What Are You Looking For?

Bible Book: Matthew  28 : 1-8
Subject: Easter; Resurrection; Life, Meaning of
Introduction

A poet who disbelieved the resurrection story of Jesus penned the poem:

"Now He is DEAD, Henceforth He lies

In some Lone Syrian Town,

And On His Grave With Shinning Eyes,

The Syrian Stars Look Down."

I can say without equivocation that the poet was not looking correctly at the resurrection of Jesus. There are many who have sought in vain to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. They have searched every possible site in Jerusalem to find the bones of Jesus. We who know Him as Savoir can say with the angel at the empty tomb, "He is not here. He is risen!"

Job was looking for the right thing, and he phrased it in a question. In Job 14:14 we read, “If a man die, shall he live again?” By asking the right question, he was able to come to the correct conclusion. We read in Job 19:25-26, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” Job was looking for the truth and he found it.

The day the two women went to the tomb of Jesus they were going to hopefully anoint the body of Jesus in further reverence for His burial. They were looking for His body, but that found something far more wonderful. What they found was a complete surprise - a grand, glad, glorious surprise to be sure! The angel informed them that Jesus had risen and had gone before them into Galilee.

What we need regarding the resurrection of Jesus and the entire issue of eternal life, is the truth! That is what everyone ought to be looking for. Let me share some thoughts with you today about the truth regarding this matter.

I. Look at the Reality of His Resurrection

His resurrection is a fact based upon two things.

A. The Appearances of Jesus

In Revelation 1:18 Jesus said that He lives forever, and thus He unlocked the door of death.

Acts 1:3 declares that Jesus revealed Himself to numerous witnesses through many infallible proofs.

1 Corinthians 15 provides a statement from Paul which is most interesting and encouraging. Look at verse 5. Here we seen that Jesus was seen by Peter, by the twelve, and by five hundred people at once. Paul stated that some of those who saw Him alive were still living when Paul recorded these facts. James also saw Him and James is mentioned as a witness because of His reputation for absolute honesty. Paul states that He saw Jesus himself, as one born out of time!

There are also those women who saw the empty tomb. Those same women met Jesus later and saw Him face to face!

One reputable witness in a trial can put a man on death row, and eventually that testimony can lead to the criminal’s execution. Over two hundred and fifty people could have appeared in a court of law at any given time to give eye witness testimony to the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. That certainly is convincing testimony of the resurrection and that is the testimony given by hundreds of people.

B. The Alteration of Believers

We can see another proof of His resurrection in the change that took place in the lives of His disciples. The women were changed from mourners to women running with a message of sheer joy – our Lord has risen! The disciples who cowered in fright, began to preach with boldness the salvation available in His name. When arrested, they refused to stop preaching because they had seen the risen Lord. They were willing to die, and many of them were put to death because of their testimony to the fact that Jesus is alive. Nothing, I tell you, nothing but a risen Savior could have done that in the lives of these people.

And what of the modern changes in us. The alcoholics, the profaning crowd, the gamblers, those filled with every kind of vice, who are gloriously changed by Jesus? Think of your own life. All of us are sinners and now through the risen Lord we are healed of our sin, cleansed from our filth, and filled with gladness because of His presence with us this very day. Only a risen, living Savior could do that for a person. Only a risen Savior could have done that for me!

I think today of Paul, the Apostle of Jesus, how he was persecuting Christians one day, and the next day he was preaching Jesus as Lord and Savior. He didn’t turn over a new leaf – he experienced a new life – a new birth. He was changed by a risen Savior.

Today, when a preacher calls upon you to trust in Jesus, he is not asking you to become a better person. The preacher is not calling upon you to find religion. The preacher is introducing you to a living Savior, risen from the dead. You are a being called to take the nail-scarred hand and find joy unspeakable and full of glory. He will change you - you cannot change yourself. He will save you - you cannot save yourself. You are being called to a living Lord.

II. Look at the Results of His Resurrection

By this, I mean that we should see what His resurrection means to us. The resurrection of Jesus is a picture of the glorified resurrection which all saved people will experience one day.

Matthew 28:19, “All power is given unto me!” He has the power to fulfill that which He has promised I His Word. He has victory over death and gives that same victory to all who believe in Him.

A. If we die, we go to Paradise

It is the purpose of God, emphatically expressed in the Word of God, that the whole person be redeemed. That is, it is not God’s purpose that only a man’s soul be ransomed, redeemed, be saved, but that the whole man be ransomed, redeemed, and be saved. My soul and spirit is saved, but also the house in which they live - the body, the tabernacle of my soul, is saved by the living Lord. We find that repeated many times in the Bible. For example, in Ephesians 1:13-14, Paul speaks of those who have been regenerated, been born again, as having been sealed with Holy Spirit of promise. Don’t worry, God having bought us and redeemed by the blood of His Son is not going to let us be lost and fall back into the pit of judgment. He paid for our sins and rose to confirm that fact. We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest or down payment upon our full inheritance, which we will receive completely when He calls us to Himself. God is not done with us when He saves our souls and regenerates our spirits, because it is His purpose to redeem all of us, every piece of us, and every part of us. My mind, which is fallen, my emotions which are fallen, my heart and soul which are fallen, and my body which is fallen, the Lord redeems all of it, the whole purchased possession.

