Jentezen Franklin - The Devil's Waterloo
If you have your Bibles, I do want to read in the New Testament, Luke 24. "Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, certain other women came with them to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared". Turn to somebody and say, "That's the Spice Girls". "And they found the stone, and it was rolled away from the tomb. And they went in", listen, "and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments", which tells me it wasn't men, it was angels.
"Then, as they were afraid, and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them", what a great question, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but He is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again?' And then they remembered His words".
A great, great preacher, who has gone on to be with the Lord, left a legacy of two remarkable sermons. One of the sermons that became quite famous from Dr. S.M. Lockridge - He was an African American pastor and preacher. He was a leader in the civil rights movement and marched with Dr. King, but even more notable than that was his ability to preach Jesus from the pulpit. He had a famous sermon that was called "That's My King", and it became world famous, and whether you realize it or not, you've heard it. You've heard bits and pieces of it.
There's not a preacher in the nation that hasn't taken some of it at some point, and if they haven't, they're just young and haven't discovered it yet. But, it's a remarkable, remarkable sermon. And then, his second sermon that became famous, that sometimes someone will say something and it becomes something that lives for generations, and that's what's happened with his second sermon. It was called, "It's Friday, but Sunday's Coming". He was right. He was preaching Calvary was Friday, but Sunday's coming.
But, I want to preach good news today that it's Sunday! And Jesus is coming, just like He said He would! He's coming again! The sky grew dark. The earth began to tremble. What a horrible, horrible thing that was heard as Jesus uttered from the cross, "My Father, My Father, why have You forsaken Me"? The veil was torn in the temple. Jesus, hanging on the cross. Heaven is weeping. Hell is rejoicing. The perfect man, Jesus Christ, is dying a hideous death on the cross. Satan thought he had destroyed Jesus on Friday. Satan thought that the battle was won for hell on Friday. But, three days later, a mighty angel was dispatched from heaven. He rolled the stone away, and Jesus Christ stepped out of that tomb.
When He died on the cross, He was a silent Lamb, but when He rose from the dead and stepped out of that tomb, He was no longer a silent Lamb, He was the lion of the Tribe of Judah, and He was roaring with resurrection power. And today, the message is He is not here in that tomb, He is risen! It's Sunday. It's Easter Sunday, and our Savior has humiliated hell. Our Savior has outwitted Satan. He has overpowered the grave. He has caused sin to bow its knee. He has defeated the strategies of hell against you and against your family. He has taken your sin and your shame and He has pronounced that you are forgiven and you are a child of the Most High God! It's Sunday and Jesus is coming again! Do you believe that? Say Amen, somebody.
The trumpet is gonna sound. There is going to come a change. In the moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we'll be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. It's Sunday, but Jesus is coming. I love that line that S.M. Lockridge said. He said, "The world is winning, people are sinning, and evil is grinning". But I want to say, it's Sunday. They may be grinning and winning and sinning, but Jesus is coming and we better be ready. We better get our hearts ready and we better get our families ready, because He's coming soon. He's coming soon. You can't take half the gospel, and it doesn't end at the tomb. He's coming soon.
I've read the back of the book, and it's Sunday, but Jesus is coming. I want you to know that we don't celebrate a resurrection only that happened 2.000 years ago, but one of these days the trumpet is going to sound, and we're going to a land where there is no more death, no more crying, no more sighing, no more pain, for the former things will be passed away! And I want to remind Satan that one angel is going to chain him and throw him in a bottomless pit, and ultimately, he's gonna burn in the lake of fire that I'll never go to because Jesus is alive! It's Sunday, but Jesus is coming! Give Him a praise if you believe it. Give Him a mighty praise right now! Hallelujah! Calvary was a tremendous temporary victory for Satan and all of hell.
It's a true story about the war between England and France. Napoleon had invaded England, and everyone knew in that nation of England that if they didn't make a stand and stop Napoleon at a place called Waterloo, the whole nation would fall. They would all go into captivity. And so, the Battle of Waterloo became critical. The British captain was named Wellington. He was over all of the armed forces that would fight Napoleon and his powerful army. They had never been defeated. And back then, they had signal men that would stand on mountains and they would send signals from mountaintop to mountaintop, from signal man one to another, until they reached the city of London.
And there in London, thousands upon thousands of people... back in those days, the only form of communication, they erected a big billboard as massive as they could see, so that everybody in the streets of London could look up and see how the battle had ended at Waterloo. They knew if Wellington had been defeated at Waterloo, then the battle was over and they were going to become slaves to Napoleon and his armies. So they waited, watching, and the signals started coming from the battlefield, how the battle had gone. And just as it would happen, this is a true story, the fog started setting in as... if you've ever been there to London, it can come suddenly out of nowhere. And as a man was writing on the billboard with red paint, he wrote these words, and then the fog came, and it covered. But all they could see was two words that he wrote, "Wellington defeated". Wellington defeated.
The people of London, their hearts sank in fear. Many began to tremble and cry, and some ran to their homes and locked the doors, and others stood in the streets, dumbfounded, heartbroken, realizing that their nation would never be the same. "Wellington defeated" was the message. But as some were still standing in the streets, the fog began to lift some time later, and someone happened to look up and they realized that the message had been obscured in its entirety. One word was missing. It said "Wellington defeated", and the word missing was "Napoleon". Nobody knew. It didn't look like it. And now suddenly weeping turned into rejoicing. Suddenly, the people realized that Napoleon didn't defeat our general, but our general defeated Napoleon! And they were rejoicing, and they were dancing in the streets.
