Summary: That the resurrection of Jesus Christ brings new birth, hope, and practical change for good to us.
EASTER DAY: 8th April 2007
RESURRECTION: Wonder of the New Birth!
Luke 24:1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
24:2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
24:3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
24:4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.
24:5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?
24:6 "He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,
24:7 "saying, ’The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ "
24:8 And they remembered His words.
24:9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
24:10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles.
24:11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.
24:12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.”
John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress tells the story of a man on a spiritual quest in which he meets great opposition and faces tragedy and then great success and finally enters heaven.
The first thing that has to be remembered is that this is an allegory.
Christian’s story, for that was his name, sets out clearly that the godly life is dangerous, uncertain, sad, joyous, rewarding, testing, intriguing, frustrating, blessed, fulfilling and has serious consequences relating to the decisions we make.
Right at the beginning of the story, Christian leaves his wife and children to flee from the wrath and eternal consequences to come.
Bunyan’s character, Christian, did not leave his wife and children in order to selfishly save himself from physical danger.
It is a picture of the lost soul’s quest for salvation and truth.
The main character, Christian, did however leave home to pursue his own spiritual journey.
His family thought he was mad and they would not believe or follow him.
What was he to do?
(His wife and children do eventually follow Christian and catch up with him.)
And so the story begins…
Christian meets many different characters along the way and Bunyan uses these to explain to us how to reach heaven and to deal Biblically with criticism, opposition, hatred, temptation and the like. All things that the Christian must face along the road to heaven.
The genius of Bunyan’s allegory and one reason for its popularity over the centuries is that the characters he paints can be found in every walk of life or time of life, so they are very helpful to us all.
May I suggest if you have not read it, get a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. You may need your Bible also to read along with it in order to get the best from it.
Bunyan’s central figure Christian comes across many different characters with which he has many adventures. Some of these characters are very “2007”
Many of them in their own way try to get Christian to forget about doctrine or Christian teaching and morals and make them into a wax nose…you can bend them any way to your own purpose.
That is precisely what you are not to do and are warned against regarding the resurrection of Jesus.
As the Apostle Paul says in I Cor 15:15 “Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up-if in fact the dead do not rise.”
So he is saying that if it is true that dead people do not rise again we, the Apostles who speak on God’s behalf, are false witnesses, since we have preached to you that Jesus Christ did rise from the dead.
15:16 “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen.
15:17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
15:18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”
Pity us all, says Paul.
If there is no resurrection of the dead.
If the dead do not and cannot arise and become alive again, think about the consequences of that: