The Messiah’s Resurrection

Matthew 28:1-20

Abraham, the father of Judaism, died about 1900 BC, but no resurrection has ever been claimed for him.

Buddha never was ascribed anything close to a resurrection.  In fact one of the sacred writing of that faith says that when Buddha died it was “with that utter passing away in which nothing whatever remains behind.”

Mohammed died June 8, 632 A.D. at Medina, where his tomb is annually visited by thousands of devout Muslims.

H. P. Liddon says:  “Faith in the resurrection is the very keystone of the arch of Christian faith, and, when it is removed, all must inevitably crumble into ruin.” 

R M’Cheyne Edgar says:  “Here is a teacher of religion and He calmly professes to stake His entire claims upon His ability, after having been done to death, to rise again from the grave.  We may safely assume that there never was, before or since, such a proposal made.”

B. B. Warfield says:  “Christ Himself deliberately staked His whole claim to the credit of men upon His resurrection.  When asked for a sign He pointed to this sign as His single and sufficient credential.”

Michael Green says:  “Christianity does not hold the resurrection to be one among many tenets of belief.  Without faith in the resurrection there would be no Christianity at all.  Christianity stands or falls with the truth of the resurrection.  Once disproved it, and you have disposed of Christianity.”

Because of this, throughout the centuries the resurrection has been the storm center of the attack upon the Christian faith.

The Supernatural Events of the Resurrection

  • A great earthquake
  • Angel of the Lord
  • Stone rolled back
  • The Appeals of the Resurrection
  • Fear not

John 14: 27 – Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Hebrews 4:14-16 – Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 10:19-20 – Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,

Come and see – When Andrew found Jesus, he immediately invited his brother, Simon, to meet Jesus (John 1:35-42). 

When Philip met Jesus, he immediately invited his friend, Nathaniel, to “come and see” (John 1:43-46). 

To quickly go and tell the others

Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

2 Timothy 2:2 – And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

The Attempts to Discredit the Resurrection

  • Soldiers were bribed
  • Disciples were accused of taking the body
  • Since that time, many theories have been given to try to explain away the resurrection.  But, let’s take a look at the story.

J.N.D. Anderson says:  “Have you noticed that all the references to the empty tomb come in the Gospels, which were written to give the Christian community the facts they wanted to know?  In the public preaching to those who were not believers, as recorded in Acts, there is an enormous emphasis on the fact of the resurrection but not a single reference to the empty tomb.  Now, why?  To me there is only one answer:  There was no point in arguing about the empty tomb.  Everyone, friend and opponent, knew that it was empty.  The only questions worth arguing about were why it was empty and what its emptiness proved.”

Anderson also writes, “To suggest that it was not in fact empty at all, as some have done, seems to me ridiculous.  It is a matter of history that the apostles…made many converts in Jerusalem, hostile as it was, by proclaiming the glad news that Christ had risen from the grave – and they did it within a short walk from the sepulcher.  Any one of their hearers could have visited the tomb and come back again between lunch and afternoon tea.  It is inconceivable, then, that the apostles would have had this success if the body of the one they proclaimed as lord was all the time decomposing in Joseph’s tomb?”

Evidence That Demands a Verdict

  • The testimony of History and Law
  • The body was dead
  • The burial
  • The stone
  • The seal
  • The guard at the tomb
  • The grave clothes
  • The disciples’ lack of courage
  • The empty tomb
  • Post-resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ
  • Enemies of Christ gave no refutation of the resurrection
  • The transformed lives of the disciples
  • The Church

He’s Dead – or Is He?

The Gospel of Matthew as well as other Gospel writers presents the reality of Jesus’ death as an absolute certainty.

Those standing around the cross watched as Jesus “breathed his last.” – John 19:30 tells us He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

They heard him cry with a loud voice. – Mark 15:37 tells us Jesus cried out with a loud voice and breathed His last.

Roman authorities, acting on instructions from Pilate, broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus to hasten their death; but coming to Jesus, they discovered He had already died – John 19:33 says “But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

Having received confirmation of death from the Roman centurion, Pilate released the body of Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus for burial.

  • The callous Roman soldiers said “He is dead.”
  • The curious crowds, unconscious of the eternal significance, said “He is dead.’
  • Pilate got the word, “Jesus is dead.”
  • Mary, feeling the pain like a dagger in her heart, said, “My son is dead.”
  • His disciples, numb and stunned with the events of the last few hours said, “The Master is dead”

Everybody had written Jesus off – gone forever.

