By Pastor Wu
08 Apr. 2012 Sunday
|Sermon: He is Risen||video||audio||doc|
|Worship song: When I survey the wondrous cross||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Lord, I lift your name on high||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest||video||audio||lyric|
|Worship song: Everyone needs compassion||video||audio||lyric|
Worship song: When I survey the wondrous cross
|Verse 1||When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.|
|Verse 2||See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and blood flow mingled down:
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
|Chorus||Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
All who gather here by grace draw near
And bless Your name
|Verse 3||Were the whole realm of Nature mine
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!
Worship song: Lord, I lift your name on high
|Verse||Lord, I lift your name on high
Lord, I love to sing your praises
I'm so glad you're in my life
I'm so glad you came to save us
|Chorus||You came from heaven to earth to show the way
From the earth to the cross my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord, I lift your name on high
Worship song: Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest
|Verse 1||Hosanna, hosanna,hosanna in the highest
Hosanna, hosanna,hosanna in the highest
|Verse 2||Glory, glory, glory to the King of kings
Glory, glory, glory to the King of kings
|Chorus||Lord we lift up Your name
With a heart full of praise
Be exalted, oh Lord my God
Hosanna in the highest
|Verse 1 CN||和撒那，和撒那，和撒那归于至高神 he sa na, he sa na, he sa na gui yu zhi gao shen
和撒那，和撒那，和撒那归于至高神 he sa na, he sa na, he sa na gui yu zhi gao shen
|Verse 2 CN||荣耀，荣耀，荣耀归万王之王 rong yao, rong yao, rong yao gui wan wang zhi wang
荣耀，荣耀，荣耀归万王之王 rong yao, rong yao, rong yao gui wan wang zhi wang
|Chorus CN||主，我高举你名，zhu wo gao ju ni ming
来同心赞美 lai tong xin zan mei
权柄、尊荣归主我神，quan bing, zun rong gui zhu wo shen,
和撒那归于至高神 he sa na gui yu zhi gao shen
Worship song : Everyone needs compassion
|Verse 1||Everyone needs compassion
Love that's never failing, Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a saviour, the hope of nations
|Verse 2||So take me as you find me
All my fears and failures fill my life again
I give my life to follow everything I believe in
Now I Surrender
He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save
Author of Salvation
He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus Conquered the grave
|Bridge||Shine your light and let the whole world see
We're singing for the glory of the risen King
Shine your light and let the whole world see
We're singing for the glory of the risen King
Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1-10
1 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.”
Dr. Rick Mauw:
It is so good to be with you this morning on this great day in the history of the Christian year, the day in which we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ then. We are honored to be with you this morning, especially on this very special day. We come not as tourists or as church visitors, but we come as members of the same family. Because Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Through his blood on the cross of Calvary, he is putting together a new family. From every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And this is a great family celebration of the Christian year. We come to you as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. But we also come in response to an invitation, because we hear that same invitation today that the women heard from the angels when they came to the empty tomb, and that is "come and see" the place where he was laid. We come to church today to come and see the empty tomb, but also to share with those women the experience of encountering the risen Christ.
You know it is very important that it was women who first encountered the risen Christ. You don't understand why that is important. We have to realize that women did not have an easy time in the ancient world, in this region where the resurrection took place. For many centuries the life of Israel was characterized by what we call patriarchy, a patriarchal structure. And in a patriarchy, which literally meant the rule of the adult male, only men were able to hold power. In fact only men were allowed to give evidence in the court of law. We have to realize this from the Old Testament already, where it says that God is a God who take seriously the cause of the widow and the orphan. We will remind of that again in the New Testament, the Apostle James says that to honor the widow and the orphan is true religion. Why there are strong emphases in the Bible alone on the importance in God's eyes of the widow and the orphan? Because widows and orphans were especially powerless in that ancient world. Because unless they had a man to defend them, unless they had a man to speak up on their behalf, they really had no status in the social hierarchy. So as I said, women were not allowed to give evidence in the court of law. So to put it bluntly, if one man killed another man, and the only witnesses were 500 women, from a legal point of view, nobody saw. Because a woman was not allowed to give evidence in the court of law. So unless they could find an adult male in the course the widow and the orphan were very special problems here, because the widow had no husband and the orphan had no father. So unless they could get an adult male to take up their cause, they were legally voiceless in that society. And then the amazing thing that happened on Easter Sunday morning is that Jesus says to the woman "go tell the Apostles". You know if you read the ending of Luke, it's very clear in the late of this patriarchy that the apostles rejected the word of women, because it was just women speak, "Oh we don't take that seriously, it’s just a bunch of women".
