Sermon Notes & References

“If Ye Then Be Risen with Christ”

John 20:1-10

April 1, 2018

A.  Introduction

      1.  This Morning’s Text 1

      2.  Living on Saturday


B.  Fact of the Resurrection

      1.  Powerful Pictures

      2.  “Witnesses to Me” 2

      3.  Beware of False Explanations

      4.  Circumstantial Evidence 3


C.  Faith of the Resurrection

      1.  Perfect Salvation 4

      2.  “Risen with Christ”

      3.  Type of the First-Fruits 5


D.  Force of the Resurrection

      1.  Necessity of the Fact of the Resurrection 6

      2.  Necessity of the Faith of the Resurrection 7

      3.  Unleashing the Force of the Resurrection

1 John 20:1-10. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  “If Ye Then Be Risen with Christ”


A. Introduction

    1. Our Text This Morning

        a. as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, is

        b. 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.   (Colossians 3:1-3 AV)

        c. as we recall that Christ rose from the dead, remember this is not simply

            (A)    a historical event; though it is a solid, factual historical event

            (B)    an article in a complex statement of faith; though it is a most profound element in our theological doctrine

            (C)   but rather a truth of great force that should radically impact our lives each day, both now and through the eternal future


    2. Living (Stuck) on Saturday

        a. it was 16 years ago yesterday, and I was listening to Handel’s Messiah on the CBC, just before the singing of “He Was Despisèd 2

        b. the radio commentator surprised me with words to this effect:

        c. This is where our secular world is stuck today: unable to accept the redemption found in the cross on Friday, unable to hope in the resurrection coming on Sunday; stuck in the doubts and confusion of Saturday

        d. how sad to be stuck spiritually, living Stuck on Saturday!

        e. our text to day is an exhortation to every believer to live on Sunday, to live a resurrected life in the light of Christ’s resurrection.


B. Fact of the Resurrection

    1. Powerful Pictures

        a. the gospels portray the situation so graphically you can almost see it!

        b. on the cross Jesus speaks to John to make provision for His mother

            (A)    it almost appears with this act that Jesus had given up

            (B)    here was a last goodbye, a final thought for His mother

        c. what had happened to His disciples?

            (A)    most of them had fled, one young man leaving his cloak behind

            (B)    John and Peter watched the trial from afar

            (C)   you can almost hear Peter’s denial, feel his sorrow at Jesus’ look

            (D)   only the women, with John, are found being at the cross

        d. on the other hand all the victory seemed to be with His enemies

            (A)    the Jewish high priest and rulers had judged Him

            (B)    Herod, in title the head of nation, had judged Him

            (C)   Pilate, the Roman governor, had judged Him

            (D)   condemned, He was horribly executed on the cross


    2. “Witnesses to Me”

        a.  today we can observed the resurrection along with the first witnesses

        b. very early, while it is still dark, comes Mary Magdalene

            (A)    other women came with her (see the other gospels, “we” in v 2)

            (B)    she came looking to honour a dead Jesus

            (C)   is He not there? ... like others she is blind to the reality

            (D)   only explanation, only thought, “He’s been moved somewhere”

        c. she runs and tells Peter and John

            (A)    there’s a lot of running that day, for these have a foot-race

                 (1)    John won, looked in but didn’t enter the tomb

                 (2)    Peter came up, entered and saw

                 (3)    then John entered, saw and believed

            (B)    yet, will these proclaim the resurrection to their fellow disciples?

                 (1)    no, they didn’t yet understand the Scriptures

                 (2)    no, they just went away “to theirs” – where they resided

                 (3)    no, they needed more convincing

        d. the rest of the chapter summarises that convincing

            (A)    by Mary Magdalene who personally encountered Jesus

            (B)    by the testimony of the disciples who went to Emmaus

            (C)   then by His appearing in their very midst

        e. still, there were other witnesses too:

            (A)    Christ’s enemies had paid attention to His words: Matthew 27:62-64: … the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”

            (B)    it was these enemies who rather than accept the implications of the story of the soldiers bribed them to circulate a lie instead.

            (C)   Josephus, Jewish historian 3Now there was about this time Jesus a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, – a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him many Jews, and many of the Gentiles. This man was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that had loved him from the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.