Dead.

Dead.

Dead.

Get on with the same routine.  He’s dead.  No one expected to see Him or hear His voice again.

It’s Friday….but Sunday’s coming.

What separates Christianity from all other religions is an empty tomb and the words of Christ who says “I was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore.”

Sects of Judaism

Pharisees

Pharisees – The largest and most influential group in New Testament times was the Pharisees.  Their name comes from the word parash which means “to separate.”  It is believed they became a separate group following the time of the Maccabees (between the Old Testament and the New Testament). They sought to separate themselves from the influence of foreign rulers and to obey every precept of the oral and written law.  By 135 B.C. they were established in Judaism. 

They founded their theology on the entire Old Testament – the Law of Moses (the Torah – first five books of the OT), the Prophets and the Writings.  The oral law, or tradition, was highly valued.  They practiced ritual prayer and fasting, kept the Sabbath strictly, believed in angels, the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body.

They taught that when God gave the Law to Moses (the Torah – the written law), he also gave an oral law.  This oral law formed the core of the Talmud.  Although it was called “oral law,” it was actually also written.  The Pharisees taught that there were many situations which the written law did not cover specifically.  So they wrote down another set of laws (the oral law) to cover these situations.  By keeping the rules of the oral law (Talmud), the Jews could be sure to avoid breaking the written law (Torah). 

The Pharisees were a party with considerable popular influence, according to Jewish historian Josephus.  He says they had the ability to sway the masses.  The Pharisees were the party of the synagogue and the Law. 

Although Jesus condemned the self-righteousness of many of the Pharisees, they were those among them who were good.  Not all were hypocrites.  Nicodemus, who came to Jesus searching for answers in John 3, was a Pharisee.  Saul of Tarsus was also a Pharisee and stated that “touching the righteousness which is in the law [he was] found blameless.”  Although the Pharisees tended toward self-righteousness and hypocrisy, many were honestly seeking to prevent the corruption of God’s law that they saw all around them.

The traditions of the Pharisees survived the destruction of the temple and the crushing defeat of the Bar Cochlea rebellion.  This was possible mainly because the Pharisees spiritual life revolved around the synagogue, rabbi, prayer and study of the Torah.  They were not dependent, as were the Sadducees, on the temple with its sacrifices and rituals.  

Pharisaic traditions are the source of what is known as rabbinical Judaism.  Modern Judaism owes its existence to the Pharisees. 

Sadducees

Sadducees – The origin of the name “Sadducees” is not known.  According to tradition, they derived their name from the sons of Zadok.  Zadok was the High Priest during King David’s reign (1 King 2:25).  Zadok’s sons were the priestly hierarchy during the captivity (2 Chronincles. 31:10; Ezekiel. 40:46; 44:15; 48:11) and tradition says this name remained as the title of the priestly party during Jesus’ life.  The earliest historical record we have of the Sadducees was during the reign of the Hasmonean John Hyrcanus (135-105). 

The Sadducees were aristocratic Jews and drew their support from the upper class and the priesthood.  Although they were fewer in number than the Pharisees and less influential with the masses, they possessed political power and governed in the civil life of Judaism under the Herods.

They maintained that only the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) had authority and they gave less importance to the Prophets and the Writings.  They also maintained that the subsequent tradition handed down by the rabbis (Talmud) had no authority.  According to Mark 12:18, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead.  They also denied the existence of angels and the immortality of the soul. 

Their religion was coldly ethical and literal.  They were opportunists politically and willing to ally themselves with the dominant ruling power if this would enable them to maintain their own power and influence.

After the destruction of the temple in AD 70, the Sadducees ceased to exist.  This was apparently because their religious expression was tied to the priesthood and the operation of the temple.  When the temple ceased to exist, so did their existence as a group.

Scribes

Scribes – Scribes is really the name of an occupation rather than an organization.  Scribes could read and write and worked as teachers and secretaries.  Because of their ability to read and write, many Scribes served in leadership positions.  They are often found in the Bible confronting Jesus with questions about the law. 

Essenes

Essenes – This group is more mysterious than the other groups of New Testament times.  The meaning of their name is uncertain.  Some Bible scholars have connected it with the Greek word hosios which means “holy.” 

Unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees, the Essenes could be entered only by submitting to regulations of the group and undergoing initiation ceremonies.  They did not believe in marriage and was able to increase their ranks only by adoption or converts.  They hold all property in common, dressed plainly and ate simple foods.  They believed in the immortality of the soul.  They would not blaspheme God or eat unlawful food, even when threatened with torture. 

The New Testament does not explicitly mention the Essenes, but it is clear that many of their ideas could be found in other circles.  In 1947 some Bedouin sheepherders found eight large jars in a cave near Qumran.  These scrolls (known as the Dead Sea Scrolls) contained manuscripts from the time around the Jewish revolt in A.D. 66-70.  Included in these scrolls was part of the book of Isaiah.

Zealots

Zealots – The Zealots were not a religious sect like the Pharisees and Sadducees.  Rather they were armed resisters who fought against foreign rule and taxation.  Their belief was that since God is the only Lord, no tribute should be paid to the Roman emperor.  Founded by Judas the Galilean in A.D. 6, they looked up to the “zealous” followers of Yahweh like Phinehas and Elijah in the Old Testament and the Maccabees in the second century B.C.  They may have been associated with the “Assassins” mentioned in Acts 21:38.

When Jerusalem was under siege by the Roman general Titus, they formed one of the factions in the city and contributed significantly to its downfall.  It appears one of Jesus’ disciples may have been at one time a member of this group (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13).

Hebraists

The Hebraists – The Hebraists, or “Hebrews,” were those Jews who not only retained the religious faith of Judaism, but also kept the Use of the Hebrew or Aramaic language and the Hebrew customs.  Paul wrote that he was “a Hebrew of Hebrews” (Philippians. 3:5).  Although there were Hebrews who lived throughout the Roman world maintaining their Jewish beliefs, untouched by the Gentile customs around them, the bulk of the Hebraists lived in Palestine where their life centered in the temple. 

Hellenists

Hellenists – A larger group of Jews had absorbed the Graeco-Roman culture and were Jews only in matters of faith.  They had adopted the Greek language or whatever language was spoken in the area where they lived.  They adopted the customs of their neighbors.  The Hellenists were somewhat broader in their sympathies than the Hebraists and perhaps more open to see the wider implications of the Old Testament Scriptures as they pertained to Christ.

In Acts 6 the division between these two groups threatened to disrupt the Early Church. 

Obedience in Action

Matthew 28:16-20

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.  When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen

Acts 16:25-45

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.  And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.  But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”  Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.  And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.  Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

The Great Commission  – The followers of Jesus were given a task to do

  • Go
  • Make disciples
  • Baptize
  • Teach others to do what Jesus had taught them

Mark 16:15-18

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.  And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Signs will follow those who believe

Power was given

Luke 24:46-49 – Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And you are witnesses of these things.  Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

Promise of Holy Spirit was given to those who believe

Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Acts 2:4 – And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Throughout the remainder of the Book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament we see that power was manifested through the disciples and the followers of Jesus.  There were several things common to almost everywhere the followers of Jesus went.

  • Boldness
  • Power
  • Holiness
  • Integrity
  • Faithfulness
  • Dependence on God’s Word
  • Uncompromising
  • Love
  • Trust in God
  • No fear
  • Obedience
  • Total commitment

Questions we need to ask ourselves as proclaimed followers of Jesus Christ

  • How is your boldness?  Do you speak of Christ when you have an opportunity? 
  • How is your power?  Have you prayed lately?
  • How is your holiness?  Are you living for Jesus like Jesus would have you to live?
  • How is your integrity?  Are you honest and forthright?
  • How is your faithfulness?  Are you faithful in every walk of life?
  • How is your dependency on the Word?  Do you hide God’s Word in your heart?
  • How is your uncompromising?  Do you bend and twist with what others think or are you true to your convictions?
  • How is your love?  Do you love others as you do yourself?
  • How is your trust in God?  Do you rely on God or on yourself or others?
  • How is your no fear?  When Christ comes in, fear must flee.
  • How is your obedience?  Do you do what is right and what God directs you to do?
  • How is your total commitment?  Is serving God the number one focus in your life?

Denying Jesus

Matthew 26:69-75

Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”  But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”  And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”  But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”  And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”  Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”  Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.

