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Summary: We dare not forget that this life is a preparation for eternity - an eternity in which we will be among the saved or the lost forever & ever. (Powerpoints available - #110)

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MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER

RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK

(REVISED: 2018)

(Powerpoints used with this message are available at no charge. Just email me at mnewland@sstelco.com and ask for PP #110.)

TEXT: 2 Timothy 4:7-8; Matthew 27:62-28:7

A. What a wonderful day this is! All over the world people are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, alive forevermore!

But we do that every Sunday as we gather around the Lord's Table. Every time we take the bread & drink the cup, we proclaim, “I know, I know that Jesus liveth, & on the earth again shall stand. I know, I know that life He giveth, that grace & power are in His hand.”

So we serve a risen Savior, & we look forward to that day when we shall stand with Him in a glorious heavenly home which He has prepared for all who have loved & served Him.

B. We treasure the words of the Apostle Paul who wrote, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day ? and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

You know, as much as I love life, I too, long for the day when we shall see Him, & be with Him, & with all those people of God who have gone on before.

I want to see my father & mother again. I want to see my friends in China who were killed by the communists because they were Christians. I want to meet once again some of those Christians who helped me as I came to know Jesus as my Savior & my Lord.

I don't look upon death with fear, but with anticipation.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not wanting to die. But yet, one of these days I will. At least my body will. And so will yours. But the best thing is that I'm ready, because Jesus is my Savior & Lord.

C. In preparing this sermon, as I remembered some of the people & events of the past, for some reason my thoughts went back to when my first granddaughter was around 2 & 1/2 years old.

I thought she was one of the cutest little girls that God ever placed on this earth!

I can also remember thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice if time could stand still - if we could stay exactly as we are & always be happy & enjoy each other just as we do right now?"

D. But, of course, that didn't happen. In fact, it would be useless even to wish for that, because we can't stop the inevitable.

The chief priests & Pharisees found that out. After they had crucified Jesus they came to Pilate, & Matthew 27:63-66 tells us, 'Sir' they said, 'We remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, 'After 3 days I will rise again.' So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day.

'Otherwise, his disciples may come & steal the body & tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.'

'Take a guard,’ Pilate answered, ‘Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.’ So they went & made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone & posting the guard.

I don't know if you see the humor in that, but I think God did. Can't you just see the hosts of heaven looking down, watching the priests & Pharisees issuing orders, & those soldiers grunting & straining to roll the stone into place, putting the seal of Rome on it, & then standing guard to make sure that nothing happened?

Can you imagine the God who put the sun into space being thwarted by a mere stone in front of a tomb? Can you imagine the God who created the power of the atom being stopped by a few Roman soldiers armed with swords & spears?

Matthew 28:2-4 says, "There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven &, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone & sat on it.

“His appearance was like lightning, & his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook & became like dead men."

What a scene! God spoke, & instantly an angel descends, the earth shakes, the stone rolls away, & the soldiers are paralyzed with fear.

The stone was only rolled away so that those coming could see in ? not for Jesus to get out. He was no longer in there anyway.

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