Our Next Guest
August 29, 2021
We tend to relegate the resurrection to one Sunday every year. But the reality is the resurrection wasn’t supposed to be an annual event that we acknowledge, but a moment in time that affects how we live in every moment in time. Whatever our circumstances, we can follow the example of the three women who encountered Jesus’ empty tomb: keep moving, look up, and respond to Jesus.
Kenny Hart • Our Next Guest • Mark 16:1-8
Series: Our Next Guest
Message: Stones and Tombs
Pastor: Kenny Hart
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Study Guide (PDF)
August 29, 2021 NotesOur Next Guest | Stones and TombsKenny Hart | Mark 16:1-8What’s up, Traders family? How are you all doing? Is the energy right? Are we excited to be in God’s house today? Well, listen. It’s an honor and privilege and blessing to be with you all. I’ve got my beautiful wife sitting in the front row looking all good. I’ve got a couple of key members from my staff here today. Can you all give them a proper Traders Point welcome. Yeah. Amen. Now, before I get started, I want to shout out all 15 campuses watching virtually. We’re so glad that you are here with us. You could have been watching Netflix, but you’re here with us today.And I believe that God has you here because there’s a word that He wants to Amazon Prime into your spirit. Amen, somebody. Has Amazon Prime blessed you all over the last year? I mean, that’s a life saver for me. But there’s a word that God, spiritually, wants to Amazon Prime into your spirit. Amen.Now before I jump into that word, I want to take a minute to honor your pastor. I want to honor your leader—2020 was a hard year for all of us. And I don’t know where it was hard for you, but I know where it was hard for me and I also know that as I navigated the hardest year of my life in ministry your pastor, scratch that, my brother was one of the people who I leaned on the most. He was a bridge over troubled water. He was a voice of reason. He was somebody who calmed me down and talked me off of the edge or who just let me know, “You’re not alone.” Don’t we need to hear that sometimes? Sometimes we go through things, and we think we’re the only one. But it was so powerful when your pastor would just pour into me and just say, “You’re not alone.” And here’s the thing. We don’t know how to do honor well in our generation. See, we live in a generation that knows how to call out leaders. Don’t we know how to do that? We know how to call some people out. I mean we know how to drag them on Twitter. We know how to call some people out. And we live in a generation that knows how to complain about bad leaders. Oh, we know how to do that. But very, very rarely do we know how to celebrate good ones. And this is why the Bible gives us a warning. In Hebrews, it says: “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.” — Hebrews 13:17 (NLT)So can we just take a moment and honor the shepherd who God has put over this house, who has shepherded your souls and your families’ souls so well over the course of this pandemic? Oh, you all can do a little bit better than that. You all can do a little bit better than that. Listen. It’s hard being a leader. It’s hard having to stand up here and take the shots. It’s hard always having to do the hard thing. So you can celebrate somebody who’s willing to go out in front and lead. There you go. There we go. Amen. Amen. Amen, amen, amen. You all have got a good one here. You all have got a good one.Now when I asked AB and the leadership team here what I should preach today, they told me to preach whatever God gave me. And that’s a little dangerous because, see, I’m a chocolate preacher from Harlem and we don’t do clocks and countdowns where I’m from. We just get up and we preach what God gives. And so if you’ve got something in the crock pot, I’m sorry. If you’ve got plans to eat, I’m sorry. I apologize now. But as I prayed about this assignment, one of the things that really blessed me when I was looking at where God had the church is that you guys just came out of The Big Three series on faith, hope, and love. Did that bless you all? Was that a blessing? Pastor Mike melted the mic, didn’t he? I mean just three weeks of straight fire. I can appreciate fire when I see it. So I was like, “Man, God. What is it that you want to say then to the church after such a powerful series?” And the thing that God put in my heart was—there is only one thing that could really enhance the foundation that was laid over the last three weeks for this church. There is only one thing that can function as the connective tissue around the muscle of faith, hope, and love that was deposited into your life over the last few weeks. And that one thing is resurrection. Resurrection, now the problem with the church today is that we often relegate the resurrection to one Sunday every year. But the reality is that the resurrection wasn’t supposed to be an event that we acknowledge annually. It was supposed to be an event that shaped how we live continually. And the truth is, in the climate that we currently live in, we need the resurrection now more than ever because all of us, all of us, feel nailed to something right now. Even if you weren’t born in Bethlehem and your birth certificate doesn’t rate