March 31, 2024

What Jesus Taught After He Rose From the Dead

Speaker: David Jordan Topic: Easter Scripture: Luke 24:13–53

What a wonderful day to see you all here. My name is Dave, I'm the pastor. And I would invite you to turn in your Bibles to Luke chapter 24. There are Bibles under the seats nearby and you can use the index in the front to find where Luke is. The title of the message is: “What Jesus Taught After He Rose from the Dead.” What Jesus taught after he rose from the dead.

You know, I like to talk with the guys who bring deliveries to the church. We've had the same two delivery guys from FedEx and UPS for many years. And recently, one of those guys, told me the legend of the dogwood tree. Maybe you've heard this. The legend goes like this, that in the days of Christ, the dogwood tree was much larger than it is now. It used to be a strong trunked tree much, much larger than the different smaller tree we're now fond of. And the story continues that when Christ was crucified, that his cross was made of the sturdy bark of the dogwood tree. As the legend goes, God both cursed and blessed the dogwood, the day his son died. He cursed it by making it much smaller than it was and blessed it by having it bloom every year during Easter season. As an additional reminder to the world of Jesus's love. Each bloom on a dogwood has four petals, symbolizing a cross (as the legend tells it). And at the end of each petal, there is a small indentation to remind us of the nails that pierced Jesus's hands and feet. The center of each flower on the tree has a knobby look to it, reminding us of the crown of thorns placed on Christ's head at the time of his crucifixion. And many times on the dogwood flower, there are colors of red dotted around. Reminding us of the blood Jesus poured out for us.

Now, that's a fun, maybe grandma or grandpa story. And it's neat to tell stories like that on Easter, and some take them very seriously. There are many fanciful legends of our day. The Resurrection is not one of them. The calendar that you have shows Jesus was a real person who impacted the world. Who split time in half. On Friday, 2000 years ago, Jesus was sentenced to death. No trial. He wasn't even found guilty of anything except going against the culture, the social rules of the day. On the cross, he said with his mouth, what his life proclaimed: forgive them, for they know not what they do. I want to take you on a little journey this morning to consider Jesus on his way to the cross. And then what the significance of the cross was, and what he proclaimed after he rose from the dead.

After many hours on the cross, the soldiers went to break the legs of Jesus. But they found him dead. He had already proclaimed: “It is finished!” When he died, the Centurion recognized who Jesus really was. You can stay in Luke 24. But let me read this to you from Matthew 27:51-54, “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’”

That is a testimony from one who was making sure Jesus died. In Matthew 27, after Jesus died, a rich man named Joseph, Joseph of Arimathea, took Jesus from the cross – with Pilot’s permission – and laid him in the tomb. Our service on Friday went over those events. The next day, Saturday, the body of Jesus was still in the tomb. And then at dawn on Sunday, there was an earthquake. I will read to you from Matthew 28:1-6.

Matthew 28:1–6 (ESV)
1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

Now, there are many things about this story that are significant. It is significant that women were the first to witness our Lord Jesus risen from the dead. But what is most significant is that death has no hold on Jesus Christ. What is significant is that his life returned into his physical body, and he rose victorious over sin and death. And the question is, do you wonder what he told the world after he rose from the dead? And there are many accounts of him being risen from the dead. As we heard this morning [during the Grace Equip class], there are 70 plus references to God raising Jesus from the dead. That God raised him, it is very important to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15 even says that if Christ has not been raised we are most to be pitied [cf. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19].

So what did Jesus do on that Sunday? The rest of the day, when he had risen? You know, it was his first day risen from the dead. Did he take a nap? Did he just get a good lunch? Did he go see if his house was in order, if his friends were still there? What did he do that day? And it is significant, because on that day, Jesus helps the world to understand the significance of what he had accomplished. Beyond just the mere fact that here is this man, fully God, fully man now walking around. Beyond that, beyond those facts, what did he tell everyone? As he walked around in his glorified body? Well, as most of you know, it says he appeared to 500 people at one time. But he appeared to two special people. And we're going to follow their story in Luke 24. These two people were on the road to Emmaus. We don't really know anything about Emmaus. The only time it's ever mentioned in Scripture is in Luke 24. We know it was near the town of Bethany, which comes into play as Jesus made his Triumphal Entry.

