Stewards of His Body

20/01/2019 16:13

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Date: 14 January, 2019
Text: Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19
Title: STEWARDS of the Body of Christ
Theme:
Proposition:
Rhetorical:
Introduction:
 
This morning we are going to look at a man who was instrumental in caring for the body of Christ after Jesus exited his earthly tabernacle. His name is Joseph of Arimathaea. 
 
As I reflected on the death of the Lord in studying for this message, I thought "Putting Jesus on the cross was easier than getting him off." The living Lord would have helped those who were crucifying him in ways in which his dead body could not.
 
Mat 5:39  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
 
exp. I picture him with loving gaze putting his hand on the beam as you or I would offer our arm to the nurse for a jab. His look one of pity and forgiveness for the soldier who drove the nail through his flesh.
 
ill. Luke 23:32  And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
33  And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
 
 exp. On that cross rather than preaching damnation to the multitude he rejoiced in His innocent death for their salvation.
Isa 53:11  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
 
exp. There is a point where Jesus fulfilled everything God's law required in prophecy as well as in satisfying the wrath of God.
John 19:28  After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
 
 now: Jesus is departed. What is left is just his earthly tabernacle. Although the body is referred to as "Jesus" and "him" it will also be referred to in our text as "the body" and "it."
 
The care of that precious body is no longer under the stewardship of Jesus. It is passed into the hands of another STEWARD who will carry it where it could not otherwise go and care for it as it otherwise could not do.
 
My message this morning is FULFILLING OUR STEWARDSHIP TO THE BODY OF CHRIST.
 
A steward is a servant who is given a charge by His master to fulfill for Him. 
ill. Joseph of Armathea had an awesome stewardship which he shared with one other earthly man. No other people would minister to the body of Jesus because it would be occupied again by Jesus at His resurrection.
 
Jesus earthly body is gone - that stewardship has past. But, His spiritual body remains....
1Co 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
exp. We have a stewardship to this body.
Ephesians 4:10  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
 
We need to care for the body of Christ! How are you caring for our Lord's body?
Texts - We'll use all the Gospel accounts this morning. We'll also jump around in the text.
 
Matthew 27
50  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost....
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
exp. He is going to fulfill His stewardship of the body of Jesus - will you do the same?
 
To fulfil our stewardship to his body....
 
I. We must identify ourselves with his body.
Matthew 17:58  He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
John 19:38  And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
John 19:39  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
question: Why were these men afraid? They were both members of the Sandhedrin the ruling body of the Jews made up of 70 men. The Sanhedrin met were the ones who hated Jesus and put him to death.
1. To identify with Jesus was to lose face in the eyes of their brethren.
exp. I wonder how many in our community want to come to our church but are too afraid because of what the church of Scotland thinks or what others in the community think. YOU CAN'T CARE FOR HIS BODY AND BE AFRAID OF MEN.
ill. The Church of Scotland - national church - has thrown Jesus to the dogs. They have treated Him and His Word with contempt. They no longer preach the Gospel for which He died. But, to turn from their POPULAR false teaching would be to risk ostracism and to lose friends.
exp. Joseph and Nicodemus faced the same decision which took them quite some time to face. It was only when they were confronted WITH THE CRUCIFIED LORD that they became willing to GIVE UP ALL AND IDENTIFY WITH HIM.
Pro 29:25  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
 app. Are you struggling to fully identify with Jesus? Don't let the fear of man keep you away from His body. He was crucified for you.
2. To identify with Jesus was to risk the same fate of Jesus.
exp. The persecution of Jesus body was evident. They were going to take the bloodied body of the Lord off of the cross. The 12 apostles plus the apostle Paul, Stephen and many others would beging to die because of their identification with his body. 
 ill. China in the last few years has upped their persecution against the church. They are rewriting the Bible for the church and seeking to take the place of God in the eyes of their people. Many Chinese believers are being persecuted.
 note: Christianity is under attack in Britain. Police are calling Christians biggots because they believe the Bible and agree with God instead of men.
app. Believer are you willing to risk the same fate as Jesus? They mocked and hated him. Will you identify with His body? (You can't be a steward of His body if you are unwilling to identify with him.)
 
