TEXT: John 20:19-23:
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.
This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 340.
John MacArthur said, “Once the Lord rose from the dead on the first day of the week, that day of the week would never be the same again. If you memorialize the creation on the seventh day, and if you memorialize the law on the seventh day, you certainly want to memorialize the resurrection. If you celebrate God as Creator and law-giver, you certainly want to celebrate Him regularly and even more joyfully as Savior.”
In our last message, we began looking at the importance of Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday and how that has been carried forward in the church over hundreds of years. We saw that Sunday or “the Lord’s day” is not the “Christian Sabbath.” Nor is it a replacement of the Jewish Sabbath. It also is not primarily a day of rest as so many of us consider it. Rather, it is a natural outgrowth of the desire of the first Christians to commemorate and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a day of worship and praise to God for what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “There were at least five Resurrection appearances of our Lord on that first day of the week: to Mary Magdalene, the other women, Peter, the two Emmaus disciples, and the disciples minus Thomas. The next Sunday, the disciples met again and Thomas was with them. It would appear that the believers from the very first met together on Sunday evening, which came to be called ‘the Lord’s Day.’ It appears that the early church met on the first day of the week to worship the Lord and commemorate His death and resurrection. The Sabbath was over when Jesus arose from the dead. He arose on the first day of the week. The change from the seventh day to the first day was not effected by some church decree; it was brought about from the beginning by the faith and witness of the first believers. For centuries, the Jewish Sabbath had been associated with Law: six days of work, and then you rest. But the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, is associated with grace: first there is faith in the living Christ, then there will be works. There is no evidence in Scripture that God ever gave the original Sabbath command to the Gentiles, or that it was repeated for the church to obey. Nine of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the church epistles, but the Sabbath commandment is not repeated. However, Paul makes it clear that believers must not make ‘special days’ a test of fellowship or spirituality.”
On that first “Lord’s day” two thousand years ago, three important “firsts” happened.
1. The first Christian worship service took place. Matthew 28:9 tells us that as the women were leaving Jesus’ empty tomb, “Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshiped him.” It was a brief moment of worship. But it was the first recorded time Jesus was worshiped as the risen Savior and Lord. When we gather on Sunday, we are gathering to worship Him.
2. The first Christian assembly took place. Verse 19 of our passage tells us that the “disciples were assembled” at a house when Jesus appeared in their midst. This ought to remind us that we gather together as believers in order to do nothing but meet with Jesus. He has promised that where two or three are gathered in His name, He will be there in the midst.
3. The first Christian sermon was preached. Luke 24:25-27 tells us that Jesus met two disciples on the road to Emmaus and, “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” The first Christian sermon was an expository message preached by Jesus Christ about Himself. Each Lord’s day, every preacher ought to make plain to believers and non-believers that Jesus Christ is the resurrected Lord and Savior.
How do we apply these truths about the first Lord’s day to our Sunday observances today?
First, the Lord’s day is a time for us to worship, celebrate, and refocus — to be reminded of what is most important in our lives. Paul instructed Timothy to “remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to the gospel.” Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, came to Earth, died on the cross, and then rose from the dead. That is the most important thing ever to happen in history. And it is the most important thing in our lives today. With all that happens in our personal lives and with all that is going on in the world, we need to be reminded of that.
Second, the Lord’s day is a time to proclaim the message of the Gospel. Jesus Christ said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Pastors, today, talk about many things from the pulpit. But, every Sunday, no matter what else is preached on, the Gospel ought to be proclaimed. People need to know that Jesus died for their sins and that He rose again.
Third, the Lord’s day is a time for us to look forward to the day when we will be resurrected with Christ. Romans 6:5 says, “If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection,” Yes, we will die one day if the Rapture does not take place soon. But we also will one day be resurrected with a real, physical body just like Jesus. And we will join him forever in Heaven.
Charles Wesley translated this old Latin hymn which embodies the truths we all ought to remember when we gather each Lord’s day.
Jesus Christ is risen today,
our triumphant holy day,
who did once upon the cross,
suffer to redeem our loss.
Hymns of praise then let us sing,
unto Christ, our heavenly King,
who endured the cross and grave,
sinners to redeem and save.
But the pains which he endured,
our salvation have procured.
Now above the sky he’s King,
where the angels ever sing.
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you can have something to celebrate every Sunday by believing on Him for your salvation from sin and the consequences of sin. Here is how you can place your faith and trust in Him today.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.