Introduction: Michael Ngubane
The grave was conquered, the Lord is alive! Great is our Lord Jesus, great is our King, the King of Kings. We thank the Lord who granted us these few days together to consider this history – this history that has no end, where we could be together to worship our King whom we do not have sufficient ways to thank Him.
God reveals His strength and demonstrates His power in areas where man fails. Because He is God, He can do all these things. He splits mountains where there is no way through and makes a way to the other side. There are rivers which we cannot cross but through the cross, He makes a bridge over these rivers. Maybe you have reached situations where you could not see a future or a way out and God has opened the way. May God be praised. If we go to Him, He will open the way.
Sermon: Rev Erlo Stegen
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:1-8
These three ladies got up early before the sun rose, not knowing that the Son, the eternal Son had risen. This is the theme of Easter, He has risen! The Son that chases away all darkness has risen, Christ Jesus.
In our text we find the marvelous story of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, who has risen with the glory of the eternal one, with eternal life, with the power of life and through Him the chains of death and the locks of hell were broken and cut asunder. Jesus, who was utterly despised and humiliated, is today, at the height of his power as the King of Kings, the omnipotent God, to whom all power has been given on earth and in Heaven. He rules alone and holds all the keys of death and hell. He wrestled with Satan and sin in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross but His battle did not end there. He descended into the depths of hell where there was a cosmic battle as he wrestled against the powers of darkness. He attacked hell and death and disarmed rulers and authorities, putting them to shame by triumphing over them and exposing their nakedness to the world. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Colossians 2:15.
All of us had been cast off and judged. We were condemned to death and hell. It would have been right for us to go to hell and receive the consequence of our sins with the wrath of God upon us and enter eternal death. But our hero broke those chains, rulers and powers. Jesus descended into hell breaking the power of death and hell so that sin, death, hell and Satan no longer have any power over us. He descended in weakness. He was despised. The Bible says that no one was as despised as He was. But while hell rejoiced in its victory over Jesus, He arose with the power and glory of the omnipotent One, who is the victor. There are no human words to express what He has done in His majesty.
The three women brought spices to anoint and embalm his body as was the custom in those days. It was a great act of devotion but they had forgotten that the most holy One would not see decay. He had said that he would die and rise again on the third day. They had forgotten what He had said but His enemies had not forgotten as they told Pilate that He had said He would rise after three days. They asked Pilate for soldiers to guard the grave lest His disciples should steal His body and spread the news that He had risen and things would be worse than before. They requested the Roman seal on the stone which was rolled over the opening of the grave. This was the seal of the highest authority on earth. The stone weighed anything between 3 to 5 tons.
When he arose, there was a mighty earthquake that removed the stone, not for Him to come out but for the weak women to enter. He arose with a glorified immortal body which could go through walls. He needed no door but appeared to the disciples when they were behind closed doors. We do not have sufficient time to ponder over these wonderful truths. Study this portion prayerfully at home.
Jesus bore our sins on the Cross, He removed them from us and paid the price of our guilt so that we might be forgiven. His resurrection was like a receipt of the payment that had been made so that we can be totally forgiven and enter Heaven.
Let us look at what His death and His resurrection have accomplished for us: He removes our worries, anxieties and fears. It is amazing that the great and eternal one should come down to us who are but worms and care for us because he loves us. We do not deserve this love of God because we are absolutely nothing. Never be arrogant and proud. Often those who are really nothing think they are big. We will all be eaten by maggots one day.
These women worried about who would roll the stone away for them. But He cared for them and when they got there, the stone had already been rolled away and it was a distance from the tomb. If you want to do something for the Lord, do not worry about it, He will go before you and take care of you and prepare the way in every detail. We worry a lot and suffer from stress and HBP. The women thought: so many tons, we are only three women, how will we roll it away? They influenced one another and added more stones on each other which is what we are like. We cannot remove burdens but we make them worse with all our fears. By His resurrection, He had removed distress and anxieties. Fears are removed because Jesus has risen and is with us. Some worry about what they will eat and wear, who will pay the medical bills. Jesus said that is the mind of a pagan. The blessing of the resurrection is that our fears come to an end. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25. You worry about what it will be like when you return home where there are difficulties, you have enemies and people fighting against you. You are anxious about how you will survive but through His resurrection, Jesus has overcome all that for you. Jesus said, “Cast all your cares on me because I care for you.” Some become ill and have to visit the doctor because of stress. Some meet with real rocks and wonder, who is going to roll away the stone for me? The stone had been rolled away and an angel was sitting upon it. Jesus has removed all our cares and worries. Jesus is omnipotent and has removed all the weapons of the evil one. Jesus has risen and you need to keep your eyes fixed on Him. He has promised to keep you to the end of the age. The women were alarmed when they saw a man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right. Through His resurrection, Jesus broke down the barrier that was between us and Heaven. We can have communion with God and the heavenly beings. Of course, that does not mean we communicate with the dead, that is occult, but we are in contact with Heaven through Jesus, His death and resurrection.