Peter’s denial would be what we refer to in theological terms as “Apostasy.”  By definition it simply means “a turning away”. Denying Christ is serious.  It is a tragic and terrible sin, yet Christ forgives each sin, no matter how terrible it might be.  Christ forgave Peter, and in forgiving Peter He has demonstrated to us, you and me, His love and compassion. 

The cause of Peter’s denial was “apostasy.” He “sat without in the palace.”  He sat down with the crowd which represented the world of rejecters.  Peter was failing Christ and failing Him miserably.  Sitting down with the crowd was the last place he should have been.   Of course, he should have never forsaken Christ.  But having done so he should have been off some place seeking God in prayer, seeking answers and understanding from God.  Or, he should have been with the other followers of Jesus seeking answers from God so that they might understand and have direction in their lives. 

Three things that cause us to deny Christ.  All three things are seen in Peter’s experience.

He turned away, deserted and fled from Him.

Matthew. 26:56 – But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.  “Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.”

He “followed Christ afar off”: not walking close to Him, not standing or being identified with Him.

Matthew. 26:58 – But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.

2 Timothy 1:7-8 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,

He was “sitting without” or sitting with the crowd, not being where one should be.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 – Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate”, says the Lord. “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Thessalonians 3:6 – But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.

Peter’s Denial was also by Pretension

Peter pretended to have nothing to do with Jesus, and even pretended to not even knowing him.  

Mark 8:38 – For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear

Pretending is one of the constant sins of men.

  • We are asked if we think something.  We do and deny it.
  • We are asked if we feel something.  We do and deny it.
  • We are asked if we fear something.  We do and deny it.
  • We are asked if we did something.  We did and deny it.
  • We are asked if we know something.  We do and deny it.

Too many believers deny Christ by pretension.  Very simply, they pretend not to know Christ when out in the world…

  • at their place of employment
  • at their school
  • at their social functions
  • among their neighbors
  • among their friends
  • among strangers

Pretension is two things: 

Pretension is hypocrisy.  It is pretending to be something we are not.

Pretension is denial of Christ.  It is a shying away from or lying about one’s confession of Christ.  Even in our silence we condemn ourselves because by our silence we are denying Christ.

Peter’s Denial was with an Oath

His denial by oath was strong and emphatic and strong.  He said: “I swear by God, I do not know the man.  I know nothing about Him.”  The denial that uses an oath downgrades Christ.  Here he says I never knew “the man.”  Earlier Peter had stated loud and clear “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Matthew. 16:16

Peter had sworn loyalty to Christ even if it meant death. 

Matthew. 26:33-35 – Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”  Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”  Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!”  And so said all the disciples.

Matthew 10:33 – But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

2 Timothy 1:8 – Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.

In the first denial he was charged by only one person and he denied knowing Christ.  In the second denial he was charged by the crowd.  He felt more threatened; therefore his denial was stronger and more emphatic.  He used an oath.  The lesson for us is very clear.  The more we are among the crowds of the world, the more we are threatened with ridicule, embarrassment, abuse, and persecution for our profession in Christ.  And the more we are threatened, the more likely we are to deny Christ.

Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 – Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord.  “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.”

I John 2:15-16 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

There is a strong warning for us in Peter’s denial:

  • Peter was a strong disciple
  • Peter knew and had trusted Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God.
  • Peter had a strong profession of loyalty to Christ.
  • Peter had just partaken of the Lord’s Supper, the very first.
  • Peter had left all to follow Christ.
  • Peter had been taught about God, taught by Christ himself.
  • Peter had even been forewarned that the flesh was weak and that he would fail.
  • Peter’s Denial was with Cursing and Swearing

Peter’s denial were progressively worse:

  • In the first denial, he simply responded that he did not know the Christ.  He just evaded the issue.  He sinned. 
  • In the second denial, he used a socially acceptable oath (although it too was wrong and sinful).  He committed apostasy, and infidelity.  He sinned.
  • In the third denial, he declines swiftly into depraved cursing, totally unacceptable to righteous hearts and pure minds and clean lips.  He committed perjury and blasphemy.  He sinned.

Ephesians 5:11 – And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Titus 1:16 – They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

2 Peter 3:17 – You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.

Proverbs 4:14 – Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil.

The Answer to Denial – Repentance

He remembered the words of the Lord, for when he heard the rooster crowing, and eye to eye with the Lord he realized what he had done.

