Forsaken But Not Forgotten
This Is Not The End To The Story
John 20:1-18, NKJV
Darkness to Light
When Jesus hung on the cross in the sixth hour darkness covered the whole land; when Mary came to the tomb it was still dark. We will face times that look dark, but Jesus overcame darkness and became the light for us.
Let this be a reminder that darkness and the devil have been defeated and we have the light (Jesus is with us, in us, and for us)
The devil and darkness have to leave, they have been defeated, disarmed, their works destroyed, and He will soon be dispatched to Hell. (1 John 3:8, NKJV)
Don’t miss the Promise.
You may feel your life is in darkness, but it is only temporary it is not the end of the story. Jesus is risen, He has overcome death.
His spirit lives in us to give us the power to have comfort, freedom, and joy. During times of uncertainty run to Jesus, He will save us and cause our faith to overcome our fear. (Matthew 14:26-29, NKJV)
Promises to cling to.
Jesus is greater than any storm we will ever face. If we call on Him, He will come, He will make our faith greater than our faith. If we keep our eyes on Jesus during the we can do the impossible.
He wants to calm the storm in our life so that we will worship Him and not the storm. (Matthew 11:28, NKJV)
God has something greater.
When we get to where we are going and don’t find what we thought we wanted, it is simply because God has something much greater for us. (Ephesians 3:20, NKJV)
They saw an empty tomb, God wanted them to see a risen Savior that defeated death and the devil.
They saw emptiness and hopelessness, God wanted them to see Joy (fullness) and hopefulness.
Hope is the confident expectation of a positive future in spite of our present circumstances.
This virus is nothing more than a picture of the empty tomb and Jesus is about to show us His power and presence in a supernatural way.
Don’t miss the miracle.
Jesus is with us, in us, and for us.
be prepared to share the resurrection power living in us. (Romans 8:31-33, NKJV)
Sermon Video Transcription
James Greer (00:00):
Good morning Journey Church. Hey, my black gloves match my black pants. I got my purple shirt because I’m celebrating Easter. Woo. Hey, I do want you to know here at Journey Church, we take the distancing very serious. And we want you to also, man, I tell you what didn’t that praise team rock the house. Amen? Woo. Hey man and the title of the message today is this is not the end of the story. And man, you saw him, you all saw Mike up there leading worship. Amen? You know, it wasn’t about a month ago or six weeks ago, he had the Corona virus, but that’s not the end of the story. Now he’s back leading worship and praising God and we thank God for him. There’s a lot of wonderful stories too. And Debbie Atkinson and Howard, they both had Corona, but today, Easter, they finally got to get back together and they’re together today. So that’s a wonderful story. And praying for Richie and Dustin and Susan and Joyce and Randy Riley was put in the hospital. But I’m going to tell you, that’s not the end of the story. We have a lot of wonderful stories too. And we thank God for them.
James Greer (01:06):
When I talk about, this is not the end of the story, it made me think about a story about me and my wife. When me and my wife got married, we drove over to Marshall, Texas, and back then you had to take a blood test. Yeah. And when I took a blood test, well I’m kind of a baby about blood anyway, and when I, when they took blood, I kind of got weak and I thought I was going to faint and my wife started laughing and I thought, Oh, I hope this is not the end of the story.
James Greer (01:54):
As you know, we finally got married, but that was not the end of the story. We learned something. You know what we learned about when you get married, is it’s not so much what happens at the marriage ceremony. It’s what happens after you get married that makes a great marriage. It happens how you trust each other, how you depend upon each other, how you respond to each other is what makes a great marriage. And thank God our wedding ceremony was not the end of the story, but really it was only the beginning of a love story 46 years and counting. Amen? But the same is true in your Christian walk. I mean, you get saved and man you’re so excited. But really how you grow in your relationship with Christ and how you respond to God, greatly determines how you enjoy your relationship with God. How you learn to respond when problems come on. What might really be a problem is maybe a miracle in the making. And so you’ve got to be careful how you respond, because so many times that’s not the end of the story.
