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The Certainty of the Resurrection

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
March 21, 2024 12:00 am

The Certainty of the Resurrection

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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March 21, 2024 12:00 am

Stand firm in your certainty about the meaning of Christ's resurrection.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, March 21st. Today we'll begin a deep study of 1 Corinthians chapter 15. This chapter can help you become grounded and confident in the certainty of the Resurrection. So Paul begins in these first 11 verses and sets out sort of an introduction in the first three verses here of what he's going to say and all of these 58 verses have to deal with one subject in the Bible that everybody's interested in. There are a lot of subjects that many people are not interested in, but have you ever met anybody who was not interested in life after death?

I've never met anybody who wasn't interested in that, who wasn't interested in what's going to happen to us after we die. So Paul in this passage deals in the certainty of the Resurrection. In these first three verses, I want you to notice what he says as a little introduction here. He says, Now I make known to you, that is, that phrase means I want to draw special attention to a very solemn statement. That is this, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are being saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. Then he says, I delivered it to you as of first importance what I also received and then he defines what the gospel is.

Now I want you to notice something here in this very beginning. Paul says, I make known, that is, I want to draw special attention to you about this solemn statement and what he begins this very dynamic chapter with, he begins it with the gospel. Because the resurrection is the foundation of the whole gospel. If there is no resurrection, you and I are only hopers. That's all we are. We can only be hopers. We are like every other religious body in the world that has a God, some form of Savior and who believes in some form of existence after death. They're all hopers.

They have no assurance. They have no real confidence based on anything that is eternal or unquestionable, whereas the Christian does. He says, I want to draw your attention to this, that the gospel, the good news, the euangelion, the gospel which I, euangelizumai, which I have proclaimed to you with authority and power, which also you received, in which also you stand. Now, he says, the gospel which you received is the gospel in which you stand. That is, the foundation of your faith is the gospel which I delivered to you. And he's going to tell us in just a few moments what that gospel is. He says, your foundation, that is, your security is based on the gospel which I delivered to you. And I delivered it to you with authority and power.

And that's what you're standing in. And you see, you and I have only the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ upon which to find all of our hope. What assurance do you have this evening apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ? Not one iota of assurance. What does that mean for the person who's unsaved? The unsaved person tonight doesn't have any assurance of anything. Imagine living in this life of ours, the society in which we live, with absolutely no assurance of anything. And you could ask the man who walks in the street, do you have any assurance? And probably the only thing he would say is, if I have the assurance one of these days, I'm going to die. After that, what then?

I don't know. But the believer has a blessed, eternal, confirming, affirming, reassuring assurance. And that assurance is based on one particular facet of the gospel. And that is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which in itself validated everything he says and has given us hope. He said, I draw attention to this very solemn statement that the gospel which I preached to you, which you have received, in which you stand, which is your foundation, by which you are also being saved.

Now let me ask you a question. What in the world did Paul mean when he says the gospel in which you are being saved? That is a present tense word. For example, if you look in other passages, the Bible will use the aorist tense. In the past tense, you have been saved once and for all.

That is, it is a period at the end of a sentence. But the Bible speaks of salvation in three tenses. My spirit has been saved once and for all at one time. My body shall be saved in the future at the resurrection. Even this old body decaying in the grave shall be saved, transformed and resurrected in the likeness of Christ. But the soul of a man is in the process of continuously being saved. It is a man's spirit that is saved.

And the mind will demotion your personality, what you are. He is in the process of dealing with that on a constant basis, conforming us to his likeness. So when Paul says, if you hold fast the word which I preach to you, you hold fast the truth that I preach to you, he says, then you will be able to live in this life and do what?

And be victorious over those things that would trip you up. And he says, unless you believed in vain. Now he comes to remind them that the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he made known to them, which he preached to them, which they received and in which they stand, that is indeed their source of strength.

It is the resurrected Christ living within them. So he prefaces what he's going to say about the resurrection because he's about to say, listen, that everything I've said to you, all that I've preached to you, the whole gospel will find its foundation in the fact that Jesus Christ is the living resurrected Christ. Now he says, verse three, for I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, and here is the gospel he says that I received. Christ died for our sins.

Now listen to me carefully. He didn't say Christ died for us. If he'd have said Jesus died for us, so what? Others have died for others.

