Easter 2021

Easter 2021

– Oh, He is the King of Kings. He is the Lord of Lords. He is the Good Shepherd. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and He is the Resurrection and the Life. And He’s alive right now. What’s His name?

– [Audience] Jesus.

– I didn’t hear you. What’s His name?

– [Audience] Jesus.

– Jesus. If you’re new, that’s who we’re talking about, and I’m really excited. Happy Easter. Jesus Christ defeated death. He forgives sin and He proves He’s God. Let me tell you, there’s nobody like Jesus, Why are you not excited?

– Come on, whoo, this is not the decaf service. If you’re new, you can clap. You can cheer. You can even stand, but you can’t throw anything, okay. Now those are the rules. All right, so if I say something to you like you’re welcome to give me some feedback cause I’m pretty excited.

– [Audience] Yeah.

– Who’s excited to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus this Easter weekend?

– All right, here’s who Jesus is. Some of you don’t know Him yet, but you will. That’s why you’re here. It’s not a surprise. It’s a prophecy. You’re gonna meet Him in just a minute. He is the most famous person in the history of the world. More songs sung to Him, more paintings painted of Him, more lives dedicated to Him, more books written regarding Him than anybody who’s lived in the history of the world. There is no one like Jesus. There’s no one equal to Jesus. There’s no one alongside of Jesus. We measure time by Jesus, before Christ, B.C., A.D., Anno Domini, the year of our Lord. And our two big holidays, we celebrate His birth every Christmas. We celebrate His resurrection every Easter. That’s why we’re here. Let me tell you three things that Jesus said that no one else has said. No religious leader, no political leader, no spiritual leader. Number one, He said he was God. No other religion has its founder declaring Himself to be God. Number two, He said that He alone could forgive sin, this problem that we have with God. Number three, He said that He would defeat death, and in defeating death He proved that He can conquer sin and that He reveals Himself as God. So here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna look at 21 reasons to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. My hope, my prayer, my goal is to convince you to believe in His resurrection and to have that great gift of salvation be yours. By way of preface, what it means to resurrect is you were alive, then you died, and then you came back and you never died again. So resurrection is different than being revived. It’s not just coming back. It’s coming back to never go back to death again. Are you ready for 21 points? All right, here we go. Number one, Jesus’ resurrection was predicted in the Old Testament. Being the most significant person in the history of the world and His resurrection. I’m already exhausted. I’m worn out. I’m 50. Holy smokes. Oh, Lord, give me the Holy spirit. I need some energy. The check engine light is on in my life. Okay, here we go. Psalm 16:10, a hundred years before Jesus walked on the earth, God told us that He would live, die and rise. Being the most significant person and His resurrection, being the most significant event, God didn’t want us to miss it in any regard. So here’s what it says. You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One… How many are Holy?

– [Audience] One.