James Greer (03:05):
Every week I’ve been giving you a verse to hang on to. And this week I have a special verse for it comes from Psalms 27:13 and it says, I would have lost heart, I’d have gotten discouraged. I mean with all this going on, if you’re not careful, it’s easy to get discouraged. Psalms 27:13 says, I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Man, that’s a great verse to send to people. Maybe when they are getting discouraged. I mean don’t get discouraged, because believe that you’re going to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living right now. Why? It’s going on. And this is not the end of the story. I don’t care what you’re going through right now. If it’s not good, God’s not done. And that’s not the end of the story. I mean, I want to wish you, Happy Easter, Happy Resurrection day. This is the day that that death and the devil have been defeated. I want to wish my son, Jimmy, today’s his birthday. I want to tell him happy birthday. I want to tell my grandson that’s working in a grocery store stocking. I mean, you’re on the front lines, but Easter, this is the first time. Hmm. We hadn’t all been together.
James Greer (04:36):
I love taking group pictures every Easter. I can’t wait. We coordinate the colors and I usually have somebody come to the house and we get together and we take pictures. Me and my wife were talking about last night and I said, honey, I think this is the first time ever that we didn’t color coordinate, and we didn’t have pictures and she cried for a few minutes. And I said, honey, this is not the end of the story.
James Greer (05:12):
Jesus’ death was not the end of the story. In fact, Jesus’ death was not the end of the story, but it was really only the beginning of the story. It was the beginning of the greatest story ever told. And that’s what I want to look at today. I want to look at the beginning of the greatest story ever told. And we’re going to look at John 20:1 and it says this, they on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, thank God for women back then. Amen? she went to the tomb and she went early. While it’s still dark, I’m very blessed and fortunate. A few years ago, I got to visit the very place they said that was the tomb. We got to see one of the stones that was supposedly rolled back. We got to see that the tune that Jesus supposedly was buried in. And they saw the stone that had been taken away from the tomb.
James Greer (05:44):
Now I want you to remember that life and Easter’s all about, you can take and you can have misery or miracle. See, at this point, if you’re not careful, God want them to see, Hey, look at the miracle, but at this point they looked at it as misery. They looked that there was darkness and Jesus always turns darkness into light. When Mary comes to the tomb, it was still dark, and when Jesus was hanging on the cross, Oh, and the sixth hour, there was darkness that covered the whole world and then it was still dark, but that was not the end of the story.
James Greer (06:53):
It was just the start of the beginning. The tomb was empty, but that was not the end of the story. Some people, even the disciples, the ones closest to Jesus. At first they looked at that and they, they thought it was misery, but it’s really a miracle. Over and over again, they faced times of darkness. And over and over again, Jesus would overcome darkness with light because he is the light of the world. And every time you see darkness, it means it’s not finished because Jesus is the light from now. When you feel darkness and remember that darkness and the devil had been defeated and you have light, Jesus Christ, he’s with you. He’s in you, and he is for you. And in fact, when you feel darkness from now and you just tell the devil in darkness to leave because they had been defeated. They’d been disarmed, they’d been destroyed, and they’d been, the devil has been dispatched to hell. Now, see you thought I was going to say, just tell the devil to go to hell, but it’s Easter. So, I’m trying to say he was dispatched to hell.
James Greer (07:38):
1 John 3:8 says this, it says, for he who sins is of the devil, and for the devil has sinned from the very beginning, for this purpose, the son of God, for this purpose, the son of God was manifest, made known, that he might destroy the very works of the devil. So, Jesus rose from the grave. He destroyed the works of the devil.
James Greer (08:34):
And so don’t miss the promises. Don’t miss the miracle. Don’t live in misery during this special time, you might feel like your life is in darkness, right? And it’s temporary. It’s not the end of the story. Mary was upset because the stone was taken away and, and she’s looked in the tomb, it was really a miracle. You might be looking at something right now and you’re upset. Could be your job. It could be finances, health, it could be the quarantine, it could be the uncertainty of times. And you’ve got a choice right now. You can live in misery or you can begin to look at the miracle that God has for you because the story is not over yet. You saw that. She said, the stone was rolled away and it wasn’t meant to upset her. It wasn’t meant to bring misery for her. It was meant to bring comfort and freedom and joy, an unexplained miracle. Jesus is still not in that tomb. He’s been risen and it was to bring comfort and freedom and joy to us. He’s overcome death and the devil and his spirit now lives with us and he is alive.
