Summary: The third part of the Back to Basics series in which we deal with the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.
Back To Basics pt. 3 (The Resurrection)
We are continuing on with our back to the basics series, and are on part three of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. If you remember, the first of the essential doctrines was the Deity and Humanity of Christ; the second is salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and today we are going to be talking about the resurrection.
So if you will turn with me to 1st Corinthians chapter 15 (read Cor. text). What our text tells us that if we do not believe in the resurrection then our faith is in vain and useless. That is why this is an essential doctrine. If someone denies the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Bible describes it, then they are denying the work and sacrifice of Christ.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the things that makes Christianity different from every other religion in the world. The other thing of course, is what we talked about last week. Every other world religion relies on works to get you into heaven, and every other world religion has founders that are dead. Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, all are dead. But Jesus Christ is alive. He died, but was raised from the dead, and is alive for ever more.
Now someone might ask, “Why is it so important to believe in the resurrection? Why can’t we just believe in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ? Why do we have to believe in the resurrection?”
Well, first of all Jesus’ resurrection demonstrated His victory over death. Stay in First Corinthians chapter 15 and let’s go down a few verses to verses 54 – 57 (read). See, when Jesus arose from the dead, He proved to Satan and everyone else that He is God. That nothing can keep Him from doing as He has planned to do, not even death. The Bible tells us that Jesus conquered death, and because Jesus has shown that death has no authority, that also tells us that we too will not be held by death, but will be raised up to everlasting life. That is what this passage is telling us. That death has no sting for the believer. That Christians need not fear death, because our Lord and our God, Jesus Christ has power over death, and He will raise us up. So it’s important that we believe that Jesus was resurrected, because it shows His power over death, and that He is God, because only God has such power.
Secondly it’s important to believe in the resurrection because it shows Jesus’ righteousness. Turn with me to John chapter 16, and lets read verses 5 through 10 (read).
Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit had come He would convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. He would convict the world of sin, why? Because they did not believe in Jesus, not because they were bad, or because they didn’t do certain things, but because they didn’t believe. See when we believe in Jesus Christ and are saved, our sins are forgiven, they are washed away, and therefore cannot be convicted of them. Sure the devil may bring them up, and accuse us. The Bible calls him the accuser of the brethren. But God will look at him and say, “Those sins have been paid for, with the blood of my Son. They have been washed away, and erased.” Look at what Jesus said next, He said the Holy Spirit will convict the world of righteousness, “Because I go to my Father.” If Jesus was not who He claimed to be, and if Jesus had not done what He claimed He was going to do, do you think God would’ve raised Him from the dead? Think about it. If Jesus was just some guy in the Middle East who was claiming to be God, and the Son of God, and He was claiming to be able to forgive sins, and give eternal life to those who believed in Him, do you think God would’ve raised Him from the dead? The answer is no. That is why Mohammed is still taking a dirt nap. But Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. And by His resurrection God validated His Son’s claims. He proved that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Lets turn to Romans chapter four. In Romans chapter four the Apostle Paul explains to us about justification, and how Abraham was justified by faith, remember we talked a little about this last week. Well at the end of that chapter Paul says that Abraham’s faith was accounted to him as righteousness, now look at verse 23 (read 23 – 25). What those three verses are telling us is that righteousness is imputed to us when we believe, (by faith) but also that Jesus died for our sins, but was raised because of our justification. In other words, Christ’s death and resurrection are two aspects of salvation. In the first part, the death on the cross, Christ bore the penalty for our sin(s). He took our punishment, and paid the price for our sin(s). In the second part, He rose from the dead, and by the resurrection, God confirmed that His wrath was satisfied, and that the penalty Jesus paid on our behalf was a sufficient and satisfactory offering for our sin(s). And that is why we are imputed with righteousness.