But as these two men walked along, they were talking about the events of the day, of the week. And we see that in Luke chapter 24:14, that they're just talking about what's going on. And as you remember, there were probably millions of people around Jerusalem at this time. So it's significant that one man, what happened to one man, was on the hearts and minds of everyone in the town. And so, Jesus came up to them as they're walking along and just asked them, “What are you talking about?” And here's where we pick up in Luke 24:19ff, “And he said to them, ‘What things?’ And [these two] they said to him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth…’” In other words, what things are you talking about? And they said, we're talking about Jesus of Nazareth, verse 19, [Luke 24:19-21] “…a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.”

What did they leave out? What did they leave out? I mean, they did a pretty good job giving a synopsis of what happened. He was a prophet. In other words, he could speak things that were going to happen in the future. They didn't deny that. He was their leader. He was mighty in deed and word. When he spoke, even when they came to capture him in the garden of Gethsemane, you remember, they said, “We are looking for Jesus.” And when he said, “I am he,” everyone fell down just at his words. He healed the sick and made the lame walk. And this was not hidden away somewhere. This wasn't some magic trick on TV where somebody in the crowd’s got a backache. And we're praying that it's healed. Or there wasn't some earache that nobody can see if it's truly healed or not. These were the people whose limbs visibly did not work. You know, when a miracle happens, millions of things have to happen in a body for a shriveled hand to be restored and functioning and to have power. If you guys sit in one position too long through this sermon, your legs going to be asleep, it won't work very well, if you try and stand up. Just think if it never worked for 40 years or 50 years. And then Jesus, simply by his words, speaks life into your foot or into your hand. And it works perfectly.

So, this account shows that all of these deeds were done before everyone. It was mighty before God and all the people and that was accurate. And they accurately said how the chief priests and the rulers delivered him up. This innocent man lived a perfect life. They had no charges to bring against him, except that he claimed to be God. He claimed to have the Divine Name of God. We see that in John 8:58. And he references Exodus 3:14, the memorial name of God, where God tells Moses, “I AM has sent you.” This is the same God in the Old Testament, Jesus claims to have that Name. And many times, the Pharisees tried to kill Jesus because of his claims. Not because of his sin. They had no sin to bring against him. He was the guy everybody liked. The sibling that never got in trouble. You know, those, the people-pleasers. That's what he looked like. I don't know if he ever told on his brothers and sisters. But maybe they figured out he could see what they were doing even if they were hiding something. He would not be the sibling you would want to keep a secret away from mom and dad. He didn't do those things. He honored his father and mother.

But in Luke 24:21, these two men reveal their greatest hopes for Jesus. In verse 21, it says, “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” That is to free Israel, from Rome. To take them out from their oppressors. You see the idea that there is the oppressed and the oppressors is not new. And Israel had enemies on every side. North in the Mesopotamian region, all the way to Rome. Well over 800 miles away. They had enemies. To the East, across the desert, they had Babylon and Assyria and many nations who had conquered them over and over again. And to the Southwest, they had Egypt They were oppressed for millennia. So, they wanted their freedom. They thought that was the greatest thing they could achieve just to worship in peace. But they missed the main point was that Jesus was more than just a prophet. He was more than just a man. He was the vehicle of forgiveness. The forgiveness that everyone needs.

You can tell that they weren't speaking of salvation. If you look in Luke 24:25, Jesus replies to their response. “And he said to them, ‘O, foolish ones…’” They got 90% of the story right. And Jesus says, [Luke 24:25] “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” Every single word! [Luke 24:26-27] “‘Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” This is one conversation I wish we had recorded. Where they get a master class from the Master on every time in the Old Testament, what we call the Old Testament, where Jesus is mentioned and reference. And he explains to them, “This is me. This is where I am revealed.” See, at this point, though, he miraculously kept his identity from them. I think to truly find out what they thought, though he knew. Later, after Jesus explains these things, and teaches them. It says in Luke 24:31, “And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.”

