The Resurrection and The Life
Posted on 04/04/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
I ask you to join with this praying dad to believe for my precious daughter Gabrielle’s safety, deliverance and restoration. Please believe with me, that God is creating in my daughter Gabrielle such a desire for Himself, causing His life to live in her. Agree with me please, that the Lord is restoring a love for Jesus in her heart, with a desire to know Him, and a heart that yearns to please Him. That every deception is pulled down off of her, and we declare every bond of wickedness broken off of her life and declare her freedom from the deceptive lies, fears and lust of the enemy…In Jesus Name. That God is restoring and redeeming everything that the enemy has tried to spoil in her life. That Gabrielle arises with great desire for God, and as Ezekiel prophesied life into the dry bones….together, join with me please, in speaking God’s Life to come alive in our precious Gabrielle. That God is keeping her safe, rescuing her, and bringing our darling Gabrielle home to love the Lord and to walk with us her family in the purposes of God. That God is destroying every plot of the devil, separating her from those that would be of evil intent. That our Lord Jesus is sending into her life, anointed vessels prepared by the Lord, to be used in her restoration. This dad refuses to let the enemy take that which hath been promised to me in Jesus Name. And declare that my daughter Gabrielle is returning with a supernatural love and desire for God. I stand as the ‘prodigal’s father’ awaiting my precious darling return, please join with me, in seeing and declaring this by faith…In Jesus Name. Thank you for loving my wonderful daughter and joining with me in faith and prayer. From the heart of a praying and believing dad…Dale
Hello, I am so depressed and trying to find work so I can support myself and my daughter and know I can pay my bills and survive. I pray for peace and love and prosperity for all and want to feel a prayer for my hopes, I need hope please and thank you so much susie
Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.
LORD I LIFT YOUR NAME ON HIGH
Lord I lift your name on high
Lord I love to sing your praises
I'm so glad you're in my life
I'm so glad you came to save us
You came from heaven to earth
to show the way
From the earth to the cross
my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
from the grave to the sky
Lord I lift your name on high!
BECAUSE HE IS RISEN
I live, I live, because he is risen
I live, I live, with power over sin
I live, I live, because he is risen
I live, I live, to worship him
Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus!
Because you're alive,
because you're alive,
because you're alive, I live!
THE RESURRECTION SONG
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ is risen from the dead
The angel up on the tombstone
said he has risen, just as he said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
that Jesus Christ is no longer dead!
Joy to the word,
He has risen, hallelujah!
He's risen, hallelujah!
He's risen, hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
that you can be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ, he will reveal it now
The angels, they all surround us and
they are ministring Jesus' power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
for this could be your glorious hour!
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
Today is a very important day, not only for Christians, but for the entire human race. And that's actually the understatement of all time! First Corinthians chapter 15 says that if Jesus has not risen from the dead, our our faith is empty and futile; our hope is in vain.
I'm not going to keep you very long today; some of you have family waiting to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Some of you do not, or at least you don't realize you do. This life is so short; all the sorrows of this life are fleeting, and in the blink of an eye, they will be gone. The sense of identification and belonging we yearn for in family pales in comparison to our heavenly family.
So regardless of your circumstances today, rejoice! You are FAR from being alone.
Let's read a little from First Corinthians chapter 15.
1 Corinthians 15:12-26 (NKJV)
12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.
14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.
15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up, if in fact the dead do not rise.
16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.
17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
Jesus had just risen from the dead not all that long ago, and yet there were teachers even then who claimed there was no resurrection. We really do see what we want to see, and we're blind to what we don't want to believe.
But Paul points out here that if there is no resurrection, then Jesus is still dead; our faith is futile, and we are still in our sins, if Jesus has not risen from the dead.
This singular truth is what separates us from all the religions in the world. For them, if some of the details of their history are found to be myths, then it really doesn't change things very much, because the practices and concepts stay the same.
If, on the other hand, Jesus did not really rise bodily from the dead, it changes everything.
Romans 8:11 says, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He who raised up Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies by His Spirit who dwells in you." If Jesus did not rise from the dead, this verse is untrue, along with the fact that we await his return. If Jesus did not rise, then he did not bolidy ascend. If he did not bodily ascend, then we can throw out the passage in Acts 1:11 in which the angels say, "Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come just like you saw him go."
And then Paul points out that, if Jesus has not risen, then those who have died in Christ have perished. After all, Jesus said in John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live."
About a week ago, my wife and I went to Pennsylvania for her grandmother's funeral. Her body lay there in the casket, as family members and friends who loved her said their last goodbyes. Of course there were plenty of tears. But they knew, at least those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus knew, that she was not dead; for, as Second Corinthians 5:8 tells us, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
But we mourn all the same. And the funeral of Jesus was no different. They all heard him say that he would be put to death and then, on the third day, he would rise again. But they didn't get it. He was dead. And they wept and mourned.
They had seen him be beaten, as the shard-filled whip tore flesh from his bones. The Scriptures tell us that he was so beaten and bloodied that he couldn't even be recognized as a man.
His disciples, his closest friends, his own mother, had all seen the way he died. Crucifixion was the most cruel form of execution possible.
And now his body is laid in a tomb. Rise again? Impossible. Don't forget the spear that was thrust into his side. His heart had burst. His organs were fataly damaged. Even just one of his many wounds would take any of us months to heal, if we didn't eventually die from them. But he had them all.
