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The Relevance of the Resurrection for Today

Jim Davis

Acts 17:29-32
"Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone-- an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." (NIV)


The only assurance of Christianity's promises is the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. Delete that central truth from the Bible and Christianity collapses. The resurrection is the cornerstone to faith in Christ. God has given proof of the Christian beliefs by raising Jesus Christ from the dead. Apostolic preaching without the resurrection would be like the bag of nuts a peasant once traded for some books that he wanted. When the bookseller took the nuts home and cracked the shells, he found they were all empty. There was no kernel. If Christ is not risen, Paul says, then our preaching is "in vain," i.e. empty. There is no content to preaching without the resurrection.

Many of our people believe that the central issue of first century preaching was baptism, but the central issue was the resurrection.
 

1 Corinthians 15:1-5
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. (NIV)


The resurrection of Christ is the greatest proof of his divinity. It is proof that he is the Son of God. When Peter preached that first gospel sermon on Pentecost he spoke of Jesus "Whom God raised up . . . " (Acts 2:24) They knew there was an empty tomb. Remember they were there. Peter said, "David saith concerning him . . ." (Acts 2:25-31) Even David had prophesied about the resurrection, he spoke not of himself, but of the resurrection of Christ. Peter said, "Whereof we are all witnesses . . . " (Acts 2:32) They had seen the Christ after his death. The very ones who crucified Christ approximately seven weeks later confessed their wrong and sought his forgiveness.

In Acts 2, Peter's emphasizes that God had raised Jesus from the dead and made him both Lord and Christ In Acts 3 Peter stressed that Jesus the author of life had been killed, but God raised him from the dead. It was by faith in Jesus that the man cripple had been healed. When Peter preached to Cornelius, he stressed that Jesus had been hung on a tree but God had raised him from the dead. Paul stated to those in Antioch that Christ body was not allowed to see corruption, but God raised him from the dead.

The Relevancy of the Resurrection Today

There is something in each of us now that will never die! An eternal spirit will live in eternity. Think of it. Every new life brought into this world never dies! Lives forever? Are you prepared for it? It is the resurrection that promises a never-ending eternity. Are you prepared for it!

A sobering thought to me is that every person on the face of the earth who dies before Christ comes again will be resurrected from the grave. Some believe that only the righteous dead will be resurrected and the evil will be left in their grave. But Jesus said, "All that are in the tombs" --- that means those who have done evil and they that have done good. (John 5:28-29) It might be convenient to think that the wicked will not awake to perdition and punishment, but it is not grounded in Bible teaching. God has given us proof of this judgement through the resurrection. (Acts 17:30-31)
 

II Thessalonians 1:6-10
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power
on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 15:3-8
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 15:20-26
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 15:35-38
But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 15:42-45
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 15:51-58
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)


The resurrection not only involves eternity; it involves how we live now. Paul's conclusion to the resurrection was this: " Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Picture two couples who are growing old. They live side by side on the same road. One of them has always believed in Christ, His resurrection and the Bible. They have followed Christ faithfully and tried to live in keeping with the principles of Christ. The other family has paid no attention whatsoever to God's Word. If Jesus was not raised, both of those families will die, and one is no worse than the other. They are gone. That is it. But let us turn the illustration around. If Jesus was raised, if He did come out of that grave, what does it mean?
 

Luke 17:33-35Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left." (NIV)
Paul said, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you." The power to stand firm can be comprehended as we observe the resurrection.
 
Philippians 3:8-11
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (NIV)


The power for living in the present comes from the same power that God exerted when he raised Jesus from the dead. Paul wanted to discover the power of Christ resurrection. That power comes as we share in Christ suffering and become like him in his death. It is then that Christ comes alive in us.
 

Galatians 2:20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (KJV)


Becoming dead to sin is God's goal for each of us. Dying to the sin in our lives is not a painless ordeal. We must lose our life to gain a life.
 

Matthew 16:24-25
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. (NIV)
Luke 9:24
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. (KJV)

Romans 6:1-7
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. (NIV)


Power for living is in accordance to the resurrection power.
 

Ephesians 1:18-21
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (NIV)

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (NIV)


God wants us to know that we do not walk in our own strength and power. He has given us all the power we need to face life. As powerful as God is, you alone hold the key to unleashing that power in your life as a believer. That strength comes from God's Spirit as we yield to Him one decision at a time day by day.
 

"And do not get drunk with wine . . . but be filled with the Spirit . . ." (Ephesians 5:18

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh . . . " (Galatians 5:16)

"Do not quench the Spirit, . . . " (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, . . . " (Ephesians 4:30)


To experience Gods power we have to yield to Him; He must control our lives. We do this by filling our minds with the Word of God; this is the Spirit's operational manual.
 

Colossians 3:16-17
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (NIV)

Psalms 119:11-14
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.(NIV)

Psalms 119:18-20
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. (NIV)

Psalms 119:24-26
Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors. I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word. I recounted my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. (NIV)


Obedience is the key to living a powerful life in Christ. When we obey Christ, then and only then is he free to exercise his power in our lives.

It is possible to deny God's power.

2 Timothy 3:1-5
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (NIV)

In Ephesians 3:19 Paul prays " . . . that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God . . . (Ephesians 3:19)


God wants to come and life in me! He wants His attributes, His Character, His person to fill me to the limit of my person hood. If you go out and get a glass of water out of a lake, every ingredient in that lake is in that glass to the same extent You may not be able to get the lake in the glass, but if the lake is polluted, the water in the glass is also polluted. If there are chemicals in the lake, they are in the glass also. All the essential character of that lake are in my glass.

When you are filled with God, the same is true. All the essential attributes of God dwell in you. His holiness, love, mercy, since of justice, etc. When this begins to happen, then God's power begins to reign in our lives.

When you are filled with the fullness of God, when His attributes are constantly being reflected in your life, then God can turn His power loose in your life! Then you will enjoy all the energy you need to walk in victory no matter what your circumstances.

Conclusion:

We must celebrate the resurrection in everything we do. We must not relegate it to Sunday or a special time of the year. It must be celebrated every day in our lives as we allow the power of the resurrected Christ to rule in our lives by our obedience to him.

When we commit to God in simple obedience God can begin to empower our most feeble efforts.

         

 

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