John 11:20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
This subject is fundamentally important to the gospel message, the whole gospel could be said to stand or fall on this important point as we read:
1 Corinthians 15:17 “… if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
Indeed the often quoted ‘Gospel in a nut shell’:
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “…for I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…”
…emphasises the resurrection’s importance as integral to our salvation for as we shall see it is the same power that raised Christ from the grave which we are hoping in to see us raised to life again in the rapture of the church to everlasting bliss in heaven.
We wont be getting into an exhaustive study of the resurrection but we do well to take notice of the following several points:
That it is a fact established by evidence. e.g. this list of references is not the complete list but a sample to illustrate the point:
Many infallible proofs: Acts 1:3 To whom also he shewed 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.
…including but not limited to:
500 brethren, James, all the Apostles and then Paul: 1 Corinthians 15:6-8
The 500 - v6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
James and the Apostles -v 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles,
Saul of Tarsus -v 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
All the apostles at once: Matthew 28:9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him
Mary Magdalene: Mark 16:9 ¶Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
The two on the road to Emmaus: Mark 16:12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.
So why should we believe the testimony of these 500+ witnesses? Aside from the overwhelming weight of witnesses, we need to recognise that many, possibly most, of these people died maintaining their belief in the resurrection; that they had saw Jesus alive. Now many people can be persuaded to die for a cause they believe in but nobody will die for that which they know to be untrue. These disciples died for the truth of the gospel, including the resurrection. When someone is willing to put their life on the line for an argument’s sake they are more than reasonably sure they’re right.
Christ was seen and handled by more than 500 witnesses over a period of forty days after his resurrection, many of whom died maintaining it as true, and we can be sure, we serve a risen saviour!
That it is the Father’s power which raised him from the dead to save a people.
The commandment of the Father Jesus received: John 10:17-18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
It was God who raised up Jesus: 1 Corinthians 6:14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
God has raised him for our salvation: Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
It is the supernatural power of God which made the resurrection possible and which will make our resurrection possible. Modernists and humanists disregard this factor and arrive at all kinds of fanciful theories e.g. Swoon theory (Christ fainted on the cross and revived in the tomb), Non burial theory (Jesus was taken for dead but dumped with the criminals and revived later escaping), and many other theories. While each in itself still a miracle to some degree (although the modernists proposing these things hadn’t really considered their theories thoroughly enough before proposing them), they all seek to deny the bible, discredit Jesus and deny the power of God. Indeed as Paul puts it in Romans ch 1 they are “willingly ignorant”. Paul goes on to explain they are “without excuse”. People oppose the God they know exists and refuse to acknowledge his power even as evidenced by the resurrection. We serve an almighty God!
That it is the sign of his power/authority.
The Son of God: Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
It is the Christian’s hope (confidence, comfort, sustaining focus, expectation) for the future, if Christ is not risen from the dead then what hope (confidence or comfort) is there for us? It is a sign of the last days that we are seeing increasing challenges to the authority of God’s word, even these very ‘churchmen and women’ so-called teachers of the word of God promoting the idea that the bible’s authority is of man’s creation not God’s. Well if it doesn’t have God’s authority why should we bother listening? Why should we waste our time gathering to worship and serve God in this place? Away with such rubbish! This is God’s word and we can trust every detail as reliable and true, the resurrection is established by a variety of witnesses as we have seen, it is possible because of that which the modernists, liberal theologians, historians and humanists ignore i.e a SUPER-natural God who is mighty in power. The resurrection is the ultimate testimony and sign to this fallen world that Jesus is the Son of God. They who deny the resurrection make a challenge on, and make an attack on:
The authority of God’s word, The power of almighty God, The deity of Christ.
****It is so critical to our salvation and hope for heaven that it is a necessary belief that we accept this, (again Romans 10:9 underlines its importance). To refuse to accept it is apostasy, those who reject it are not saved nor can they ever be saved while they honestly maintain such a belief.****
Perhaps there is somebody here that has never met with the risen Christ. Tonight the lord Jesus invites you here to come and be saved.
First we must understand we are sinners before a holy God: Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Exodus 20, the 10 commandments.
Next there is a coming judgement: Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Revelation 20:11-15 ¶And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
2 Thessalonians 8-10 the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
The Judgement fell on another: Isaiah 53:5-6 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father
We must repent: Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
We must have saving faith: Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
The message hasn’t changed since the days of the Apostle Paul as he said in Acts20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
We serve a risen Saviour! He invites you here to trust in his finished sacrifice alone for salvation.
To God be the glory, the majesty, the dominion and the power now and forevermore. Amen.