A Guaranteed Hope-Matt 28:1-10

Easter Sunrise Service

Matthew 28:1-10

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he£ lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Intro

We often use the word hope in various ways talking about things we have no control over:

I hope my plane is on time and my flight is not cancelled.

I hope Martinez doesn’t get hurt and recovers to full strength.

Some hope that he will get hurt.

This is not how the Bible uses the word hope. It is certain.

Our passage today recounts for us the story of when Jesus came back to life after death. This is Easter. This is what we are celebrating!

The Big Idea: Christ coming back to life after a brutal death guarantees our hope.

Overview of the 2 main points: WHAT & HOW

I. WHAT hope the resurrection guarantees

Key question: Where is Jesus NOT in this scene?

V2,6. Jesus is not trying to get out. This is to let in the eyewitnesses.

Jesus died to settle an account with God, our account from our wrongdoings and sin.

Here’s the problem with sin. Somebody’s going to pay.

Illustration. You borrow my cell phone and break it

If I forgive you, I am still out 200.00. Two options: u pay or me

Yes, sin wrecks relationships but it is first an offense against the holy God?

God has the same two options: you pay or he pays. The problem is that he says no sweat, the payment is just every day of eternity suffering for it.

V2,6 point: not his sin and he is not still paying for it. He came back to life again.

So here is the crux of our sure hope: if we are a follower of Christ, then Gods just anger against us for our sin is not still waiting for us. We should be scared if Christ was still paying for it by suffering in he’ll as we speak, but the reality is is that the tomb is empty. God is the one who paid a costly sum, the perfect, sinless life of his son, to replace the cell phone that i broke, to continue the illustration.

What is our sure hope? God’s anger is paid off for Jesus’ followers, the tomb is empty, Jesus is not still paying the debt off. In this scene he is back to life again!

HOW the resurrection guarantees hope

Verse 7,9,10 Key question: why this travel to Galilee from Jerusalem, north 60+ miles?

Two of the big themes running through Matthews account of Christ’s story is that Gods redemption of sinful man has not only included the Jews but us Gentiles too, a big part of the population in Galilee. Secondly, Galilee was a poor place, the region of his birth. Christ identifies with and saves only those who are ‘poor’ in spirit.

One commentator points out these two themes and traces them in a few verses from Matthew. Just a few verses after our passage we see Jesus telling the disciples to go into all the world and make followers of Jesus from all the nations.

Also, Christ became poor and came to the poor.

2:23 23And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

5:3-sermon on the mount: 3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Are you poor in heart / poor in spirit? That’s who he saves. That’s who he came back to in Galilee.

Poor in heart is, God would be good to send me to hell.

The opposite is, I have lived an ok life, God really owes me a good life because I pray pretty good, he owes me a good job because I know people who have done worse things than I have. This is not poor in heart but ‘middle class in heart.’ Are we middle-class in heart?

Keller Generous Justice quote : “…most scholars over the centuries have understood that God’s blessing and salvation come to those who ‘acknowledge spiritual bankruptcy.’ … My experience as a pastor has been that those who are middle-class in spirit tend to be indifferent to the poor, but people who come to grasp the gospel of grace and become spiritually poor find their hearts gravitating toward the materially poor…you cannot say, ‘I wont help you because you got yourself into this mess,’ since God came to earth moved into your spiritually poor neighborhood [Galilee], as it were, and helped you even though your spiritual problems were your own fault. In other words, when Christians who understand the gospel see a poor person, they realize they are looking into a mirror. Their hearts must go out to him or her without an ounce of superiority or indifference.” p103

When we are poor in heart, we are humbled because we are more poor and more of a sinner than we thought so we won’t look down on others.

So, How is our hope sure? It is sure on this fact that has riches to think deeply about every day: Christ left his splendor and riches of heaven to became poor to make us rich in him. He makes us who are poor in spirit to be adopted children of the king and to spread this wild news to others.

Application: When we begin to get our head around these two themes of why Jesus went to Galilee, namely to spread the good news to the Gentiles of God’s anger removed for followers of Christ AND that he identifies with the poor, it results in bold humility.

We will not look down on others because we see just how sinful and poor we are—that is who Christ came to save and visit after he came to life again.

