Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Reality of The Resurrection P2 (11-10-21)
The Fullness of the Gospel in all its Truth.
Many people have grown in some sort of religious upbringing, whether Muslim, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, or whatever it may be. But even if you have not, the celebration of the birth of Christ is a well known holiday throughout the world. You have probably heard about a man named Jesus of Nazareth who died, was buried and rose again. Even on our calendars is written B.C., meaning before Christ was born, and A.D., meaning the day of our Lord. So, the fact that he was born into this world is a well known indisputable fact. And, there is evidence that he lived, died and was buried. There are even eyewitnesses who testified of his resurrection from the dead. But do you know why a person named Jesus came into this world? If you were asked, “What is the meaning of the cross?”, how would you respond? If you were asked, “What is the meaning of the resurrection?”, what would you say?
6 In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all of its fullness. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
What is the gospel? It is a message of good news in Christ Jesus. What happened to all of mankind that we needed someone to rescue us from a certain death, not merely a physical death, but a spiritual death? What is a spiritual death? How did man die spiritually? What caused his death? And who can solve this problem of mankind? Can any man solve this problem? How did Jesus solve this problem for us? What did He do? Who is this person that I might know Him?
Is this gospel more than getting our sins forgiven? Can you be forgiven and still be dead to God? What man needs is life from the dead. The fullness of the gospel can be summed up this way. God gave His life for us so He can give His life to us so He can live His life through us. That is the fullness of the gospel. In other words, Christ died, giving His life for us. He was raised from the dead in order to give His life to us. And it is because of this that you and I can experience Him living his life through us. So listen now as Bob George answers these questions while explaining the fullness of the gospel in all its truth.
What is the condition of man when he comes into this world? Dead. Dark. How is that dispelled? By light. When Adam died, the life of God departed from him, leaving him spiritually dead. Dead to what? That spiritual aspect of Adam, very much alive to the world but dead to God. He has a human spirit that is now alive to the world, but dead to God. God’s Spirit that was living in him, that has now left, leaving him with a vacuum, that I thought was beautifully described by the philosopher, Pascal.
There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man that cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.
That is a spiritual vacuum man walks around in. It was the vacuum I walked around in for 36 years of my life, looking for meaning and purpose to life, looking for unconditional acceptance, in every place except where that was to be found, and this in the person of Jesus Christ. I did not realize I had a spiritual vacuum. We just think it was a physical or soulish thing going on, as if something was missing in my own human personality. No, something in your spirit is missing. Your soul is intact. It is a mess and it is under the control of a spirit that is dead to God and is absolutely alive to the world.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation
When Adam died, it means that the life departed from him, leaving him spiritually dead to God, alive to the world. Jesus Christ, who is called the last Adam, is the only man who is ever born alive spiritually. That is why he is called the last Adam. He was the firstborn from among the dead. Who are the dead? We are. Who is the firstborn from among the dead? Jesus.
18 He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
Jesus is the only man ever born alive spiritually. Adam is the first man created alive spiritually. Jesus, the only man ever born alive spiritually, is why the virgin birth is not up for debate. Had Christ not been born of a virgin, he would have been born out of the loins of Adam, just like you and me, dead. That is why I say the virgin birth is not for debate. He was born by the Holy Spirit of God, conceived by the Spirit of God.
As Jesus, in his humanity, how did he die? What happened to him?
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The Spirit of God, just as it had to depart from Adam when he sinned, departed Jesus. When Adam stood at the garden of Eden saying “God, I know more than you do”, that is the the attitude of all humanity that caused our death. Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the entire world and died a death like ours. While Jesus was dying, He said this.
46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
Jesus died a death just exactly like ours so raised from the dead He could give to you and me a life just exactly like His. Until we understand we are spiritually dead, how can we appreciate life? When Jesus died for all of our sins, He did so, thus fulfilling the punishment and the penalty for our sins. His life fulfilled the law in its entirety so that there was nothing left to fulfill. Not only did He not do the violating of the law, He fulfilled the law. It wasn’t that He just lived up to it. He fulfilled it. How did He fulfill it? By walking in perfect love and love is the fulfillment of the law. Until the God who initiated the law was able to say, “I am satisfied with someone”, fulfilled it, and that was Christ Jesus. His life is what qualified him for the death that he died. The life that he lived qualified him for the death that he died. He fulfilled the law. Therefore, there is nothing in the law for you and me to fulfill. That is good news because we cannot do it and never could.
Colossians 1:20 (TLB)
20 It was through what his Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to him – all things in heaven and on earth – for Christ’s death on the cross has made peace with God for all by his blood.
In so doing, the cross is where Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. So now the deck was cleared, so that He can offer every man, woman, boy or girl, what they do not have, because the wages of sin is death, life. All men are born into this world dead, and He is saying, “I came that you might have life.” Life. The only solution to death is life.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
That is the excitement of the gospel. When the gospel is reduced to nothing than just being forgiven, there is an immediate relief to being forgiven, but if you do not understand that He did that so He could give you life, then quite frankly, He could have stayed in heaven. God already had a provision for just getting forgiven. That is called atonement. But atonement never satisfied because you have to keep doing it over and over again. Secondly, it would not satisfy because some man who went to the day of atonement to get forgiven was the same man who left from that altar. He was just the same guy. He went there as an unforgiven sinner and he left as a forgiven sinner. No change at all, still a sinner and never a saint. Forgiveness could not produce life. Resurrection had to produce life. Therefore, that life could not be produced until the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That was made known and experienced on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit of God came to live within the believers. Prior to that time there was no life imputed on a permanent basis to mankind.
