Sun, Jan 13, 2002

MORE INPUT! MATTHEW 28:5-10

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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MORE INPUT!
MATTHEW 28:5-10
 

Please turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 28 as we look at what can happen in our lives when we don’t have all the information. And as you are turning there, listen to this true story that took place many years ago. The story goes like this:

June 18, 1815 - one of the decisive days in world history. Napoleon had just left the island of Elba, where he had been rebuilding his army from exile. Sailing back to the mainland of Europe with him were 75,000 soldiers, including the Old Guard - perhaps the finest fighting men in the world. Although the Duke of Wellington, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces, offered to do his best to stop Napoleon, it seemed like a futile assignment.

At Waterloo, with only 67,000 allied troops, Wellington engaged Napoleon in battle. If Napoleon, who was heavily favored to win, was indeed victorious, there would have been no stopping him in his drive to reconquer all of Europe. The people in England waited for hours as the battle raged. Eager for news, they had a ship waiting in the Chanel which would signal the outcome of the contest to watchmen stationed in towers along the shores of Dover.

Finally, as planned, the signal ship did indeed manage to flag a message to the towers before becoming enshrouded in a fog bank! "Wellington defeated." The heart of the watchmen sank, but they relayed the word quickly to the waiting messengers and the word spread like wild fire throughout England: "Wellington defeated."

Hopelessness and despair set in as the British knew it would only be a matter of time before Napoleon would sail across the Channel and lay claim to their country.

However, after firing a cannon to get the attention of those in the tower, flags flew again to signal the third and final word of the message. The word was "Napoleon." What a difference the third word made: "Wellington defeated Napoleon."

Suddenly the hearts of the British people rejoiced.. "Alright! Napoleon has been stopped! We shall remain a free people!" The third word filled their hearts with great joy.

So too, even greater joy and liberty were experienced by the followers of Jesus on the third day, when the rest of His message came through. On the third day, the fog lifted and the third word came forth: He is risen!

- Jon Courson, Tree of Life Bible Commentary, Mat. Vol. 2, pp. 361-362

In our study this morning we see how not having enough information or not believing the information that was given can cause fear in our lives. With that said, let’s begin reading in Matthew chapter 28 starting in verse 5 and see what the Lord has for us this morning.

MATTHEW 28:5-10

On that resurrection morning the women arrived at the tomb of Jesus, hopeless, disappointed, to anoint the body of Jesus with spices. And upon arrival an angel told these women to not be afraid, and he invites them into the tomb to come and see that the Lord has risen! It is then, after they have seen the risen Lord that they are to go and tell the other disciples that Jesus is risen!

Now in verse 8 we are told, "So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word." Matthew 28:8. They were obedient, they went forth to tell the disciples He is risen, they had great joy, but they also had some fear. "What if this is not true?" "What if someone stole the body of Jesus?" Many things went through their minds which caused them to have some fear about this situation.

But Jesus doesn’t leave them there, in that condition. You see, they went forward in faith, even though they had some fear, and God met them to dispel that fear! As they see the risen Lord, they worship Him, and Jesus tells them not to fear any longer, go and tell the other disciples what has taken place, rejoice!

For many, the fear of death paralyzes them. From the statistics I have been able to gather, 10 out of every 10 people are going to die! The death rate is still one per person unless the Lord comes first. Now some like to deny this reality, they try to overcome this by exercise, better eating, but in the end, they too will die!

Some of you may remember the short-lived movie career of James Dean. His legend lived longer than he did! He was one of those guys who thought death would not touch him. On the final day of shooting the movie "Giant", his second and last movie, James Dean climbed into his $7,000 gray Porsche speedster and began to race down the highway outside of Bakersfield.

As he was driving, or should I say racing, up ahead he saw a car turning onto the highway. Seeing this, James Dean said to the other person in his car, ‘Certainly that guy won’t be dumb enough to make that turn." Then, ignoring what he saw, he pressed down on the accelerator even harder. And you know what happened, James Dean died that day at the age of 24!

Ironically, the day James Dean was killed, a commercial began airing which he had filmed a month earlier. In that commercial, James Dean was slouched in a chair, and he mumbled these words, "People say that racing is dangerous. But I’ll take my chances on the track any day rather than on the highway. Take it easy driving. The life you might save might be mine."

It really doesn’t matter if you think you are invincible or not, the fear of death affects us all. And no matter how hard we try, we are moving towards the grave. A tragic and sad story is seen in the little girl whose Daddy tenderly and broken heartedly said to her one summer, "Mommy’s dying. She has cancer. There’s nothing more the doctor’s can do. By the time the leaves fall off the tree, mommy will be gone."

Shortly afterward the leaves began to change colors and fall off the trees. And one day, as the father looked out the window and saw his precious little daughter in the front yard with a ball of twine in her hand, trying to tie the leaves back onto the branches - trying to stop the inevitable.

