Celebrating the Resurrection of Christ
Sermons, Outlines, Illustrations, Meditations and Program Ideas
J. Michael Shannon & Robert C. Shannon
(c)opyright 1984, J. Michael Shannon

Sermon Outlines
THE MORNING AFTER

Mark 16:1-7

    The term "morning after" has a very unpleasant connotation, but think of the morning after the resurrection!

I. THE MORNING LIGHT, v.2
A. God began Creation with light.
B. In nature life depends on light.
C. John said Jesus was the light of men. John 1:4
D. Jesus said He was the light of the world. John 8:12
E. Sin is darkness.
F. Heaven is brightness.
G. How appropriate the resurrection at dawn!
II. THE MORNING NEWS, v. 7
A. Once Jesus said, "Tell no man." Luke 8:56
B. Now He says, "Go and tell!"
C. At first they hesitated, then responded eagerly.
     Mark 16:10; Matthew 28:8; Luke 24:33-35; Acts 8:4
D. We, too, must go and tell eagerly. Acts 1:8; Luke 24:46-48; Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15
III. THE MORNING GLORY, v. 5
A. Moses' face shone with God's glory. Exodus 34:29
B. The temple was filled with a cloud of glory. I Kings 8:10
C. Jesus was transfigured gloriously. Luke 9:29
D. None compared to the radiance from the empty tomb.
E. None compared to the glory of the risen Christ.
F. Such a glory awaits us. 2 Corinthians 4:17; Revelation 21:23
    We are children of the dawn. Let us walk in the light.

THE LAST THINGS
1 Corinthians 15:51-58

    People are keenly interested in the last words of famous men, the last works of famous writers, painters, and musicians, and in the last things of our religion.

I. THE LAST MYSTERY, v. 51
A. Birth is a mystery.
B. Life is a mystery.
C. Death is a mystery.
D. Life after death is the last mystery.
II. THE LAST TRUMPET, v. 52
A. The certainty of it
B. The finality of it
C. The result of it
III. THE LAST ENEMY, vs. 55-57 and 15:25, 26
A. We don t win the victory ourselves.
B. God gives the victory.
C. God gives it through Christ.
D. We reflect it in life. Colossians 3:1; Romans 6:2-4
    What a blessed assurance that Jesus is risen, that we, too, shall rise, and that our labor for Him is not in vain.

GIFTS FROM THE RISEN CHRIST
John 20:19-23

INTRODUCTION:
    Paul said that when Jesus "led captivity captive," he gave gifts unto men.  We may see those gifts here in the upper room.

I. HE BROUGHT PEACE FOR THEIR HEARTS, v. 19
A. From the turmoil of fear
B. From the tyranny of doubt
C. From the terror of loneliness
II. HE BROUGHT PROOF FOR THEIR MINDS, v. 20
A. The Risen One is the Crucified One
B. Surprising One is the Familiar One
III. HE BROUGHT PURPOSE FOR THEIR LIVES
A. They shared His purpose, v. 21
B. They ministered His grace, v. 23
IV. HE BROUGHT POWER FOR THEIR SERVICE, v. 22
A. It was more than the power of a great intellect.
B. It was more than the power of a determined heart.
C. It was more than the power of complete dedication.
D. It was more than the power of wealth or arms.
E. It was the power of the Holy Spirit of God.
CONCLUSION:
    The risen Christ would give these gifts to all His followers, but first they must (like the early disciples) wait and watch and pray.

LOOK
Matthew 28:1-8

    The amazing appearance of the angels at the tomb gave the women something to think about.  They were compelled to look at three things.

I. LOOK AT YOURSELVES, vs. 5,6
A. This is not a time for fear.
B. This is not a time for surprise.
II. LOOK AT THE FACTS, v. 6
A. Christianity is a faith based on fact.
B. Christianity is a faith that invites examination.
III. LOOK TOWARD THE FUTURE, v. 7
A. Hope is ahead.
B. Work is ahead.
C. Christ is ahead.
    The church has the promise, in the light of the resurrection, that Jesus goes ahead of us wherever we must go.

RESURRECTION AND RESTORATION
John 21:15-19

    Peter knew the Lord was risen but did not know the Lord still had a ministry for him.  When the risen Lord talked to Peter by the sea, He emphasized that Peter could be restored to a place of usefulness.