II. We must walk worthy of His body.
Col 1:10  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
1Th 2:12  That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
A. Joseph had integrity.
Mark 15:43  Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, 
exp. The Sanhedrin was corrupt, but Joseph was not. Like Noah he was a righteous man in the midst of unrighteous men.
B. Joseph was living for eternity.
....which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
exp. Joseph believed the Bible and was looking forward in faith to the coming of God's kingdom.
C. Joseph had his light burning.
Luke 23:50  And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: 
exp. Jesus said goodness is the light men need to see. Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
D. Joseph didn't agree with the enemy of God.
Luke 23:50b (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;)
 exp. In our day when the churches of our lands have bowed down to political correctness and the will of the ungodly, how refreshing it is to find men who stand up to the ungodliness. THE VAST MAJORITY IN OUR DAY HAVE VOTED TO CONDEMN THE CHRIST AND BLASPHEME GOD'S WORD.
app. If you want to care for his body, you need integrity, you need to live for eternity, you need your light burning, you need to agree with God and not consent to the enemy!
 
III. We must receive His body.
Matthew 17:59  And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
Mark 15:45  And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
Luke 23:52  This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
53  And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen,
John 19: 40  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
exp. This is a very precious account. They were given the authority to take the body by Pilate. But, they with their own hands had to go to the cross and take the crucified Lord to themselves.
 question: simple question - How could they care for the body of Christ if they had never gone to Calvary and taken His body unto themselves?
 exp. They didn't go to the synagogue to get Jesus? They didn't go through the ceremonial cleansing for Jesus? They didn't do good works? They just went to the cross.
app. Friend, have you gone to the cross to get Jesus? God has given you the authority to do so. 
John 1:10  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
If you have never taken Him unto yourself, you can not care for the body of Christ - BECAUSE YOU DO NOT POSSESS IT OR HIM. Go to the cross and get Jesus!
 
IV. We must give our best for His body.
A. Joseph gave his best.
Matthew 17:60  And laid it in his own new tomb, 
Luke 23:53 ....and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
John 19:41  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
B. Nicodemus gave his best.
John 19:39  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
exp. You may say, but these were rich men. They could afford to give such nice things to the Lord. I have nothing of value to offer Him. Mark 12:41  And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43  And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44  For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
note: What pleases God more than things today is that you give Him your life.
2 Corinthians 8:1  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
2  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
4  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
5  And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
app. How have you given your best for the body of Christ? What treasure have you made available? He is worthy of your best! Is Jesus cast aside in a shallow grave because you are not willing to offer him your own new tomb? Is he covered in filth, because you are not willing to give him linen cloths and spices?
 
V. We must care for His body.
 exp. I don't think that Joseph and Nicodemus stopped to think about what caring for the body of Jesus would cost them. They had seen him give His all unto death for them. What they would give in return would be insignificant.
A. They gave some time.
John 19:42  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
B. They gave some work.
Matthew 17: 60b ....which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
C. They gave some thought.
Mark 15:46  And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.
John 19:40  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
app. Have you given more in your care for Jesus than He has given to you? Have you tried to do so? Is time, work or thought to great an effort? Do you care for the body of Christ? Have you considered what He gave for you and decided to do your best to do something for Him?
Paul - 1 Corinthians15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
 
conclusion: What would have happened to the body of Jesus if Joseph and Nicodemus had failed in their God given stewardship of His body?
 
What will happen to the body of Christ (spiritually) if we fail in our stewardship?
 
1.) We must identify ourselves with his body! (No doubt his body suffers greatly here.)
 
2.) We must walk worthy of His body! (How the world mocks the body of Jesus when it is represented by those who are unworthy!)
 
3.) We must receive His body. (No one is a caring for His body who has never gone to the cross.)
 
4.) We must give our best for His body. (Like Ananias and Saphira - God knows what we are holding back.)
 

