the BIG story: Matthew 20

The resurrection of Christ is absolutely essential. It is the proof of his deity and Lordship and is indispensable evidence of the power of the cross. If he did not rise from the dead, then he is not the Son of God; and it follows that his death on the cross is the death of an ordinary man and of no value to others. If, on the other hand, Christ actually rose from the dead, it not only demonstrates that he is all He claims to be but that his work has achieves all he said it would; a substitutionary sacrifice on behalf of the sins of the whole world.

Scripture links the resurrection of Christ to his work on the cross, as in Romans 4:25: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification..” In Romans 10:9 we read: “If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The resurrection of Christ and his death are twin doctrines which stand or fall together.

A. The resurrection of Christ has not only a backward look toward the cross demonstrating the power of God in salvation, but it is also the doorway to his present work in heaven.

1. He sends the Holy Spirit.
The promise of Christ that he would send the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7) depended upon His resurrection and His return to glory.  The ministry of the Spirit, is therefore dependent upon Christ’s resurrection from the grave and his return to glory as the triumphant Saviour.

2. He gives eternal life.
Through the Spirit, the Lord gives eternal life on all those who put their trust in Him (John 11:25; 12:24-25 ). If Christ did not literally rise from the dead, God’s plan of giving life for spiritual death through faith in Jesus Christ would become invalid.

3. He intercedes for us.
The resurrection of Christ is specifically linked with his work in intercession: “Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”

4. He gives us gifts
According to Ephesians 4:11-13, Christ gives gifted men to the church such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, because “when He ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men (Eph 4:8).

5. He gives spiritual power. 
The deliverance of Israel from Egypt was God’s divine standard of power in the Old Testament, so the resurrection of Christ from the dead is a divine standard of power in the New Testament, especially in relationship to His work for the church. “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.”

This power is described in Ephesians 1:17-23:

That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the centre of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

6. He raises believers to a new position in Christ. 
It is because of the resurrection that the believer can now be triumphant in his new position, no longer being dead in sin, but raised to newness of life in Christ Jesus.

7. He is the first fruits from among the dead.
In His resurrection from the dead, Christ fulfils the Old Testament anticipation in the feast of the first fruits in that he is the first to be raised from the dead in anticipation of the future resurrection of all believers (1 Corinthians 15:20-23

8. He is now preparing a place.
An important aspect of the present work of Christ is that he is preparing a place for his bride in heaven.

9. His universal Lordship over all creation.
Christ is not only Head of the church because of his resurrection and ascension, but because he has resumed his position of Lord over all creation.

B. The future work of Christ is also dependent upon His resurrection.

1. The resurrection of all men.
Christ by the power of his own resurrection will raise the dead. Regardless of time and character of resurrection, all resurrection is attributed to the power of Christ (John 5:28-29; 1 Cor 15:12, 22) and depends upon the historical fact of His own resurrection.

2. The marriage of the Bridegroom and the bride.
We look forward to the eternal union and fellowship of Christ and his church. The church now a bride waiting for the coming of her husband (2 Cor 11:2; Rev 19:7).

3. The judgment of all creatures. 
Christ will also be the final judge of all moral creatures, whether men or angels (John 5:22; Acts 10:42; Rom 14:10; 2 Tim 4:1).

4. The final deliverance of the world to the Father.
At climax of history, Christ will deliver a conquered world to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). It is not too much to say that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a link in the total chain of God’s sovereign program without which the whole scheme would collapse.

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