King of Kings and Lord of Lords, you’re still carrying a cross. Maybe you weren’t tortured by the Romans, but you’ve been tortured by Corona. Maybe you weren’t carried off by centurions, but you’ve been carried off by a crisis. Maybe you weren’t nailed to a tree, but you’ve been nailed to some trauma. You may not have Jesus’ cross, but I promise you, you have His nails. And here’s the encouraging thing that I need you to write down today. Here’s where we are going today. If you’re taking notes, write this down: The Resurrection isn’t about what you’re nailed to, but about what you can walk out of.Oh, somebody say amen. Oh, if you are watching online say amen. See, they left Jesus in the tomb, but what encouraged me today is He didn’t stay there. They laid Him there, but He didn’t stay there. And whatever life has laid on you over the last 18 months, God sent me to tell you, you’re walking out of that thing today.Now, here’s the thing. Your leaders have done an amazing job of making me feel at home. You all want to make me feel at home? Okay, great. Well, if you’re able, can you stand with me out of reverence for God’s Word? I want to read God’s Word over us and then I want to pray and ask God to bless this time. I’m in Mark 16, verses 1 through 8. Here's what it reads: “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away…” It was a big stone. “Who’s going to do this? You going to do this? Mary, are you doing it, Mary, are you? Who’s going to roll this stone? “As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.”If there was a thesis statement for the most encouraging thing that I can tell you today, it’s that Jesus was not there. Did you hear that? Jesus wasn’t there. He’s not here. Look, that’s where they placed Him, but He is not here. “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ Trembling and bewildered”—not faithful and strong, not encouraged and more than a conqueror—“Trembling and bewildered the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”Will you bow with me in prayer? Father God, we thank You for this preaching moment. God, this is a prophetic moment. This is a moment that we can not get back, but it’s a moment that we desperately need You to show up. Father, we come here today hungry. God, we are hungry. We are hungry for a fresh encounter with You. We don’t want to just play church. We don’t want to sing more songs that we don’t mean. We don’t want to hear another sermon that we have no intentions of applying. No, no, no, God. We don’t want to be informed today. We want to be transformed. So, God, I pray today that You get this dust of a man out of the way so that Your people can see You, so they can see the transformative power of Your cross, burial, and resurrection. And, God, as You do that, I pray that the words of my lips and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, oh God, our friend, and our Redeemer. All agree with what I said? Amen.You may be seated. You look amazing. You look beautiful. You guys look great online too. You all look great.Life has a way of making things look larger than they appear, doesn’t it? I mean if the side view mirrors on our cars say, “Objects in this mirror are closer than they appear,” the life view mirror, the side view mirror of our lives says, “Objects in my life are larger than they appear.” We currently live in a moment where everything feels larger than ever, doesn’t it? I mean everything feels contentious. Everything feels apocalyptic. Everything feels like we’re living in the last days. Whether it’s a global pandemic, political turmoil, racial tension, church scandals, the Knicks making the playoffs. You all have got to stop laughing at my Knicks. I ain’t going to hold you, I am a Knicks fan and the Knicks making the playoffs is proof that we are living in the last days. I ain’t going to hold you.But God gave me a word for you today that is not about what you lost in these difficult times, it’s about what He can make live again. And that’s exactly where our story picks up. In today’s story we meet three women with two problems who experience one, earth-shattering solution. So let’s talk about this. The first point I have for you is: The Problem of the StoneNow, today’s events pick up right after Good Friday. Hope was just hung on a cross. Perfect love was just put in the grave. The Messiah had been murdered. And everybody is depressed. Everybody is disoriented. But here’s the thing, they really shouldn’t be because many times before this Jesus had given prophetic premonitions that this painful moment was coming. Jesus tried to prepare them for the things that were about to happen: for His trial, His crucifixion, for the tears they were about to cry, for the pain they were about to feel. It’s not much different than what we just went through. This global crisis—there has been Scripture, after Scripture, after Scripture that was there to prepare us. In these last days you are going to have trouble. There are going to be wars and rumors of wars and political turmoil, and diseases and pestilences—the Bible told us it was coming. And yet, just like these disciples, we didn’t heed it. We’ve become disoriented. We’ve become depressed and we don’t know what to do next. Imagine being in their position. They put all of their hope