James Greer (09:44):
Verse two says, and then she ran. She ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciples whom Jesus loved. That was John. Jesus had favorites. And so do you. And I said to them, they’ve taken the Lord away, out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they had laid him. They said, Oh man, we’re in misery because we’re missing the miracle. And if you’re not careful, we do that. Sometimes we get so upset, we miss the miracle. We miss the promises. We often run to the wrong places, the wrong things and the wrong people during these times of uncertainty run to God. In fact, what I would say is look for a miracle in the times of uncertainty. I can tell you an example. I can tell you example of Peter. I can tell you example, when Peter walked on the water. I can tell you that I got to be on that very sea of Galilee that Peter was on. I can tell you that I got to read this story while I was on the sea of Galilee. I can tell you that I tried to step out of the boat and no, I didn’t walk on water. So, you all not even tried it though.
James Greer (11:12):
In Matthew 14:26 it says this, and when the disciples saw him, It was Jesus. He was walking on the sea and they were troubled saying, is it a ghost? Sometimes Jesus right next to us, we don’t even recognize him. And they cried out with fear and should have been faith. And immediately Jesus spoke to them saying, be of good cheer. I love that because when it says be of good cheer, that word means be of comfort, be of courage, be of joy. He said, it is I, don’t be afraid.
James Greer (11:55):
But, Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it’s you, command me to come to you on the water. Can I tell you something? Anytime Jesus commands something, if we’ll obey it, it’ll come true. It doesn’t matter what it is. Hey, if he commands us to do something and we do it, it will come about. See, most of you all right here. Y’all start thinking already about Jesus. I made them out. Peter sinking in the water. I start thinking about Peter got to experience the miracle. Some of you all never even tried to walk on water. At least I’ve tried it and failed.
James Greer (12:31):
Matthew 14:30 says, and then Peter, he saw how strong the wind was. He saw the problems and he was afraid, and he started sinking, said, save me Lord. He shouted, and Jesus let him drown. I mean, that’s the way some people live in their life. They think I’m afraid and I just cry out and Jesus is going to let me just go through. He’s going to let me live a miserable life and you know Jesus reached out his hand immediately and he helped Peter up, and he said, you surely don’t have much faith. Why did you doubt? I’m glad he said, you don’t have much faith. Because Peter had a little faith and a little faith he had is sometimes it’s just the faith of the grain of a mustard seed, but he had enough faith to save Peter. and when Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind died.
James Greer (13:20):
See, when you’re in the boat with Jesus, there’s no storm that is too great. See, even though you have Jesus and know Jesus, you can have times of fear, but Jesus will still save us and he helps our fear grow to a new faith that overcomes it. He saved him. He didn’t take a lot of it. Why did you fear the same reason we do often, but verse 33 I love it. It says, the men in the boat worship Jesus and said, you really are the son of God.
James Greer (14:13):
Let me give you some insights about the miracle, about the miracle with Peter walking on water. The miracle of Jesus saving him and some of the things that proves Jesus is greater than any storm you’ll ever face. He’s greater than the Corona virus. He’s greater than whatever you’re going through. It proves that he’s greater than any storm you’ll ever face. It proves if you call upon him, even if you’re afraid, that he’ll grow your faith and your faith will eventually overcome the fear. It proves, if we could keep our eyes upon Jesus Christ, there’s absolutely nothing impossible for God. Peter walked on water. I tried it. It didn’t work, but I think it was a picture of if we would keep our eyes on God so much that sometimes we couldn’t even see the storms around us. It proves that Jesus wants to calm the storms. He wants to take care of the uncertainty in our lives because he wants us to know that he is the son of God and he wants us to worship him and not the storm. Peter said, Jesus command me, and he did. Did you know, in Matthew 11:28 it says, Jesus said, come unto me, did you know that that is commandment? He said, come unto me, all you that labor and heavy burden and I’ll give you rest. That’s a commandment and if you’ll do it, it’ll come about.
