go down to verse 20 of the same chapter and let's see what he has to say. But now is
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Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept.
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So that right there is the seal I'm talking about. It was by Christ's resurrection that not only was it prophesied that we would be resurrected ourselves someday, but that prophecy was sealed and that Jesus did it and therefore we know it's going to happen again.
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He was the first fruits of our resurrection. Verse 21, for since by man came death, by man came also resurrection of the dead.
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Notice it doesn't just say life, but resurrection from the dead. For as an
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Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order,
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Christ, the first fruits afterward, they that are Christ's at his coming. So when we think about the resurrection of Jesus, we think about his victory over death.
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We think about his victory over the powers of darkness. We may even think about the reality that it's by his resurrection only that our faith as Christians is not in vain.
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Paul tells us that in 1 Corinthians 15, 14 and 17, right before the verses we just read. He was very blunt about it.
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He was being very honest with us. If the resurrection didn't happen, we are to be pitied above all men.
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Thankfully, that is not the case. And that is immediately following the gospel that he gave at the beginning of that chapter, which begins with his death, burial, resurrection.
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So he was very, very honest about that reality. So we may think about that as well when we think about his resurrection, but less often do we ponder the reality that it was by his resurrection that we will receive our resurrection.
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Turn with me one more time. Let's go to 1 Thessalonians this time. Again, we're jumping around just a little bit, but we are nearing the finish line here and go to verse,
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I'm sorry, chapter four of 1 Thessalonians, starting in verse 13. And listen to this amazing passage.
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But I would not have you ignorant brethren. Let me just give you some really quick context. He is talking to the believers in Thessalonica who are sad about the fact that their loved ones may have missed something.
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So it is with these words we're about to read that Paul is comforting Christians. He says, but I would not have you ignorant brethren concerning them which are asleep, those that have gone before us, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope.
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So there are plenty of people that should be sorrowful, that should be scared of the reality that they have loved ones that went before them and should be scared for their own souls because the hope is not there.
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But he's giving us a juxtaposition here to comfort those that do have that hope. Verse 14 says, for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so that's the resurrection story we just read, if we believe that event took place, even so them also which sleep in Jesus, in other words, who have passed on in Jesus, excuse me, verse 14, them also which sleep in Jesus will
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God bring with Him. Okay. Verse 15, for this we say unto you by the word of the
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Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the
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Lord shall not prevent, now it's this very old usage of that word.
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It's the word proceed or it should be the word proceed. We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the
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Lord shall not precede them which are asleep. So a couple of things really quick.
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Number one, we have two promises. Well, okay, we have two promises. The first is that those that sleep in Christ will come back with Him.
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They will come with Him in the clouds. That's our first promise. So he's reassuring him there, but he's giving them double assurance here because the second promise is this.
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And he starts by saying, we're not gonna proceed them which are asleep. They're coming first. They're coming in the clouds. They'll be with Jesus.
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Verse 16 though, for the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
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Those are those who have passed before us and that are with Him spiritually. Now their spirits are present with Him, but their bodies are coming back too.
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Verse 17, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the
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Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord wherever comfort one another with these words.
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So I guess it's really a threefold promise. We're promised number one that those that have gone before us are okay.
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Number two, that they are going to be resurrected and we'll be coming back with Jesus in the clouds.
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And the number three, that we will be caught up in the air with Him after that particular point.
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So for 2000 years of church history, Christians have been comforted by this truth as Paul was giving comfort to those in Thessalonica.
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Even those who had the apostles present with them, Paul is literally the one writing them. And they needed this comfort.
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And so go back as far as the church can go. And you have Christians that needed to be comforted about the reality that you don't have to worry about your loved ones that have gone before us.
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They sleep in Christ. They will return with Christ. But not only that, they will return with their bodies resurrected.
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The resurrection of the dead is a very, very unique tenet to our faith, to the
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Christian faith. It distinguishes it from many, if not all false religions, Gnosticism, Unitarian groups.
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The resurrection of the dead and that promise is a very unique reality because you have people wanting to separate the spiritual from the physical all the time.