Two thousand years ago, on the cross, when they put Jesus, crammed that crown of thorns on His head, and stabbed Him in His side, and pierced His heart up through His abdomen, ripped His back to pieces, and it looked like that it was over and hell put up a big billboard, "Jesus Christ defeated", and all of hell was laughing, and all of heaven was weeping. But three days later, at the dawning of a new day, suddenly the fog lifted and the message was not, when Jesus came out of that tomb, "Jesus Christ defeated", it was "Jesus Christ defeated Satan"! He defeated hell! He defeated the grave and He defeated your sin and shame! Somebody give the Lord a praise! I'm glad that Calvary was the devil's Waterloo.
I heard a story the other day, or read it actually, about a man who was in a hurry walking home, and he decided that he needed to take a short cut. And it was very dark this night, and he had to go through a cemetery, and he had to walk through it with no lights. And he was walking, and I guess he was a little freaked out, and he was looking around, hearing strange sounds, and he walked and fell right into a grave that had been freshly dug. They were probably gonna put a coffin in there the next morning. And when he hit the bottom of that grave, he jumped and he clawed, and he did everything he could to try to get out, but it was too deep and he could not get out.
And after trying for about 30 minutes and sweating, and he finally just sat in the dark corner of that grave that's so dark that you couldn't even hardly see your hand in front of you. He sat in the shadow of that corner of that grave and just said to himself, "I'll wait for the sun to come up and somebody'll come find me tomorrow". While he was sitting in that shadow, along comes another man, and he falls into the same grave on the other end. And he naturally and quickly starts grabbing, and clawing, and scratching, trying to lift himself out of that grave, and he can't get out. He tries, and tries, and tries, and finally after about ten minutes, he just sits down in the side of the grave and he thinks to himself, "Well, I can't get out".
And suddenly, while he's sitting there, he hears from the other end of that dark grave, a voice. And the voice said, "You can't get out of here". But, he did! When they put Jesus in that tomb, all the demons in hell and death itself said, "You can't get out of here". But I promise you, He did! He did it for me! He did it for you! He paid the price! He conquered death, hell, and the grave. Tell somebody beside you, "He did it"! It's Sunday, but Jesus is coming. Oh, I'm so thankful that if I die in the Lord today, I'm ready to go. I'm in a suit and everything, praise the Lord! Just put me in there.
I look good today. Got a tie on. I don't always look like this. But, you know what? The shell, the old body, will be empty, but my spirit, to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. You understand, if you've lost a loved one, they are presently with the Lord. We have eternal life. We don't fear death. Cancer can't keep me down. Disease can't keep me down. Nothing can separate me from the love of God and eternal life that has been given through Jesus Christ. Boy, when you get that revelation, why would you turn Him down? Why would you wait? Why would you put it off to another day, or when I get older?
You can have eternal life, that because He was resurrected and came out of the grave, you have resurrection power. You have the power of the Holy Spirit right now that says there ain't no grave, the grave of alcoholism, the grave of drug addiction, the grave of shame, the grave of failure, the grave of self-hatred, eating disorders, whatever it is that the enemy has put you in and said this is going to be your death, this is going to be your ending. There is no grave that can hold you if Jesus is Lord of your life, because He gives you resurrection power today. And all you have to do is receive it. I have the greatest job in the world. I get to tell you that God loves you, that God is for you, and He wants to get in you, and He wants to transform your life, and all He's waiting on is an invite.
If you'd just open the door, if you'd just respond, if you'd just let your stinking pride be put under your foot today, and say, you know what? It's Sunday, but Jesus is coming. I'd better get ready! I'd better get my family ready! I'd better get... my whole life needs to be in one direction, moving toward heaven, moving toward eternity. How will you spend eternity? Where will you spend eternity? "Because He lives I can face tomorrow". Everybody, at every campus, sing it like a bog choir, "Because He lives". That's beautiful. "All fear is gone Because I know, I know He holds my future My life is worth the living just because He lives".
Would you just lift your hands and sing it: "Because He lives I can face I can face tomorrow Oh, yes, I can Because He lives He's Emmanuel All my fears they're gone Because I know I really know He holds my future And my life is worth the living just because He lives. Then sings my soul My Savior, God, to Thee How great Thou art", sing it church, "How great Thou art". Worship Him, "Then I sing from my soul Oh, my Savior, my God I sing to Thee How great Thou art. Precious Savior, How great Thou art. When I think about what you've done. Sings my soul My Savior, God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art".
If you're listening to me today, it's not by accident. I really feel a constraining now that many, many need to make a decision for Jesus Christ. They're backsliders that need to come running, not to a God who's angry at you, but one who's ready to wrap His arms around you. He's been waiting. If you want Jesus to be Lord of your life and you don't know you're right with God and you'd like to have that peace, that forgiveness, and you know that's you, I won't embarrass you, I won't humiliate you. I'm gonna pray for you. But He never comes where He's not invited. And when you raise your hand in a moment, that is the invitation and His Spirit will come running.
"Pastor, pray for me. I need to get right with God today". If that's you, boldly lift your hand high and unashamed. It's powerful. It's powerful. Raise those hands, all over the building, in the overflows. Thank you for raising that hand. You can put it down. Jesus saw every one of those hands. And now, I'm going to ask this congregation, in unison, out loud, to pray a prayer that is a biblical prayer that God said I'll back it up. I'm the truth and I'll do what I said I would do if you'll pray this. Everybody in this room, just lift your hand toward heaven and say these words.
Lord Jesus, I believe in You. I believe You were born of a virgin. I believe You died on a cross. I believe the blood You shed was precious blood and it cleanses my sins. And I believe, on the third day, You did it. You came out of the grave. And because You came out, I can come out. I receive a new life. I receive a new beginning. I receive the power to be called a child of God! I am not a slave to fear. I am a child of God, and I am free. I'm born to live free from this day forward. I am Your property, Lord, and my life is Yours.