Did they believe he could raise the dead? Sure, he had done it many times before. Did they believe he could heal? Of course, he healed too many people to count, and healed them from incurrable diseases.
But the healer was dead. Maybe if he was healed first, he could raise himself from the dead. Maybe. But no, he was dead. Broken. Damaged beyond any hope of repair.
And yet, what they didn't realize as they were weeping and wailing, their hearts broken from grief, their eyes red and swollen from tears; what they did not know was the same hope that we have today as we mourn for someone who has died, someone who has died knowing Jesus.
You see, Jesus didn't NEED healing; Jesus WAS healing. Jesus didn't NEED life, Jesus WAS life. And Jesus didn't NEED resurrection, Jesus WAS resurrection.
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes upon me, even though he were dead, yet shall he live."
So our hope of salvation and everlasting life rest in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But that doesn't make our system of belief the most fragile in the world; rather, this makes what we believe the most solid in the world.
Most people agree Jesus existed. Many of the very few who claim he never existed would also claim the holocaust never happened, or 9/11 was George Bush's idea, or there is no God and no such thing as the supernatural at all.
Regardless, the life of Jesus the Christ is a well-known historical fact, despite the fact we're missing a few family photos and he never signed up on Facebook.
The people who deny Jesus ever lived and is anything more than a myth, should remember that every time they say "It's April of 2010," they are attesting to the life of Jesus Christ. A.D. is an abbreviation of the Medieval Latin words "Anno Domini," which mean, "The Year of Our Lord."
When they talk about ancient history, and they say that Julius Ceasar invated Britain in the year 55 BC, they are attesting to the birth of Jesus Christ. B.C. is an abbreviation of the English words "Before Christ."
History itself is split in two, with its focal point being Jesus.
Of course the skeptic wouldn't be convinced even if there WERE family photos and dozens of videos Mary and Joseph had posted on YouTube.
But the average thinking person doesn't question whether Jesus Christ lived. The majority would even agree that he was a great man, a great teacher, perhaps a prophet, perhaps a great healer.
But what about the resurrection? Well, this has been either denied or explained away. "He was a great man, but he's dead now," or, "He rose SPIRITUALLY from the dead, but his body turned to dust just like all of us."
If Jesus had not been such a well-known figure, perhaps no one would have been able to find his tomb. If the powerful religious leaders had not wanted so desperately to prove that he WAS indeed dead and was therefore just a fraud, perhaps no one would have even bothered to look.
We've managed to find, with reasonable certainty, the location of the tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah; but what about the tomb of Jesus Christ? Well, it's very likely that we HAVE found it. The only difference is that Jesus' tomb is empty.
You may have heard of or even seen the documentary called "The Lost Tomb," which supplies large amounts of supposed evidence that the bone box of Jesus Christ has been found.
Among their evidence is the claim the Mary of Magdala was in the tomb, which they support by referencing the book called The Acts of Philip.
It's actually a very credible book, detailing, among other things, the ministry of Bartholomew, Philip, and Mariamne, or Mary of Magdala, as they saw the conversion of a talking leopard and a talking goat, and they also slayed a dragon.
Because Mary of Magdala was called Mariamne here, and that was the name on one of the box boxes they found with what they believe to be Jesus' bones, they say that's proof.
I suppose it's also proof that there were dragons and talking leopards and goats which must mean, because they were converted, that Jesus died for talking animals as well as mankind.
Over and over again, mankind has tried SO hard to prove that either Jesus never existed, or that he did not rise bodily from the dead. But they can't. Credible historical texts disagree with them. They cannot find any relevant archeological evidence to back their claims. Those whose god is science have had their god let them down. Those who think there is no God or that he did not come to earth and die for our sins, have been hard pressed for over 2,000 years to genuinely prove their case.
Which means we have a presently incontestable claim that Jesus Christ lived, he died, he rose again, he ascended to heaven, and he will return again some day soon just like he said.
The only tomb we've found that is claimed to be Jesus' tomb, and which archeologists, historians, and other professionals have mostly agreed is indeed his tomb -- it is empty! Regardless of the highly-trained Roman soldiers who were commanded on pain of death to secure, it is empty!
And if Jesus did indeed rise bodily from the dead, and if he did ascend bodily into heaven promising to return again in the same way, what will YOU do with that knowledge?
Let's continue reading in First Corinthians chapter 15, starting with verse 20:
20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.
24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.
25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
Even when all the nations of the world unite under one leader and wage war on the true Church, they will be doing so on the earth over which Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords! And even though they are convinced that their kingdom will last forever, Jesus will deliver the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and all power. And He will reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
If Jesus lived and Jesus died and Jesus rose again, all of this is true. Dead bones of great prophets speak of their deaths from the grave. But Jesus' bones cannot tell us of his death, because He is the resurrection and the life!
And just as surely as he will return and put an end to the wicked kingdoms of this earth, so he will defeat the last enemy, and that last enemy Jesus will defeat is DEATH.
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, even though he were dead, yet shall he live."
Do you believe in Jesus? Have you put your hope and trust in him alone? Have you turned from your sins and asked for forgiveness? Has the blood of the risen Lamb of God washed those sins away?
I'd like anyone here today who's part of the ministry team to come stand at the front now.
*** listen to audio for ending ***