in this man and then one day, hope is gone. They sold possessions to follow Him. They walked away from careers. They left behind everything that they knew, and they put all of their eggs in this one basket and the basket fell to the ground and everything broke. And that’s where our text picks up today. The Bible says:“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.”The Bible says that there were three women, count them: one, two three—three women. There were three women who decided to make the long journey to the tomb to embalm the body of Jesus. They decide that if nobody else shows up to honor Jesus, Our Lord, who we put our faith in they will show up and they will at least give Him a proper burial.Now, understand this. These women lived in a culture where they were essentially invisible. They were invisible. They lived in a culture where a woman could cook the food, but couldn’t sit at the table. They lived in a culture where a woman could give birth to a man but couldn’t lead one. They lived in a culture where a woman could clean the house but couldn’t own the house. They lived in a culture where a woman could hear the Word but couldn’t be a disciple. That’s why it was so scandalous that Jesus took women disciples. So Jesus had made such an impact in their lives that they said, “If nobody else will show up, we’re going to show up.” And the thing that I want to draw your attention to today is the people who society viewed as the ones with the least to give, were the first to show up. Oh, you all. You have to give God some praise for that. See, I find it so interesting that we live in a moment where the people that we became the most dependent on over the last 18 months to provide and deliver life-saving resources and deliver PPE to hospitals, and bring groceries to our house, and food to our house, and all the stuff that we splurged on during the quarantine—come on we’ve all got a quarantine closet, you done bought 50,000 pairs of the same sneakers and shirts, you don’t need none of that stuff, come on, I’m not the only sinner in the room, you ain’t going to leave me by myself today—those people are the very same people that we are currently fighting about paying $15.00 an hour. See, these women were invisible to their society. But now they are unforgettable, simply because they showed up. They showed up. Here’s my question for you today:What’s your excuse for not going to the tomb?What’s your excuse for not showing up? What’s the thing that you are saying to yourself that justifies you not showing up in some of the fights that God is calling you into? See, there are so many fronts that we are fighting on right now, but not all of us, if we’re honest, are showing up. We’re complaining. We’re talking. We’re tweeting. We’re texting. We’re voting. But we’re not showing up. We’re not showing up.What’s your excuse today for not showing up? These women had every excuse to not show up. They did. Number one, they were women. I just told you why that was a major hinderance. But, number two, they could get caught by the Romans. Did you just see what they did to Jesus? What happens if they caught them? Number three, Jesus had already been dead for three days. What were they showing up to do? What was going to change by them simply walking to the tomb? But yet, despite all of those reasons they showed up anyway. See, our tombs are the places where it is easy to stop showing up. Our tombs are the places where God feels absent, where our money gets funny. Anybody’s money get funny? Money got a little funny. School got a little funny. Our tombs are the places where we find out our friends are fake and enemies are real. Hello somebody. And it’s in that place, hear me, that these women show up. It’s in that place that they show up. But as good as all of that is, showing up is really only half of the battle because even though they show up, there is still a stone in their way that is keeping them from getting to Jesus.Which is why the Bible says next:“Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away…” “Mary, are you going to do this? You see the way my back is set up. I ain’t. I bumped my back out messing with you all. He just healed me last week. He pressed my back. My back was all messed up. He healed me last week. I ain’t messing my back up trying to roll this stone away.”See, here’s the thing. As courageous as they are and as inspiring as these women were, they still find themselves walking to a tomb to face a problem that they can’t fix. There is a stone that is stopping them from getting to Jesus.See, in the ancient world, Jewish burial tombs were giant rocks that were rolled in front of a cave. And it was rolled in front of a cave with heavy auxiliary machinery. Hello, somebody. “Who’s rolling that back? You going to roll that back? Who backs that’s up to roll that back?” They were rolled in front so that the body wasn’t tampered with, so that people couldn’t touch the body. And it’s because there were specific burial customs around a Jewish body. And so the reality is that they are walking to a place expecting that rock to be in front of that hole. They expect to not know what to do. And what I appreciate most about these women is even though they had a stone this large in their way, come on, help