Date: 14 January, 2019

Text: Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19

Title: STEWARDS of the Body of Christ

 

Introduction:

This morning we are going to look at a man who was instrumental in caring for the body of Christ after Jesus exited his earthly tabernacle. His name is Joseph of Arimathaea. 

 

As I reflected on the death of the Lord in studying for this message, I thought "Putting Jesus on the cross was easier than getting him off." The living Lord would have helped those who were crucifying him in ways in which his dead body could not.

 

Mat 5:39  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

 

exp. I picture him with loving gaze putting his hand on the beam as you or I would offer our arm to the nurse for a jab. His look one of pity and forgiveness for the soldier who drove the nail through his flesh.

 

ill. Luke 23:32  And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.

33  And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

 

 exp. On that cross rather than preaching damnation to the multitude he rejoiced in His innocent death for their salvation.

Isa 53:11  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

 

exp. There is a point where Jesus fulfilled everything God's law required in prophecy as well as in satisfying the wrath of God.

John 19:28  After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

 

 now: Jesus is departed. What is left is just his earthly tabernacle. Although the body is referred to as "Jesus" and "him" it will also be referred to in our text as "the body" and "it."

 

The care of that precious body is no longer under the stewardship of Jesus. It is passed into the hands of another STEWARD who will carry it where it could not otherwise go and care for it as it otherwise could not do.

 

My message this morning is FULFILLING OUR STEWARDSHIP TO THE BODY OF CHRIST.

 

A steward is a servant who is given a charge by His master to fulfill for Him. 

ill. Joseph of Armathea had an awesome stewardship which he shared with one other earthly man. No other people would minister to the body of Jesus because it would be occupied again by Jesus at His resurrection.

 

Jesus earthly body is gone - that stewardship has past. But, His spiritual body remains....

1Co 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

exp. We have a stewardship to this body.

Ephesians 4:10  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

 

We need to care for the body of Christ! How are you caring for our Lord's body?

Texts - We'll use all the Gospel accounts this morning. We'll also jump around in the text.

 

Matthew 27

50  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost....

57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:

exp. He is going to fulfill His stewardship of the body of Jesus - will you do the same?

 

To fulfil our stewardship to his body....

 

I. We must identify ourselves with his body.

Matthew 17:58  He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.

John 19:38  And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

John 19:39  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

question: Why were these men afraid? They were both members of the Sandhedrin the ruling body of the Jews made up of 70 men. The Sanhedrin met were the ones who hated Jesus and put him to death.

1. To identify with Jesus was to lose face in the eyes of their brethren.

exp. I wonder how many in our community want to come to our church but are too afraid because of what the church of Scotland thinks or what others in the community think. YOU CAN'T CARE FOR HIS BODY AND BE AFRAID OF MEN.

ill. The Church of Scotland - national church - has thrown Jesus to the dogs. They have treated Him and His Word with contempt. They no longer preach the Gospel for which He died. But, to turn from their POPULAR false teaching would be to risk ostracism and to lose friends.

exp. Joseph and Nicodemus faced the same decision which took them quite some time to face. It was only when they were confronted WITH THE CRUCIFIED LORD that they became willing to GIVE UP ALL AND IDENTIFY WITH HIM.

Pro 29:25  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

 app. Are you struggling to fully identify with Jesus? Don't let the fear of man keep you away from His body. He was crucified for you.

2. To identify with Jesus was to risk the same fate of Jesus.

exp. The persecution of Jesus body was evident. They were going to take the bloodied body of the Lord off of the cross. The 12 apostles plus the apostle Paul, Stephen and many others would beging to die because of their identification with his body. 

 ill. China in the last few years has upped their persecution against the church. They are rewriting the Bible for the church and seeking to take the place of God in the eyes of their people. Many Chinese believers are being persecuted.

 note: Christianity is under attack in Britain. Police are calling Christians biggots because they believe the Bible and agree with God instead of men.

app. Believer are you willing to risk the same fate as Jesus? They mocked and hated him. Will you identify with His body? (You can't be a steward of His body if you are unwilling to identify with him.)

