Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Jesus Christ P39 (01-20-21)
There is no more important subject in the world than the resurrection of Christ. The resurrection of Jesus Christ has come under the most scrutiny of men from the New Testament times to this present day. You have legal minds who have studied the evidence. You have historians who have studied facts and the testimonies of those who recorded the event. Then numerous people have recorded the relevance of the resurrection. It is totally an established historical fact.
Numerous men throughout history have been martyred for a cause, some for their religious belief, a lie, and others for the truth, but in either case, none of them raised themselves to new life. Only Jesus willingly laid down His life, only to raise it up again, and as He said, that command He received from His Father. That is what separates Jesus from any other man in history.
You most certainly have heard about the resurrection, not denying it as a historical event, but have you understood the true meaning of the resurrection as it pertains to you personally? We hear quite often the death of Jesus on a cross, but oftentimes with little or no explanation of the importance of the resurrection. Because of that, many people have come to think that salvation is getting your sins forgiven.
As important as Jesus shed blood on a cross was, that Jesus even tells us to remember his death until he comes again, no one is saved by merely getting your sins forgiven. Jesus death on a cross is what made it possible for life to be given. Jesus took away the cause of our death, which is sin, because if he had not, then the next time man should sin, he would die again. There is a penalty associated with sin called death, otherwise the law would have no meaning and God could not be perfectly just. So God did something for us we could never do. He paid a debt we could never pay. He provided justice for sin for us. God sent His only Son into this world so that He would become sin for us, so that in Him you could become the righteousness of God.
But, as the apostle Paul said, knowing that a cross had occurred, that without the resurrection, we are still dead in our sins. See, forgiveness cannot give life. Jesus’ death could not give life, but it prepared the way for life to be given. For if sin was not taken away, once and for all, eternally, for all men, back to Adam and forward to the last man to be born, then eternal life could not be given. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then we would not be raised to new life either. And if we are not raised, we remain dead spiritually, without the life of God in us. Jesus’ resurrection is what allowed eternal life, the very life of God to be placed in us. The only sin God could not forgive is unbelief in Jesus. That has to be repented of. So repentance unto eternal life is about changing your mind about what you can do to make yourself right before God to what God alone provided for you through His death, burial and resurrection. With that in mind, you gladly receive the life Jesus Christ came to give through His resurrection.
So salvation is being saved from the consequence of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is life, God’s resurrected life in Christ Jesus. You are not a child of God until that moment in time that God gives you that right when you believe in His name, receive Him as your Lord, Savior and best friend. It is by grace you are saved through faith. The gift of God is Jesus Christ, who offers His life to you, to be received by faith. You are saved by the life of Christ, not by the death of Christ, but his death was a necessary preparation for life to be given. Will you receive His life today?
Turn to our study booklet, A Closer Look at Jesus Christ. We are now studying arguably the most important chapter, The Resurrection, God’s Final Proof.
Let us turn to 1 Corinthians 15. This is called the great resurrection chapter in scriptures. There is no more important subject in the world than the resurrection of Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:12-13
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
This is dealing with a controversy that occurred among many religious leaders. As an example, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. Recall in the scriptures where the apostle Paul got those two groups arguing with each other, and he just walked out. So they were there to chastise him, and he got them arguing with each other, and so nobody paid attention to him any more. But that was the argument.
6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided.
1 Corinthians 15:14
14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
That is such an important statement. If Christ has not been raised, we have nothing to talk about. Martyrs could have hung on a cross, saying, “I am dying for the sins of the world”, but a martyr could not be raised from the dead. Joan of Arc could have been burned at a stake, but Joan of Arc could not have been raised from the dead. Buddha could have been martyred but he has never been raised from the dead. Neither has Mohammad nor any other religious leader in the history of the world. So the resurrection is the key factor in regard to the separation between Christ and every other person, quite frankly, who has ever lived on the face of the earth.
1 Corinthians 15:14
14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
As we have talked about so many times, we have to look again at what is being said here. It is a missing link, in teaching, and especially in evangelism, that the cross of Jesus Christ, and thank God for that cross, but the cross was the way in which God cleared the deck for the divine action to take place in the resurrection.
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 other words, if Christ be raised from the dead, he was raised from the dead so that we who are dead could be raised also. Christ being the firstborn among the dead, rose from the dead so that we who are dead can also be raised from the dead. So if he has not been raised, neither could we be raised, either physically at a future time or spiritually at the time of our spiritual birth when we are born again of the Spirit.