me, they still kept on walking.Even though that rock was blocking their access to Jesus, they just kept on walking. Even though there was some stuff in the way that they couldn’t figure out, they just kept on walking. Even though they didn’t have all of the answers, help me, they just kept on walking. They kept on moving. Their feet kept on going. They didn’t know how He was going to do it; they knew that He was going to do it and they just kept on walking.And here’s what I want you to see today, what kept them walking wasn’t their faith, and it wasn’t even their hope as important as faith and hope are. And they had faith and hope. Trust me, we know they did. But the reality is when they get to the tomb and they find that tomb empty, they are just as shocked as everybody else, alright? They didn’t show up at the tomb expecting Jesus to not be there, they showed up fully expecting to embalm a dead body. They did not expect it to be empty. So, yes, they had faith, yes, they had hope, but what kept their feet moving was not faith and hope. You know what kept their feet moving? What kept their feet moving was their love for Jesus. Oh, yes. Oh, if you love Him today you can clap a little bit harder than that. If you love Him today you can get a little bit louder than that. Because it’s your love for Jesus that will keep you going when your faith fails, when your hope fails, when your money fails, when your marriage fails, when your kids fail, when your career fails, when life fails, love will keep your feet moving. Somebody under the sound of my voice feels stuck right now. You sat in the back because you didn’t want nobody to see you. You’re hiding. You’re running. You just feel like stopping. You have some worries that you haven’t been able to worship your way out of. But listen to me. What’s going to move that stone in your life isn’t having all of the faith and hope in the world. You need to have faith and hope, that’s not what is going to move the stone. What’s going to move that stone is how deeply do you love Jesus, because when everything else fails, love will keep your feet moving.God told me to tell you today, keep moving. Keep moving. Somebody say, “Keep moving.” Oh, some of you all tell your neighbors, “Keep moving.” The person in the back can’t believe you. Tell him, “Keep moving.” Somebody feels like quitting right now. Tell him, “Keep moving.” Somebody watching this, text somebody and say, “Keep moving.” Keep moving. God says, “Keep moving with questions. Keep moving with concerns.” Keep moving even though you don’t know how He’s going to work it out. Keep moving even though each week you’re hearing nothing but more bad news. Keep moving. Keep moving because if they would have stopped, hear this, they would have missed the miracle. My God: Your miracle is on the other side of your mobility.Oh, that was a bar right there. I spent all week writing that, you have to clap a little harder than that. See, our hope today is that God doesn’t need you to do for you what you can’t do for yourself. That’s our hope. You don’t believe me? Look at the next verse:“But when they looked up—” Somebody say, “When they looked up.” When they looked up, “When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.” — Mark 16:4 (NIV)When they did what? When they did what? They were looking down. They were looking down. They were listening to the reports. They were following the news. They were scrolling the newsfeed. They were participating in the panic. They were feeding their fears. But then they looked up. Oh, you missed it. You missed it in your shouts. But then they looked up. Somebody needs to look up.David said:“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?” That’s a great question, David. Where does it come from? “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. — Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV)Look up! Your victory is vertical not horizontal. The word of the Lord for somebody’s life in this next season is, “Stop going to people for what only God can do.” You’ve got God-sized problems but you’re seeking man-sized solutions. Look up.They asked themselves, “Who will move this large stone?” And then they looked up and saw that God had already done it. God has already put the provision in place to do the things in your life that you are most stressed, most anxious, and most worried about right now, the things that you can’t do for yourself. Look up and watch Him do it.Which leads me to my second point because when you look up and see that He has rolled back the stone, what’s going to be inside the tomb? That leads me to my second point: The Problem of The TombThe Bible says next:“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene…’” I just like that sentence right there because you all know that Nazareth was the Hood, right? I know your house is nice and all of that, but Jesus’ house wasn’t nice. You know when He showed up, it was like, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” That was the Hood. Me and Jesus are from the same place. I’ve got something in common with Jesus. I just want to say that. That just encourages me. Jesus the Nazarene, that wasn’t a compliment in those days. But “‘… You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene.” But guess what? He was