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Easter Sermon 2012 April 9, 2012

Posted by roberttalley in Easter, Ezekiel, Power of God, Resurrection.
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Ezekiel 37:1-14

Easter is the celebration of the miraculous. You might say, so is Christmas; and you would be right. Easter, however, differs from Christmas in several significant ways, for example, with Easter we celebrate God’s victory over death. The virgin birth has a very important place in the life of Jesus Christ but it would have little or no meaning if Jesus had not risen from the dead.

In this vision that Ezekiel saw we have a good example of the impossible situation that death presents to us. In verses 1-2 we find that he is in an open valley surrounded by bones and these bones were very dry. They have been there a long time. There is no life in them at all. There is nothing in them from which one can find a spark of life and ignite.

God asks Ezekiel a question, “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel looked at these dry, dusty, brittle, fragmented bones and said, “O LORD God, You know.” Ezekiel recognized that this was an impossible situation.

1. Our most impossible situations need the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit (verse 14). Now this vision has to do with the regathering of the nation of Israel and the spiritual transformation of that nation. After the vision has been explained, God tells Ezekiel how he intends to accomplish the impossible, through the resurrecting power of the Holy Spirit.

a. Jesus was raised by this same power, the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was not resuscitated. No man who suffered crucifixion and died after six hours on the cross would be able to survive. We have records of people who were taken off of crosses before they died but even these people soon died from their suffering. The cross may have been a slow death but there was no death more certain. Jesus did not revive because of the coolness of the tomb. He was wrapped in linen with up to one hundred pounds of spices. There is no way that he could have been resuscitated. The power of God was necessary to raise Jesus from the dead.

Romans 1:4 tells us why, so that we might know that He is the Son of God. “During the years following the French Revolution, there was a great turning away from the Christian religion. A certain man named La Revilliere concocted a new religion which he thought was far superior to Christianity, but had trouble convincing others to follow him. Seeking help, he went to the great diplomat Charles de Talleyrand for advice. His advice was simple. “To ensure success for your new religion, all you need to do is have yourself crucified and then rise from the dead on the third day” (borrowed from Ray Pritchard, keepbelieving.com).

b. We also receive life only through the power of the Spirit (Romans 8:11). The earlier verses of Romans 8 talk about this present life as lived by the Holy Spirit but there is coming a day when the Spirit will give life to our mortal bodies. How can I be confident that I will rise again? Because Jesus rose again and I will be raised by that same power.

“When Benjamin Franklin was 23 years old, he wrote an epitaph for himself. Though it was never actually used when he died many years later, the epitaph reflects deep spiritual truth:
The body of Benjamin Franklin, Printer(Like the Cover of an Old Book Its Contents torn Out And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding) Lies Here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be Lost; For it will (as he Believ’d) Appear once More In a New and More Elegant Edition Revised and Corrected By the Author” borrowed from Ray Pritchard at keepbelieving.com).

c. Any truly impossible situation we face demands the power of the Spirit, the power of the resurrection. In Romans 8 Paul is discussing the problem of sin in the Christian. He points out that this problem is no problem for the power that conquered death. We can be victorious over sin through the same power that made Jesus victorious over death.

2. Our most impossible situations need the transforming power of the Spirit. Ezekiel describes how this happened in his vision. Can you imagine such power that makes dry bones to hear God’s Word, to come together, to form muscle and flesh, to breath, to stand at attention as an army? That is a transformation.

a. Jesus was transformed at the resurrection through being exalted as man to the throne of God. Not only was he transformed positionally but Jesus also received a glorified body. His resurrection was physical not spiritual. This body not only is capable of going through walls and appearing (teleporting) if you will to wherever he wants to be, this body is capable of enduring the presence of God, where Jesus Himself is at this moment.

b. We are not resuscitated by the Spirit either but rather are born anew by the Spirit. We will also receive a glorified body like that of Christ when we are raised from the dead but I want to remind you that to be born anew begins now, before death. Jesus said to Nicodemus, you must be born again.

c. Our most impossible situations do not need tweaking but rather transformation.

