The Power of His Resurrection

Scripture: Revelation 1:18, Matthew 27:62-66, Luke 24:36-39
Date: 06/14/2008 
Lesson: 11
Christ's resurrection demonstrates that sin is defeated, gave power and authority to the early church and guarantees our own resurrections to come.
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Good morning. Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are joining us from across the country and around the world this morning for "central study hour," coming to you from Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. I'd like to welcome those of you who are listening on the radio this morning, watching live on the internet at, or tuning in 3 weeks delayed on the various networks. We just welcome you.

And also we have some special guests this morning as you might have seen. Weimar academy, they are joining us this morning and providing wonderful music. And I know that you are going to be blessed if you stay along with us for our church service this morning. We're gonna sing some favorite songs this morning. So the first one is 316.

Pull out your hymnals those of you at home and join with us, , "live out thy life within me." This is from anne marie in jamaica. Gifterlin in the Philippines, shafondu in malawi, grey in Virginia, richard in Pennsylvania, and nowljamay in the Philippines who wants to dedicate this song to her husband, caine, who's in New York, , 1st, 2nd, and 4th verse. Thank you so much for that request. And if you have--those of you who are watching, or those of you here at central--if you have a favorite, go to our website, And click on the "contact us" link.

And you can send in your song requests that way. And we will sing that for you on an upcoming Sabbath. Our opening song this morning, , "a child of the King," 468. And this is a favorite. It's from phil in australia, anna and bonita in australia, eric in china, yolanda in saint kitts and nevis, cheryl in granada, julia, saint vincent and grenadines, raulie in Alaska, someone else in Alaska who didn't put their name down, but they like this song, steve and dina in California, bob and joanne in New York, and lina in Texas, , 1st, 2nd, and 4th verse.

Father in Heaven, we are so glad this morning to call you our father, that we are truly children of the heavenly king, no matter where we are in this earth, no matter what our position, where we live, you are our father and one day we are going to walk on streets of gold. And we are going to spend eternity with you in heaven. And we look forward to that day. I pray that you will be with us as we open up Your Word this morning and study together. You'll be with our speaker.

And we thank you so much for our guests from weimar academy, for bringing them safely here this morning and having them sing with us. We just thank you so much for them. And each person that is here with us this morning and joining us from all across the world, please be with each one as we just study together now. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Thank you, debbie and our musicians. And I want to especially thank the weimar academy choir for joining us today. I think many of our friends who are in touch through the mail or who watch these broadcasts know that a couple of months ago, weimar institute joined Amazing Facts. And we're very excited as we see this wonderful academy and the college is gonna be growing and joining with evangelism. And the wonderful synergy we're gonna have through these two ministries.

So it's a delight to have them here at Sacramento central church this morning. The school is not located too far away, just in the beautiful sierra foothills up above Sacramento. And so that's wonderful they could be with us. Want to welcome our friends who are joining us for Sacramento "central study hour," as we study through our lesson dealing with the subject of "the wonder of Jesus." We have a free offer that we always like to mention. And the free offer for today's study is called, "the high cost of the cross," written by Joe Crews.

And if you would like a copy of this to help enhance your study on this subject of the wonders of Jesus, just call the toll-free number. It's 866-788-3966. That is an acronym for -study-more. That's what we want you to do: study more, amen? And it's offer number 156. Also before we go to the lesson, I want to remind everybody that is listening anywhere where you get this broadcast about something very exciting we want you to think about, pray about, plan for now.

And it is a program designed to reach the hearts of young people. This is gonna be the first satellite evangelistic broadcast just for young people. It's for children. It's called "Amazing Adventure." The dates are September 12-20th. It'll be live from--broadcast up the Dallas fort-worth area.

It's actually richardson, Texas, and the d-f-w area. And it's going to be yours truly speaking to several hundred kids. It'll be a satellite broadcast. Bring your children, your vbs kids, your Sabbath-school kids to the churches and their friends and neighbor, anywhere from 8 to 12. Brand-new lessons.

And we're going to go after these young people during the golden time in their lives. Amen? Ten-part series. And we encourage you to participate in that. And it's called "Amazing Adventures." So, register your church. The address for that is amazingfactskids.

And this is for all the churches. We want them to help us reach the children. Can you think of anything more important than that? I think this is one of the most important things we can do. So we appreciate your supporting that series. To our lesson, lesson number 11, dealing with the subject of "the wonders of Jesus.

