Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST”

Romans 4.25 

We begin by reading First Corinthians chapter 15: 

1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

7  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

8  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

15 Yea, 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.

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 

Sunday is the day each week when Christendom celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, from the dead. But what is meant by the term “resurrection”? Some people would like to think that the word “resurrection” means something along the line of “the spirit of Jesus will always be with us, creating in each person a heart of true brotherhood and benevolence.” These are the folks who would like to gloss over the fact that they do not really believe in the supernatural, do not really believe in the power of God to conquer death, do not really believe in the proof that is offered up by secular history,[1] and do not really believe in the facts as they are recorded in the Bible. So, they cover their infidelity with high sounding and pious words.

But what does “resurrection” mean according to the Word of God, the Bible, the holy Scriptures, the oracles of God? The chapter from Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church we have just read provides for us the essentials to a right understanding of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

First, THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST WAS NECESSARY 

Necessary, first, as a key component of the Gospel. The word “gospel” translates the Greek word for “good news,” euaggelion. And this good news is comprised of three stupendous events that took place in history and were witnessed by multitudes of people. Look back to First Corinthians 15.1-8, and you will see that the Gospel is the good news 

“that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” 

As well, these events were witnessed by many people, with the resurrected Christ being seen by more than 500 people. So, how is the resurrection a key component of the Gospel? Simple. The good news is that those three events occurred in history. If any one of those three events did not occur, then there is no good news. Let it be stated and readily understood that the Christian faith, Christianity, the faith once delivered to the saints, is utterly dependent upon the resurrection to be valid and true. As Paul pointed out in First Corinthians 15.17, 

“if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was necessary, second, as preliminary to our resurrections. First Corinthians 15.50 declares to us that 

“flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” 

In other words, no one permanently goes to heaven who has not first experienced a resurrection. This is because our present physical existence is wholly unsuitable for heaven. But our resurrections, which have not yet occurred, are predicated upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus is described as the first fruits by Paul, the first of many who will experience a resurrection that transforms a person from a mode of existence suitable for life on earth to a glorified existence suitable for eternal life in heaven. What must become of us, then, if the first among us to be resurrected, Jesus Christ, was not resurrected if His body is still buried in some shallow grave in the Middle East? If Jesus Christ is not gloriously risen from the dead, then we will never ourselves be raised up and prepared for heaven. So, you see, for these and other reasons, it is necessary for Jesus Christ to be raised up from the dead after three days and three nights, in a glorified physical body. This nonsense about Christ being raised up as a spirit, with His body left behind in some grave, just won’t wash. 

As Well, THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST IS VERIFIED 

I mention two entirely different ways in which the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is verified:

First, it was verified by witnesses who saw the risen Savior after His resurrection from the dead. Consider Paul’s list of witnesses, in First Corinthians 15.5, 6, 7, and 8. Christ was seen by Cephas, who is Simon Peter. He was then seen by the twelve, which would mean the eleven original disciples as well as Judas Iscariot’s replacement, Matthias. Then He was seen by more than 500 people at one time, most still alive when Paul wrote First Corinthians. Then He was seen by His half-brother James. Then He was seen by all the apostles. Then he was seen by Paul. And this does not take into account the women who saw Him after He had risen, and they were the very first to see Him. My favorite account of the risen Savior is found in John 20. One of the apostles, Thomas, steadfastly refused to believe that Christ had risen from the dead. Let me read verses 24-25 to you: 

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 

The man was resolute in his conviction that the Lord Jesus had not risen from the dead. But looking down to verse 26 we see, 

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 

For that eye witness, as well as the others, the matter was once and for all time settled.

