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Summary: There are four major resurrections mentioned in the New Testament, each calling us to be "alive in Christ."

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A Resurrection Religion

1 Cor 15:12-22

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.

14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

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.

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 to be pitied more than all men.

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, 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.

MAX LUCADO, in his book, Six Hours One Friday, tells the story of a missionary in Brazil who discovered a tribe of Indians in a remote part of the jungle. They lived near a large river. The tribe was in need of medical attention. A contagious disease was ravaging the population. People were dying daily.

A hospital was not too terribly far away—across the river, but the Indians would not cross it because they believed it was inhabited by evil spirits. To enter the water would mean certain death. The missionary explained how he had crossed the river and was unharmed. They were not impressed. He then took them to the bank and placed his hand in the water. They still wouldn’t go in. He walked into the water up to his waist and splashed water on his face. It didn’t matter. They were still afraid to enter the river. Finally, he dove into the river, swam beneath the surface until he emerged on the other side. He punched a triumphant fist into the air. He had entered the water and escaped. It was then that the Indians broke out into a cheer and followed him across.

That’s exactly what Jesus did! He told the people of His day that they need not fear the river of death, but they wouldn’t believe. He touched a dead boy and called him back to life. They still didn’t believe. He whispered life into the body of a dead girl and got the same result. He let a dead man spend 4 days in a tomb and then called him out and the people still didn’t believe Him. Finally, He entered the river of death and came out on the other side. No wonder we celebrate the Resurrection!

CHRISTIANITY IS A RESURRECTION RELIGION!

Vance Havner, a well-known preacher was once asked to go to the Holy Land. He said, “No thanks.” When asked why, he answered, “I don’t want to go where Jesus was; I just want to stay right where He is!”

CHRISTIANITY IS A RESURRECTION RELIGION!!

The New Testament speaks of at least four separate resurrections.

1. The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ

About 36 hours after His death, Jesus’ soul (which had been in Hades, the abode of the dead) and His body (which had lain on a stone in the tomb) were reunited.

At one and the same time, His body and soul were “raised.” That is to say, it was transformed into what Paul calls, “the body of his glory{ (Phil.3:21).

In this resurrection body Christ burst forth from the tomb, passed through closed doors, appeared to His disciples, and disappeared. Then, finally, in defiance of the law of gravity, He ascended out of sight into a cloud (Acts 1:8).

Illus.: “Where Was the Key?”

A father and his little girl were staying in a hotel. During the night the girl became very ill and without warning she died. The father was heart-broken. He had already lost his wife and now his precious little girl was gone. Only two people followed the body to the cemetery—the father and a minister. The father’s grief was great. At the grave he took from his pocket a key, unlocked the casket and looked on the face of his child once more, the silently closed the casket and handed the key to the keeper of the cemetery. On the way back to the city, the minister quoted Rev.1:18: “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and hades.” “But what is that about the keys?” asked the grieving man. “It means this,” said the minister. “You think the key to your little girl’s casket is in the hands of the keeper of the cemetery. But let me tell you something. Its not true! The key to your little girl’s grave hangs at the side of the Son of God. And He will come some morning and use it to open that casket! Then the light broke through the man’s tears and he saw the glory of the resurrection.

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