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July 2, 2021 12:01 am
The heart and soul of the Christian faith is found in the announcement, "He is risen." Today, R.C. Sproul meditates on the resurrection of Christ and explains how our Lord's victory over death encourages us to suffer with hope.
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Coming up next on Renewing Your Mind. Don't laugh at this generation of kids score doing everything in their power to intoxicate their senses and to find some means of escape from the grim reality of the world we show them everyday. That's wisdom. If there is no resurrection. Let's eat what you drink must be married with go to Mardi Gras. Let's party until were drunk as we can break until we die because tomorrow it's all death is a reality for the question is what's going through this life.
Unfortunately, many people just ignore the inevitable.
For those who place their trust in Christ. What lies beyond the grave is nothing short of today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul will show us that the Christian faith has the answer for this dining room. My favorite poet of all time is Edgar Allen, imposes his work as you know, somewhat pessimistic. Indeed, at times macabre, and recently I had the opportunity to read a series of critical essays that Poe had written coding only write poetry but he also wrote technical literature about his craft and about general theories of aesthetics, beauty, that sort of thing, but in this particular essay, Poe gave his ideas of what the ideal poem should be. They went on to illustrate his idea of poetry by just setting down on paper how he went about composing his most famous poem, and of course, that most famous poem is called the Raven, let me just refresh your memory, not by reading the whole poem, but just the first couple of verses in the last couple verses must bear the other 97.
Remember how it starts once upon a midnight dreary here. The sonorous language while I pondered weak and weary over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore while I nodded nearly napping suddenly there came a tapping as if someone gently rapping rapping at my chamber door to some visitor I muttered tapping at my chamber door only this nothing more distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December and each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished tomorrow vainly had I sought to borrow from my books surcease of sorrow.
Sorrow for the lost one for the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore nameless scooter forevermore analyses alone thinking about the loss of Linda when he hears us tapping this wrapping up the good work you know what happens. He goes over and he sees that it is this ungodly fiendish bird and the bird comes in and has a one word vocabulary all the questions that the hero puts to this speaking party gets the same monotonous piercing reply nevermore until there's a crescendo of anguish that we reach then in the next of the last verse where the man screams out in his prostration profit said I sing of evil profit still bird or devil whether tempter center, whether tempest tossed New Year's sure desolate yet all undaunted on this desert land enchanted on this phone by horror on only truly, I implore, is there is there balm in Gilead only tell me I implore close the Raven never profits that I sing of evil profit still bird or devil by that heaven that bends above us by the God we both adore.
Tell this all with sorrow like Nick within the distant maiden. It's a class of sainted maiden whom the angels name when the class but rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name. Close the Raven nevermore is asking will I say here again.
On the other side will I be reunited Raven since no be that word are sign of parting bird or fiend.
I shrieked up started getting back into the tempest of the nights plutonium shorts leave no black plume as a token of the lie that thy soul is spoken leave my loneliness and broken quick. The bust above my door take. I think from out of my heart. Take thy form from my close the Raven nevermore in the Raven never flitting still is sitting still is sitting on the pallet but I was just above my chamber door, and his eyes have all the seeming of the demons that is dreamy in the lamplight or in streaming throws a shadow on the floor in my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be with shall be with some aesthetic experience but has a rational message is the message of total despair.
A man who looks into the pit of death and comes to the conclusion that there is nothing on the other side.
He doesn't try to dress it up with cosmetics, but his conclusion is one of total despair. I have to say to you from my own philosophical investigation let you know there only two basic worldviews that I think have any significance to them.
One is full or Judeo Christianity or on the other hand flat out nihilism.
I have intellectual contempt for those who want to play both ends against the middle don't have the guts to see that were playing a game who stakes our ultimate call. The apostle understood that when he had to minister to the folks in the church that he had begun at Corinth. We understand that Paul he has to address a problem that arises in one of his church is a church that had been beset by skepticism that was part of the culture of the day. The people there in current support raising the question of whether or not it was simply a matter of credulity to place one's faith and hope in life after death. We read in verse 12 is the 15th chapter, first Corinthians, this line of reasoning that I like you to follow carefully is that if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead. How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead. He said that there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. Now what you're going to see here is something that's not all that commonplace in the New Testament what you're going to see is a very close tightly expressed form of logical reason using an ancient method of reasoning that involves what's called the then conditional structure of reasoning. It was one made popular by the skeptic Zeno of Greek philosophy, where he took his opponent's argument and reduce them to absurdity. He took the people's arguments to their logical conclusion and showed that if you are logical. If you are consistent. If you believed a consequence of your thinking would lead you into abject nonsense as so what he does is that he goes through this process.