“In 1501 a 26-year-old sculptor named Michelangelo was offered a considerable sum of money to produce something worthwhile from that enormous block of marble called “the giant.” As he began his work, he saw a major flaw near the bottom that had stymied other sculptors, including (it is said) Leonardo da Vinci. He decided to turn that part of the stone into a broken tree stump that would support the right leg. The rest he worked on for four years until he had produced the incomparable “David.” Today the seventeen-foot-tall statue stands on display at the Accademia Gallery in Florence where people come from around the world to view it. More than a masterpiece, it is one of the greatest works of art ever produced. It has been said that there is no statue more perfect.”

“How did he do it? Here is the answer in his own words: ‘In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it’” (borrowed again from Ray Pritchard; see his website at keepbelieving.com, I’ve borrowed his illustrations but his sermons are good also). In other words, “I chiseled away everything that did not look like David.

The resurrection of Christ is about hope but it is also about transforming power. What does God want you to be that you cannot be?

The Shroud of Turin December 28, 2011

Posted by roberttalley in Archaeology, Christ, Death of Christ, Easter, Gary Habermas, Jesus, Resurrection, Shroud of Turin.
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Check out the article from Friday and the evangelical perspective on the Shroud of Turin.


The essay can be found at http://www.garyhabermas/articles. It is also available at http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/lts_fac_pubs/27/

Easter Sermon 2010 April 21, 2010

Posted by roberttalley in Easter, Religion, Resurrection, Revelation of Jesus Christ, Sermons, Seven Churches of Revelation.
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Revelation 2:8-11

Sometimes we know part of the story, but not all of it. FamilyLife magazine, February, 1995 tells “…the story of a grandfather who wanted to know how much his four-year-old granddaughter knew about the Easter story. When he saw little Julie playing in the backyard with her friends, he asked them, “Who knows why we celebrate Easter every year?” One of Julie’s friends chirped up first: “Oh, that’s when you go to the mall and sit on the big bunny rabbit’s lap and tell him what you want in your Easter basket.” Her second friend’s answer was no better: “No, no, no! It’s when you get a tree and hang eggs on it—and you wake up on Sunday and there are presents underneath it.”
At that point Grandpa interrupted and gently said, “That’s a good guess, but it’s not quite right. Julie, do you know why we celebrate Easter?” Julie nodded her head. “It’s when Jesus was crucified. He died, and His disciples put his body in the grave. They rolled a big stone in front of the opening. And the guards went to sleep. On the third day, there was a big earthquake and the stone rolled away.”
Hearing all that, Grandpa was really encouraged that Julie knew so much of the Easter story. Then she continued, “When the earthquake happened, the entire town came out by the grave. And if Jesus came out and saw his shadow, they knew there would be six more weeks of winter!”
Young Julie knew a lot about Easter but she had misunderstood a key element. Because she had misunderstood, Easter’s meaning was changed. I believe most of us understand the key element of Easter. He who was dead came to life. It is the message of the resurrected Christ. That message changed everything. When Christ rose from the dead, He changed our view of death, He changed our view of this life, and He changed our view of the life to come.

These changes, however, are not just changes of understanding but are practical changes that affect the way that live. Jesus to the church of Smyrna applies His resurrection to the lives of the believers there in this passage.
I. The resurrected Christ has changed our view of death (vs. 8). Now there were resurrections before in the Old Testament as well as during the life of Christ but the resurrection of Christ is different. He never died again. He lives today after two thousand years. Because of His resurrection, we view death differently.

a. We view death from the outside (vs. 8a). It is hard for us to comprehend death. Milton Mayer once wrote in an essay “On Death”, “Death is the one idea that has no history. We do not know what to say about death because we do not know what to think about it, and we do not know what to think about it because we do not know what it is.”