 

II. We must walk worthy of His body.

Col 1:10  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

1Th 2:12  That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

A. Joseph had integrity.

Mark 15:43  Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, 

exp. The Sanhedrin was corrupt, but Joseph was not. Like Noah he was a righteous man in the midst of unrighteous men.

B. Joseph was living for eternity.

....which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

exp. Joseph believed the Bible and was looking forward in faith to the coming of God's kingdom.

C. Joseph had his light burning.

Luke 23:50  And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: 

exp. Jesus said goodness is the light men need to see. Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

D. Joseph didn't agree with the enemy of God.

Luke 23:50b (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;)

 exp. In our day when the churches of our lands have bowed down to political correctness and the will of the ungodly, how refreshing it is to find men who stand up to the ungodliness. THE VAST MAJORITY IN OUR DAY HAVE VOTED TO CONDEMN THE CHRIST AND BLASPHEME GOD'S WORD.

app. If you want to care for his body, you need integrity, you need to live for eternity, you need your light burning, you need to agree with God and not consent to the enemy!

 

III. We must receive His body.

Matthew 17:59  And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

Mark 15:45  And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

Luke 23:52  This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.

53  And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen,

John 19: 40  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

exp. This is a very precious account. They were given the authority to take the body by Pilate. But, they with their own hands had to go to the cross and take the crucified Lord to themselves.

 question: simple question - How could they care for the body of Christ if they had never gone to Calvary and taken His body unto themselves?

 exp. They didn't go to the synagogue to get Jesus? They didn't go through the ceremonial cleansing for Jesus? They didn't do good works? They just went to the cross.

app. Friend, have you gone to the cross to get Jesus? God has given you the authority to do so. 

John 1:10  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

If you have never taken Him unto yourself, you can not care for the body of Christ - BECAUSE YOU DO NOT POSSESS IT OR HIM. Go to the cross and get Jesus!

 

IV. We must give our best for His body.

A. Joseph gave his best.

Matthew 17:60  And laid it in his own new tomb, 

Luke 23:53 ....and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.

John 19:41  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

42  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

B. Nicodemus gave his best.

John 19:39  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

exp. You may say, but these were rich men. They could afford to give such nice things to the Lord. I have nothing of value to offer Him. Mark 12:41  And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

42  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

43  And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

44  For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

note: What pleases God more than things today is that you give Him your life.

2 Corinthians 8:1  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

2  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

3  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

4  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

5  And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

app. How have you given your best for the body of Christ? What treasure have you made available? He is worthy of your best! Is Jesus cast aside in a shallow grave because you are not willing to offer him your own new tomb? Is he covered in filth, because you are not willing to give him linen cloths and spices?

 

V. We must care for His body.

 exp. I don't think that Joseph and Nicodemus stopped to think about what caring for the body of Jesus would cost them. They had seen him give His all unto death for them. What they would give in return would be insignificant.

A. They gave some time.

John 19:42  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

B. They gave some work.

Matthew 17: 60b ....which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

C. They gave some thought.

Mark 15:46  And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.

John 19:40  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

app. Have you given more in your care for Jesus than He has given to you? Have you tried to do so? Is time, work or thought to great an effort? Do you care for the body of Christ? Have you considered what He gave for you and decided to do your best to do something for Him?

Paul - 1 Corinthians15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

 

conclusion: What would have happened to the body of Jesus if Joseph and Nicodemus had failed in their God given stewardship of His body?

 

What will happen to the body of Christ (spiritually) if we fail in our stewardship?

 

1.) We must identify ourselves with his body! (No doubt his body suffers greatly here.)

 

2.) We must walk worthy of His body! (How the world mocks the body of Jesus when it is represented by those who are unworthy!)

 

3.) We must receive His body. (No one is a caring for His body who has never gone to the cross.)

 

4.) We must give our best for His body. (Like Ananias and Saphira - God knows what we are holding back.)

 

 

5.) We must care for his body. (Do you consider the cost? time, effort, thought,.... or do you just love giving back to Jesus what He gave so willingly for you?)

