Sunday Sermon: ‘The Stone Has Been Rolled Away’

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Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

The women asked the same question that many of us would have asked if we were in a similar situation, “Who will roll the stone away?” Historians tell us that the stone covering the mouth of Jesus’ grave weighed a ton or more and therefore it would be impossible for these few women to move. Who would help them roll away the stone?

But then we read from scripture –

Mark 16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

To their amazement, the stone had already been rolled away! Today I want to talk with you about three stones Jesus rolled away with His resurrection.

I. The Stone of Sin

A. The Stone of Sin

The first stone I want us to see is what I am calling ‘the stone of sin.’ The Bible teaches us that sin is a stone in every person’s life that needs to be rolled away. We read from scripture, “all have sinned and come short of God’s glory.” (see Romans 3:23) Though some may sin greater sins than others, we all have failed God in some way. We’ve all sinned and fallen short of His glory.

Our sin is like a huge stone that holds us in the grave. We read also from the Bible that the “wages of sin is death…” (See Romans 6:23) That means not only physical death, but also spiritual death (see Ephesians 2:1-6) and even eternal death in the lake of fire known as hell. (see Revelation 20:11-15)

B. The Stone of Sin Has Been Rolled Away!

But praise be unto God, the stone of sin has been rolled away! The Bible says that ‘the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (see Romans 6:23) Jesus rolled away the stone of sin.

The question we all must answer is “Why was Jesus crucified?” The Bible gives us the answer to that question. “Christ died for our sins…” (see 1 Corinthians 15:3) We read from the book of Hebrews, “Jesus tasted death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9) Jesus died for the sins of the world. (see John 3:16; 1 John 2:2)

The Bible tells us that Jesus not only died for our sins, He also rose again from death on the third day. (see 1 Corinthians 15:3) Scripture teaches us that Christ’s resurrection is God’s proof that Christ’s death made a sufficient atonement for our sins. (see Romans 4:25)

Jesus rolled away the stone of sin. But there’ also another stone that Christ rolled away.

II. The Stone of Death

A. The Stone of Death

Many of us have experienced the pain and sorrow of a loved one dying. I remember the night my dad died. As I studied his lifeless face, I remember thinking about how tired and worn out he looked. But then these words came to my mouth, “Thank you God for salvation.” Even in that moment of sorrow I knew that I would see my dad again.

B. The Stone of Death Has Been Rolled Away!

The Bible says, “But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those having fallen asleep, so that you should not be grieved, just as also the rest, those having no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those having fallen asleep.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

1. Absent From the Old Body and Present With the Lord

We grieve when a loved one dies. As I left the hospital that night I told my family that my buddy had died. He was my dad, but he was also my buddy. I cried over my loss, but I was not in despair because I knew that I would see my father again. One day Jesus is going to return and when He does, He is going to bring my father with Him.

2. A New Body From the Lord

There’s something else amazing that our Lord is going to do. He’s going to give our loved ones new bodies. We read from the book of 1 Corinthians –

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Though we hate to see our loved ones die, who would want them to spend forever struggling with their sickness and disease? Who would want to see their loved one struggle with COPD, or cancer, or arthritis forever?

Praise God, they won’t have to. The Bible says that Jesus is going to resurrect their bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own.

1 Corinthians 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

These bodies that are plagued with sin and sickness are going to be changed into bodies that will never sin or suffer.

3. Our Victory Over Disease and Death 

I love these next few verses found in 1 Corinthians 15.

1 Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the last thing we’re going to do when we are taken away from this world is to shout back at the grave. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Praise be unto God, Jesus rolled away the stone of death!

III. Stone of a Defeated Life

A. The Stone of a Defeated Life

There’s a third stone I would like to call your attention to this morning and it’s what I call the ‘stone of a defeated life.’

Ephesians 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead…

As Paul writes this, it’s as though he’s standing on his tip-toes, reaching towards heaven and stretching his arms open as wide as possible. Actually Paul is saying that he is praying for us to understand something that he knows that we will never fully understand. The reason we can’t understand it is because it’s too great.

B. The Stone of a Defeated Life Has Been Rolled Away!

What is this great thing that Paul is praying for?

1. The Exceeding Greatness of God’s Power for Us

Ephesians 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe…

Do you ever ‘super-size’ your fast-food meals? Every time I see a commercial where they offer an enormous combo of hamburger, hotdog, fries, apple pie and a large drink, I wonder – ‘Who in the world could eat all of that?’ Paul is using the word ‘super-sized’ when he writes this. Actually the phrase ‘exceeding greatness’ means – ‘super-mega.’ Paul is talking about the super-mega power that God wants to pour into our lives.

2. Great Power That Was Demonstrated at the Resurrection of Jesus

How great is this power that God wants to demonstrate in us? Paul says that it is, “…according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead…” Though it’s hard to believe, Paul tells us that God wants to demonstrate in us the same power that He used when He raised Jesus from the dead.

What does that mean? I understand that God is going to one day demonstrate this resurrection power when He raises my body from the grave. But how could I possibly experience this resurrection power today?

As I have carefully read through Paul’s prayer, I believe that there’s one word that helps to describe what Paul is trying to say. It’s the word – VICTORY.

a. Christ’s Victory Over Sin, Death and Defeat

Ephesians 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things – to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Paul tells us that after Jesus was resurrected, He was taken up into heaven, and today He sits at His Father’s right hand. Paul also tells us that Jesus has been given authority over every power and principality both in heaven and on earth. Today and forever more Jesus reigns victoriously!

b. Our Victory Over Sin, Death and Defeat

If victory is the primary thought behind what Paul is trying to say about Jesus, then victory is the primary thought behind what Paul is trying to say about us. God wants to demonstrate in our lives the same victorious power that He demonstrated when He raised Jesus. What kind of victory can we expect?

I searched every Bible commentary I could find, trying to understand what this power would be that God wants to give us. No one expounded on it. All focused upon the power of Christ’s resurrection. I understand why they did this. They are trying to explain what Paul is teaching.

But if we’re going to experience this victorious resurrection power, then I would like to know what to expect. Not having the Apostle Paul here to ask, I did the next best thing. I read every verse of scripture I could find where he used this particular Greek word for power. Here is a brief summary of what I discovered.

i. It’s the power to be whoever God calls us to be and to be so confidently.

ii. It’s the power to talk with whomever God calls us to talk with and do so unashamedly.

iii. It’s the power to suffer whatever we need to suffer and to do so joyfully.

iv. It’s the power to bear whatever we are given to bear and to bear it patiently.

v. It’s the power to resist whatever temptation we need to resist and to do so strongly.

vi. It’s the power to endure whatever we need to endure and to do so peacefully.

vii. It’s the power to serve wherever Christ calls us to serve and to do so faithfully.

Conclusion

Who will roll away the stones in our lives? Jesus will. Through His death, burial and resurrection, He has rolled away the stone of sin, death and self-defeated. I pray that as we celebrate this Easter season, we will celebrate the fact that the stone has been rolled away!

 

 

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