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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Speaking of Jesus: The Truth of the Matter!

When you talk about Jesus, how do you present him? Do you talk about Jesus in terms of how helpful he is for life? Do you present Jesus as a great teacher of timeless truths? Or, do you talk about Jesus as a man who lived in Galilee 2000 years ago and died on a cross and actually rose again on the three days later? Perhaps we could word the question this way: When talking about Jesus to our friends, do we present the story of Jesus as helpful OR do we present it as true?

Now, you might be saying to yourself: why does it have to be one or the other? Can't Jesus be both helpful for my life and the truly resurrected God-man? Of course. But when we talk about Jesus, we must keep in mind that if we don't present the account of his life, death, and resurrection as true, then we will help no one and ultimately withhold the good news of Jesus Christ.

It is worth noting that in the New Testament, when the gospel is being presented, Jesus is never talked about in terms of what he can do for us. Rather, he is always talked about as the crucified and risen Lord. The four gospels are all accounts of what he actually did to save sinners. The book of Acts is full of sermons and presentations of the gospel message by the apostles which proclaim the death of Christ for sin and the resurrection of Christ for our justification. Saint Paul goes so far as to say this, "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith...And if Christ has not been raised then your faith is futile; you are still in your sins...If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men" (I Corinthians 15:14, 16, 17). In other words, if it is not true that Christ lived, died and rose, then this whole faith is a sham and we have been woefully misled.

But, Paul says, this is not the case, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead..." (I Corinthians 15:2). This is our hope and our salvation. Only from this core truth can we begin to discuss the results and benefits of faith in Christ and having him watch over us. We must always start with who Christ is and what he has done for us on the cross and from the empty tomb, because if those things aren't true then anything else we say holds no weight. If Jesus did not rise, he cannot save anyone nor be helpful for anything in life because he is still dead. And dead people are never helpful. But, if Jesus is risen, then he is all the help we need and the sure hope we have. As we talk about Christ with our friends, let us deal with the truth of Christ's resurrection before we get to the benefits of faith in Christ.

Pastor Bob

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