There is another way the resurrection of Jesus Christ can be verified. I will admit that it is a very subjective way of verifying His resurrection, but it is verification enough to convince a great many people. It is by examining the lives of real Christians. It is by asking yourself, “How is this person’s life to be explained, except by the reality of his Savior being risen from the dead?” What convinced the once skeptical British writer, Malcolm Muggeridge, that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead? Not personal study or objective evidence. No, it was what a Russian Christian once said to him while he was visiting the Stalinist Soviet Union. “He is risen,” the Russian believer said to Muggeridge. “Yes, I believe He is,” Muggeridge replied. His life was never again the same. I know that some people approach the whole issue of Christ’s resurrection from an historical and scientific inclination. They consider Christian apologetics books and archaeological discoveries that show the reasonableness and credibility of Biblical Christianity. But for others of you, it isn’t the science or the history that impresses you, it’s the personal proof. It’s the changed life. It’s what you might call the smell test. For you, it’s the before and after contrast. You knew someone when she was lost, and now you see her a Christian. What’s the only legitimate explanation, to your way of thinking? The resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ did rise up from the dead, and He has made a difference in her life. Do you know anyone like that? Sure, you do. Not perfect. Not flawless. Certainly not sinless. But different. Really different. Truly different. Something about him is genuine. You can see it. You’ve been looking for hypocrisy and fraud, but you can’t detect any. This guy is real. He is what you would describe as a real Christian. And the difference is Jesus Christ. Conclusion? Jesus Christ really did rise from the dead. This fellow you know is the proof that convinces you. Is Jesus Christ really risen from the dead? Ask this young woman named Saleema. She is a Pakistani Christian who led her friend to Christ when they were 13 years old. When her friend told her parents, being good Muslims, they immediately executed their daughter and told the police about Saleema, who was promptly arrested. She was gang raped in the Islamabad jail by the jailers, then sentenced to death for preaching Christ. But international pressure forced the Pakistani authorities to free her from jail. Look at her face. Listen to her story. Do you still doubt that Jesus Christ is risen, indeed? She will never marry, after what she has been through. She will likely never have the opportunity to lead another soul to Christ. But for the rest of her life she will be a living testimony to her risen Savior because of what, by God’s grace, she has already done. Would you doubt that her Savior, my Lord Jesus, has not risen? Listen to your heart. What does your heart tell you about this girl’s Savior? 

When Easter comes around each year, understand that it is not about chocolate bunnies. Neither is it about eggs. Easter is about the raising from the dead of the Son of God after three days and three nights in the tomb. Neither is every Sunday about the spirit of Christ bestowing upon everyone a spirit of fraternal brotherhood. Easter is about an empty tomb. Sunday is about an empty tomb. Buddha’s grave is not empty. Confucius’ grave is not empty. Mohammed’s grave is not empty. But the tomb wherein Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was buried was a borrowed tomb that has been empty for almost 2000 years. He only needed the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea for three days and three nights, because after that period He rose from the dead in power and great glory. Amen? That is why Christians say, “He is risen!” 

SERMON: 

The text for my sermon is Romans 4.25. Please stand to read silently while I read aloud: 

“Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” 

Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, this verse is a summation of the Gospel. It should be clear to you that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, took upon Himself the sins of mankind when He went to the cross. He was there punished by God, His Father, for your sins and for mine. That is what is meant by the phrase 

“Who was delivered for our offences.” 

But you are already at least somewhat familiar with the concept of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I want to concentrate our remaining time on His resurrection from the dead, the literal raising up of His once dead body after three days and three nights in the rich man’s tomb.

Our attention will be on the second half of verse 25, which makes the observation that Jesus Christ 

“was raised again for our justification.” 

Let me ask two questions related to this claim: 

First, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO GOD? 

What does it mean to God that Jesus Christ was raised again for our justification? It means two things:

First, it means that God was pleased with the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for my sins. To remind you, there are three parts to the Gospel. First, there is Christ’s death. But anyone can die. It is no great feat to die. It proves nothing for someone to die. Next, there is Christ’s burial. How difficult is it to be buried? But there can be nothing said against Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. That really says something, does it not? More than 25 times it is stated in the New Testament that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Must be important, wouldn’t you say? The Father would not have done that had the Son not accomplished His task, had the Son not fulfilled His assigned chore, had the Son not successfully died for our sins and suffered in our place. So, for God to raise His Son from the dead is a testimony to the Father’s pleasure and delight, providing the ground for God to justify repentant sinners. That is, He can pronounce guilty sinners through faith in Christ innocent because the Innocent has been punished in our place.

Jesus Christ being raised again for our justification also means that He fulfilled His office of high priest to atone for our sins. In God’s grand design for a Substitute to die for sinners so that sinners might be redeemed, more is required than the death of the Innocent. Throughout the Bible we see that in addition to the death of the Innocent, the Sacrifice’s blood must make an atonement. 

