Unbelievers today are demanding that we provide them with physical evidence to show our faith and the bible to be true. Well we answer that demand in this sermon we gave on Easter Sunday. Do not expect a polished post here, as we are posting only our notes from which you will get the main point on where the real evidence is for everyone to know that Christ is alive, well and has risen from the dead.
scripture reading 1 Cor. 15: 1- 11
-1Co 15:1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
1Co 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
1Co 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance 43 : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
1Co 15:4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
This is the main event that makes Christianity different from all other religions or beliefs. No other religion can boast of a resurrected leader. Some try to do and they have tried for 2,000 years but they produce no real evidence for that resurrection, no testimony for it, no eye-witnesses, no written record and so on.
Then there are others who copy from Christianity and change their religious writings to say what the Bible is saying or they out right steal from the Bible. The cult of Mithras is an example of the former and Mormonism and Islam are examples of the latter as well as Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists and other cults whose beliefs in and of themselves could not hope to win any converts. They need to steal from the Bible to look credible and attractive.
Only the Bible provides us with the truth
Jesus’ resurrection does have eye-witnesses and I am not talking about all the people who Jesus appeared to after he came back from the dead. we have another group of people, those not in support of Jesus, those who did not follow him who witnessed the resurrection when it took place. We find that group in the following passage from matthew 27
Mt 27:65 take a guard, Pilate answered. go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.?
Mt 27:66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.
Mt 28:1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
Mt 28:2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
Mt 28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
Mt 28:4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
these men saw what actually took place, they knew the truth and their observation provides for us evidence for Jesus’ and they were not silent as the went back to the priests and pharisees and told them what took place. The response of the religious leaders was:
Mt 28:11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.
Mt 28:12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money,
Mt 28:13 telling them, you are to say, his disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.?
Mt 28:14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.?
Mt 28:15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
-If you know anything about the military you do not fall asleep while on watch and if you do, you do not admit to it.
– we have that story told and retold today
-unbelievers love to tell that tale even when they know it cannot possibly be true
– if it were true the soldiers would not have to be bribed
– unbelievers will try to wish this account away and state other possibilities than theft of a body but there is no first century account, from an eye-witness or otherwise which says anything different than what the gospel of Matthew says.
-there is nothing that counters the account written in any of the gospels that is verifiable, accurate or even close to the first century. no ancient first century historian or other writer disputes the gospels.
-one of my favorite lecturers and authors Craig Evans, tells us that some people think that the resurrection of Jesus was a ghost story. he reminds us that you do not need a missing body to have a ghost story.
-Now we come to the many people whom Jesus appeared to after his resurrection. We do not know the exact amount of people for the Bible only gives us enough eye-witnesses to tell us that his appearances were real, and not just to his apostles.
-Paul tells us
1Co 15:5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
1Co 15:6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
1Co 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,
1Co 15:8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born
this is just too large a number to have a ghost story or to get away with stealing a body which would have been a crime not to mention a violation of God’s rules on being clean.
Many unbelievers will go ‘so’ to all of this. They will say those are nothing but myths written in an ancient book of fairy tales. Show us today that Jesus is alive and rose again.
To answer that charge all we have to do is point to the myriads of changed lives of people who have experienced Christ and been made new creatures. We point to the multitudes who have been miraculously healed of physical ailments, and so on
Jesus said ‘ye are the light unto a dark world, so let your light shine before men.’ The ultimate evidence for the risen savior comes from you and al believers who are and have been alive throughout history.
If our light does not shine for him, then the unbelieving world cannot see Jesus. If we do no obey God’s word, then the unbelieving world will not see God. We are the evidence for the risen lord. God has chosen to use us, that is why we have access to the Holy Spirit and the fruits that come from being filled with him.
If we do not live as God wants then the unbelieving world concludes that what we preach and follow is not true and they will have no interest in changing their lives. Our lives should demonstrate a living, risen savior not a dead human so many other religious beliefs follow.
We are different, our faith is different because Jesus is alive and well. Let us humble ourselves and live like he wants.