– Just one, just one, see decay. What God is saying is this. I’m sending someone. He’s gonna be the Holy One. We’re all the sinful ones, He’s the Holy One. We are unholy. He is Holy. He’s going to die. His body is going to be put in a grave, but He will not be abandoned there. He will come back from death. This was God’s way of preparing all of humanity for this great resurrection victory in the middle of history. Point number two, Jesus predicted His resurrection in advance. Wouldn’t it be great if you could know the future? How many of you would have just skipped 2020? Like I’m out. I’m out, okay. God knows the future. God rules the future. God reveals the future. Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen to Him. He told us before He died and rose, in Mark 8:31, it says that Jesus began to teach them that he must suffer many things, be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes. Those are religious leaders. Sometimes the biggest obstacle to Jesus is religious leadership. Our goal is not to convert you to a religion, but to a person named Jesus. And be killed, He said He would die and after three days rise again. So He dies on a Friday. He resurrects on a Sunday. He does exactly what He promised He would do. Jesus always does exactly what He promises He will do. The good news is this, if Jesus tells you something, you can absolutely, incontrovertibly, eternally trust it, Amen. All right, point number three, Jesus died. We looked at this on Good Friday. He was crucified. This is execution by the government. This is the state assuring that someone is dead. The whole point of crucifixion is to end life. To ensure that His life was concluded. A soldier took a spear, ran it under His rib cage puncturing His heart sack so that water and blood flowed from His side, He’s very much dead. He is then declared to be dead. He is wrapped in upwards of a hundred pounds of burial linens and spices. His body is put in a cold tomb hewn out of rock. He is there without food, water, or medical attention for three days. He’s very dead. What happens is some alternative theories come along. They said, well, He passed out. Nobody passes out without a heart. Even if you went to public school, you’re like, He for sure died. That’s exactly what happened. I’m gonna say inappropriate things, and that’s why you’re coming back. In addition, in addition, the entire point is not that He could have passed out. He absolutely did die. Do you get that with me? Jesus died. This is the essence of our faith. Jesus died, and here’s the good news, so that you could live. Point number four, Jesus’ tomb was in a location that was well-known. So after He died, He was poor, He was not rich, that it was prophesied in Isaiah that He would be buried with the rich in His death, He couldn’t afford that. After He died that prophecy was fulfilled when a more quiet disciple follower of His named Joseph of Arimathea, he was wanting Jesus to be given a proper burial. He loved Jesus, so he gave Him his tomb. Joseph had a tomb that he had purchased. He gave it to Jesus as a gift post-mortem. This is very important because it means that Joseph knew exactly where this tomb was located. Just like your home. It had a parcel, it was registered with the government. It was his private property and possession. Joseph was a well-known man in the community. He was a leader. In addition, the Roman government knew where it was at. They posted a guard, and when the visitors came to visit Him on the morning of His resurrection, they knew exactly what tomb to go to. The simple point is this, everybody knew or at least those who needed to know, knew exactly where Jesus was buried. In addition, next point, Jesus’ tomb was guarded by the Roman government. They took it over as a piece of state’s evidence. They wanted His dead body to not be tampered with, and so they not only rolled a large stone over the entry way of the tomb. They affixed the Roman seal on it meaning this is now property of the government, and if anyone tampers with it, this is now a federal crime. In addition, they posted soldiers on guard to guard the tomb. All of that to demonstrate everyone knew where it was. He was very much dead, and His body was secured and protected. Number six, Jesus’ empty tomb was found by women on Easter Sunday. After He rose from the dead just as he promised, some people went to the tomb, and the first on site were women. Now, what you may hear is that Christianity oppresses women, that is a lie. Everywhere it goes it, in fact, liberates women, and Jesus had women among His disciples. And the first to arrive at His empty tomb were women, and that was Jesus’ way of honoring women and being honored by women. It’s still that way. Oftentimes the women are not only first to Jesus, they’re first to church, and then the guys get there eventually. So if your wife brought you, welcome, you have a biblical relationship, okay. Now that being said, the women show up first, and what that might be of a bit of surprise to you is this, in that Roman government and in their legal system women did not have the same legal status as men. So a man’s testimony would be regarded far more credible in court than a woman’s. What that means is if the story of Jesus’ resurrection was a manufactured myth the lie wouldn’t be told in this way because it lacks the most credibility. The reason that it says that women arrive first is because women arrive first. That’s the historical fact. The next point, Jesus’ disciples were transformed from cowards to courageous. Before Jesus died they were timid and they were fearful of death. I don’t know if you noticed it this last year people were fearful of death. Did you notice that? It was the weirdest year to be in the grocery store. Everybody’s walking around with hand sanitizer and a mask and they’ve got a tape measure six feet, six feet, six feet, six feet. It was a weird, what’s gonna happen, well, I don’t wanna die. Here’s what I’m telling you. You’re gonna die. You’re gonna die with hand sanitizer in your hand, a mask on your mouth and the needle in your arm, you’re gonna die. And let me tell you this, we can delay death, but only Jesus defeats death.

– [Audience] Amen.