I. PETER WAS CALLED TO A MINISTRY OF LOVE, vs. 15-17
A. Love is a test of commitment.
B. Love is the motive of ministry.
II. PETER WAS CALLED TO A MINISTRY OF SERVICE, vs. 15-17
A. Feed the flock.
B. Protect the flock.
C. Guide the flock.
III. PETER WAS CALLED TO A MINISTRY OF SACRIFICE, vs. 18, 19
A. Duty glorifies God.
B. Death glorifies God.
C. Discipleship glorifies God.
    Though there were times when Peter had let his Lord down, ultimately he fulfilled his ministry.  He was able to be restored because Christ was risen.

LIFE BEYOND DEATH
Job 14:14

    The question we see in our text is the oldest question of man.  In examining Job's confrontation with this question in Chapter 14, what do we learn of life after death?

I. MAN DESIRES IT
A. Because life is difficult, vs. 1, 2
B. Because life is short, vs. 1, 2
C. Because he longs to be with God, vs. 13, 14
II. NATURE SUGGESTS IT
A. The tree is reproduced. vs. 7-10
B. The water is recycled. vs. 11, 12
C. The man ought to be resurrected.
III. LOVE DEMANDS IT
A. The love that created us, v. 15
B. The love that called us, v. 15
C. The love that converted us, vs. 16, 17
    The conclusion of the matter is found in Job 19:25-27 when Job confidently affirms, "I will see him."

 THE WRONG SIDE OF "EASTER"
Matthew 28:1-15
INTRODUCTION:
A.  James S. Stewart says we are living on the wrong side of "Easter."
B.  We have fifty-two "Easters" every year - we are a creation of "Easter."
I.  WE NEED LESS MOURNING AND MORE CELEBRATION
A. Our leader lives.
B. Our cause is true.
C. We shall live, also.
II.  WE NEED LESS FEAR AND MORE CONFIDENCE
A. Can sin harm us?
B. Is there more to life?
C. Can death harm us?
III.  WE NEED LESS APATHY AND MORE COMMITMENT
A. This truth is the best news in the world.
B. This truth is essential.
C. This truth must be told to all.
CONCLUSION:
We are facing the most unbelievable, yet most important, fact of history.

THE GLORIOUS EXCHANGE
1 Corinthians 15:50-57

    When Christ rose from the dead as the firstfruit of many others, He allowed us to exchange uncertainties for certainties.

I. WHEN, NOT lF. vs. 50-52
A. The certainty of death
B. The certainty of the day of the Lord
II. MUST, NOT M1GHT. v. 53
A. Job had this confidence (Job 19:25-27)
B. Jesus had this confidence (John 16:16, 17, 28, 29)
C. Paul had this confidence (2 Corinthians 5:1)
III. ETERNAL, NOT MORTAL. v. 53
A. We are more than flesh and blood
B. We are meant for heaven not earth
C. We are made for eternity not time
IV. LIFE, NOT DEATH. vs. 54-57
A. Life transforms death
B. Life transcends death
C. Life triumphs over death
V. VICTORY, NOT DEFEAT. vs. 54-57
A. Christ won the victory for us
B. The Father gives the victory to us
    Who would not want to make this exchange?  Everyone has that opportunity.  All can exchange defeat for victory.
 THE MYSTERY OF THE CROSS
Luke 18:31-34

    This is a comforting text.  It consoles us to know that the disciples, like us, did not always understand.  We are reassured that we don't have to understand everything to be a disciple.

I. HOW CAN THE KINGDOM BE ADVANCED BY A CROSS?
A. lt is contrary to common sense.
B. It is contrary to history.
C. lt is contrary to our experience.
D. It is compatible with prophecy.
E. It is compatible with the nature of Christ.
II. HOW CAN MEN BE SO CRUEL TO CHRIST?
A. He deserves a medal, not mocking.
B. It shows how far evil will go.
C. It shows how much love will endure.
III. HOW CAN A GOOD MAN SUFFER?
A. The question is as old as the book of Job.
B. The question is as fresh as your present pain.
C. The experience of Christ reassures us.
D. The experience of Christ comforts us.
E. The experience of Christ strengthens us.
IV. HOW CAN DEATH BE OVERCOME?
A. Human observation argues against it.
B. Human intuition argues for it.
C. Christ's resurrection settles it.
    Often we believe what we cannot understand. It is not understanding that saves us.  It is faith.
THE CHRIST OF THE RESURRECTION
Luke 24:13-32

    There is always the danger that our preoccupation with the day may distract us from the Divine Christ in whose honor the day is kept.

