Easter Sermon (2022)

Here’s the outline for the sermon I preached on Easter 2022 at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville. You can listen to the audio here under “Stand Alone Sermons.”

“Believing with Thomas” (John 20:19-31)

Intro: Is it good to believe in Jesus? Are we believing in something which is true? Does it matter if one believes in Jesus? Does it make any difference to our lives now or after we die?
        -Perhaps you are here today and would say no: not good, not true, does not matter, and makes no difference today.
                    -Maybe you are what people today call a ‘DOUBTING THOMAS’
                                -Dictionary def: “a person who is skeptical and refuses to believe something without proof.”
                                           
-Perhaps that is your attitude toward Jesus and his resurrection from the dead.-Even if this true for you, we are glad you are with us today and invite you to consider the ORIGINAL Doubting Thomas
       
-The phrase is based off the actions of UNBELIEF by a man named Thomas, who was one of the 12 Disciples of Jesus
                    -He did indeed doubt or choose unbelief in the resurrection of Jesus, for a time.
                                -But he also believed. In fact, he was a faithful follower of Jesus and leader in Early Church
                                            -Extrabiblical church history records his mission to India and his martyr’s death.                                                      -Many have said that “Doubting Thomas” is an unfair title for him.
TODAY, we’ll consider the story of Thomas and his move from unbelief to belief in the resurrected Jesus
        -I hope that we will see what Thomas came to recognize: “IT IS GOOD TO BELIEVE IN JESUS.”
                                            3 Reasons Why It is Good to Believe in Jesus:
1. It is good to believe in Jesus because of the truth (20:19-26)
2. It is good to believe in Jesus because that is right response to him (20:27-28)
3. It is good to believe in Jesus because that is where we find life (20:29-31)

1. It is good to believe in Jesus, because of the truth (20:19-26)
*CHILDREN: Is it good to believe lies or believe what is true?
        -What happens when you believe a lie? It can lead to your harm and harm of others.
                    EXAMPLES: Easter eggs full of dirt.  Adults lies about crossing street safely. Someone tells lies about you                                  -It is good to believe the truth, and is good to believe in Jesus because he really died and rose again.
                                            –A central claim of Christianity is that it is true and tells the truth about God and reality.
Here’s what the Bible Teaches about Jesus: 
        -Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth to save his people from their sins by dying on a cross (John 10:10-11)
                    -He predicted on multiple times that he would not only die but rise again from the dead (Matt 16:21)
                                -Jesus’s death on a cross took place and was carried out by professional Roman soldiers (John 19)
                                                        -This was seen by many and performed by professionals.
                                -Jesus rose from the dead was seen by Mary Magdalene and the women (John 20)
                                            -The Bible speaks of things are true to history, they actually happened.

………..LOOK AT THE TEXT
(John 20:19-26) and see that it is good to believe in Jesus because of the TRUTH.
-Jesus was seen by 10 of disciples (20:19-26)
        -10 of his disciples gathered and saw him alive (19-23)
                    -Miraculous entrance—with doors still locked (19)
                    -They saw his scars (20)
                    -His message to them was one of peace: “Peace be with you” (19)
                    -They were to be sent out on mission (21b)
                                -Thomas was not there at the first gathering (24)
                                            -We do not know why.
         -Main thing to see in these verses: Jesus really rose again—this is the truth.
-The Disciples tell Thomas about the Resurrected Jesus (25a)
        -They saw it and now they are telling Thomas the truth about it.
-Thomas REFUSES to Believe (25b)
        -Thomas refused to believe in the resurrection of Jesus and had 3 demands before he would believe (25)
                    -See the mark; put his finger in the nail mark; put his hand in the side where he was pierced
                                -Maybe you also refuse to believe: intellectual reasons; heart reasons.
-Jesus Appears a Second time and this time Thomas is Present (26)
        -Thomas is with them (26)
                    -Jesus comes in the same way (miraculously) and has same message: PEACE.
APP: It is good to believe in Jesus, because of the truth. The truth is Jesus really died and really rose again.
                    ——-TRANSITION: But at this point, Thomas is in unbelief. He does not believe that this is truth.
2. It is good to believe in Jesus, because that is right response to him (20:27-28)
CHILDREN: Who likes going to the zoo? What is parent asked if you wanted to go to the zoo? Right response?
        NOT: I wish I could stay home and do chores.
                    BUT: JOY and GRATITUDE!
QUESTION: What is the right response to the resurrected Jesus?
        -Right response to Jesus is belief in him.

-Jesus addresses Thomas’ Unbelief (27)

        -Jesus miraculously knew Thomas’ objections and speaks to him about them (27a)
        -Jesus calls on Thomas to abandon his unbelief and place his faith in him. (27b)
                    -Unbelief in Jesus is not neutral, but an embrace of what is contrary to the truth
                                -Belief in Jesus is the right response to who he really is.
-Thomas Responds with belief in Jesus (28)
        -Thomas professes “My Lord and My God”
                    -This would have been astonishing for a Jewish person to say
                                -Jesus did not correct his confession of faith
                                            -This is what a Christian confession looks like: Jesus is our Lord and our God!
APP: It is good to believe in Jesus, because that is the right response to who he really is.

3. It is good to believe in Jesus, because that is where we find life (20:29-31)
*CHILDREN
: Have any of you ever been on a long road trip with your parents? Did they use google maps or GPS?
        -STORY OF me as a KID WITH ATLAS
                    -QUESTION: Where do eternal life? Life that is real and lasting and changes us?
                                ANSWER: Jesus.
                                            It is good to believe in Jesus, because that is where we find life.-UNIVERSAL DESIRE FOR LIFE:
         -Made to find it in God, but seek it elsewhere: relationships; possessions; career; pleasure
                                 -But Jesus offers us a life better and more real and lasting than all these. (John 10:10)
                                            -It is good to believe in Jesus, because this is where we find LIFE.

-Jesus Encourages us to Believe, even though we have not physically seen him (29)
       
-It is good to believe in Jesus=it is a ‘blessed state’
                    -We can trust Jesus in this.                                -Jesus knew that 99.99999% of all Christians would come to faith this way

-We have good reason to believe in Jesus: the eye-witness testimony of the apostles (30-31)
        -The gospel contains a true historical account of Jesus’ “signs” (miracles, and resurrection) (30-31)
                    -These are written so “that we might believe”
        -Those who believe experience “life”: “by believing you might have life in his name”                              
  -John 3:16
                                            It is good to believe in Jesus, because that is where we find life.

CONCLUSION: What about you? Will you believe in Jesus? Will receive the life Jesus has to offer?

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