The very name Smyrna reminds us that we do not know how to deal with death. The city was named for a substance, myrrh, used as a perfume as well as for anointing a dead body before burial. Burial practices around the world reflect this difficulty of dealing with death. Boettner writes in his book, “Immortality”, that in Greenland a deceased child was provided at burial with a dog to act as its guide in the hereafter. Religion seeks a purpose in death. Some promise a rebirth, others a happy future. Modern man has given up and concluded that death is simply the end and has no purpose.

b. Jesus, however, reveals to us a view of death from eternity (vs. 8b). He is the First and the Last. This title comes from the book of Isaiah where Yahweh tells His people that He is God and there is no one like Him. Isaiah 44:6b-7 says,
“I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God.
And who can proclaim as I do?
Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me,
Since I appointed the ancient people.
And the things that are coming and shall come,
Let them show these to them.
Do not fear, nor be afraid;
Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?”
You see, He existed before death and will exist after death has ceased. He is the one who allows death to exist and He allows death to exist because it fits into His eternal purpose. To adapt a saying from St. Augustine, “God judges it better to bring life out of death than to suffer no death to exist.”

That does not mean that we always understand His purpose. That is the point Isaiah is making. No one, no god, devil, man, or angel can set in order for the First and the Last the events of time or eternity and we certainly cannot discover the purpose of death. That had to be revealed to us through Jesus Christ, the First and Last.

c. Jesus Christ, the First and Last, however, is not a puppeteer playing with us, pulling our strings, very much in control but outside the play. No, He views death from the inside (vs. 8c). All men, Christians included must stop at the gate of death and say, “I do not know…” We can define and describe love, hate, exhilaration, and despair but we do not know from personal experience what it means to die. Jesus Christ, however, knows what it means to die. He knows what it means to suffer our fate. He knows what it means because He experienced it. He plays by the rules that He set for us. He took the medicine that each of us is scheduled to take.

“Joseph Damien was a missionary in the nineteenth century who ministered to people with leprosy on the island of Molokai, Hawaii…One morning before he was to lead them in their daily worship, he was pouring some hot water into a cup when the water swirled out and fell onto his bare foot. It took him a moment to realize that he had not felt any sensation. Gripped by the sudden fear of what this could mean, he poured more boiling water on the same spot. No feeling whatsoever. Damien immediately knew what had happened. As he walked tearfully to deliver his sermon, no one at first noticed the difference in his opening line. He normally began every sermon with, ‘My fellow believers,’ But this morning he began with, ‘My fellow lepers.’”

Without the death of Christ, I could not know the love of God for me. So now I have a different view of death. I still do not know it by experience but I understand now its purpose in revealing God’s love to me.

II. The resurrected Christ has changed our view of life on earth (vs. 9-10).

a. For us life is about this world (vs. 9). It does not matter whether you are wealthy or poor, healthy or sick, selfish or giving, surrounded by friends or isolated in loneliness, our life is about this world. These people were no different. Jesus said, I know your works, I know how you go about your daily life, I know your tribulations, I know the things that you are facing in the world, I know your poverty, how that you have lost jobs and family because of your faith in me, I know your present circumstances. I know about your enemies, people who claim to believe in me but are children of the devil. I know what they have planned for you, I know how long your trials are going to last, I know your future. But do not fear. Jesus addressed their present circumstances and their future danger. He did not call them to put on heavenly sunglasses and forget about the glare of this world.

b. What He did do is put this life in perspective for them. This life is about winning eternal life through lasting faith in Christ (vs. 10). That is why He was able to say, “Do not fear!” Jesus did not say, “I am going to deliver you out of your trouble.” Sometimes he does deliver us but often He does not because life is not about living without troubles and trials, without sorrow and pain. Life for the believer is about a constant faith, an enduring faith in Christ. That is why the Bible warns against a faith that does not last. The faith that does not last is not a real faith and will result in destruction. So my life is not about church or family or country or career or hobbies or friends or health or about myself. My life is to be about a constant display of my faith in Christ. Because He lives, I can live with a purpose, I can live the life of faith in Him, confident that when I die, I will receive the victor’s crown of eternal life.

III. That is what I mean when I say that the resurrected Christ has changed our view of life after death (vs. 10-11). In Christ, I have a new life, a resurrected life.

a. The resurrected life is victorious (vs. 10). One of the characters in Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” Mr. Valiant-for-Truth was summoned home to the Celestial City. “He called his friends and told them of it. Then, said he, ‘I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I am got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am…My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me, that I have fought His battles who now will be my rewarder.’…many accompanied him to the river side into which as he went he said, ‘Death, where is thy sting?’ And as he went down deeper, he said, ‘Grave, where is thy victory?’ So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.”

