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The Empty Tomb

by Rev. Kirby Williams

Re-emphasizing the central importance of the Resurrection to the preaching, teaching and evangelism of the church.

Text: John 20:1-10
Date: 08/02/2020, the Combined service.
Series: "John: Encountering Love" Part 188

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The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was the central message of the early church, but today we expect to hear sermons on it only on Easter Sunday morning. The empty tomb was the central thrust of the teaching, the evangelism, and the preaching of the Apostles, and yet we rarely mention it in our Gospel presentations. In this message, after analyzing the text of the Resurrection story in John, we will discuss why the empty tomb was so necessary for Christianity and use John's own progression to faith to emphasize the importance of "seeing and believing" the Resurrection. Ultimately we will realize the Resurrection is the brilliant light that either attracts or repels those who hear of it, and as a result, return our focus to the importance of the Empty Tomb in our teaching, preaching, evangelism and missions!

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I. Introduction, Acts 1:22, 2:31-32, 3:15, 4:33, 7:56, 17:30-32.
II. Exposition of the text, John 20:1-10.
A. Context
B. The discovery of the empty tomb.
1. Reflections on the harmony of the Gospels.
2. Mary Magdalene at the tomb, vs. 1.
a. Establishing the timeline.
i. Establishing the day, John 19:42.
ii. Establishing the hour.
b. Re-introducing Mary Magdalene, Luke 8:2.
i. The other women at the tomb, Matt. 28:1, Mark 16:1, Luke 24:19.
ii. Why does John focus on Mary Magdalene?
• John's tendency towards selective details.
• Mary as a symbol of the lost.
• The prize of the Good Shepherd, 1Cor. 1:27-29.
c. The positioning of the stone.
i. Visualizing the stone.
ii. Asking why the stone was removed.
• To make the tomb accessible, Mark 16:3.
• So we might believe.
3. Running to the disciples, vs. 2.
a. Finding Peter and John.
b. Analyzing Mary's report.
i. Identifying "they".
ii. Still "Lord" of her life.
iii. Noticing the "we".
4. Heading to the tomb, vs. 3-4.
a. "Going toward" the tomb, vs. 3, Luke 24:11.
b. Breaking into a run, vs. 4.
5. John's first look, vs 5.
6. Peter enters the tomb, vs. 6-7.
a. The impetuous disciple, vs. 6a.
b. The order in the tomb, vs. 6b-7.
i. The linen cloths, vs. 6b.
• Nothing mystical.
• The robe dipped in blood, Rev. 19:13.
• Ruling out grave robbers.
ii. The face cloth, vs. 7.
iii. Finding significance in the folded cloth, Gen. 1:2.
7. Seeing, believing, and understanding, vs. 8-9.
a. What John saw and believed, vs. 8.
i. The "other" disciple, vs. 8a.
ii. Seeing and believing, vs. 8b, Mark 8:31.
b. What John did not understand, vs. 9.
i. The Scriptures MUST be fulfilled, Psa. 16:10, 110:1, 118:22-23, Isa. 53:12.
ii. Analyzing John's level of understanding, Matt. 16:4, John 2:19-22.
iii. Understanding the progression.
8. Returning to their homes, vs. 10.
III. Application
A. Reflections on the Resurrection.
1. The significance of the empty tomb.
2. The essential nature of the empty tomb.
a. The necessity for apologetics.
b. The supernatural necessity.
c. Necessary for Redemptive History.
d. Necessary for the human connection.
e. Essential for evangelism.
B. The progression of belief, Rom. 10:9.
IV. Conclusion

The Preaching Ministry of Kirby Williams

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