Many people hear the stories about Jesus, but they don't recognize him. They hear the words, the same stories, you and I do, but they don't believe in Jesus. And there is another group of people that hear the words and believe and yet don't follow. And those have demon-like faith where they know, they understand, they agree, but they don't follow. They too are not on their way to heaven. So, Jesus taught them and opened their eyes, and then vanished from their sight. So, these men did a U-turn, and they went back to Jerusalem. And they found the 11 Apostles, and they were there with a very large group. So now the setting is back in Jerusalem. We were out on the road to Emmaus, wherever that is, and now we're back in Jerusalem. And the setting is these two men have come back to tell the 11 Apostles just what had happened.

Jesus had by this point, in the story, he has already appeared to 500 people. So that was not unique that he appeared to two on the road. He had already appeared to Peter, and many others. And this group was talking about what had happened. They were talking about Jesus and the crucifixion and where is he? Some have said he has disappeared. He's not in the grave anymore. He's not in the tomb. You can still go visit the tomb that we think he was in. There are no bones there. And so, they were talking about the events, you know, new things like Jesus disappearing. He didn't really do that in his earthly ministry. He vanished from crowds who were trying to kill him but he didn't talk to people and then all of a sudden just disappear. This is a new aspect to Jesus's life here on Earth, and it's probably part of their conversation. And he died. That was shocking. Then he rose from the dead that's even more shocking. And Jesus is appearing to people all over the region and not only that, but he looks different. He had the same body but different. The same face but changed a little bit. And when he appears he keeps startling people.

What did he say to them? What did he say? One passage records what he said and it was profound. Look in Luke 24:44-49, I'm reading out of the ESV here. This is Jesus, appearing to the Eleven, the two guys on the road to Emmaus are there, and Peter, and the apostles, and a large crowd.

Luke 24:44–49
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Verse 49, foretells the coming of the Holy Spirit that happens in Acts 2. This is his message. Right here. This is a summary of his message. It's two profound implications of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his own words. The first is that he told them why he went to the cross. And the second, he tells them what to do with the message.

First, WHY Jesus went to the cross? In verse 44, this is what it says, “everything written about me…must be fulfilled.” That was the message before the cross. And Jesus’ purpose was to fulfill the Words of Scripture. He says, “as it is written.” If you wonder why Christians and believers just talk about the Bible so much, I guess, many Christians and believers talk about the Bible a lot. That's because they are the very Words of God. Written by men, inspired by God though. So, we say they are the very Words of God.

Now, this is a quick mini lesson in how we got the books of the Bible. Jesus summarizes the books here for us. The Old Testament, look at Luke 24:44. “Everything written about me,” where? In “the Law of Moses,” what was that? That was the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. And then he says, “and the Prophets.” Now the prophets include the former prophets, and the latter Prophets, and the histories. So, beginning with Joshua, and moving forward through all of the Prophets, we have those books as well. All recognized by the Jews at this time, it was not in question. And then the Psalms, that's the rest. That's the Wisdom books. That's Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. Those are what are included in the Psalms. Those are the books that we call the Wisdom Literature.

So, Jesus here makes reference to the 39 books of the Old Testament. And we cut it off at 39 right there. Jesus, himself, gave what we would call an attestation of those books, we don't have to wonder what they were. You can look at what's called the Septuagint. That's a Greek version of all of the Old Testament, which was written in Hebrew, and some parts in Aramaic. That was around at the time of Christ, that was never corrected, those books that were in there. So that's why we have the books of the Old Testament that we do.