“…thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

b. Resurrected life is protected from the second death (vs. 11). Our text says, shall not be hurt. This word is found in the New Testament, primarily in the book of Revelation. The second death is described for us in Revelation 20. It is the lake of fire, the place of damnation. But the believer in Christ is protected. Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

I may die physically but the resurrected Christ, the one who was dead and came to life promises to protect me from the second death. I may suffer now in some way or another but my hope for the future is the healing leaves of the tree of life, not the eternal hurt inflicted by the second death.
What is your view of death? Do you see in it God’s love for you in that He died for you?
What is your view of life? Do you see in it the opportunity to exercise constant faith in Christ?
What is your view of the life to come? Do you see victory and rest from your labors here?
If not, you can. You can begin today your walk of faith in Christ. You can begin today to experience God’s love. You can begin today to live for eternity. The resurrected Christ has made this possible. Trust Him today!

An Easter Prophecy from the Psalms (Easter Sermon 2009) April 12, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in David, Easter, Jesus, Psalms, Religion, Resurrection, Sermons.
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Where Was Jesus After His Death? Did Jesus Really Die and Rise From the Dead?

Often I am asked questions about what happens after death. Not because I have actually been dead. I cannot speak from experience. The Bible, however, does give us answers. When one dies they are either with God or in a place of torment, depending on whether they had faith in Christ. The Bible, however, does not always speak so specifically. It often, both in the Old and New Testament speaks simply of the place of the dead. That is what we have here in this psalm.

This is important because twice after that Jesus had risen from the dead and returned to His Father, His disciples used this psalm to show that David had prophesied the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What this psalm is prophesying is not that Jesus went to Hell during the period between His crucifixion and revelation. In fact, Jesus tells the thief on the cross, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.” Jesus fully expected in death to be with God His Father.

What this psalm prophecies and what Jesus’ disciples taught is that Jesus was truly dead. His death was not faked. Someone else did not replace Him in the tomb. Neither did he simply pass out and through the coolness of the tomb revive and push the giant rock out from in front of his grave and go out of the tomb. Jesus truly was dead. His Spirit was with God but His body was without question, dead.

In this prophetic psalm we can see why this important.

I. The answer to this question determines whether we can trust God to preserve us from danger (verse 1). Although the exact danger is not specified in this psalm, it clearly involves the danger of death and likely involves the loss of the throne of David. To us, who see political change every eight years and frequently more often that does not seem to be a big deal but the throne of David was different. God had promised that the Messiah would come through David’s seed on the throne of Israel. For David and his throne to be overthrown would mean that God is weak and cannot keep His promises. It would mean that there is no hope in this world for the future, that humankind is doomed to the death and destruction that we are constantly bringing on ourselves and each other.

If, however, God’s guarantee goes beyond even death, then who can stand against it. What power on earth can conquer death? None. But if God guarantees that even in death, His promises and His protection are sure, there is no better guarantee than that.

Remember, before David there had never been a resurrection from the dead. There were legends and myths but no verifiable resurrections. David was confident though that the protective power of God reached even beyond the grave. That is total protection.

Today we understand that David was prophesying of Jesus Christ. Today we now know that total protection is available only in Jesus Christ. Only He can deliver from death, sin, and the lake of fire. This protection is available though because Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

Dr. David Seamands tells of a Muslim who became a Christian in Africa: “Some of his friends asked him, ‘Why did you become a Christian?’ He answered, ‘Well, It’s like this. Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions and you didn’t know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one dead and one alive. Which one would you ask for directions?’” We hear a great deal these days about which religion is the right religion. How do you know which religion has the truth? Here’s a simple way to answer that question. Find the religion whose founder rose from the dead. That’s the one you need to follow. (from Ray Pritchard’s sermon, “A Tale of Two Men”;




