Newsletter: March 23, 2016

Dear Church Family,

It is hard to believe, but Easter is already upon us. Why do we celebrate Easter Sunday? In order to commemorate Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead on the third day. People often refer to Sunday as “the Lord’s day.” Doesn’t every day belong to the Lord? Well, yes, of course every day belongs to Jesus. Okay. So, why do people call one day out of the week “the Lord’s day”? In order to commemorate Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead on the first day of the week. So, in one sense, Christians should celebrate every Lord’s day as Easter Sunday.

Unanimously, all four gospel accounts record that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). The pattern of Christians from the very beginning became to gather together on the first day of the week in order to worship Jesus Christ in light of Him being raised from the dead (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). Furthermore, John actually calls the first day of the week (Sunday) “the Lord’s day” in Revelation 1:10, which gives Scriptural precedent to this label.

My purpose here is not to talk about how the Lord’s day compares or contrasts with the Sabbath day or what is meant by the Day of the Lord—even though those are certainly important conversations. Here I want to ask, “Is the resurrection really all that important?” I have briefly suggested that for Christians from the New Testament to the present, Christ’s resurrection was at least important enough to determine when they would gather together to worship. However, does a permanent schedule change really mean a whole lot? If Christ had died on the cross for the sins of His people but was never resurrected, would it change anything?

Your first reaction may be to remember all the times Jesus told His disciples He would rise on the third day, which would mean that if He didn’t rise, He would have been a liar (and you would be right), but what if (for the sake of argument) He never told His disciples that? Is there any other reason besides keeping His Word that makes Christ’s resurrection important?

What does Scripture say (aka: What should we believe?)?

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). If Jesus was not raised, God did not accept Him as the perfect sacrifice, the blameless substitute for all those who will trust in Him (Romans 4:23-25). If Jesus was not sinless, He is not fully God. If Jesus is not God, He could not have endured the eternal wrath of God on behalf of His people. If Jesus was not raised, death wins and Satan conquers.

Do you get where I am going with this? Christianity—our hope for salvation (i.e., being reconciled to God)—hangs on the resurrection of Christ Jesus. No resurrection means no Gospel which means no Christianity which means no hope. The hope of our salvation rests in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the purpose of our lives is meant to be governed entirely by the reality of God raising Jesus from the dead.

Let me encourage you to meditate on 1 Corinthians 15 as you prepare your hearts to gather together this Lord’s day in celebration of the act that brought us life. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Gentry