Monday, May 10, 2010

A Rugged Cross, An Empty Grave, And A Throne In Heaven (Part 1)

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord GOD, you know." Then he said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD." So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live." So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then he said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.' Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD. (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

Can these dead bones live? Oh Lord you know. Prophesy over these dead bones and say “Hear the Word of the Lord – so says the Lord, I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live”.

What is that a picture of? That is evangelism. Evangelism always involves three parties. A corpse, a prophet, and the God of the resurrection. Who is the corpse? That valley of dry bones is a good picture of every lost sinner we speak to. Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3)

A dead body needs a lot more than persuasion to become a Christian. He needs to be resurrected by the God Who raises the dead. And that God Who raises the dead chose the "foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21b).

This prophet God uses are those Christians who are called to preach the
Gospel. Which Christians are they? Which of us?

But do we just hope that God raises the dead or do we know it? I recently did a series called The Exhilaration Of Double Imputation which spoke about Christ’s atoning death and how it secures a double imputation for Christians. The sins of the sinner are credited to Christ and the righteousness of Christ is credited to the sinner. But this good news would remain an empty hope without Christ’s resurrection.

Who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

This means that the resurrection would prove that God had accepted the sacrifice of His son and was now able to be both just and the justifier of the sinner who repents and trusts the Savior. Without Christ’s resurrection we have no hope of being justified with God and no hope of our own resurrection body.

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:12-17)

To be continued on Wednesday - The Resurrection on Trial: Refuting False Theories

Go On To Part 2

1 comment:

Cameron Buettel said...

This is the first part of a sermon I delivered on Resurrection Sunday 2010.