II. Was Jesus really dead? Did He really rise from the dead? The answer to this question is not only important because it guarantees total protection but also because it determines who God will keep from danger (verses 2-4).
A. God delights in the saints who God has made good (verses 2-3, 4b). This total protection is not available to everyone. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is not good news to everyone but rather to a specific group of people. This psalm tells us who these people are:
These people are made good by God. We are not talking about innate goodness or that everyone has a little goodness in them. The Bible makes it clear that there is none good. If you look back just two psalms to Psalm 14:1-3 we see this same David’s evaluation, of mankind, “There is none who does good, no, not one.” David recognizes that any goodness that He might have must come from God.
Where then does goodness come from? By becoming a saint. You do not become a saint by doing good but rather become good by being a saint. Now the “saint” simply means one who is made holy, someone who is set apart by God to a unique position. In other words, we do not make ourselves to become saints, neither can someone or some organization make us saints. That right is reserved by God alone.
So, if goodness comes from God alone and sainthood comes from God alone, how do we put ourselves in a position to receive this goodness and this sainthood? Do not forget, this question is very important. The answer to this question determines who receives total protection from God in this life and in the life to come. The answer is illustrated for us in the last half of verse four. Those who God protects from death, those whom God promises resurrection and eternal life, those who God makes good, those who God makes saints are those who commit themselves to the one true and living God.
We live in a day when people believe that it does not matter what god you serve as long as it works for you. If it makes you feel better in this world then it must be okay. We might exclude those who commit terrorism for their faith from this all encompassing umbrella but that is clearly illogical. To them, what they are doing is moral and for us to condemn them is to set ourselves up a gods, determining right and wrong. Who are we to take such a lofty position.
In fact, to make ourselves, whether individually or as a society as the final arbiter or judge of good and evil is to forsake the God of the Bible and serve another. God says, follow me and no one else, not even, especially not even yourself.
Jesus Christ made it clear that He is the God of the Old Testament when He proclaimed Himself the Son of God, when He referred to Himself as the LORD. It is faith in Him that makes us good, that makes us saints, that guarantees total protection from death, sin, and the lake of fire.
Multiple sorrows or wounds are for those serving another god (verse 4a). This is the only negative phrase in this psalm but how horrible of a phrase it is. One sin, following another god, not lying, not murder, following another god; but the consequences are painful, sorrowful, multiplied, and by implication in this chapter, eternal.
God’s working in the saints results in good (verses 5-11). The last half of this psalm expresses David’s confidence in God. There are at least three reasons why David has confidence in God.
1. The saint has an abundant inheritance (verse 5-6). We have already mentioned the importance of David’s inheritance. Through his seed comes the promised Messiah. When Jesus Christ was crucified, they put a sign over His head that truthfully said, “Jesus Christ, King of the Jews.” Christianity goes beyond forgiveness of sin but makes the saint an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. His abundant eternal inheritance from His Father is ours also through faith in Him, His death, His burial, and His resurrection. Everything over which Jesus has authority, we share in that authority in Him.
2. The saint has God’s personal care (verses 7-8). Again, David speaks of His personal faith in God and speaks of the assurance that God’s presence never leaves him. God is personally interested in David’s situation. Why? Remember verse 3? God delights in His saints. This is not a promise that there are no hard times. David’s life itself is evidence that this world can be a tough place but David was confident that God would never forsake him nor leave him.
3. The saint has an everlasting hope (verses 9-11). Our hope is eternal. This is the message of Easter. Not even death can destroy our hope because the one in whom we hope, Jesus Christ, conquered death through the power of His Father.
In verse 7 David blesses God for His counsel and instruction in the midst of His troubles. You may bless God also today. Turn to Jesus Christ, the resurrected Son of God and He will give you counsel, He will instruct you in the ways of righteousness and He will do it according to the last word in this psalm, “forevermore.”
IN TWO WEEKS: Proverbs 4:1-14 – From Father to Father to Son

(The Questions of the Resurrection) Easter Sermon from Luke 24 March 23, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Easter, Luke, Religion, Sermons.
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Luke 24

I was speaking to a young person recently. In our conversation I asked about their faith in Christ. I said, “Do you believe what we are preaching here?” They said something similar to this, “I do not believe in the big-bang theory of evolution but I find it hard to believe in a God, whom I cannot see.” I agree with that young person. It is hard to believe many of the things that the Bible teaches. Luke, in his resurrection account addresses this problem head on. You see even the followers of Christ found it difficult to believe that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead.