But what did he say? He said Christ died for what? Our sins. That is his death was what? The substitutionary, sacrificial, personal, adequate, sufficient death on the cross that atoned for, paid the penalty for all the sin of mankind. The gospel begins with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, not for mankind, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ for man's sins. What man needed was redemption.

He didn't need somebody to die for him. He needed to have his sins forgiven. He needed to be redeemed from his sins. And Christ died, he says, for our sins.

How? According to the scriptures that it was promised in the word. And that he was buried. Why does he always say he was buried? Because that's the finality of it all.

He died and it was final. And then he says, if you'll notice, and that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures. Listen, he begins right here, laying the foundation for everything he's going to say because here is the promise of the resurrection. And I don't need to take time to go through the Old Testament to show you that in the law, in the poets and in the prophets, you have those indications and those scriptures that refer to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He says, listen, that Jesus Christ was crucified.

What? According to the scriptures. It's taught in the Old Testament that Jesus Christ was buried and rose again.

What? According to the scriptures. So that the promise of the resurrection was given to us in the Old Testament. And Paul says, I want to remind you of the gospel that I preached to you. And the gospel I preached to you was that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins. He was buried and he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. That is, the resurrection has been promised down through the ages. Then he says, beginning in verse five, he says, here's the proof. And so he starts and he says that Jesus Christ, according to the scripture, was raised and that he appeared to Cephas.

Then to the 12. Listen to what he said. He says, after that, he appeared to more than 500 brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep. He said, listen, if there's any question in your mind about what these folks were having hallucinations not. Now, one person may have a hallucination, but not 500, not 500 at one time. And he says more than that.

He says, I'll tell you what. If you want to meet some of these folks, the majority of them are still alive. And this was about 25 years after that.

Most of them are still alive. And what Paul is simply doing is saying this, that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is absolutely unquestionable and without a doubt a living truth. And he says, he appeared to Cephas.

Then to the 12 and 500, some of whom have already gone to sleep in Jesus. But if you really want to meet somebody who saw him after he was resurrected, there are many of them still left. Then he says, then he appeared to James. This is James, Jesus' half-brother. Now, we don't know exactly when he appeared to James either. But why do you suppose he singles out James?

Because James was his half-brother. Listen, there's no way for us to comprehend the emotional turmoil that must have developed in the heart of these men when they began to discover this Christ really has risen from the dead, who he is. This same James who became a leader in the church, a statesman there in Jerusalem. He appeared to him, the Bible says. And then he says, then to all the apostles in several times. And last of all, as it were, to one untimely born, he appeared to me also. Now, listen, he says, I'm the least of the apostles, not even fit to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God.

Now, don't you know that Paul, even though he knew he was forgiven, he could never forget. He says, I persecuted the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. And he says, I'm not even fit to be called an apostle. He says, but I am what? Listen to this.

I just love this. Listen, but by the grace of God, I am what I am. Listen, the next time somebody says to you, well, he's a self-made man.

Then, brother, you just chalk that off. If a man's a lost man, you absolutely true, he is self-made and he'll always be self-made. Self-made men don't get to heaven.

The only man who ever gets to heaven, the only woman who gets to heaven is the man or woman who is saved by the grace of God. Listen to what Paul said. He said, by the grace of God, I am what I am. When Paul recalled the Damascus Road experience and how he was headed in the wrong way, and by the grace of Almighty God, God reached down. Listen, and if anybody could ever believe in the sovereignty of God, Saul of Tarsus believed.

And listen, there was no merit in him. Listen, if you're one of those persons saying, one of these days when I get straightened that I'm going to get saved, I'm going to show you, you will never get straightened out to get saved. God doesn't wait for men to get straightened out to get saved.

You know what God does? He comes bursting in right in the middle of your life, convicting you of sin, revealing you the person of Jesus Christ and will save you in a split second. Listen, Saul of Tarsus wasn't getting ready to get saved. God simply intervened into his life.

And what did he do? He revealed himself in a split second and the apostle, that is Saul of Tarsus, discovered the grace of God. That's why he says in Galatians, he says, listen, from my mother's womb, he says, God set me apart to preach the gospel. Let me tell you something. When you see somebody, you think, brother, that's a hopeless case.