Turn with me to Hebrews chapter 2 and listen to what Paul says in regards to the glory of the resurrection starting in verse 14. We read, "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Hebrews 2:14-15.

Do you see why God became flesh and blood? He did so to deliver us from the power and the fear of death! And that, the fear of death places us in bondage. But God came to set us free. If you have asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins, if He is your Lord and Savior, you have settled this issue of physical death. Paul put it this way in II Corinthians 5:8, "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." As a believer, when these physical bodies go back to the dust of the earth, our spirits go to be with the Lord.

And God is preparing us new bodies, eternal bodies for our spirits to dwell in. You see, these physical bodies are just tents or temporary dwelling places for our spirits to dwell in. Jesus said in John 14:1-4, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know."

Now Thomas, like many today, want to know how to get there, and Jesus continues on by saying in verse 6, "...‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’" John 14:6. You see, He is the only way, He is the absolute truth, and He is that everlasting life. Thus, to get to the Father, to get to heaven, you must go through Jesus, He is the door!

If you are a believer then this matter of physical death is already settled, at least it should be. That fear should be replaced with hope, with joy, with knowing we will be with the Lord when these bodies go back to the dust of the earth. But I also see this issue of bondage and fear going even further than that of physical death, and maybe you are struggling in some of these areas. Understand this, God does not want you struggling, just surrendering to Him. Peter put it this way, "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." I Peter 5:7.

You see, God has given to us some precious promises but many times we let the situation, the enemy rip us off, rob us of our joy, our peace that we are to have in Jesus. Paul put it this way in Romans when he said, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28. You see, it is not just reading that verse, or using it to comfort someone else who is going through tough times, it is for each of us, we need to apply it to our lives, even though we may not understand the how’s and why’s of God, we fall back on His character and His promises.

You see, "we know" speaks of faith, and that faith is placed in the character of God, who He is. It is not speaking of experiential knowledge or what comes from experience, but who He is, what the Word of God says of Him, His character! That is where our faith is in and thus, we know!

Secondly, we know "that all things work together for good" which speaks of our hope. You see, that hope is not based upon empty words, or feel good thoughts, but the truth of God’s Word, His promise to us that He will see us through those times and work it out for His good and our good even though we may not understand it. That is where our hope is in, that He will see it through, He will work it out for good!

And lastly, "to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose"speaks of love. You see, not just any love, but for those who love the Lord, to those who are called according to His purpose or to do His will, believers are the ones who can claim this promise in Romans 8:28, not unbelievers! And that is what God wants us to do, have faith in Him, to Hope in His promises, that He will see all things through for good, and to love Him and be obedient to Him and His Word.

Now with the remainder of our time this morning I want to look at a few different areas that seem to keep people in bondage, and how we can break free of that bondage and walk in the joy of the Lord. The four areas that we will look at are: OUR MIND AND OUR EMOTIONS, which go hand-in-hand as you shall see. OUR RELATIONSHIPS, which can be frustrating and discouraging at times. OUR JOBS OR POSITIONS. And lastly, OUR FINANCES, which can be very frustrating if we let them. So let’s see how we can break free from the bondage of these things and walk in the power of His resurrection!

1. OUR MIND AND OUR EMOTIONS

As I have said, these two go hand-in-hand. We let the enemy mess with our minds, play mind games with us, and before you know it our emotions are all messed up. We become anxious, fearful, in bondage to these things. For instance, the enemy puts the thought into your mind that God doesn’t love you anymore. You failed Him and He is done with you. And as you keep pondering those things, you become anxious, fearful, depressed and-so-on.

The key is don’t listen to the lies of the enemy but the truth of God’s Word, what He has told us. He can’t love you anymore than He already does nor can He love you any less. He died for us all while we were yet sinners, in rebellion against Him. That not only puts our mind at ease, but our emotions also.

Now there are many things that can mess us up, and the solution to those mind games is just like I have said, give it to God, get into His Word, trust in His Word. Paul, in Philippians 4:6-7, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Notice, we are to be anxious for what? NOTHING! How can we do that? By giving those things to God, trusting in Him that no matter what, He will see us through those times. And as you give it to God He will give you a peace that surpasses all understanding, we will not be able to understand how we can be at peace in this difficult situation, except from God. And notice, as you give it to the Lord, you not only have this deep peace, but He will guard your heart, your emotions, and He will guard your mind, your thoughts. Give it to Him, for He wants to give you His peace, He cares for you, He loves you that much! He does not want you to be in fear, in bondage!

2. OUR RELATIONSHIPS

I have known people who were fearful that their friend had another friend, and thus, this person would be replaced by this other person. Confusing? You bet! Or the husband or wife that is fearful that their spouse is going to leave them, and they get this idea to grow and grow, be it real or not. Now I love people and it does hurt when people turn against you, leave, but you can’t force them to stay nor be paranoid that they are going to leave. That is bondage!