I. THE INESCAPABLE CHRIST, vs. 15, 16
A. The sealed door of the tomb could not keep Him in.
B. The locked door of the Upper Room could not keep Him out.
C. He still breaks through barriers to come to us.
D. He is still the Unrecognized Presence.
II. THE INDISPENSABLE CHRIST, vs. 21-26
A. In Him alone we have hope.
B. He alone fulfills prophecy.
C. He alone gives assurance of life hereafter.
III. THE INCENDIARY CHRIST, v. 32
A. He lights the fires of faith. John 20:30, 31
B. He rekindles the fires of commitment.
C. He fans the flames of service.
    Christ is never very far from us; but we must let Him into our lives.  He will never force himself upon us.
THE INEVITABILITY OF THE RESURRECTION
Acts 2:24

INTRODUCTION:
    The Bible names many impossible things (Hebrews 6:18; 11:6).  The most touching impossibility is here: that Christ should be conquered by death.  The resurrection was inevitable.

I. IT WAS INEVITABLE BECAUSE OF WHAT JESUS SAID
A. John 2:19
B. Matthew 16:21
C. Matthew 17:22, 23
D. Mark 14:27,28
II. IT WAS INEVITABLE BECAUSE OF WHO JESUS WAS
A. Acts 2:33-36
B. In Him was life. John 1:4
C. He was the resurrection. John 11:25
D. He was before Abraham. John 8:58
E. Psalm 16:8-11
III. IT WAS INEVITABLE BECAUSE GOD WAS WITH HIM
A. Acts 2:22
B. John 5:17-30
C. John 10:15-18
IV. IT WAS INEVITABLE BECAUSE OF THE CONSEQUENCES IF HE HAD NOT
A. The universe would disintegrate. Colossians 1:17
B. There would be no future. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
C. There would be no forgiveness. 1 Corinthians 15:17
D. There would be no faith. 1 Corinthians 15:14-17
CONCLUSION:
    We have seen the consequences if Christ had not risen.  What are the consequences now that He has risen?
THE RAISING OF THE REJECTED STONE
Matthew 21:42-46 with Psalm 119:22

INTRODUCTION:
    When the New Testament quotes the Old, we must pay attention.  In this text, it is Jesus himself who is quoting.  Again, we must pay attention.

I. MAN'S REJECTION
A. Prophesied beforehand
B. Even now in preparation, v. 46
C. Eventually carried out
D. Everlastingly punished, v. 43, 44
II. GOD S RESURRECTION
A. God is wiser than man.
B. God is more powerful than death.
C. God is too loving not to intervene.
D. God always announces in advance His mightiest acts.
III. OUR RESPONSE
A. It is marvelous in our eyes.
B. We must do more than marvel; we must believe.
C. We must do more than believe; we must worship.
D. We must do more than worship; we must serve.
CONCLUSION:
    We marvel at God's power.  We marvel at His love.  We marvel at His grace.
THE CARPENTER'S TEMPLE
John 2:18-22

INTRODUCTION:
    Bible students say there were three temples in Jerusatem: one built by Solomon, one by Ezra, and one by Nehemiah.  There was a fourth.  It was built by a carpenter from Nazareth named Jesus.

I. THE CENTER OF OUR RELIGION, v. 21
A. lt is Christ.
B. It is not a nation, Israel.
C. It is not a place, Jerusalem.
D. It is not a building, the temple.
E. We still face the temptation to limit our religion to certain nations, places, and buildings.
II. THE CERTAINTY OF OUR RELIGION, v. 19
A. It is based on the resurrection of Jesus.
B. It is based on fulfilled predictions jesus made.
C. It is fact, not fiction.
D. It is objective, not subjective.
III. THE CELEBRATION OF OUR RELIGION, v. 22
A. It is a celebration of remembrance.
B. It is a celebration of faith.
C. It is a celebration of Scripture.
D. It is a personal fellowship with a present and living Lord.
CONCLUSION:
    It is a mark of the maturity of man that we no longer need visible symbols: temples and lambs and altars of incense.  It is a mark of God's trust in us that He offers us now an invisible Christ, a walk by faith, and a truly spiritual religion.

A DREAM COME TRUE
John 20:1-9, 19, 20

    Peter received a knock on the door, and heard news that changed his life.  The news was the answer to all his hopes.  Did Jesus really rise?

I. HE WAS COMPELLED BY THE POSSIBILITY, vs. 2-4
A. Job suggested it. Job 14:14
B. David believed it. Psalm 16:9, 10
C. Jesus promised it. Matthew 16:21
D. The heart desires it.
II. HE WAS CONFRONTED WITH THE EVIDENCE, vs. 5-9
A. The evidence of what was there
B. The evidence of what was not there
C. The testimony of the Women
D. The testimony of Scripture
III. HE WAS CONVINCED BY THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, vs. 19, 20
A. His doubt was replaced by faith.
B. His fear was replaced by courage.
C. His sadness was replaced by joy.
    The proof of the resurrection is not just the empty tomb; it is the living Lord.
FACING THE DAWN
Luke 24:13-35

INTRODUCTlON:
    Going from Jerusalem to Emmaus, the disciples were literally heading west, literally facing the sunset.  After their encounter with Christ, they turned around and went back to Jerusalem, facing east, facing the dawn.