" More specifically, the title today is "the power of his resurrection." "The power of his resurrection." And it's covering many of the Gospel accounts of the resurrection. Matthew 27, Luke 24, acts 3, Corinthians 15, that whole passage there deals a lot with the resurrection, and Philippians 3:7-10. We have a memory verse. I always like to hear you say this with me in concert. The memory verse is Revelation 1:18.

Revelation 1:18. Here in the lesson it's from the niv version. Why don't you say that with me? "I am the living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore." How important is the subject in the theme of the resurrection to the Christian? Let's face it. Have you ever witnessed a real resurrection? I'm not talking about somebody who was resuscitated because they had a heart attack.

Or maybe they were drowned and you saw them start breathing again. In 99.999% of those cases, they weren't dead. They were heading that way, but they weren't there yet. Their cells had not died. They say if someone drowns in warm water, you know, they might have 10, 15 minutes before there's irreparable brain damage.

If it's cold water--i heard about one boy in Michigan who was resuscitated after minutes. He had fallen in some very cold water with no brain damage. Your heart stops beating and stops supplying oxygen to the brain. Your cells eventually begin to die. It doesn't take very long.

If someone is gone without their heart beating and without breathing for 24 hours, and they come back to life, that's really something. You know, I remember reading an amazing story, amazing fact, that the famous southern general robert e. Lee was born a year after his mother died. That usually gets people's attention. Well, what really happened was his mother died.

And they had her spread out in the parlor for the funeral. And in the south there, you wanted to say your farewells pretty fast. They didn't always have a mortician to prepare things. And they just put her in a pine coffin and had the flowers and people were going by and saying their farewells. And she woke up, came back to life.

Well, she was in some kind of a very deep coma. She wasn't dead. So that's not really resurrection. A real resurrection, where someone is dead and buried and cold and they have actually had their side opened up with a spear and all the blood drained out, I mean Jesus was dead, put into a tomb where there's no air, wrapped up from head to foot with cloth around the mouth, he certainly would have suffocated if he was only in a coma. He was dead.

Some people say, "well, you know, I believe the teachings of Jesus and I'm a Christian, but you know, some of the miracles in the Bible like the resurrection, ah ha, you know, don't take that too seriously." Thomas jefferson was of that brand. Good man, lot about him I admire, believed in the teachings of Jesus, but everywhere there was a miracle in his Bible, he crossed it out. He said, "you know, can't believe that." How sad the story of Jesus in jefferson's Bible ends with them placing him in a tomb. That's it. What does a Christian have without the resurrection? Somebody said--it was louis castels.

He said, "if you are irrevocably committed to the position that it would have been impossible for Christ to triumph over death, you may as well quit fiddling around about the fringes of Christianity. Because as Paul bluntly said, the whole thing stands or falls on the fact of the resurrection. Either it happened, or it didn't. And if it didn't, Christianity is a gigantic fraud. And the sooner we quit of it, the better.

" Ohh, that's pretty strong words. Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection. Paul says, "if it is not true, then our preaching and our belief is in vain." John r. Stott, the famous theologian said, "Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. The concept of resurrection lies at its heart.

If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed." It's what mobilized and motivated the disciples. They believed in it so sincerely, they were willing to die for it. So if it was something they concocted, as some have accused--you know, a lot of different theories about the resurrection. Some say Jesus was just in a suspended state. It was a drug-induced coma and that the disciples snuck along and revived him with some smelling salts.

Well, they sure put up a pretty good show, like I said, draining all of his blood, beating him half to death, having him crucified. His confirmation was confirmed by the witnessing executioners. His death, I'm saying, was confirmed by the witnessing executioners. And to have him smeared with a hundred pounds of aloe and wrapped embalmed and put in a close-sealed tomb, how could that be faked? And then for the disciples, the other theory is that they stole away his body, they buried him somewhere else and then said that he rose to try to preserve the teachings of Jesus. Well, they really must have believed it, because out of 12 of the apostles, only 1 died of old age.

The others were all martyred for their faith. So it was a pretty self-induced hypnosis that they came up with to really believe that he rose. And when you read about it from Paul's account, he says that there were hundreds that witnessed it. Now you know, in the mormon religion, Joseph smith says that there were, you know, three that witnessed this vision with moroni, the angel. And then there were eight witnesses that witnessed the golden plates that were translated into the book of mormon.

