Summary: a topical sermon examining core reasons for believing that Jesus really did rise from the dead

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Islington Baptist Church April 15, 2001

Scripture readings: Acts 1:1-3; 2, I Corinthians 15

Who here knows what a legend is?

A legend is a non verifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as having in fact occurred.

“It has often happened that those who loom large in their own time engender legends. Stories or tales are reported as having happened but about which there is no historical proof.” Typically these stories and tales begin to appear in excess of 100 and generally more years after the actual person has lived—because no eyewitnesses left to dispute the tales. “These tales are told to others and endure by finding their way into songs, children’s stories, plays, books and film or television”

One example of a legend involves King Arthur. Everyone knows the grand stories of King Arthur, which first began to appear 500 years after he supposedly lived. Arthur, who may or may not have been a real king in the 500’s A.D. There are few who have not heard mention of Arthur and the knights of the Round Table or of Merlin the Magician or of Lancelot or of Arthur’s hunt for the Holy Grail. All of these tales are just that: tales, myths, fanciful descriptions. These accounts are non verifiable stories that have been handed down to us and expanded upon century after century. These are legends.

I. There are some who view the accounts of the scriptures regarding Jesus, his life, ministry, death, and resurrection as being legend, myth, fantastic tales. This is an utterly false conclusion.

The Bible’s accounts of Jesus are not in any way legends. As just mentioned, a legend is a non verifiable story that has been handed down, popularly accepted as fact, and expanded upon century after century.

-The Bible’s account of Jesus and in particular his resurrection are verifiable. Reasonable, verifiable and plenteous evidence exists to support the assertion that Jesus rose from the dead—which we shall consider today.

- contrary to legendary material, the Bible and its accounts of Jesus have not been embellished and expanded upon century after century. The Bible in terms of its content has always been static and unchanging. The N.T as we know it was complete before the end of the first century and unlike legendary stories who had no eyewitnesses to dispute what was being said—many eyewitnesses abounded who had every opportunity to dispute the scriptures testimonies regarding Jesus—and they didn’t

My goal today is this: to build a case for believing, just as the Bible attests, that Jesus indeed rose from the dead. Today we are going to consider rock solid evidence for believing that Jesus rose from the dead. The ultimate conclusions of such a goal is this: that if you are here and have not become a follower of Jesus Christ that you indeed would be moved to such a commitment.

II. When it comes to Jesus’ resurrection and reasons for believing that he did, the primary witness we have is the Bible.

The Bible resoundingly proclaims that Jesus rose from the dead and is Lord and Savior.

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