- Sermon Notes
The Greatest Sign of All Time
April 3-4, 2021
What is the greatest event in all human history? The answers people gave to that question are all over the board.
Some say it was the invention of farming, others say, the invention of the wheel, or developing the alphabet, or building the great pyramids. Some even said it was when Al Gore invented the Internet. However, while all those are important, the greatest event in all human history was the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
It is the greatest event in all human history because it answers man’s greatest need. In other words, it’s the one event that doesn’t just impact how you live today, it’s the one event that impacts how you live forever.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die… Do you believe this?” Someone might ask, “How can this be? Surely everyone dies.
Of course, people die; I know that very well. When our daughter was killed several years ago, it was the most difficult thing we’ve ever endured, but I know this, it was her body that died. Her soul lives and the reason her soul lives is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! He defeated death and gave her eternal life when she asked Jesus into her heart as Lord and Savior.
Everyone dies a physical death, the statistics on death are pretty impressive; something like one out of every one people die physically. The older you get the more you understand that. It’s harder to grasp when you’re young.
Some take the perspective of that song made famous by the Rolling Stones, “Time is on My Side.” Although if you’ve seen Mick Jagger and Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones lately, you would have to say that time has definitely not been on their side. Let’s just say that if they went shopping at Forever 21 they would be escorted out.
No, time is not on your side, time is against you. You don’t know when your time is up or how much time you have left. You could die today. Someone might respond, “Thanks, Pastor, very encouraging. I’m glad I invited friends.”
Here’s my answer; time may not be on your side, but God most certainly is. God loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.
Let today be your day. I’m going to give you the opportunity to get right with God today. Today we celebrate the greatest event in all human history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s also the greatest Sign of All Time. In other words, it’s personal. How will you respond?
In Matthew 12, the Jewish leaders, the scribes and Pharisees, asked Jesus for some kind of sign to prove who He was. … And when God gives the greatest sign of all time you must decide what to do with it…
I. A Sign is Given to Strengthen Faith
- Verse 38 –The Jewish leaders asked Jesus for a sign, some kind of miracle, so He might prove who He is to them — because they did not believe. “Prove it,” they were saying, “we don’t believe You.”
- Jesus responded by saying two things. First, that an evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign. And second, that no sign would be given but the sign of Jonah the prophet.
- Each part of His answer is important so let’s take them each separately.
A. A sign is for those who lack faith
- In the scriptures, a sign is some kind of evidence or miracle to prove or confirm what God is saying; or it can be something to remind them of God’s power and presence.
- There are people today who seek for some kind of sign from God to direct their lives. But that’s more like seeking God for an omen, which God doesn’t do either.
- God used signs in the scriptures; and He used them to strengthen faith.
- When God called Moses to deliver the people of Israel out of the slavery of Egypt, Moses said, “What if they will not believe me and what if they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’?” God then gave Moses signs to bear witness, to prove that it was God who had spoken.
Exodus 4:8, “If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile…”
- In the book of Judges, when Gideon was called to be a deliverer for the nation of Israel, he lacked faith and so he asked for a sign.
Judges 6:17, So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.”
- In Matthew 12, the Pharisees were not honest in their request. The suggestion seems to be, “If you would just give us strong enough proof, then we will believe.”
- But they were not looking for a reason to believe, they were looking for a reason not to believe; they were looking for a reason to accuse Him.
- Jesus had already given great evidence, and powerful witness to demonstrate who He was; the blind could see, the lame could walk, the dead were raised, He cast out demons, and He calmed the wind and the sea with the word of his command. But instead of receiving and responding, they accused him of being of the devil.
- The problem is that they demanded a sign by their choosing and rejected the signs of God’s choosing.
- Do people do this today? Yes, there are some who come up with tests of their choosing that demand God to prove who He is to them,
Illus – Some people say, “God, if you’re real, then…
- Do such and such a thing and then I’ll believe,
- give me the winning numbers of the lottery, and then I’ll believe,
- heal me of this sickness, and then I’ll believe,
- get me out of this mess, and then I’ll believe.