Luke 22:31-32 – And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren

Getting alone he left the porch or courtyard as fast as he safely could.  He rushed out through the gate into the night to get alone with God, and there he was broken and full of shame, pain and anguish, and he wept bitterly.

He repented and experienced godly sorrow.

2 Corinthians 7:10 – For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.         

I John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 8:22 – Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.

Proverbs 28:13 – He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy

Passover/The Lord’s Supper

Matthew 26:17-29

Now on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”  And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’”  So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.  When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”  And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?”  He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”  Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”  He said to him, “You have said it.”  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”  Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.

Passover to Lord’s Supper

Feast of Unleavened Bread – Exodus 12; Leviticus 23:4-8

Passover was originally a feast for the Israelites as they were about to be delivered from slavery in Egypt.  It was to be celebrated each year as a memorial for those who had been delivered and for future generations to remember what God had done.  It is celebrated in the month of Nisan (March-April) and marks the New Year for Israel because it was the beginning of the Israelites life as a nation.  Jewish tradition said that the Messiah would redeem Israel during the Passover – the very day that God delivered Israel from Egypt.  By obeying this religious celebration, Jesus was doing:

  • Clearly proclaiming He was the Messiah Israel was looking for.
  • Tying the Passover directly to the Lord’s Supper.
  • Stressing the importance of religious obedience.

Lord’s Death – “My time is at hand”

  • Jesus clearly gave Himself up.  He was not taken by surprise in the Garden when the Jewish rulers came to take Him captive.
  • Christ kept the Passover – “I will keep the Passover”
  • Jesus obeyed to the end the Laws of God.
  • Judas was Appealed To
  • Jesus revealed the betrayal.  – Chance for Judas to repent.
  • Jesus warned of the judgment to for the betrayer. – Chance for Judas to repent.
  • Jesus identified the betrayer – Last chance for Judas to repent.

Lord’s Supper Established

  • By taking the bread in His own hands, Jesus signified that His death was voluntary.

John 10:15-18 – As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep…No one takes my life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself....

  • By breaking the bread, Jesus signified that His body was to be broken as a sacrifice.

Isaiah 53:5 – He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.

Cup

  • By taking the cup in His own hands, again He indicated His death was voluntary.
  • By saying “drink all of it,” He indicated man must receive what Jesus has done for him – must allow His death to become the very nourishment, the very strength of his life.

New Covenant

  • Blood of Jesus vs. blood of animals

Hebrews 9:11-28 – ….Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all….how much more shall the blood of Christ….cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?….

  • New Covenant vs. Old Covenant

Marriage Supper of the Lamb Promised

Colossians 3:4 – When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

2 Peter 1:10-11 – Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure….for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Ended Supper with a Hymn

In the midst of a sorrowful moment, Jesus sang praises to God

Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice.

Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

What is Our Mission?

Matthew 25:31-36

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’  “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’  “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Showing love to others with what God has blessed us with:

  • Our ability
  • Our time
  • Our substance

To those who are hungry:

  • Feed spiritual food (Bread of Life)
  • Feed physical food
  • Give to those in need
  • Give to local food pantries
  • Those who are naked
  • Those are strangers
  • Show love and kindness
  • Welcome them into your home, your church, your community
  • Those in prison
  • Nursing home ministry
  • Support worthy causes – your own church first, then missions and others

Our example

1 John 4:11 – Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 Corinthians 13:3    – And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Sacrificial love

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Proof of discipleship

John 15:35 – By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Obedience to our Lord

1 John 4:7-8 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:21 – And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

John 21:15 – So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”  He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”  He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

The sheep did not really recognize that they had been serving Christ when they ministered to the sick, the lonely, those in jail and in the hospital.  They had not done their good deeds to others for a reward.  They had simply served others out of their love for Christ – not because it was the right thing to do – but because it was the natural thing – the thing that sheep do.  It flowed from their very nature – the nature of Christ within them.

The goats did not really recognize that they had not been serving Christ when they ignored the needs of the sick, the lonely, the hurting.  They had simply been too busy with their own needs and desires, oblivious to the needs around them.  They did this because it was the natural thing for goats to do.  It flowed from their very nature – the nature of sinful man within them.

Sheep or Goat?

Matthew 25:31-46

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’  “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’  “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

This parable shows two different groups of people at the day of judgement.

NOTE: Both groups seem surprised at the Lord’s comments to them.