– Okay. So I’ll tell you, yeah, use your hand sanitizer, wear a mask, get a vaccine, but receive Jesus otherwise all of that is just a waste of time. Now, that being said, they were very afraid of death to the degree that Peter who was one of Jesus’ followers as Jesus was being crucified, taken to His trial and His murder, they come up to Peter, one of His followers, they’re like, do you know him? He’s like never met Him, don’t know Him, denies that He even knows Jesus ’cause he’s scared to die like Jesus. After Jesus rises from death, there’s a guy named Thomas and he’s scared, he’s hiding. He’s afraid he’s gonna get found out that He was a follower of Jesus. And they tell him Jesus is alive. And he’s not the denier, he’s the doubter. What he says is I won’t believe it until I see it for myself. So all of you who are doubters, Thomas went in your place, and Jesus appeared before him risen from death said, here are My crucifixion scars in My hands and My side, it is I. Thomas fell down, worshiped Him, my Lord and my God. After that, they stopped hiding and they started preaching. They went from being in private to being in public. They no longer feared death. You know why? Jesus defeated it. To the degree that later on after Jesus rose and returned into heaven where He rules and reigns today as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that He appeared to Peter, and they said we want you to deny Jesus again. We know you can do it you’ve already done it once. You just need to do it again. And what he said was, no, Jesus conquered death. I no longer fear death. Let me tell you this, friends, I don’t fear death. It’s such a burden lift. I know a guy who went to the other side, came back and tells me what’s gonna happen and has gone before me to prepare a place for me. I’ll tell you this. The worst thing is not to die. It’s to die without knowing Jesus. To live is Christ to die is gain. To depart and be with the Lord, the Bible says, is far better. Let me tell you this leaving this planet is gonna be awesome. It’s gonna be awesome, because this is as close to hell as we will ever be if we belong to the Lord, Jesus. And so what happened for the early followers of Jesus, they no longer feared death. You couldn’t scare ’em. Peter said, I know I denied him once, so I won’t deny him again. They said, well, you better deny ’em or we’re gonna crucify you. He said, crucify me upside down. I’m not scared, and I’m not worthy to die like my Jesus. I want that burden of death off of you. I want you to hit the pillow tonight and close your eyes and say worst thing that happens I’m with Jesus forever, and that’s the best thing that could ever happen, okay. After Jesus rose from death, He appeared to crowds upwards of 500 people over the course of 40 days. This is recorded in 1 Corinthians 15. This was not a hidden private miracle. This was a public visible miracle. After Jesus rose from death, He’s out in public. He’s givin’ people a hug, He’s saying hi, He’s having breakfast, He’s answerin’ questions, He’s prayin’ for people. For 40 days He is openly, publicly testifying that He has conquered death, and then He ascended back into heaven and we can’t wait for Him to come back. But the crowds that saw Him were upwards of 500 at one time. What that means is this is all publicly visible. This is not in obscurity. This is in history. This is not someone’s opinion. This is everyone’s evidence. In addition, the next point, Jesus’ followers remained loyal to Him, point number nine. On the day that Jesus died, three men were crucified. We’re only having a holiday for one man today because the other two guys are dead, so there’s no party for them. But one guy defeated death. What happened was that on that day three died, and there’s only one who has a global movement thousands of years later in His wake. If Jesus was dead then His movement would be dead. If Jesus was dead then His followers would stop following Him. They stayed faithful to Him as we stay faithful to Him because He conquered death and he gives this resurrection life to us. In addition, number 10, Jesus’ tomb was not enshrined. Now when someone dies that we love we make particular note of where their body is laid. I’ll give you an example. My Grandpa George, I love him with all my heart. He died when I was 10. He’s one of my favorite people of all time. I adored my Grandpa George. I’ll never forget the first time that I went to his tomb. There’s my grandpa. As a little boy, we didn’t live far from there. I would ride my bike frequently to the graveside of my Grandpa George. And I would just, I honestly, as a little boy I would shed tears ’cause I missed him so much. To this day I could take you out of state exactly to his grave. I’ve been there so many times, I know exactly where his body is laid. When someone we love very dearly dies we make sure to honor them, and so that others can come and remember them. As I was driving in, I passed a place where there was recently apparently a motorcycle accident on the side of the road. And there’s a memorial set up, pulled over and prayed for the family and friends who lost someone they loved. You would expect since Jesus is the most dominant figure in Western history and the most popular and beloved person in the history of the world, with the biggest movement of any sort or kind, that we would know where He was buried if He was still dead, but we don’t. Edwin Yamauchi, he is an academic scholar. He is functional or fluent in 22 languages. He has eight fellowships. His specialization is ancient cultures and languages. And he did the historical research looking at the general region where Jesus died in the first century. And he says that he was able to find the tombs of at least 50 dead religious leaders and holy men that were enshrined and people were making pilgrimages, but there is zero evidence that anyone visited the grave of Jesus following the report of His resurrection. You know why? He’s not there. If you wanna see Jesus you don’t go to the tomb, you go into town and you say, hi, He’s there. He’s available. This is unlike other religions. I’ll give you some examples. So Judaism is founded by Abraham. That’s where he’s buried. People make pilgrimages there continually. Next slide please. Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, that’s his grave. In addition, Islam is founded by Muhammad. That’s where he is buried. The point is this, all the other major world religions, their founders have known burial sites where people make holy pilgrimages to remember the life and legacy of a dead man. We don’t go to a graveside because our Jesus is not there, Amen.