And I hope I'm not misquoting that, but I think that's fairly accurate. And I think it's suspect, the teachings and religion. But with Christianity, you've got mary magdalene, Peter had a private audience, cleopas and his friend, the 12 apostles. I guess there were 11 at that point. Paul says, "I saw him, and there were 500 others that saw him at the same time.

" That's a lot of witnesses. And you know, none of them, none of the writings from the time of Christ ever contest that. And I read to you before several times, even Josephus, a jew, who did not profess Christianity, writing the history of the jews, talks about the resurrection as a fact. I mean, so it's one of the most clearly--who was it that said that there is more--oh, billy graham says there is more historic evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than there is that julius caesar ever lived or that alexander the great died at the age of 33. In other words, you take the historic evidence that julius caesar lived, all the writings about julius caesar, and we believe it, I'm not questioning that.

But there's not that much written about him, but we believe it. Alexander the great, we believe it, teach it as fact in the history books. But you add up the written evidence that we have about alexander the great and julius caesar. And then add up the written evidence of contemporaries that we have about Jesus, there's a lot more evidence about Jesus in the resurrection than those two other roman caesars, or Greek and roman. And yet people question it.

So the resurrection, it's very important that we believe it. And there's a lot of evidence in the Bible. Now we're gonna go to some of the accounts of the resurrection. And maybe I should start with a definition. What does resurrection mean? And I just took this from the American heritage dictionary that comes along with my microsoft program.

"The act of rising from the dead or returning to life. The state of one who has returned to life. The act of bringing back to practice, notice, or use." It means, "revival." And then of course, point for resurrection: "a theology: the rising again of Jesus on the third day after the crucifixion." So it actually--a whole definition has evolved around the experience of Christ rising. Now, take your Bibles. Let's look at the first passage.

This is under the heading, "the story of the resurrection: part 1." Matthew 27:62-66. I've got some Scriptures I've handed out, I believe have been distributed, but I'm gonna read the first few. "On the next day that followed, the day of the preparation--" first of all, what day of the week did Jesus die? What we commonly call Friday, which was the sixth day or the preparation day. So it says, "on the next day that followed the preparation." What day is that? What day follows the preparation day? You're preparing for what? Preparing for the Sabbath. So the day that follows the preparation day is the Sabbath day.

So the enemies of Christ, these very religious leaders, don't have any problem fretting all through the Sabbath hours and going to pilate and trying to--they're doing something that you would never think of doing during the Sabbath, securing a guard to make sure Jesus' body ostensibly is not stolen. "On the next day that followed, day of preparation, the chief priest and the pharisees gathered together to pilate, saying, 'sir, we remember, while he was still alive, how the deceiver said, 'after three days I'll rise.' Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night and steal him away, and say to the people, 'he has risen from the dead.' So the last deception would be worse than the first.' Pilate said to them, 'you have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.' So they went and they made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting a guard." Now would pilate have also been a little concerned about Jesus rising? Had his wife warned him, "have nothing to do with this just man?" And pilate was very worried about what he had done in condemning someone he had declared innocent. He thought maybe he could wash his hands and be free of the guilt. And I think he was probably fretting too. If this is The Son of God, and if he does rise, I don't want to be a target of his judgment.

"Take your guard. Guard the tomb." And it was sealed with a government seal. Now why do you think the Lord allowed that little detail? You know, you'll often find in the Bible that before the greatest miracles of God that the Lord will afford opportunity to endorse and to prove the authenticity of the miracles by the devil trying to prevent them from happening, as in the story of Daniel and the lions' den, which I'm gonna talk about later today. They put a stone and a seal on the den, sealed with a government signet. Did that stop the miracle, or did it prove the miracle? The soldiers that were slain who threw shadrach, meshach, and abednego into the fire, someone might have argued, "well, you know, that fire was almost out.

It wasn't very hot. There was no miracle there that they were walking around. Some people have walked across hot coals. That's all they did. It wasn't very hot.

" But what happened to the soldiers that threw them in? They died. It endorsed the miracle. What happened to the men that threw Daniel in the lions' den? How hungry were the lions? Hungry enough to eat them. "The water that the children of Israel crossed, that was no miracle. Yeah, there was a breeze and it sort of parted 6 inches deep and they just kind of walked across on, you know, some muddy ground, because it was the sea of reeds.

It wasn't the red sea. It was the sea of reeds." You ever heard that one before? "Six inches deep. There was a drought. Wind blew." But what endorsed that miracle? Well, it was deep enough to drown the whole Egyptian army and chariots and horses. "The horse and the rider have washed upon the sea," according to The Song of miriam.

