Calvary Baptist Church
Food For Thought
Christ Is Alive. Hallelujah!
“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:20-26).
The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation stone of Christianity. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is that truth which, should it be removed, would cause the whole garment of our faith to unravel. The resurrection is the Cornerstone which, should it be removed, would cause the whole edifice of our salvation to topple. Indeed without the resurrection there would be no Christianity.
The resurrection was a world-changing event and is today a life-changing event that enables every individual to personally experience a new birth, in Christ Jesus, forever eliminating the fear of death. In today’s world of uncertainty it is the most hope inspiring truth available to humankind.
For centuries, the doctrine of the resurrection has been under attack and leads us to the first point of this message.
The Problem of the Resurrection For Unbelievers:
The refutation of the resurrection began immediately when the Jewish leaders began spreading the rumor about that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus from the tomb. Despite the ridiculous aspect of such a statement, they hoped to refute the resurrection story. This is known as the conspiracy theory.
One of the problems with this theory is the state of the disciples. They were filled with fear of the Sanhedrin and Roman authority. All of them, save John, had fled and were not present at the crucifixion, hardly the boldness one would expect from grave robbers. The boldest of the lot, Simon Peter, had already denied Christ three times.
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, peace be unto you” (John 20:19).
Another such idea that has gained momentum recently is with books such as Holy Blood, Holy Grail, in which it is stated that Christ merely swooned. This is known as the swoon theory. This theory presents many problems as well.
The Roman soldiers were experts at crucifixion. They had to be, for it meant their life if a capital prisoner escaped death.
John, the apostolic eye witness of the crucifixion said, “But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:33-34).
How did a man who had been horribly beaten, crucified and pierced in the side with a spear gain enough strength to roll away the heavy stone placed over His tomb?
Paul asks, “How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12)
The Proof of the Resurrection can be found in the Word of God.
The Word of God records that Jesus was resurrected just as He said He would be. “To whom He showed Himself alive, after His passion, by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3)
There is the proof of the witnesses. People who saw Him, walked with Him, give witness to the reality of the resurrection.
Paul writes “And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater portion remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that He was seen of James; then of the Apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of time.” (1 Corinthians 15:5-8).
Paul wrote boldly about the witnesses though many were still alive and could have refuted this had it not been true. After the disciples were convinced that Jesus was truly alive, they were willing to die before denying His resurrection.
There Is Proof of the Work. The very fact that Christianity exists is proof of the resurrection of Christ. Paul writes again, “And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:30-32).
If the dead rise not, why did many of these first century Christians die willingly for their faith?
Eleven of the twelve apostles (including Matthias) were martyred for their faith. John was spared death since his Lord had need of him to be transferred to the Isle of Patmos, where he received the revelation of end times to come. It is now recorded in our Bibles as The Revelation.
To die for a belief would be high price to pay, if they were perpetuating a hoax,
The Power Of The Resurrection portends for all that the power of the resurrection is the power over death, for all who believe. Thus saith God’s Word, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24).
“I am He that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen: and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:18).
“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
The power of the resurrection is the power of life. “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). When a believer in Christ passes away, and is buried, he or she is not dead, only that their body is no longer useful. They simply have graduated to glory, Hallelujah!
This applies to you, child of God, “That ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of the inheritance in the saints. And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power. Which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:25-26).
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-6).
The resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith. That puts us, all believers in Christ, on shouting ground. Paul wrote “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not. For if the dead rise not, then is Christ not raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:13-19).
How wonderful then that we can declare in absolute belief and assurance, “He is risen,” as Paul also does in verse 20, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.”
Christ the Lord is risen today, hallelujah!
By His resurrection He proved that He was fully God, and that He had fully paid the penalty of God’s wrath for our sin.
Today we can know personally the power of the resurrection in our lives by identifying with Christ.
Again John quotes: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).
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!
This Easter day allows us to remember the fact that when Jesus rose from the grave, we who accept and believe in Him are forever exempt from death. As I said before the body, no longer needed, we shuck it off as a mortal coil, and rise forever to be with our Lord Jesus Christ.
The gentle rain of springtime
Thaws winter’s frozen ground
The refreshing rain arouses life
To come forth without a sound
The Tulip and the Daffodil,
Splendor veiled beneath the sod,
Await the promise of awakening
To behold the face of God.
A hidden clock within the bulb
Awaits the perfect cue
To shout with fragrant blossoms,
“I am alive and new.”
Oh, but someone placed an ugly stone
Above the place to rise!
Then I saw it had been removed
By the gardener kind and wise
In my heart I feel the tug
Like spring flowers to bloom again
I long to be fresh and pure
And cleaned from every sin
I reach up toward my creator
This resurrection day
Forgiven, I will bloom again
For the stone is rolled away!
Amen and amen! Our Lord Jesus Christ lives and thus we, who believe in Him, shall live eternally, with Him, in our Father’s house.
May the blessings of God our Father, and the Son, Jesus Christ, and the Comforter, the Holy Spirit be ever at your side, while earth bound, in love and assurance.
Calvary Baptist Church 7810 St. Joe Center Rd. Fort Wayne, IN 46835 (260) 615-7955
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