– [Audience] Whoo.

– He’s not there. I’ll never forget we went to Israel as a family some years ago, and I asked them, I say, where was Jesus buried? I wanna see it. I got on a plane. I flew here. I gave my 20 bucks to come into the holy site. I was like, where is it? They’re like, we don’t know. They’re like, we wish we did. We could charge for that. I said, well, what do you mean you don’t know? They’re like, yeah, it’s crazy. It’s like, it’s like nobody ever went there. Nobody knows where it’s at. And said, we got a hole in the wall and you can go look at that for another 20 bucks. And it was probably like that and you can pretend. The point is this if Jesus was dead don’t you think we’d know where He was laying? Don’t you think that that would be memorialized? And don’t you think that right now people would be booking plane tickets to go there and shed their tears for a dead man? Instead, we don’t go there because He comes to be with us. He’s very much alive. Number 11, Jesus’ followers worshiped Him as God. We’re gonna do the same here. It’s gonna be an exciting response, I’m telling ya. What happened was these were devout Jewish people. They don’t just pick a god. They were raised from generation to generation to be faithful to the one true and only God of the Scriptures. And when Jesus was alive and He said He was God there was many who opposed Him, that’s ultimately why they executed Him. But after He rose from death He proved that everything He said was true, and that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And therefore the early Jewish followers of Jesus, they worshiped him as God. There is no reason that they would risk their eternal destiny in the flames of hell to start a brand new faith that was worshiping a dead man who was a blaspheming liar. Furthermore, their character is such that there would be no motive for them to make that kind of lie. How about, let’s just be honest. We tell lies. They tend to benefit us, right? You go into the DMV. They’re like, how much do you weigh? You’re like, well, I’m gonna tell you a number that may not be true but it’s gonna be a lower number. When we tell a lie, friends, we tell lies that benefit us. Why would they tell a lie that caused them to be put to death? Why would they worship Jesus if he was not God? And why would they die for Jesus if he had not conquered death? See, this is all burden of proof. If Jesus is still dead how do you explain all of these consequences? The cause effect in human history. The next point, Jesus’ family worshiped Him as God. How many of you could not get your brothers to start a religion for you? Any of you have brothers? How many of you have not written a worship song to your brother? How many of you, you’re like, I don’t think my brother is God, I think he’s Satan, that I could agree to that. His family worshiped Him as God. This includes his mother, Mary, a woman of impeccable character. She’s in the early church. She is worshiping her son as God. Furthermore, Jesus has two half-brothers James and Jude that become not only His followers but pastors who write two books of the New Testament bearing their name, James and Jude. Those are Jesus’ half brothers. And what they say is this, they’re saying, you know what? We grew up with Him. We shared a bunk bed with Him. He never did sin. Let me tell you this. If anybody knows your sin, it’s your family, Amen. Jesus’ family said He was without sin. Jesus’ family said that He was God. Jesus’ family said that He rose from death, and they had a hard time believing any of this until He defeated death, and then they changed their mind because He proved his case. Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to join Jesus’ family. The Holy Spirit just reminded me of this. He not only had Mary and Joseph and James and Jude. He’s welcoming you and I to join the family of God and to be brothers and sisters with Jesus Christ. Isn’t that amazing? Isn’t that amazing? You’re both excited, that’s great. Okay, next one, number 13. Jesus’ followers changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. When God created the world in Genesis, six days He worked and then one day He rested. It was the Sabbath. From that point forward, the Jewish nation was built on the seven day week, and they were very strict about not working on the Sabbath day and not Sabbathing on the work day. And this continued for generations, and the whole nation is built on it. Their whole economy and their worship is built on it. Jesus rises from death on what day? Sunday. So all of a sudden they start worshiping, not on Saturday as they had for generations, but on Sunday ’cause that was the day of Jesus’ resurrection. You need to know, this would have been very inconvenient for them. You gotta get up really early. That was still for them a workday. Now they have to rearrange their entire schedule. They have to reset their whole nation. They have to realign all of their businesses, a whole nation. The question is why would they do that if Jesus was still dead? Answer, they wouldn’t, but Jesus is alive, and so that changes everything. The next point, Jesus’ followers practiced communion and baptism. Communion is where we remember the death of Jesus. Baptism is where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Communion is the broken body and shed blood of Jesus, and it is typified with bread and wine symbolizing, signifying His broken body and shed blood on the cross in our place for our sins as our substitute, that’s communion. Baptism is showing Jesus lived, Jesus died and was buried, and Jesus rose conquering sin and death. He had no sin. He died for our sin, and His death was in our place for our sin. What we’re gonna do today, we’re gonna baptize people. I want you to