That was deep water. And so you often see that God, he--" it wasn't a miracle about the bread multiplying." Started out with 5 loaves and 2 fish, end up with baskets full. I mean so God always has some endorsement afterwards, some reinforcement is the word I'm looking for. So, if someone says, "well, he didn't really rise," you've got the witness of the soldiers. You've got the witness of a government guard, a sealed stone.

Now, I also think it's interesting. I'm not saying that I know what it means, but I think there's a connection. Is there a seal in the law of God? Does Revelation speak about two groups in the last days? One has the Mark of the beast; one has the seal of God, having their father's name in their foreheads. And what is the law written on? Stone. And is there a seal in the stone law of God? Jesus is buried in a tomb cut from stone.

There is a stone door. There is a seal put upon the door on the Sabbath. And when the Sabbath is passed, that seal is broken and Jesus comes out. It's very interesting. I think there's a connection there.

Some of you might get your pencils and cipher a little bit and tell me what that means. I don't know exactly what it means, but I just see too many symbols there that those are the things that jump out at me when I read my Bible, when I see comparative points. And I'd like to take some time to study that some day. "Make it as secure as you can," pilate said. "So they did.

" Did it work? Did it keep him in? Now, there's a parallel passage here that you find in Matthew 27:50. This is talking about before Christ is placed in the tomb. "And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and he yielded up his spirit." You know, Jesus didn't cry out very often, did he? Was he crying out from pain? In a sense, these were labor pains because it was after this the church was born. "He cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. Then, behold, the veil in the temple was torn in two," a lot of things happened when Jesus died, "from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent," or split, "and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints that had fallen asleep were raised.

" So the resurrection of Jesus was proceeded by, at least a preparation for a resurrection of the church. Isn't that right? This happens with his death. You know, I remember reading one time, someone said, one of the old commentators, "before God created eve, adam was put to sleep. God opened his side and his wife was born." Every man comes from woman, but the first woman came from man. It's kind of a paradox, isn't it? When the second adam went to sleep, his side was opened and the church was born.

So when he died, and this roman soldier comes by and the side is open. And two streams, blood and water, come out. And we need to be born of both. You know that old spiritual, "some through the waters, some through the flood, some through the fire, all through the blood." Christ's side is opened up; the church is born. His bride comes out.

And there's a resurrection. Now who was in that first resurrection there? It says, "after his resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many." So let's make sure we get the sequence right. He dies. He says it's finished. Great earthquake, graves are open.

But they're not out of their graves yet. They stayed in the graves until after he rose, 'cause he's the first one. Then they come out of their graves. And some time during the time when Jesus is appearing to the disciples, during that first -hour period, this group of, small group of resurrected saints are going--and was this a universal resurrection or was it many of the saints that slept around Jerusalem? Could have been patriarchs. I mean Jerusalem's got an old history with God's people going back to Abraham and melchizedek.

And so it could have been many of the patriarchs and Kings through the ages that had been faithful were raised and given the special privilege to see him ascend. And they ascended with him. Is there gonna be a special resurrection when Jesus comes back again? Who's in that group? Two. Those who participated in his being condemned and crucified. Will caiaphas be raised to see him come in glory? Didn't Jesus say, "hereafter you shall see The Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the glory of The Father?" Caiaphas is gonna see Jesus come.

Those who are involved in falsely accusing him, the priests and leaders, those who did not repent. Some of the priests later believed, it says, but those who did not repent, they're gonna be raised and see him coming, the one they condemned. They're gonna see their Messiah come, whoo. You know who else is gonna see it? Those who gave the final great message, who put all of their heart and soul into proclaiming the second coming, who died in the faith of the three angels' message. They're gonna be raised for a special resurrection to see him come.

That was their blessed hope that they lived for. This is gonna be--there'll be the first resurrection when Jesus comes. I'm not talking about the end of the 1,000 years. I'm talking about when Jesus comes next, there's a special resurrection. Two groups are in that: those who participated in his crucifixion and those who died in the faith of the three angels' message.

Okay? So then there's this special group that was raised. And they--who do you think they were? Can I speculate? Does it name them? No. So we can guess a little bit, right? Sanctified imagination? Could John the baptist have been one of them? I think you read in the book, "Desire of Ages," it was those who had been martyred. Could have been Isaiah who died at the hands of manasseh, maybe Jeremiah who died in Egypt who had been standing up for the Lord. Those who had stood up for Jesus, special group.

