Bible Faith Fellowship: Substance Over Form

The Resurrection of Truth

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Barry Johnson

The Resurrection of Truth The Resurrection of Truth

Date 2013-03-31
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Document (PDF) BFF-20130331-TheResurrectionOfTruth.pdf

Call to Worship

In Luke 7:22, “Jesus answered and said to (the two followers of John the Baptist who had been sent to Jesus to ask if He was the Coming One), ‘Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.’ And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

In Luke 24:46, “Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.’”

Message

We are gathered together today in the name of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. By the profession of His own mouth, John 1, Jesus was at the beginning with God; all things were made through Him; in Him was life; He was, at the beginning, and still is, the Word of God; He became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, full of grace and truth. We are here this Easter Sunday, to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus after the Crucifixion, to celebrate the Resurrection of the Word of God, to celebrate the resurrection of Truth incarnate on Earth and in heaven.

In John 3:16-17 is the most well-known passage about our relationship to Jesus Christ. As recorded there, Jesus Himself said to Nicodemus, the Pharisee: “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

This Jesus Christ was then, and is today and eternally is, the Messiah (Hebrew, Maschiach). This Messiah, the one and only Messiah, fulfilled the Old Testament, historical prophecies, in His steadfast, humble, service to God, and ultimately, in and by His death on the Cross. He was then raised up from the dead, by God the Father, in the Resurrection. Thus, the Truth of Life, the Truth and the Life, was resurrected by the authority and power of God. As mere humans, we must live our lives so as to resurrect the Truth, which is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, in us, and through us, every day, all day, every day, of our lives. That is our challenge: to birth and re-birth in our lives, daily, the resurrection of the Truth, for the glory of God.

Easter brings us each year to a special season in the church body, a season of re-invigorating our faith, by again immersing ourselves, almost as if afresh in baptismal waters, in the knowledge of the prophecy, of the promise, of the power, of the peace and of the perpetual eternity of the Kingdom of Heaven.

As we grow together today, in wisdom, from gaining by the work in us of the Holy Spirit, a deeper and more complete knowledge, understanding and discernment of the whole Word of God, let us be guided throughout this day, and throughout every day to come, by Jesus’ message as He began preaching in His earthly ministry, Matthew 4:17, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Repentance from sin is our daily devotion and message, the daily call on our lives, for the kingdom of heaven is always at hand for us. At hand? Yes, because it is appointed to each man to die according to God’s timing and we never know what each day holds for us, but we know Who holds each day. So, daily, His kingdom is at hand for us and we should live daily in and for the resurrection of the Truth in our lives.

Scriptures bring us two important prophecies about Jesus: (1) that He is the Son of God and came to Earth to save us; and (2) He died on the Cross in atonement for our sins and His resurrection is affirmation of God’s plan for the eternal lives of people.

To explore these two important prophecies, both of which their complete fulfillment in the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, we will bring this down into three questions:

  1. What are the Old Testament Prophecies of the Messiah, the Son of God, Who Would, and Did, Come to Earth to Save Man;
  2. What does The Resurrection of Jesus Christ Mean: It Affirms and Implements God’s Plan for Reconciliation with the People He Created; and
  3. What happens When the Truth is Resurrected in Us, in Me?
(1) The Old Testament Prophecies of the Messiah, the Son of God, Who Would, and Did, Come to Earth to Save Man

Moses (circa, 1500 B.C.) gathered the history of his people and, with the inspiration of God, caused the Torah, the first five books of The Bible, to be written down and perpetuated, even unto today: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

In the Torah, Moses clearly shows us that the Messiah has been prophesied since the end of the utopia of The Garden of Eden, then through Abraham, Jacob, Balaam the Prophet, and through Moses Himself:

  1. Genesis 3:15 [to Satan, the serpent], “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel.” This most early prophecy validates the virgin birth of the Son of God through the seed of a woman, not involving the seed of any man. And it explains the template of all history: of the sin warfare, and of the physical suffering of Jesus.
  2. Genesis 22:18 [the Angel of the Lord speaking to Abraham, (circa, 2100 B.C.)] a promise and a vow), “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
  3. Genesis 49:10 [Jacob, circa 2000 B.C., blessing and prophesying to his twelve sons, who were to become the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel], “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” The “scepter” blends the concept of power and authority into the prophecy of the Messiah. To this day a scepter is understood as an ornamental staff, sometimes, as in the SC and in the US Houses of Representatives, called a “mace”, carried by or for someone of ruling power, to express their authority, thus commingling the concepts of power and authority. Jesus Himself said, Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Also, here in this Genesis passage, the reference to “Shiloh” is to the role of the Messiah as the mediator (conciliator, peacemaker) to remove the sin enmity between God and the people, which has existed since Adam and Eve, through obeying Satan instead of God, fell from God’s grace in the Garden of Eden. This prophecy says the Messiah will come in authority, wield power, and make peace between God and man.
  4. Numbers 24:16-19 [the Prophet Balaam, speaking to Balak the king of the Moabites, said], “The utterance of him who hears the words of God, and has the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, with eyes wide open: ‘I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult. And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession, while Israel does valiantly. Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, and destroy the remains of the city.’” Balaam was a contemporary of Moses (circa 1500 B.C.) and Balaam provided revelation of that sign, the Star, that later came over Bethlehem, drawing the Wise Men. Balaam blended into the prophecy of the coming Messiah that the Messiah would defeat evil powers, which shows the application of the Scepter concepts of authority and power to change the world, because it takes authority and power to defeat evil.
  5. Deuteronomy 18:17-19 [Moses, also circa 1500 B.C., writing; He was the greatest prophet of the Jews, having led the Exodus from Egypt and the foray to the edge of the Promised Land, and having received the Laws and Commandments from God] records Moses as saying, “And the Lord said to me . . . ‘I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him, and it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.’” Here Moses, the prophet of whom it could be said that the Israelites could not image a greater prophet, said that God told him another prophet, like Moses, would come along, and that if the people would not listen to that prophet, the Prophet, then God will require that they listen. This prophecy corresponds with the prophecy of judgment at the Great White Throne, and with the prophecy, 2 Philippians 2:9-11, that “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” that Jesus is, and always has been and always will be, Who He says He is.

Summary: There are about 35 other Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. Today, we only address these first five prophecies: that Jesus would not be born of the seed of a man, but of the seed of the woman (the virgin conception and birth); that from Abraham through Jesus was and is the promise, with a vow from God, of blessings to all nations; that this promise is in the Messiah, who will have authority and power in ruling for eternity; and that this Messiah would be the peacemaker – not among nations as such, but as between God and man. Thus, today, we re-immerse ourselves in the knowledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies of Jesus, the Messiah, and of His promise, His power, His peace and the perpetual eternity of the Kingdom of Heaven.

(2) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ Affirms and Implements God’s Plan for Reconciliation with the People He Created

The Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah lead directly to and through the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus. In John 11:25-26, Jesus summarizes His ministry this way, in speaking to Martha about her dead brother, Jesus’ friend Lazarus, said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Resurrection, by definition is the restoration of life. Both only come through Jesus and your, and my, belief in jesus.

Be aware, of course, that the resurrection, when it comes at the end of the age, will be both for those who believe and for those who do not believe. Acts 24: 15 (Paul speaking in his own defense to the Roman Governor of Caesarea and referring to the Jewish High Priest and his Council), said, “I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.”