At the same time we will have great boldness because the rich King became poor in my place and died the death I should have died, making me a son of the King. Oh, and he has all authority given to Him so as I tell others of these great things, Gentiles from Galilee on out, I have great reason to be bold! This is a firm hope. A real hope. A sure hope. A hope that is guaranteed!

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart

A fountain ever springing

All things are mine and I am his

How can I keep from singing?!

Prayer:

Thank you that Jesus in not still paying by being dead in the tomb.

Make us part of your mission to tell this great adoption news in bold humility.

Change our lives too through thinking much on this truth: Jesus left his riches to be poor, that I might live to know God as his very child.

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Envy is the heart that is not resting in the overflow of God – St. Augustine.

Praying Our Envy. Psalm 73. Tuck Barthalemule. Redeemer Presbyterian. NYC.

The big idea: How do I get there, unclouded sufficiency in God on the other side of envy?

1. What is envy?
Verse 3 the arrogant are boastful about their role in life. These are those living in defiance of God. These are the ones that he envies in their prosperity. He (Aesaf the psalm writter and song writer) feels that his efforts in life are in vain. Religion is not working for him as he still suffers. There is no payoff for him leading worship in Israel, offering sacrifices, etc. V10 the wicked instead are getting the payoffs. What about the promises of God?

Envy is the desire to trade places with the other person and not enter into their joy.

Envy is the heart that is not resting in the overflow of God – St. Augustine.

He is tempted to give up. It is our problem too. Is it worth it following God? Soren Kirkegaard quote in Sickness Unto Death: one of our basic conditions in life is that we are “constantly about the business of trying to rest in the power that establishes us.” however, we are constantly looking to a wrong power that does not have the power to establish us. This is where the psalmist finds himself. We look to work, family, romance, etc.

2. What is the psalmist’s resolution of envy?

The psalmist is stuck and needs some outside help. When he came Into then sanctuary, he gets the help he seeks.

A. He comes to God’s authority.
He humbles himself as he does not have the answer to how to get over his envy and also make sense of his life. He does not fix himself first but with all his junk.

B. He comes into the community of Gods people who also struggle.
God is good not just to Aesaf but also to all of his people. We Westerners read scripture often times individualistically – i.e. This is about Aesafs struggle and his resolution. But V15 places him in the midst of a communal relationship. He writes about his struggles so that the people can enter in together into his and their struggle with envy together and sing this song together.

C. He grasps reality, what is real.
He saw a sliver of reality but not the whole thing. He begins to see the awful truth of life apart from Gods grace. It is a fantasy and an illusion. He is notn loating that the wicked will get their due in the end someday, but he is waking up from his own fog of false reality. V22. He sees himself as the sinner, just like the wicked.

D. He comes to God as his provision.
V23-24 The psalmist is no longer stuck in the spiral of envy. God is holding him. God’s love is more of a reality now to him.

In the temple worship there was sacrifice. He had the picture that he needed a sacrifice in his place, a promise of provision one day who would perfectly take his place. As he beholds this vision of God, his substitutionary plan, he worships and feels God’s love. It is enough that you give me yourself, no matter what goes on around us. The only way we will escape this envy is to behold him and see our desperate need of him as the miserable sinners that we are.

V28. This grace that he pours into our life is not meant to be hoarded but to tell of his deedsmto those in this discontinuity of how life is and how life is supposed to be. We can meet them in their brokenness and be unselfish agents of healing.

The text…
1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek.
5 They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. 7 Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. 8 They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.
9 They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. 10 Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. 11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. 18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 19 How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms. 21 When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, 22 I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. 23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

If God is good, why is there so much suffering?

If God is good, why is there so much suffering?
Tim Keller free iTunes sermon on 1 Peter 1:3-12

I. One way NOT to approach suffering

The quandary is people consider either God is not powerful enough to stop evil but would like to OR, he is powerful enough and chooses not to.

Disbelief in God, however, makes it worse because what basis is there then for asking for a better world, or for justice, or for peace?

II. Three ways to approach suffering

A. look back
Isaiah years ago said “when you walk through the waters I will be there.”
Look at the fourth man in the fire when Shadrack, Meishack, and Abednego were cast in. Christ was there with them and knew their suffering and ours.

When asking the question WHY is their suffering in the world, the cross explains what the answer CANNOT be. It cannot be that God doesn’t care. If he did not care, God would not have become human flesh and died the terrible death He did. Dying proves that he understands our pain and that He does care.