The sheep did not really recognize that they had been serving Christ when they ministered to the sick, the lonely, those in jail and in the hospital.  They had not done their good deeds to others for a reward.  They had simply served others out of their love for Christ – not because it was the right thing to do – but because it was the natural thing – the thing that sheep do.  It flowed from their very nature – the nature of Christ within them.

The goats did not really recognize that they had not been serving Christ when they ignored the needs of the sick, the lonely, the hurting.  They had simply been too busy with their own needs and desires, oblivious to the needs around them.  They did this because it was the natural thing for goats to do.  It flowed from their very nature – the nature of sinful man within them.

The Empty Tomb

Matthew 28:1-10, 16

Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

There are many great mountaintop experiences recorded in the Word of God: 

  • On Mount Horeb, God spoke to Moses from the burning bush.
  • On Mount Sinai, God wrote the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone.
  • On Mount Hor, Aaron transferred his priestly robes to his son Eleazar.
  • From Mount Nebo, Moses looked over into the Promised Land.
  • On Mount Carmel, Elijah called down fire from heaven and the prophets of Baal were consumed.
  • On Mount Moriah, Solomon built the Temple.
  • On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James and John saw Jesus in His radiant glory.
  • From the Mount of Olives, Jesus would ascend into heaven.

But the greatest of all of these is Mount Calvary, where Christ was lifted up and died for our sins.

  • On Mount Calvary, Jesus of Nazareth was lifted up and bled for me and gave His life for me.  
  • On Mount Calvary, Jesus, who walked the dusty roads of Judea, who could have called 10,000 angels chose rather to suffer and die. 
  • On Mount Calvary, God let this sinless, spotless lamb of glory, the Messiah thirst to quench the spiritual thirst of all mankind.  
  • On Mount Calvary, God, who clothes the lilies of the fields, let His son hang naked and in shame for all to see and mock in derision and shame. 
  • On Mount Calvary, this precious little child who lay so innocently in a cradle in an animal’s stall in Bethlehem, now hung helpless and dying on a criminal’s cross in view of friend and foe alike. 
  • On Mount Calvary, earth has no darker sin, history no blacker page, humanity no fouler spot than the crucifixion of Jesus.

The old Hymn states, “He did it all for me, He did it all for me.  When the Savior cried, bowed His head and died.  Oh praise the Lord, He did it all for me.”

The cross is the central revelation of Scripture and the central point of history.  The heart of Christianity is the Bible, and the heart of the Bible is the Cross, and the heart of the Cross is the heart of God.  There we see man at his worst but God at His best. 

The Gospel of Matthew as well as other Gospel writers presents the reality of Jesus’ death as an absolute certainty.  Those standing around the cross watched as Jesus “breathed his last.”   

John 19:30 – He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

They heard Him cry with a loud voice

Mark 15:37 – And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.

Roman authorities, acting on instructions from Pilate, broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus to hasten their death; but coming to Jesus, they discovered He had already died. 

John 19:33 – But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

Having received confirmation of death from the Roman centurion, Pilate released the body of Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus for burial.

The callous Roman soldiers said, “He is dead.”  They didn’t care—they had gambled for His clothes while He hung suffering.

The curious crowds, stupidly unconscious of the eternal significance, said “He is dead.”  They had seen the blood they had wanted to see.

Pilate got the word, “Jesus is dead.”

The head-wagging mob said, “He is dead.”  They were probably sorry that He could not hear their taunts and jeers anymore.

Mary, feeling the pain like a dagger in her heart, said, “My son is dead.”

His disciples, numb and stunned with the events of the past few hours said, “The Master is dead.”

Everybody had written Jesus off as gone forever.  Dead.  Dead.  Dead.

Get on with the same old routine.  We have had our excitement for the day.  He’s dead.  No one expected to see Him or hear His voice again. 

It’s Friday….but Sunday’s coming.

In the early years of the first century, the practice of burying multiple bodies in a common tomb or grave gave way to placing a body in a hewn-out crypt or shelf chiseled into a wall.  Jewish tradition required bodies to be buried on the day of death to avoid defiling the land God had given to them.  In light of the swiftly approaching Passover Sabbath, Joseph and Nicodemus quickly removed the body of Jesus from the cross and wrapped it in a linen burial shroud lined with aromatic spices.  A napkin was placed over His face, the body was placed in Joseph’s new tomb, and a large circular stone was placed at the mouth of the tomb, secured with a Roman seal.  Nothing could get in and nothing could get out.  Or so they thought.  Umm, could they have been mistaken? 