However, despite all that Jesus had taught His disciples, even the disciples of Jesus after the crucifixion had trouble with grasping the concept of His resurrection and the reality that it had then occurred. But, in John 20:9, when the empty tomb was found, it says, “For as yet they did not know (= understand) the Scripture (from Psalm 16:10) that He must rise again from the dead.” Up until then, the disciples did not really get resurrection. But they came into the fullness of that understanding when they saw the empty tomb and the folded grave clothes. That experience gave them a history to contemplate: it was then after the resurrection of Jesus. That resurrection of Jesus reminded them of what David wrote, in Psalm 16:10, “For You will not leave my soul (David’s soul) in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One (Jesus) to see corruption.” Finally, at the empty tomb, in retrospect, the disciples could understand the words of Jesus to Peter, Matthew 16:21-23, “From that time, Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised on the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord, this shall not happen to You!’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’” Thus, the resurrection of Jesus – proven at the empty tomb – implemented, and affirmed, for those disciples, for Mary Magdalene and, upon their multiple witness testimonies, now implements and affirms for us, 2,000 years later, God’s plans that He would: (1) By our redemption through the atonement of the blood shed by Jesus for our sins, remove the sin enmity between Him and the people in the crucifixion, by salvation, when, Matthew 27:51, “. . . the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom”; and (2) In the resurrection of Jesus, we would have hope, hope that the promises and Word of God are true, and that He is faithful and powerful to cause them to be truthfully performed after our deaths, in our own resurrection. These two things are what Easter is about: Redemption to end the sin enmity between God and the people, and Resurrection in the hope of which we may faithfully live the rest of our lives in servant obedience to God, that is, that we may die this first death, counting it a certain hope by faith (Hebrews 11:1), that on the other side, we will be glad to see God face to face, and we will reign and rule with Jesus in the Paradise of the New Jerusalem forever. Redemption by the Blood of Jesus is available to us by faith, through God’s grace, unto salvation. Likewise, Hope in the Resurrection of Jesus, that we might like the believing robber might be with Jesus in Paradise, is then also available to us, and again in faith.

There are no “game changers” bigger in life than this salvation in Christ’s Blood and in the promise of eternal life, in the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21 and 22, with the Godhead and all the saints of Christ.

We can choose, as we did in our pre-Jesus lives, and as many we know and love continue to do, and as we do when we backslide in sin, to be totally sinful, unrepentant in living our lives as lovers of ourselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to our parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power, taking captive gullible, weak-willed women loaded down with their sins and led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Or, we can choose, and so can those unsaved we know and love, and we and they can so choose when backsliding, to live a daily life of repentance, humility, and obedience, all grounded in, and wrapped in faith in, Jesus Christ. That degree of faith – and we all have a sufficient measure of that faith organically in us as a gift from God -- a profound, game-changing, life-changing faith that Jesus (the Messiah, the Maschiach) is Who He says He is. Such a choice can and will remove, will resurrect, each one of us from a life lived in pure sin (such as described in 2 Timothy 3:2-7 which we just tracked above), into a life in which we have indeed, by faith through God’s grace, really come to the knowledge of the truth, Who is Jesus Christ. In that knowledge, the truth, The Truth, is resurrected in us.

(3) What happens When the Truth is Resurrected in Us, in Me?

First of all, we are supernaturally changed and transformed into new creatures in Christ, and our names get written into the Book of Life (all of which is pretty important at the Judgment before the Great White Throne). Revelation 20:12-15 prophesies, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” It is critical that we know that this Judgment, in the presence of God, Revelation 20:12, will not be conducted by God, but by Jesus, as John recorded in John 5:22, 26-27 that Jesus Himself said, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment unto the Son. . . . For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority (the “Scepter” of prophecy) to execute judgment also because He is the Son of Man.” Do not ever forget that, to get your name into the Book of Life, Jesus Himself must write it. John 14:6, Jesus answering Thomas on the question of how we would know the way to go the way that Jesus was going, the Way of the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension, thence to judge the quick and the dead, said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” When our name is written by Jesus into the Book of Life, our sins are blotted out from those books recording our lives’ works (Isaiah 43:25; Acts 3:19). Our sins are cast into what, from Micah 7:19, has come to be called the Sea of Forgetfulness. Nevertheless,Being a good person doesn’t get you there, and there are no multiple paths to right relationship with God. There is only one such path, one such way, the way of Jesus. The Book of Life, in Hollywood terms, is the ultimate A-List. How many of them will be named in that Book of Life? How many of us?

