Of First Importance: The Priority of the Cross and the Empty Tomb

Al Mohler: The Christian faith is not a mere collection of doctrines — a bag of truths. Christianity is a comprehensive truth claim that encompasses every aspect of revealed doctrine, but is centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, as the apostolic preaching makes clear, the gospel is the priority. The Apostle Paul affirms this priority when he writes to the Christians in Corinth. In the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul sets out his case: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the

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10 Things You Should Know about the Resurrection

By Adrian Warnock, author of Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything. 1. The resurrection is the core of the Christian message and should never be neglected or assumed. Sometimes today, when we hear the gospel preached, the focus is on the cross. The resurrection is often ignored, assumed, or mentioned only in passing. In contrast, the preaching recorded in the book of Acts emphasized the resurrection of Jesus, and barely mentioned his death. The apostles were preoccupied with the resurrection and emphasized it much more than the cross. Sadly, the church only seems to get excited about the resurrection once a year at Easter time. In reality, every Sunday should be Resurrection Sunday. The reason why the early church began to meet on the first day of the week was to celebrate Jesus’s defeat of death. Imagine what church would be like if we consciously gathered every week to celebrate the resurrection? 2. Belief in Jesus’s physical resurrection

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You’re ‘More than a Conquerer’—But What Does that Mean?

Justin Holcomb: Because of Jesus’s resurrection, all threats against you are tamed. Jesus conquered death, so death and evil aren’t the end of the story. You can have hope. In Revelation, one of the key themes is conquering through suffering. The number of occurrences of the verb “to conquer” illustrates this (it appears 17 times). John describes amazing promises, addressing them specifically to those who “conquer”: “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (2:7) “The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death” (2:11) “To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it” (2:17) “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations” (2:26) “The one

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Raised for us and our salvation

  Matthew Barrett: Too often in our churches the resurrection of Christ is a doctrine of secondary importance. It is neglected and forgotten until Easter comes around each year. The same disregard for the resurrection is seen in how we share the gospel. Christians can tend to share the gospel as if Jesus died on the cross and that is the end of the story. We make a zip line from the crucifixion to “repent and believe,” contrary to the example Peter sets for us in Acts 2:22-24 and 4:26. As central as the cross is to our salvation (and it is absolutely central!), what was accomplished at the cross is truly incomplete if the tomb is not found empty on Sunday morning. Therefore, the resurrection of Christ is, to utilize the language of the Nicene Creed, absolutely vital “for us and our salvation.”  But how exactly? Our Regeneration is Grounded in the Resurrection of Christ Have you ever read

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The Best Worst Thing

Paul Tripp: At the center of a biblical worldview is this radical recognition: the most horrible thing that ever happened was the most wonderful thing that ever happened. As we reflect on Good Friday, we turn our somber attention to the bloody cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Could it be possible for something to happen that was more terrible than this? Could any injustice be greater? Could any loss be more painful? Could any suffering be worse? The only man who ever lived a life that was perfect in every way possible, who gave his life for the sacrifice of many, and who willingly suffered from birth to death in loyalty to his calling was cruelly and publicly murdered in the most vicious of ways. How could it happen that the Son of Man could die? How could it be that men could capture and torture the Messiah? Was this not the end of everything good, true, and beautiful?

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Jesus is Alive!

  The resurrection: Vindicates the life, ministry, teaching and especially the death of Christ. Shows Christ’s victory over sin, Satan, hell and death. Validates the believer’s justification and forgiveness Serves as a visual-aid for the believer’s new risen life in Christ. Verifies the Christian’s own ultimate resurrection and eternal blessedness in the new creation. The unveiling of the new creation; its inauguration.

Gone, totally and forever!

