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April 15, 2022 4:00 am
Paul is acting here like an attorney for the defense of the resurrection. This is powerful substantial firm convincing irrefutable testimony to its validity, and of Christ rose then he is my Lord and my guy if he rose, he is the Messiah and he is the Savior in the death of her and the sin bearer, but perhaps his most important contribution to mankind was when he set out to examine the evidence for Christ's resurrection and follow it wherever it led after a thorough study. He concluded this there was more evidence supporting the resurrection of Jesus than just about any event in human history. Now what evidence did Greenleaf find an what made it so persuasive. John MacArthur shows you today on grace to you.
He calls his Good Friday lesson convincing testimony to the resurrection of John on this Good Friday. Let me ask a personal question, how do you prepare for resurrection Sunday. What does Easter weekend look like in the life of John MacArthur will traditionally we've always had a Good Friday service and it's built around the Lord's table. We we celebrate communion.
It's a time to look at the cross, not only for the theological realities of the cross. But beyond that, that we might worship our Savior, who gave his life for us as a time of joy Thanksgiving.
It's a time of heart searching. It's a time of confession is a time of repentance. There's a combination and I guess is the way that I would explain it. There's a combination in a Good Friday service of the joy of the accomplishment of Christ on the cross, which purchased my redemption and the sadness about my own sinfulness. As I come to the Lord's table on Good Friday. It is obviously with a heavy heart realizing that I freely accepted his salvation, but I still court sin in my life.
So there's the joy of forgiveness along with the sadness of disobedience that all of us have to deal with, but I think it's that kind of thing and it it should have that kind of sober reality because I think that's how you have to approach the cross. There's profound sadness when you realize that Christ is not suffering for anything he did, but he suffering for for everything I did. So the idea from the pastoral standpoint is to help people understand that it's their sin that put him there. I think about this every time we come to Good Friday. My sin is what he paid for their how can I willfully then entertain the very sin that killed Christ, but we do whenever we sin, as believers, we are acting out the very sins which caused him to die and if we say we love him we wouldn't inflict that pain on him again. So I think it's a time of deep heart searching as well as a time of joy. That's right. And thank you Jon, I think that will help a lot of our listeners have a more worshipful Easter now friend turn to first Corinthians chapter 15 as John shows you how you can trust and defend the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Here's the lesson. The resurrection is so critical to us that there is no Christianity without it there is no gospel without it there is no hope. Without it, that is why throughout history, the resurrection has been attacked and assaulted, even down to the very present time is also why Christians have been imprisoned and embattled and persecuted and assaulted and beaten and executed, but the world was never been able to cause the church to give up its confidence in the resurrection it has always been and always will be the foundation of our faith, and thus it is the point of attack.
Scripture anticipates that. That's why the New Testament marshals its forces to give testimony to the resurrection in the earliest of the writings of the New Testament, Matthew and Mark.
There is clear evidence of the resurrection and the earliest of the epistles. First Corinthians. There is an entire chapter on the resurrection. First Corinthians chapter 15 this great chapter in first Corinthians 15 opens up with Paul's defense on what we would call direct grounds. This is irrefutable testimony. Paul is acting here like an attorney for the defense of the resurrection.
This is powerful substantial firm convincing irrefutable testimony to its validity, and of Christ rose then he is my Lord and my God and if he rose, he is the Messiah and he is the Savior and the death conqueror and the sin bearer and so the testimony of these witnesses comes against any denials of this resurrection.
Let's look at the first category of testimony, the testimony of the church. The testimony of the saved verse one. Now I make known to you brother in the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received in which also you stand. By which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached you unless you believed in vain.
Paul starts out with an emphatic introduction I make known to you, brother, and I am affirming the gospel to you. I am declaring the gospel which I preached to you when he was with them the gospel, which they heard which they believed, by which they were saved and in which they continue to stand and persevere and what he is saying here is my message is what you have already believed. My message is what you have already experienced. My message is what has made you what you are the living church you received. You stand in it that's perfect tense.
