Christian Foundations 3
Christian Foundations 3 is part of a study series on the foundational truths relating to Christianity. The third study looks at: Is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ Important?
Is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ Important?
Josh McDowell set out deliberately to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I suppose he thought he was doing the Christian community a disservice by putting the resurrection of Jesus Christ under the microscope. This study will examine four aspect of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1. The Prediction of the Resurrection
Jesus on many occasions predicted His own death and resurrection. Mark 8:31, "And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again." Mark 9:31, "For He taught His disciples and said to them, ‘The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day" (cf., Mk 10:32-34).
The Apostle Paul re-affirmed the authenticity of Jesus' resurrection. 1 Cor 15:3 4, "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: 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." The Scriptures not only predict the resurrection, but it also records it fulfilment.
2. The Importance of the Resurrection
No resurrection would mean Christ is a liar. For Christ predicted He would rise from the dead. Also the Scriptures would be erroneous (ie, incorrect).
No resurrection would mean that Christ’s ministry would have ended at His death. Therefore, Christ would not be our High Priest. "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession" (Heb 4:14). Christ would not be our mediator between God and man. "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5). The Holy Spirit would not have been sent from God in the New Testament sense. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7).
No resurrection would mean that the gospel has no content. "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: 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" (1 Cor 15:3-4).
No resurrection would mean that our faith is worthless. "But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty" (1 Cor 15:13-14). Scripture confirms the importance of the resurrection, for without it there is no Christianity.
3. The Evidence for the Resurrection
Throughout history the testimony of responsible and honest eyewitnesses has been considered one of the most reliable forms of evidence in a court of law. Paul uses this form to verify the resurrection (1 Cor 15:5-8).
There were many you saw the risen Christ. Jesus appeared to Peter and the twelve. He appeared to the five hundred. He appeared to James and again to the apostles. He also appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. Scripture confirms the certainity of the resurrection through the testimony of many eye witnesses.
4. The Meaning of the Resurrection
If the resurrection points to any one truth, it is this, “Death is not the end.” So what happens after death? (Acts 10:39-43).
A. All people will be raised.
Verse 42 refers to "the living and the dead." The Bible looks to a day when all people living and dead from all ages will be raised. "...for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:28-29).
B. All people will be judged.
Verse 42 says, that Jesus has been appointed to be judge of the living and dead. We will all face judgment. Heb 9:27, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." Matt 25:46, "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Rev 20:15, “And anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
All people on that day will be judged by the risen Lord. Verse 42 says, Jesus is the one whom God has appointed judge of the living and dead. "The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son...and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man" (Jn 5:22, 27). "...He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). That is why the resurrection of Jesus is so vital. It not only guarantees our resurrection, but also guarantees our judgment. It is to Jesus we are accountable on the day of Judgment.
C. All people will be divided into two groups.
The positive side. Those who believe in Jesus are forgiven their sins and they are accepted by Jesus on the day of Judgment. The Bible says, "...the righteous [will go] into eternal life" (Matt 25:46).
The negative side. Those who reject Jesus will be rejected by Jesus on the day of Judgment. "For whoever is ashamed [rejects] of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mk 8:38). Jesus' attitude to you and me on the day of Judgment will be the same as yours and my attitude to Him now. If we accept Him now, He will accept us then. If we reject Him now, He will reject us then.
There is no second chance after death. We have only one opportunity and that is now. Joshua said to the Israel, "...choose for yourselves this day who you will serve..."(Joshua 24:15). Josh McDowell set out to disprove the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But today he is one of the leading apologists for the Christian faith, that is, he vigorously defends the Christian faith.
Conclusion: “...choose for yourselves this day who you will serve...” (Joshua 24:15)
Christian Foundations is a series of studies that discuss the important tenants of the Christian Faith. These studies are in sermon format.
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Christian Foundations 3 - Is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ Important?