How many? I don't know. Some say it was 24, and that they are the 24 elders around the throne of God. I don't know that, but some have said it. Anyway, there's this little trophy that he took back with him to heaven. Alright, John 19:31, "but one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear and immediately blood and water came out.

" And then he says, "for these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, 'not one of his bones shall be broken.' And again another Scripture says, 'they shall look on him whom they have pierced.'" And that's by the way psalm 22:16-17. Now the reason I mentioned that verse is because I just want to reiterate, he was dead. Some people didn't survive the flogging before crucifixion. Some people did not survive the crucifixion itself, just the trauma. You know, in the Philippines every easter, there are some towns where part of the tourism in those towns is that they actually go through a crucifixion.

Have you heard about this? They did it again this last easter. It was in the news. They walk up this sort of self-made via dolorosa that they created. And they flog themselves, and they get whipped. Then there's a public spectacle where sometimes several are crucified.

And it's overseen by doctors and first aid people, but they drive stainless steel nail through their hands. And they hoist them up. And it's become quite a spectacle. And the church officially does not endorse it, but the government and the church don't stop it. It's very interesting.

The reason I mention that is some who have done that have died, even though they didn't hang up there very long, just something, the shock of it. That's why they're very cautious about allowing that to happen. Matthew 27:54. What was the response of the soldiers that witnessed the crucifixion? Does someone want to read that for me? Matthew 27:54-56. "Now when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, 'truly this was The Son of God!' And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, were there looking on him from afar, among whom were mary magdalene, mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of zebedee's sons.

" Thank you very much. There were a lot of witnesses there that heard him say, "it is finished." They saw him die. You know, I always think it's really interesting; the roman soldier that was there, what would you do if you're guarding someone you believe is The Son of God and all the sudden there's an earthquake? Would you run? Don't most people run during an earthquake, look for a cover or a safe spot, some stability? Makes me think about the roman soldiers that were guarding pompeii. Some of you have seen the--i don't know if any of you have been to the ruins of pompeii. I went--oh, it's been over 30 years ago.

I was a teenager. And they've got this one-- the remains of a roman soldier who was at the gates. And all these people fled the city, and he stayed right there at his post. And even though the world was falling around them and smoke was coming and hot ashes were falling, he stayed right there. And you think about that one who is assigned to be a witness to the crucifixion.

After he saw all those events, his conclusion was, "this is The Son of God." You know what objectivity is and subjectivity. Some people look at events and they can be objective. They can say, "I'm gonna look at it free of bias," and just say, "what are the facts?" Some are subjective. They say, "well, you know, I've got a prejudiced view of what's happening here." Some of the religious leaders that were watching what was happening, they came already. They said, "look, we've condemned him.

We cannot afford to believe he's the Messiah. We can't afford to believe that." And so they weren't very objective. But the roman solider, he'd probably been involved in a number of battles and seeing death, executions, for him to say, "truly this was The Son of God," even though all of the religious leaders were mocking him, for one of the thieves, what reason would a thief who is dying have to say, "this is The Son of God?" Just the evidence about the way that Christ conducted himself, praying for the forgiveness, all of that. Anyway, they witnessed his death. So there's no question about that.

Now we want to move to Matthew 27:57. I'm gonna read on here. "Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from arimathaea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then pilate commanded the body to be given him.

And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb that had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. And mary magdalene was there, and the other mary, sitting opposite the tomb." So there's a lot of evidence. They all saw that he was dead. They wouldn't have wrapped him up and done this, the soldiers that delivered his body. Can you imagine? Ever walked through what it might be like to take a body from the cross? Some artists have tried to portray that, but he was blue.

They probably had to get some kind of scaffold or ladder, get up there with some makeshift crowbar to remove the nails. And you know, you would have had to be pretty up close and personal with his remains to get his body off the cross. If there was still any pulse of life in him, you'd detect it. One of the ways you can often tell after an accident--i don't want to get grisly, but we are talking about a death and a resurrection here. At a car accident, if you see someone there--and I came to a head-on collision one time I'll never forget.

Before any emergency services got there and out of four people, one was alive. And one thing you notice is that there's no bleeding with the ones who are dead. The heart's not pumping. The one boy who was alive in the back seat, there's still a pulse of blood. And that means there's life.