    3. Beware False Explanations

        a. explanation #1: the widely proposed swoon theory 4

            (A)    Dear Eutychus: Our preacher said, on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered

Dear Bewildered: Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear through his [side]; embalm him; put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens. Sincerely, Eutychus 5

            (B)    Consider for a moment what this would have entailed:

                 (1)    surviving of crucifixion

                     (a)    with all of the physical punishment

                         ¤  the scourging by Pilate

                         ¤  the beating by the soldiers

                         ¤  the cross itself

                 (2)    the verification of death by soldiers: trained executioners

                 (3)    survival in tomb three days

                     (a)    without food or water

                     (b)    wrapped in linen shroud with 100 pounds of suffocating spices

                 (4)    he would have had to free himself from these winding cloths and leave them undisturbed

                 (5)    moved aside the huge stone

                     (a)    in a weakened state

                     (b)    pushed it with injured feet and wrists

                     (c)    overcame the armed Roman guards

                 (6)    and then travelled quickly!

                     (a)    walking 14 miles to Emmaus and back

                     (b)    walked to Galilee, arriving ahead of the 12

                     (c)    climbed a mountain there!

                 (7)    is this not much more difficult to believe than that Almighty God the Father, who created heaven and earth with the word of His mouth, raised Him from the dead!

        b. explanation #2: His disciples stole him

            (A)    oldest lie, for that is what the soldiers were paid to say

            (B)    there was liberal Messianic Christian Jew, Hugh Joseph Schonfield. This was his explanation in his book, “The Passover Plot”

            (C)   but is a wholly untenable argument

                 (1)    it was on account of this very possibility that the guard was provided and put at the tomb, and the stone secured & sealed

                 (2)    how could these rag-tag disciples overcome trained soldiers?

                 (3)    what would motivate these discouraged disciples to carry this out against the soldiers guarding the tomb?

                 (4)    it was not just the soldiers but the stone to be dealt with

            (D)   if true, what would have been subsequent activity of the disciples?

                 (1)    what would they have gained?

        c. explanation #3: resurrection story later told to explain Christianity

            (A)    by John, to support his teaching that Jesus is God

            (B)    by Paul, the Pharisee, to prove his doctrine of salvation

            (C)   this just doesn’t wash: for the resurrection is central to all the NT

                 (1)    without it, the book of Acts cannot be explained

                 (2)    truth is the theme of Jesus & the NT; lies are an abomination

                 (3)    Jesus is stated to be Truth personified, embodiment of truth

            (D)   how then could these writers employ a lie in support of them


    4. Circumstantial Evidence

        a. J.P. Moreland, PhD.,gives 5 pieces of circumstantial evidence for the resurrection 6 – this morning we have time only to high-light them

        b. first: the disciples died for their beliefs

            (A)    followers of other religions may die for their leader’s words/ideas

            (B)    but with the disciples it was for what they themselves saw, namely that Jesus rose from death – 1 John 1:1B What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life

        c. second: The conversion of the skeptics of Jesus’ own day

            (A)    James, one of Jesus’ scoffing brothers, saw the resurrected Christ and became a leader of the church at Jerusalem

            (B)    Saul, a fierce persecutor; became Paul, apostle, dying for his faith

        d. third : radical changes in society: Jewish Christians

            (A)    ceased offering animal sacrifices

            (B)    said law was insufficient to please God

            (C)   observed Sunday in preference to Sabbath

            (D)   ardent monotheists, gave complete deity to Jesus

            (E)    recognised Christ (Messiah) to be the spiritual Saviour, not political leader who would free Jewish nation

        e. fourth: new ordinances were established as memorials to these 3 days

            (A)    the Lord’s supper, to remember His death until His return

            (B)    believer’s baptism, visually proclaiming His death and resurrection – not just an initiation rite as used by Jews on proselytes

        f.  fifth: the emergence, growth and survival of the Church

            (A)    in the midst of an antagonistic empire

            (B)    in intense persecution & martyrdoms for its first few centuries

        g. many agnostics, examining the evidence, have been convinced

        h. to which we add the testimony of untold millions in the world, even as we shall by singing, “I know that He is living whatever man may say ... you ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart!” 7


C. Faith of the Resurrection

    1. Perfect Salvation

        a. the resurrection completed Christ’s atoning work

        b. it shows that God accepted Christ as sacrifice for our sin

            (A)    proves Christ did not die as a misguided, self-appointed martyr

            (B)    proves that the God-appointed Sacrifice fully satisfied God’s justice

            (C)   proves the defeat of Satan & sin and their power of death

        c. Romans 4:25: He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.