In a series of conditional reasoning statements and he begins very simply by saying let's consider this if there's no resurrection at all. If we have a universal negative here. Universal negatives do not allow for particular of permanent. If there are no resurrections and there can't be one resurrection. There is no resurrection from the dead, the manifestly Christ is not raised. Let's follow the thinking of Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless and so is your faith. I like the way Paul speaks here. He said hey don't give me this patronizing stuff about religion being good for this old know if religion is based upon a false premise that there is no corresponding reality to the hope that lies within us.
And let's face it, our preaching is an exercise in futility. Nothing could be more relevant than what we are sign from the bullets of this country and the faith that we express is useless.
It's useless if Christ is rice I talk about this every chance I get, because were living in a time in the history of the Christian church. We have seen all kinds of attempts to give us an abridged version of Christianity is a malaise in the supernatural anymore. I believe in the miraculous rumbling version verse and atoning – resurrections of dissensions and angels and all that stuff, Rudolph Bultmann, the German scholar says you can use modern chemotherapy. You can use electricity. You can use the conveniences of our culture and still believe in angels and virgin births.
So then, the church is left with a major problem in hand. When we do these billions and billions of dollars of investments we've made in these buildings and the influence of we do have in the culture and not to mention a whole couple of generations of men and women who have been ordained into the clergy who now have no other place to work. When we do.
We close our doors and say sorry, we were mistaken 70 in Europe, or do we try to rescue from this antiquated religion, something that still has contemporary value the ethics, for example, Jesus and so we will strip the supernatural elements away from the Christian faith and preserve the natural elements of prudence and insight from this Jewish rabbi and try to carry on in that way Paul the apostle had no time for that.
He thought that was infantile. It was sophomoric when it comes right down to what this is a kind of religion established by people want have their cake and eat it so we said let's face it, if Jesus is dead. There's no reason for me to attach any permanent significance to. There is no resurrection, our face is useless will have no time for Christianity without resurrection, because he understood that the heart and soul of the Christian faith. What made the Christian faith. The Christian faith was the announcement.
Not that you're supposed to love one another, but the announcement he is risen. That's what caused the attention of people in the first this unbelievable claim that a man had died and come back from S into life.
If Christ is not been raised, our preaching is useless, so is your faith more than that we are found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. There's a religious organization in this country called Jehovah witness what Paul is advocating here is that the rest of Christianity once it abandons its confidence in the resurrection, Christ should rename its organization. Jehovah's false witness and admit to the world that we have been lying for centuries because not only were we wrong about the central fact of resurrections, but we were bearing false witness against God the father because were saying that is God the father who raised God the son from the dead are not raised in Christ is not been raised in a price up and write your faith is futile and you are still in your sins and those who also have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. The thing for moment here you write distant apostle Paul was a position talks about those who fall asleep resorts to euphemisms here like my dentist or my dentist puts me in a dentist chair Naples at that needle says no this might cause a little discomfort's. I know this cannot hurt us is given to those euphemisms. Those who fall asleep, that is, those of you who had loved ones who have died are dead, say you have no reason to expect that you will ever see them again. You know when my father died when I was 17 years old psychiatrist could have a field day with me because I was haunted for 20 years by recurring nightmare and that nightmare was exactly the same.
It was his vivid and is intense every time that it came every time that I had this nightmare. I dreamed that my father was alive again in this dream when I saw him he was in the same hopeless, pitiable, emaciated conviction that he was before he died. And even though I was overjoyed to see him in my dream with this vivacity and intensity of imagery in the dream I went through once again the experience of utter hopelessness, knowing in the dream, but he was going to die again and I think that what my unconscious was saying to me for 20 years is RC Sproul. The thing you want more than anything else is the one Rios talk with what he asked for? Dolores RC if you could go to heaven I walked in the heaven and have an appointment with St. Peter's again to see any three people you want to see. See Jeremiah could see the apostle Paul Agassi Augustine, Aquinas, Edward Luther, would you want to see us and for some, assuming that then we can talk about Luther, the other guys I was what Paul is saying here and I'm not alone and that outline pulsing.