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.
Christ said that a thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and to have it to the fullness. A misunderstanding of that is why the average professing Christian is saying there is nothing abundant about my life. I know my sins are forgiven and I am going to heaven, but what about today? I still experience doubts, fears, frustrations and death. Surely there must be something more to this Christian life. There is and it comes from an understanding of the fullness of the gospel we just talked about. Christ died for you then so that raised from the dead he can live in you now.
The fullness of the gospel can be summed up this way. God gave His life for us so He can give His life to us so He can live His life through us. That is the fullness of the gospel. In other words, Christ died, giving His life for us. He was raised from the dead in order to give His life to us. And it is because of this that you and I can experience Him living his life through us. Therefore, understanding, possibly for the first time, what was the meaning of the resurrection. I know it occurred, but what does it mean? We talked about that many times. When I ask a person, “What was the meaning of the cross?” “That is where Christ died for my sins.” “What is the meaning of the resurrection?” “I guess that means that was God who forgave our sins.” In other words, we do not understand that that resurrected life, that Christ experienced, is the very life that is given to you and me in order to raise us from the dead. Until we realize our spiritual death, how can we begin to rejoice in the new life that has been given to us in Christ Jesus? The whole issue of salvation is an issue of life and death.
In John 1:4, He tells us where life is to be found.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
Again, in Him we have redemption. Where is redemption? In Him. In Him, we have forgiveness. Where is forgiveness? In Him. Where is life? In Him. It is all in Christ Jesus.
1 John 5:11
11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
What kind of life? Eternal life. This life is in His Son. Where is life to be found? In His son, in Christ. That is the only life available to us. Christ Jesus is the only man born alive spiritually. He is the only one who could have laid down his life for you and me. He is the only one who had a life to lay down.
17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
It is hard to lay down your life when you do not have one. He is the only one who was ever born on this earth alive spiritually. Therefore, the only one who could have laid down his life for us because he is the only one who had one. When he was raised from the dead to now give us his life, eternal life, that is what enables you and me, not born alive, to be raised again, born anew, born from above, which is what spiritual birth is all about.
6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
I was obviously born alive physically out of my mother and father’s desire or mistake, either one. But now, we are to be born spiritually, a new birth. What is birth? Life. When you are born physically, new physical life has come into existence. When I am born spiritually, new life has to come into existence. Where did that life come from? From God. God has given you and me a life called eternal life. That life is in His Son, the only one who has life eternal, and therefore, gives it to you and me.
32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.
2 They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.
We think of resurrection from the dead strictly as being resurrected physically, but all through the scriptures, you are going to see God’s demonstration of a physical miracle that is merely a reflection and a visible expression of an invisible truth. Man being raised physically from the dead, as He did when He raised Lazarus, was in order to show a physical example of a spiritual truth. Thus, that is why Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” They looked at the resurrection of the dead.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Was Jesus talking merely about a physical death? No. He was using a physical example to explain a spiritual truth. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” How could you believe in Him if you were dead physically? So, it is spiritual death Jesus is talking about.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whosoever believes in me though he were dead spiritually, yet shall he live. Whosoever lives and believes in me, will never die.”
When the apostles were teaching and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead, there was the offense of the gospel. Are you telling me that my good deeds are not going to enable me to go to heaven? Are you telling me I am dead? Yes, I am telling you are dead. That is offensive. The self-righteous will never accept that. Therefore, there was the offense of the gospel.
33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all
18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. 19 Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)
It would have been difficult to deny Jesus died on a cross. You could have stood there and watched that. It was probably in the books of the Romans, that he died. The death of Christ as well as the birth of Christ is celebrated, in many instances, all over the world, especially his birth. Very few people deny that a man named Jesus of Nazareth was born. The Muslims believed that. They think he is just a prophet. The Buddhists agree with that. They just think he was a prophet. The Jews agree with that. In the Talmud it talks about him being an illegitimate son of a Roman soldier, a bastard son. So they certainly agree he was born. And the Christian world agrees he was born. There is no doubt about that, that the world agrees and knows he was born. The problem is they do not know why he was born. They do not know why He came. That is why Jesus was talking to Pilate, when Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king.
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.
Jesus told him that He came to establish the kingdom of God here on this earth. The fact Jesus died on a cross, anybody could have stood and seen. The fact that he was raised from the dead could certainly been at least proven by the fact that no one was there. Some people come along and say the apostles stole it. Why would they do that when it would cause their death? If I was trying to form a new religion, and thought it might be a neat idea and add some justification to this new religion, and my founder was telling me that he was raised from the dead, so let’s go steal him and then tell people he was raised from the dead. I might do that for a while but when someone started saying that for believing that I am going to hang you upside down on a cross or crucify you, then I might say, “Folks, the joke is over. I have had all the fun I intend on having.” You would not go to your death over a lie that you perpetuated. The fact of the empty tomb, Christ’ tomb is the only tomb famous for who is not in it. Buddha is in his. Mohammad is in his. Moses is in his. David is in his. Abraham is in his. The only tomb famous for who is not in it is Christ (John 20).
