Tom Vincent (from South Africa) - Yellowsprings, Ohio Convention - Sunday Morning, August 19, 2001

Hymn  317, "Sweet is the Rest"

Genesis 2:2, “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.” Luke 24:1, "Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them." The seventh day in the Old Testament, and the first day in the New Testament.  It says God rested on the 7th day from all His work, which He had made.  God wasn't tired.  God was satisfied and He could rest in satisfaction because God made all things perfect.  And God made man perfect but man has sought out many inventions.  God was content. He lived contented.  In the Old Testament the power God had to create is commemorated on the 7th day, on the Sabbath, the power to create. In the New Testament we commemorate on the first day of the week Gods power to raise the dead.

These women came on the first day of the week. They wanted to anoint the body of Jesus.  And they garments and they said to them, "Why seek Him that liveth among those that are dead? He is not here, He is risen”.  The risen Lord--the resurrection on the first day of the week. And we commemorate that on a day like this. And it's wonderful the provision of God that we can start the week with God - to begin it. We concluded yesterday and now we start the day. We start in worship. We start in admiration of God and of His Son.  And we start everything clean, refreshed and restored and reassured that we are part of the flock and we are counted in, and we can go forth from here knowing that we are a part of this that God created from the beginning - that God made from the start. In John 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." Now we find more than God involved in the creation--His Son.  Let us make man in our image, and we have Jesus and He was the One that was not found in the grave--He was not found among the dead, and we will never find Him there.  We find Him among the living, and this is a living fellowship  - this is an eternal fellowship.  And the advocate of our worship we must try and develop it into an advocate that will be eternal. That it will be perpetuated by ourselves with a plain intensity when you're on the other side of the grave. Admitted to our eternal home - that we are more and more involved--get woven in more intricately into the center of what is eternal.

Now the resurrection from the dead in I Peter 3:18-22,
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit; By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days Noah, wile the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is eight souls were saved by water.  The like figure where unto even baptism doth also now save us (not putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him." Yesterday as I witnessed the baptism, those works came into my mind and I couldn't recall as they are written here.  It says God waited in the days of Noah wile the ark was being prepared wherein 8 souls were saved by water. And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves us. Before the flood Noah was a preacher of righteousness. And the ark kept him occupied and busy for a hundred years.  But Noah wasn't baptized but now a symbol the waters of the flood. And he comes through the waters of the flood and he comes out of the ark a resurrected man and his family. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The symbol of death--the symbol of rising again in the newness of life. And we commemorate it on the first day of the week.  It would be a wonderful dawning that morning - that day when Noah stepped out of the ark and the whole world would be in its entirety fresh and new. And God has provided that for His children in the Spirit. Each day of the week we can start fresh and new - that we can begin in this manner.

Now it says Christ suffered.  I'm a little reluctant to speak again about something that God has placed upon my heart.  But it is better if the will of God be so than for evil doing.  For Christ once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. What those women saw that day was a resurrected Christ.  Was the Christ in a body, as we heard last evening that had no pain, no suffering?  A body that could be conveying to be with these disciples and certain ones as “the One” who had fellowship with them, before the crucifixion. But, He had the marks in the particular body that He appeared in making Himself known to the disciples and others. Paul wrote to the Corinthians and tells them they are weak - weak in the church, and weak in the faith. If you partake of the bread and the cup unworthily - because you didn't examine your own body as you should, and you don't consider it as you should.