They knew Jesus was dead. And so they put him in the tomb. You know, one of the things that's amazing to me is resurrections or things that are close to resurrections in nature. Reptiles, not all of them, but some reptiles have in their cells something that amounts to antifreeze, so that what you would think would be freeze them, but you can't freeze them to complete temperatures. And they can them come back to life.

The common green garter snakes, you know, they got the red stripe on 'em, these garter snakes that they multiply in great mass back in the eastern states. They can be caught in a freeze and look like they're frozen solid. You can pick them up, and hold 'em straight out. And they're just as frozen like a rock. And set them back down again, get them warmed up and eventually they'll twitch, come back to life and slither away.

And you think, "wow, they were dead and they're alive." No, they weren't dead. They've got this antifreeze in their cells. And some frogs, some turtles, when the frost comes, you think they froze. Some insects have this. Matter of fact, scientists are doing more and more studying of the miracles of nature, trying to develop medicines and science because of these things.

And they're trying to better understand what is this chemical they've got in their cells? And here's what the trick is. Once the cell gets so cold that it crystallizes, those crystals pierce the cell wall and it is irreparable and there is no resurrection from that. These reptiles and amphibians, their cells actually, they seem hard and rigid, but they don't allow the crystallization that destroys the cell wall, so they come back to life. But you wonder. I mean their hearts just stop beating.

It's just, how can they do it? There's so many miracles. What makes a seed? And by the way, one of our Scriptures we're considering is Corinthians 15, where he talks about a seed coming back to life again. How can a seed after--let me see, what's the record? I think I heard about a lotus seed that was over 3,000 years old, they found in a bog in japan that they added the warm water and the sunshine and something that would have seemed to be dead. Does it quiver before it opens? I don't know. After a seed has been dead that long, what happens to it where all of the sudden something changes and it begins to move again? What a miracle that is.

And you know, this is one reason I can't believe in evolution, is because in spite of how many times you tell a lie, the lie might be taken up by the media, they might call everyone who doesn't believe in their lie a fool. In spite of how many times you repeat something and say that life just happens spontaneously at some point a long time ago, and man might be able to manipulate life, we can do all kinds of things by cross-breeding and splicing and cloning, but what we're doing is we're taking God's life and we're playing with what he's created. Man has never yet been able to produce a single cell of life. The simplest single cell organism is so infinitely complex that nobody's even trying. So how can that be? It's only by a miracle of God that that can happen.

What a miracle. So Jesus, when he came back to life. Now what's a bigger miracle, Christ being dead and being animated again, a human being being resurrected, or a heart that is selfish and cold and callous being made new? We had a dear saint at a church I pastored, and whenever we asked him to do--he had a nice voice. Even up into his '80s, he sang well, stayed on key, stayed on pitch. And whenever he sang, he always sang the same song.

So about once or twice a year, they'd ask this brother if he'd sing, and he'd always sing the same song. We'd never have to ask him, "what will you be singing?" He had one song. And it was that song, "it took a miracle." And you know, there's that part of The Song, "but when he saved my soul and he made me whole, it was a miracle. The greatest miracle of all is when he saved me and he gave me new life." And if anything, the resurrection should remind us the greatest miracle is that when a person is born again, it is a resurrection of sorts. God--have you ever seen it happen? You get some character who's just, they're ornery and cantankerous and selfish and grouchy and mean.

And they're abusive. And they're addicted to drugs. And I mean, they're just a--they're taking the fast train to destruction. And all of the sudden, the Holy Spirit gets ahold of them and they become a different person. They get victory over their drugs.

They're nice to their friends. They instead of being lazy, they work hard. And instead of being foul-mouthed, they talk kind. And they're just a different creature. Have you seen that? That's a miracle when that happens.

And that's like a resurrection. And what is baptism supposed to symbolize? Yeah, some people think that we keep a new day of the week because of the resurrection. Can you show me anywhere in the Bible where it says that we're to celebrate Sunday as the Sabbath now because of the resurrection? Any Scriptures that even close to that? No Scripture I know of that says, "now, because of the resurrection, we keep a new Sabbath." Nothing in the Bible. But do we have some ceremony in the Bible to help us remember the resurrection? Yes. Baptism.

Baptism is a type of death, burial and resurrection. It's not a new Sabbath. Baptism is the symbol to remember the resurrection, because a person, they go down in the water. It's like they're dead. They hold their breath.

They come up, new creature. When a baby's born, they come out of an envelope of water. It's a new birth. They take a breath. They're a new creature.

