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Newtown Bible Church

What's so Important about the Resurrection (Selected Texts)


  •  The importance of the resurrection for our salvation and hope in the world to come cannot be overstated. The resurrection is clearly central to the gospel. Without the resurrection you do not have the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
  •   “As joined with the death of Christ His resurrection is the very heart of redemption and the whole plan of salvation.” (Culver). In the words of the apostle Paul:

 

“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? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”

 

  • The resurrection is not only essential for salvation, it is well established. It is recorded in the witness of all four Gospels, there is the empty tomb even noted by the guards and the Jews, there was the appearance of Christ to His apostles, women close to His ministry, and over 500 at once. 
    • The resurrection of Jesus was central to the message of the early church. We have already read Peter’s first sermon in Acts (many we could turn to), but let me note one of the first recorded by Paul ([synagogue Antioch] 13:30, 33, 34, 37)
  • Furthermore, the resurrection is a clearly established fact in Scripture, history, and the experience of every believer. I am not going to defend he resurrection - that has already been done and we covered some of that last year (CD). What I want to do this morning is simply answer the question: Why does it matter? Or, What is so important about the resurrection? What does it really mean for me? 
  •  4 Reasons the resurrection is central to our salvation, so that we would trust and enjoy Christ more fully (many more could be added, but I am only going to focus on these this morning and trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit)

 

(1) Because of the reality of sin and death (2) Because of the necessity of the atonement; (3) Because of the present grace of Spiritual power; (4) Because of the promise of the New Heavens and New Earth 

 

(1) Because of the reality of sin and death.  

  • The most significant realities facing every human being is the reality of sin and death; yet, so common to our human experience the significance is too often missed. In order to make this first point turn to 1 key passage: 
  •  Rom. 5:12 “Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Paul is here establishing the framework in which he will make a larger point: just as through one man came death through sin, so through one man comes life through grace. One man’s sin brought death to all; one Man’s obedience brought life to many. 
  • The point is to magnify the glory of redemption in Christ, but I want to simply focus on the first verse and make three basic observations from the verse. 
  • (A) First, sin is something that entered into the world through Adam. Sin was not a part of God’s original creation; it is an intruder, an enemy against the souls of men. Sin is rebellion against God; sin challenges and provokes God. 
    • God created Adam & Eve without sin, in a world without sin, and with every advantage to know Him and enjoy Him forever. He gave them only one command and opportunity to express their love for Him through obedience. 
    • Eve was deceived by Satan (who had already fallen); Adam’s sin, however, was high-handed rebellion against God - cf:  Rom. 8:7 “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God”). Sin declares war.  
    • There was inherent that one act of disobedience an infinite degree of rebellion, which would inevitably result in every sin that has flowed from it. The most vicious act of violence, to he most selfish & lewd life of immorality, the destructive character of dishonesty, deception, and manipulation was all bound up in that one sin (Madoff; Hitler; rapist; murders; liars); and has caused untold misery among the human race. And we all possess it and work it out to various degrees. 
    • In just a few chapters, God would destroy the whole world with a flood because of the universal display of sin (Gen. 6:5, 12b [READ]). 
  • (B) Second, death is a consequence of sin (“death through sin”). God promised Adam (Gen. 2:17): “in the day you eat from it you will surely die.” He did not drop dead that very moment, but he did die. In what way did he die? What death was introduced that has now spread to all men?
  • The basic idea of death is separation. Let me note then three devastating realities of the death through sin. 
    • (1) Most immediate consequences was spiritual death (Gen. 3).   
      • To be spiritually dead is to be estranged and alienated from God (Gen. 3:8) and enslaved to an inner attitude of rebellion to holiness and love for self-will binds one with chains of iniquity and constrains to the terrors of judgment (Eph. 2:1-3)
    • (2) Physical death, the process of physical death began at that point (Gen. 5:1f)
      • At death the soul is separated from the body for a time. The body begins a process of decay and the soul goes, fully conscious, to its eternal place. 
    • (3) Eternal death  Death apart from Christ brings eternal separation from the presence and goodness of God and instead the eternal experience of His displeasure and wrath. (Rev. 20:14; 2 Thess. 1:9);
  • (C) Third, all have the problem of sin and the sentence of death upon them (“so death spread to all men, because all sinned”). Sin and death are a universal problem and no one can escape it (Is. 25:7-8 [READ])

 

“Before human beings can experience the joy of God’s great feast, something must be done about the universal curse. At the end of every pathway the Grim Reaper awaits us all  and that cold hand blights every human happiness.” (Oswalt)