First of all, for those that do leave you, how should you respond? Paul, in Romans 12:17-18, says "Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men." Notice, no matter what happens to you, what is done unto you, you love them, pray for them, try to live at peace with others to the best of your ability, but if they refuse, you can’t do anything about it. For me, that is very frustrating at times, especially when it is a brother or sister in the Lord. But, I found out, as Paul said, not all want to live peaceably, so you do the best you can and leave the rest to the Lord.

Also, don’t let the enemy make you paranoid about relationships, enjoy the ones that God has given you or else you will be a wreck, a mess, anxious about everything, real or imaginary as I have said. Paul, in Philippians 4:8-9 tells us, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-- meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you."Meditate upon the good things, the things of God, and you will have His peace. Or, you can worry about all kinds of things, all those relationships, what will happen to them, and be in bondage to that fear. But that is not where God wants you.

3. OUR JOBS OR POSITIONS

This too can place us in bondage. We can fear losing our jobs, losing the position we have, what if there is a layoff or cutback? And the list can go on-and-on! The thing we need to remember is God remains in control. Now that does not mean you don’t have a part to play. You can’t go up to your boss and call him a "Lazy blankety blank!" Why? Because you will get fired and you can’t blame God or say that must be the will of God! No, that is your own foolishness!

When we were moving up here from the northwest suburbs of Chicago to shepherd this church, we bought the house we now live in before I even had a job up here and before we sold our home! We knew what God had said, what He promised to do, and we trusted God that what He had promised He was able to bring forth, and He did - surprise? Sometimes we are! But trust God and what He has said, that He will provide for your needs, not necessarily your wants.

Paul, in Romans chapter 4, he is speaking of Abraham’s faith in God for the promise of a son when both Abraham and his wife were past the age of child bearing. And beginning in verse 20 we read "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform." Romans 4:20-21. Sometimes God allows us to leave one job that we would never leave unless we got laid off or whatever, so that He may show us the job He wants us to have. It truly is a walk by faith and not by sight, trusting in the Lord and what He has said, what He is doing even though things don’t always look like what we think they should or work out as we think they should. Don’t be caught in the bondage of this fear, give it to the Lord and trust in Him.

4. OUR FINANCES

What about our retirement, will I have enough money to live comfortably on? What if I get sick and I can’t work, and my savings dwindles down to nothing? Will Social Security be around when I retire? And we can allow these fears to place us in bondage.

Again, I am going to take you back to the Word of God for comfort, for hope. Paul, in Philippians 4:19 tells us, "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Again, who will supply our needs? God! That should be a comfort to us. In Psalm 84:10-12 David tells us, "For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!"

David is saying that it is better to be poor and dwell with the Lord than to be rich and dwell with the wicked. Now David is not saying that we won’t have nothing, we have the Lord, the greatest treasure ever! He provides warmth and protection to us because we are His children. He will not with hold those good things that He has for us. All He asks us to do is to walk with Him, trust in Him, follow Him. There is great freedom in that and not bondage!

Notice what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 6, "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:25-34. Do you see what you are to do, look up, seek Him, and trust in Him because fear will not help you, but it will hurt you. Worry doesn’t add to your life, but it surely can shorten it!

You know, I think many times we forget that He rose from the dead, He conquered death, the fear of death for us. Maybe you believe that for the physical part, physical death, but what about the other issues, the other things that you are afraid of, fearful of, in bondage to? You need to give them to Jesus, be anxious for nothing!

I want to close this morning with these words from Jon Courson that sum up what we have been speaking of. You see, you need to have all the information to come to the right conclusion and that information is found in the Word of God. You need more input and then you need to believe that input, believe in what God has said. But if you are struggling this morning...

"Do what Mary Magdalene and the other Mary did. The next verse in Matthew tells us that they came to the place where Christ lay. They came to where they thought He was. They came to the tomb. Even though they thought He was dead, they longed to be with Him.

So too, if you find yourself in bondage to the fear of death, go to the place where you last saw Him - even if you’re not sure He’s still there. And like the women at the tomb, perhaps when you least expect it, you’ll feel His touch upon your shoulder and you’ll hear His words in your heart: ‘You came seeking Me. Thank you. Now what can I do for you?’

I’m so thankful for Jesus Christ because, like you, I have experienced times of wondering, ‘Is this going to die? Is that going to die? What’s going to happen over here?’ But then I go to the place where I last saw Him, and sure enough - I hear His voice again.

And I’m free."

May we not forget that the tomb is empty, He conquered death, and thus, He wants us to be free from fear of those things we face in our life. Give it to Him and you will be free! It is as Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.Come to Him and receive that freedom from fear, the freedom from that bondage that Satan has placed upon you! You can be free! You see, the third word does make all the difference - YES THE FOG HAS LIFTED - HE IS RISEN!

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