Romans 5.9 reads, 

“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” 

Colossians 1.14: 

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” 

Hebrews 9.22: 

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” 

First John 1.7: 

“the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 

What is required by God is for the high priest, Who is Jesus Christ, to offer the blood of the Sacrifice, Who is also Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus first shed His blood and died on the cross as our Sacrifice, our Sin-bearer, our Substitute. Then, after He rose from the dead, He offered His Own blood in heaven as our high priest, to complete the requirements for our justification. Hebrews 10.19: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” His blood is now in the holiest in heaven because He, as our high priest, took it there after He had risen from the dead and washed away our sins. This, then, is what “raised again for our justification” means to God. 

Now, WHAT DOES “RAISED AGAIN FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION” MEAN TO YOU? 

How are you affected by the resurrection of Jesus Christ? You are not affected at all if you are not converted. But if you are converted you are affected by the resurrection of Christ in a number of ways:

First, the resurrection of Jesus Christ serves as proof to you that God keeps His promises. He said He would raise His Son up and He did. You can trust a God Who keeps His promises. Amen?

Next, you have been justified, Romans 4.25. To be justified means to be given standing before God, to be pronounced righteous though guilty, to be reconciled to God. And the justifying that God does for Christ’s sacrifice becomes yours through faith in Christ, Romans 5.1.

Third, because Jesus Christ is raised from the dead you walk in newness of life, Romans 6.4. The very conduct of your life is a testimony to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So it was with the first martyr, Stephen, and so it is with modern day Christians like Saleema. To deny Christ’s resurrection you have to explain away her life, and the lives of countless other Christians.

Fourth, Romans 6.9 tells us that because Christ rose from the dead death has no more dominion over you . . . if you are a child of God. So, though you are not sinless, sin is no longer your master.

Fifth, the resurrection of Jesus Christ results in the Spirit of God indwelling believers, Romans 8.11. The Spirit of God is the ascension gift of Jesus Christ, made possible by His glorious resurrection. If Jesus Christ be not risen from the dead the Holy Spirit could not indwell Christians.

And, finally, the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes it possible for you to really believe in God. Turn to First Peter 1.18-23 and read along with me, as I conclude: 

18   Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19   But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

20   Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

21   Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

22   Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

23   Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 

We see, in verses 18-19, that redemption comes by the precious blood of Christ. We also see, verse 21, that by Him we truly believe in God. To believe in God, you must believe in Jesus Christ, Who God raised from the dead. This results in your soul being purified, verse 22, and can be seen in your unfeigned love of the brethren. In short, the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes it possible for you to believe in Christ, makes it possible for you to believe in God truly, and makes it possible for you to truly love other Christians. 

Do you believe God raised up His Son, Jesus Christ, after three days and three nights? Then you can be saved through faith in this same Lord Jesus. How is it possible to become a Christian? It may be a question you are wrestling with. My answer? It’s a matter of the heart. Do you really “believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead”? Then you can be delivered from all your sins by this same Jesus. “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness,” Romans 10.10.

Let me ask you one last question before we dismiss. Do you want to become a Christian? Do you want your sins forgiven? This is one question. Do you want Jesus as your Savior? It is a matter of your heart. If you believe in your heart that God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead, then you can with your heart believe unto righteousness. That is, you can with your heart believe in Jesus Christ to the saving of your soul.

Make it so, as we bow our heads in a moment of silence before we stand to be dismissed in prayer. My Father, I plead with you to work in the lives of the lost, to draw sinners to Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Romans 10.10-11 declares, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

If you have believed in Jesus Christ, you will not be ashamed. Come to me sometime and tell me if you think you have been converted. I look forward to speaking to you about it.

__________

[1] See Gary Robert Habermas, The Resurrection Of Jesus: A Rational Inquiry, A Dissertation Submitted to Michigan State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Arts and Letters, 1976, Gary R. Habermas, The Resurrection Of Jesus, (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984), Gary R. Habermas, The Risen Jesus & Future Hope, (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003), Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case For The Resurrection Of Jesus, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2004), N. T. Wright, The Resurrection Of The Son Of God, (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003).

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org