North Anderson Baptist Church
The Proof is in the Resurrection of Jesus
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM
Easter | The Cross - Don Aycock

Menelik II was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1889 until 1913. News of a successful new means of dispatching criminals reached him. The news was about a device known as an electric chair. The Emperor eagerly ordered one for his country. Unfortunately, no one bothered to warn him that it would never work because Ethiopia at that time had no electricity. Menelik was determined that his new purchase should not go to waste, so he converted the electric chair into a throne.

There was another occasion when an instrument of death became a throne. On a Palestinian hillside about twenty centuries ago a cross became a throne for Jesus of Nazareth. To this day that ancient instrument of torture and death is converted into a powerful symbol of life, hope, and resurrection. Millions of people around the world see the cross as God's way of indicating His refusal to let death and destruction have the final word.
Jesus was executed in a manner that was sure to kill all who were placed on the cross. Crucifixion was cruel and inhumane but very effective for the purpose of the Romans. Jesus was one of those who died somewhat earlier than most and it surprised the Romans that day that he was already dead when they went to break His legs so that the prisoners would die quicker. Generally, the criminals suffered such great trauma before they either died after days of hanging there or if the soldiers wanted to hurry their death, then they would go around breaking their legs, which brought on suffocation and death so much quicker.

The crucifixion method of execution was wicked but successful; surely not something to boast about by using the cross as a symbol of worship. But God changed the purpose of the Romans to His purpose of hope and for Christians it also becomes something that allows them to share their faith, the salvation that came from Jesus death on that cross. A symbol of forgiveness and the extreme love that God has for His creation, that He would go as far as sacrificing His only Son on this cruel cross to save a wretch like me. Of course, there are some who just wear a cross as jewelry and it means nothing of eternal value to them and not even a remembrance of the One who died for them and all mankind.

Today my friends we celebrate that Cross and the Empty Grave of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. If you have come this morning but you have never surrendered your heart and life to Him in repentance and by faith, accepted Him into your life because today is the day to recognize your need and give Him your life.

Let’s read our scripture for today’s message,“The Proof is in the Resurrection of Jesus.”
From this passage we can see that Paul sought to convince those of Athens that there was a God unknown to them who was the only true God who is Creator, Savior, Judge, and Lord of all. Paul tells them that “The Proof is in the Resurrection of Jesus.” I want to explore this subject by using this outline:

The Resurrection is the Proof of What?
1. That God is God - the Creator of heaven and earth
2. That all men need to repent
3. That God will judge the world
4. That the resurrected Jesus changes lives
The Resurrection is the Proof of What?
1. That God is God - Creator of heaven and earth

When Paul reached Athens he was “greatly distressed.” Why? He saw there were so many idols in the city of Athens and they worshiped all kinds of gods. Knowing his heart for Christ, Paul was saddened by all the lostness around him. So as Paul had done before, he went to the synagogue where he found Jews and God-fearing Greek men and women worshiping Jehovah and he shared the resurrected Christ with them. The Scriptures say that he also went into the marketplace sharing the Good News of Christ. While sharing there, he found some who would listen but thought he was just babbling about some new religion. There were others there though who were concerned enough that they took Paul to the Areopagus where the leaders and philosophers gathered to talk about all kinds of ideas. This was the place in Athens, just at the corner of the Acropolis, where the leaders held court as well as discussed ideas of the day. Some called it Mars Hill, which was the seat of the Supreme Court of Athens. Since some had accused Paul of teaching a strange religion and the Supreme Court heard cases of blasphemy against their gods, it was only logical they brought him to this place.

Paul couldn’t have gotten a better opportunity since they said, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” He had an invitation to tell them about his God not only because they asked but because among their idols was a temple with the inscription that read, “To An Unknown God.” Paul used that to begin his plea for the people to understand and accept the message about who the real God is and about the resurrection of Jesus.

He basically said to the Athenians, the unknown God to you is God the Creator, who is God of heaven and earth and He does not live in temples built by human hands. He gives a list of things God had done and things about who He is. All of this Paul said was to help them seek Him, to know that He is the God of all of them and He was to be the One they worshiped and served, not all of the idols in the city. And Paul said that the resurrection of Jesus proved that God is God of all.
The Resurrection is the Proof of What?
2. That all men need to repent

Look up into the starry night and tell me that is not an invitation to know our Creator. Psalm 19:1-6 says,
Paul told them that God wanted them to seek Him and reach out and find Him through His creation. God had in the past overlooked the ignorance about people making idols and worshiping them but now He told them God “commands all people everywhere to repent.”

Gipsy Smith said, “When I was in South Africa, a fine, handsome Dutchman came into my service, and God laid His hand on him and convicted him of sin. The next morning he went to the beautiful home of another Dutchman and said to him, "Do you recognize that old watch?""Why, yes," answered the other. "Those are my initials; that is my watch. I lost it eight years ago. How did you get it, and how long have you had it?" "I stole it," was the reply."What made you bring it back now?""I was converted last night," was the answer, "and I have brought it back first thing this morning. If you had been up, I would have brought it last night." The Bible Friend
AND -According to Scripture repentance is wholly an inward act, and should not be confounded with the change of life that proceeds from it. Confession of sin and reparation of wrongs are fruits of repentance. L. Berkhoff, Systematic Theology, p. 487.

