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Religion

Apostle's Creed 10: Raised from the dead


By Pastor Phillip Howle

web posted July 31, 2013

RELIGION – Bumper stickers, they stay on a car for a while. One common bumper sticker you see every few years is the campaign sticker. The Gore/Liebermann or the McCain/Palin stickers can still be seen. The people who put these stickers on really cared and hoped for the candidates and hoped they would bring change. But they failed to get elected and henceforth failed to do much real good. The people now are simply too lazy to go through all the work of scraping them off.  Their hopes were ended and dashed.
 
Well the next phrase of the Apostles’ Creed is “The third day he rose again from the dead.” You don’t get more important than the resurrection, when it comes to Christianity. Hank Hanegraaff makes this clear as he writes “The resurrection is not merely important to the historic Christian faith; without it, there would be no Christianity. It is the singular doctrine that elevates Christianity above all other world religions. Through the resurrection, Christ demonstrated that He does not stand in a line of peers with Abraham, Buddha, or Confucius. He is utterly unique. He has the power not only to lay down His life, but to take it up again.” (Resurrection, W Publishing Group, 2000, p. 15.)

This means that Christianity begins where all the religions of the world end, at death. It all begins with resurrection.  After the death of Jesus, all his followers had abandoned him, much like those disappointed campaign donors above. William Lane Craig writes that “Without the belief in the Resurrection the Christian faith could not have come into being. The disciples would have remained crushed and defeated men. Even had they continued to remember Jesus as their beloved teacher, His crucifixion would have forever silenced any hopes of His being the Messiah. The cross would have remained the sad and shameful end of His career.

The origin of Christianity therefore hinges on the belief of the early disciples that God had raised Jesus from the dead.”
 
This resurrection did not merely pump life into a group of men and women who appeared to be defeated, but it changed the world.  John MacArthur writes in his commentary on Matthew that the Resurrection undergirds a number of other truths. (John MacArthur, Matthew 24-28, Moody, 1989, p. 314-315.)

1. It gives evidence that the Word of God is totally true and reliable. Jesus died and rose precisely when and in the way He had predicted (see Mt. 12:40; 16:21; 17:9, 23).
2. The resurrection means that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, as He claimed to be, and that He has power over life and death.
3. The resurrection proves that salvation is complete, that on the cross, Christ conquered sin, death, and hell and rose victorious.
4. The resurrection proves that the church has been established. Jesus had declared, "I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it" (Mt. 16:8)... His resurrection proved that death itself could not prevent Christ from establishing His church.
5. The resurrection proves that judgment is coming. Jesus declared that the heavenly Father "has given all judgment to the Son" (Jn. 5:22), and since the Son is now risen and alive, His judgment is certain.
6. The resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that heaven is waiting. Jesus promised, "In

My house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you" (Jn. 14:2). Because Christ is alive by the resurrection, believers have the assurance that He is now preparing a heavenly dwelling for them.
Besides the fact that these men and women’s lives were radically changed, there is the issue of the body of Jesus never being accounted for. John Piper shares four possible ways to account for the inability to account for Jesus body.  (, Eight Reasons

Why I Believe That Jesus Rose from the Dead, February 28, 2007)
1.    His foes stole the body. If they did (and they never claimed to have done so), they surely would have produced the body to stop the successful spread of the Christian faith in the very city where the crucifixion occurred. But they could not produce it.
2.    His friends stole the body. This was an early rumor (Matthew 28:11-15). Is it probable? Could they have overcome the guards at the tomb? More important, would they have begun to preach with such authority that Jesus was raised, knowing that he was not? Would they have risked their lives and accepted beatings for something they knew was a fraud?
3.    Jesus was not dead, but only unconscious when they laid him in the tomb. He awoke, removed the stone, overcame the soldiers, and vanished from history after a few meetings with his disciples in which he convinced them he was risen from the dead. Even the foes of Jesus did not try this line. He was obviously dead. The Romans saw to that. The stone could not be moved by one man from within who had just been stabbed in the side by a spear and spent six hours nailed to a cross.
4.   God raised Jesus from the dead. This is what He said would happen. It is what the disciples said did happen. But as long as there is a remote possibility of explaining the resurrection naturalistically, modern people say we should not jump to a supernatural explanation. Is this reasonable? I don’t think so. Of course, we don’t want to be gullible. But neither do we want to reject the truth just because it’s strange.
So, what do you make of the resurrection? If you claim to believe it, it changes everything.  Jesus was who He said he was and you better do and live as He said to live!
 
Pastor Phillip


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