crucified but, “‘He is not here. See the place where they laid him.’” — Mark 16:5-6 (NIV)They walked into the tomb, the place of death, the place of disease, the place of decay and they fully expect to see a dead body there, but instead they see an angel radiating with light. And the Bible says, “They were alarmed.” They were alarmed because resurrection is always a surprise. See, my concern and my fear for the church today, can I tell you all my fear for the church? My fear for the church today, those of us who love Jesus, who really love Jesus, my concern for us is we’ve so sanitized the resurrection story that we’ve lost the surprise of it. I mean they fully expected Jesus to be dead.You do realize that we worship somebody who was executed by the state and whom everybody who followed Him fully expected Him to be dead. We worship somebody who broke every law, every natural law you can think of to transform our lives in this world. We worship somebody who literally did the one thing that none of us can ever do. He beat death. They expected Jesus to be dead. They fully expected all of their greatest fears to be confirmed. But somebody needs to praise God that we serve a God who doesn’t move at the level of your expectations. Oh, you missed me. You better praise God that He is a God who does exceedingly—oh, you added something this side, I said, “Abundantly.” Maybe the middle can help me, “Above all…” Somebody say, “All.” Somebody say, “All.” “All you can ask or think.” He is not a God who moves at the level of your religiosity. He is not a God who moves at the level of your Sunday School experience. He is not a God who moves at the level of your biblical knowledge. He is a God who does exceedingly, abundantly above all you could ask or think. See, I’m thankful that I worship a God who doesn’t meet me at the level of my expectations because most of us, like these women, fully expect the worst. Most of us wake up each day expecting more bad news. Most of us wake up each day expecting to hear more negative stuff, expecting to see the country more on fire, expecting to hear that more cases are going up, that the Delta, American Airlines, and the Jet Blue and whatever other variants are out there are rising up.I mean, I mean we just expect the worst. But I thank God that He doesn’t meet us at the level of our low expectations. His ways are not our ways. I once heard a prophet say that. And His thoughts are not our thoughts. I once heard the Word of God say, I heard a prophet say that, “Just as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are the thoughts of the Lord above yours.”See, here’s how you can sum up this scene:“On Resurrection Sunday, the greatest proof of God’s power, this is just so funny, this is so cool when He showed me this.—the greatest proof of God’s power is found in what was missing, not what was there.”Think about that for a second. The resurrection is the most monumental moment in history, it is the moment that transformed the world, it is the moment when God’s power and love are on greatest display and, yet, in that moment, in the most powerful moment, in the highlight of Jesus’ life, in the highlight of God’s plan for the world, in that monumental moment, the most powerful testimony of God’s power and love is that He wasn’t there. He wasn’t there.What’s missing in your life right now?What’s not there? What did you ask God to do that He hasn’t done? Who have you asked God to heal that He hasn’t healed? Who did you have to burry? Who did you have to watch walk out of your life? Who did you have to watch leave you or fail you? What hasn’t worked in your life? What are you missing? Here's what God sent me to tell you: God uses what’s not there to show you that He is. What’s missing in your life right now? Is it relationships? Is it rest? Is it resources? Maybe it’s revelation. But whatever you are missing right now, hear me, let me tell you, I need you to stop, I need you to hear this: Whatever is missing in your life right now makes you the perfect candidate for resurrection power. Oh, you should get excited about that. The miracle of this moment is that Jesus wasn’t there, which means your next miracle might come from the thing that’s missing not from the thing that’s there.Maybe you should stop complaining about the thing that is missing and you should start asking God to do a miracle in what is missing, because He’s already done it once. Amen!Here’s the turning point of the story. Here’s the turning point of the story. This is my third and final point and then I’m going to let you go. Here’s the turning point. When you walk into the tomb and you find that He’s not there, what are you going to do? Well, that leads me to my third and final point: The solution is not you. Oh, somebody say that. That’s therapeutic. Just say it. Listen. Listen. I’m about to save you about $150.00 a session, you who need some therapy this week, you don’t even need to see a therapist. You ready? Right now I’m going to save you some money. Say it with me. Say it with me, “The solution is not you.” Now, let’s make this personal. “The solution is not me. The solution is not me”.See, some of you have been pinteresting your problems and facebooking your failures and you’re on Web MD. You have a fake doctor’s