Summary: Evangelistic sermon including proof of resurrection.
The Easter service at a church in Mississippi was interrupted a few years ago by an unexpected guest. In the middle of the service a man entered the church with a gun in one hand and the leash attached to a German Shepherd dog in the other hand. He ran to the front of the auditorium, shot his dog, and then took his own life, all in view of the astonished worshippers and the television audience.
What a pity for life to be so empty, so void of meaning, that a man would choose death over life! We need to understand that no one is going to push us in life.
No one is going to hold our feet to the fire to make the right choices.
An eccentric millionaire was looking for a new executive assistant. He gathered all his junior executives to his mansion where he showed them a shark in his swimming pool. He said, "The first man to jump in and swim across the pool will become my executive assistant, plus, I will give him a bonus." After a few seconds the millionaire’s butler hit the water, swam across, and barely made it out the other side. In amazement the millionaire said, "I’ll go inside and write out your bonus check." The butler responded, "If it’s all the same to you, sir, first of all I’d like to get the man who pushed me in."
Well, no one is going to force us to choose life. Why would anyone choose to end their life? I am convinced that the reason people opt out of life, is because they are not convinced of the evidence that life could ever be worth living. They look at their circumstances and they cannot envision that their circumstances will ever change. The evidence seems to be overwhelmingly in favor of ending their life.
If only they would understand that life is worth living when you have someone to live for. The Old Testament expression of this truth is in our text: "...loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him."
The New Testament equivalent is found in the words of Jesus: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; and whoever believes in Him have eternal life" (John 3:14-15). Life is found in Christ. Therefore, you choose life, when you choose to follow Him.
But so often, people do not choose Christ. Instead they reject Christ. Why would anyone not want life eternal? I am convinced that many people simply don’t know or believe the evidence that Jesus has the power of resurrection.
Our Bible tells us, "On the third day, Jesus Christ rose from the dead."
The problem most people have is that they don’t believe that to be true. Indeed, that statement has caused controversy and given rise to speculation since its first utterance. A myriad of questions surround the possibility of man being brought back to life after death. And the controversy continues even up to today.
Modern man believes the resurrection is absurd ... not because the evidence for it is weak, as a matter of fact the evidence is rarely examined or discussed. But man believes the resurrection is absurd because it does not fit into his world view. The study of philosophy tells us everyone possesses a world view either consciously or subconsciously. A world view (by definition) is a set of presuppositions which we hold about the basic make-up of our world. Each world view considers:
• the nature and character of God
• the nature of man
• the question of what happens to man at death
• the basis of ethics
• the meaning of history.
We may not believe that we have an opinion already formed on each of these subjects, but if questioned we would discover we truly have preconceived notions concerning the universe in which we live. The problem arises when our world view does not include any room for the supernatural or the miraculous, which is where we would categorize the resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, the real problem of the resurrection is a philosophical problem.
But what of the evidence? How is the empty tomb to be explained?
There are three basic theories today about what happened to Jesus body.
The Swoon Theory
The first theory is the Swoon Theory. This suggests that Jesus did not actually die but merely swooned or passed out. In the coolness of the tomb He revived.
Somehow He came forth without being seen, presented Himself to His disciples, and they, somehow believed He had been raised from the dead.
This is absurd. How could He have escaped after He revived? How could the Roman soldiers, who were expert at killing people, let this man get away?