Charles Stanley - The Stunning Impact of Christ's Resurrection
The resurrection of Jesus Christ had a stunning effect upon the world of Jesus' day. Nothing ever happened to equal it, nor has anything ever happened to equal it. It is THE experience in life. It is THE moment in time that absolutely has affected the world for all eternity. So I want to talk just about that: the stunning effect it's had upon society and every aspect of life. And I want you to turn if you will to the twenty-eighth chapter of Matthew, and I just want us to read a portion of that in which we find the resurrection being accounted for here.
In the twenty-eighth chapter of Matthew beginning in verse one, "Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave". Notice, they came to look at it, "And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here for He has risen, just as He said. Come see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, and there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.' And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report to all His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him. And then Jesus said to them, 'Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.'"
If somebody asks you, What's the most important event in all of history what would you say? You probably not thinking necessarily about something spiritual; you might come up with some event that may have happened. But the truth is, the most momentous event in all of history was the resurrection of one person, and that person was Jesus. But He was not just a man, but this is God in human flesh, walking among us and He came in order to save us from our sins. So when I look at the impact that He had upon His day and upon our day, I want us to think about it for a moment. Because the resurrection of Jesus Christ shook the religious world of Jesus' day. And if you'll think about this for a moment, what went on.
The scripture says in this twenty-seventh chapter and the fifty-first verse that, "The veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom". Now here's what was happening. This was the Passover and the temple was full, thousands of people are here and there worshipping. And remember that this veil separated the people from God, so to speak. Behind that veil was only one place that a person could go and only one person. It was the Holy of Holies, that God separated from all mankind and said only the High Priest once a year can go into the Holy of Holies, taking blood and placing it upon the altar as a symbol of God's forgiveness for the nation of Israel. And one time a year the High Priest could go there. And so that's the way they saw that, that God resided behind this veil. Well when the earthquake took place, and the Bible says that Jesus died, it was that moment of His death the veil was rent from top to bottom, torn apart.
Can you imagine what they must have felt because it was the holiest spot on earth? And all of a sudden the veil has rent from top to bottom, torn apart, and no longer is God hidden behind this veil. And all that they had believed all of these years, and all of a sudden here was the veil torn apart. And in the process of doing so, God was making a statement, and here was His statement. No more sacrifices. No more veil. No more altars; but rather Jesus Christ has come as the Son of God. The final lamb has been sacrificed. The door is opened by His presence to all the world to be able to have a relationship with God, personally and intimately. It was a shocking thing for them. And they did not, of course, cease worshipping immediately. I'm sure they made some amends and whatever it might be. But then, even then, they did not understand the truth. Forty years later, Titus, the general who became the emperor, Titus and his Roman soldiers assaulted Jerusalem and absolutely destroyed it.
And so God said it was going to happen. He destroyed the temple; destroyed most of Jerusalem; killed thousands and thousands of people. And the impact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God acted in that resurrection to say to them the thing that they needed to hear above all else. All sacrifices are over. My Son, Jesus who walked among you, is the ultimate, only acceptable sacrifice before the Heavenly Father. Which opened the door not just to Jews, but opened the door to the whole world, to believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was His acceptable sacrifice. It not only shook the world of religion in that day, it shook the political world of that day. Rome ruled everything. And now all of a sudden, something happened. There was a man who said He was a king, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Here was an enemy that was a different kind of enemy. Because suddenly, they couldn't explain Him. He died and yet they said He was alive. They couldn't explain Him. They couldn't find Him because He'd already resurrected and gone to heaven. And He couldn't be conquered.
So, it's the most momentous thing that's ever happened in life because it changed the world. Then I think about how it has also shaped our lives today. For example, it is the resurrected Jesus that you placed your faith in. Somewhere back there you asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your life. You believe the testimony of the Word of God and you asked Him to save you of your sins. The reason He saved you of your sins, He's the only one who could. He's the only one who could because remember this. He came as the Lamb of God. And He came as the sinless Lamb of God and He came as the only substitute that God would take, would accept. It was the predetermined will of God that His Son die. Why? Because He died as the only acceptable sacrifice for our sins. That's why it was a substitutionary sacrificial death.
So that a person can be saved today because Jesus has paid your sin debt in full. There's nothing you can do to pay for it. You say, Well I can confess and repent. You can do a lot of things, but your salvation is based upon what He did and your personal acceptance of His death as a substitute for you so that you would not have to die for your sins. What an awesome impact He's had upon our life. And, because the resurrection, for example, you and I can live a surrendered life. It's not enough from God's perspective that you and I live a good life; but He wants us to live a surrendered life. When you receive Jesus Christ into your life, He comes to live to do what? To demonstrate to those about you who He is. And so therefore, He saves you in order to speak through you, live through you and to make a difference to those around you.