Early on that Sunday morning, a group of women were headed to the tomb. Most of them were from Galilee and had followed Jesus here in anticipation of seeing Him crowned King of the Jews but instead saw Him crucified. They certainly did not come to the tomb expecting to find Jesus alive. They were planning to attend to the body. Jesus had been wrapped and buried hastily and they wanted to honor Jesus properly. When they got there the stone had already been rolled away but the body of Jesus was gone. Suddenly two angels appeared next to them and asked them the first question that are considering today.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (verse 5). There is no life in a dead Christ. In some ways the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most crucial doctrine that the Bible teaches. If the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not happen, then it does not matter whether you believe in creation or evolution. Jesus’ resurrection is the proof of the truth that we preach. Jesus told His followers at least six times in the past weeks that He would rise from the dead. On some of those occasions these women were present and heard what Jesus had said. That is why the angels asked, “Why are you here? He’s already gone! You are wasting your time looking for a dead Christ. Do you not remember what He told you before when you were in Galilee?”

Now you might say, “Well, certainly these people wanted Jesus alive but what difference does it make for me.” Jesus Himself has already answered that question. In John’s gospel He said, “I am come that they might have life and that more abundantly” (John 10:10). In Christ is the promise of new life.



That is one reason why it is important that Jesus rose bodily from the dead? Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 15…

17 …if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

22 …For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

This is the problem that these women faced. That had trusted that Christ would save them, that He would save His people from their sins. They had not expected Him to die. They knew that a dead Christ was worthless. They had seen other men come and go, claiming to be the Christ but the Roman authorities had hounded each one until finally they were captured and killed or died in battle or died in hiding. It looked like Jesus was just another in a long line of fakes. They still loved Him. They grieved for Him. But He was gone…they thought. But when they heard the message of the angels and remembered what Jesus had said to them, they realized that their faith had not been misplaced. They understood that their sins truly were forgiven. They knew that this new spiritual life which they had received from Christ was not fake but that it was reality. They knew the fulfillment of the promise of a new life in Christ because Christ was alive.

In Him is not only the promise of new life but also the promise of eternal life.

These women now knew that they were not hoping in something that might not come true. John 11 tells us what Jesus had said just a few weeks earlier, 25 “…I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

26 “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die…”

Eternal life is a reality. In Job 14:14 one of the greatest questions ever asked is stated this way, “If a man dies, shall he live again?” We along with these women can answer, “Yes!” because He is not in the grave, He is risen!

Now the second question is also important. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?” (verse 26). In other words, what purpose does His death and resurrection serve? To prove that one can be transformed in Christ is good. To prove that there is life after death is even better. Ultimately though Christ’s death is not about us but about His glory. The glory of Christ is based on His death and resurrection.





Philippians 2:8-9 tells us that Jesus, 8 “…being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,” It is the death and the resurrection of Christ that made it possible for Jesus to be glorified.

1 Peter 1:10-11 tells us that this was God‘s plan all along. 10 ¶ “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,

11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”Paul says in Acts 26:8,22-23, “Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?…But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen—that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

The first two questions remind us of the importance of Christ’s resurrection but one important question remains. “…why do doubts arise in your hearts…Have you any food here?“ (verses 38 and 41). There is proof of Christ’s bodily resurrection and this proof is available to those who will believe it. Remember, Jesus could not come back as a spirit or even as a ghost because that is unverifiable and is too easy to fake. Jesus had to come back from the dead in a recognizable and verifiable way. Jesus Christ did just that.