In fact later on there were thinkers who were anti-Christian who use that argument to say a Resurrection could have never taken place. There was a Greek philosopher in the 2nd century after Christ named Celsus. And his argument was that this is a silly story, the story about our Jesus Christ coming back from the dead. Because all we really have to go on is a word of, he said, a “bunch of hysterical women.”
When you think about the fact that women give evidence to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that they were commissioned to tell the story of the risen Lord to the apostles, it is actually a kind of argument in favor of the resurrection that really happened. If you were going to make this stuff up in the ancient world, you wouldn’t say, “well, we found out that from a bunch of women!”
But the fact is that Jesus, the risen Lord takes seriously the word of women. And that is the way it went with Jesus throughout his earthly ministry. Over and over again, Jesus reached out to people and took people seriously who were not taken very seriously by the rest of the people in that culture. You know the Jews hated the Samaritans. And yet Jesus had this wonderful conversation with a Samaritan woman. And when that lawyer said to Jesus “who is my neighbor?” Jesus actually uses as an example the story of the Good Samaritan, which violated all of the prejudices and stereotypes of that day. The people that Jesus preached to hated tax collectors, and yet Jesus took seriously Zacchaeus. The people of Israel really hated the Roman occupying soldiers and yet Jesus, when the Roman centurion came and said “my daughter has died,” Jesus went to his house. Over and over again, Jesus takes seriously people who were not taken seriously in that culture and in a very special way on Easter morning. Jesus reached to people who were not taken seriously in that culture and give them voice “go tell the disciples that I have been risen from the dead”.
So the woman rushed off and it says, as they rushed to meet the disciples, they were filled with both fear and joy. You know the joy part was fine, that’s why we are having such a joyful time this morning. But Jesus himself appeared to them and dealt with the fear part of it all. And Jesus comes to them and the very first word that he says to them, after he said “greetings”, he says “don’t be afraid, you don’t have to be afraid.” And in response to that word from Jesus recognizing that this was indeed the risen Lord. It says, “And they fell down and they worshiped him”. You know all that says something important to us this morning.
You know the Apostle Paul, through one of his Epistles, says to us through the inspiration of Holy Spirit that he hopes that we may know Jesus and the power of his resurrection. What does this mean for us gathering here at Haidian Church in Beijing this morning in this 21st century, in this very exciting nation of China? What does it mean for us to know Jesus and to know the power of his resurrection? You know John Wesley, one of the great reformers of the church who established the Methodist movement in England. He talks about the time that he began to come to know Jesus in a very new and special way. He was on a boat with some missionaries, and at one point, one of the missionaries asked him, “Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead?” And Wesley said, “Yes, I believe that.” The missionary went on and asked him, “John Wesley, do you believe that Jesus died on the cross and was rise from the dead for you?” And Wesley said, “I wasn't quite sure, I can’t answer that question.” And later on the Lord Jesus came into his life in a very special way so that he not only intellectually acknowledged that Jesus died on the cross and he was raised from dead, but he came to experience in his own life that the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ was something that happened for him, for John Wesley. And it is so important for us today to hear this message from Jesus himself that he died on the cross and he raised from the dead for each one of us. It means something for our life today. You know it is really a kind of amazing story, this guy comes back from the dead.
Once ago we hear about this kind of thing. I read something not a while ago. About somebody who claimed that he was in the hospital, and the nurses and doctors declared that he was dead. That happened for about 15 minutes, and suddenly he awoke up, he was revived. He said “I really was dead for 15 minutes and then I come back to life!” When I read about that, I said “yeah, maybe, it could be.” Nothing much hangs on it me. I don’t have to decide. It’s sort of like the really weird story I once read about. I’m not even sure this was a true story. But I read about it in a newspaper that a woman once got so angry with her Canary, her pet bird, that she flushed it down the toilet. And weeks later the bird was still in the pipe singing all the time and keeping her awake all the night. When I read something like that, I said "yeah, maybe." I’m not sure. I don’t really have to make a decision.
But the story of Jesus Christ coming back from the dead is a story we had to make a decision about. Because if it is true, it is the most important truth that you can ever encounter. If it is true, you should make a huge difference in everyone of our lives. If it is true, it is the greatest thing that ever happened in human history, that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, and he that is risen indeed. Because it fits into a lot of other important things we hear about in the scriptures and we heard it already this morning. God so love the world that he give his only begotten son that who ever believes in him should never perish and should have everlasting life.
