Thursday, April 05, 2007

What If The Tomb Is Not Empty?

The sermon below was given on Easter Sunday 1999 at Hankins Assembly of God. Recently, a claim that the tomb of Jesus had been found was provided to the news media on February 26, 2007 and the Discovery Channel TV aired a special, “The Lost Tomb of Jesus”, on Sunday evening, March 4, 2007.

Consider the ramifications of this announcement if true …..On the other hand, “What if the Bible is True?”

(All scripture references have been taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973,1978,1984 by International Bible Society, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI 49530)

There has been no greater event in the course of human history than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For the Bible tells us that the salvation of all men is dependent upon this event.

Imagine if the following headlines were broadcast world wide:

Dateline Jerusalem: On the eve of the annual celebration of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the 1 million inhabitants of this city were shocked by the announcement that a body, identified as that of Jesus, was found in a long-neglected tomb just outside the boundary of the city. Rumors have been circulating the last week that a very important discovery was about to be announced. The news, however, far outstrips all of our wildest guesses. The initial reaction of Christians here and around the world has been one of astonishment, bewilderment, and defensive disbelief. We will have to wait and see just what effect this discovery will have on the 2,000 year-old religion. To the mind of this unbelieving writer, it appears that Christianity will have to take its place on the same level with other religions of the world. No longer can its followers claim that, unlike other religions, the tomb of its founder is empty. Evidently a 2,000-year-old lie has come to an end.
Ref: Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, Green, M.P. (ed.), Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI (1989)

If this news release were true our faith would be in vain. In 1 Corinthians 15: 14-19, the apostle Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But He did not raise Him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”

The Bible teaches us that it is through Christ, the Son of God, that men have fellowship with the Father. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (John 14:6) In Ephesians 2:8-9 we are reminded, “For it is by grace (unmerited favor) you have been saved, through faith - that this not from yourselves, it is the (free) gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Words underlined were added for emphasis)

If Christ is not the Son of God; if Christ has not been raised from the dead then we have no hope - we are still dead in our trespasses and sin and our due reward is death. For the Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Easter is a time not only to celebrate and rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; it is a time to rejoice in His triumph over death and the grave. You might say that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the, “Solution to a ‘Grave’ Problem”. The thought of death leaves many people distraught and frustrated as we discover how helpless we really are. A close look at the death rate in our area indicates that it is “one per person”. I say this not to be facetious but to remind us that one day each of us will die. Easter reminds us of our hope - it reminds us that there is life after death - it reminds us that there is one who has gone before.

1 Corinthians 15:54b-57 provides the comfort we have as Christians concerning death: “....Death has been swallowed up in victory. ‘Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Finally, let us not be deceived for we will all be resurrected. Jesus speaks of a resurrection of life for the believer and a resurrection of judgment for the wicked: “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:28-29) What if the Bible is true?


Below is the introduction to a recent article which was published on the “Answers In Genesis” website.
For additional information go to:

“Jesus’ tomb found” claim as empty as Jesus’ [real] tomb

A review of Sunday evening’s television attack on the Resurrection

March 5, 2007

It’s the latest variation in a long line of lies that started in Matthew 28:11–15: a claim that the tomb—and ossuary (bone box)—of Jesus has been found and, along with it, the ossuaries of other members of Jesus’ family, including His mother Mary and His alleged wife, Mary Magdalene. Over 25 years ago, the bones in the boxes were removed and reburied in unmarked graves, but bone fragments remain in multiple ossuaries—including in that alleged to be Jesus’ coffin.

The implications are staggering to orthodox Christian belief, which is both built and focused on the Resurrection, divinity, and lordship of Jesus (see, in particular, 1 Corinthians 15:1–4, 12–22). If the remains of Jesus have been found (or, more precisely—as we’ll see—remains of the remains of Jesus), our faith is in vain. Thus, like the debate over origins, it is imperative that Christians closely examine and boldly answer the challenge, both to strengthen our own faith and to be ready to “give an answer” to an unbelieving world.


Crying in the Wilderness Ministry

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