 

  • Man’s greatest problem is not political, economic, social, or cultural it is spiritual and it is eternal death. It is that each person enters into this world with a sin corrupted nature and natural rebellion against God.; for this reason every birth is a guaranteed death: “The moment you come into this world you are beginning to go out of it” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones).
    • Every life, including yours, has an expiration date & death plays no favorites: old / young, rich / poor, privileged / suffering, white / black / asian / hispanic / whatever, all die. “The power of mortality thrusts every generation into the graveyard” (Barnhouse).
    • You can chose where to live, you can chose who to marry, you can chose all kinds of things in this world, but you cannot chose not to die. You cannot chose not to stand before God and give an account for your sin (Heb. 9:27 “It is appointed for a man to die once and then comes the judgement”)
  • Why is the resurrection important, because you and I and all humanity come into this world with the reality of sin and death upon us. 
    • If death and its cause, sin, is going to be defeated God is going to have to do it. Some have tried desperately to defeat death, but all have failed. We are helpless to do anything to change our own condition. 
  • Because sin and death are the greatest enemies to the soul of man, it is precisely these that must be demonstrably defeated for God’s people. Every false religion and religious leader is still in the grave; they died and their body remained. They had no power over death, over sin and therefore offer no hope, no solution. The resurrection, then, provides hope that our greatest problem has an answer in Christ.

 

Heb. 2:14-15 [READ] … “If you have a more powerful weapon than your enemy, his weapon becomes useless. You cannot fight against a machine gun with a bow and arrow. Satan’s weapon is extremely powerful. But God has a weapon even more powerful-eternal life- and with it Jesus destroyed death. The way to eternal life is through resurrection, but the way to resurrection is through death. So Jesus had to experience death before He could e resurrected and thereby give us life. Jesus’ dying destroyed death. How? He went into death, through death, and came out on the other side, thereby conquering it. Then He could say, ‘Because I live, you shall live also’ .. The resurrection of Jesus Christ provides the believer with eternal life. It is the only thing that could ever have done it. Death is the power of Satan’s dominion, and when Jesus shattered Satan’s power He also shattered his dominion.” 

 

(2) Because of the necessity of the atonement 

  • This answers the “How?” He conquered death, by destroying the penalty and power of sin for His people. The incarnation, the sin bearing death of Christ, is inextricably bound to the resurrection. 
  • The significance of the resurrection in relation to the atonement is two fold: 
  • (A) (Rom. 1:4) It declares that it was in fact the promised Messiah, and the eternal Son of God on the cross accomplishing the salvation of His people. 
    • In His humanity He fulfilled the promise to David that a descendant would sit on his throne forever.  In His Deity, proven, or declared to be the eternal Son of God by means of the resurrection. 
    • This is crucial, because none other than the eternal Son of God, the spotless Lamb of God could “take away the sins of the world” (John 1:21). A man, even a mere sinless man could not atone for the unfathomable guilt of innumerable redeemed sinners and for them satisfy the righteousness of God. It would take an infinite capacity of holiness to accomplish that feat. 
    • A man had to suffer in the place of fallen men, yet, only the infinite capacity of the God-Man could absorb the full curse of the Law for incalculable sins of billions of people. Only the infinite righteousness of the God-Man could satisfy the demands of the Law for billions of people through the ages. 
    • Therefore, it had to be the Son of God on the cross; and the resurrection proves that it was. 
  • (B) Proves that God accepted His work of sin bearing  (Rom. 4:24-25 [READ]). Simply means this: (a) our sin / transgressions required His death - He was delivered over by the Father to death because of our transgressions; (b) The assurance of our justification required His resurrection - He was raised to declare God’s acceptance of the death of the Son, and to give the assurance / certainty of all the promises of salvation that go with it. 
    • If Christ were to have died, but remained on the cross or in the grave, despite drinking the cup of God’s wrath for sin, He would have shown Himself powerless over the grave, over death, and therefore over Satan, and over sin. 
    • He means He conquered death; He defeated the power and penalty of sin; He rescued those condemned to death. The atonement was necessary for our salvation, the resurrection was necessary for the acceptance of the atonement - both in forgiveness and in life, that is to fulfill all righteousness.
    • The resurrection, then, provides inestimable confidence that God has indeed accomplished salvation for His people. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). We stand on a solid rock.  
  • It means this: when you are awakened to the reality of sin, to the terrors of judgment, to the gripping blackness and pollution of sin in your heart; when you are thrown into the cauldron of doubt; when you are gripped by the frightening anxieties of uncertainty; when you are afraid of the enemies assaults on your soul, you have a sure, proven, willing, and ready Savior to look to. 
    • You have rock solid hope you can trust in for forgiveness of sin, cleansing of all unrighteousness, light and hope in the midst of darkness and despair. In the reality of the resurrection and what it says of Christ and His accomplishments there are the balm of the soul and the secret whispers of your conscience that brings peace in the stillness and loneliness of the night and when you have no consolations for your soul except the promises of God in Christ Jesus. In those moments the bloody cross that leads to the empty grave that points to a merciful Savior at the right hand of God is the most wonderful truth in all the universe. “He was raised for our justification [and now] having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 4:24- 5:1).
    • Sin separates, death separates, but Christ has conquered death by defeating sin; this is the hope and confidence of the believer. Listen to just two passages: (1 Cor. 15:54-57; John 11:24-25)
    • Regarding John 11, He means this: (a) Because Jesus will rise from the dead, so all who are in Him will rise and receive resurrection bodies that live eternally. (b) even more those who believe in Christ also receive eternal life immediately, at the moment of faith - possession of the life of God -eternal life- that cannot; will not be extinguished by the grave. 
  • The resurrection is significant for those who know their own sin and have felt the blackness of their own heart. It is significant, then, because of the reality of the atonement. 

