Whatsoever Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
Does it really matter?  Some folks don't believe in God.  Some believe in God, but not Jesus; at least not the Jesus revealed in Scripture.  Some don't believe in resurrection; at least not a bodily resurrection. 
About 35 years ago, a Baptist seminary professor stated - "Jesus' body lies in some unnamed Syrian tomb, but His deathless spirit goes marching on."  this may seem noble, or even eloquent, but It is Heresy of the highest form, and was summarily dealt with.  "Bodily Resurrection is the well oiled bearing upon which our faith turns." author unknown.  Paul was contending (fighting) about this in 1st Cor. 15, where his strategy for apologetics is as follows.  "If Christ is not raised, then:"  
1) The message is meaningless - vs 14.  It is empty or void; even useless. On a given Sunday morning, we are wasting our time. We should have slept in. All of our witnessing is a joke. Our good works are for naught. There is no "Good News" to tell. The whole preaching of the Cross (1st Cor. 1;18) is the ultimate tragedy, as the Resurrection Evidenced Deity. "And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:" - Rom. 1:4   It also established (once and for all) His Eternal Lordship with all the Authority implied. "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living."  Rom. 14:9   
2) Faith would be Futile.  A dead savior could not give life to a dead people - see Eph. 2:1-4.   
3) Witnessing would be wrong - vs 15.  All the apostles, all liars. Jesus then could not have even risen to the level of a "good man", as he would have been a liar claiming He would rise again. 
4) Sin would be Sovereign. Think about it; If Sin killed Jesus, and He is still dead, than Sin is ultimately greater.  It (the resurrection) was a visible sign that the payment (sacrifice) was accepted.  "To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Rom. 3:26
5) Death is just darkness - vs 18.  Nugget:  This concept describes the balance of the world absent Christ.  Aristotle is revered as one of our great minds, and he said: "Death is a dreadful thing, for it is the end".  That's it, that's all he had. Yet 1st Thes. 4:13 and following describe the stark contrast between a believer dealing with death, and those "who have no hope".  Adrian Rogers said: "Don't put a question mark where God has put a period".  "It is appointed for each man once to die, and after that the judgment." Heb. 9:27   
6)  the Future is Fearful.  "If I can get a man to think about death for five minutes, I can get him saved." D. L. Moody.    
But let's turn the Spiritual Switch.  With every condemnation comes a cure, and all of these negatives are made positives; a laughing stock if you will. Faith is Fruitful. All His teachings are true, because the Resurrection is true. Our witnessing is worthy. All the testimonies, changed lives, martyrs, (Nugget:  No one dies for a lie) are to be celebrated. Rather than futile, we are Forgiven, Accepted, Declared Righteous, More than Conquerors, having Bold Access (to the very Throne of Grace), and Death after all, has No Sting.  In short, rather than being pitied, we are to be envied because of the Resurrection of Christ.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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