CHRIST IS RISEN – Don’t be Afraid, by Trevor Taylor

A special welcome, today, as together we celebrate the historic fact that CHRIST IS RISEN.

We celebrate the morning when Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, found the empty tomb of Jesus and alerted the disciples.

 

READ: MATTHEW 28 vs 1-10

“Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.   And behold, there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.  

His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing was white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

But the angel answered and said to the women; “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.   He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.  Come see the place where the Lord lay.   And go quickly and tell His disciples that Christ is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him.   Behold I have told you”. So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.  

And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them saying, “Rejoice!”   So they came and held Him by the feet and worshipped Him.   Then Jesus said to them.  “Do not be afraid.

Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me,” 

 

A SONG ABOUT CHRIST IS RISEN

I know that my Redeemer lives –what joy the best assurance gives!

He lives, he lives, who once was dead; He lives, my everlasting Head.

 

He lives to bless me with his love; He lives to plead for me above

He lives my hungry soul to feed; he lives to help in time of need.

 

He lives, and grants me daily breath; He lives, and I shall conquer death;

He lives, my mansion to prepare; he lives to lead me safely there.

 

He lives, all glory to his name; he lives, my Saviour, still the same;

What joy this blest assurance gives – I know that my Redeemer lives!

 

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, as we think about Your great sacrifice in allowing Jesus, Your only Son, to be crucified on a cross and afterwards raising Him from His tomb, we ask You to open our hearts and minds to Your great love, forgiveness and peace.

Help us to see the purpose that is within this great event; to see that as Jesus was raised up, we too will be raised up as we confess our sins and repent and are forgiven by You, Our God.

We pray this in Jesus name. Amen

 

BIBLE READING

Acts 10:34-43   Peter’s preaching to Cornelius and his household

Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.   In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.   I’m sure you have heard about the Good News for the people of Israel – that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.    You know what happened all through Judea, beginning in Galilee after John the Baptist began preaching.   And no doubt you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.   Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with him.  And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Israel and in Jerusalem. 

They put him to death by crucifying him, but God raised him to life three days later.   Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen beforehand to be his witnesses.   We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.   And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is ordained of God to be the judge of all –the living and the dead.   He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.”

 

BIBLE READING

Colossians 3:1-4. Living the new life
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honour and power.    Let heaven fill your thoughts.   Do not think only about things down here on earth.  For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.  And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

 

ADDRESS

Christ is Risen – Do not be Afraid

There is a very important message at two places in the Matthew reading.

  1. Verse 5: “Do not be afraid, I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here for He has been raised.  Come, see the place where He lay.   Then go quickly and tell his disciples; “He has been raised from the dead”.
  2. Verse 9: Then Jesus said to them ‘Do not be afraid, go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, there they will see me.”

Why is this message important? Because it shows us that when we are in fear and doubt, God will speak to us: through His Word, and through His Holy Spirit. Sometimes He will even stand in front of us and point out where we are to turn.

When stop listening to our fear, and instead we listen, hear, understand and obey Him, He will lead us to Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.   Amazingly, as we understand and obey His will, we will be strengthened to His purpose, as Jesus was when He said “Thy will be done, not mine.

So we may be led through our tough times, strengthened by our faith in God and His love and His understanding of our troubles.  We shall also be willing to share our blessings with our neighbours: we will be lifted up above our trials and led into Love, Joy and Peace in the presence of Jesus Christ forever. “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow”. Amen

 

HYMN

Thine be the Glory

Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son; Endless is the victory thou o’er death has won

Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away;

Kept the folded grave clothes, where thy body lay.

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,

Endless is the victory thou o’er death has won.

 

Lo, Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb. Lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and doom

Let the church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing

For her Lord is living, death has lost its sting.

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,

Endless is the victory thou o’er death has won.

 

No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life. Life is nought without thee: aid us in our strife

Make us more than conquerors, through thy deathless love

Bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above.

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,

Endless is the victory thou o’er death has won.

 

PRAYERS

Heavenly Father, we now pray for our neighbours, our families and our friends, who are living in fear and isolation as we try to cope with this Corona Virus, which has spread around the world.   Dear Lord, we pray that you will lead and guide our Government as they struggle to control the outbreak and direct the people to do those things which limit the spread from person to person.

Father our prayers are with those who are working in hospitals, airport, shopping centres and other places where close contact can occur.   Keep them safe, Father, and give them strength to carry on.

Lord we pray for all of us who are living in virtual isolation: Help us to occupy ourselves constructively and remain positive. Help our shops to maintain the goods necessary for us to stay fed, clean and healthy.

Father, we pray to for those who are ill, who already have the virus and those who are now more vulnerable to catch it.

Father make us all aware of Your loving presence, the leading of Your Holy Spirit and the hope we have in the life of Jesus and the life everlasting.

 

LORD’S PRAYER  

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, 

For Yours is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

 

BLESSING

May the Lord Bless you and keep you.  May the Lord make His face to shine upon you,  and the Lord lift up his countenance on you, and give you peace.  Amen

 

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