And I love how Jesus brings understanding. Luke 24:45, “he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” You can't come to God, outside of his grace. And if you try, you will just find it to be nice, fanciful stories like the dogwood tree. You can't arrive at a spiritual conclusion from a physical mind. It's impossible. In summary he was saying, “Yep, that's me.” God had to open the minds of these people through Jesus Christ. These were the most well taught, educated people on the planet in this room, the Eleven. The Eleven had to have their minds opened. You cannot get to God on your good works, you have to be given this revelation, you have to have your heart infused with God's grace, and you have to call out to him and ask him for understanding. Many people don't like verses like that in the Scriptures. And the road to Emmaus, it says, and his identity was hidden from them. It says they thought they saw a spirit. Same thing in our passage, they thought they saw a living vision, something that was not quite real. And then the two guys on the road to Emmaus, he opened their eyes and they understood it as he was breaking bread with them. A miraculous thing.

And here these men and women and all these people in this room, they have to have their minds opened. Their minds opened. We understand this in just about every area of life except the Scriptures. Except the Scriptures. You wouldn't just watch a YouTube video and then be welcomed into the heart surgery center to perform the surgery. I've got the facts, I'm here. That's the same thing as saying I can understand an infinite, omniscient, omnipotent, holy God, by simply considering it. I would say you'd probably be better at heart surgery than you wouldn't understanding God without his grace. Then in verses 46 and 47, he summarizes what was written about him. Do you want a summary of the Old Testament, all of the books of the Old Testament? Here's what they point to, Luke 24:46-47, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

This is what Jesus was going around telling people. I'm glad you're excited, I'm alive. But you need to repent and believe. You need to give your life to Jesus Christ. I'm thankful that you understand I am the Christ and the Messiah. But if you reject me, you will live in hell forever. Did Jesus suffer? Matthew 27:26 says, Pilate had him “scourged.” Now a scourging was a whip made of bones and metal. Pilate purposefully had Jesus scourged just to appease the crowd. Matthew 27:26-31, he had a crown of thorns crushed into his head. He was mocked by all of the soldiers. They spit on him, and they beat his face. Isaiah 52:14, written 700 years before the Christ, says “his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance…” “Human semblance” is one word in the Hebrew. It just means beyond recognition, beyond anything that looks human. That means his punishment was brutal.

But what you won't find here, is Jesus complaining about how tough life is. You won't find him saying, “I've got more scars on my back than you do.” You won't find him saying, “Don't you feel bad for me? I had a really rough week.” No see, he compels them to look to him for the truth. And what he went through was the example of the nature of the severity of sin. See, we think, “Oh, I'm just a good person. My good outweighs my bad.” Well, if your good already outweighs your bad, why did God send Jesus to the cross? Why did he have him whipped and his flesh torn off his back? Why was he marred beyond what a human could be recognized as, if you're good already outweighs your bad? Your good needs to be perfect holiness. Anybody who claims perfect holiness, can say they are good. No one is perfect, except Christ. So, he compels them through what he has gone through, to consider the significance of the Resurrection. To consider the truth that the deep trial, the crucifixion, the torture was part of God's plan. Why was that necessary?

Luke 24:47, “that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations…” Repentance and forgiveness. Tens of thousands of churches today will leave half the story out, just like the guys on the road to Emmaus. They'll talk about the crucifixion. They'll talk about the perfect life. They'll talk about Jesus being nailed to the cross and nine inch pegs being stuck through his wrists and through his feet. And they'll talk about all of that, but they'll leave out repentance. Jesus's message was repentance and forgiveness, not just forgiveness and love. The message today has been warped and is incomplete. And an incomplete message leads no one to Jesus. This day, this Easter morning. I proclaim repentance to you in his name. Let all who have ears, hear: you must turn from your sin. If you do not turn from your sin, you will spend eternity in hell forever. But if you turn to Jesus, you will have life. He certainly didn't come so that the world could run around telling people about Easter bunnies and eggs. And it really doesn't matter if you hide easter eggs or not. But will your children be more amazed at finding an egg this morning than they will the truth about Jesus?