There is a time between occasion of death and the full redemption of the body. Of course, if we are alive when Jesus comes back, then we will have the full redemption of my body and soul at that very moment. In that time interval, when we die before the Lord returns, what happens to us? Where do we go?

Think of Adam. Think of Noah. Think of the many who were saved but are waiting for the return of Christ. If we die between salvation and the full redemption of the body, is it possible that we can be alive and have consciousness? Yes, God is a Spirit and God has personality, volition, will, love, feeling, life and power. God is Spirit and He is alive. In Hebrews 1:14 angels are declared to be ministering spirits, and yet they are alive. They go on mission for God. They do His service in realms we cannot see. They worship. Yet, they are spirit! Yes, you are alive now and you will be alive forever once you know the risen Christ as your Savior. Death does not in any way end your life once you are in Christ.

When you are separated from this body, are you still alive? Yes! All the redeemed are with the Lord from the time of death. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul mentions this and we are told that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

The Bible tells us that all who are in Christ, at the time of death, are immediately in Paradise, and in that place we are at peace and at rest. Jesus told about Lazarus, who was dead, and He revealed that Lazarus was in Paradise. Jesus said to the believing, trusting thief who died beside our Lord on the cross, “Today you shall be with me in Paradise!” Let me assure you that those who die in the Lord are happy forever more. That is the promise of Jesus. That is what the resurrection means to us.

People often ask me if we will know each other in heaven. Why, sure you will. Do you think you will know less in heaven than you know here? Why or course not! You will know more than you know here. You will see as you have never seen and know as you have never known. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul tells us that in heaven we shall know as we are known. That word know means to recognize. Someone has said that we shall not really know each other fully till we are in heaven. Oh, yes, you will know each other in heaven. Jesus rose and was recognized by those who knew Him. It is a fact that we will have great fellowship in heaven – greater than we have ever known here.

B. If we live, He is with us

This truth is apparent from all that Jesus taught and especially all He did after He rose from the dead. He met with His disciples. He comforted them. He encouraged them. He challenged them. He promised in John 14 to send the Holy Spirit to live within us, and that the Spirit was to be His presence in us. As long as a child of God lives, Jesus lives is in him and in her. We are never alone. He will never leave you nor forsake you. What fellowship with have with Him now. Can you image what it will be like when we see Him face to face? No words can describe the joy we will experience. But, for the here and now, He is ever with us!

C. When He comes, we go with Him

If Christ comes before we die, we go to be with Him in heaven. What a wonderful thought, to meet Jesus in the air. To receive our glorified body in one marvelous moment called the rapture.

In any case, we cannot lose. To know Christ, is to be secure.

We are not looking for a cemetery, we are looking for a City, the City of God.

We are not looking for a grave, we are looking for Glory!

We are not looking for a mortuary, we are looking for a mansion.

We are not looking for a tomb, we are looking for a triumph.

We are not looking for a coffin, we are looking for a crown!

III. Look at the Responsibility following His Resurrection

Jesus rose and then sent His disciples into service for His name and His cause. We are to move into service once we know the risen Lord. Note that the angel immediately gave orders for those who trusted Him to go tell what they knew and what they had seen. When Jesus met with His disciples, he gave them the Great Commission. We are to be busy for the Lord. We have a story to tell and we must tell it. And we have His power made available to us so that we can do a work we otherwise cannot do.

Paul stated that he wanted to know the power of the resurrection. He did not say this at the end of life, but rather while he was in service for Christ. We can know the power of the resurrection right now. Paul wanted more and more of that resurrection power in his life. If Paul desired that, how much more ought we to desire it? Paul was looking for a greater opportunity to know Jesus and the power of the resurrection so that he might better serve the Lord and love the Lord..

The great military genius Napoleon Bonaparte said, “I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world, there is no possible comparison. I have founded empires, but upon what do they depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His Empire upon love, and to this very day millions would die for Him.”

Yes, and we must go forth in His risen power, filled with His resurrection love and tell this story. We can and we should and we will, if we are obedient to His call and commission.

Conclusion

What a Savior we have. He is the risen Lord and He is here today to save those who are still in their sins. He is here today to lift the broken hearted. He is here today to uplift the anxious soul. He is here to be a friend to the friendless. Yes, He is here – He is risen.

Some years ago, men sailed to the Rock of Gibraltar and thinking it to be the end of civilization chiseled the Latin words ne plus ultra – which meant: No more beyond. But when they charted other islands, they went back to Gibraltar and chipped away the word ne and left the words more beyond. For centuries men came to the door of death and said, “No more beyond.” But our Lord went down into death and came out the other side and changed the words from “No more beyond, to plus ultra – More Beyond!

Everyone is looking for life – for the meaning in life. What are you looking for? Surely you are looking for life's purpose and meaing. You will not find it in pleasure, possessions, power and any other worldly thing. You will only find the meaning of life in Jesus. Everything else is fading, dying, collapsing, and rotting. Only Jesus promises abundant life now and eternal life beyond. Come to the risen Savior today. He is here. He is calling. What is your answer?