They're leaving their old sins behind. And you know, it's even like when a plant is born. You ever seen these little beans. They break off the old shell, and the new green part comes out. And eventually that old shell just drops off and turns back into dirt.

And it becomes a new plant again. The old remnants are gone. That's what the resurrection teaches us. If anyone had a right to be skeptical about the resurrection, who was it? I shouldn't say it that way. When you read the Bible, of all people, who were the most skeptical about the resurrection? Did you read your Sabbath school lesson? The apostles.

Pharisees believed in it. Think about it. The pharisees went to pilate, 'cause they were afraid of the resurrection. The pharisees said, "sir, we believe--" I'm sorry, "sir, we heard this deceiver say, 'after days, I'll rise again.'" The pharisees remembered that Jesus said he'd rise. The disciples forgot.

They thought it was too incredible. That just left their minds. And then when the women came and told the disciples that he rose, what was their reaction? "No, you're optimistic, you're hallucinating with grief." And then when Jesus did appear, he said, "why are you so unbelieving?" And then later, thomas said, "I won't believe it unless I see his print on my hands." And so all along the way, you're finding out that the most skeptical group of all was the apostles. So they needed some persuading. And so the evidence was there for them.

Someone please read for me Corinthians 15:17. I've got several verses. Matter of fact, I'd like to also get someone to look up acts 2:23-24. I think I've given these out. "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, you're still in your sins! Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." Wow, that's pretty strong words coming from an apostle. Now, how did Paul know that Jesus was alive? Did he have firsthand evidence? Did he? Paul saw him. Paul heard him. Paul talked to him. He knew Jesus was alive.

If I read to you Luke 24:36, "now as they said these things, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said, 'peace be to you,'" or shalom. "But they were terrified and frightened, supposed they'd seen a spirit." Did they say, "oh, thank you, Jesus for coming? We've been expecting you." What was their reaction when they saw 'em? Terrified. "And he said to them, 'why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?'" Did the apostles have doubts? "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me," touch me, see that I'm real, "for a spirit does not have flesh and bone as you see that I have." And then to punctuate the reality that he was alive, he said, "you got anything to eat?" And he ate in front of them. He did everything he could do to say, "this is not an illusion.

This is not a hallucination. This is not a vision. Here I am. Touch me. Hug me.

Feel me. Feed me." I mean, he did everything he could do to show he was tangible and real. And then he said, "I am not a spirit. A spirit does not have flesh and bone as you see that I have." He didn't even say, "flesh and blood." 'Cause if a person just had flesh and blood and not bone, they could at least be mushy. He wasn't even mushy.

He had a frame. He was real. That's just how I think. Alright, I also gave out--this belief that he was alive is what then empowered them from that point on. Their preaching was all filled with the resurrection.

An example, I believe I gave someone, acts 2:23-24. "Him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands, have crucified, and slain;" keep reading. "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him: 'I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved.'" Alright, so right there in Peter's sermon, what is the heart of the first sermon that he preaches? He says, "whom God raised up." Now you can figure how they'd be laughed at. It was just as likely back then as it is today.

If somebody tells you, "yeah, we realize we had a funeral last week for brother or sister so-and-so, I've got good news; they're back with us." You're laughing now, aren't you? So when Peter says to this crowd, "the Messiah came, and you crucified him. You know it was on the front pages. Well, he's alive again. And we saw him." There might have been some snickering among some people. But you know what? There was such conviction in the apostles.

And the Holy Spirit was on them that they said, "men and brethren, what shall we do?" Again, you read in acts 3:14, Peter said, preaching again, "but you denied the holy one and just, and asked for a murderer," meaning barabbas, "to be granted to you, and you killed the prince of life whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And his name, through faith in his name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith that comes through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all." This is talking about the man at the beautiful gate who was lame, but was healed. And he goes jumping and leaping in the temple. In that sermon, what does Peter reference? You crucified him; God raised him up.

Again, just the short references through history about Jesus often include, "he rose." You know, this is what makes Christianity so different from other great religions of the world. Great respect for the Hebrew religion. Family's Hebrew, Jewish. But--and you know, they venerate Moses and Abraham, but Abraham is dead. Moses was buried.

I believe Moses was raised up. But it's not the same thing as Jesus. He didn't--matter of fact, the only time Moses ever appeared is when he appeared to Jesus, right? The buddhist religion: buddhist doesn't even claim resurrection. They got paGodas and temples that hold different parts of his body. One's got his tooth.