B. look ahead
1 Pet 1:3-7 talks about being born again to a living hope that is before us; it is our inheritance; Christ rising from the dead is a guarantee that we will also rise;

Death is said to be “swallowed up”; this is not just that one day death is stopped but rather powerfully undone. All our hurts will be replaced and undone and fulfilled.

C. look into something
Why did Christ leave the splendor of heaven? What was his everlasting hope? Isaiah 53:11 says that he didn’t die to gain heaven, since he already had that; he died and kept his eyes on the joy set before him – having a redeemed people in us for himself; when we understand at the center of our being that this Christ loves us like this, that is when we change.

IX. The Sermon: Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners!

– Reverend Kyle McClellan, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church

The Sermon Passage: John 7:53-8:11

They went each to his own house, 8:1but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Exposition

Introduction
Religion is often not very kind to women.

The Big Idea: Jesus is a friend for sinners: offering not condemnation, but transformation.

Point One: Understand the footnote in your Bible.
The ESV Bible shows this passage in brackets as not included in many early manuscripts. Most scholars are guessing it belongs in Luke’s gospel in the passage ‘render unto ceasar that which is ceasar’s. No reason for us to think is is not inspired by God. Sixth century tradition places this in Johns gospel.

Point Two: Religion makes folks mean (7:53-8:6).
Jesus teaches the common folk in the temple who are flocking to hear Jesus teaching. Pharisees are mean in how they handle this situation. This is not a sin done in splendid isolation-DA Carson quote. Where is the man? Only one is publically humiliated. Vs5 is telling: are you, Jesus, going to go against Moses? This is to test Jesus and trap him. Jews were not allowed to enact capital punishment of death. They had to get Roman permission by law first. On the other hand, if he gives mercy, he violates Moses’ law. Out of meanness, they are trying to catch him. It is not just here life at stake, it is Jesus’ life too.

“The parameters are defined (by the Scribes and Pharisees) in such a way that mercy and justice are made to be opposing principles. This is the modus operandi of religion.” – Gerald Borchert

Point Three: So we can sin that grace may abound!? (8:7-9).
There is no question in adultery if a line to sin has been crossed. She is guilty. In some ways this is not about her but the an excuse for the hatred of the Pharisees to come out. Jesus bestows grace, true grace, which is commonly bent to be misunderstood by all of us masses. However, Romans 6 gives us a clear message: 1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Point Four: Christ did not come to condemn sinners (8:10).
If we are going to make sense of jesus’ response, we have to remember why he came on his first visit. John 3:17+ not to judge but to save. In the Old Testament the main witness was to cast the first stone, if, for example, you saw someone guilty of sorcery but you we not participating in it, then you could throw the stone. When Jesus says that he neither condemns her, he is not justifying what she did but transforming her.

Point Five: Christ came to transform sinners (8:11).
This salvation for sinners like her (which is like each of us really) is immensely costly. He doesn’t tell her not to do adultery anymore but not to sin. He is not saying that she has an area she needs to fix in her life ethically, but he wants to see her transformed in ALL areas of life. This is not about adultery. This is really about our hearts. It is NOT what goes into us that defiles us but what comes out of our wicked hearts that shows how defiled we really are.

Hymn of Response*: Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners

CS Lewis quote

Thanks to my friend at the bank, Joe Jamal, for getting this quote to me. How true and refreshing to read this!

But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away
“blindly” so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but
you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality
is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very
first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new
self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His)
will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are
looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you
know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a
good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of
impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers
about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell
the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you
will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self,
and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it.
Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and
death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being,
and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not
given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will
ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the
long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look
for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

C.S. Lewis

Art / literature

Romans 7 portrays a picture of us as sinners that is deeper and more complex than we tend to think. A good word picture or story to illustrate much of this is the classic short. Novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The law or religion won’t fix us Mr. Hydes, only bring out more evil. Our only hope is to be married to another, namely the perfect spouse who in their face is perfect love, acceptance, encouragement, and grace that radically transforms our life. Paul says that this spouse is Christ in Romans 7:1-7. Tim Keller references this story in his series on ‘How people change’ in his Sermon entitled ‘Splitness’.

Here is the free text on the web to this great novel.

http://www.online-literature.com/stevenson/jekyllhyde/1/