The Greatest Ebeneezer

1Matthew 28:1-8 (KJV) In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the {Tomb}. [2] And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. [3] His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: [4] And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. [5] And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. [6] He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. [7] And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. [8] And they departed quickly from the {Tomb} with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

Audio of Sermon:

Sermon Notes: Today we will let the Stone rolled away preach, cry out to us, shout a message of Hosanna to Christ our King. Jesus said before His crucifixion:

Luke 19:40 (KJV) …. I tell you that, if these {children} should hold their peace, THE STONES WOULD IMMEDIATELY CRY OUT.

The stone rolled away is an Ebeneezer from God. What is an Ebeneezer?

An Ebeneezer Is A Stone Of Witness

In the days of the Prophet Samuel Israel had been defeated by the Philistines, a godless people. Why was God’s people defeated? It was because God’s people had compromised with the world. Israel had turned from following their Lord, and God will not bless disobedience.

God will not bless disobedience.
God will not bless disobedience.
God is Light, and He will not bless darkness!

The Philistines were coming once more, and Israel was frightened. The people cried out:

What shall we do? This is greater than us!

The Preacher Samuel told the people (1 Samuel 7:3/ NASB) “If you return to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth {the little pocket gods} from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand {of your enemy}.”

The people put away the false gods from among them.
They stopped worshiping man, money, sex, and power.
They chose to rise up and worship the God Who loved them.
They listened to the preacher rather than giggle and smirk,
raising their eyebrows and closing their ears.

The Preacher Samuel said:

Step out in faith

Samuel took the Blood of the Lamb without spot or blemish and offered it to God.

The enemy gathered,
the bullies came,
but God thundered,
and confused the enemy.

There is one word that defeats the devil and his forces. That word is…

Liar!

The devil and death are liars. They have no power above God. Jesus said “The devil is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:44)”. The enemy was beaten that day, beaten by God. God’s people honored God as He should be honored, and the darkness fled as a whipped dog.

Samuel set up an Ebeneezer that day, a rock of testimony, a stone of help, a reminder to Israel of the goodness of God.

The Old Testament Ebeneezer stood as a testimony that God is faithful to defeat the enemies of those who love Him.

The New Testament Ebeneezer is that stone we see rolled away from the Tomb of Christ.

This Tomb Stone Was Set Because Of Unbelief

The Old Testament Ebeneezer was set because of faith, Samuel’s faith. But the New Testament Ebeneezer was a stone set on the tomb of Christ because of unbelief. The Bible tells us that when Jesus died and was placed in the Tomb, a huge stone was rolled into the doorway, effectively sealing it off. The Pharisees and Priests remembered that Jesus promised to rise from the grave. These unbelievers went to Pilate and said:

Matthew 27:63-66 … “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

The devil hears every sermon, every Word Christ spoke. The devil led the darkness to roll a huge stone into place, to sealed the stone in place with Pilate’s seal, and placed a guard of soldiers in front of that stone to keep it in place.

This is the trinity of unbelief – STONE, SEAL, and GUARD.

Unbelief separates man from God. Jude wrote:

Jude 5 (KJV) I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward DESTROYED THEM THAT BELIEVED NOT.

Unbelief may say with the lips “I believe in God” but the heart is far from God. Unbelief invites the displeasure of God. Unbelief calls God a liar, and mocks His promises. The Bible warns:

Hebrews 3:12 (ESV) Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an EVIL, UNBELIEVING HEART, LEADING YOU TO FALL AWAY FROM THE LIVING GOD.

The unbelieving heart – just like the Ebeneezer of the Tomb – stands between humanity and the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

The PHARISEES had ritual, but no belief.
The SCRIBES had knowledge, but no belief.
The ROMANS had power, but no belief.

So they rolled the stone, the Ebeneezer, against the mouth of Christ’s Tomb. The government put a seal – which could not be broken without violating Roman Law – on the stone.

Police Line – Do Not Cross” says the yellow tape.
Christ dead from the Cross” says the Pilate tape.
No access to Jesus” says the guard at the Tomb.

Matthew 28:1 (KJV) In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the {Tomb}.

At the end of the Sabbath Mary and Mary go to finish ministering to Christ. His body was hurriedly prepared for His funeral. These Marys came to do a good work, and “brought sweet spices that they might anoint Him” (Mark 16:1).

But they knew they couldn’t get into the Tomb. They knew that Jesus’ enemies had sealed the Tomb. They talked amongst themselves.

Who shall roll away the stone from the mouth of the Tomb
FOR IT IS VERY HEAVY” (Mark 16:3-4)?

The Stone is VERY HEAVY. There is a Stone that stands between man and God, a Stone of unbelief, a Stone of sin. When the Stone was placed on the mouth of that Tomb, it was placed there because Christ died for our sins. Sin is a barrier that keeps us from God.

Isaiah said: Isaiah 59:2 (ESV) … your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

The Bible teaches that an immovable stone stands between us and God, and that stone is our sin. We are shut into a living tomb. We are born into this world sinful creatures.

1 John 3:4 (ESV) Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; SIN IS LAWLESSNESS.

We are born into this world sinners who may be moral, sinners who might try to do good works, but sinners none the less. We are “dead in trespasses and in sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Satan led our forefather Adam from Paradise to spiritual death, and we have no ability to roll the stone away from that grave we are in.

