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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, April 20, 2003

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said" (Matthew 28:6).

I was born on what many people call "Holy Saturday," the day before Easter, April 12, 1941, at 4:00 in the afternoon. The next morning they brought me into the hospital room and placed me in my mother's arms. She told me about this many times. As she held me close to her that Easter morning, she looked out of the hospital window next to Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale. Upon the Hill of Forest Lawn outside her window they released hundreds of white doves into the air that morning. As my mother held me, she watched that great flock of doves ascend into the sky above. And she thought about the resurrection of Christ.

Fifty-six years later I stood by my mother's grave while a bulldozer pushed the earth over her casket. And these words of Christ went through my mind:

"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:25-26).

I left Mother's graveside with those words going over and over in my mind, "He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." I could believe what Jesus said because I knew that He had risen from the dead Himself. Mother would someday rise from that grave to meet Jesus in the air because Jesus, Himself, had conquered death.

"Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him" (Mark 16:6).

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said" (Matthew 28:6).

I. First, this was the message of Christ's Disciples.

They had all seen Him after He rose from the dead. They were so convinced that they had seen Him, that Luke was able to say,

"He shewed himself alive after his passion [his death] by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days" (Acts 1:3).

In this morning's sermon I gave you three infallible proofs of Christ's resurrection. I will not repeat these points tonight. Instead I will simply say that the followers of Christ believed that they had seen "infallible proofs" that He had risen from the dead.

There were a great many people who saw Him alive after the resurrection. In I Corinthians the Apostle Paul gives a long list of these eyewitnesses,

"He was seen of Cephas [named Peter], then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once…After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also" (I Corinthians 15:5-8).

The resurrection of Christ was the central theme of the Apostles' preaching. When He was crucified and His Disciples ran away for fear, it seemed to be the end of Christ's cause. But just fifty days after the crucifixion the streets of Jerusalem rang out with the bold cries of those who proclaimed that God had raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and that they were His witnesses. These were the Apostles. And the word "apostle" comes from the Greek word "apostolos" - and it means "a messenger, he that is sent with a message" (Strong's Concordance, number 652). And their message was simple - "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said" (Matthew 28:6).

The Apostle Peter said:

"Him…ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it" (Acts 2:23-24).

Then Peter said:

"This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses" (Acts 2:32).

The Apostle Paul said:

"And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power" (I Corinthians 6:14).

"This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses" (Acts 2:32). The Apostles, and many hundreds of disciples, were bold witnesses to the fact that they had seen Jesus Christ after He physically arose from the dead! All of them said,

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said" (Matthew 28:6).

II. Second, this was the message they suffered and died for.

All of the Apostles were tortured for proclaiming Christ's resurrection. All of them but John were killed for preaching it - and John was put into a vat of boiling oil, and barely escaped death. After that, he was banished to the Isle of Patmos, with scars from the boiling oil marking his body. Peter was crucified upside down. Paul was beheaded. James, the brother of Jesus, was stoned and clubbed to death. James, the brother of John, was thrust through with a sword. Thomas was killed by a spear. Thaddaeus was put to death with arrows. Bartholomew was skinned alive, and then crucified upside down. Luke was also executed. And Mark died a martyr's death in the eighth year of the Emperor Nero's reign (cf. Josh McDowell, A Ready Defense, Thomas Nelson, 1993, p. 436). The historian Dr. Philip Schaff said that the Apostles' willingness to die rather than deny Christ's resurrection is "one of the strongest evidences of the divinity and indestructible life of our religion" (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Eerdmans, 1910, volume I, p. 8). Josh McDowell said that these men "considered moral and ethical integrity more important than life itself. These Christians do not appear to be wild-eyed fanatics. Nor are they simply zealously devoted to a particular philosophy of life. They are men and women who, at the very least, are saying by their shed blood, 'I cannot deny that Jesus of Nazareth lived, taught and died, and has been raised from the dead to demonstrate that he is Messiah and Lord and God'" (Josh McDowell, op. cit., p. 437). The Apostle Paul believed so strongly in Christ's resurrection that he said, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).

You can trust men who believed this so strongly that they were willing to die proclaiming that

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said" (Matthew 28:6).

III. Third, this message can bring you hope and salvation.

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said" (Matthew 28:6).

The power of those words, and the experience of that event, changed the course of history, and has given hope and salvation to millions of people across the centuries.

God sent His Son, They called Him Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died To buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there To prove my Saviour lives.

Because He lives I can face tomorrow;
Because He lives All fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living Just because He lives.
     ("Because He Lives" by Bill Gaither)

Jesus said,

"Because I live, ye shall live also" (John 14:19).

He also said,

"Ye believe in God, believe also in me" (John 14:1).

Then Jesus said,

"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

The Biblical account of His resurrection brings you face to face with the living Christ. Now you must decide. Will you choose to trust Christ and be saved from sin by Him? Will you experience the new birth? Or will you choose to reject Him - and live and die without hope? Our message to you is simple: choose Christ - and you will live forever!

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said" (Matthew 28:6).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 11:25-26.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "I'd Rather Have Jesus"



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said" (Matthew 28:6).

(John 11:25-26; Mark 16:6)

I.   This was the message of Christ's Disciples, Acts 1:3;
I Corinthians 15:5-8; Acts 2:23-24; Acts 2:32; I Corinthians 6:14.

II.  This was the message they suffered and died for, Philippians 1:21.

III. This message can bring you hope and salvation, John 14:19, 1, 6.