By the way pretense in the Greek means something that happens in past time with ongoing effect you received it and you believed it, and you took your stand on it and you are still standing there. You entered into the realm of faith and you're still there. That is to say, the permanent condition. The permanent experience the permanent state of the Corinthian church is evidence of a risen Christ. You have been transformed by faith in that gospel by that living Christ and the verb you are saved is present tense. You are continually saved and it emphasizes perseverance you received it and now you continue to stand in it, and to continue to be saved by it. Salvation is not just something happens in the past. Justification happened in the past. Sanctification is an ongoing reality we are being saved. We are constantly being delivered from the power of sin someday to be delivered from even the presence of UR he says living testimony to the power of the resurrection of Christ because you have believed in you are experiencing the salvation that Christ provided in his death and resurrection. This, by the way, is an essential element to the gospel. How else can you explain the church. How else can you explain the ongoing power of the church.
How else can you explain conversion salvation sanctification. Our experience with the living Christ. You are even today, testimony to the truth of the resurrection. Unless there's a caveat see it in verse two. Unless you have believed in vain. There are people who believe with no effect.
That's what it means to believe with no impact to believe useless leak is a superficial faith. It only qualifies you to be a demon because the demons believe to some Paul is just simply saying if your faith is saving faith as evidenced by holding fast the word never denying the word, never rejecting the word of the gospel the truth it saves. If you are holding fast to that in persevering in that faith, then you are the living testimony to the truth of the resurrection.
That's the first place you go you look at the church and you see the living Christ alive in his people as a second line of of evidence.
When you think about the resurrection and that is in verses three and for the testimony of Scripture testimony of Scripture. For I delivered you.
Verse three as of first importance what I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. If anybody would say to me once the gospel what is the gospel. This is the passage I would go to because verse one says I make known to you brother and the gospel.
The gospel with the good news which I preached to you, and then as an aside, which you received in which you stand.
By which your saved if your faith is the real thing that goes back to the beginning. For I delivered to you, which is another way of saying I make known to you the gospel which I preached to you, and here again I delivered to you as of first importance that is the principal thing here is the principal thing.
What I received I received this gospel directly and it is this that Christ died for our sins. That is, substitutionary death in behalf of sinners paying the penalty for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he implied being genuinely dead was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures that is the gospel that is the gospel, no presentation of the gospel can leave any of this out, but he said look at the end of verse three in the universe for it all happened according to the Scriptures. What is he mean by that. He simply means that his death was prophesied in the Old Testament and was prophesied in numerous ways. There are some veiled indicators of it such as God killing the first animal in the garden to clothe the sinful Adam and Eve. God makes the first sacrifice to cover sin such as Genesis 22 Abraham and Isaac go to the mountain. Isaac lifts neighbor and lifts the knife to plunge and Isaacs Artois from the sacrifice God stops them provide substitute animal to be a sacrifice in God is indicating that he will provide the lamb sacrifice.
The entire sacrificial system laid out to Moses, with all of the animals were being slaughtered, none of which could take away anybody sin.
Picture a final sacrifice. In fact, the whole idea of the sacrificial system was to create massive frustration. It was relentless because sin was relentless in the temple when they offered sacrifices were like butchers massacring animals by the tens of thousands knee-deep in blood. It was a horrific system, but never ever was there a sacrifice that ended at all until Christ. Every one of the sacrifices pictured one who would come in Isaiah, laid it out in very clear terms. There will come one, the suffering servant, you have no beauty that we should desire him. He will be a root out of Jesse. He'll come down the line of David. The messianic one, and he will bear our sins, and he will bear our transgressions, and he will die for us to make peace and reconciliation with God, he will be wounded for us, but that same Isaiah 53 chapter also says that he will be given a place with the great, and he will be elevated and exalted when you come down to verses 10 to 12 of Isaiah 53 you see that that's not the end of the story even though he bears our iniquities and bears our sins. He's going to have a place with the great why because he's coming out the other side of the grave. The Old Testament made that clear as well. You go back to some 16 and Psalm 16 is the testimony to the Messiah's resurrection that stands above all the rest in the Old Testament listen to what David says and it doesn't refer to him will show you that in a minute. Psalm 16 I have set the Lord continually before me. Because he's at my right hand I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad my glory rejoices. My flesh also will dwell securely. This is the Messiah talking thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol or the grave, neither wilt thou allow thy holy one to undergo decay, thou wilt make known to me the path of life in thy presence is fullness of joy in their right hand there are pleasures forevermore. The psalmist says there is a resurrection. The Messiah is going to go through the grave and out the other side without ever being corrupted when Peter stood up to preach look at acts chapter 2. It was the day of Pentecost. He stood up and he gave this great message.
