Summary: The witness of more than 500 at one time reinforced the resurrection of Jesus in a powerful way!
1. Power of Witnesses
Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ, put it like this¡
¡°If we were holding a trial to determine the facts concerning the resurrection, and if we were to call to the witness stand every witness who personally encountered the resurrected Jesus and we cross-examined them for only 15 minutes, and if we went around the clock without a break¡we would be listening to first-hand testimony for more than 128 hours¡that¡¯s over 5 days¡¯ worth of testimony¡who could possibly walk away unconvinced?¡±
The stories are too close. The written history is too strong to deny what they saw and what they experienced.
One psychologist even said ¡°over 500 people having the same hallucination would be more of a miracle than resurrection itself!¡±
2. 1 Corinthians 15.3-6 [500 ¨C about the same as our congregation]
3. God knew we needed more than an empty tomb
[In 1876, Wild Bill Hickock was killed in Deadwood, SD by Jack McCall while playing poker at the Nuttal & Mann¡¯s Saloon. You may recall that he was holding what has been referred to as the ¡°Dead Man¡¯s Hand¡± (2 8¡¯s and 2 Aces ¨C all black with an unknown 5th card). He was buried in the White Gulch Cemetery. His body was moved to the Mt. Moriah Cemetery in 1883. One might have gone to the original site of Hickock¡¯s grave and have found it empty. What does that mean? Was Wild Bill resurrected? No, his remains were merely moved. So, It was necessary for Jesus to show himself to witnesses following the resurrection, not just to have an empty tomb.
4. Witnesses to the resurrection proved to be powerful influences to the gospel
I. A Faithful Community of Action
The huge redwood trees in California are amazing. They are the largest living things on earth and the tallest trees in the world. Some of them are 300 feet high and more than 2,500 years old. You would think that trees that large would have a tremendous root system, reaching down hundreds of feet into the earth. But that is not the case. Redwoods have a very shallow root system. The roots of these trees are, however, intertwined. They are tied in with each other; interlocked. Thus, when the storms come and the winds blow the redwoods still stand.
A. A Called Out Assembly ¨C 2 Thessalonians 2.13-14
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Informational assemblies
2. Worship assemblies
B. A Witnessing Congregation ¨C Exodus 12.3
3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household.
1. God¡¯s intention for Israel was to declare/affirm/witness to the reality of God ¨C Seen in the Passover event and feast each year
2. God has the same intention for us ¨C Acts 2.42; 46-47
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles¡¯ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
a. An Assembly and More, a Community
b. Church is the Army of God to advance the kingdom of God in the world
1) Every time we obey a command of God the kingdom (rule of God) advances
2) Every time a sinner is turned to God the kingdom advances
c. As an Army we need ¨C discipline, passion, and vision ¨C that belong to Yeshua (Jesus)
II. A Fearless Community of Anticipation (Hope)
A. As Holy (Set apart) People in an Unholy World
1. Lives that reflect Calm in the Midst of Stress
a. Peter walked on water UNTIL he took his eyes off of Yeshua (Jesus) [Matthew 14.28-33]
b. To walk on the water ¨C remain calm in the storm ¨C we have to fix our eyes on Yeshua (Jesus) and get out of the boat
2. Lives that are Reorganized in Priorities
a. Nothing too small to get our best effort
1) Little children and Yeshua (Jesus) [Matthew 19.14]
2) Faithfulness in the small leads to greater things (Luke 16.10)
b. Nothing too great to take away our peace from God ¨C Philippians 4.6-7
6 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.