If Christ is not raised. Forget about saying your departed, if only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men I know in our culture were told that the only meaningful dimension of religion is what happens here and now in this world and what is nothing worse than these pie-in-the-sky people are always talking about heaven if I can have my pie-in-the-sky general not only easier because what the apostle Paul is saying is all we have is a religious experience and religious folks is confined and restricted to this world than we are of all of the people in this world the most to be pitied. I say to people who aren't Christians don't be hostile towards us. Don't be angry, hideous, because here we are throwing our lives away to a delusion is the site if Christ is not raised. The letter states drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Let's be restrained here in this. Don't laugh at this generation of kids who are doing everything in their power to intoxicate their senses and to find some means of escape from the grim reality of the world we show them every that's not stupid, that's wisdom. If there is no resurrection. Let's eat. Let's drink. Let's be merry. Let's go to Mardi Gras. Let's party until were drunk as we can break until we die because tomorrow it's all on the greatest arguments for life after death that was ever conceived was conceived by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, in an intricate philosophical form of practical reasoning were caught a size bottom line that you just simply have to believe in life after death. Because if you don't there is no ultimate basis for justice and if there's no on the basis for justice. There's no on the basis for ethics and if there's no ultimate basis for ethics that all of life becomes a preference and society becomes inevitably impossible because ultimately it's the preference of the one with the most power who control your destiny, so concepts as a practical necessity. We simply have to believe in God, and we simply have to believe in life after death, because without that life is meaningless. Dostoyevsky said it this way if there is no God all things are permissible and of all things are permissible and there is no such things right. Life is a cosmic truck. I want you to understand that when the CS expects that way and when Immanuel Kant speaks that with what they're doing is sister saying hey practical purposes, you better believe in Christ because get don't the options are so grim that life becomes intolerable, but a server philosopher look at that argument and say hey when is Nietzsche did. That's the problem we are convinced that life is meaningless. I would like Alice in Wonderland where we can to simply project our desires and say the reality is, as we would like to be working a believe in a resurrection, because without blinking a resurrection life would be a tall relation to look Paul does show us the greenness to the alternative to the resurrection of Christ here, but he doesn't present his case, he doesn't say to us believe that Christ rose from the dead because of you don't believe that life is intolerable. That's not what he argues.
Listen to what he says. He says the beginnings I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you by what you received in which you taken your stand. Several other things I received I passed on to you is of primary importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.
He was buried. He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures due to that phrase. According the Scriptures meant something because if I can show that this is something that the ancient books predicted for most of those people and settle the matter because they had such confidence in the transcendent accuracy of holy writ documented argument right there for the Jew. This is according to the Scripture today moves from the biblical to the empirical remedy says the appeared to Peter and then to the 12 and after that he appeared to more than 500 of the brothers at the same time, most of them are still living.
I know their names and address go check it out most of it was doing, though some have fallen asleep and then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles and last of all is one born out of due time. It may, I'm writing to you about abstract speculation I'm talking to you about a resurrection that 500 people more than one time witness and let is a gentleman I saw him.
This is the universal testimony of the New Testament writers of the other apostles that we declare you not cunningly devised myths and fables, but we do clearly what we've seen with our what we heard with Kari Harris when everyone of the disciples saw handled her and died for was the victory of one man over deaths with the New Testament declares was not an isolated incident but that this was the down payment for the human race that this is the firstborn of many brethren that this represented a cosmic victory over the ultimate enemy of our humanity, so that the conclusion that the apostle reaches in the 15th chapter is fantastic. He says therefore you know what that word therefore indicates the conclusion is coming there for my beloved brethren, be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord for inasmuch as you know that your labor in him is not in vain is the resurrection of Christ. That means that no amount suffering. No amount of grief. No amount of sorrow, no amount of loneliness. No amount of apparent hopelessness can ever be ultimate because Christ is risen, some suffering is what a wonderful promise is a promise that we find in Scripture that no affliction we face in this life is worthy to be compared with the glory that God has prepared for us in heaven.
Thank you for listening to Renewing Your Mind today as we wrap up Dr. RC Sproul series surprised by suffering.
This is not an easy subject. No one likes to suffer, but we need to be prepared for those times when were buffeted by the storms of life by anchoring ourselves to the promises of God found in his word. Dr. Spruill helps us do that in the series and were making it available to you six messages on a single MP3 CD disc request surprised by suffering when you contact us today with a donation of any amount you can do that email@example.com or you can simply call us with your gift at 800-435-4343. Today is the last day were making the series available to you for a donation of any amount so I hope you contact us right away request surprised by suffering by Dr. RC Sproul again. Her number is 800-435-4343 and her web address Renewing Your Mind.work. You also find a biblical perspective on topics like this from the trusted teachers and theologians who write for table talk magazine. Each issue also has daily guided Bible studies and subscribers have access to a growing library of back issues online. You can learn more and firstname.lastname@example.org I hope you'll join us next week as we feature what the doctors close most popular series foundations an overview of systematic theology, the Bible is a big book 66 books. In fact, that relate to each other, in perfect harmony to join is beginning Monday right here for Renewing Your Mind