degrees. You’re coughing. Is it allergies? I don’t know what this is, which variant is this? You don’t know what you’ve got and you’re stressing yourself out.Where’s the money going to come from? Where are the resources going to come from? When’s the healing going to happen? When is the help going to come? When are we going to go back to normal? First of all, what is normal? What is normal? What was normal shouldn’t have been normal because what was normal before, this pandemic has highlighted all of the problems that we just ignored. All of the stuff that we didn’t deal with before wasn’t new. So what was normal wasn’t normal at all. It was abnormal. It was very abnormal. It didn’t look like the Kingdom of God. So why do we want to go back to any version of the world that doesn’t look like God’s Kingdom?Okay. So what we need to hear today is the solution is not you. This should free you today. Here’s the good news, right? That humbles us. We’re not the solution. But here’s what lifts us up: But the solution includes you.It’s not you, but it includes you. It’s not me, but it includes me. See, every part of this story is clear that we are not the solution. If you look at every problem in this text, we can go through it, whether it’s the tomb, whether it’s the stone, whether it’s anything. Whether it’s the Romans—whatever the problem is in this story, the people in it don’t solve any of them, do they? They don’t solve any of the problems that are facing them. They are not the solution.But I thank God that even though we can’t remove our own stones, and even though we can’t empty our own tombs that there is a God in heaven who includes us in His plans. The God who can includes you. I want you to hear this. Listen very carefully to what the angel says to these women. He says: “But go—” Somebody say, “Go.” He says, “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” — Mark 16:7 (NIV)The angel tells the women to go. But why? Why does he tell them to go? Because He’s going ahead of them into Galilee. Now, listen to me. I don’t know what your Galilee is. I don’t know the thing that’s in your life that you really need God to move in this Sunday morning, this Sunday. I don’t know what the thing is that you need God to do something transformative in your life. But here is what I need you to hear: The word of the Lord today is to go. The word of the Lord is to go.And here’s what you can do. I don’t know what going means, but here’s what you can have confidence in. You can go into your next season with confidence, not because you know what’s next, but because you know Who is already there. Oh, my God. That’s a word. The angel tells them to go and spread the news. But he also says something else that is significant. He says go and tell Peter. Now, why would the angel signal out our boy Peter? Well, because while Jesus was on trial… Peter, you know Peter, Peter—the unstable one who Jesus renamed, the one you know He called The Rock. He said, “I’m going to give you the keys and the gates of hell will not prevail against my church”—that Peter. Peter—you know who I’m talking about Peter, the one who wrote Scripture, the one who was one of the most famous disciples who ever lived. Peter, Peter, he said, “Go tell Peter.” Why? Well because what happened was that when Jesus was on trial—yeah, so Peter denied Him three times. But you know, he didn’t just deny Him like, “I ain’t going to church this Sunday,” you know what I’m talking about? He didn’t just deny Him like, “I ain’t reading in a month.” That type of denial.No, no, no. No, no. He was cursing people out. Cursing them out. It was like, “I don’t even know Him.” See, despite all that Jesus had done for Peter, when Jesus needed Peter, Peter caved like a house of cards. But even though Peter denied Jesus, Jesus didn’t deny him. And Jesus wants Peter to know, “You might have failed me in My lowest moment, but I’m still including you in My greatest moment.”Family, we’re all Peter. We’re all Peter. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All of us, all of us deserve the cross that Jesus died on. Many of us are ashamed about what this pandemic has exposed in us, the way that it has exposed the stuff in our hearts that we’ve been able to hide or distract ourselves from dealing with. Many of us would be ashamed that some of the things we’ve said to our spouse, our kids, some of the things we’ve said to the people we love most, some of the things we’ve done during these last 18 months. Most of us would be ashamed of some of the things that this crisis has brought out of us, but God’s message to all of the Peters like me today is simply this. You ready? “You’re included, you’re forgiven, and you are loved. You’re loved, Peter.”The angel tells the women, “You will see Him again, just like He said.”Family, there are many things that have been voided over this last 18 months. But the Word of God is not one of them. Our hope in good times or bad times, in highs or in lows, whether we are healthy or sick, is that we will see Him again, just like He said. Oh, you better give God some praise for resurrected hope. I don’t care what life throws at you tomorrow, you will see Him again just like He said.Now, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen I want to land this plane, but