There's no such thing. The apostle Paul on his way to persecute the church and God in his sovereign grace did what? He just reached down and saved him. You think Paul would ever take any credit for being saved? He says, by the grace of God, I am what I am. Now watch this verse. He says, listen to this, and his grace toward me did not prove empty. The blood of Jesus Christ is what continuously cleansing us from all sin. He says we're clothed in the righteousness of Christ. But when I shirk that, when I rebel against that, when I insist on having my own way and doing my own thing, what I'm doing, I am disgracing the grace of God, which is the only hope of mankind. And Paul said, listen, he said the grace of God did not prove vain, but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God in me.

Let me ask you a question. How grateful are you tonight? Listen, you didn't know anything. You were absolutely ignorant until, by the grace of God, somebody began to feed you some truth. By the grace of God, God brought you to a point one day in your life. You've given preachers and evangelists and churches and mothers and dads and all kinds of people credit.

You can forget that. God brought you to the eternal moment in your life, and he confronted you with a gospel. He may have spoken it through a preacher, an evangelist, or a mother or a father, but it is God Almighty in his sovereign work who brought you to that eternal moment in your life, the crucial moment in your life, and he brought you to confession and repentance, and he provided the faith, and he, by his grace, saved you, and he, by his grace, has given you assurance.

You and I, the only thing we can do is say hallelujah, praise the Lord, and shout glory to God. Because, friend, you can't even boast of the faith. No, it's my faith.

No, it's not. The Bible says that salvation is of God. How much of it?

All of it. Who convicted you, the Holy Spirit? Who gave you understanding of the truth, the Holy Spirit? Who gave you the gift of faith to believe, the Holy Spirit? Who brought you to the moment of eternity, and you said, I do receive Jesus as my Savior? Do you think for one second that was your decision?

I want to tell you, my friend, it was not. You can't take any credit tonight for being saved, and God help the person who takes credit for getting you saved. Friend, the grace of God is this unmerited, undeserved, incomparable, indescribable, forgiving, loving, eternal goodness and mercy bestowed upon us by a God who loves us in a way we'll never be able to comprehend. And, friend, the last thing in the world a Christian ought to have in his life is pride. You know, wherever a single one of us would be, if it weren't for the grace of God, I'll tell you where, we'd be in the gutter. Listen, you may be a millionaire, but you'd be in a spiritual gutter.

I'm saying all that to say this. It is by the grace of God that you and I saved. All grace and nothing of yourself. Listen, it's all wrapped up in one word. In a given, split moment, sovereignly controlled by Almighty God, He chose to reach down and save you by His grace.

And that's what makes it amazing grace. How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. Once was lost, but listen, I didn't find myself, but now I'm found.

I was blind, but He made me to see. And I want to ask you, my friend, do you know tonight that you're saved? Are you waiting for a convenient time? Are you waiting till you're going to decide when you're going to be saved? Then I want to tell you, you don't understand the grace of God, the sovereign power of God. In Paul's introduction to the whole resurrection message is this. Promised in the Old Testament, proven through these sightings, but Paul says, listen, he says, you want to listen to this. Paul says, you want to know why I believe in the resurrection?

Personal experience. I saw Him, and I've watched His grace work in my heart. Let's just pray together. Oh, Father, forgive us for ever being proud to think that we ever did anything except just respond to the Holy Spirit who gave us the power to respond. Lord, forgive us for any time we've ever boasted, that we've ever done anything in leading anybody else to Christ. We may have been a tool through whom you spoke or through whom you showed somebody the truth, but it was all you. And, Father, we're so prone to forget where we could be were it not for you, that where we are, we're not here because we deserve it.

We're here out of love and grace and mercy and tenderness beyond our description and our understanding. And, Father, I want to pray for somebody tonight who's unsaved. Oh, God, help them to see you'll save them right tonight, right here and now. You'll bring them to an absolute total change in their life, and your grace will perform it for them.

That one who thinks they've been too bad too long, remind them that they've never persecuted the church, haven't killed people, haven't done all the things that Paul has done, and even if they had, when making the difference, your grace is sufficient. You're willing to save them tonight if they're willing to trust you as their Savior. And we ask, dear God, tonight, in Jesus' name, that somebody in whose heart the Holy Spirit has tugged tonight would say, yes, I want to be saved. I sense God dealing with me. I don't understand it, but I know He'll give me understanding. Somebody is my prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-21 02:47:45 / 2024-03-21 02:55:31 / 8

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