Summary: The resurrection is my guarantee that failure isn’t final
Although I’m not one to look back a lot, there are certainly some things in my life that I would have done differently, knowing what I know now.
• After nearly 41 years, I’m really grateful for my marriage and I can’t imagine ever being married to anyone else. But as I look back, I know there are many times in my life where I could have certainly been a much better husband.
• I think Mary and I did a pretty good job of raising our kids. But knowing some things now that I didn’t know back then, it’s obvious that there were some things that I could have done differently to be a much better father.
• As I look back over my time in ministry, and especially as I look back over some of my old sermons, I often cringe at some of the things that I taught and did and realize that without a doubt there are some things I could have done differently to be a much better pastor.
• But without a doubt, my biggest regrets in life all revolve around the many times in my life when I have failed God – the period in my life where I really wanted nothing to do with Him, the times when I’ve had opportunities to be a witness for Him and let fear keep me from doing that, and the times when I deliberately chose to sin, even though I knew that what I was about to do was wrong in His eyes.
What I wouldn’t give for a second chance to go back and fix some of those things. But life doesn’t often give us second chances, does it?
I’m pretty sure that most of you are a lot like me in that regard. You look back at your life and wish that you had a second chance to go back and make some different decisions and take some different actions in your life. And likely that is especially true when it comes to your relationship with God.
If you have never failed God, then you can be excused right now, because this message really won’t be relevant to you. But if, like me, you’ve ever promised God that you would do something and you didn’t follow through and do it, if you’ve ever promised to quit repeatedly engaging in some sin, only to blow it repeatedly, if you’ve ever denied Jesus with your words or your actions, or your lack of action, then you need the hope and encouragement that God wants to give you this morning. If you’re weighed down by the guilt of your past sins and you feel like God could never forgive you or that He could never use you, then you need to hear what God wants to say to you through His Word this morning.
Since this is such an important idea for us to understand, I’m going to begin with the bottom line and then we’ll use the Bible text to see if we can’t develop that idea further and see how it applies to our lives.
The resurrection is my guarantee that
failure isn’t final
Each of the gospel writers gives us a different viewpoint of the resurrection of Jesus and this morning, I want to look at Mark’s account because it provides us with a crucial piece of information that isn’t included in the other three gospel accounts. And after we read that account, I’ll explain to you why it makes sense that only Mark includes these two crucial words.
If you have your Bibles, go ahead and turn to Mark chapter 16. Mark is the second of the gospels and you’ll find it right after the book of Matthew and right before the book of Luke.
[Read Mark 16:1-8]
If you take the time to read all four accounts of the resurrection in the four gospels, you will note that there is some difference in the details in those accounts. As I’m going to talk about more next week when we discuss why we can be sure the Bible is reliable, those differences actually give me more confidence in the accuracy of Scripture.
The four gospel writers all got their information from different sources, who each saw the resurrection from different viewpoints and perspectives. So while the foundational aspects of the resurrection are the same, or at least very similar in the four accounts, some of the details do differ. If the resurrection was some kind of myth or conspiracy, the early church would have seen to it that those four accounts agreed on all the details. But because it was a real event witnessed by real people, we find exactly what we would expect – some variation among the four accounts.