Echoing in the ears of the chief priests and Pharisees, however, was Jesus’ outlandish claim:  “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”.  This and other sayings of Jesus prompted the religion leaders to request sentinels to be stationed at the tomb to deter His followers from stealing the body of Jesus and asserting that His prophesy had come true.  The guards were placed at the tomb, and the grave was believed secure.

On the first day of the week, the early morning darkness was shattered by an earthquake.  An angel of the Lord descended, rolled away the stone, and sat upon it.  His dazzling brilliance struck fear in the hearts of the guards, so much so that they “became like dead men” and later fled.  Bribed by the chief priests, they later claimed the body of Jesus was stolen. 

In those predawn hours, women came to the tomb with the intention of applying additional spices to the body of Jesus.  Oblivious to the fallen guards, they discovered the stone had been rolled away from the tomb.  As they stood astonished and frightened, they received a vision of angels and heard the glad news:

Matthew 28:6 – He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.  Come, see the place where He was lying. 

Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, to Peter, to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, to the Eleven, to Thomas, to James, and according to the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15:6, to “more than five hundred at one time”.  He showed Himself to be alive over a period of 40 days and spoke of things concerning the kingdom of God.  So convinced were they of His resurrection that the disciples were willing to suffer shame for His name and even give their lives in martyrdom for that truth. Only a living Christ could account for such personal transformation. 

Alternative theories have been suggested to account for the empty tomb.  Some have suggested that Jesus only fainted on the cross and the cool tomb revived Him.  But could a wounded victim be able to push a heavy stone away and elude the guards?

Others have said that Christ’s enemies stole His body, but would not they have produced the body to refute the disciples’ preaching on the Resurrection?  Still others claim that the disciples stole His body.  How would these men who on Friday were cowards and ran and hid suddenly get the courage to face a squad of Roman soldiers?  How would these fisherman have the training or the weapons to take on the best qualified military unit in the world?  If they would not defend Him when He was alive and there might be hope of saving him, why would they now be willing to die for a dead body?  Had He not risen, why and how would they have been so bold and forceful in proclaiming His resurrection?  How do you explain the power they suddenly had in face of such opposition when they had been so cowardly before?  Would these men have given their lives for a story they knew was a lie?

In the words of Erwin Lutzer, Moody Bible Institute, “Kingdoms come and kingdoms go, but Christ lives; centuries come and centuries go, but Christ lives; Kings are crowned and kings are uncrowned, but Christ lives.  Emperors decree Christ’s extinction, but Christ lives; skeptics mock and skeptics die, but Christ lives.” 

Edward Gibbon, in the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, stated that during the decline of the Roman Empire, all religions were regarded by the people as equally true, by the philosophers as equally false, and by the politicians as equally useful.  Sound familiar?

Ours is an age of religious pluralism, easy believe-ism, and idolatry.  Secular humanism has taught us to believe that morality is relative and ethics are situational.  The god we are looking for lies within.  Truth has been relegated to technology and beauty has been subjected to the eye of the beholder.  Feelings have come to be synonymous with being.  We have been schooled through academia and pop culture to believe there are no absolutes. “After all” we hear, “all roads lead to god. We are going to the same place, just taking different routes to get us there.”

At the heart of every major religion is a major belief system.  Buddhists are committed to the eight-fold plan of right living and hopeful for Nirvana, which is the elimination of all desire.  Hindus seek freedom from Karma through good works and selfless actions.  Shintos strive for salvation that basically is defined as a healthy, robust life in here and now. Followers of Islam seek acceptance by doing the will of Allah as practiced in “the five pillars” of their belief.

But when you study others religions there comes a distinction between the founder and the teaching.  Mohammed to the Koran.  Buddha to the Noble Path.  Krishna to his philosophizing.  Zoroaster, to his ethics.

Whatever we may make of their claims, one reality is inescapable.  They are teachers who point to their teaching or show some particular way.  In all of these, there emerges an instruction, a way of living.  It is not Zoroaster to whom you turn.  It is Zoroaster to whom you listen.  It is not Buddha who delivers you; it is his Noble Truths that instruct you.  It is not Mohammed who transforms you; it is the beauty of the Koran that woos you.

