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Summary: What does it mean to believers to say that Christ is alive forevermore?

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“[Jesus] laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” [1]

On one occasion, returning from a fishing trip I had stopped for gas. As the attendant filled the tank, I spoke with him, inquiring about his faith. He proudly stated he was a good Muslim. I testified, “The major deficit in your religion is that you do not have a living Saviour.” Of course, the man wanted to know what I meant. I pointed out that the founder of Buddhism was dead; his body was cremated and relics were placed in monuments. The grave of Confucius is in his home town of Qufu, Shandong Province, China. Mohammed is buried in the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in the city of Medina. However, I reminded the gentleman that he could travel to Jerusalem where he could see the tomb of Jesus, God’s Anointed One. And that tomb is empty! This exciting truth lies at the heart of the Christian Faith—the Tomb is empty; Christ the Lord has conquered death.

The fifth chapter of Genesis undoubtedly qualifies as one of the darkest chapters of the Word of God. That chapter gives the account of Adam’s descendants to Noah. Each one lived for what we think of as fantastic length of days. However, with the sole exception of Enoch, who was taken directly by God, each account of an individual concludes with this dreadful notation, “and he died.” [2] God had warned our first father, “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” [GENESIS 2:17]. Recalling this dreadful act, Paul writes, “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come” [ROMANS 5:12-14].

Some weeks ago, because of severe illness, Brother Jason filled the pulpit, reminding us of the Gospel. His masterful presentation, well worth your time to listen to, can be heard here: http://newbeginningsbaptist.ca/674082. Let me iterate that message by pointing again to Paul’s words. “I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me [1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-8]. The Good News of Jesus Christ is that Christ died for our sins, just as prophesied in Scripture; He was buried and then raised on the third day, as prophesied in Scripture; and He was seen. His was not a “spirit resurrection” as some cults argue—He rose bodily from the grave and ascended into heaven.

Incarcerated on the Aegean Island of Patmos, the Apostle of Love worshipped on “the Lord’s Day”—the first day of the week. Let me step aside from the message for a moment to observe a significant truth. The first followers of the Master were Jewish. Consequently, they had been trained under the law to keep the Sabbath—the seventh day—as a day of rest. However, Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. After that, the followers of Christ the Lord met on the first day of the week to worship. [3] Ever after, this first day was to be known as “The Lord’s Day.” [4] The Christian focuses on the resurrection of Christ, for in conquering death He has forever set us free from the fear of death. Moreover, the first day of the week became a day for joyous celebration, as is appropriate for a day of worship. The Lord’s Day quickly became a day to rejoice in new life that results from the Christ’s Resurrection.

While worshipping one Lord’s Day, John heard a loud voice saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea” [REVELATION 1:11]. Turning to see, as he says in quaint language, “the voice that was speaking,” he witnessed the Risen Son of God in unveiled majesty and glory. John’s description is not of the “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” such as has been popularised by modern religionists. He saw the Son of God in His full glory.

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