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Downtown Sunday Morning Service (9:30 am)
April 1, 2018 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am
Announcements & Meditation
– Call to Worship –
Minister: The Lord is risen!
Congregation: He is risen, indeed!
Minister: Lift up your hearts!
Congregation: We lift them up to the Lord!
Christ the Lord is Risen Today, p. 268
– Confession –
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, p. 267
CONFESSION OF SIN
Congregation is invited to kneel if able
+ ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Minister: Your sins are forgiven through Christ.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
Minister: Christian, what do you believe?
Congregation: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the virgin, Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hades. On the third day He rose again from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Minister: How long will You forget me, O Lord? forever?
Congregation: How long will You hide Your face from me?
Minister: How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Congregation: Having sorrow in my heart daily?
Minister; But I have trusted in Your mercy;
Congregation: My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
Minister: I will sing unto the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.[/one-half-first]
Let the Vault of Heaven Resound, p. 272-273
– Consecration –
+ SCRIPTURE READING
Jonah 1:17-2:6, Matthew 28:1-10
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
CC: Gideon David Nieuwsma
CCD: Zane Abram Ealy, Amara Charlotte Ealy, Levi Jackson Belschner
Congregational Charge: Little child, for you Jesus Christ came to this earth, struggled and suffered; for your sake He crossed Gethsemane and went through the darkness of Calvary; for your sake He cried: ‘It is finished’; for your sake He died and for your sake He overcame death; indeed for your sake, little child, and you – still – know nothing of it. And thus the word of then Apostle is confirmed: ‘We love God, for He loves us first.’
(Taken from an old French Reformed Baptism Rite)
Psalm 150, bulletin p. 8
Opening: Psalm 94:14-19
Thanksgiving: Psalm 95:1-3
Petitions: Psalm 143:5-8
That Easter Day with Joy was Bright, p. 271
CC: Departure from Bethany (Douglas Wilson)Sermon
The message that we Christians have for the world is a message that concerns certain historical events, and we include with that message the theological import, the theological meaning, of those events. We preach and declare that Christ died and rose, and we also declare that this same Christ was the God/man, meaning that His death was a propitiation for our sins, and that His resurrection was the vindication or justification of all who believe in Him. His new life is our new life, which we possess by faith alone.
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (1 Cor. 15:3–8).
Summary of the Text
This passage from 1 Corinthians contains a wonderful summary of the contents of the objective gospel. That gospel includes in it a summary overview of some of the resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ. But first, Paul had passed on to the Corinthians what he had received (v. 3). In accordance with the Scriptures (v. 3), Christ died for our sins (v. 3). He was buried, demonstrating that the death was not play-acting, not a sham (v. 4). The third day He rose from the dead, which was the initial moment of resurrection (v. 4)—a great event that was also in accordance with the Scriptures (v. 4). But the gospel contains more than just that initial instant of resurrection. What we call the resurrection includes the 40 days between that moment and the time of His ascension into Heaven. He appeared first to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve (v. 5), and after that to over 500 brothers at one time (v. 6). The word had gotten out over the course of those 40 days and quite a crowd had assembled. Most of those witnesses were still alive decades later when 1 Corinthians was written (c. 53-55 A.D.) Then James saw Him, and all the apostles (v. 7). After that, in a way that was a bit irregular (because it was after the Ascension), the Lord appeared also to Paul (v. 8).
Sunday Morning Chaos
In all four gospels, the women are the first at the tomb Sunday morning (Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20). The stone has been rolled away, and the tomb is empty. Mary Magdalene apparently separates from the other women, and goes to find Peter and John (John 20:1-2). The other nine disciples were not with Peter (perhaps because of his shame over his denial?), and they are found by the larger group of women. Peter and John run to the tomb, and find it empty, with Mary Magdalene apparently coming along behind them. After they depart (John having believed), Mary stayed there, saw the angels, asked about the body, and then after that encountered Jesus Himself (John 20:17). So Mary was the first to see the risen Christ, and as a group the disciples generally did not believe her (Mark 16:9-11). The other women had gone into the tomb separately (Matt. 28:5-10), and were sent by the angels to tell the disciples. As they were going back to Jerusalem, Peter, John and Mary Magdalene were coming back out of Jerusalem, on the way to the tomb. After Jesus appeared to Mary, He also appeared to the women on the way back to Jerusalem, who had been too frightened to speak to anyone (Mark 16:8). But after He appeared to them, they were able to deliver the message (Luke 24:9-11).
40 Day Timeline
While it is best not to be too dogmatic about such reconstructions, here is a suggested timeline:
- Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18);
2. Salome, Joanna, the other Mary, and one other woman at least (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10);
3. Simon Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5);
4. Cleopas and companion on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35);
5. The disciples, Thomas missing (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25);
6. The disciples, with Thomas present (John 20:26-29);
7. Seven disciples at the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-23);
8. Disciples and small crowd on a mountain in Galilee (Matt. 28:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:6);
9. James, the Lord’s brother (1 Cor. 15:7);
10. Disciples, probably in Jerusalem, before they walked to Bethany on Mt. Olivet, where He ascended (Luke 24:49-53; Acts 1:3-11).
Please note that we are talking about a lot of people who saw the Lord, and in broad daylight.
Departure from Bethany
Bethany was a village located about a mile and a half from Jerusalem. It is the place where Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46). It is the place where the Triumphal Entry had begun (Mark 11:1; Luke 19:29). During the week that preceded His arrest, the Lord stayed in Bethany (Matt. 21:17; Mark 11:11-12). Simon the Leper lived there, and it was in his house that Mary had anointed Jesus (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8). And Jesus led His disciples out to Bethany before He ascended into Heaven (Luke 24:50).