 

(3) Because of the present grace of Spiritual power (SKIP if necessary / time)

  • God holds up the resurrection of Jesus as the preeminent display of His power, even more than creation itself (Eph. 1:19-20)
  • This same power demonstrated in the resurrection is the same power that God makes available to those who are in His Son - the same kind, but the same resource. In other words, it is not that those in Christ have the power to raise themselves from the dead, but they are connected to that same life giving power that enables them to live our the spiritual life within them. 
  • Essentially, this power created life in us, gives us the ability to live in a way that glorifies Him, to put to death the sin in our lives (Rom. 8:13), to have hope in adversity, joy in suffering, and the confidence that one day we will see Him as He is for we shall be like Him (1 John 3:1-2)
    • The resurrection gives us that peace of heart that reminds us of our present union with Christ and the promise of our future unhindered enjoyment of Him in all His glory. This world is full of trouble and uncertainty, but the resurrection of Jesus reminds us that we are not alone; it confronts us with wrong thinking when life seems too hard and we just want to quit that that is a manifestation of unbelief. It confronts our attitudes of defeat in battling our sin - the words “I just can’t” in matters of obedience and spiritual life are not true and should never come out of our mouths. 
    • It means that for believers Christ is for us; we should never feel defeated in life, or in relation to sin - though sometimes it may feel like it - we are not slaves to sin, but to righteousness, through our union with Christ, through the indwelling Holy Spirit. All because of the resurrection. 
  • In Christ we are more than conquerors, we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenliness, and every resource of heaven to live life to His glory and with His joy. It is a matter of faith, not of resources. 

 

(5) Because of the promise of the New Heavens and New Earth

  • The resurrection guarantees and points us to glorious reality of the new heavens and earth. For the Christian, this earth, this world is not our home (Heb. 11:13-16 “we are aliens and strangers”). 
    • As the first heavens and earth are marred by sin and groaning under its weight (Rom. 8:19-23), so the new heaven and the new earth their will be no more sin; the veiled glory of God here will be the unhindered light of the eternal state (Rev. 21:1-5; 22:1-6); the curse of sin that works pain, sorrow, and death here will be forever removed. The resurrection demonstrates God’s power to bring it about (Phil. 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:20-28).
  •  In this earth we know the pain of sin, the sadness of loss, the frustrations of the wickedness of our own hearts and we long for that eternal day, that day when the struggle will cease and we will see our Savior, or God face to face.
    • There is a new world coming in which righteousness dwells and will never be in threatened by sin. Where God’s people behold His face unhindered for eternity and bask in the light and delights of His presence. It is a place of perfect love, where everyone will love God and neighbor as perfectly as Jesus Himself loves the Father and His own. 
  • This is the eternal day that awaits God’s children and those who are in Christ. It is a day authenticated and guaranteed because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is not a wistful hope but the sure foundation of every believer so that God’s people can say with the saints who have gone before our citizenship is in heaven, here we are only aliens and wanders. But Christ has said: “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places, if it were not so I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I a, there you may be also.” 
  • Praise God our SAVIOR LIVES!
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