When God pardons, he does not say he understands our weakness or makes allowances for our errors; rather he disposes of, he finishes with, the whole of our dead life and raises us up with a new one. He does not so much deal with our derelictions as he does drop them down the black hole of Jesus’ death. He forgets our sins in the darkness of the tomb. He remembers our iniquities no more in the oblivion of Jesus’ expiration. He finds us, in short, in the desert of death, not in the garden of improvement; and in the power of Jesus’ resurrection, he puts us on his shoulders rejoicing and brings us home. –Robert Farrar Capon, Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus (Eerdmans, 2002), 188 (HT: Dane Ortlund)

The Empty Tomb

Paul Tripp: I love Easter. I love the celebratory music we sing at church. I love the passages of Scripture we read during worship. And most of all, I love the visual image of the empty tomb. I’m deeply persuaded that the empty tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ reveals three fundamental character qualities about God. 1. FAITHFUL The empty tomb reveals that God is faithful. Centuries earlier, after Adam and Eve had disobeyed God, God promised that He would crush wrong once and for all. He sent his Son to defeat sin and death by his crucifixion and resurrection. For thousands of years, God neither forgot nor turned from His promise. He didn’t grow weary, nor would he be distracted. He made a promise, and he controlled the events of history (large and small) so that at just the right moment, Jesus Christ would come and fulfill what had been promised. 2. POWERFUL The empty tomb also reveals that

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In the resurrection we see the real meaning of the virgin birth

The virgin birth cannot be considered in abstraction from the triumphant consummation of Christ’s life in his resurrection, for it is there that the mystery of his person is revealed. In fact the birth of Jesus of the virgin Mary and the resurrection of Jesus from the virgin tomb (‘where no one had ever yet been laid’) are the twin signs which mark out the mystery of Christ, testifying to the continuity and the discontinuity between Jesus Christ and our fallen humanity. The incarnation is not only a once and for all act of assumption of our flesh, but the continuous personal union of divine and human nature in the one person of the incarnate Son, a personal union which he carried all the way through our estranged estate under bondage into the freedom and triumph of the resurrection. Thus it is in the resurrection that we see the real meaning of the virgin birth, while the virgin birth has much to tell us about

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Alive to God

J. Gresham Machen: The atoning death of Christ, and that alone, has presented sinners as righteous in God’s sight; the Lord Jesus has paid the full penalty of their sins, and clothed them with His perfect righteousness before the judgment seat of God. But Christ has done for Christians even far more than that. He has given to them not only a new and right relation to God, but a new life in God’s presence for evermore. He has saved them from the power as well as from the guilt of sin. The New Testament does not end with the death of Christ; it does not end with the triumphant words of Jesus on the Cross, ‘It is finished.’ The death was followed by the resurrection, and the resurrection like the death was for our sakes. Jesus rose from the dead into a new life of glory and power, and into that life He brings those for whom He died. The Christian, on

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Why the Resurrection Changes Everything

By Matthew Barrett: Does the resurrection of Christ matter? Does it truly make a difference? The apostle Paul sure thought so. In writing to the Corinthians, Paul was faced with the startling news that some in Corinth denied the future resurrection of the body. Such a view was adopted by many in the Greco-Roman world. Death was the end. Actually, not much has changed since the first century. Today, the same view is held by skeptics of the faith. What was so shocking, however, is that in Paul’s day, some Christians, who affirmed the bodily resurrection of Jesus, nonetheless denied the future resurrection of the body. Paul responds with boldness, arguing that you cannot have one without the other. If there is no future resurrection for believers, then Christ himself has not been raised! And if Christ has not been raised, then everything changes. Let’s explore the consequences of the resurrection of Christ for the Christian life. 1. The resurrection of

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Of First Importance: The Cross and Resurrection at the Centre

Al Mohler: The Christian faith is not a mere collection of doctrines — a bag of truths. Christianity is a comprehensive truth claim that encompasses every aspect of revealed doctrine, but is centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, as the apostolic preaching makes clear, the gospel is the priority. The Apostle Paul affirms this priority when he writes to the Christians in Corinth. In the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul sets out his case: Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that

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Death In His Grave

  By John Mark McMillan Though the Earth Cried out for blood Satisfied her hunger was Her billows calmed on raging seas for the souls on men she craved Sun and moon from balcony Turned their head in disbelief Their precious Love would taste the sting disfigured and disdained On Friday a thief On Sunday a King Laid down in grief But awoke with the keys Of Hell on that day The first born of the slain The Man Jesus Christ Laid death in his grave So three days in darkness slept The Morning Sun of righteousness But rose to shame the throes of death And over turn his rule Now daughters and the sons of men Would pay not their dues again The debt of blood they owed was rent When the day rolled a new On Friday a thief On Sunday a King Laid down in grief But awoke with the keys To Hell on that day The

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