Sunday 9th January 6.00 pm Order of Service

WELCOME

Hymn MP 14 All heaven declares

All heaven declares the glory of the risen Lord

Who can compare with the beauty of the Lord?

Forever He will be the Lamb upon the throne

I gladly bow my knee and worship Him alone

I will proclaim the glory of the risen Lord

Who once was slain to reconcile man to God

Forever You will be the Lamb upon the throne

I gladly bow my knee and worship You alone

PRAYER

READING Matthew 28:1-10 & 16-20

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

SERMON

In Matthew Jesus makes two appearances after his resurrection. First, to the women in verse 9, “Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.”

The second appearance was to the eleven disciples in Galilee. Verse 17: “when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted.” It seems clear that what Matthew wants to say is that the proper response to the risen Christ is worship. Matthew has opened a window onto the glory of the risen Christ and he means for it to be a window of worship.

Don’t miss how astonishing this is! Remember how Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness three years earlier. In Matthew 4:9 he said, ” “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” Do you see what it implies that Jesus receives the worship of his people in Matthew 28? The resurrection of Christ should certify once for all that Jesus is the Son of God, not in the sense that Israel was the son of God or in the sense that you and I are children of God, but in the sense that he himself is God.

As we draw to a close of this great Gospel, we see three very important things in this concluding chapter – we see the POWER of Jesus, the KINDNESS of Jesus and we see His GOAL.

The first thing we see is His power. Notice verse 18. Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The risen Christ has the right to tell every man, woman and child on this planet today what they should do and think and feel. He has absolute and total authority over your life and over cities and states and nations. The risen Christ is great – greater than you have ever imagined.

Here is our message to the world this Christmas. The risen Christ is your King and has absolute, unlimited authority over your life. If you do not bow and worship him and trust him and obey him, you commit high treason against Christ the King, who is God over all. He is God! So if you resist his claim, feel no admiration for his infinite power and authority, and turn finally to seek satisfaction from thrills that allow you to be your own master, then you will be executed for treason in the last day.

The risen Christ has all authority not only on earth but also in heaven. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” I think Matthew wants us to see a glimpse of this in verses 2-4. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

What is the meaning of this? It means at least that angels stand in the service of the risen Christ.

Consider some Biblical images of the risen Christ and his angels and let them shape your mental pictures. (Matt. 24:30,31). At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

(2 Thess. 1:7).This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.

The second thing we see here is Christ’s kindness. We see it first in verses 5-10. The angel first tells the women not to fear(v. 5) and then in verse 7 commands them to go and tell the disciples that he is risen and will meet them in Galilee. Verse 8 says they ran to do just that “with fear and great joy.” And then the wonderful thing happens: Jesus intercepts them. Why? I think the answer is kindness. An unnecessary bonus from the big heart of the risen Christ. Those kinds of things happen when you follow the Word of God. Some of you may have asked, “Where is the kindness of the risen Christ?” I think Mary Magdalene would answer: “He will meet you several steps down the road of obedience.”

But the kindness of Christ is also for his other disciples. With one word he stilled their fears. The angel had said in verse 7, “Go tell his disciples.”

But Jesus said in verse 10, “Go tell my brothers.” Has anybody today ever deserted the Saviour in an hour of testing? Do not despair. If you will meet him in Galilee, he will call you a brother or a sister. If you will go in your heart to the place of repentance, he will meet you with the words, “Rejoice! Do not be afraid!” And, as if that were not evidence enough of his kindness, Matthew leaves it ringing in our ears by closing his gospel with these words, “Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Finally we see Christ’s GOAL. In order to admire and worship the risen Christ we have to see that his power and kindness have purpose and goal. Verse 19 shows that the risen Christ has a purpose. He knows why he reigns. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” The purpose of the risen Christ is to empower his church to make his authority known in every culture on earth.

Wherever people bow the knee to Christ through our witness it is because he is with us. He aims to fill his kingdom with worshipers from every nation and tribe. The risen Christ is unswerving in his great purpose.

Surely you must admire such a Person? Infinite power! Immeasurable kindness! Unswerving purpose! Perhaps your appetite for his beauty is just beginning. If so, set yourself on the road of faith and obedience and expect him to meet you on the way.

PRAYER

Communion Hymn

Ye gates, lift up your heads on high;

ye doors that last for aye,

be lifted up, that so the King

of glory enter may.

But who of glory is the King?

The mighty Lord is this;

e’en that same Lord that great in might

and strong in battle is.

E’en that same Lord that great in might

and strong in battle is.

Ye gates, lift up your heads; ye doors,

doors that do last for aye,

be lifted up, that so the King

of glory enter may.

But who is He that is the King,

the King of glory? Who is this?

The Lord of hosts, and none but He,

the King of glory is.

The Lord of hosts, and none but He,

the King of glory is.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Amen, Amen, Amen.

Communion

Hymn (MP 295) I serve a risen Saviour

I serve a risen Saviour,

He’s in the world today;

I know that He is living,

Whatever men may say;

I see His hand of mercy,

I hear His voice of cheer,

And just the time I need Him

He’s always near.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives

today!

He walks with me and He talks with me

Along life’s narrow way.

He lives, He live, salvation to impart!

You ask me how I know He lives:

He lives within my heart.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,

Lift up your voice and sing

Eternal hallelujahs

To Jesus Christ the King!

The hope of all who seek Him,

The help of all who find,

None other is so loving,

So good and kind.

He lives, He lives,

Benediction

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