By contrast, Jesus did not teach or expound His message.  He was identical with His message.  “In Him,” say the Scriptures, dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”  He did not just proclaim the truth.  He said, “I am the truth.”  He did not just show a way.  He said, “I am the Way.”  He did not just open up doors for us.  He said, “I am the door.”  “I am the Good Shepherd.”  “I am the resurrection and the life.”  I am the I AM!”

In Him is not just an offer of life’s bread.  He is the bread.  Christianity is not a way of feeling or a set of moral practices.  It is a relationship with a risen Christ!

What separates Christianity from all other religions of the world is an empty tomb and the words of a living Christ who says, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades”.  Rev 1:17-18

On the third day, Jesus rose from the dead.  He lives!  Triumphant, He reigns.  He reigns within my heart.  Because He lives I live also.  Triumphant am I.  But He lives to be lifted up still.  This is the task of all we who are saved through the cross.  We must, we must continue to lift Him up.  He said, “If I be lifted up I would draw all men unto Me.”

An article about the conversion of a Buddhist in Africa who became a Christian reads like this.  When asked why he had changed religions.  “It’s like this: if you were walking along and came to a fork in the road and two men were there, one was dead and the other was alive, which man’s direction would you follow?”

Christ is risen!  Christ is risen!  Christ is risen!  Christ is risen! Christ is risen!

The Faithful and the Unfaithful Servant

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Watch

Watch – “gregoreo” – to keep awake; to stay alert; to be watchful and sleepless; to be vigilant.  It also includes the idea of being motivated, of keeping one’s mind and attention upon something.  It has the idea of being alert at the right time.  It is at night that a person really needs to stay awake and watch for the thief.

Jesus said He would come again

John 14:1-3 – “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

The Apostle Paul also wrote about the return of the Lord.

1 Thess. 4:13-18 – But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Cor. 15:51-52 – Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The Apostle Peter wrote about the return of the Lord

2 Peter 3:10 – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.

Ever since the church began, people have tried to make predictions about when the Lord will return. Jesus was very clear that “no one” will know the exact hour.

Mark 13:32 – But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

What Should We Do?

First, stop speculating. Instead of trying to figure out when He will return, let us make sure we are doing all we can to share the good news of the gospel and working to further his kingdom here on earth.

Luke 12:39 – But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.

1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4 – For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief…

Jesus Gave a Parable to Tell Us What We Should Do

A Professing Believer

  • He has a house
  • He has possessions enough to attract a thief
  • He was not watchful – awake, alert, his mind on the things of God
  • He apparently knew the thief were come – just not when
  • He failed to stay awake – to keep his mind alert, to stay focused on the signs around him – to keep up his guard – long enough.
  • He suffered disaster.

2 Peter 2:10-14- “….Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved (our homes, our businesses, our cars, our collections), what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness….be diligent (“spoudazo” – exert oneself, make every effort, be zealous, strain every nerve.  Spoudazo combines thinking and acting.  It cover seeing a need and following through to do something about it.) to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.”

A Faithful and Wise Believer

  • He has responsibility

Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

John 15:8 – By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

John 20:21 – So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

  • He has accountability

1 Corinthians 4:2 – Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

1 Peter 4:10 – As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Romans 12:1-8 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

  • He has a great reward

Matthew 25:21 – His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Revelation 3:21 – To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

An Unfaithful and Foolish Unbeliever

  • He has a wrong attitude in his heart
  • He does not believe the Lord will return

2 Peter 3:1-9 – Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

  • He thinks the Lord will not return soon – he has plenty of time

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 – We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says:  “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.”  Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Heb. 3:7-13 – Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:  “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.  Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
and they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”  Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:16-19 – For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

  • He simply ignores the Lord’s return.
  • He has a wrong behavior pattern.
  • He acts unjustly – mistreating others.
  • He lives for himself – eating and drinking – enjoying the pleasures of this life to the exclusion of his Master’s work.
  • He has a certain judgment coming.

Hebrews 9:27 – and as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.

Revelation 20:11-15 – Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the

Note:  the evil servant was still called a servant of the Master.  Worse of all is the one who professes and yet remains in a life of habitual, willful sin.  This person does several things:

  • Deceives himself and others. 
  • Minimizes the truth of eternity, of heaven, of hell and the judgment awaiting all of us.
  • Hinders others from coming to the truth.

Which servant are you? Are you watching, staying alert? Are you busy doing what God has called you to do?