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That's not the way that God intended it. He created these earthen vessels for a reason.
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Yes, sin tarnishes them right now, but that does not mean he doesn't have a purpose, a glorious purpose for these bodies.
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And it is a very, very unique thing when you really think about it. And again, it's unique to the Christian faith and it gives a very clear importance in God's creation of mankind.
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We often think of heaven, but rarely do we think about the fact that someday the spirits of our loved ones that have gone before us will be rejoined with their physical bodies for us to get to embrace that body again.
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Think about that for a second. Talk about assurance, not only assurance in our salvation, not only assurance in the resurrection and his return, but the loved ones that we are with presently.
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Of course, the faith that we have in Christ, though we can't see him yet, it's evidence of things not seen. Think about the family that you do see, that you have seen.
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You will be with them again and you will get to embrace the body that you once embraced upon their resurrection.
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Let's see here. They'll be glorified. No doubt there will be some differences, but they'll be the same person.
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Just as Jesus was different, but recognizable, though it is worth pointing out that he was recognizable when he wanted to be recognizable.
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The road to Emmaus with his disciples, of course, comes to mind. But he was recognizable.
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He could walk through the walls of a locked room. He could fry up a barbecue on the beach and dine and drink with his disciples.
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He could, again, be walking a dusty road on the way to Emmaus, talking scripture, talking
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Bible, and then vanish out of thin air whenever he wanted to. That is how the glorified body operates.
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And that is how our bodies will operate someday. Like Jesus, we will one day live in bodies that can traverse the higher dimensions of his creation, in glorified bodies that can experience pain.
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And to illustrate this, I'm going to end with this. I want to go to one of my favorite passages of all time, and it's in Philippians.
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And this illustrates everything I just said in regard to how that is going to, well, not necessarily how it works.
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Again, we're left without all of the finer details that we would like to have, but it at least expresses it as truth.
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It's Philippians chapter three, and it's really the last two verses of that chapter.
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But I want to start in verse 17 because we're given a very unique contrast here. In verse 17, starting verse 17, he's going to be talking about, well,
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I'll just read it and you'll know exactly what he's talking about. Brethren, be followers together of me and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an in sample.
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For many walk of whom I have told you often and now tell you even weeping that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.
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There's the beginning of the contrast. We're talking about enemies of the cross of Christ whose end is destruction, whose
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God is their belly and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.
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That is a very bleak picture. And yet immediately following it, we get as stark of a contrast as you can possibly get with those who aren't enemies of the cross of Christ.
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Those who do put their faith on him who call upon the name of the Lord. And it says in verse 20, and here's one of my favorite passages ever for our conversation.
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Now, again, this is a old use of the word in the KJV. The Greek word underlying this word is literally citizenship.
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So you might wanna write that in there because sometimes you can see conversation and think, what are we talking about?
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What's happening here is some conversation in heaven. We're literally talking about citizenship for our citizenship is in heaven, not just our conversation, the way we know or think of the word, but our citizenship, it is in heaven.
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From whence also we look for the savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And listen to this, the very end of this chapter, who shall change our vile or humble would be another good translation there.
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Our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things into himself.
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We are going to have bodies similar to his.
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We are going to be glorified in such a way that we imitate his glory. And that is in contrast to the end result for those who are the enemies of his cross, which is destruction.
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But for us, it is a resurrection and it's a resurrection in a glorified body just as his was.
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Now, for those who are alive and president is coming, they're gonna meet him in the clouds and they will be glorified there as well.
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But for the large way, like big time, large majority of saints who have lived their lives on this earth and have passed since then, they will be returning in the clouds after their own bodies have been resurrected and they are fashioned like into his glorious body.
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Super beautiful. If y 'all wanna jot down a couple of parallel passages to this concept, 1 John 3, 1 -3 talks about this.
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Titus 2, 11 -14, Romans 8, 22 -25. When Christ rose again and ascended into heaven, which by the way, that's gonna be the topic of next week's sermon, he placed the capital of this earth in heaven.