It is important that Jesus had to prove Himself to His own followers. These were men who expected proof. They did not depend on rumors for their faith. They were willing to investigate the facts. When the women first came to them, the report of the resurrection seemed to them to be an idle tale. According to Darrell Bock, idle tales were delirious stories told by the very sick as they suffered in great pain or tales told by those who fail to perceive reality. The disciples thought these women were hallucinating. These disciples were the first to think that those who saw Christ were hallucinating. Now if these disciples had thought to themselves they would have realized that group hallucinations do not exist. They are like dreams in that they are private occurrences. Peter, in fact, went to the tomb himself to investigate (verse 12). Peter knew that if these women were hallucinating, there should still have been a body in the tomb.

He identified Himself by His wounds (verses 39-40).The wounds of Christ were, as Luke indicates in Acts 1, infallible proofs of His person. The holes left by the nails in His hands! The gap left in His side by the spear! The punctures where the giant nail went through the top of His feet! How much they had healed if at all we do not know but it was obvious that the wounds in His body identified Him as Jesus Christ.

He confirmed His resurrection by His actions (verses 41-43).

It is interesting how that Jesus did this. He asked for something to eat and he ate it in their presence. He did not say. Leave food at the door and I will eat it during the night to prove to you that I am alive. He took what they gave Him and He ate it, proving that He was still in a human body. In other words, though He was God, He remained man.

The early Christians had to deal with the question of the resurrection of Jesus Christ everywhere they went. They needed to know that Jesus Christ is alive. That is why Jesus showed Himself multiple times over a forty day period. 1 Corinthians 15 says…

4 …He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.

6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.

7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.”


INVITATION: Luke called the proofs of Jesus Christ resurrection are “infallible proofs” in Acts 1:3. I have laid out some of those proofs before you. I have also laid out why it is important that you believe not just in the resurrection but in the Christ of the resurrection. Only by trusting Him can a sinner have a transformed life. Only in Him is it possible to live eternally with God. Finally, only in His can we have a part in His glory. The proof is before you. Will you believe it?

Holiday Sermons from Hebrews 1:1-2:4 (from Christmas to Easter) August 31, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Ascension, Christmas, Crucifixion, Easter, Good Friday, Hebrews, Humor, Messiah, Palm Sunday, Religion.

Compared to last week there were just too many good sermons on the few sites that I gather from to include them all. Don’t forget to read the humorous quote at the bottom of this post justifying the ignoring of the chapter divisions. It’s good!

Christmas from Ray Pritchard

Palm Sunday from John Piper

Maundy Thursday (could also be used for Good Friday) from John Piper

Easter Sunday (could also be used for Ascension Thursday) from John Piper

Okay, not a holiday sermon but very powerful covering 2:1-4 from John MacArthur

A different approach covering the same verses as I will be on Sunday. This one is from Ray Stedman. Great quote from this one: “We shall ignore chapter divisions as we go through this book for, on the best tradition, those were put in by a drunken man riding on horseback.” Not very spiritual but I like it.

Converted to Christ by an Atheist July 19, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Atheism, Easter, Faith, Gospel, Repentance, Terrible Parables, Testimony.

Testimony Of Tom Dutton As Given on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007  

I’d like to take a few minutes, this morning, and tell you how I came to know Jesus Christ as Savior.   

My early life was one that I would best describe as running from God, but at the same time trying to find Him.  I remember trying to live up to the Ten Commandments that I had memorized in Bible School, but, at best, could only do so in short spurts.  I recall thinking that God must think of me as an absolute failure.  (If you have read the latest Terrible Parable on the Church web site this week, THE DEFECTIVE AFGHAN, you could add another person to that list!)   

When I looked at others, I saw there were some who seemed to be able to live a righteous life, at least more righteous than mine.  So I then developed a desire to meet those standards, but knew in my very being that I couldn’t do it.  But why?  If God gave us standards to live by, why wasn’t it reasonable to expect that his creatures would be able to obey them?  It only made sense that I should be able to do so, but I couldn’t!  So instead of running toward God, I ran away from Him. 

