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Indeed #1: The Hinge of the Gospel

February 15, 2010

He has risen!

He has risen indeed!

I don’t know what Christian tradition or denomination you come from, but if you have any background in church at all, chances are you are familiar with this exchange.  Pancakes are served, girls wear new dresses, the choir sings, and people walk through the church halls proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ, to one another.  In a good way and in an unfortunate way, there is nothing like Easter morning.  It is wonderful to celebrate with the Church on Easter, but why don’t we celebrate like that every Sunday morning?  While Easter is a special day, there is no reason not to celebrate around its purpose every Sunday or really every day.  The early church did.  That’s why we gather together on Sundays, not Saturdays (the Jewish Sabbath).  The celebration of the resurrection was the anthem of the first Christians.  They talked about it all the time.  As far as they were concerned, the Gospel hinged on it.  1 Corinthians 15:17 says that, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”

At times, the American church seems to neglect the resurrection.**  I, along with others, have been guilty of trying to explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ without a significant emphasis on the resurrection.  We say things like, “Jesus died for your sins.”  Now that is certainly true, but it is incomplete without any mention of Jesus’ subsequent resurrection.  Jesus’ penal substitutionary death on the cross and victorious resurrection from that death are what guarantee those who are in Christ eternal life.  Listen to what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

The truth of the resurrection was the consistent hymn of the first Christians.  Read the book of Acts, the focus of every recorded sermon is the resurrection.  For those early followers of Christ (and for us today) the resurrection testifies to the truth of our faith, displays God’s power, and proclaims Jesus’ (and through Jesus, ours) victory over death.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to focus on this resurrection.  Many have suggested it did not happen; we will look at their claims.  Some have said it doesn’t matter; we will explore that attitude.  Finally, as we lead up to Easter, we will worship Jesus in the glory of His death and the power of His resurrection.  I pray for us with the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3: 10-11, “that [we] may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible [we] may attain the resurrection from the dead.”*

*Changes from I to [we] are mine.

**For a more extensive treatment of the neglect of the resurrection, see Adrian Warnock’s Raised with Christ, specifically chapter three.

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