In verses 6 and 7, the young man gave them information and direction and told them what to do. Just as Paul was told by an angel sent from God where he was needed and where he should go. It is wonderful to be in contact with Heaven and hear those who have been sent by God. Do not listen to those sent by Satan because Satan will try to destroy. If you stay in contact with God, the omnipotent God will give you strength and no temptation will be above your strength.
As He rose from the dead, we too will rise from the dead. Just has He has a new immortal body, we will rise again one day when He returns and have a body like His and be like Him.
In 1973 when Lydia Dube died and returned to life, she told us what she had experienced. Afterwards, when we went to a funeral she said, Baba Mfundisi, I must confess I was jealous of that person. I have seen the joy and glory of the other side. Our bodies must die but not our spirits. When the last trumpet sounds our bodies will be raised and changed and be reunited with our spirits. That is the greatest miracle a person can experience. It is worth spending all your energy and time on that – cleanse yourself to ensure that you will spend your time there in eternity.
People overseas can ask many questions: One asked what will happen to KSB after your death? My reply was that it should go better because I have taught them. They should run faster than I did. I will be very disappointed if I see from heaven that they have gone off the rails. Did they not listen when I preached? I was astonished when some people go off the rails while I am still alive. What fools they are! They live in the forest and hills now and I am still here, preaching the same gospel. They go astray, following others who are off the way – the blind leading the blind. Don’t you have eyes to see? Can’t you see that that person is blind?
Jesus said that there is a time when your body will come out of the grave. The saints will hear His triumphant call which will reach into all the graves when He comes on the clouds and they will be raised up to be with Him forever. Those who lived in rebellion to Him will rise but not in joy. They will cry for the rocks to hide them from the face of the Lamb. A lamb cannot be angry but on that day the Lamb will be filled with anger and judge those who resisted Him. Just think what it will be like on that day if you are not prepared to meet with him. That day will be like a thousand years. All your thoughts, your sinful things, everything you said which was gossip and carnal will cling to you. You will sweat on that day. We tell lies, even those which you have successfully hidden, will be evident there. Everything will be exposed on that day.
Give Him everything. Do not give Him half. If you do not give Him everything, He will reject you. He rejects the partial giving of yourself. He wants everything.
Jesus has risen. Let these words be before you each day. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Matthew 13:43 You must become like the Son in this life, not like the devil. I wish that the resurrection of Jesus will bring help, life and healing to you. May His resurrection be the fragrance of life to you and not of hell and death. Amen.
The Lord’s Supper
1 Corinthians 11:23-32
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,24and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”25In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died, 31But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. I Corinthians 11:23-32
The Bible says each one must examine oneself before partaking of the Lord’s Supper. If we eat and drink unworthily, we bring the anger of God and damnation on ourselves. The Bible says let each one examine himself to make sure he partakes of it worthily.
The Bible says that we who are many, all partake of one bread – meaning believers, Christians are one. If I partake of this bread and I am not one with my brother in the Lord, I bring sickness and judgement on myself. I can become sick and even die. We are the body of Christ and we are one in Christ. We are many but are all part of the body of Christ. Woe to you if you are not one with the others. If there is anything between you and your brother, run, make it right, and pray for forgiveness. Before you have done that, you should not partake of the bread and of the fruit of the wine because you take it unworthily and bring judgment on yourself.
The Bible says that one cannot partake of the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. If you do that you stir up God’s wrath. If you serve ancestral spirits, God’s anger will be upon you. If you have done that, repent before you go home lest He becomes angry with you. If you partake of the cup of the Lord, but you gossip, you have grudges, you get irritable or have a temper, you partake of the Lord’s temple and the temple of demons. If you partake of this cup which is an illustration of the blood of the Lord Jesus, but you continue with your sins and your own way, you are only taking death unto yourself. Rather let it pass by and get right with God.
One day, we will truly drink of this cup in Heaven, where we will praise the Lamb who died on the Cross. Jesus said to his disciples, I will not drink of this cup again until I am in the kingdom of Heaven. So the bread and the fruit of the vine can be a blessing or a curse to you. If you take it unworthily, you provoke Him to anger, you arouse His anger. Woe to you if God is angry with you.
One bread, one blood. We are one. We are cleansed and redeemed by that precious blood. Always live in such a way that this message is clearly seen in your life. If you do not you make God angry and His judgement comes upon you. You do not know what your end will be. We cannot afford to play around with God and anger Him. So, if you remember that there is something between you and your brother, quickly go and make right with him before you go home. Nobody dare eat and drink unworthily of the Lord’s Supper.
Reverend Stegen would have concluded in this way: Brethren, when you return home, let the gospel go forth. Let your light shine before men that they may praise and glorify your Father in Heaven. Go and win others for Christ. Here is our calling, this is the task ahead of us when we leave here, by the grace of God.
The KwaSizabantu Choir
Grandchildren of Rev Erlo Stegen singing: Got Any Rivers