I recall reading Francis Thompson’s poem, “The Hound of Heaven” which is an examination of the way God brought him to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  It also portrays, how God dealt with me in my earlier years.  I too, was seeking knowledge that would reveal God to me.  I too was trying to find God on my terms, in my way.  When I read the Bible, it made no sense, as I was trying to find a god (little ‘g’) that would fit my definition.  Thompson’s poem, “The Hound of Heaven”, begins: 

“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears

I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

Up vistaed hopes I sped;

And shot, precipitated,

A down Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears.” 

This poem could well have been a commentary on my own life; as I desired to know What God was, but didn’t want to know Who He was.  Or if I did, I wanted it on my own terms.  It was a roller coaster ride of the worst kind. 

During my mid twenties, I began to read the Bible again, this time with the teaching of a Biblical Pastor David and a couple of Christian friends Bill and Nelson.  I read passages like “there is none righteous, no not one”;  and “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”;  And, of course,  Paul’s own self examination was an echo of my own life,  

Romans 7

9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 

Then a little further on in the same chapter, Paul continues:
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, I find not.
19 For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil, which I would not, that I do.

It was at this point that I began to realize that if the great Apostle Paul was in the same dilemma as I, then maybe I needed to listen a little more closely to what God was really saying in the Bible.  How did Paul get out of this quandary?  Paul goes on: 

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.    [So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.]

But as earlier in life, I tried to intellectualize this; How could I resolve this, How could I solve this seemingly impossible riddle?  I recall having many discussions with Nelson over this and other issues.  How big is God and where is He?  Can we really know Him if we don’t meet His standards?  How could Jesus be crucified and come back to life again?  How can I know if he died for me?  What. How, Why??? 

Then one day, In the late ‘60s, I was having lunch in a restaurant in Concord NH with a fellow worker from Dartmouth College.  He knew I went to church, as I had mentioned this to him before.  He was an atheist and made sure everyone knew it, so when he asked the question, “Tom, are you really a Christian?” I knew he was looking for more than just a yes or no, churchgoer response.   

“What do you mean by ‘a Christian’?” I asked, slowly, perhaps trying to delay my response as much as possible. 

“Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior?” was his response. 

Uh, oh!  There it was; My life’s defining moment.  Now it isn’t every day that an atheist is the one that moves someone into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, but I’m here to tell you that it happens!  Perhaps atheists know better than most that confession is the dividing line between faith and unbelief and Bob knew that if he could get me to deny Jesus, I would be in his camp.  But I also knew that Jesus said “If you will confess me before men, I will confess you before my Father who is in heaven.”  This was it!  How would I respond to life’s most important question? 

It came immediately, “Why, yes, Bob, He is my Lord and Savior.” 

From that moment, I recall, all doubt that I had harbored, immediately fled from me.  I also recall that Bob instantly changed the subject.  He had asked the wrong person the right question!  I had spent my whole life running from God and He spent it running after me, like the Hound of Heaven in Francis Thompson’s poem.  He finally cornered me and I had no way escaping Him.  I was His!  And He was mine! 

The “Hound of Heaven” poem ends with God’s voice: 

“Rise, clasp My hand, and come !”

Halts by me that footfall :

Is my gloom, after all,

Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly ?  

Then God’s voice again: 

“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,

I am He Whom thou seekest !

Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.” 

(You drove love away from yourself, when you repelled Me.)

[dravest: v. to repel or push away]  

John Newton described his salvation:“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see!” 

Galatians 2:16   “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”  

There are many verses in the Bible that are very meaningful to me, but Phil 3:7 – 10 are my favorites: 

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

As you know, music is a big part of my life.  Music is an expression of the soul that cannot be expressed in any other way.  It’s not surprising then, that in the few glimpses we see of heaven in the Bible, that the saints are singing praises to the Risen Lamb.   

Although my musical talents are limited to strumming a guitar and singing, I began then to dedicate them to God; to use them in whatever way I could to give back to Him, a small part of the great love He has for me in giving His son Jesus Christ, who died for me.  And to express that love I have for Him, which is inexpressible in no other way than singing. 

I love to sing when I’m alone in the car; people who see or hear me as I drive by must wonder at my sanity!  The chorus, “I Love You, Lord” is a favorite of mine, one of many that I like to sing when I’m driving. 

Please join me in singing it.