stick around and celebrate. Just in the last service, a ton of people gave their lives to Jesus. Some guy got saved, literally the last song, and he came forward and he said, I want my sin forgiven, I want my relationship with God restored, I want my eternity secure, and his name is Jesus. When we baptize today, if you’ve never been baptized as a Christian, today is a great day. If you’ve never given your life to Jesus Christ this is the most important decision you will ever make, and this is the most important day of your entire life. And that is the receiving of Jesus as Lord and Savior. Now I know some of you were saying, I didn’t know. I didn’t tell you cause you wouldn’t come. So I’m telling you now that you’re here to meet Jesus and get baptized. Some of you’re like I didn’t dress appropriately. He told us you were coming. So we have shirts. We have shorts, we have towels, and if you get baptized today, we’re gonna give you a brand new leather bound ESV study Bible ’cause Jesus loves you, and we want you to open the Bible and get to know Him, Amen. That’s why we’re here. Number 15, Jesus’ enemy, Paul, was converted. Before he became a Christian his name was Saul. He is one of the most ardent opponents of Christ and Christianity. He hated Christ and Christianity. He is harassing Christians. He is arresting Christians. He is persecuting and harming and beating and murdering Christians. He is a religious terrorist, terrorizing Christians. And then, Jesus appears to him risen from death, and this man’s whole life and destiny is forever altered. He goes from hating Christians to being a Christian. He goes from hating Jesus to loving Jesus. He goes from opposing Jesus to preaching Jesus. The question is how do you get a bin Laden to become a Billy Graham? It takes a resurrection. That’s exactly what happened with Saul of Tarsus. He then writes much of the New Testament and he is the great defender of Christianity, and he dies preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Cause effect, if Jesus is dead why, how could that possibly have occurred? Next point, Jesus’ resurrection was recorded shortly after it occurred. Now some of you went to college, we forgive you, but what they told you was that when Jesus rose by the time the Bible was written it was long time later, hundreds of years. There was plenty of time for myth, legend, fable and folklore for a story to be constructed that was not historically accurate. That’s not true. That’s not true. That’s not true in any regard or way. Now I’ll give you a few just lines of evidence. The resurrection of Jesus is recorded in a New Testament book called Mark which I personally think is a very handsome name for a book. Okay, so in the gospel of Mark, it’s written just a few years after Jesus’ resurrection. There wasn’t time to create some false narrative. In addition, one of the, and perhaps the earliest written sections of the New Testament is in 1 Corinthians 15. It’s written by Paul, again, who previously hated Christ and Christianity. It was written right after Jesus’ resurrection. It is considered an early church creed or hymn that was sung by Christians immediately following Jesus’ resurrection. And it says that it’s reporting the resurrection of Jesus. That’s the whole point of 1 Corinthians 15. And there’s a little line in that chapter that’s astonishing and it says, and many of the eyewitnesses are still alive. What it is saying is this, Jesus rose from death, Jesus alone rose from death, and if you don’t believe us go ask everyone who saw Him, they’re still alive and testifying. The point is we have nothing to hide. We only have good news to share, and the eyewitnesses are available. There has not been an extended period of time for a false narrative to be constructed. In addition, Jesus’ resurrection is unique in history. Not only did Jesus rise, He’s the only one who’s ever risen. Now let me deal with various views of the afterlife and resurrection. The first is, let me deal with the Jewish people who had the Old Testament. They did not have any concept prior to the resurrection of Jesus, of one individual rising in the middle of history. All they had was a concept of all people rising together at the end of history, so they had no clue. One Scripture, as an example, Daniel 12:2 in the Old Testament. The multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will arise. Some to everlasting life, others to everlasting death. So for the Jews, they’re like, yeah, we’re gonna rise from the dead, sin causes death, but God can conquer death. Everybody’s gonna rise. Some are gonna go to heaven. Some are gonna go to hell, but we’re all gonna get up together on the last day. They didn’t have a concept of Jesus in the middle of history, one man rising. In addition, the dominant culture in the days of the New Testament, in the Roman empire it was dominated by Greek thinking. Much of what we think of in the Western world comes from Greek philosophy and ideology. Epimenides, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great. Many of the classic philosophers in Western history, they were Greek. The Greeks had no concept of a resurrection. In fact, for them, it was actually not only unthinkable, it was undesirable. The dualism of Greek philosophy is that you are two parts, a physical body and a spiritual soul. And their belief was that the body was bad and the soul was good. So the goal is to get rid of the body and just live in your soul. They had no desire for a resurrection. So NT Wright, he studied at Oxford, he taught at St. Andrews. He wrote a big book, incredible book called “The Resurrection of the Son of God.” And he goes through all of Greek antiquity, philosophy, and history. He looks at all of the original source