Monday, February 27, 2012

The Significance of the Resurrection

With Easter coming soon I thought I would list some reasons why the resurrection is significant for the Christian faith.

1. It powerfully and uniquely marks Jesus as the Son of God.

Romans 1:4 who was declared (marked out…separated in a unique way so as to be noticed) the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Without the resurrection, Jesus was just a man.

2. It validates and proves every word that came out of His mouth.

His claim to be God, His claim to be from heaven, His claim to be able to forgive sins, His claim to be the only way to heaven, His claim to be the Light of the world, His claim of authority, His claim to be the source of eternal life, His claim to be the Lamb of God, His claim to be the subject of Moses' and the Prophets' writings, His claim to be the resurrection and the life, and His prophecy concerning His own death and resurrection were all proven by the resurrection. 

Josh McDowell has stated that in examining the words of Christ, He would be either Lord, a liar, or a lunatic.  The resurrection proved that He is neither a liar or a lunatic, but that He is Lord.

3. It validates and give substance to our faith.

I Corinthians 15:1 If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.

I Corinthians 15:17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

If there is no resurrection there is no reason to believe, but because of the resurrection we know we have a faith that is real, because we have a Savior and His promises who are real.  The resurrection is the ultimate reason for us to believe, not just in Christ, but in all of the word of God.

4. It is what we witness to and what proves Christ is the Savior.

Muhammad, Buddha, Gandhi, Confucius, and  L. Ron Hubbard are all dead.  The central figure of every other religion has died and stayed in the grave.  Christ is the only central religious figure who claimed to be the Savior, and the only one who has come back from the dead.  This is the big separation from all other religions, and what we should always include in our witness.  This fact is the heart of the gospel.

Acts 2:22-24 Men of Israel, listen to these words:  Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know--this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.  But God raised Him up again , putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 10:34-43....God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.

Acts 17:16-31...Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man He as appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

 5. It puts and end to the agony of death, the fear of death, and the hold of death.

Acts 2:24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power

Hebrews 2:14-15 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through the fear of death were subject to slavery all of their lives.

6. It gives us hope.

Elpis, the Greek word for hope, does not mean a strong or fervent wish as it does in the English; but means a sure and confident expectation of something yet future.  So, because of the resurrection we have a strong and confident expectation concerning our future, our eternity.

I Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to obtain an inheritance which imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Our hope is living because Jesus is living. When Christ rose from the dead our hope was born.

A living hope is an active hope, and a hope that is vital to our faith.  Interestingly enough, the word hope is not used in the gospels, but starts in Acts after the resurrection/ascension and then is used 54 times in 48 verses.  Without going through all the verses here is how it is portrayed in its role in our faith.

A motivating hope

A sure hope

A confident hope

A steadfast hope

An encouraging hope

An assuring hope

An abounding hope

An abiding hope

A grounded hope

A rejoicing hope

A righteous hope

A heavenly hope

A residing hope

A purifying hope

It is the hope of eternal life, it is the hope of glory, it is a hope that is laid up in heaven, and it is the anchor of the soul.  Without the resurrection we would be left without any hope.  Our faith would truly be in vain as this world would be all we could ever have, and death would be the ultimate victor.

7. It guarantees His return.

John 14:1-3 Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am there you may be also.

8. It has put death in its place and guarantees the death of death.

I Corinthians 15:35-57...For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.  But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?"  The sting death is sin, and power of sin is the law;  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation 20:14 Then death and Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.

Through our union with Christ we are united with Him in His resurrection, and His victory has become our victory.

9. It marks the path to God. as it is the sign that says this way to heaven.

There are many competing ideologies, philosophies, and voices, we live in a postmodern time when each man or woman is their own island of truth. It is a time when everyone's opinion is valid, which has led to the greatest pooling of spiritual ignorance in history.  This includes the New Atheism.

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.

Proverbs 14:12, 16:25 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Even though the path is narrow and the gate is small, they are not unmarked.  They are marked by the resurrection.  The resurrection is the signpost that says, "This way to eternal life."

10. It is God’s ultimate declaration to all men of Himself, and His judgment of sin.

Acts 17:30-31 There having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof by raising  Him from the dead.

This is not a complete list by any means, but it is enough to reflect upon in the approaching Easter season, and reasons enough to give praise to our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ; who, as God, had authority to lay down His life, and authority to take it up again; and all of this for all who would turn from their sin and turn to Him as their Savior.

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