James Greer (16:12):
Verse three of John 20, Peter therefore he went out, he went out with the other disciples and we’re going to the tomb. And so, they both ran together and the other disciples, they outran Peter and came to the tomb first and he stopped, stooped down and he looked in and he saw the linen cloth laying there, and he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter came following him. What does Peter do? Of course, he went right on in the tomb. And he saw the linen cloths laying there, also and the handkerchief that had been there around his head, not laying there with the linen cloths folded together in the place by itself.
James Greer (16:43):
Well, they thought that was the end of the story. God had something greater for them. They left in misery and almost missed the miracle. And sometimes if you’re not careful, we like get to the end of where we think we’re going and what we’ve worked for, and it seems like we’re empty inside. And we don’t find what we’re looking for and or what we wanted, and it’s only because God has something bigger, something greater, something beyond our greatest imagination.
James Greer (16:53):
When they got to the tomb and it was empty and they got miserable, it goes, God had a miracle and he had something greater for you, and you might be somewhere in your life and you think, man, I’m not getting there. I’ve worked all these years, and now it’s not going well on my job. It’s not going well in my marriage. I’m having all these problems financially. Hey, it might be that God has something greater for you. It might be the Ephesians 3:20 principle. Now to him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask or think, according to the power that works in you. Okay?
James Greer (18:13):
See, what they saw was an empty tomb, that was misery. What God wanted them to see was a risen Savior. The miracle. Amen? What they saw was a handkerchief in empty clothes that was misery. They saw the clothes that Jesus was in, and he died. And God wanted them to see Jesus, and he was now clothed in God’s glory. Then he would never die again. He defeated death and the devil. That was the miracle. They saw emptiness and hopelessness. That was a mere misery. God wanted them to see fullness and hopefulness, which was a miracle. I’ve taught you what hope is biblical. Biblical hope is a confident expectation of a positive future in spite of any circumstance.
James Greer (18:35):
But the real question to you today is what happens when you look into the world? What do you see? What do you see happening today? Do you see misery or do you see a miracle coming about? Do you see nothing but the Corona virus? That’s not the end of the story. Do you see that God has something bigger and something better? Do you see the tomb as being empty or do you see that just as a picture of God’s fixing to show you something more powerful and the supernatural?
James Greer (18:46):
I hope you don’t miss what God’s doing in so many people lives. Even in the midst of this Corona virus, there’s so many families that are experiencing a new power and a new peace. I had a nurse tell me that dealing with it. She’s dealing with the ICU, of the people with the Corona virus, with the worst of the worst, and she said, the first two weeks I went to pieces. And she said, now God has given me a supernatural peace. See, don’t miss the miracle that God has for you.
James Greer (19:46):
If you dropped down to verse 13 and it said, he said to her woman, why are you weeping? I believe sometimes that would be Jesus’ question to me and you. Why you act in the way that you’re acting? Do you not know that Jesus is alive? Do you not know that he’s going to take care of you? Well, she said, Lord, they’ve taken him away. Where have they laid him? Now when she had said this, she turned around, saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t even recognize him. She didn’t know who he was.
James Greer (20:17):
It’s important for you to know that you may not physically see Jesus. He’s with you and he’s for you. There’s something that happened after that. Jesus said to her in verse 15 woman, why you weeping? Who are you seeking? She supposed him to be the gardener. She said to him, sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve laid him and I’ll take him away. That is some strong woman. She said, gardener, if you’ve take him away, you tell me, I’ll go get him. Jesus said her, Mary, she turned and she said, teacher. Jesus said to her, don’t cling to me for I have not ascended to my father, but go to my brother and say to them, I’m ascending.