You see he died and rose from the dead because God will punish sin. It was either punished in Christ on the cross. Or people will burn in hell forever. Forever. There's no getting out of it. Turn to Jesus while you still live. Look unto Jesus who died for your sin. Take the prophecies of Isaiah 52, verse 13, all the way through the end of chapter 53. Read those. The Jewish people today will skip that section. Because they know it points to a future Savior who needed to be crushed for their sin. They simply want a Savior to free them from their enemies. That is their cry today. They have rejected the Messiah. They are still looking for one who fulfilled Scripture, but he already came. And the more you look into it, the more facts you will see, that Jesus fulfilled everything written in the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms about him. That is his own declaration. You cannot, as the Muslims do, think that Jesus Christ was just one of God's prophets and now there is a new one who superseded him. Look into that man's life and see if he was holy. Look into that leader’s life and see what he tells his people to do. You will find him to be revolting compared to Christ.

Only Jesus Christ claimed to be the Son of God, to have the same nature as God, to be the one who could pay for sins. As John the Baptist declared, “Behold the Lamb of God who [what?], takes away the sin of the world!” That is what the prophets spoke of him, that his message was to remove sin, not just to be a nice guy. I know plenty of very nice people who don't know Jesus. Being nice will not get you into heaven. The message before the cross was repentance and forgiveness. His message after the cross clearly, clearly, is still repentance and forgiveness – in his name. Oh, the great joy to have one’s sins forgiven! To know the love of Jesus Christ. Do you know this love? Truly know it, not just know of it, like some person you read about on the internet. But do you know Jesus Christ? When he sees you, will he say, “My child”?

See, you are all, as I am, made in the image of God. We are all special and valuable in God's sight because he has made us. There is only one Creator. You did not crawl out of primordial slime that came from nothing. A self-contradicting idea in and of itself. You came from a Creator, an all-powerful Creator, who has always existed. You say, “That doesn't make sense.” Well, explain to me with science where the edge of the universe is, if we can make sense out of everything we see? The best science has to offer, and science is very helpful, is but a guess many times. But to know the love of Jesus changes a person. It impacts the person. It changes them. It makes them consider who Jesus is. And it allows them to serve people, anyone, with joy and kindness and gladness. Because of who Christ is not because of the benefits they can extract out of that other person.

To know Jesus is to be set free from the burden of sin, the crushing burden of sin. Our world is gripped with depression and anxiety. Our world is gripped with anger and fear. Our world is gripped with the unknown. And there's only One who knows all things and it's not me. It's Jesus Christ. And you would consider that if God made the world, he would want the world to know him. He doesn't just want to create it and watch it like he needed to be entertained. There is a purpose in the creation: to bring mankind to himself. That's why he went to the cross. That's why he rose and ascended on high, accepted by the Father at the right hand of God. So that the works of God could be accomplished in the lives of mankind.

Is God at work in you? Do you know, love, and serve Jesus Christ? It's not based on your success in your job. Or how few bad words you say or how many bad thoughts you have or not. It's based on something called grace, unmerited favor from God. That God, in his graciousness, looks down on those who are as Ephesians 2 says, “dead in their sin,” unable to do anything. And God says, because of his mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us. By grace you have been saved. We are set free from the power of sin and death. This is not of ourselves. It's the gift of God so that no man can boast. And then we are changed and made new creations in Christ. Created in Christ for good works. Good works don't get you to Christ. But once you've been impacted Christ, your life is changed.

Cold cup of water is still a cold cup of water. But before Christ it was offered as a kind act by a person. And after Christ a cold cup of water is offered in the name of Jesus, bringing glory to him, not to us. Is this the Jesus that you know? Is this the Jesus that you celebrate? Is this the Jesus that will be on your lips this afternoon? As maybe you eat some ham or turkey and you're wondering, “Why are we eating ham and turkey again, I don't even like ham and turkey?” And you're wondering, “What side dish is grandma bringing this time?” And you eat what’s set before you because you love grandma, right? And you just wonder, “Why do we do all those things?” Will Jesus be on your mind at that point? You see, Jesus came, so that we might have not just our sins forgiven, but a deep and abiding relationship with God. To abide means to stay, to remain. It's like you guys, you're stuck here until I stop talking. You abide here. To abide with Jesus is to remain with him until he is finished with us. And I know I just cause about half of you to start praying for the end of the sermon, but we're getting there.