And I wonder today if you can point to anybody in your life that you would say, Well I witnessed to this person; I shared my faith. I told them about Jesus. I gave them a personal testimony of how God had worked in my life, and they trusted Jesus Christ as a result of my sharing that with them. Too many of God's people are too quiet. We're too quiet. We have a testimony. You have a testimony where you live, where you work, your friends, your family. You have the only message that'll change a person's eternal destiny. You have the only message that'll change a person's eternal destiny. Instead of being eternally separated from God, they can spend eternity in heaven. You have that message. We cannot afford to keep it to ourselves. It's the message God intends to be spread all over the world and you and I have a part of being a part simply of that.
So who are you telling? Who are you talking to about Jesus? What about your sons? What about your daughters? What about the rest of your family? What about your grandfathers, your grandmothers? What about the people you work with? What about those people who you consider to be your friends? Do you talk about Jesus? Or do you talk about everything else? There are many things to talk about, there's nothing so important as talking about the person of Jesus Christ. What area of your life is He not involved? What have you rejected in your life that didn't belong in your life because you love Him and because you want to live a godly life? Holiness is a word you hear little about. But holiness is what God's all about.
You wake up tomorrow morning and you say to Him, Lord Jesus, I thank You today that You're living within me. That before I meet the world or my husband or wife who sleeping beside me here; before I talk to anybody else, I want to ask You to sanctify me. Set me apart in my mind and heart, that today I want to live righteously and holy. I don't want any sin in my life. I want You to have Your way in my life today, so that the torch You've given me, I want it to shine brightly to those who see me and those who know me. So I'm asking You to sanctify me afresh and anew this morning before I get out of bed. Secondly, Lord, I want You to fill me with Your Spirit so that You're in control all day long. You're living through me the life that You intended to live when You said You predestined us to be conformed to the likeness of Your Son.
You start your day like that and this idea, I'm just a sinner saved by grace, will not fit who you are. Now, somebody says, Well, I don't think I can do that. Then let me ask you a question. Why can't you do the will of God? Yes you can. Yes you can, because you have the Holy Spirit to enable you. You say, Well you know, s'pose I try it and by about twelve o'clock I've done something wrong? Ask God to forgive you. Ask Him to cleanse you. Say, Lord, sanctify me afresh and anew today, so that, in other words, if you find yourself, and some people have weaknesses in particular areas, and you'll have to deal with that.
But listen. Every time you say to Him, I want You to sanctify me. I want You to set me apart so that that doesn't fit my life. And Lord, I want to be such that that does not fit my life today or tomorrow. I want to be the kind of person that sin just doesn't fit me. What do you think pleases Jesus more than anything else in your life? The awareness and the conviction and the effort on your part to live a godly life and to share the truth of Him with other people. That pleases Him and it does honors Him. And that's my prayer that you would do that. Now maybe you've never trusted Christ as your Savior. You say, Living a holy life, that's foreign to me. Yeah, sure it is. I understand that.
Let's think for just a moment. You've never trusted Him as your Savior, why? Well you could give a lot of reasons. Let me ask you this. When you get ready to die and you've got a few minutes, maybe, before you die, what do you think you're going to be feeling when you look back in life lived apart from God? It's not going to be a pretty sight. Here's what you need. You need to ask the Lord to forgive you of your sin. No excuses. I believe that when Your Son, Jesus, went to the cross; and when He died and He shed His blood, He shed it for me. He paid my sin debt in full right then. And therefore I'm coming to ask You to forgive me of my sin and surrendering my life to You; and accepting You as my Savior and my Lord. And Lord, I do want to live a holy life. I do want to live a righteous life. I want the torch of my life to shine brightly. I surrender my life to You, to do in my life whatever You are pleased to do, whatever You choose to do.
Now watch this. Salvation is not I'll do this, that and the other. Salvation is my trust in Him as my Savior. Desiring to live a godly life, is what the Holy Spirit does within us, till He calls us home. Do you have a desire to have a holy life? Do you have a desire to live a life in which your conduct, conversation and character are like that of Jesus? You can if you choose in absolute dependence upon Him. And that's my prayer that you would do it.
Father, how grateful we are You make no requirement of us that you do not perform in us through the person of the Holy Spirit. And we pray that on this awesome Easter Sunday that all of us who know You as our Savior would desire to walk holy before You and share the truth that has transformed our life and impacted this world. We pray that every person who hears this message, in whatever language and wherever, would say yes to the appeal of the Holy Spirit. We love You and we praise You and we thank You. We offer ourselves afresh and anew to You on this day to say, Oh Lord, may our conversation, our character and our conduct say to those who know us and those who need us there's something about Jesus in this life. And we'll thank You for it forever, God, amen.