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A Look At The Resurrection!

Acts 17:16-34

Job, a broken man sat in ruins near his home.
All his earthly possessions had been destroyed.
The lives of his children had been snuffed out by tragic events.
As Job pondered the events in his life, and thought about the happier times now gone,
he, in utter despair asks the question, "If a man die, shall he live again?"

You may want to ask the same question today, as have millions throughout the ages.
If one dies, can that person live again?

It comes to us on the highways, on the battlefields, and at the end of a long life, or illness.

Death is a fact of life. Death is feared by our society.

Today, I want to talk about life, not death.
But we cannot talk about life without at least mentioning death.

The Bible has much to say about death.
" . . .Man is destined to die once." Hebrews 9:27 says.

1 Peter 1:24 states:
"All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall

The Bible does talks about death, and it does so many times in the context of life.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die
." (John 11:25-26)

Death has been conquered.
For the believer there is no fear of it, for death becomes life!

The resurrection took priority in the witnessing and the preaching of the followers
of Jesus in the early church
The Christian message has always been based on the fact that Christ rose from the dead.
There is no question about it.
It is simply accepted as fact.

Our passage of Scripture tells of Paul having a confrontation with some intellectuals from Athens,
which was the center of Greek culture and religion.

"When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered,
but others said, 'We want to hear you again on this subject.'
A few became followers of Paul and believed
." (Acts 17:32-34)

Notice three different reactions to Paul's preaching.
Some sneered, some procrastinated, and some believed.

That is how people have always reacted when they hear about the resurrection.

How do you react?

We must remember that the resurrection is the foundation of our faith.
Without the resurrection, faith is meaningless.
" . . .If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." (1 Cor.15:14 )

Jesus' resurrection is the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4:
"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins
according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures
These are biblical facts.

The details of the resurrection of Jesus are among the best attested to in all of history

Josephus, a Jewish historian, who lived and wrote sometime before 100 AD said,

"Now there was about this time, Jesus a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man;
for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.
He drew over to him many Jews, and also many of the Greeks.
This man was the Christ.

And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him from the first
did not forsake him for he appeared to them alive on the third day,
the divine prophets having spoken these and thousands of other wonderful things about him.
And even now, the race of Christians, so named from him, has not died out

Paul provides proof by naming actual eyewitnesses to the resurrection.
He names Peter, and James, and all of the apostles.
In fact, Jesus was seen by more than five hundred people on one occasion.

Jesus rose from the dead!
Five hundred people could not have been deceived!

Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, and that is that.
The resurrection remains as the cornerstone of the Christian faith.
Is it also yours?

Paul wrote, "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep
." (1Cor 15:19-20) The very last enemy of life -- death -- has been destroyed.

An old legend tells of a parish priest who found a branch of a thorn tree twisted around
so that it resembled a crown of thorns.
Thinking it to be a symbol of the crucifixion of Christ, he took it into his chapel
and placed it on the altar on Good Friday.

Early on Easter morning, he remembered what he had done.
Feeling, it was not appropriate for Easter Sunday, he hurried into the church to clear it away
before the congregation came.

But when he came into the church, he found the thorn branches blossoming with beautiful roses.
What a great illustration!
The starkness of death turned into blossoming life.

There is no hope, without the resurrection.
Only in Christ can we face an eternal future with certainty.
The resurrection is the ultimate proof of God's love for his people.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life
." (John 3:16)

Christ died as a sacrifice for our sin,
The resurrection was God's stamp of approval of Christ's work of redemption.
Oh how much God loves us you and me!

Yet, some will procrastinate -- will put Him off.
Some will say that they want to hear more -- sometime -- but not just now.

I read about a man who sought to win the affection of a certain lady for 42 years
before she finally said, "Yes."
The couple, both 74, were married recently.

For more than 40 years, the persistent, but rather shy man slipped a weekly love letter
under his neighbor's door.
But she continually refused to answer.

Finally, after writing 2,184 love letters, without ever getting a spoken or written answer.
This shy man, eventually summoned up enough courage, to go to her in person.
He knocked on the door of the reluctant lady and asked for her hand.
To his delight and surprise, she accepted.

Now, think of how long God has been inviting many to receive His gift of salvation -- maybe some even here.

Through the ages, God extended His message of love to His people with no response.
So, He wrapped up is message in the person of His only Son, Jesus!. Do you believe? Christ has overcome death for you, and for me.
Trust Him now as your Saviour and Lord!

Sermon By Dr Harold L. White
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