Another's got a piece of his bone that they supposedly took from his funeral pyre ashes. And people worship particles of his body. And why do muslims go to mecca? Because who's buried there? Mohammed. Mohammed is not visiting people in mecca. He's buried in mecca.

He's dead. And all through the major religions of the world, their spokesmen, they're all dead. But Jesus is not dead. He's alive. And I think the Sabbath school lesson opens up with an interesting story about a teacher in her--i think it was a Sunday school class.

She sends the kids out during the spring and says, you know, collect things and put them in this box that would remind you of the resurrection, things that are coming to life. And some brought butterflies. And some brought buds and leaves. And this one boy came back and he had an empty box. And the teacher said, "oh, you missed the whole point.

You didn't bring anything back in your box." He says, "no. My box is empty because the tomb was empty. And this reminds me of the resurrection." From the book, "Desire of Ages," I'm gonna read a little bit before we run out of time. Page 786, "Desire of Ages," 786, "as Christ arose, he brought from the grave a multitude of captives. The earthquake at his death had rent open the graves.

And when he arose, they came forth with him. They were those who had been colaborers with God, and who at the cost of their lives had born testimony to the truth. Now they were to be witnesses for him who had raised them from the dead. During his ministry, Jesus had raised the dead to life. He had raised The Son of the widow of nain and the ruler's daughter," jairus' daughter, "and Lazarus.

But these were not clothed with immortality. After they were raised, they were still subject to death. But those who came forth from the grave at Christ's resurrection were raised to everlasting life. They ascended with him as trophies of his victory over death and the grave. 'These,' said Christ, 'are no longer the captives of satan.

I have redeemed them. I have brought them from the grave as the first fruits of my power to be with me where I am, nevermore to see death or experience sorrow.'" And so these ones who came forth with the grave, that's how we will be raised. Now this is why the resurrection is so important to us, is because we're all on a river. This river is drifting towards a waterfall. That waterfall goes off into oblivion a thousand feet down into the earth into a chasm and nobody comes out alive.

We don't know how long our river is, but we're all on a river. And by the way, we're all on rafts on the river. And if you're smart, you're gonna paddle against the flow, 'cause the longer and better you paddle, the longer you live. But you're on that river. And you're heading towards the waterfall.

It's also a good idea while you're on your raft to be nice to other people in the raft with you. Because those who paddle well, and those who behave well, and those who trust the one who made the river, when they get ready to go over the falls, they'll be handed a parachute. You know what I'm saying? So, you know, we're all, our lives are flowing. You're in this thing called time. It's moving.

You can't stand still. You're all on a river. There's sheer walls. You can't get out. Some give up and they jump in the water and say, "I'm just gonna paddle towards the falls or get eaten by the crocodiles.

" I forgot about telling you about the piranhas and crocodiles in the water. But if you're smart, you stay on the raft, you paddle, try and lengthen your life, do as much good as you can along the way, right? And if you're faithful and you believe in him, you get your parachute when you get to the end. You don't worry about the waterfalls, but you try to avoid it. A Christian doesn't want death, but you don't fear death. Why don't you fear death? Because death is not the end for you.

Death represents a transition where you're gonna get a new glorified body. You get your parachute, and you get off the river. I remember reading about the famous Christian chemist, Michael faraday. He was working in his lab with an assistant one time, who accidentally knocked a silver cup that faraday had into a vat of acid. And it completely dissolved.

And he was bemoaning and saying, "oh, I am so sorry. I didn't mean to do that." And faraday said, "don't fret. Don't beat up on yourself." Faraday went through his jars and he took some chemicals and he put it in the vat, and it made all of the silver coalesce into a lump at the bottom of the acid. He fished it out. He took it to a silversmith.

He said, "I want you to fashion this back into a cup, which he did, brought it back. Better than the original. And you know, I don't know exactly how God resurrects us, but it's an upgrade. I'll promise you that. And because of the resurrection of Jesus, it says, "we get a body likened to his glorified body.

" This is the hope of the Christian. You don't have to fear death. This is good news. We've run out of time for our lesson today. I want to remind those who are studying with us about the free offer.

Ask for offer number 156 when you call. It's called, "the high cost of the cross." Or you can call 1-866-788-3966. That's 1-866-study-more. God bless you, friends. We look forward to studying God's Word with you again next Sabbath.

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