Thesis: If you believe the resurrection you will go quickly and tell!
1. Illust. James Michener, in his book Centennial, writes of a young Plains Indian named Lame Beaver. In Lame Beaver's tribe it was considered an honor to die in battle. Lame Beaver was bothered that something as unpleasant as death would be regarded as such an honor so he asked his father about it. "Remember Lame Beaver, only the rocks live forever."
2. LB's Father's believed what we've all believed--All living things die--nothing is forever.
a. That's the way the world looks at death--you live, you die, that's the end!
b. Hard to believe anything different--dead people do not come back to life!
c. Yet the whole Christian faith is founded on incredible idea that they do!
1) 1st Century Messiah Test: kill them and if they stay dead they weren't the Messiah!
2) Do you really believe Jesus rose from the dead?
3) Turn to Matthew 28 ...
I. READING THE STORY (Matt. 28:1-10) < Pausing to comment after ... >
A. VERSE ONE: Women are at tomb at earliest possible moment!
1. Purpose: anoint body with spices (Mk. 16:1).
2. Sabbath had kept them from coming sooner.
3. Not trying to embalm Jesus--wanted to mask odor of decaying body--it was purely an act of devotion.
4. What did these women NOT expect to see that morning?
B. VERSE FOUR:
1. Great earthquake literally "a mega seismos."
2. Quake--Angel descends--rolls stone--sits on it!
3. His appearance was like lightning = quick!!!
4. Roman soldiers shook and became as dead men. (understatement!)
5. Stone not rolled away to let Jesus out--it was to let believers in!
C. VERSE FIVEa: "Do not be afraid"--angels always have to say this!
D. VERSE NINE: "Clasping feet"--flat on their faces ("worshipping").
II. DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD?
A. These women did!
1. How do we know that? (They went and told the other disciples!)
2. Did the other disciples believe the women? (read Mark 16:9-14)
B. These women believed .... what did Jesus expect them to do?
1. Just one thing according to these verses: "Go quickly and tell!" (verses 7, 10)
2. What does Jesus expect of people today who believe that he has risen from the dead? Just one thing: "Go quickly and tell!"
III. IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE YOU WILL TELL OTHERS!
A. That's the point of this story--"Go quickly and tell!" (Not an accident that Matthew ends with "Great Commission.")
B. This is an urgent message--"Go quickly and tell!" < 3 reasons >
1. Believers need hope.
a. Without gospel things really are depressing!
b. "Tell me the old, old story; for those who know it best, are hungering/thirsting to hear it like the rest!"
c. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know your labor is not in vain in the Lord!" (1 Cor. 15:58).
2. If we do not go they will not come!
a. Illust. In "The Field of Dreams" Kevin Costner hears a voice that says, "Build it and he will come." A Voice calls out to us from this text--"Go quickly and tell! Go and they will come!"
b. Illust. A poll was conducted by a church directory service a few yrs. ago. Asked: "Why did you choose to come to this church?" Results: 18%--Prior denominational ties; 9%--Pretty bldg.; 3% because minister came to visit; Well over half came for one simple reason--somebody invited them!
3. We're not the only ones going! (Read verses 11-15).
1. The false message is strong --> DEAD PEOPLE DO NOT COME BACK TO LIFE!
2. Warning: Guards' story is tragic tale--the soldiers were believers! But what was the problem? They stopped going and telling! They told at first, but sold themselves out cheap! On the precipice of faith. They go and tell and then they don't go and tell! Don't let that happen to you!
1. If you really believe the resurrection Jesus only expects you to do one thing:
"Go quickly and tell!"