THE PRODUCT (RESULT) OF THE CROSS
(Preached at West End Baptist Church of Newport, TN - Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012)
17 Then when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had lain in the grave four days already.
18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off (about 2 miles):
19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
This is Martha acting like Martha. She is not rebuking Jesus; but stating the obvious; which she and Mary had obviously discussed: (John 11:32) – “Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother had not died”.
22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever you ask of God, God will give it thee.
That is remarkable that she believed He could ask anything; but apparently not a resurrection.
23 Jesus said unto her, “Your brother shall rise again”.
24 Martha said unto him, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”.
This was a common belief among the Jewish people.
25 Jesus said unto her, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (“Can you grasp this concept?”)
27 She said unto him, Yes, Lord: I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus (“The Twin”), was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, “We have seen the Lord”. But he said unto them, “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe”.
26 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace be unto you”.
27 Then said He to Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing”.
It is not said that Thomas did in fact touch Jesus; but did believe.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto Him, “My Lord and my God”.
29 Jesus saith unto him, “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”.
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these (“these things”) are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name.
Ok! What are we going to do with this Passage and particularly Jesus’ words: “I am the resurrection and the life”?
Any good news for us there? This might be an odd Passage to use today; but can we get anything, can we learn anything from it?
I. THE RESULT OF THE CROSS IS IN THE PRESENT TENSE.
Jews of that day traditionally believed that God would raise His people to be with Him in the end times; and that is what Martha said. Jesus startled her and everyone else there that day with His words: “I am the resurrection and the life”.
In Jesus is Life; through Him, the spiritually dead can be ushered into the very presence of Life Itself; but that doesn’t have to be in some far-off, distant “end time day”. No! Wherever Christ is, there is Life; and that was then – and is now – a staggering claim that shakes the devil and all the demons to their very boots. He is Life! He is Lord of Life! He is the conqueror of death! He is Light and in Him is no darkness at all!
He came to give Life! He came to conquer death – in the here and now and the always!
Death is described as an enemy – the last enemy that will be destroyed; and Easter proclaims that this “last enemy” has soundly been defeated – not at the end of history – in the middle of history. Jesus’ Resurrection did not wait until the “end time; but after a brutal death on Calvary, a hasty burial in a borrowed tomb, and a pre-dawn coming forth out from among the dead ones.
II. THE RESULT OF THE CROSS IS STILL GOING ON TODAY.
We will be baptizing Darla Morgan in the next couple of weeks. Darla was saved in the Cocke County Youth Crusade for Christ of 1979, held at the high school. Some of you will remember that; many of you were involved in that – and the point is – the results are still happening!
That’s the way this thing works. Somebody led Bob Bevington to the Lord; he led me to the Lord; others have been led to the Lord through our ministry, one of them was Mike Winters, who is being used to lead many souls to the Lord in His ministry, and a young man who is serving as a missionary in an area that is so sensitive it can’t even be mentioned, and on and on it goes. That’s the way it works; that’s what it is supposed to do. Our ministry reaches a young man named Jordon, or an older man named R.V., or an even older named Paul – all who wonderful and varied ministries of their own; and souls are being changed. That’s the way it works.
My football coach used to say, “Each man get a man”; and if that were done, all the runner had to do is elude one defensive man and he would score every play. Each man get a man; each Christian make a difference in one person’s life this year!
You are the best Christian somebody knows; and that is the way it is supposed to be. Somebody is watching you and you probably don’t even know it!
A man got on a bus after preaching in a revival meeting; paid his fare; received his change; and took his seat. At the first stop, he approached the driver and told her that she had given him too much change. She smiled and said, “I know! I was just seeing if you practiced what I heard you preach tonight”.
A young kid watched his dad make a call from a phone booth; and when he finished, the dime came back to him. That man called the operator and told her what had happened and asked if he could just put it in the coin slot. That man would not give in and give up his principles for one thin dime. I was that young kid and that man was my dad; and I still remember that and know right where that phone booth was located in Spring City, Tennessee.
That’s the way it is supposed to work – The Resurrected Jesus Christ changes lives – and the changed lives go out and are agents of changing other lives – and on and on it goes.
Make no mistake, we are dying every day; we are living in a dying body physically; and most of us feel it more and more with every passing day.
But we should also feel that we are ALIVE spiritually and feel it more and more with every passing day.
There are situations into which we get that it seems there is no way out! The expression is “Do the crime, do the time”. That’s what Satan does; but there is no situation that has no solution if we allow the Living Christ to live within us and we live in Him – more and more with every passing day – we can find forgiveness for evermore.
The product of the Cross – the Resurrection of our Savior – gives us the opportunity to be forgiven and start all over again. It isn’t easy – who ever said that it would be? But it can be done!
The amazing part of this is that Jesus Christ loved us THEN, loves us NOW, and will continue to love us FOREVER! This goes even beyond the grave!
Resurrection Power is God’s amazing Gift to us now and always! The very same power that assures real and lasting existence for us in this earthly life will still be standing right there when we come to the end of our very short yellow brick road. He is there all along the way; and He will be standing right there at the end; and then new life begins – all because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – which is The Product – the End Result - of the Cross!
God’s Judgment has been brought against death! During those few hours between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, it may have looked bad for the home team; but the end result was just as assuredly fixed as an old time rassling match.
The early preachers never preached the Resurrection as simply Jesus escaping from the grave in a physical sense; but as the return of the Master to His People. They always considered the Resurrection as The Living God in Omnipotent action. That which was behind the Resurrection was what mattered – and that was The First Person of the Eternal Godhead placing His stamp of approval on the sacrifice by the Second Person of the Eternal Godhead. The Deity had to accept the sacrifice for it to work – that is the way it always worked; and we know that God accepted the Sacrifice for our sins because of the Resurrection three days later.
It was God vindicating the dreams for which Christ died.
It was God ratifying the righteousness against the evil powers that stood against Him.
It was God adjudicating the justice against all the satanic opposition he could muster.
It was God testifying to the truth that Salvation was now available to every man and woman, boy and girl who comes to Him in faith, believing!
It was God overcoming the opposition of worldly works and carnal actions.
It was God announcing to the world that Jesus The Christ is The Way, The Truth, and The Life; and that no man can come to the Father except by Him!
It was God proclaiming to the world that all of Jesus’ Words were – and still are – true.
It was God reporting to the world that Jesus the Christ was far above and beyond mortal man!
It was God broadcasting to the world that Jesus the Christ died for men – all mankind – every man, woman, boy and girl.
It was God publishing to the world that Jesus the Christ demonstrates that all believers – you and I and everyone who has accepted Him as personal Savior will rise again if it be our portion to die before He comes in the Rapture.