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THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

April 22, 2014

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THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST – Every saint’s great “hope is in the resurrection of the dead!” (Acts 23:6note). When Socrates lay dying, he was asked “Shall we live again,” to which he replied “I hope so!” Ours is not a dead hope but “A LIVING HOPE” (1Pe 1:3note), not a “hope so,” but a “hope sure!” The Egyptian belief in a resurrection from the dead led them to call the mummy case the “chest of the living” and to place a scarab beetle in the corpse’s heart. Why? Because they knew the scarab’s larva buried itself in the earth and later emerged as a mature insect which to them symbolized “resurrection.” Socrates and the Egyptians held a false hope, but Sir Walter Raleigh held fast to a sure hope which served as an anchor for his soul (Heb 6:19note) and prompted him to write the following words in his Bible the night before he was beheaded: “From this earth, this grave, this dust, my God shall raise me up!” Hallelujah! Martha also believed in the hope of the resurrection, but Jesus moved her from the doctrinal to the personal when He declared “I AM the RESURRECTION and the LIFE. He who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” (Jn 11:25note) The resurrection is not an “IT” but an “I”, but too often we stop at “IT.” Jesus said “Because I live, you shall live also.” (Jn 14:19note) The resurrection of believers is guaranteed by Christ’s own resurrection. We can rest assured that one day soon, He will “transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory” (Php 3:21note). When we take our last breath and leave our loved ones, we can be comforted by the certainty that our grave is but a gateway to His glory (1Th 4:1813-17note). For believers death is not a period, but only a comma! David believed this truth writing “I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake.” (Ps 17:15note, cf Ps 49:15note) Job believed this truth declaring “Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:26note) Indeed, we shall SEE GOD! “Christ shall be the object of our eternal vision and we shall we never want any joy beyond that of seeing Him. Think not that this will be a narrow sphere for the mind to dwell in. It is but one Source of delight, but that Source is infinite. All His attributes shall be subjects for contemplation, and as He is infinite under each aspect, there is no fear of exhaustion. His works, His gifts, His love to us, and His glory in all His purposes, and in all His actions, these shall make an eternal theme which will be ever new.” (Spurgeon) Therefore let us even now “since we have been RAISED UP WITH CHRIST (speaking of our present spiritual resurrection, Ro 6:4noteEph 2:6noteCol 2:12note), keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Let us set our mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth, for we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God and when Christ our life, is revealed, then we also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Col 3:1-4note) “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.” (1Jn 3:2note) SELAH! (Pause and ponder and sing…) “Up from the grave He arose, With a mighty triumph o’er His foes, He arose a Victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!”

As Spurgeon says “The RESURRECTION of Christ is a fact better attested than any event recorded in history!” (cf >500 eye witnesses 1Cor 15:6note) “Christianity is in its very essence a RESURRECTION religion. The concept of the RESURRECTION lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.” (John Stott) “The RESURRECTION of Jesus is the Gibraltar of the Christian faith and the Waterloo of infidelity and rationalism.” (R A Torrey) Contrary to the opinion of the skeptics, the New Testament proclaims a Christ Who once was dead and is now alive, not a Christ Who was once alive and now is dead! J C Ryle rightly said that “in an age of abounding unbelief and skepticism, we shall find that the RESURRECTION of Christ will bear any weight that we can lay upon it.” In the OT on the annual Day of Atonement, if the High Priest’s offering was acceptable to God he emerged alive, but if it was unacceptable, he died behind the veil (read Heb 9:7NLTnoteEx 28:35). The coming forth of our Great High Priest (Heb 4:14noteHeb 9:11note) after making His Atonement demonstrates clearly that His offering was acceptable to the Father. The Empty Tomb is the Father’s “Amen” (2Cor 1:20KJVnote) to Son’s cry of “It is finished (Paid in Full = Tetelestai)!” (Jn 19:30note) “Everything antecedent in the incarnate life of our Lord moves towards the RESURRECTION and everything subsequent rests upon it and is conditioned by it.” (John Murray) Indeed, the “surpassing greatness of His POWER toward us who believe” is the same “RESURRECTION POWER” that brought Christ up from the grave (Eph 1:19-20) and is now operative within all those who belong to Christ (Ro 6:58-12note, cf Php 3:10-11note). The same POWER that opened Christ’s Tomb, now opens the door to abundant life (Jn 10:10bnote)! Are you experiencing abundant life? If not consider prayerfully singing this simple song to Him: “Jesus Be Jesus in Me. No longer me, but Thee. Resurrection Power, fill me this hour, Jesus be Jesus in Me.”