    2. “Risen With Christ”

        a. our text from Colossians 3 reveals that everything is new in Christ

        b. believers have a new life, new expectation, new hope

            (A)    “… your life is hidden with Christ in God ... when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory ...” (vv 3-4)

            (B)    Christ’s death dealt with our sin: its guilt and its punishment

            (C)   Christ’s resurrection is our source of life

        c. believers have new affection; a new spiritual appetite: “... seek those things which are above ... Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (vv 1-2)

        d. believers have a new life Ruler; a new, exalted Lord: “... above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” (v 1)

        e. believers are dressed in a new “clothing”

            (A)    But now you yourselves are to put off all these: ... and have put on the new man ...” (vv 8, 10), our new ,practising Christian clothing

            (B)    in Christ’s righteousness, able to stand before God


    3. Type of the First-Fruits

        a. the first-fruits were consecrated – that is, set aside – for God

            (A)    Leviticus 23:10 NKJV: ‘… when you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest.’

            (B)    Deuteronomy 26:2 NKJV: ‘… take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, … put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide.’ – that is, the temple or tabernacle

            (C)   this offering of the first-fruits has two messages

                 (1)    giving the very first shows that it all belongs to God

                 (2)    giving the very first shows trust in God to supply later needs

        b. this term is used a number of ways in New Testament

            (A)    1 Corinthians 16:15, the first new believers in Achaia (Greece)

            (B)    Romans 8:23, the Spirit’s indwelling as first-fruits of redemption

            (C)   Revelation 14:4, God receives the faithful, martyred 144,000

            (D)   James 1:18, the early believers as those who were brought to God as first from His creatures

        c. consider this morning how Jesus Christ is the first-fruit of all believers as can be seen it the following verses:

            (A)    Hebrews 2:10 NKJV: For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

                 (1)    captain: literally, “first in leading”

            (B)    Hebrews 12:2 NKJV: ‘…Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’

                 (1)    author, that same word: “first in leading”

            (C)   1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NKJV: ‘But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.’

            (D)   in short

                 (1)    as He has gone ahead, so we will follow

                 (2)    as He is in glory, so we are going to be in glory

                 (3)    as He rose again, so we are going to rise again


D. Force of the Resurrection

    1. Necessity of the Fact of the Resurrection

        a. for its force to have an affect on our situation

        b. 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. … 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19)

        c. with what joy comes the exultant shout of verse 20: “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.


    2. Necessity of the Faith of the Resurrection

        a. for its force to change our lives

        b. throughout the book of Acts, the gospel message from Peter, then Paul, repeatedly is the message of the resurrection of Christ

        c. Festus, the new Roman governor, in relating to King Agrippa the accusations of the Jewish against Paul, observed this: “18 And when the accusers stood up, they began bringing charges against him not of such crimes as I was expecting; 19 but they simply had some points of disagreement with him about their own religion and about a certain dead man, Jesus, whom Paul asserted to be alive.” (Acts 25:18-19)

        d. small wonder that Paul’s summary of the way of salvation is “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;” (Romans 10:9)


    3. Unleashing the Force of the Resurrection

        a. as long as we are satisfied with our way of life, our values, our priorities that we had before we were saved, the force will never affect us

        b. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ … For ye are dead [now to sin and the things of this world] and your life is hid with Christ in God

        c. that is the secret of the resurrected life: a new way of life with focus on Christ; values as seen in Christ, priorities as set by Christ

        d. please, please do not be satisfied with anything less than Christ’s best






© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:

              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              IGNT              Interlinear Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, 1956; as well as other Greek Texts as W&H, Nestle, etc.

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

              RSV        Revised Standard Version © 1946, 1952 National Council of Churches of Christ; Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd

Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:

              BM       Biblical Museum, Editor James Comper Gray, ca 1870

              EBC             The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

              EGT             The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

              JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

              Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site,

              RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson


Canadian Broadcasting Corporation FM ~10:30 am, March 30, 2002


Antiquities of the Jews, (published ca., 93AD) Book XVIII, Chapter III, Section 3, William Whiston's translation, published 1890, London, by T. Nelson and Sons, Paternoster Row


Adapted from summary probably by Paul Little and an item supplied by Roddy Chestnut, Holwick illustrations #1155 and #6247


‘Eutychus and His Kin,’ from Christianity Today – date unknown.


Strobel, Lee, pp 329ff; “The Case for Christ” – Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998.


“He Lives” Alfred Henry Ackley, © 1933 The Rodeaver Co.