If you love Jesus, you will obey him. That's what he, himself, said. Your repentance is not just agreeing. It's turning from this life, to live a life for Jesus Christ. And I ask you, have you repented of your sins? Do you believe that Jesus died and rose again? Do you believe that only Jesus brings forgiveness? He said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Every other religious system in the world is false. All roads lead to God – for judgment. But not all leaders are God, only Jesus. So, if your answer to that was “yes.” If you have committed yourself to Jesus Christ, and I pray that you have. If you have been changed and made new, and I pray that you have. Then Jesus has a word for you.

This is what your life is about. And he tells them in Luke 24:48, “You are witnesses of these things.” What things? Well, he just said the whole Old Testament was about him. The Gospel. The Old Testament pointing forward to Jesus. And then over the next 60 years, from the time of Christ’s Ascension to the time John writes the book of Revelation (the apostle John), and the Canon is closed. Around AD 90 or 92. We have this other set of Gospels that point back to what Jesus did. So, if you're in the Old Testament, you're looking forward to Christ. If you're in the New Testament, you're looking back to Christ, and everything points to Christ. That Gospel. You are witnesses of these things!

Your Bible Study is not just so that you can know God, it's so others can too. Your prayer life is not just for you, though it is, and we're compelled to bring everything before God. But like Paul asks for prayer, “Give me boldness, that I may open my mouth in declaring the gospel and to preach it as I should.” Prayer is so that we can be bold with the gospel. We are witnesses of these things. You are his witnesses. You are not Jehovah's Witnesses. That's a cult. Just to be clear. But you are witnesses of Jesus Christ. A witness is only to tell what they know. To only give an account of what they understand. We must not just mention that Jesus lived, died, and rose again – like the two guys on the road to Emmaus – and then gush out our big hopes for people to come to church or something. That would be missing it. We must be witnesses of the gospel.

I went away last week for a little while to Arizona with my wife. And when I came back, I was very pleased, very pleased. None of the invitation cards were still here. You guys had taken them and handed them all out. Until I got to my office. And I saw two sitting on my desk. And I thought, I can't be the only person to still have invite cards. And I'm thinking, “you are witnesses.” So, I gave a couple more cards out, invited a few more beloved people in my life to come and hear about Jesus. It is such a privilege to share the gospel. It is such a privilege. It is such an amazing thing to tell someone that Jesus made them, and loves them, and will forgive everything they've ever done, thought or said. Everything! That a person could be seen with the perfect righteousness of Christ. Righteousness just means a right standing before God; they could be seen as though they were perfectly holy.

It is such a privilege, to share the gospel, to invite people to the throne of God, and to call upon his Name. And just to say, “Lord, I know I'm a sinful person. And I know I need Jesus Christ. Will you forgive me and help me to follow you?” And Jesus says, “I will not cast out anyone who comes unto me, I will not turn them away.” It's not based on he who comes but he who gives grace. So, what did that group do with this charge? Luke 24:50-53 says this, as we conclude, “And he [i.e. Jesus] led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.”

What does the gospel do to believers? It brings them great joy, as they worship Jesus Christ. May this day be a day of worship, and great joy for you, for he is risen.

Let's pray.

Father God, I thank you for every person that you brought here today. You have divinely, sovereignly, and in your providence, brought them. We pray that some may give their hearts to you today. That they might understand they are not perfect. And that is what you require. And only through Jesus can all of their sins be forgiven. Lord, may many turn to you this very day. Here and in churches around the world.

Father, for those believers out there, we pray that you would give us courage and boldness to understand the great privilege of sharing the gospel with joy to all who will hear. Let's just take a moment right now and if you're not saved, use this time to cry out to God. And if you are saved, and sure of your salvation, then just take a moment to pray and ask God to help you to be his witness.

Lord God, we thank you for these things. It is truly a joy to serve you. For you have risen from the grave. Amen.