I want to get very practical. I want to get very practical. There are a few things that I want us to take away from this word as we go back to our lives. So if you’re taking notes, I want you to write this down. These are the things that I really want to apply from this word. Number one:Keep Moving!Somebody say that, “Keep moving.” Say that at home, “Keep moving.” The one thing about our God is that He doesn’t stay in one place for too long. I mean, Jesus couldn’t even stay in the grave for more than three days.There’s a story in the Old Testament where Samuel is mourning over Saul after God takes His hands off of Saul. And the Lord shows up like, “Are you still there crying over Saul? I’ve moved on. Get out of the pity party, pick up your clothes, take off the sackcloth and ashes because I need you to go to Bethlehem. There is another assignment that I have for you, Samuel. There’s another thing I need you to do. There is a man after My own heart that I need you to go and anoint. His name is David. That’s the king I chose.” Somebody needs to keep moving. See, God loves us, and He will meet us in our hardships, in our troubles, in our difficulty, but He won’t stay there. Why would God stay in your anxiety? When the disciples were afraid, Jesus woke up and rebuked the waves and He said to them, “Why is your faith so little?” Jesus will be in the boat with you, but He’s not going to stay there. You’ve got to keep moving. Somebody say, “Keep moving.” Keep moving. Your miracle is on the other side of your mobility. Keep moving. Keep moving scared. Keep moving when you don’t know what happens next. Just keep moving.Number two: Stop Looking For Life In Dead Things.The angel said to the women, “He’s not here. He’s risen.” I like how another version says this. Another version says it like this:“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” — Luke 24:5 (NLT)I love that. Jesus isn’t in the dead things and dead places where we tend to dwell. So this week I want you to watch less news and pray some more. This week I want you to skip on watching some episodes of your favorite show and get into some episodes of Scripture. This week I want you to check less social media and check in on some more people. Is that alright? See, life doesn’t exist in the things that we distract ourselves with. It exists in the God who defeated death.Here's the third and final thing I want you to apply to your life: Resurrection Requires A Response!It doesn’t matter how you respond to the word that God preached over you today. What matters is that you respond. See, the thing that is most fascinating to me about this story is in verse 8. The way the story ends, look at what the Scripture says. These women just walked to the tomb, the tomb was empty, there is an angel sitting there talking to them, Jesus ain’t nowhere to be found and here’s how the Scripture ends: “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb.” — Mark 16:8 (NIV)Now you would think that the Scripture would end something like, “Courageous and strong, the women walked out and walked on water, cast out demons, and prophesied and showed all of the signs in the book of Acts.” No, trembling and bewildered….And listen. You would be trembling and bewildered too if you saw somebody walk out of a grave. Imagine going to a funeral and the person gets up in the casket and said, “I was playing you all. That was funny. That was funny.” You would be scared too. And here’s what you need to see today. You can come out of this current crisis triumphant or trembling but either way resurrection demands a response, which is why if you don’t know Jesus today, this is the day to receive Jesus. My Bible says, “This is the day that the Lord has made.” We don’t know what tomorrows, how many tomorrows, we have left. But we know the God whose grace is sufficient for today. So, if that’s you today, if you don’t know the God who we just introduced you to in worship and the Word, today is the day. Don’t harden your heart but give it to Him in faith. Can I pray over you all? Is that alright? We would love to pray over you all. Let’s pray over you all.Father God, I thank You, I thank You, God, that today we can walk out of our tomb more than a conqueror. God, I thank You that COVID couldn’t cancel the cross. And because COVID couldn’t cancel the cross, COVID can’t cancel the church. There so many things being canceled in our culture but the cross and the church and the risen Christ are not one of them. And so, Jesus, today, today we walk out of this place ready to take up the mantle, ready to go vertical and not horizontal, ready to put our faith and hope in the God who is above our storm, ready to trust in the One who holds tomorrow, not in what tomorrow holds. And, God, as we do that today, I pray that You ready Your people. There are problems in this city that this church was put here to solve. God, I pray for the people of this house that they will find in their calling and in their time with You in prayer the solution that You have called them to be in this city.Father, we thank You in advance for the chains that will break and for the tombs that will be empty after today. We ask this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
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