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Now, more specifically, the capital of his religion, which we carry out on this earth ourselves as ministers of the gospel of Christ.
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And I mean, all of us in this room, every believer, every Christian is responsible for spreading that gospel via the great commission.
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The capital of that religion that we go and proclaim, that we go and share with the world is in heaven at this particular time, at this moment.
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That's where our citizenship is right now, according to Paul at the end of that book, but at the end of that chapter, rather in Philippians.
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But someday that capital is gonna return to this earth upon the return of the
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Lord. And with it, our bodies will be resurrected as well. Just like Jesus was, again, he is the first fruits of our resurrection.
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And there's going to be a union once more between our spirits and the bodies that were fashioned in our mother's wombs, but glorified and cleansed of all sin and all infirmities.
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There's a purpose for the bodies that we have now, earthen vessels, they may be at the moment, who can save us from the body of death of this death.
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But someday all of the infirmities that bear an enormous amount of weight, an enormous burden on these bodies will be cleansed and removed.
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Throughout the Bible, we're given this picture of kind of a distant heaven and the dwelling place of God, the heaven of heavens, this kind of a sense of transcendence to it.
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And we get this idea that heaven is so far away that we can't even really comprehend it. But the point that I'm trying to make with kind of this theme, this subtopic of the resurrection, a result of the resurrection, is that by the resurrection of Jesus, by the event that we just read in Matthew 28, by him coming from the grave, keeping that promise, the seal of our faith, that gap, that chasm between heaven and earth, that seems, again, beyond our comprehension at the moment, it's going to be bridged someday.
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Our bodies are going to be resurrected in like manner, similar to Jesus' own body.
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And the harmony of heaven is going to be brought to earth upon his return and upon the resurrection of our loved ones and possibly the resurrection of our own bodies if it'd be our time before his return.
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It's truly an amazing thought and it will be a reality that was only made possible by him being the first fruits, as Paul told us in 1
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Corinthians 15. So that resurrection story that we're all so familiar with, as we looked at Matthew, but obviously in the other gospel accounts as well, it is by that that he was the first fruits for a very significant event, even in our future, the resurrection of the bodies of the saints.
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But as awesome as all of that is, is awesome and as glorious as Jesus' resurrection is and was, the resurrection of our
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Lord, that's not yet the end of the story. As humbling as his crucifixion was that we looked at last week, as glorious as his resurrection was, there was yet one more significant event left in the story that consummated his earthly ministry, his work on the cross, the resurrection of his body, and that is his ascension into heaven to sit at the right hand of power, where he became king of kings and Lord of lords.
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And that's what we're going to be talking about next week. And I am very, very excited to be covering that topic. So with that, we will end our message on the resurrection, though we could have gone much deeper.
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We could have taken it in so many different angles. Hopefully that was edifying to you guys because you have a lot of information to pick from.
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And that was something, the resurrection of our earthly bodies is something that has been on my mind a lot.
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Going back to the passing of Nana, and then Brother Bill, and then Mammy, and many people that I am very close to, that promise is something that we can rest in just as much as we can the resurrection of Jesus himself.
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It's just as important. He did it that way for a reason. It's not to take any of the glory away from him and put it on ourselves because we get to be resurrected someday.
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That resurrection will still be his glory, but we'll get to partake in it. And it's a really, really beautiful reality.
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Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for this beautiful day. We yearn for your return.
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We earnestly pursue the truths that you have set before us in your word, in your scriptures.
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And we are so thankful for the amount of revelation we do have and for the truths that we can glean from them and the edification and the encouragement that we can pull from it.
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And of course, that's not even to include the encouragement and edification of the fellowship of your people as we come together on a day such as this and celebrate your resurrection in the wonderful work that you accomplished.
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Again, on our behalf, we ask you to continue to be with us for the rest of today, for the rest of our services.
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Bless the fellowship that we are about to have together, that the celebration may continue, and that we don't take for granted the truths that you've given us in the scriptures that we have read today, as well as those that we have read before and that we will read in the future, and that we continue to earnestly pursue those truths.