Now there were two very definite sufferings on the cross. We were hearing of them already this morning--of the suffering in the flesh and the suffering in the Spirit. And we know the one He suffered in the Spirit was the worst one - most agonizing.  But the one we are really aware of the suffering that Christ had to go through at the hands of these cruel people and the chief priests, the high priest.  And those people cried crucify Him. Those people had a complete and good understanding of crucifixion. In history we understand that it was 600 years prior to this crucifixion of Christ...the punishment or crucifixion or form of torture practiced 600 years prior to Christ, and it continued for 400 years after the death of Christ. A period of a thousand years crucifixion was commonly known. Even little children, they understood what crucifixion was.  And that is the record left.  We have no detail of what crucifixion really is. It says in the book of John, they scourged Him and crucified Him - attention is given to the result and the effect. Pilate was of two minds - he didn't know what to do.  He washed his hands on one occasion.  He wanted to exercise himself on these involvements. He was persistent and insistent - from the Jews, they wanted him crucified. There was a fear and the reason was they said that Jesus should be whipped. Pilate said, "Why?"  He really hoped that the Jews would be moved to just relent, to just forget about the crucifixion.  The decree itself was a terrible thing.  It was a decree of the Romans.  It was a decree to be executed as a result of a verdict by the Romans under Caesar. Remember what the apostle Paul said,
“Five times I was beaten with forty stripes save one” - that was 39 stripes.  That was according to the Jewish law, but this was something different - the Lord was on trial in front of Pilate and Herod and Caesar was their chief ruler.  The centurion and other soldiers, they witnessed and executed the sentence.  The victim is taken and tied to a big pillar - he is naked and he faces toward the stone pillar and his hands are wrapped around this pillar and tied together. Then, he is whipped.  There is one person on the right side and one on the left behind him - they take turns to whip the victim. The scourge--a whip with three thongs, of ox hide and other hide.  They took pride in the first stripe below the neck and the next immediately beneath--all the way down the back to the calves of the legs.  When they completed, you could not put a finger between the stripes - it is worse than a burn and the victim is close to death.  After this, they put His clothes on Him and delivered Him to be crucified...delivered Him to Jews and Romans.   They took His clothes off and they would be sticking to His back and the bleeding starts again.  They put a robe on Him and platted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they mocked Him and spit on Him and took the reed and smote Him on the head. His head is bleeding.  They spit on Him and slapped Him - insult, no human dignity, every bit to destroy, but they could not, He is the Son of God. The chief priests and officers saying, “Crucify Him because He made Himself to be the Son of God.” Then they take off the robe and put His clothes on Him and He is to carry the cross, but He is very weak. The centurion at the crucifixion said, "He must not die along the way."  Some one carried the cross, and when they got there they gave Him vinegar with gall to drink.  They laid the cross down and laid Jesus on it to nail Him to the cross.  They put a nail through each hand where it was strong enough to hold Him - close to the wrist, the center of nerves - the most painful place.  If you have ever had a bad sprained wrist then you would know how painful - but it was the strongest place to hang on till they die.  Did the same with feet, and then lifted up the cross and put it in the hole dug for it.  I don't know how high it was. It would increase the agony of the spectator and the victim.  Now He is suspended and He is hanging and the weight on feet. It is impossible to exhale; only inhale; cannot breathe out in that condition.  And as a result any time He would speak, He would be forced to push himself up with nails through feet, and pull up with hands and the Lord exhaled, He said "Father forgive them for they don't know what they do."  It would have been at a great cost and with tremendous love.  And now the weak body and His aim was wanting to do Gods will.  The cross is a rugged cross and when pushing up the bleeding - the profuse bleeding and fall back again.  He would push up again and He said to His mother, "Woman behold thy Son!" And then He said to John,  "Behold thy mother!"  On land those mocking would yell, "If you be the Christ, save Thyself and come down from the cross."  What would you do?  Jesus knew He could pray to His Father and He would give Him more than twelve legions of angels--all heaven behind Him. Would it not be to wipe out those people? Jesus did not show that spirit.  He knew the Scriptures could not be fulfilled if He did this. They had no mercy and the high priest knew and witnessing, and the people witness, and mother and disciples, they were seeing.  Then the darkness from the sixth hour to the ninth.  A darkness for three hours. The third to the sixth hour is the height of lighting of the sun, but this a darkness we can never imagine.  A darkness that was on the face of the earth when God created the earth.  A day and a night - singular--on first Day, not days and nights.  He said, "Let there be light," and God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night. 

Genesis 1:4-5, this Day and Night with capital letter.  And then verse 16,
“God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.  To rule over the day and over the night, and divide the light from darkness. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” The moon and stars. The first day darkness - sin, absence of God.  Then He said, "Let there be light,"--dispel night and there was light.  On the cross came the darkness and that prevailed as when earth dark and void.  There were no witnesses of what took place in those three hours.  God turned His face away - sin committed and Christ taking the sins of the whole world.  Darkness not lack of sun but the darkness of sin.  The devil tempted Jesus for a season - and now the devil tormenting the Savior on the cross and His body is weak, having to struggle and winning because He is concerned for our destiny.  He is considering you and me, that is why He would not get off the cross--such a tremendous love. He is fighting to overcome the evil one--pushing His body up and the agony and cries,  "My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me?"  But He came up the warrior - He got victory by the tree and He overcame the power of sin.  We can rely on Him, and our defense the death and blood. When it is our human weakness, we can look to the One who overcome and gained the victory.

What these women saw was a body with no pain.  The angels moved the stone and He raised from the tomb that you and I can live.  The first day of resurrection and the women going to those that were having fellowship, quietness - and did not understand.  Here come the women with spices--and smell on them.  "He is not dead, He is living."  It sounded like an idle tale, but it is moving them to do something.  And it was so - Christ was alive. The agony of His eternal existence and God took from the grave and presented alive.  Reminded of more - He is coming back again. They ask Him, "Lord will You at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"  He said,
"It is not for you to know the times or the season, which the Father hath put in His own power.”  The Holy Spirit came on them and they could celebrate and commemorate the resurrection they had witnessed and seen but could not do anything about it.  The Holy Ghost--example and gospel in their hearts.  The commandment, “Go you out in all the world in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”  Wonderful promise and we being able to share in that baptism - risen newness in Christ.  No more suffering - He did that to redeem you and me. I want to be grateful and examine myself and be certain that I understand that I could not do - we would have come off the cross.  And we want to respect, honor, and keep a true leader - Jesus and God.  We understand that He is the One that sits on the throne and pleads for you and me.  He understands the human body and we go astray and susceptible to sin.  He knows and understands and He is there.