material, and I’ll just summarize the big book. What he says is, no one in the history of Greek thought had any concept of a resurrection. Now some of you have been told, well, Christians stole that from the pagans. I have good news for you, we didn’t. I have bad news for them, they stole it from Jesus. If you look at some of the myths that are created about some form of resurrection, historically they’re written after Jesus rose. Jesus did something that no one expected and the world has never been the same since, okay. Here’s what I need you to believe. Jesus is who He says He is, and Jesus does what He says He alone does, okay. All right, Jesus’ resurrection is verified by history. Now I know some of you are like, Pastor Mark, you keep quoting the Bible. You’re welcome by the way. I don’t believe the Bible. Is there any other evidence? Well, there is. I could quote multiple historians. Tacitus, Pliny the Younger. For the sake of time, let me quote one man named Josephus. He is a highly regarded ancient Jewish historian. He was born just a few years after Jesus’ resurrection while many of the eyewitnesses were still alive. He was deployed with a research assignment. They heard about this group called Christians and they love this guy named Jesus. And they weren’t sure what that was all about. So they appointed him, go figure out what that group’s about. So he writes and I quote, “There lived Jesus, a wise man if indeed one ought to call him a man, for he was one who wrought surprising feats.” He’s talking there that Jesus did miracles. It goes on, “He was the Christ. When Pilate, the political leader who oversaw the execution of Jesus, when Pilate upon hearing him accused by men had condemned him to be crucified. Pilate had him crucified.” He’s just giving us the historical facts. “Those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for Him.” It’s like it’s really curious. He was put to death and everybody still loved Him. And here’s why, he says, quote, “On the third day he appeared to them restored to life.” The resurrection of Jesus is a fact. Our faith is built upon a fact. It’s not about what we feel. It’s not about what we think. It’s about what we know. And that is the historical fact that Jesus Christ is God, forgives sin, and alone conquers death, Amen. Number 19, Jesus’ resurrection defies any explanation that could be a potential alternative. After all of these lines of evidence my question to you would be the burden of proof is now on you, dear friend, I love you, but if Jesus is dead what other possible explanation could you give? What other possible reason could there be? Cause and effect. In addition, what motive would there be for devout Jewish people to die for the lie of a blaspheming dead man who said He was God and said He would rise if He didn’t rise and He wasn’t God? See, we worship Jesus because it’s true. He’s God. He forgives sin, and He defeats death. Now looking at all of the evidence, Thomas Arnold, he’s a former professor of history at Oxford. He looks at a lot of ancient historical arguments and he comes to this conclusion. I quote, “No one fact in the history of mankind.” He says looking at all of human history, “no one fact in the history of mankind is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort.” He goes on to say, “than the fact that Christ died and rose from the dead.” Number 20, Jesus’ church has stood the test of time. Hey, we’re here, and we’re gonna be here until Jesus comes back. Jesus promised that He would build His church, and He’s been doing it ever since. Do you know that Christianity is the biggest movement in the history of the world? Do you know that more people worship Jesus than follow any other leader in the history of the world? Do you know that a few billion people on earth right now are followers of Jesus Christ? Do you know that Christianity is the most diverse movement of any kind in the history of the world? Hey, all of you folks on the left, you’re like I believe in diversity, you need to believe in Jesus because He is the center of all diversity. This is the bestselling book in the history of the world. This is the most translated book in history of the world. The whole reason we have the printing press is so that we could read this book about this good God man, Jesus Christ who defeats death and forgives sin. And here’s what I’m telling you, the church of Jesus Christ for a few thousand years has been unstoppable, and it’s not ’cause we’re smart. It’s not because we’re rich. It’s not because we’re particularly organized. It’s because we’re blessed. The grace of God is on the people of God. The resurrection life of Jesus Christ has created life among his people that is an unstoppable force in all of human history. Let me just tell you that, just being here right now, this is crazy. 55 years ago on Easter this building opened. Five years ago, we got the keys and had our first informational meeting, there were a few hundred people. Last year the church of Jesus Christ was closed on planet earth for Easter, and this year we’re open ’cause if I know anything is you can try and bury us, and when we come back, it’s only gonna be better. This is the first time we’ve ever had this service. It’s full. We’re gonna do it again next week. Last point, Jesus is alive and still changing lives to this day. How many of you, Jesus changed your life? That’s me. My question is if Jesus is dead, who changed my life? If Jesus is dead, who planted this church? If Jesus is dead, who changed these people? If Jesus is dead, who started this movement? If Jesus is dead, how do you explain all that has happened and is happening right now in our midst? It’s supernatural. Our God is alive. Our God is good. Our God is at work and our God’s name is?

