Summary: It is crucial to believe in the resurrection. But why is it difficult to believe in the resurrection? This sermon answers that question.
Title: Are you Ready to Believe?
Text: Mark 16:1-14
1. Today is Easter Sunday or, as we call it here at RLCC, Resurrection Sunday. So we will break our series on using our authority in the kingdom of God.
2. Today is a day of celebration – a day of rejoicing! But how many of us are actually happy that today is Resurrection Sunday? How many of us came here today with a sense of unspeakable joy? I think many of us today, not just the children, will be more excited if I told you that we will look for some Easter eggs hidden out there in the parking lot, and whoever finds them will surely win a prize! I don’t blame you. It’s easier to believe in the Easter Bunny than it is to believe in the Easter Resurrection!
3. But we are not alone. Two thousand years ago, right at the very time that the Resurrection actually happened, when it would have been easier to verify the facts, to check out the stories, to confirm the details, the apostles also found it hard to believe.
4. Why is it difficult to believe in the Resurrection? Mark 16:1-14 gives us three reasons why:
a. Because it was not what you would expect.
b. Because you were not there to see it actually happened.
c. Because it’s hard to put your faith in eyewitnesses you don’t know personally.
5. But Mark 16:15-20 tells us that it is only by believing the Resurrection that we can experience the power of the Resurrection! Only then can we truly rejoice on this blessed Sunday! ARE YOU READY TO BELIEVE?
6. Let us look at these two thoughts…
1. The difficulty of believing in the Resurrection
a. It’s hard to believe in the Resurrection because it is not what you would expect.
8. The actions of the three women show that they were not expecting the resurrection (vv.1-3).
9. Even today when someone dies we do not expect a Resurrection. Illus. Imagine a funeral where the dead man suddenly awakens!
10. The question here is “Why would Mark tell us this information?” Answer: because it would be easier to assume that the women simply “imagined” Jesus. Illus. Francis M. and the butterfly
11. Praise God the women were not expecting the Resurrection! It proves that the event really happened. ARE YOU READY TO BELIEVE?
b. It’s hard to believe in the Resurrection because you were not there to see it actually happened.
12. When the women looked up, they saw the stone rolled away! They also saw a young man? They also saw the empty inner chamber. They saw a lot of things but they did not see the body of Jesus! (vv.4-5)
13. What’s the significance of this? They were being asked to believe in something they have not seen (“He has risen!”). (vv.6-7)
14. No wonder they were not able to obey the instructions of the young man! (v.8) Not immediately anyway. So their response was actually realistic! These were real people! The event actually happened as narrated!
15. People today operate on the simple principle: To see is to believe. No wonder they find it hard to believe in the Resurrection.
16. But faith does not say “To see is to believe”. It says instead “To believe is to see!” Illus. Drinking expensive medicine ARE YOU READY TO BELIEVE?
c. It’s hard to believe in the Resurrection because it’s hard to put your faith in eyewitnesses you don’t know personally.
17. The disciples did not believe the testimony of Mary Magdalene (vv.9-11). After all she was formally demon-possessed!
18. The disciples did not believe the two disciples (vv.12-13). After all they were not part of the Twelve. No wonder they were busy mourning and weeping!
19. It’s hard to trust people you don’t know or you think are not trustworthy enough! Illus. Jewelry
20. But why would the author (Mark) tell us this information? Answer: because the Christian faith will be passed on basically through the power of verbal testimony, not empirical proof! It will be preached, not proven! That’s why Jesus had to rebuke the disciples (v.14). They and the believers after them will be preaching the Good News (v.15)! They need to learn how to believe simply on the power of verbal testimony! ARE YOU READY TO BELIEVE?
2. The necessity of believing in the Resurrection
a. Jesus emphasized the importance of faith in the Resurrection.
21. It is the basis of true salvation.
22. It is the basis of kingdom experience.
23. It is the basis of effective ministry.
b. It is the basis of true salvation.
24. Without it a person cannot be saved (vv.15-16).
25. You cannot be saved unless you believe that Jesus Christ rose again from the dead! Paul has strong words against those who do not believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ! (1 Cor 15:1-2, 29-34)