By Greg Dixon
Many years ago on Easter Sunday morning, a liberal preacher announced in an article on the front page of the Indianapolis Star, that if they should find the bones of Jesus in a tomb outside the city walls of Jerusalem, it would not destroy his faith. That morning from my pulpit, I told my congregation in no uncertain terms, that if that happened and it could be verified with certainty that they were the bones of Jesus, that it would not only destroy my faith – I would have no faith at all, and I would resign from the church and leave the Christian ministry post haste.
The reason is very simple: the bodily, physical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the very foundation that the Christian faith rests upon, and without a risen Lord, Christianity vanishes as a viable religion like cotton candy at a circus on a summer’s day. It is the resurrection that sets Christianity apart from all of the other religions of the world. In fact, beside Christianity, all other religions are mere isms, asms and spasms.
Paul, the great Apostle to the Gentiles, dealt with this issue in his Epistle to the Corinthians in the fifteenth chapter when he said, And if Christ be not risen and then gave four tragic things that would take place in the lives of every Christian believer if He was not risen.
The first thing Paul mentioned was the fact that “our preaching” would be vain or empty. All sermons that are not premised on a living Christ would be of no value. All Christian work would be a total waste of time, money and effort.
Next he said that “we,” speaking of the Apostles of Christ, would be false witnesses of God because “we” testified that God had raised Christ from the dead. Every one of the Apostles claimed that they had seen Christ after his resurrection, talked to him and even handled him. Paul claimed to have seen, heard and talked to Him on the Damascus Road. So if Christ isn’t risen, we must debunk the four Gospels, the thirteen epistles of Paul and the other books that Peter, James and John wrote, including the Book of Revelation. Therefore the veracity of the entire Bible rests on the resurrection.
Then he said, “Your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” Many of you reading this column have received Christ as your Savior and are trusting in His shed blood on Calvary’s cross to forgive and cleanse your sin. But if He is not risen for our Justification, then you are yet in your sin, according to the Apostle.
Lastly - “They that are also fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” Many of you have buried loved ones and have known that peace in realizing that you will see them again because they died in the Lord, but if Christ is still in the grave you will never see them again.
No wonder Paul said, If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. No more miserable people on the face of the earth than those who claim to know Christ if our Saviour and Captain is still in the grave and will never come out.
But if He did rise after three days and three nights and ascend into the heavens after forty days, then we can also believe Paul when he wrote to the church in Thessalonica, But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
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