The Day that Death Died - Victory in Christ's Resurrection
John 11:25-26 and Selected Scrpture
by Cooper Abrams
Introduction: We know that after the Spring Equinox pagans celebrated the coming summer with festivities addressing the birth of new life. This is the origin Easter bunnies and Easter eggs that is a large part of the modern worldís holiday Easter. I think a better title for today would be "Resurrection Sunday" instead of Easter. But we are not gather here for any other reason but to remember, honor, and worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There is a great deal of speculation as to when Jesus was born, and also when he was crucified and resurrected. However, we know something happened in the Spring about 2000 years ago that was the most significant evident in the history of mankind.
On a Wednesday, (not Friday) in the month of April on the Nisan 14, on the Jewish calendar, I believe in 29 AD the day before the Passover, ....a man called Jesus was crucified just outside the walls of Jerusalem. His crucifixion and death changed the world. It forever changed lifted the grip that death has had on mankind since Adam sinned and with his sin brought death into the world.
Let me explain:
1. The most fearful thing man has to face is death. It comes many times unexpected. No matter how long a life one lives, death never comes to the sane invited.
2. Death is final. It closes a door that can not be reopened. Death is final! No one really likes it that way, but that is the way it is.
Have you noticed how many people are wearing T shirts, jackets, and clothing with skulls on them? Why would someone want to wear a picture of a skull? Why put decals on their cars and trucks with skulls and cross bones?
The skull and crossbones are synonymous with death. It is associated with the occult and witchcraft. I believe the reason people wear it is because deep down they know death is coming and they fear death. It is there way to show rebellion or that they are thumping their noses at death. Most rock music groups wear the symbol to show their contempt for decency and morals.
Man is seeking to overcome death in many ways. A few are spending great sums of money on cryogenics trying to preserve the body, because they believe that one day man will conqueror death. Coning too is an attempt to avoid the finality of death.
Man also has invented many thousands of religions because he fears death. At some point in time almost all men come to the reality that death is in their future. They seek to somehow come to grips with knowing they will die.
As Romans 1:18f plainly states man knows there is God, because as verse 19-20 state...God reveals Himself to all men. Yet, sinful men have refused to accept Godís truth and rejected Him by inventing themselves God more to the liking of their sinful behavior.
Romans 1:21-23 state, "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things."
Yet, the reality is this, there is only one way to have eternal life and overcome death and that is the way provided by our God and Creator who is Jesus Christ the Lord. He is the only God and the only Savior. Only He exists and has such love for His creation man, that He showed His love by coming to this earth, revealing Himself to man, the suffering and dying on the cross for our sins that we might overcome sin and death.
You see sin and death are tied together. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Death is the result of sin.
Romans 5:12, 16-17 explains this truth further:
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (v12)
The Bible tells us that it was Adam who sinned in the Garden of Eden and thereby plunged the whole world into sin.
Why is Christís resurrection so important and vital for all mankind.
Verse 16-18 continues saying, "For if by one manís offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one manís disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
John 3, records that Nicodemus a religious Pharisee came to Jesus in the night....afraid of what others may think of him. He knew the promise of God that He would sin a Messiah, a Savior and he was curious because of the miracles that Jesus had done.
Jesus went straight the Nicodemusí problem. He as a religious Jew thought that his Jewish birth and religious deeds would get him to heaven.
Yet, Jesus said to him that he must be born again (v 3)
You see that is the problem of false religions that seek some other way to heaven. All of them with not one exception teach that a man can somehow by doing religious things or doing enough good works can earn the right to go to heaven. You see they all leave a man the same way he is...an unforgiven sinner rule by his old carnal nature. All religions leave a man still on his way to hell, because in their false religions there is no true resurrection.
But what did Jesus say . "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
This is the great and wonderful truth that the worldís false religious do not understand, do not accept, and do not believe. A man is a sinner and He must be supernaturally transformed. No sinner can enter into heaven in his natural state. It takes a supernatural act of God to take a guilty sinner and change him into a righteous man fit for heaven. No man can do that, no church, no false religion....only God can do that and that is what Jesus meant when He said that a man "must be born again."
Proverbs 12:28 "In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death."
You see that is what is so important about what happened below that hill that looked like a skull just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Jesus the Christ, allowed sinful men to take Him, to beat Him mercilessly and then to crucify Him on that old rugged cross.
ILLUS: Many times over the years I have been humiliated by people. It happened just recently. I have volunteered for a service, but was ignored and it was offered to someone else. I at first was hurt as most of us would be, but then I begin to think how often Jesus, our God created was mocked, scolded, beaten and rejected, but those His sought to forgiven and give eternal life. The hurt quickly gave way to forgiveness, and gratitude to Jesus Christ for letting me do anything for Him.
The Jews nor the Romans took His life, for no man could take the life of God Himself, but Jesus the man, let old death take Him and when He had paid for, by His suffering, every sin that man would commit....He said...."It is finished!" And death took Him.
But dear friend, that is only part of the story. All men die, but as Jesus promised He proved who He was because after three day and three nights in the grave He arose.... conquering death.