Verse 22 men of Israel, listen to these words. Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles.
Wonder signs which God performed through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know this man delivered up by the predetermined plan. That's the primary cause and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross that the secondary cause by the hands of godless men and put them to death and God raised him up again, putting an end of the agony of death since it was impossible for him to be held in power for, and here he quotes some 16 David says I love him I was always beholding the Lord in my presence. He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad my tongue exults. Moreover my flesh also will abide in hope because there will not abandon my soul to Hades, or she'll nor allow thy holy one to undergo decay that was made known to me the way of life that will make me full of gladness with thy presence out Peter pulls that prophecy under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit applies to the Messiah in verse 29 says brother and I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David, that he both died, was buried in his tomb is with us today can't be David in view he still dead physically bodily were not talking about David. Verse 31. What was David writing about. He looked ahead spoke of the resurrection of the Christ that he was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh suffer decay this Jesus God raised up, again, to which we are all witnesses.
Psalm 16 wasn't about David. It was about Messiah and so the Old Testament is witness to the fact that the Messiah would come, he would be the final sacrifice, God ended the sacrificial system. When Jesus had finished his sin, bearing so when we look at the resurrection. What evidence do we find the testimony of the living church. The testimony of the Scriptures. Thirdly, the testimony of I witnesses you cannot underestimate the power of prophecy powerful testimony that God said it would happen, and it happened centuries later. Nor can you discount the testimony of eyewitnesses verse five. After that, he appeared to Cephas or Peter Simon Peter, then to the 12.
After that, he appeared more than 500 brother one time, most of whom remain until now, these eyewitnesses are still around, then verse 70 appeared to James and to all the apostles. There for a moment.
Human courts always base their adjudications if they can on eyewitness account.
Circumstantial testimony is secondary is fraught with problems.
As we all know testimony of eyewitnesses is vital, especially if there are two or three eyewitnesses in which things can be can buy would think to be confirmed, especially if they are intelligent, competent sound in mind ethical maintain integrity, and that's why Paul appeals to this, he appeared to Cephas appeared to Peter. Now Peter wouldn't be a good candidate to make up a resurrection he wouldn't be that Peter was really having a hard time. The last encounter he had with Jesus. He was confronted by Jesus because he had just denied him on three different occasions at least well as many as six different times on those three occasions that you would think that having sort of ended his life with Jesus in that tragic way. Our Lord might've found somebody else to appear to how amazing that he appeared first Peter Peter who denied him, denied him with an oath denied him angrily and yet he appeared to Peter.
The fact that Peter could give evidence of the risen Christ is clear indication that he did in fact see the risen Christ and then it says in verse five he appeared to the 12 and he says in verse six. Add to that more than 500 brother and at one time, most of whom remain until now. As I said, 20, 25 years later, some have fallen asleep kind of a biblical way of saying died because for the believer.
It's only a temporary thing, not a permanent one.
The majority are still alive for 2025 years Cordova century given telling about this experience that it's pretty far and wide.
Believe me they had said to everyone, I saw the risen Christ 500 eyewitnesses.
Then in verse seven he appeared to James, that's another interesting choice.
Probably not James the son of Zebedee or James the son of Alpheus. The two in the apostolic band probably James, the Lord's brother because he's distinguished from all the apostles here rather than being one of them. James the brother of our Lord, who according to John 75, along with his other brothers didn't believe in him. They were the children of Joseph and Mary didn't believe in him.
