Jesus Saves in Resurrection
Elder Jeff Winfrey, Pastor
Dawson Springs Primitive Baptist Church
101 East Walnut Street
Dawson Springs, KY 42408
The Closer You Get The Better It Looks
A few months ago something special happened while I was preaching to the lonely dying residents confined to a local nursing home. As I worked my way through the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I came to the angel-spoken words, “He is not here: He is risen.” (Matthew 28:6) At the reading of these magnificent words applause broke forth from these elderly believers.
I had failed to sense the extent of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the place and was shocked by the interruption of my message. But even more to my shame I had also failed to sense the true wonder in the words, “He is not here: He is risen.” Oh, but these that were so near to that walk through the valley of the shadow death cheered with excitement at the preaching of the miracle of a resurrection.
Without Resurrection: Nothing Else Matters
The resurrection is worth getting excited about. It is the exclamation point of all the doctrines of the Bible. And truly without the reality of the resurrection nothing else really matters. Even the other great doctrines of the Bible amount to nothing if there is no resurrection in the end.
What is election or redemption or regeneration without resurrection? Did God in the covenant of grace before the foundation of the world give the vast host of His children to Jesus Christ so that the grave might be the end for those much-loved children? Did Jesus shed the precious blood of redemption for His people so that they might remain forever entombed in death? Does Jesus speak the words of regeneration to each of the heirs of eternal glory so that the crypt of death might forever take away the life that He had given by His voice? No! No! A thousand times, No!!
The Apostle Paul understood the futility of everything without resurrection. He knew that all else would amount to nothing if resurrection were not the reality of the end. He said it like this. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19) Some at the church at Corinth, like many today, had begun to doubt the reality of a literal resurrection. In response to this Paul declared all preaching to be vain, all faith to be empty, all dead to be perished, and all hope to amount to nothing, if there was not a resurrection of the dead. In these teachings Paul painted the bleak and hopeless picture that might be entitled: What If There Is No Resurrection?
Oh, if there is not a resurrection, then even all the other glorious things of the Bible will in the end amount to nothing. But on the other hand, if there is a resurrection, then all the terrible things of this world will in the end amount to nothing.
Praise Our Jesus: Resurrection Is Real
Paul did not leave us with the hopeless picture of no resurrection. After posing these hypothetical thoughts he came to the glorious statement, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that sleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:20) [Emphasis added.] But now is Christ risen from the dead. With these words Paul left the ‘what ifs’ and came to the facts of the case. And these words like the angel’s words, “He is not here: He is risen,” bring us to the heights of praise.
Christ is risen from the dead. Resurrection is eternal reality. And Jesus Christ is the power that ensures the certainty of the wonder of resurrection. Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” (John 11:25) And Jesus authenticated His words by His very own resurrection and return to life from the dead. Jesus had the power to lay His life down, and Jesus had the power to raise it up again.
And at the last day Jesus will again show His great power when He shouts from the clouds and resurrects His beloved children. Jesus was the first fruit to rise and many that sleep in the graves will follow in His pattern. And in their glorious resurrected bodies they will enjoy the very presence of Jesus for the entirety of eternity. What a wonderful never-ending day that will be!!!
At The Last Day Jesus Will Lose Nothing
Listen to Jesus’ words. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but raise it up again the last day.” (John 6:38-39)
Jesus came with the mission to do the Father’s will. Jesus accomplished the mission of redemption. By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:12) Jesus even now accomplishes the mission of regeneration as He continues to speak spiritual life into each of God’s children. The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John 5:25) Every step of salvation is to the praise of the glory of our Savior Jesus Christ.
But Jesus’ final accomplishment in salvation is yet to come! At the last day Jesus will shout from the clouds and of all that were given to Jesus nothing will be lost. Each and every one will be gloriously raised up the last day. All that the Father willed to Jesus, Jesus will resurrect. To the praise of the Savior, none will be missing. To the honor of His integrity, none will be lost. To the glory of Jesus, resurrection is coming.
What a plan of salvation! Before time began the will of God gave a vast host of people to Jesus. And at God’s appointed time Jesus gave His life for the people in that vast host. And at the time of His pleasing, Jesus speaks the spiritual life of the new birth into each person of that vast host. And each person in this eternal plan of God will be raised the last day. What election determined before time began, resurrection will obtain when time is no more! From start to finish salvation is of the Lord. What a plan! What a Savior!
The Time Between Death And Resurrection
Where is the child of God after the death of his body, yet prior to the much-anticipated resurrection of that body? An ignorance of these things brings an exceptional sorrow such as is experienced by those that have no hope, but great comfort comes with understanding.
Paul wrote of the moment of death. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) At the time of death it is dreadfully apparent that the spirit of life is absent from the body. The body is indeed very much dead and is buried to await its resurrection. But where is that spirit that once housed that body? Where is that mystical thing that we call life? According to Paul the spirit that made the person that we knew to be the person that we knew leaves the body at the moment of death and goes into the presence of the Lord.
Jesus said to the dying thief. “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) At the moment of the death of the body of the thief, the person of the thief began to consciously experience a place Jesus called paradise.
Paul wrote of the return of the Lord. Even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (1 Thessalonians 4:14) Though the bodies sleep in the graves the spirits must now be with Jesus, for when He comes to resurrect the bodies He will bring the spirits with Him. In order for them to be brought with Him, they surely must now be with Him where He is.
Final Thoughts On The Final Resurrection
A few days ago I sat quietly watching as a much-respected preacher flipped through his Bible just prior to a funeral service. He finally shut the book and confessed his desire to come up with something different to preach at this funeral. And then he admitted that he was going to once again speak about the resurrection.
I assured him that when we face the hopelessness of death there is no better message than the story of resurrection and that he had again made a good choice. At the appointed time he rose and preached what had been preached so many times before. And God abundantly blessed him with a message of patiently waiting unto the coming of the Lord.
The ‘Amens’ of those who faced death at the funeral home that day reminded me of the applause from those who had faced death in the nursing home on another day. Oh, when we must face death, no message brings more hope and joy than that of resurrection.