James Greer (21:25):
Now, you all ready? To my father and your father, to my God and your God. And Mary Magdalene came to me. She told the disciples that she had seen the Lord. and that he had spoken these words to her. This is so important. Jesus has a very important message for me and you today. The first message that he gave to Mary to bring to to the disciples, was not the great commission. He said, Mary, go tell the disciples. Go tell Journey Church. Go tell everybody that’s watching online. Go tell him that now my father is your father. My God is now your God. The first thing that Jesus wanted to know after the resurrection is that now we can have a new relationship with God that we can never have before. That now, he said, really I want you to know God’s been waiting for this very moment, and he said, now my God is your God. My father is your God. There’s now nothing that you ever have to be afraid of. You can now have a relationship with God that you never had. You can have a relationship with God like a father. You can have a relationship with God like a God. You’ve got the all-powerful God. You’ve got a father that cares for you and loves you and provides for you. He said, now you’ve got somebody that you never had a relationship before with.
James Greer (22:49):
Romans 8:31 says this, what then shall I say to these things? If God be on your side and he is now, can anyone be against you? God did not keep back even his own son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won’t he freely give us everything else? I mean, listen, God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him. Can anyone bring a charge against them? The answer is no. Listen, he paid the price for me. He paid the price for you. What he is saying, maybe some of you it’s accepting him as a Savior, and if you haven’t, God said, I sent my son for you to do that. Some of you have accepted him as a savior, but you don’t have a relationship with him like a father. Some of you had bad relationships with your father so you hadn’t really enjoyed the relationship with God like he would have you to, and today you need to go to him just like a father. He said, he’s now. Jesus said, the first message is, my father’s now your father. He said, my God is your God, and what he’s saying now is, not only is my father is your father, my God is your God. He saying and what he’s saying now is, not only is my father is your father, my God is your God. He’s saying listen, that’s the God that created the heaven and earth. He said, you’ve got a God now that’s powerful enough to take care of anything in your life.
James Greer (24:29):
What do you see and do you? The first message that Jesus had after the resurrection is you’ve got a father and a God that’ll meet any and every need in your life, and there’s no reason for you to worry about anything, not the Corona, not your provision, not your protection. Now, if you hadn’t done that, I really want to encourage you today to do that. If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord and protector, today is the day for you to do it. If you never understood that God is now your father and your God, there’s no better time to do it than this morning.
James Greer (24:43):
Let us pray. God, I thank you that you sit your son. I thank you that he’s not dead, but man, he is alive. I thank you that his death was not the end of the story, but just the beginning of the greatest story ever told. I thank you for the end of the message. When Jesus, after he rose from the grave, he said, now I want you to know that you can go straight to my daddy. He can be your father.
James Greer (25:43):
You’ve got a new relationship with him like never before. He can be your God, the same God that created you, that created heaven, that created earth. That he’s going to take care of you. He can protect you, he can do whatever you need, the same God that commanded you, that if you’re worried or heavy burden to come to and he said, I’ll give you rest. If you want to join the church, you can join the church online almost every Sunday. Since we’ve gone online, we’ve had people join the church, so I want to encourage you, if you want to join today’s a day that you can join the church. If you want to give your life to Jesus Christ. There’s a place that a minute you can do that and we’ll follow up on you and give you the information. If you’d never been biblically, publicly baptized, you let us know that that’s what you want to do and we’ll make arrangements for you to do it. Now, whatever God’s called you to do, do it right now, right where you’re at. It’s in the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
James Greer (26:46):
On behalf of pastor James, thanks so much for worshiping with us here today, man. We hope that you and your family have a blessed, happy Easter. Before you go, I want to take a moment to talk to you about next steps. You know here at Journey, we emphasize the next step because we know that’s how we continue to grow in Christ. What are some next steps that you could take? Well, one, if you haven’t made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, do that today. Right now, you should be seeing a link in the comment section. If at any point you felt the Lord drawing, pulling your heart, simply click the link and you can discover how to make Jesus the Lord of your life. Maybe you’d like to become a member of Journey Church. Simply click the link and follow the instructions.
James Greer (27:31):
At Journey, we emphasize that you can’t do life alone. We know that we were created to do life with others. So, if you’d like to join an online community group, simply click the link and follow the instructions. Also, if you would like to give, you can do so by clicking on the link and following the instructions. Last but not least, if you have children, be sure and check out our kids website. We have tons of resources available for you and services that are geared towards your children, at their level, so be sure and click the Lake and check that out today. Hey, once again, we’re so glad that you decided to worship with us today and we can’t wait to see you next Sunday.
Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.