Spurgeon rightly says that “The whole system of Christianity rests upon the fact that “Christ is risen from the dead” (Mt 28:72Ti 2:8note) for, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain: you are still in your sins.” (1Cor 15:1417note) The Divinity of Christ finds its surest proof in His resurrection, since He was “Declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the RESURRECTION from the dead.” (Ro 1:4note) It would not be unreasonable to doubt his Deity if he had not risen. Again, our justification, that choice blessing of the covenant, is linked with Christ’s triumphant victory over death and the grave; for He “was delivered up (handed over to sinful men to be crucified) for our transgressions, and was raised for (to secure, guarantee) our justification (act of free grace by which God pardons our sin and accepts us as righteous on account of the atonement of Christ).” (Ro 4:25note) Indeed our very regeneration is connected with His RESURRECTION, for we are “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1Peter 1:3note) And most certainly our ultimate RESURRECTION rests here, for, “if (as is the case) the Spirit of Him Who (the Father) raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He (Father) Who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit Who indwells you.” (Ro 8:11note, cf Ezek 36:27note) C S Lewis said “Jesus has forced open a door that had been locked since the death of the first man (Ro 5:21note). He has met, fought and beaten the King of Death (1Cor 15:5557note). Everything is different because He has done so.” In the Revelation Jesus announced His victory declaring “I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” (Rev 1:17-18note) George Sweeting recalls that “In the early 1920’s, Nikolai Bukharin was sent from Moscow to Kiev to address a vast anti-God rally. For an hour he ridiculed the Christian faith until it seemed as if the whole structure of belief was in ruins. Questions were invited. A priest of the Orthodox church rose and asked to speak. He faced the crowd and spoke the ancient cry of victory “CHRIST IS RISEN.” Instantly the vast assembly rose to its feet, and the reply came back like a crash of breakers against a cliff, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!” And because He is risen we can sing — “I Know That My Redeemer Lives! What joy the blest assurance gives! He lives, He lives, Who once was dead; He lives, my everlasting Head!” (Samuel Medley) 

THE RESURRECTION IN THE OT – Jesus Christ’s resurrection was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. Abraham believed in the doctrine of the resurrection. As traveled to Mt Moriah to sacrifice his only begotten son, Isaac, he told the men with him to “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you.” (Ge 22:5note). How could he sacrifice Isaac and yet know they would both return? The writer of Hebrews explains that Abraham “considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received (Isaac) back as a type.” (Heb 11:19note, cf Ge 22:13-14note) Jonah illustrated the doctrine of the resurrection. After Jonah’s disobedience, “Jehovah appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17) Jesus used this OT story to illustrate His resurrection, explaining that “just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Mt 12:40) Isaiah foretold that the Resurrection of Christ would “swallow up death for all time.” (Isa 25:8note1Cor 15:54note) Isaiah again alluded to the resurrection declaring “Your dead will live. Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy.” (Isa 26:19note). The prophet Daniel affirmed the resurrection of individual believers writing that “those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake to everlasting life.” (Da 12:2note) And so “we possess the prophetic word which is altogether reliable, to which we will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star (the Second Coming of Christ) rises in our hearts.” (2Pe 1:19noteNu 24:17note cf “The Bright Morning Star”-Rev 22:16note – even some Jewish Rabbis called Messiah Bar-Kochva, Son of a Star.) And so let us sing – “Our Lord is risen from the dead, Our Jesus is gone up on high, The powers of hell are captive led, Dragged to the portals of the sky.” Amen (Charles Wesley). 

THE RESURRECTION IN THE NT – Jesus Himself taught that “it is written (in the OT), that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day.” (Lk 24:46note,  cf Lk 20:37-38note) Our Lord was referring to David’s affirmation that “You (God) will not abandon my soul to Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One (Messiah) to undergo decay.” (Ps 16:10note) Peter quotes David explaining that “he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2:31-32note, also quoted by Paul in Acts 13:35note) Spurgeon wrote “Into the outer prison of the grave His body might go, but into the inner prison of corruption He could not enter. He Who in soul and body was pre-eminently God’s “Holy One,” was loosed from the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. This is noble encouragement to all the saints; die we must, but rise we shall, and though in our case we shall see corruption, yet we shall rise to everlasting life. CHRIST’S RESURRECTION is the cause, the earnest, the guarantee, and the emblem of the rising of all His people. Let us, therefore, go to our graves as to our beds, resting our flesh among the clods as they now do upon their couches.” Christ’s EMPTY tomb guarantees our FULL salvation. “We are more sure to arise our of our graves than out of our beds” (Thomas Watson) “Since Jesus is mine, I’ll not fear undressing, But gladly put off these garments of clay; To die in the Lord is a covenant blessing, Since Jesus to glory through death led the way.”

Christ has risen from the dead and defeated death…
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58-note

Play Glorious Day

Living He loved me, Dying He saved me,
Buried He carried, My sins far away!
Rising He justified, Freely forever.
One day He’s coming. Oh glorious day! Oh glorious day!

One day the grave could hold Him no longer.
One day the stone rolled away from the door.
Then He arose over death He had conquered.
Now He’s ascended , My Lord evermore.

Death could not hold Him.
The grave could not keep Him From rising again.

Play Christ is Risen

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