Here in this passage Paul is talking about the lost who are not a part of the family of God, they need to repent from their sin and allow Christ to, once for all, forgive and give them eternal life! God calls all people today to repentance just like He did when Paul preached repentance to the men of Athens. He even calls Christians to repentance. Who of us is without sin?

Therefore my Christian friend, we too need to repent of the things in our lives that do not please the Lord God who knows all things about us. What do you need to confess to the Lord today so that our Loving Father will cleanse you heart from SIN? The resurrected Jesus bids that you believe that repentance is necessary for all people everywhere to come to the God of heaven and earth and allow you to have new life just like Jesus because He rose from the dead.
The Resurrection is the Proof of What?
3. That God will judge the world

The Greeks wanted to listen about this strange new philosophy and so Paul presented to them the concept of blessings and punishment that comes with receiving the message of the resurrection of Jesus or rejecting that message. Greeks though had a hard time accepting the concept of resurrection and judgment. But that did not stop Paul from preaching the truth of the cross and the empty grave and it’s meaning to them and by the way of the scriptures to all mankind. Whether or not the Greeks understood salvation and judgment didn’t stop God from holding them responsible for their own destiny.

Our Creator and Lord doesn’t hold back for you or me either when we have heard the Gospel, because He then calls us to receive or deny that truth and then we will be held responsible to accept or reject the Gospel. For those who reject the truth of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ will be judged for their decision. Hebrews 9:27 says, “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…” Folks we will all die and God says there will be a judgment for us. Sometimes there is a judgment here and now for those who reject but to be sure if the rejection of the truth continues throughout one’s life, then the final judgment will be granted to them at The Great White Throne Judgment where all the lost from all time will be judged!
Judgment Day
In Words We Live By, Brian Burrell tells of an armed robber named Dennis Lee Curtis who was arrested in 1992 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Curtis apparently had scruples about his thievery. In his wallet the police found a sheet of paper on which was written the following code, sort of a robber's rules:
1. I will not kill anyone unless I have to.
2. I will take cash and food stamps-no checks.
3. I will rob only at night.
4. I will not wear a mask.
5. I will not rob mini-marts or 7-Eleven stores.
6. If I get chased by cops on foot, I will get away. If chased by a vehicle, I will not put the lives of innocent civilians on the line.
7. I will rob only seven months out of the year.
8. I will enjoy robbing from the rich to give to the poor.
This thief had a sense of morality, but it was flawed. When he stood before the court, he was not judged by the standards he had set for himself but by the higher law of the state.
Likewise when we stand before God, we will not be judged by the code of morality we have written for ourselves but by God's perfect law. Choice Contemporary Stories & Illustrations For Preachers, Teachers, & Writers Craig Brian Larson, Baker Books, p. 181.

Jesus’ resurrection is the proof that one day there will be a judgment!
The Resurrection is the Proof of What?
4. That the resurrection of Jesus changes lives

When we read the portion of scripture from verse 32-34 we see that there were some people who “sneered” at the thought of the resurrection of Jesus Christ but some of the folks listening told Paul they wanted to hear more of this resurrection from the dead. After they left the Areopagus there were several people who believe what Paul was preaching and became followers of Christ. The interesting thing is that one of the men who believed and was converted was a member of the Council Paul spoke to. And then, there were others too and Paul felt like naming two of them, the Council member and then a woman. Paul did not preach the resurrection in vain because He saw listeners who really heard the truth of Christ being raised from the dead and saw results!

A lot of time people just don’t understand the idea of the resurrection. But they aren’t the only ones who are confused.
The Grieving Caterpillars

Arthur Brisbane once pictured a crowd of grieving caterpillars carrying the corpse of a cocoon to its final resting place. The poor, distressed caterpillars, clad in black raiment, were weeping, and all the while the beautiful butterfly fluttered happily above the muck and mire of earth, forever freed from its earthly shell.

Needless to say, Brisbane had the average orthodox funeral in mind and sought to convey the idea that when our loved ones pass, it is foolish to remember only the cocoon and concentrate our attention on the remains, while forgetting the bright butterfly.
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
Is the Gospel powerful enough for men and women to be saved? Of course. Paul said in Romans 1:16-17,
Just like Tammie and Carl Wells, others can hear the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be redeemed from their sins and their lives can be turned around, from sin to salvation, from darkness to light, from hell to heaven! Thank the Lord for His mercy and His grace! Praise the Lord for the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Won’t you on this Easter morning consider doing at least one of the following:
1. Come to Jesus believing that He died, was buried and then rose from the grave. Confess your sin, surrender to Jesus as Lord and Master of your life and receive Jesus into your heart and life.
2. Realize Christian, that you have sinned and have been separated in fellowship from your heavenly Father, not relationship but fellowship, and now you want to confess your sins and Come Home, receiving forgiving and cleansing of that sin. (1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”)
3. Those who are guests, consider today about joining with us as a member of this congregation of believers. Come either by statement of faith in Jesus that you have been saved and baptized by immersion or, you come by transfer of your membership from another Baptist church.
4. Come for prayer and support from your church in your time of need.
Amen!