    Until Christ rose from the dead, all humanity faced west, faced the sunset.  Now, like them, we may turn about and face east, facing the dawn.

I. IT MEANT THE DAWNING OF A NEW DAY.
A. Literally, it was a new day.  Was it by chance that He arose in the morning?  Perhaps, and yet the poet in us finds it fitting.
B. For the disciples, it was a new day.
1. They go from hiding behind closed doors to striding across the world with the gospel.
2. They go from huddling together in despair to scattering everywhere in joyous evangelism.
3. They go from weeping over a lost cause to shouting over a wonderful victory!
C. For us, it was a new day.
1. The resurrection bespeaks continuing victories.
2. As some flowers grow best when placed to get the morning sun, so churches grow best when facing the dawn!
3. The world's misery, gloom, and despair give way to new hope and joy.
II. IT MEANT THE LEARNING OF A NEW LESSON.
A. God's plan included redemptive suffering.
B. God's plan can never be thwarted.
C. God's plan is advanced by the very things that seem to defeat it.
D. Our lives are a part of God's plan.
III. IT MEANT THE CONFIRMING OF AN OLD HOPE.
A. It is mankind's oldest hope.
B. It is mankind's most universal hope. You read about it in the Psalms and the book of Job, in Plato and in Socrates, in Tennyson and Churchill.
C. Without the resurrection, it is mankind's most fragile hope.
D. With the resurrection, it is mankind's most virile hope.
CONCLUSION:
    Now the mournful voices of despair can no must give way to the triumphant voices of victory: Victory in Jesus!
HE IS HERE
Matthew 28:6

INTRODUCTION:
    We like to take texts and reset them in our own time and place.  So when God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love," we think of ourselves.  When Jesus looks into the eyes of Peter and says, "Do you love me?" He seems to look into our eyes as well.

    This is a very good thing to do with a text; but it will not work with this text: "He is not here!"  For He is here!  Matthew 28:6 can never be translated into our day because Matthew 28:20 turns it around!

I. THE NEGATIVE IS TURNED TO A POSITIVE.
A. You can't build your life on negatives.
B. The fact that the tomb was empty is only half of the story.
C. It is not just the empty tomb, but the filled hearts of men that spell victory.
II. THE END IS TURNED INTO A BEGINNING.
A. Pilate and the chief priests thought they had written a conclusion to the story of Christ when, in fact, they had only written an introduction.
B. The pagan world hunted out the Christians and thought their persecution would end world evangelism.  It only accelerated it.
C. The conclusion to the story of Christ can never be written, for it has no conclusion.
D. If your life is entwined with Christ's, your life will never have a conclusion!
III. THE DARKNESS IS TURNED INTO LIGHT.
A. The darkness of the tomb gives way to the brilliance of His appearing.
B. The darkness of night gives way to the brightness of dawning.
C. The darkness of sin gives way to the beauty of forgiveness.
D. The darkness of despair gives way to the glory of hope.
CONCLUSION:
    Emptiness is turned into fulness.  As long as the tomb is filled, hearts and hopes are empty.  When the tomb is empty, then hearts and hopes are filled. 
THE WORLD'S MOST FUTILE EFFORT
or
MAKE IT AS SECURE AS YOU CAN
Matthew 27:65 (R.S.V.)

 INTRODUCTION:
    Why Pilate's choice of words?  Does he half believe that they couldn't make it secure?

I. MAKING THE TOMB SECURE
A. It was impossible when the tomb held the body of the Lord of life. (Acts 2:24)
B. It was impossible so long as God was on His throne.
C. It was impossible so long as there was justice in the universe.
II. MAKING YOUR LIFE SECURE
A. It is not possible to do it with money.
B. It is not possible to do it with health.
C. It is not possible to do it with fame.
D. It is not possible to do it with family.
E. It is not possible to do it with armed guards.
F. It is only possible with Christ.
III. MAKING YOUR FUTURE SECURE
A. Future means more than life here on earth.
B. Future means more than death.  It refers to that which lies beyond death.
C. Without Christ there is no certainty regarding eternity.
D. With Christ there is complete certainty regarding eternity.
CONCLUSION:  It is futile to try to make your life or your future secure by yourself.  Even if you make it as secure as you can, it is not safe.  The only security is in the victorious, resurrected Christ!

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