When Paul was preaching the resurrection, that again was what caused people to call him a babbler. All of the persecution that was upon Paul was through the teaching of the resurrection. Paul not only taught that it occurred, he taught why it occurred and there was the offense.
1 Corinthians 15:14
14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
We have to realize that according to the word of God our faith is absolutely useless without the resurrection. Certainly not to negate that, but thank God for the cross, but the cross is where all men were reconciled to God through the death of Christ. Thank God for that. But we have made it an end in itself, merely saying that is what Christ came to do, to die on a cross. No. He came to give life. He came to be raised from the dead in order to give life. In order to give life eternal, then what caused death to begin with had to be dealt with once and for all.
1 John 2:2
2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
What caused Adam to die? Sin. What caused Jesus to yield His Spirit to die? Sin, Whose sin? Ours. Once Jesus gave us resurrected life what is the only thing that can cause us to lose that life? The same thing that caused Adam to lose his and the same thing that caused Jesus to yield up his, sin. Why cannot that occur? Because of the cross, where Jesus came not to atone for sin. We drug that word over into the New Testament. Not to atone for sin, but to take away sins. Why? For what reason? To give you a life called eternal life, one that cannot be lost, that cannot be destroyed, and cannot be taken away. The only thing that caused that life to be taken away is sin, and sins were taken away at the cross. You cannot have one without the other but please do not mistake one for the other.
1 Corinthians 15:17
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
It is a serious statement of Paul to say that if Christ had not been raised your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Most people think sins would have been forgiven if Christ had not been raised. The fact of the matter, to a degree that is true. Christ died on a cross for the forgiveness of all men’s sins.
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies [lost], we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
That reconciliation, done in the past, came as a result of what He did and not on what we did. Having been reconciled, what happened next? There is a sense that the provision of God by God for man’s sins was made on the cross for all men. What we do not realize is that that forgiveness is received and accepted and experienced in His resurrected life. That is why he was saying that if Christ had not been raised our faith is futile and we would still be in our sins. That cannot be received by just accepting forgiveness. In other words, you cannot go to the cross, saying “Jesus, I believe you died for my sins” and then say you are saved. It does not work that way. What He did at the cross was a provision for sin that is received in His resurrected life. That is why it says in Him, in His life, you have redemption. In His life you have forgiveness.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
You do not get forgiveness. You have it. That is why people are streaming down aisles to get forgiven and yet walk away from that empty the same way you would go to the atonement to get forgiven and walk away from that empty, feeling good by the fact you have been forgiven but not have life. There are thousands of people today who are namimg the name of Christ yet saying there is no reality in my life. It is because you have never come to the fullness of truth. We came to Christ to get forgiven instead of coming to Christ to receive life. It is in that life that we have and receive that forgiveness that was provided for us 2000 years ago.
So the cross was a provision but His gift, which is His life, is where that provision is experienced. It goes ahead to see why the importance of the resurrection is certainly proclaimed and explained by the apostle Paul, in all of its fullness. If Christ were not raised our faith is futile. What are we going to have faith in? And we are still in our sins. Provided? Yes. But we are still in them.
It is like a person in jail. All of a sudden over the PA system is the voice of that warden saying there has been a pardon that is made for everyone in this jail. So, walk out. Where is that pardon received and experienced? Outside the bars. If you are going to sit inside the bar and say, “I am pardoned.” You are pardoned in the cell, and you have never received the life. You got to walk out. When you walk out, you can say “I am free.” Policemen are scared you are going to get out. No, you are not scared. You are pardoned. Where did you find that out? Outside the bar.
13 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, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
No, the fact is that inside, as long as you are in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ, with His resurrection. He made you alive. If you sit in that cell, where are you going to die? In your self. When you are dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature God made you alive. If you do not accept that life, where are you going to die? In your sins.
Not intentionally, but in many instances, the gospel was not proclaimed in its fullness. I had a half gospel. I certainly believed God died for all my sins. I did not know where that was experienced. In His life. I was preoccupied with His death for me instead of His life in me.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22
21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Where are you going to find your life? In Christ. Where did you get your death? In Adam. In Adam died, we all died. Christ was raised from the dead, providing a provision for all men, women, boys and girls on the face of the earth to be made alive.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Who is that gift? Christ. In Him we have that life.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.
Then He asks a question.
Do you believe this?”
It does not do us any good to acknowledge the fact of it. Do you believe it? There is a reason for that. If and when we believe it, it changes our lives. Acknowledging the fact of it is not the issue. It is believing the truth and believing it that changes you life. I can acknowledge something to be true, but I do not believe it. I can acknowledge that that chair would hold me but until I sit in it. I have not believed in it. I acknowledged it but believing it means not only do I acknowledge that is true but I am going to sit in it. That means I believe it is true.