Yet, in much of our evangelism, it never goes beyond the cross. Most people are encouraged to come to the cross for forgiveness, and it ends there. But the fact of the matter is, God already had a system in effect for forgiveness, called atonement. So any Jew certainly, or anybody could have gone to Jerusalem, and engaged in that ceremony of atonement and had their sins covered, forgiven for the year, but never taken away. So, something more had to take place at the cross than took place at an altar, where the blood of bulls and goats are shed, not negating the fact that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
But the shedding of blood had to be more than the blood of a bull and a goat. Only a man could take away a man’s sins.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
So God became a man and dwelt among us as the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. He took that body of his to a cross as a substitute for ours who belonged there.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us [you and me], so that in him [in his resurrected life] we might become the righteousness of God.
So salvation does not end at the cross. It begins at the cross. That is where sin had to be provided for once and for all. But the wages of sin, the result of something, is called death. If the wages of sin is death, then the only solution to that death is life, or resurrection.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
That is the importance of the resurrection of Christ Jesus.
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,
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
So although at the cross, over 2000 years ago, Jesus died to take away the sins of the world, the sin of unbelief is still attributable to all men. All men are already in that state, whereby the wages of sin is death. We are born into it. The sin of unbelief does not need forgiven. It needed to be corrected. It needed to be repented of. Sins were taken away at the cross so that the sin of unbelief could be corrected, where a man who is dead could come to life, and find true life.
Now, folks, that did not occur just as a result of the cross. That occurred as a result of the resurrection. If it were not for the resurrection, the cross would have lost its meaning. The cross is what provided reconciliation but it is through the resurrection we have justification through faith.
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Although you could not have one without the other, please do not mistake one for the other. Reconciliation deals with God dealing with sins. That took place at the cross. Justification encompasses that, but includes much more. That is, raised from the dead in the newness of life, whereby we have been justified in the sight of God, and, therefore, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Folks, there will be no way in the world to ever experience the peace of God until we experience peace with God. That will only occur when we see that we too have been raised from the dead with Christ Jesus, dying with Him in our death, joining with Him in His death for us, identifying with Him in our death for us, and thereby being raised with Him in the newness of life.
Romans 6:4 (KJV)
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
1 Corinthians 15:13-14
13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
Quite frankly, if Christ was not raised, there would be no way of spiritual regeneration.
1 Corinthians 15:15-17
15 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. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
Do you see the importance of this? If Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins. I thought Jesus died on the cross for your sins? That is true. But that forgiveness is experienced in His resurrection. In other words, if Christ had not been raised from the dead, even though forgiveness was provided, there would be no way to receive it. In other words, that forgiveness comes from the one who died and was forgiven. So when we, therefore, identify ourselves with Him, the one who forgave our sins, we enter into that forgiveness. That is where, to me folks, we have missed it many times, in evangelism. We are just getting people to respond to His death for us, where the scripture definitely tells us that if he had not been raised our faith is futile. Faith strictly in His death for us is futile because it does not encompass the entirety of what salvation is. We are still in our sins.
1 Corinthians 15:18-19
18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Again, the forgiveness of sins certainly deals with what is going on right now, not necessarily in the sweet bye and bye, but forgiveness right now. So what could happen? So that I could receive His resurrected life, Christ Himself living in you and me, which is our only hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27 (TLB)
27 And this is the secret: Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
I do not go out and get redemption, and then get Jesus. I get Jesus and then get redemption. I do not go out and get forgiveness and then get Jesus. I get Jesus and in Him I have forgiveness. So without His resurrection, our faith is futile. Bear with me in what I am saying. Thank God for the cross, for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness, but we have to go beyond the cross. This passage is telling us to not stop there at the cross. The cross is what took care of the forgiveness issue for all men but the resurrection is where all of that is received. It is in His resurrected life we have eternal life. It is in His resurrected life we have His righteousness imputed to us. It is in His resurrected life that we have redemption. It is in His resurrected life that we have forgiveness. Everything we possess and all that we need for life and godliness is in Him, Christ Jesus, His resurrected life.
1 Corinthians 1:30
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
So if we are merely dealing with the cross, at the exclusion of the resurrection, then it says, very carefully and very clearly, that we are to be pitied of all men.
1 Corinthians 15:19
19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
So eternal life is found in Him. There is more. There is this life down here and then there is more.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man [Adam], the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man [Jesus]. 22 For as in Adam all die
We are all born in this world identified with Adam, dead.
1 Corinthians 15:22
so in Christ all will be made alive.