Jesus died on a cross, and he was raised up, and that is true! You and I can have everlasting life! We do not have to be afraid of death, and very often we are afraid of death. You know in my country we are still kind of obsessed with death, some of it is kinda fun stuff. We have a lot of TV programs, maybe some of you know about Vampires, and we have known about Zombies and all kinds of people coming back from the dead, and various TV programs, movies and novels, and the like. Part of it is entertainment, but part of it is also a kind of obsession with that. There is an underlying fear. It is natural for this kind of fear that, what we think about the realities of death of human life.
But if this story is true, we do not have to be afraid, as Jesus Christ has conquered death and also the sin that has condemned us to eternal punishment. Unless we accept the sacrifice that God has offered to us in Jesus Christ. Christ has risen, he is risen indeed! The most important thing that any of us can consider. For God so loved the world, that He gave us his one and only son. If Jesus comes to the women on that first Sunday morning, he said that “do not be afraid.” If Jesus understands their fears, he understands their deepest concerns, that was not just he died on a cross, but he came into alive as a little baby.
You know in the Old Testament he says one point, in the book of Isaiah, as they will come a day that God will bear his arm, and he will show his power to the nations of the earth. When the people of ancient Israel heard that God will bear His holy arm, the image was that he was going to roll up his sleeves and make a fist really will let people have it. God is going to bear his holy arms. When God finally decided to bear His arms, he went to a manger in Bethlehem, and this tiny little baby stretched out those arms. And He entered into our condition, and he lived a life where he found out, God himself, the second person of trinity, found out what it’s like to be people like us. The Epistle to the Hebrews says that Jesus Christ is a great high priest who passed through the heavens to enter into our condition. And that because he lived in a kind of life that we lived, and suffered in a way we have suffered and was tempted in a way that we are tempted, but was without sin. We know that we have a great high priest; we have a savior, who really understands what it’s like to be us. Jesus Christ understands what it is like to be You! So important for us is to recognize that as we look back and we see the words that he spoke to the women after they see the empty tome and He said ‘do not be afraid’, and this is because Jesus who knows what is ‘be afraid’. He trembled in the guard he sweat drops of blood, he said to the father that let this cup pass from me. I’ll do anything rather than face this. God the father told God the son that he had to go to the cross that he had to suffer, be crucified. He said, nevertheless, not my will but I will be done. He took that extreme and ultimate suffering on our behalf, upon himself. Jesus, when he said do not be afraid, he knew what it was like to be afraid. He knows what is like to be one of us. He understands our fears.
We come from China, we see a lot of things that we’ve had around in United States for a long time. Saw a lot of Easter bunny ears here this morning, even here at this church. I saw people on bicycles carrying balloons and talking about eggs, Easter bunnies and all the rest here. You are getting a lot of stuff as same as we have. I know you are starting get some Santa Claus at Christmas time too. In the year 2000, an organization in Finland called Santa Claus Foundation, decided they would going to introduce Santa Claus to China, because Finland claims that that’s were Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus originally came from, and they feel they wanted to build strong bonds between the nation of Finland and the great nation of China. The Santa Claus could be a kind of bearer of the bonds between the two nations, and so I know around Christmas time you are starting to see some Santa Claus here in China.
I had an experience with Santa Claus once when I was 5 years old. In this experience, I think about when I read about the women coming into the presence of risen Christ and being so afraid. You know there’s another story like that, in the Bible, right in the last book of Bible, in the 1st chapter of book of Revolution, the Apostle John who traveled for several years with Jesus, he is referred to as the beloved disciple, John knew Jesus very well during Jesus’ earthly ministry. Now John is an Apostle of Jesus Christ, one of the greatest disciples, and early Apostles. He’s been sent into exile on the Isle of Patmos. And here he is on the Sabbath, on the Lord ’s Day, he said I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day. He was worshiping God and all of a sudden he heard a commotion. He was all alone on this island. He went to where he heard the commotion, he said I saw this awesome being. He said his hair was like wool, and his eyes were like blazing furnaces. And he said his voice, when he spoke, was like the voice of mighty waters, a booming voice. He said when I saw this being, this awesome being, I fell done before him, as if I were dead. I was so afraid. Then the voice spoke and said, “Don’t be afraid,” just as what he said to the women, because I am the one who lived and died and behold and live again forever more. he was telling John “Hey John, it’s me. It’s Jesus.” When I read about that, when I read about the women, and encountering the risen Christ and being so afraid, and then John said when I saw this awesome being, I fell down on my face in front of Him, I was so afraid. I think about what happened when I was 5 years old, just my first year in school.
