Risen! By Andrew Farley

Why is the resurrection SO important? Why is it so critical and crucial to the Christian faith? Why is it so important to you?
We can talk about how the cross is so important, but there is importance in also knowing why the resurrection is important.
Is it for us to know that Christ has power over death? Well, He’s already demonstrated His power over death when He raised people from the dead before the cross. He’s demonstrated His power and authority by healing the sick, and raising the dead..
So, again, why is the resurrection SO important?
Why is it important to the Christian faith?
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
1 Corinthians 15:3
We all have a story of how we were brought to believe; some of us may not have remembered the actual day and year, some of us may have remembered it as the time when they said the ‘Sinner’s prayer’ – but the main common point is that we all heard the Gospel, and at some point we were born in the Spirit when we came to believe. We hold fast in the Truth of Christ and our salvation and abundant life in Him. As we hear message after message, we would do well to hold fast to Christ each and every time. If we began hearing in faith, let us continue to hold fast by hearing in faith.
What are the things to hold fast in? What are the first things to believe in? You don’t need such a dramatic story – in fact, your story may be unremarkable, but it should all come together in the fact that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.
The enemy will definitely attack your story, but you really shouldn’t be intimidated if you know for a fact that your story has its origins and its totality in the fact that Christ died for our sins.
‘..and that He appeard to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.’ 1 Corinthians 15:5-8
Paul presents that we can have confidence in the fact that there are actual witnesses to Christ’s death and resurrection. The Gospel is not life-changing, but life exchanging. Paul wasn’t with the apostles. Paul was the outsider who didn’t have the experience of walking with Christ in His 3 years of ministry; He says he doesn’t fit, he didn’t have the same origin as a disciple, pointing out that he was even persecuting disciples, but yet he presents that even he had been blessed by Christ showing up to him.
This just points out that if Christ appeared to Paul, a killer of Christians, the total enforcer of the law, He is faithful and true to appear to us as well! Our sins are small, and Christ is so much bigger!
For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 1Co 15:9
Paul just keeps going, emphasizing how he was so dead wrong about God and Jesus Christ. He was the Church’s worst enemy but CHRIST STILL CHOSE HIM to write the majority of the New Testament – how great is that! God’s grace is just such a big deal!
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1Co 15:10
We weren’t save to sit on our hands to wait for Christ to return, but we were given the gift of life to participate in the life of Christ! Christ is alive in us, and we are alive in Christ! We are able not just to move, but to labor, to work hard, by the grace of God that is with us! By Christ’s finished work we have been made holy and acceptable to God – ALL of US, and not just us, but the grace of God alive in us!
Legalism says that we are alone in our performance… but Grace says it is Christ and all of Him that is our performance! Before creation it was all of Christ and none of us… why did He make us? He made us to fit with Him, and for Him to embrace us. By God’s grace we are light and made children of the light.
All of us has been merged with all of Christ. We wake up every day, being partners with Jesus Christ. Christ in us, us in Christ.
‘Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?’ 1Co 15:11-12
Why would we waste our time, and why would we find sense in focusing on Christ if there was no resurrection?
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 1Co 15:13-14
This begs the question, what is Christianity at the core? It’s a sad fact that a majority of people today who say they are Christians say that Christianity is about following the rules of the Bible. That wouldn’t make it any better or different from any other club or religion which has a code of ethics, a founder, and his sayings.
What makes Christianity different? JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD. He wasn’t just a teacher. He was either a lunatic, or a Lord who rose from the dead into life! Jesus either belongs to the psych ward, or He’s telling the truth!
We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 1Co 15:15-17
Many believers in Christ’s resurrection still believe that they are in their sins. These people still think that sin is an obstacle keeping them from God, when we ought to realize that (1) Christ has been raised, (2) the faith Christ has established in us is life and life abundant in us, and (3) we are NOT in our sins. Not just even DEAD to our sins, but totally taken away from our sins.
Our identity is Christ, and we ought to relate to God through Christ, our Savior, and NOT our sins. This is once-for-all forgiveness that was done through Christ’s finished work.
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1Co 15:19
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead 1Co 15:20-21
We have been moved from Adam to Jesus Christ – in other words, we have been in the timeline headed for death and futility, but by Christ we have been placed into life and abundance.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 1Co 15:22
Death was spread to all under Adam, but by Christ we would be made alive.
But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 1Co 15:23-24
Without the resurrection, Christianity is foolishness.
Christ has been raised. He IS risen!
You are no longer dead. You are no longer in your sins.
You are alive to God!
Are you celebrating your resurrection with Christ?
Let’s say WOW and THANK YOU to God!

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