Second, what is all this about works? Clearly our religion, our faith in Christ, is related to works. After all, our “works” are recorded in those books in Revelation 20, opened at the Great White Throne. And in Ephesians 2:10, we are told clearly by the Apostle Paul, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” In the parable of the goats and the sheep, right after the parable of the talents (all in Matthew 25), Jesus declares, Matthew 25:41 to those whose works did not include ministry to the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, the unclothed, the sick, the imprisoned, this judgment: “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” This is the judgment awaiting the goats, and awaiting those who wasted their talents on themselves like described in 2 Tim 3:2-7, on Judgment Day, when they will find their names are not written in the A-List, the Book of Life.

But, before we do any other works for God, our first, our foundational, work for God is to believe in Jesus Christ and to confess His name and begin lives of repentance. In John 6:29, Jesus admonished the people who hungered for his words and crossed over the Sea of Galilee to find Him with His disciples, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” If you don’t get this foundation right in your life, it does not matter how morally good you are/were, how many charities or strangers you helped with your money, time and creativity, how many youth teams you coached, how faithful you were to your spouse, what kind of military, sports, community, or family icon you are/were. Those things don’t matter, unless you believe, in your heart, in Jesus and that you confess Him before men, because God looks at the heart, 1 Samuel 16:7. Judge Jesus will say even to those who were religious in form, Matthew 7:21-23, that He never knew them, and for them to depart from Him, that they practice lawlessness if they are not living to do the will of God the Father.

So, what do we do for our good works? First, as said, we believe, confess, and choose non-sinful, quality choices everyday in our life.

Thus, you choose to set aside to fleshly addictions to laziness, lying, drugs, food, alcohol, soda, nicotine, sex, pornography, etc. Thus, you choose to learn God’s purpose for you in your life, and you choose to obey His will for you in your daily life.

It is like strategy and tactics: God’s purpose for you is His strategy for how to use you for His kingdom purposes. In this life, to God, you are expendable: He can resurrect you, recreate you whenever He wants to. Do you trust God who created your life with your life? And there are tactics: God’s will is that you choose to accept God’s purpose for your life and to walk and live in that purpose, and in your daily life, through the Holy Spirit, listen, and He will speak to you and tell you what to do. God will merge the strategy for you into the tactics of your daily living – which way to walk, which way to drive, which place to stop, who to speak to, who to listen to, who to help and how to help them, and who to walk past. You must be real careful not to override God’s will with your will, being careful to obey Him only, and not your flesh or Satan. There is no room for compromise in the kingdom of heaven; thus constant, daily repentance is so important. You have to know the different voices of the Holy Spirit, your flesh, and Satan.

And in doing your works, you will need to stir up the spiritual gifts within you, 2 Timothy 1:6, so that you will find yourself, appropriately, alienated from the natural, fleshly world because, Psalm 69:9, “zeal for (God’s) house has eaten you up.” God hates lukewarm-ness towards Him and His things and works, Revelation 3:16 (Laodicea). Modern sociologists and psychologists and psychiatrists are all focused on healing us from being alienated from the carnate, fleshly world. God is focused on alienating us from the carnate, fleshly world, because He wants us to be so fed up with the world that it no longer owns us. But God wants us to have a zealous compassion for looking after the needy, whatever the needs are, of the world. God loves it when we are zealous for Him and living out our days in humble, servant, obedience to Him. When we do that we are resurrecting the Truth in and through our lives every day!

That is the real plan of God for those who choose to believe Him, and to believe in Him: The Resurrection of the Truth, not just remembered on Easter Sunday at church, but remembered with such zeal that it eats us up, all day, every day, for the rest of our lives . . . . and then some, in eternity.

God bless you and amen+