Who will be made alive? All in Christ. So in Adam, all of us were born into this world identified in Adam, dead, under the law of sin and death, under a death penalty, death. That is all a part of being lost in Adam. But when we stepped out of Adam into Christ and Christ stepped out of heaven into you and me, we became new creatures in Christ. In Christ, we will all be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:23-28
23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.”[Psalm 8:6] Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
Many times, people look at that passage and confuse that, but all that it is dealing with is the Trinity. When all of this is done, Christ Himself, God will then be perceived as who He is. He is already God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but now instead of the delineation being there. In other words, Christ became man, so instead he will go back to natural state, still be three in one, but it will just be God. That is what you will be looking at, God.
1 Corinthians 15:29
29 Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?
That is another confusing passage. It is because there are people baptizing for the dead. That is not what is being talked about. We talked about the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, yet they baptized for the dead. That is the hypocrisy of religion. I do not believe in the resurrection but I am baptizing for the dead. If there is no resurrection, then why are you baptizing for the dead? That is what he is asking here. It is being sarcastic in the argument but it is forcing people to ask those questions and answer those questions.
1 Corinthians 15:30-31
30 And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31 I face death every day – yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Then it goes on in verse 35.
1 Corinthians 15:35-36
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
Recall what Jesus said.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
1 Corinthians 15:37-49
37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[Genesis 2:7]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
That takes place at the time of the rapture of the saints, when the dead in Christ, where their spirits have already joined Christ, their bodies will be joined to them at that time. That is why the last will be first. They will be the ones whose bodies go to meet the Lord in the air. Then we who are left, will also meet Him in the air. Our bodies too will be transformed at that particular point and we will all get new bodies. For that I am very grateful.
1 Corinthians 15:50
50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God
People are trying to clean up flesh, but it will not inherit the kingdom of God no matter how much you try to clean it up.
1 Corinthians 15:50
nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Our bodies are not going to heaven. We are going to get a new body.
1 Corinthians 15:51
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed
1 Corinthians 15:52
52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable
In other words, the bodies that are dead will be raised imperishable.
1 Corinthians 15:53-58
and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality [everlasting life], then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[Isaiah 25:8]
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”[Hosea 13:14]
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ has come under the most scrutiny of men from the New Testament times to this present day. You have legal minds who have studied the evidence. You have historians who have studied facts and the testimonies of those who recorded the event. Then numerous people have recorded the relevance of the resurrection. Historians, for example, are men who are trained in the laws of evidence. Others as well have affirmed the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a totally established historical fact. Those who know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, the resurrection, as talked about earlier, is the vital cornerstone to the validity and assurance of our salvation.
One of the things we look at, was his death, burial and resurrection. That was not something that came upon the scene, but was something that was already in the mind and knowledge of God before the foundation of the world. So did Christ know that was going to occur?
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
There were four things that Jesus told his disciples. First of all, He had to go to Jerusalem. That was the holy place. He was going to suffer at the hands of all religious leaders. The same is true today. Anyone who is going to be a proclaimer of what Christ came to represent, mercy, love, kindness, the man who had every right in the world to judge us, yet refused to do so, saying “neither do I condemn you. Get up and sin no more” (John 8:1-11), the one who said “I did not come to judge the world but that the world might be saved through me” (John 12:47), the one who told us that to judge one another is foolish, saying “Who are you to judge another man’s master?” (Romans 14:1-4). We do not belong to each other. We belong to Him as far as judgment is concerned. The person who looked down at the cross, after the people beat him half to death, spit in His face, plucked His beard, nailed Him to a cross, He, Jesus, looked down and said “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). The one who answered Peter, who asked, “How many times do you forgive your brother who sins against you? Seven times?” Jesus replied, “No, seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-35). Seven means completeness. The one through the Holy Spirit said through the apostle Paul, “Forgive one another as Christ Jesus forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13). The one who came not to promote religion but to let people know what love was all about. Jesus who left us with these words, ”The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6). The one who said, “There is only one command I leave you with. Love one another as I& have loved you.” (John 13:34) Paul picked up on that in Romans.
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love your neighbor as yourself because love is the fulfillment of the law.
To the religious world, those are foreign words. Those are words that they do not understand. Because religion and what Christ came to represent are two different things. Religion sets the standards of rules and regulations and says, “You follow these and you will be holy” and “Do these things and you will be holy”, whereby Christianity is where Christ came and said “There is no way for you to be holy”. Religion says “Yes there is. You just watch my smoke.” Jesus says, “No there isn’t. I have already seen your smoke.” So, you are finding that there is a terrific difference between religion and Christ.
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