- There are great scriptures that give a much better perspective…
Habakkuk 3:17-19, Though the fig tree should not blossom and there being no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength…
B. The greatest sign of all time is the sign of Jonah
- Verse 39 — Jesus said, “No sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet…”
- “As Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and nights in the heart of the earth.”
- In other words, Jonah’s experience pointed to the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Therefore, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the evidence and proof that God gives to the world so you might believe in His name and have everlasting life.
1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, 20… and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain and your faith also is vain… if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless and you are still in your sins… But now, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
Acts 17:30-31, “Having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to all men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness… Having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
- The question of the day is this, what will you do with the sign God provided? All the Old Testament books are a shadow of the reality of God’s sign – the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- God sent His Son so you might have life, but first you must receive… and then respond.
C. Consider those who did respond
- Jesus gives two examples of those who did receive the evidence of God’s Word and then responded to it.
- The first is Nineveh. They repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah was there before them.
- Jonah was a lesser prophet with a lesser message and yet they repented when they heard it.
- The Assyrians of Nineveh were a wicked people and God sent Jonah to them with a message of repentance, but He also sent with that message evidence of God’s power when Jonah was delivered to them from the belly of the great sea creature.
- The Queen of the South heard of the God of Israel just as other kings and queens of her era had heard the same. But when she heard that God had given wisdom to Solomon, the king of Israel, she did something about it; she responded. She traveled a great distance, she humbled herself, and she sat and received the wisdom of God as Solomon spoke to her and answered her questions.
- Solomon was a lesser man with a lesser message and yet the Queen of the South responded, she did something about it. Jesus was greater than Solomon with a greater message and came to them…
Colossians 2:2, … attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
- And yet they would not receive it. “Behold,” Jesus said, “something greater than Solomon is here.” The question is straightforward; how about you? Will you receive it, and will you respond to it with your life?
II. Life Begins Right Now
- There was another occasion when the Jews asked for a sign. Although it’s interesting because they asked for a sign immediately after Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Seems like a pretty good sign to me.
John 6:30, They said therefore to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’”
- You can see what they’re asking; He had just fed 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish and then they said, “Moses gave us manna, what do you give?”
- In other words, they wanted a king who would provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner while they waited.
- But that’s not where life comes from…
Matthew 4:4, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
A. Life comes from personal revival
- God sent His Son that you would have life and life eternal. But eternal life is not just something you experience after you breathe your last breath on this earth; it is something you experience right here and right now.
John 1:4, In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
- Life doesn’t come from that which is physical. God made you with a soul and only when your soul is satisfied in Him can you truly live.
- There is a great longing, a great searching in the human soul. It longs to be satisfied with life.
Illus – Companies sell products to those who are driven by that great seeking, to those who believe they can satisfy their innermost desire by the things of the earth… Picture this commercial, a guy with a self-sufficient swept back hairdo driving a new Beemer through the fall leaves, the wind sweeping through his hair and the look of inner peace on his face. People see that and say to themselves, “Me want Beemer; me want inner peace; me want Beemer.”
- It’s revival that brings inner peace; only when you have a personal relationship to the living God can you live life to the full.
- You were made in the image of God and only in the image of God will you be satisfied.
B. Simply believe and you will live!
- When the crowd was seeking Jesus, He answered and said, “Do not work for that which perishes but for that which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you.”
- They answered and said, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
John 6:29, 40, Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent… And this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
- God loves you and wants you to have eternal life right here and right now. Simply believe by opening your heart to God right now.
- God has made a way for sinners to be made right with God. When Jesus died on the cross, He died in your place. He took your sins upon Himself and paid for them with His own blood.
- You can ask God to forgive your sin based on the fact that they have been paid for in full by Jesus Himself, the One whom God sent as the Savior of the world.
- You can be right with God right here and right now by believing in Him and opening your heart and asking Him into your heart and into your life. He wants to be your king, your Savior, and your friend. Open your heart to Him right now…
Matthew 12:38-42 NASB
38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a [a]sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves a [b]sign; and so no [c]sign will be given to it except the [d]sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as Jonah was in the stomach of the sea monster for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.