It is hard to escape the conclusion that Jesus went to Bethany and saw Lazarus, Martha, and Mary there. The conclusion of His resurrection appearances was not the dissolution of His friendships, but rather the eternal and everlasting ratification of them. He went to a town; He ascended into Heaven from a place. He knew people there. When He ascended, there were houses in the background, one of them being a place where He had previously stayed. In short, this last resurrection appearance was an event in history, in full color, under the same sun we have enjoyed this morning. We don’t know the precise latitude and longitude of the last place where Jesus was standing before He left, but God knows it. No doubt many an unwitting tourist has stood on the spot. There is probably a car parked there right now.
And because there is no reason a car couldn’t be parked on that very spot, your sins are forgiven. These things really happened, in other words. And by “really happened,” I mean something like actually happened. As sure as this Bible is on the pulpit, that being something that actually happened, so also Jesus walked to Bethany for His departure.
Those who want to pretend that Jesus rose, will also have to pretend to be forgiven. Those who know, as we do, that Christ is risen are also privileged to know that we also will rise. He is risen indeed.
CCD: Cross-Shaped Lives (Ty Knight)Sermon
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us[a] in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime[b] in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. 5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit (1 Peter 4:1-11).
Serving for God’s Glory
7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”[c] 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
How does Easter shape your life? In this passage Peter draws application for us based on Jesus suffering on the cross, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh…do this in our life.” A religion that has at it’s center a crucifixion is a scary religion––for its people. We follow a crucified Christ, a suffering Savior. Because Jesus Christ has shaped you at the cross through his death and resurrection, you are to live a cross-shaped life. What does this look like? Peter shows three results in our passage in 1 Peter 4. With a cross-shaped life, you are armed to fight against sin and to live for God. With a cross-shaped life, you have hope in the resurrection and judgment. With a cross-shaped life, you love God’s people and glorify the Father.
Armed to Fight Sin (vs. 1-4)
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind.” Christ viewed the cross and his suffering on the cross as the means to fight against sin, and we are be armed with the same mind. Thus armed, we cease from sin. There are two ways to understand this and both are biblical and profoundly glorious. The first is we cease from sin because of our spiritual union with Jesus in baptism (Romans 6). The second way to understand this verse is more practical in that one who has committed to follow Jesus, even to the point of suffering for him, does not have the desire for sin. Sin grows bland, revolting, undesirable compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus. If you’ve armed yourself with the thought that you will suffer with Jesus, then you are ready to pile up the rubbish heap of all that keeps you from treasuring Christ.
That’s what Peter says, “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles, acting like the world––when we walked in lewdness, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” Peter remembers when he walked like this––drunken nights down at the docks and the fights and the swearing, and he’s done with it! We’ve spent enough of our life chasing after sin. And you must be armed to fight first your own sin. “Now” is enough! Peter pleads with you abstain from the desires of the flesh because they war against your soul (2:11). Don’t give any more of your time to being drunk. Don’t give your strength to porn. Don’t fritter away your time in coveting. Don’t you remember that Jesus has redeemed you with his precious blood?
Arm yourself with the cross to fight your sin, and also fight against our culture’s celebration of sin, or even your friend’s. Have the backbone and gristle to be different than everyone else because you are doing the will of God. But sometimes when you live like that you get thrown into a lions den or chucked in a fiery furnace or nailed to a cross.
Judgment and Resurrection (vs. 5-6)
If your life is shaped by the cross, you have hope for the future. Even though those still running in the world will trash talk you, “they will give an account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but alive according to God in the spirit.” Peter recognizes that you got enemies that malign you because you’re not running with sinners and in sin anymore. He says that those who taunt Christians, look down on Christians, persecute Christians will give an account to the Judge. So don’t worry about you giving pay back. All wrongs will be righted. God will settle accounts with all people, the living and the dead.
Fervent Love and Covering Sin (vs. 7-11)
Above all, Peter tells us that to we must love one another, and love fervently. This is the clear result of those shaped by the cross. We love because he first loved us. “By this we know love because he laid down his life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for our brethren” (1 Jn. 3:16). We are told to cultivate a fervent love, and a good place to start with with hospitality. Give yourself away and do it without grumbling, just like Jesus did. What did Jesus do before the judgment of the cross? “Here is bread, here is wine.”
When we see the people of God, we see a parade of God’s amazing grace. God’s grace is evident and working in his people––those who teach, who serve, who throw baby showers, who pray for every prayer request on the church email, who clean up the fishy crackers ground into the carpet.
In All Things Glorified
What’s the result when Christians live cross-shaped lives? What happens when you refuse to run with the world and fight against your sin? What happens when you have the unshakable confidence that whether you live or you die, you belong to the Lord (Rom. 14:8)? What follows when you love and forgive and feast and serve and teach according to the grace that God gives you? Your cross shaped life becomes a living doxology––glory to God through Jesus Christ to him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Ending with The Lord’s Prayer, p. 411
+ The Day of Resurrection, bulletin p. 9
– Communion –
Come with Thanks, God’s Goodness Praising, pp. 154-155
Come with Thanks, God’s Goodness Praising, pp. 156-157
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
Doxology (to the tune of Lasst uns erfr pp. 288-289
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
CHARGE & BENEDICTION
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.