I was in the classroom that day, all of us little kids. The teacher had planed a surprise visit from Santa Claus. We didn’t know that Santa Claus was going to come. So we were doing our 5 years’ old stuff as little kids in the classroom, and suddenly the guard burst open, and Santa Claus came in, and his hair was like wool, and his eyes like blazing furnaces, and when he spoke it was like the sound of mighty waters, he said “Ho ho ho! Boys and girls, I’m Santa Claus, and I’ve come into this classroom to find out who has been naughty or nice this year.” We were so afraid, we were frozen to our seats, afraid. And the teacher, in the plan of surprise, put a chair in front of Santa Claus, and he sat down. He said “I would like some boys and girls in this class to come up and sit on my lap and tell me whether you’ve been a good boy or a good girl this year.” None of us moved. Santa Claus looked around that classroom, and he pointed straight to me, said “Richard, come on up.” I almost didn’t get out of my seat, I was so afraid. Finally, I made it up to the front, Santa Claus pulls me up to his lap, and he could feel me trembling with fear. Now, here is what I did not know, Santa Claus was really a guy from our church name Mr. Cooper, and Mr. Cooper was a really nice guy. When Mr. Cooper dressed like Santa Claus, realized that I was so afraid, he whispered in my ear so that no one else in the room could hear. He said “Richard, it’s ok, it’s me, it’s Mr. Cooper.” And I relaxed.
I often think that the women see this awesome being, they were so afraid, and then Jesus says to them, in voice that is familiar to them “Don’t be afraid.” John, falls as one who is dead before this awesome being, then Jesus says “Hey John, it’s me. It’s ok. It’s me, it’s Jesus, you don’t have to be afraid, I’m the one who lived, and died, and behold and live again forever more.” I hope you could hear Jesus say that to you this morning, maybe you need to hear that for the first time this morning from the living Jesus. Maybe you’ve heard many times before, but on the Easter Sunday morning I hope each of us can hear it again today. You may have come to this church afraid this morning, maybe afraid about a relationship that you are in, maybe afraid about your economic future, maybe afraid about some health issue in your life, maybe afraid of things that you are not willing to share with any another person. We all bring fears with us to church on Sunday, and you may have brought some pretty important fears with you this morning. I hope that this morning, you can hear Jesus say to you “Don’t be afraid. It’s me, it’s Jesus. I’m the one who lived, I’m the one who suffered in all the ways that you have suffered, I’ve been tempted all the ways that you have been tempted. I know what it’s like to be to you. You know what? I went to the cross for you. I shed my blood for you on the cross of Calvary. I want to forgive you of all your sins, do for you what you could not do for yourself. If you trust in me, you can live with me forever, in my eternal kingdom.” Hope you could hear Jesus saying that to you, in the deep places of your own being.
Christ is risen, Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia! Amen.
Dr. Mauw, thank you so much for the great message you shared this morning with us. I love it and I think everybody here loves the message you just shared with us. The message you were just sharing with us is about the most important truth that everybody here should hear. It’s about eternal life. Everybody who has ears is suppose to listen to the message. So I love it, and I believe all the ladies in particular would be in favor of the message that you just shared this morning, because “come and see the empty tomb”, those are some of the words give to us by Jesus through those ladies. Without those ladies, we have no chance to hear the resurrection today. You pointed out to us, so I believe all the ladies here this morning must be very happy, isn’t that right? But I in particular am in favor of what you have shared that everybody who has ears should listen to this most important truth to our life. So I think I have made the right choice in choosing a seminary to go for my doctor study. Thank you so much again. In three weeks I will be at your college again, so that’s another honor. And thank you again for the honor that we have of having you this morning sharing this message with us. Thank you!
You see in Haidian Church, all the congregations here are so blessed that throughout years we have so many pastors and preachers to share the Good News with us. I share sometimes, and sometimes Jessica and other pastors in Haidian Church try their best to bring up their good explanation of the Bible, the Word of the Lord, and share those words with us. So we are blessed. But also we are not only blessed today this morning by the message we just listened to, given to us by Dr. Maul. We are going to have another special guest to celebrate Easter together with us. He is a musician, and also a great evangelizer—musically speaking. He is originally from India, but he’s been travelling around the world, to over 250 countries. In those countries, he shared the Good News, shared what happened to him. He said that courage and power is that which God put upon him when he has been travelling, evangelizing and baptizing the nations. We are more than happy and are blessed today to have him to share musically and also testimonially with us as he is playing music. So let’s welcome Benny!
