Dec 26, 2007

Our Eternal Hope

1 Corinthians 15:12 – 15 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

Verse 15 “Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

1 Corinthians 15:16-19 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished, if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Christianity does not just rest on the fact that Christ is God come in the flesh, that Christ became the perfect lamb who took the sins of the world on Him, and was slain, but also on the fact that Christ was raised from the dead. Those of us who place our faith in Him also look forward to being raised from the dead to spend an eternity in Heaven.

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

In fact, the bible goes so far as to state that if Christ Himself was not raised, then we “are of all men most miserable.”

But Christ was raised from the dead. The Jews fearing that the Apostles would steal the body of Christ after His crucifixion petition Pilate to place guards at the tomb. Pilate agreed to this request and it was done. (Matthew 27:62-66)

Those of you who have any knowledge of Roman history know that Roman soldiers weren’t those to be lax in their duties. They would be put to death if any man was found wanting. These soldiers watched and guarded the tomb for three days.

Matthew 28:2-4 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

The angel went on to proclaim that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, but that he was raised. After this, Jesus appeared for forty days to various people, “to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3).

Think on his Apostles for a moment. Of the twelve that followed him, eleven of them followed Christ to their deaths, most of which were horrible. Only one lived out a natural life, dieing in exile on the isle of Patmos. The disciple Steven, like many before him, was stoned to death for Christ. These are sane men who chose death over a life of lies. This in itself is a strong evidence of the resurrection of Christ Jesus.

Because we know that Christ was raised from the dead, we can place our hopes and faith upon Him that He will also do the same for us.

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:”

Jesus proclaims Himself to be the life:

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man commeth unto the Father, but by me.”

Paul stated:

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

The promise that we can claim is this:

Romans 14:6 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

Death is not the end, not for those of us who have placed our faith in Christ Jesus. It is simply a stepping stone. Those of us who die go immediately to the Lord where He will comfort us, and we will spend an eternity worshiping and fellowshipping with Him and every other believer.

Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.

God is a personal God. He loves us, and with that knowledge, we can hold this hope close that death is not the end. Instead, we will be released from our pain and sufferings. God Himself will wipe the tears of sorrow from our very eyes!

That is the eternal hope that we have in Christ. It’s not just for salvation from our sins, but also for eternal life after death. When a loved one dies here, there is sorrow for those of us who have been separated from them. But we can also rejoice because this separation is not eternal, and those who have left to go with the Lord are no longer suffering. They are in eternal paradise! We have the hope that not only will see them again, but we will spend an eternity with them in the presence of the Lord!

1 Corinthians 15: 20-22 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Christ has conquered death.

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George Washington