– [Audience] Jesus.

– His name is Jesus. So here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna celebrate. The church is open. The tomb is empty. The kingdom is available. So what we’re gonna do in a minute, we’re gonna worship, we’re gonna sing and celebrate. But first, I need to tell you about baptism ’cause this is one of the most exciting, fun, enjoyable things. If you are here and you’re a Christian and you’ve never been baptized, this is the day that you go public with your faith. This is the day where you publicly testify I was buried with Jesus, I have new life with Jesus, and one day when I die, I’m gonna have a resurrected body and I’m gonna be with, like, and for Jesus forever. So if you’ve never been baptized we’re gonna ask you to go to the back. We’d love to talk with you, pray with you, serve you. And let me say this as well, for some of you, this is the moment, this is the moment that God has chosen to save you. This, for some of you, is the most significant moment of your entire life. This is the moment that changes everything for you forever. This is the moment where you give your sin to Jesus. You receive His salvation, that you are forgiven, that burden is lifted from you and eternity is guaranteed for you. Some of you did not know that this was going to be the most important day of your life and that you were going to make the most important decision of your eternal life, but it is. I am asking you because I love you with all my heart, and it’s such an honor to preach about Jesus to you. I’ve got to ask you, friend, do you know Jesus? Do you love Jesus? Do you trust Jesus? Are you waiting for Jesus? Do you belong to Jesus? Have you given your sin to Jesus? When you die and close your eyes are you ready to open them on the other side and see Jesus? This is the moment where you tell Jesus, I am a sinner, You are a Savior, save me. And if you would pray that or you’d like to pray with someone or you’ve got questions, we love you so much. Please don’t lose this sacred opportunity. Just go to the back, meet with our dear leaders, and they would love to pray for you. In addition, what we’re gonna do before we sing and celebrate, we’re gonna share some testimonies. Jesus is alive and changing lives, and He’s making all people and things new. And I want you to see what He is doing. And some of these people are gonna get baptized and I want you to celebrate with them Jesus’ work for them.