5.) We must care for his body. (Do you consider the cost? time, effort, thought,.... or do you just love giving back to Jesus what He gave so willingly for you?) Date: 14 January, 2019
Text: Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19
Title: STEWARDS of the Body of Christ
Theme:
Proposition:
Rhetorical:
Introduction:
 
This morning we are going to look at a man who was instrumental in caring for the body of Christ after Jesus exited his earthly tabernacle. His name is Joseph of Arimathaea. 
 
As I reflected on the death of the Lord in studying for this message, I thought "Putting Jesus on the cross was easier than getting him off." The living Lord would have helped those who were crucifying him in ways in which his dead body could not.
 
Mat 5:39  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
 
exp. I picture him with loving gaze putting his hand on the beam as you or I would offer our arm to the nurse for a jab. His look one of pity and forgiveness for the soldier who drove the nail through his flesh.
 
ill. Luke 23:32  And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
33  And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
 
 exp. On that cross rather than preaching damnation to the multitude he rejoiced in His innocent death for their salvation.
Isa 53:11  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
 
exp. There is a point where Jesus fulfilled everything God's law required in prophecy as well as in satisfying the wrath of God.
John 19:28  After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
 
 now: Jesus is departed. What is left is just his earthly tabernacle. Although the body is referred to as "Jesus" and "him" it will also be referred to in our text as "the body" and "it."
 
The care of that precious body is no longer under the stewardship of Jesus. It is passed into the hands of another STEWARD who will carry it where it could not otherwise go and care for it as it otherwise could not do.
 
My message this morning is FULFILLING OUR STEWARDSHIP TO THE BODY OF CHRIST.
 
A steward is a servant who is given a charge by His master to fulfill for Him. 
ill. Joseph of Armathea had an awesome stewardship which he shared with one other earthly man. No other people would minister to the body of Jesus because it would be occupied again by Jesus at His resurrection.
 
Jesus earthly body is gone - that stewardship has past. But, His spiritual body remains....
1Co 12:27  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
exp. We have a stewardship to this body.
Ephesians 4:10  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
 
We need to care for the body of Christ! How are you caring for our Lord's body?
Texts - We'll use all the Gospel accounts this morning. We'll also jump around in the text.
 
Matthew 27
50  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost....
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
exp. He is going to fulfill His stewardship of the body of Jesus - will you do the same?
 
To fulfil our stewardship to his body....
 
I. We must identify ourselves with his body.
Matthew 17:58  He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
John 19:38  And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
John 19:39  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
question: Why were these men afraid? They were both members of the Sandhedrin the ruling body of the Jews made up of 70 men. The Sanhedrin met were the ones who hated Jesus and put him to death.
1. To identify with Jesus was to lose face in the eyes of their brethren.
exp. I wonder how many in our community want to come to our church but are too afraid because of what the church of Scotland thinks or what others in the community think. YOU CAN'T CARE FOR HIS BODY AND BE AFRAID OF MEN.
ill. The Church of Scotland - national church - has thrown Jesus to the dogs. They have treated Him and His Word with contempt. They no longer preach the Gospel for which He died. But, to turn from their POPULAR false teaching would be to risk ostracism and to lose friends.
exp. Joseph and Nicodemus faced the same decision which took them quite some time to face. It was only when they were confronted WITH THE CRUCIFIED LORD that they became willing to GIVE UP ALL AND IDENTIFY WITH HIM.
Pro 29:25  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
 app. Are you struggling to fully identify with Jesus? Don't let the fear of man keep you away from His body. He was crucified for you.
2. To identify with Jesus was to risk the same fate of Jesus.
exp. The persecution of Jesus body was evident. They were going to take the bloodied body of the Lord off of the cross. The 12 apostles plus the apostle Paul, Stephen and many others would beging to die because of their identification with his body. 
 ill. China in the last few years has upped their persecution against the church. They are rewriting the Bible for the church and seeking to take the place of God in the eyes of their people. Many Chinese believers are being persecuted.
 note: Christianity is under attack in Britain. Police are calling Christians biggots because they believe the Bible and agree with God instead of men.
app. Believer are you willing to risk the same fate as Jesus? They mocked and hated him. Will you identify with His body? (You can't be a steward of His body if you are unwilling to identify with him.)
 