Good morning everybody. Christ is risen and it is good morning and it’s wonderful to be here. Thank you Pastor Wu for this opportunity. My name is Benny and I’m going to quickly share a short testimony about my life and play you a song.
Indeed, in the age of 16, doctors gave me 6 months to live, and they said you will not be able to survival any more. When I come here for Easter, it reminds me back of how Jesus was risen in my life, the impact that happened in my life.
I was born in a very highly educated family. My father was an aerospace scientist, who designed airplanes. He looked at me as the first-born son that was expected to become like him. Very soon I became the shame and the curse of my family, not be able to keep up their expectations. I was born with asthma. And from the age of 2 to the age of 16, I was given wrong medication. They found out at my age of 16, the 60% of my lungs were damaged and my immune system was broken down. And basically there was no more life left in me. I was so depressed and so discouraged. Every direction I went that said you are useless, you are worthless. And by 10th grade, they took me out of school, they said it’s not worth for you to study Benny. And even musically I thought let me try something. At the age of 15 I went for music lessons, on the first day my guitar teacher told me not to come back any more. He said you have no gift and talent of music. So there was nothing good in me left. And at 16 I contemplated to commit suicide. I want to tell you my dear friends, that suicide is never the answer to any difficult problem, no matter how challenging life gets, suicide is never the answer. During that despairing time I went to a youth camp, and I heard the voice of Jesus. On the second day, He spoke to me, saying, “Benny even though you are called useless, I still need you.” And I told Jesus “Why do you need me, when the whole world says I’m useless, I’m worthless, my own father thinks I’m worthless, why do you need me?” Then he said that he died on the cross, and he rose again on the third day, so that even my life, my broken worthless life can be transformed.
Easter is not only for Christians, it’s for the entire world. Jesus died on the cross for every one of us, including an useless young Indian like me. So I gave my life to Jesus, he transformed me and made me this new creation. I put my life into the hands of Jesus, I went to the Bible college, thought I would become a pastor, and I did become a pastor, but God said “Benny I have a special plan for your life” Now, my dream was to go to one country in my lifetime. My father went to two countries, my mother went to two countries, I thought having one country as a dream is correct. But God says that his ways are higher than our ways, his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He is no respect of people, doesn’t matter which passport you hold, what economic background you come from. When God chooses, He chooses for His own purpose. And here, I told Jesus, “This is my dream to go to one country, what is the dream, what is the plan you have for my life?” And so He said “Benny I’m going to take you to every nation.” I said Jesus “Do you know I have an Indian passport. And an Indian passport means having so many visas—it’s tough!” He says no. In 2002 he told me I’m going to take you to every country by 2010. I said this is impossible. Well, the Bible says what is impossible for man is possible for God. So I put my faith in Jesus, I said Lord, as a little Indian, I will never ask for money, never borrow money, never take a loan and no credit. You provide for me, I will travel; you don’t provide for me, I will not travel. Very simple life of faith, and I started my journey.
Today, this is half of my passports. I didn’t bring all my passports. I have 13 passports together for my travels. God has been so faithful to His word. 245 countries. They said I broke the world record, I didn’t know about the record. This is my world map, all the travels that I have done, to 245 countries. And on the 22nd of November, 2010, I broke the world record. I became the fastest man to travel to every country and continent, including Antarctica in 6 years 6 months and 22 days, and made history for Jesus.
Today, if God can use a broken ordinary person like me, young ones and old ones, He has plan for each and everybody seated here. Don’t give up, just put your hands into this resurrected Jesus, who kept His word that on the third day he will rise again, and He rose again. I’m going to close with this one song, the song that I enjoy playing the most. Again, I have no musical education. It is God’s transformation of my musical journey that brought me to this place. I was invited for the Olympic Games in Greece in 2004 to perform on a cultural stage. They strictly told me “you can not share your faith.” For me, what Jesus has done and really gave me hope, at 16 I wanted to kill myself, and he says “I have a beautiful life for you Benny, if you restored my life, I can’t keep it secret.” I want to share it to one more person so that they can find hope. So they just told me, we just want your music. So I prayed to Jesus for an idea, to design a guitar that the world has never seen, so that this guitar can attract people to come and talk to me, look at the guitar, ask me questions, and I can share my testimony back to them. This is the world’s first and only guitar in this world to have drums inside. As I play the song, I just want to tell you, if God could use fingers with arthritis to play an instrument like this, if you could restore a broken vessel like me, to travel to the nations, there is nothing impossible for them. The song is called “My Jesus, My Savior, Lord there is none like you.” Enjoy the song.