– Hi, my name is Drew Unger.

– I’m Sarah Peters.

– Hey, my name is Sean Lazure.

– I’m Richard McClure.

– Hi, I’m Benjamin Nunez. = We are the Crawfords.

– And we’re the Arrigas family.

– Before Jesus, I definitely thought my works was what would save me.

– It was all about following society and what the culture was dictating that you had to do and hoping that at some point I will have a chance entering Heaven.

– I started smoking weed at a really young age, pretty much all through my 20s and was really introduced to alcohol and the bar life and tried to slow down on the party life and ended up meeting somebody and we got married.

– I went through a divorce and kind of spiraled out of control and got way deep into prescription drugs and was just making really bad decisions.

– At about 10 years old is the first time I ever heard a different voice in my head telling me to kill myself, and that led me down a path of 30 years of drugs and alcohol and trying to quiet that voice.

– Always gone to church, it was a huge part of our lives. After we got married, we just kind of stopped going. It stopped becoming a priority.

– I had my first son. Just under a year after he was born my second son was born, and he ended up passing away on Father’s Day and that’s when I really just gave up and developed a really insane meth addiction.

– I lived in the world and cared a lot more about how people saw me than how I saw myself.

– Completely passive, just no real direction or at least good direction.

– I didn’t really experience love until later in life. So that brought me into a porn addiction, a sex addiction, drug addiction, alcohol addiction. I was just seeking the love from Christ from things of the world, and it just left me feeling empty.

– So I had no thoughts of God. It wasn’t brought up in my family. In fact, I didn’t like God.

– You know, I always had the question of why, why did you allow this to happen? He went to some pretty dark places to save me because I took myself to some pretty dark places in my past, and He found me and He saved me. I was the lost sheep.

– So I’ve been listening to the Real Men’s online. That in itself has transformed me and made me a new person. Even my wife has looked at me and, you know, noticed and said, wow, you’re asking me things you’ve never asked me before. You’re more patient than you used to be.

– Our path back started when we decided to come down to Phoenix, and the thing at the top of our list is we wanted to find a church family. Amazingly enough, the first weekend that we were here Trinity was open. By the time we made it to the car, we had fully decided that this is our church and these are our people, and it’s been a wonderful journey ever since.

– When I was 17, I was just kind of in a humble spot in life. You know, mom had breast cancer and just thinking about life and my future and what I’m gonna do. Read the Bible for a few hours, started in Matthew and it just all made sense. I was like, this is a no-brainer.

– Two of my buddies that were coming to this church said, hey, come, and Mark was loud when he was talking, and he was on his Win Your War series. It started to open something up inside of me, and right here in the back of the room at the church here he said, you can turn your life over to Jesus right now. And it was like, lightning bolt struck me, movie flashes in front of my eyes. I said, I think I’m a Christian now.

– It wasn’t until probably in my thirties that I really started taking my relationship with Christ serious and just realizing that my identity is in Him and not the things of this world. I had been searching for this love for years, and once I experienced it, it was just, it was life changing.

– I was losing hope, and Jesus gave me hope in what is this crazy world.

– Before Jesus, no future. After Jesus, He has a great plan for my life.

– So I used to seek love from men. Now I can see the love and feel the love from my Father.

– So I had no interest in the Bible, and now I can’t put the Bible down. We used to look for distractions, and now we look for life-giving situations and relationships.

– I’ve tended to be a pretty impatient person. God’s taught me a lot about slowing things down, praying about it.

– I used to have a full blown drug addiction, but Jesus has set me free.

– We’re the Rodriguez family and Jesus made us new.

– Made us new.

– And Jesus has made me new.

– And Jesus has made me new.

– And Jesus has made my life new.

– And Jesus has made me new.

– I’m Sean Lazure and Jesus has made me new.

Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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