Peter was a denier of Christ, and so was James and those the only two names there. The Lord takes people who who are so objective in their testimony because there was no predisposition to create this may have well been the last days of Jesus life generated some wonder on the part of James, but when James saw Christ alive. He believed that he became the leader of the Jerusalem church to unlikely eyewitnesses and then all the apostles and there were repeated appearances. According to acts one for 40 days he kept appearing to them and teaching them things concerning his kingdom and then one other name. The name is not given, but we know it. Last of all, as were to one untimely born, he appeared to me also.
Paul is another unlikely person. If you wanted an eyewitness of the you want somebody to fabricate the resurrection he wouldn't pick Paul. He didn't believe anything about Jesus. He's the least likely mean absolutely the least likely let's call him the special witness number four. You have the eyewitnesses in verses five through seven.
You have a special witness in verse eight through 10. He says I am the least of the apostles which ties into what he said in verse eight is one untimely born.
I'll explain that I'm not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me didn't prevail. I labored even more than all of them yet not I but the grace of God with me. He says look Peter the denier.
Peter, the vacillating Peter the coward, James the unbeliever and Paul the on timely born incredible statement really in the Greek top X from IT, Ektachrome IT eczema means a premature birth day a premature birth control. Marti is an aborted fetus.
The abortion called the abortion called the dead fetus. This is amazing depicts a coward and an unbeliever, and the lowest of the low, a persecutor of the church. I'm worse than Peter denier I'm worse than James.
The unbeliever I'm the enemy, but we all have seen the risen Christ an unlikely trio of witnesses who would never fabricate the resurrection and then finally, and this is powerful. There is the testimony of the common message testimony of the church. The Old Testament Scriptures, the eyewitnesses, the special witness Paul and the testimony of the common message. This is very powerful.
It's amazing to me. Again, the economy of words which the Bible says so much. Verse 11 whether then it was I or the day that is, the apostles and the rest of the eyewitnesses, the 500 and everybody else so we preach what we preach back to verse one I make known to your brother in the gospel which I preached to you, whether it's me or whether it's any of them. We all preach, and you believe this is powerful stuff.
What were you saying I'm saying this they all only preach one thing there wasn't a debate there and there were some preachers that he rose and some said he didn't, there were some said well you know we want them to rise so much that we got this sort of a we worked ourselves up until we really believed it because we wanted it so badly. There were some who said, well, there was an apparition that appeared was actually an apparition was in a resurrection other said it was a resurrection not really was a just appeared to be there and it was a figment of our imagination. It was a sort of a hallucination was mass hysteria. There were others that said no it was just really his spirit who rose just that. The good feelings we had about Jesus made them live like somebody we love dies and they stay alive in our memory and bottle about every one of those things I'm talking you about. You can read in modern liberal theology is no common message today. This is the modern era, but in the era of the New Testament, there was one message he rose we preached it and you believed it. There was no diversity within Christianity, there was no diverse message. And there was no diverse faith. The testimony of a common message. We all believed it because it was true.
We all preach that whoever we were wherever we were, and you all believed it is that commonality that is so powerful and it went on and on.
It's now 20 years 25 years and and Paul is still preaching. It goes on another decade and another into the 760s and 70s 80s 90s and John Penn's the gospel and concludes with a great chapter I read and it's still the same message and they all believed it and they all preached it and they all believed and it's the same today the gospel is the Christ died for our sins, was buried, and he was raised from the dead, according to the Scriptures that is the gospel. If you believe and confess Jesus is Lord, you will be saved.
This is grace to you with John MacArthur.
Thanks for being with us today. John showed you convincing testimony to the resurrection. That was the title of his message here on grace to you and now friend. Let me encourage you to seize opportunities to talk about Christ's sacrifice with your family this weekend from the little ones to the older adults and let us know how John's Bible teaching has helped prepare for your Easter celebration.
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Staff I'm Phil Johnson. Wishing you and your family a blessed resurrection Sunday celebration and be here next week as John looks at how the simple truth of the gospel can help you face life's most complex challenges be starting a series titled the foolishness of God with another half hour of unleashing God's true set a time on Mondays, grace to