This is why Christ died. Christ died not because HE was a sinner, but because WE are sinners. The Bible says:

1 Peter 3:18 (ESV) For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God …

Jesus died for our sins, and rose again to lead us in righteousness. Jesus said that He …

Mark 8:31 … must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.

We could not roll the Stone away ourselves, but Christ rolled the stone of sin away by His death. As C.H. Spurgeon said:

Our sins were the great stone which shut the mouth of the {Tomb}, and held us captives in death, and darkness, and despair. But OUR SINS ARE NOW FOREVER ROLLED AWAY …”

The Marys came to the Tomb expecting nothing but barriers. What did they find?

This Ebeneezer Is A Stone That God Rolled Away

Matthew 28:2 (KJV) And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

There was an earthquake the day that Jesus died: We read:

Matthew 27:50-54 (KJV) Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

There was an earthquake the day that Jesus “yielded up His Spirit” unto the Father. No man took His life, but He laid it down. As He left this earth the earth moved, and dead saints rose from their graves. I used to think the scariest thing to see would be a herd of Jehovah’s Witnesses on my front door step (I jest, of course, for I respect their dedication though not their doctrine). But can you imagine

Uncle Bob raising from the grave, come knocking on your door?
Or Aunt Lillie, trailing fresh dirt, come to supper?
I love God’s sense of humor!

This would make Otis Campbell smash every bottle of Moon
he had stored in his basement!
(If you’re not an Andy Griffith Fan, this will make no sense to you).

Now the earth moves again.

Three days ago the dead rose and walked among the living, as the Light of the World gave up His brilliance. Now once more the earth moves. The Centurion who said “Surely this must have been the Son of God” – I’m sure – had a flashback. This time the Commander of men probably ran home and crawled under his bed!

The earth moved.
The Angel of the Lord descended.
The Stone was rolled away.

If Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins had not been acceptable to God
then that Stone would still be in place.

Hebrews 10:12-18 …. when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For BY A SINGLE OFFERING HE HAS PERFECTED FOR ALL TIME THOSE WHO ARE BEING SANCTIFIED. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Why did God send two Marys first of all to this Tomb? If two men had come there might have been a whispering that these men – and perhaps others – had rolled the stone away. But God sent two Marys, the – may I say it – weaker vessels. They could not move that heavy stone.

The Stone Rolled Away Tells Us That God Is Satisfied In Christ

When the Angel of the Lord moved that Stone he broke the seal of the Law that was on that Stone. It was a violation of Law for that Stone to be moved.

All of mankind are lawbreakers.
But Our Lord Jesus fulfilled the Law.
He lay in that Tomb the Lamb of God without Spot or Blemish.
He walked from that Tomb the Satisfactory Payment For Our Sins.

Matthew 5:17-18 (KJV) Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. [18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law of God. Being perfect and sinless, God in the flesh, He laid down His life for His friends (John 15:13). Mary Magdalene and Mary of Clopas (see John 19:25) stood by the cross of Christ with His mother Mary, watching Jesus die.

Jesus died as our Passover Lamb, the Lamb without spot or blemish. Jesus came to this earth to be “the Savior of His people” (Luke 2:11). He died at the end of the Passover as our Passover

1 Corinthians 5:7 (NLT) … CHRIST, OUR PASSOVER LAMB, has been sacrificed for us.

When the Angel of the Lord rolled the stone away, He broke the seal of the Law on that tomb. Christ Jesus paid for our sins. Jesus died for me. And those who receive His Promise:

John 3:14-18 (KJV) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: [15] That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. [16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Matthew 28:2 (KJV)… the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and ROLLED BACK THE STONE FROM THE DOOR, AND SAT UPON IT.

The Angel of the Lord rolled back the Stone and SAT upon it.
The Holy Spirit of God rolls back the stone of unbelief and sits on it.
The Angel of the Lord rolled back the Stone to give us access to Jesus.
The Holy Spirit of God rolls back the stone of unbelief so we see Jesus.

Matthew 28:3-4 (KJV)… His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: [4] And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

This Angel came from God’s Throne room. As the Holy Power of God shined through this Angel his countenance (appearance) was like lightening, his clothing white as snow. As this representative of God SAT in front of these mortals …

The unbelieving guard shook, and became like dead men. If Christ is not yours and you are not His one day you will stand not before an Angel, but before GOD ALMIGHTY HIMSELF. On that day you along with all unbelievers will cry out:

Revelation 20:11 (KJV)11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

And run, but there will be no place to hide. The Angel says not a word to these unbelievers. They become like dead men, but there is no comfort for them. They rejected Christ. Death and hell await those who reject Christ. The Angel barely glances at them, but then we read:

Matthew 28:5 (KJV) And the angel answered and said unto the women, FEAR NOT YE: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

Do not fear” you who seek Jesus. There is no fear for those who are His. Christ knows and loves His sheep, and His sheep know and love Him. We need not fear the Angels. The Angels are our guardians while we love Jesus. The Angels are our protectors. The Angels know we seek Jesus Who was crucified. Jesus killed death and sin the day He died.

Matthew 28:7-8 (KJV) He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. [7] And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead

Do not fear. Jesus has risen, just as He said. Tell others. Go tell His disciples He is risen from the dead. Go rejoicing. Jesus has defeated death. Jesus has defeated sin. Jesus is alive forevermore. And we who believe in Him will live with Him …

Forevermore!

May God lead you to trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior this very day!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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