II. We must walk worthy of His body.
Col 1:10  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
1Th 2:12  That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
A. Joseph had integrity.
Mark 15:43  Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, 
exp. The Sanhedrin was corrupt, but Joseph was not. Like Noah he was a righteous man in the midst of unrighteous men.
B. Joseph was living for eternity.
....which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
exp. Joseph believed the Bible and was looking forward in faith to the coming of God's kingdom.
C. Joseph had his light burning.
Luke 23:50  And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: 
exp. Jesus said goodness is the light men need to see. Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
D. Joseph didn't agree with the enemy of God.
Luke 23:50b (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;)
 exp. In our day when the churches of our lands have bowed down to political correctness and the will of the ungodly, how refreshing it is to find men who stand up to the ungodliness. THE VAST MAJORITY IN OUR DAY HAVE VOTED TO CONDEMN THE CHRIST AND BLASPHEME GOD'S WORD.
app. If you want to care for his body, you need integrity, you need to live for eternity, you need your light burning, you need to agree with God and not consent to the enemy!
 
III. We must receive His body.
Matthew 17:59  And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
Mark 15:45  And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
Luke 23:52  This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
53  And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen,
John 19: 40  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
exp. This is a very precious account. They were given the authority to take the body by Pilate. But, they with their own hands had to go to the cross and take the crucified Lord to themselves.
 question: simple question - How could they care for the body of Christ if they had never gone to Calvary and taken His body unto themselves?
 exp. They didn't go to the synagogue to get Jesus? They didn't go through the ceremonial cleansing for Jesus? They didn't do good works? They just went to the cross.
app. Friend, have you gone to the cross to get Jesus? God has given you the authority to do so. 
John 1:10  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
If you have never taken Him unto yourself, you can not care for the body of Christ - BECAUSE YOU DO NOT POSSESS IT OR HIM. Go to the cross and get Jesus!
 
IV. We must give our best for His body.
A. Joseph gave his best.
Matthew 17:60  And laid it in his own new tomb, 
Luke 23:53 ....and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
John 19:41  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
B. Nicodemus gave his best.
John 19:39  And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
exp. You may say, but these were rich men. They could afford to give such nice things to the Lord. I have nothing of value to offer Him. Mark 12:41  And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43  And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44  For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
note: What pleases God more than things today is that you give Him your life.
2 Corinthians 8:1  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
2  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
4  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
5  And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
app. How have you given your best for the body of Christ? What treasure have you made available? He is worthy of your best! Is Jesus cast aside in a shallow grave because you are not willing to offer him your own new tomb? Is he covered in filth, because you are not willing to give him linen cloths and spices?
 
V. We must care for His body.
 exp. I don't think that Joseph and Nicodemus stopped to think about what caring for the body of Jesus would cost them. They had seen him give His all unto death for them. What they would give in return would be insignificant.
A. They gave some time.
John 19:42  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
B. They gave some work.
Matthew 17: 60b ....which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
C. They gave some thought.
Mark 15:46  And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.
John 19:40  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
app. Have you given more in your care for Jesus than He has given to you? Have you tried to do so? Is time, work or thought to great an effort? Do you care for the body of Christ? Have you considered what He gave for you and decided to do your best to do something for Him?
Paul - 1 Corinthians15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
 
conclusion: What would have happened to the body of Jesus if Joseph and Nicodemus had failed in their God given stewardship of His body?
 
What will happen to the body of Christ (spiritually) if we fail in our stewardship?
 
1.) We must identify ourselves with his body! (No doubt his body suffers greatly here.)
 
2.) We must walk worthy of His body! (How the world mocks the body of Jesus when it is represented by those who are unworthy!)
 
3.) We must receive His body. (No one is a caring for His body who has never gone to the cross.)
 
4.) We must give our best for His body. (Like Ananias and Saphira - God knows what we are holding back.)
 
5.) We must care for his body. (Do you consider the cost? time, effort, thought,.... or do you just love giving back to Jesus what He gave so willingly for you?)