You see on the cross He suffered and conquered sin. When He said it was finished...he won the victory over sin. Then on the most beautiful Sunday morning the world has every seen.....He Arose! Because He was God and because now death was conquered.
Paul under the inspiration of God wrote some wonderful words about death being conquered.
1 Corinthians 15:51-58 which speaks of the reality of the resurrection of each born again child of God.
3. It is a fact, and absolute reality and truth, that death has been completely conquered and that there is a way that man need not fear death if he will believe and receive Jesus Christ as His Savior.
I. TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO...DEATH'S HOLD ON MAN WAS BROKEN!
A. Zac-harias, recorded in Luke 1:79, at the birth of John the Baptist, just prior to the birth of the Lord proclaimed the work of Jesus Christ, in coming into the world:
"To give knowledge of salvation unto his People by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the sun rising from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
It is fitting and proper to meet as we do this Sunday morning the first day of the week, to remember and to learn of the day that the victory was won over death.
B. Romans 6:22: "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life."
II. AT THEY CROSS DEATH MET ITS END.
A. The Bible tells us in Colossians 1:12-23 what was accomplished when Christ paid the sin debt of the world for those that believe and receive Him.
B. He died that we might have life eternal.
C. But the victory was won, when Christ submitted himself to let death do to Him all it could. He endured it for our sakes, and then He arose victorious over sin and death.
D. 2 Cor. 5:19, says: "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself not imputing their trespasses unto them, hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."
E. Rom. 6:9-11 tells us that death was conquered by Christís resurrection.
III. THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND TRUST IN CHRIST ARE ASSURED THAT DEATH HAS NO HOLD ON THEM.
A. For those who believe in Christ, there is no death because it has been conquered, and the death of the physical body for the believer becomes just and incident in our life, which is eternal, and the moment we are ushered into the very presence of our God and Creator.
B. The story is told that a father with his 4 yr old daughter visited the grave of the fatherís Christian mother and father.
She asked, pointing to the graves, "what are these for?" The father struggled for an answer and then replied, "these are the graves of my parents who have gone to heaven", She ask again, Daddy, to where God lives?" "Yes" he replied. "Ah!" she said, "that is where they left their clothes."
This little girl was right, those that died in Christ, are with him even at this moment. They left their bodies, their covering on earth, and went to be with Christ Jesus.
We are told that at the grave of Albert Durer, the great painter, is the simple word, "Em-I-grav-it." The word means, "emigrated." Durer has gone to another country.
Nothing that is related to Christ Jesus can die, He is the Lord of Life!
ILLUS: Early Christians in Rome, were buried after their death in the catacombs beneath the city. Some died in the Colosseum, but most were murdered a the Circus-circus outside Rome on the Alpine Way and were fed to lions and wild beasts for the entertainment of the pagan Romans citizens. In 1962 Carolyn and I visited Rome and saw the very place where this happened.
Yet the real heart of what it means to be a Christian is found in two simple words inscribed on the tomb of a fallen child of God, murdered by the Romans. The inscription is carved on the underground tomb of a Christian name Ten-ti-an-us and it simply says, "Tentianus Lives!"
You see because he believed in Jesus Christ...he was born again and for him death was only a blessing. The evil and blood thirsty crowds that watched die....did not see that death was not the end of this man, because he had eternal life and could never die. As his life was cruelly taken from him, the Lord with open arms took him into his arms...in heaven.
IV. THE COMPELLING MESSAGE OF THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST!
A. 1 Cor. 15:20-26, Paul concludes in v53-57. Death has no victory for the believer the one who trusts in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
B. Read the hymn "He lives"!
C. We who are so fortunate, to have heard this wonderful truth that we might believe and should flee to Him who conquered death for our salvation.
And those who have been saved should strive to live our short lives for Christ that we might share this wonderful truth.
V. WHAT DOES THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST MEAN TO YOU?
A. If you are a believer? God tells us that because of Christís resurrection and victory over death the believerís death is simply a door that opens into the very presence of the Lord. READ 2 Corinthians 5:1-6
B. John 3:36 explains that "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
C. Everyone on earth will die and then face one of to eternities.
1. Not that John says the person who believes has everlasting life.
2. He also says that the one who does not believe shall not see life and the wrath of God abides on him.
3. Rev. 20:11-15 explains that for the lost there is a second death. First there is physical death, but afterward there is a second death in which the unbeliever is cast into the Lake of Fire for all eternity.
D. The Good News is that Jesus suffered and died and was resurrected from death. He proved that He was God, because only God has power over death.
Note the promise of God in the following passages:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
Note also the warning that God gives to all men:
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1. Because of Jesus sacrifice for your sins and His resurrection God is giving you a choice. Everyone here is presently making a choice. You have heard Godís truth in which He lovingly tells us our need. We are sinners and because we are we are under the condemnation of sin. Hell is eternal destiny of all those who reject Christ and die in their sins.
You have already believed on Jesus Christ and received eternal life or you have not believed. You have believed and received full forgiveness of all your sins or you have not believed and are headed for the second death.
2. God desire is clear. God sent His only begotten Son to earth to suffer and die so that you and I might have eternal life.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.