Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Death Has Been Swallowed Up

"If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that He said; if He didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what He said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like His teaching but whether or not He rose from the dead." -Timothy Keller

There is a thought out there that you can be a Christian but deny a physical resurrection.  

18th century "higher criticism" inadvertently produced some fanciful theories to explain away the resurrection.

  • Swoon Theory - Jesus was beaten, had a crown of thorns placed on His head, was nailed to the cross, and he survived all that. He just fainted. But, since there wasn't any medical equipment, to tell them otherwise, they thought He was dead. So they wrapped Him up, placed Him in the tomb, placed the stone in front of the tomb, and He somehow woke up in the tomb, rolled the stone away, and walks unaided to the house where all the disciples were hiding. He eventually dies, so they hide the body, and make up the story.
Well, that doesn't make any sense, considering the fact that most all of the disciples were martyred for their faith. They were martyred affirming the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  If they had hidden the body, does it make any sense that they would have done that? No!

  • Mass Hallucinations - The disciples were so looking forward to the resurrection, that when Jesus died, there was a psychotic break among them, and they hallucinated the resurrection. 
Again, these men went to their death based on a hallucination? It doesn't add up.


Biblical Case for the Resurrection

1. Jesus promised the resurrection
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21)

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31)

And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Luke 9:21-22)

2. All four Gospels tell the same story
He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. (Matthew 28:6)

And he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. (Mark 16:6)

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise." (Luke 24:5-7)

And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. (John 20:5-9)

3. Apostles affirmed the resurrection
And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. (Acts 4:1-2)

who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. (I Corinthians 15:3-7)

knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. (II Corinthians 4:14)

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)

When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (I Thessalonians 1:10)

4. Most apostles martyred for their faith


What's at stake? I Corinthians 15
  • Christ's humanity
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. (verses 12-13)
  • Preaching and faith are in vain
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. (verse 14)
  • Paul is misrepresenting God by saying there is a resurrection
We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. (verse 15)
  • Jesus lied - because He said He would rise again.
  • Faith is futile
  • No forgiveness for sin
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. (verses 17-18)
  • We are to be pitied the most
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (verse 19)

BUT...

But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. And because He is alive, sin and death are under subjection to Him. And because of this, we are no longer bound by them!

We should now consider ourselves dead to sin, and alive in God in Christ Jesus.
  • Jesus is the first fruit - we will be like Him
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (I Corinthians 15:20,23)
  • We are justified before God
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, (Acts 17:30)

but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Romans 4:24-25)

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (Romans 6:6)
  • All things are under subjection to Him
1. Death

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. ... When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." (I Corinthians 15:26, 54)

2. Sin

For one who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:7)

For "God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "all things are put in subjection," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:27-28)
  • He lives to make intercession for us
As believers, we are no longer slaves to sin. This doesn't mean we no longer sin, but means that it is no longer a pattern in our lives. Jesus is at the right hand of the throne of God, interceding for us.

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. (Romans 8:34)

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
  • Final reckoning, all things will be renewed
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4)

The fact of the resurrection demands a response:
  • Unbelievers - you can choose to become a new creation, with your soul knit to Christ, in a resurrected body, looking forward to the pleasures of heaven forever. Or you can decide to go on your way, unconverted and unconvinced.
  • Believers - be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. 
As we see more and more of the culture, and even the church, moving away from God's Word, our task is to stand firm and proclaim the Gospel. We are heading into a time where you and I may be put in prison for proclaiming and affirming the resurrection. We need to be willing to pay the price, and JOYFULLY pay that price.

Jesus is alive. So let us work and serve in love, so that when He returns, we need not be ashamed.

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely you bled, for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bow to none but heavens will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer's crown
No burden great can hold you down
In strength you reign
Forever let your church proclaim

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, he's alive! he's alive!

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Rise up from the grave...

Let all the Earth Rejoice,
Elizabeth

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