We started this series discussing the 6 basic foundations of Christianity as found in Hebrews 6:1-3. We have looked at repentance from dead works and what that looks like when applied to our lives. We have delved into the definition of faith, and what it means to have faith towards God. Over 3 sermons we dissected the doctrines of baptism, and last time we gathered we praised God for the gift of laying on of hands. There are two other foundational doctrines of the Christian faith, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. In the study of these two remaining doctrines, the Bible takes us by revelation beyond the present time into the future of eternity.
By the act of creation, God brought the present world into being with the order of time including the past, present, and future (Genesis l). Someday God will bring this present world to an end and time, as we now know it, will cease to be. The Bible reveals that for the world as a whole, the end of time will come at a special moment ordained by God. There are many events which will happen in the world at this end of time, and only God knows the exact timing of these events. As individuals, however, a moment awaits each of us when "time shall be no longer.” This is when we come to the end of our earthly lifetime and step from time into eternity. For each person, the end of physical life is the end of time.
There are some mysteries surrounding the end of time and eternity which the Bible does not explain, but the doctrine of the "resurrection of the dead" provides some knowledge of the end of time and eternity which follow.
The meaning of the word "resurrection" is a raising or rising up. It means to cause to rise or raise up from the dead. There are three resurrections identified in the New Testament: A past resurrection: The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. A present resurrection: The spiritual resurrection of believers in Jesus Christ. And a future resurrection: The future resurrection of all that are in the graves. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God. If you do not believe this and you call yourself a Christian, the Bible calls you a false witness and says you still wallow in your sin, harsh words but true.
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. (I Corinthians 15:14-17)
Through Jesus the believer experiences present spiritual resurrection, and through Him the future resurrection of the dead from the graves will happen. The Bible confirms that Jesus is the resurrector, the one who will resurrect the dead.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)
So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)
But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (II Timothy 1:10)
Now that we have a solid understanding of the importance of the doctrine of resurrection, let’s take a look at the most important resurrection. The Old Testament foretold the birth of Jesus Christ, His death for the sins of all mankind, and His resurrection. David mentioned the resurrection of Jesus, Being therefore a prophet [David] and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne; He foreseeing this speaks of the resurrection of the Christ... (Acts 2:30-31, American Standard Version). Not only this one, but many verses in the Bible confirm the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the third day after His burial.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. ( I Corinthians 15:20)
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” (Matthew 28:1,5-7)
I could go on with over 20 other accounts confirming the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
After His suffering He showed himself alive to them in many convincing ways and appeared to them repeatedly over a period of forty days talking to them about the affairs of the Kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3, Phillips Translation)
…and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters 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. (I Corinthians 15:5-8)
After His resurrection, Jesus was seen by many people and was careful to provide evidence that He had a real body and He was the same person that had been crucified. The evidence of this was His hands, feet, and side which still had the marks of the nails and the spear. In other ways His body had experienced important changes. It no longer was subject to the limitations of a mortal body. He could now appear or disappear at will. Prior to His death and resurrection, during a conversation with religious leaders of Israel Jesus talked about His death.
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. (John 2:19-21)
Jesus was not talking about the temple in Jerusalem, he was referring to His own body as a temple. After the death and burial of Jesus, when the women entered the tomb to anoint His body, they "found not the body of the Lord Jesus" (Luke 23:55-24:3). When Jesus appeared to His disciples He let them touch the nail prints and the scar from the spear to prove His identity.
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:27-28)
Why is the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead so important to the Christian faith? And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. (I Corinthians 15:14) Believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is necessary to become a true believer. If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Paul presented the resurrection of Jesus as a part of the message of the Gospel, and stressed how important the resurrection was for several reasons.
One: Because the resurrection confirms Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Two: The resurrection confirms Jesus is supreme over all created beings.
Three: The resurrection confirms that believers are justified.
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)
Four: The resurrection means death is defeated.
And Five: Because of the resurrection of Jesus, believers will also be resurrected and have new bodies.
Who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:21)
We will delve into more about this resurrection from the dead next time. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is a new life source for believers. This is yet another way Christianity is unique amongst all faiths, We have the security and knowledge that our Lord and Saviour lives! He still stands, He stands in the gap for us all and lives with us. His presence inspires us and fulfills God’s promise of peace and grace.
Why is the resurrection of Jesus Christ so vital to our faith?
Without the resurrection of Jesus, then God broke His promise and all of the prophecies of the Old Testament become suspect. One of the reasons we know that this collection of books, the Bible is divinely inspired, is that it is utterly flawless. Not one original verse of text has been disproven, in fact; whenever an organization has aspired to disprove the Bible, they end up failing and confirming other facts in Scripture. If Jesus Christ died on the cross and did not rise three days later, then we would be wasting our time here today. But thankfully, not only did He rise from the dead, but He is here with us today, in this room.
Scripture tells a lot about what resurrection looked like during the time of Christ and how it looked in the early church, but it also speaks of the present resurrection of believers. This means those who were once spiritually dead in sin are now made alive spiritually through Jesus Christ.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:1,5)
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, (Colossians 2:13)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (II Corinthians 5:17)
As I have said many times before, let me say it again, no matter who is talking to you, check it out through Scripture. Don’t just take my word for it, make sure that what I’m telling you rings true with Scripture and the Holy Spirit before you let it define your faith.
Baptism in water is an outward sign of death to the old life of sin and the spiritual resurrection of the believer in Jesus Christ. But it is not only water baptism that confirms the spiritual resurrection of the believer, it is the new life which he lives.
Jesus provided many evidences of His resurrection. These included the empty tomb, the message of the angels, and His visible appearances after His resurrection. There are also evidences which confirm the spiritual resurrection of believers. Spiritual resurrection results in death to sin, and believers do not live like they used to live. He is dead to the evil things of the world and alive in Jesus. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:11) Spiritual resurrection makes Jesus the master of your life. Instead of living for yourself, you live to serve Him. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (II Corinthians 5:15)
A new life purpose results from spiritual resurrection. Instead of concern about temporal things of the world such as material gain, ambition, etc., the attention of believers is focused on eternal things.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2)
The past resurrection of Jesus and the present spiritual resurrection of believers are two of the three resurrections mentioned in the New Testament. The other one is the future resurrection of all the dead from the graves, which we will save for next time. Let’s end today thanking Him for His great sacrifice by raising our hands to Him.
We love You with all of our hearts.
We thank you today for standing in intersession for us on that cross, suffering and dyeing in our place. Our lives are Yours Lord, bought and paid for with Your blood, use us Lord. Use us for Your glory Lord. We pray this as we always pray Lord, in Your name. Amen