Derek carries on his study of resurrection, expounding on the fact that God made us alive together with Christ. He raised us up together with Him, and we become members of this new race by being begotten or born again by God. From then on, Christ is our inward source of eternal life—Christ is our life.
It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week, sharing with you Keys to Successful Living which God has placed in my hand through many years of personal experience and Christian ministry.
This week I’ll be continuing with the theme that I commenced last week: “Resurrection.”
But first, let me say “Thank you” to those of you who have been writing to me. Before I finish this talk, we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So please take time to write, even if it’s only a brief personal note.
Now, back to our theme: “Resurrection.”
In my talks last week, I explained that the Gospel consists of three simple historical facts concerning Jesus Christ. These three facts are His death, His burial and His resurrection. These three facts are the core, the basis, the center, of the entire gospel message. The center in Jesus and they center in His death, burial and resurrection.
The primary confirmation of Christ’s resurrection is found in the prophetic Scriptures of the Old Testament. We looked last week at specific examples of this from the Psalms of David and from the prophet Hosea, who both clearly and accurately and in detail predicted various aspects of Christ’s resurrection.
The second confirmation of Christ’s resurrection is supplied by the testimony of many reliable witnesses who saw Him alive after His resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, Paul lists the following witnesses:
1. Cephas, that’s Peter
2. The twelve apostles
3. More than 500 believers at one time
4. James, the brother of Jesus
5. Then all the apostles, and we are not quite sure how many that might be
6. Finally, Paul himself
So there are well over 500 reliable witnesses to the fact that Jesus rose from the dead.
In my talk today and throughout this week, I’m going to share on the measureless blessings made available to us through Christ’s resurrection. That seems to me the logical order. First, establish the scriptural and historical fact of Christ’s resurrection, and then see what is made available to us in the mercy and provision of God through His resurrection.
The first such blessing that I’ll speak about today is that we can be begotten again, or you might use the phrase born again. In introducing this, I want to go back for a moment to the prophecy of Hosea which we examined last week. Just the one verse in Hosea 6:2:
“After two days He [that is, the Lord] will revive us [will bring us back to life]; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.” (NKJ)
There’s a clear prediction of the resurrection to take place on the third day. But as I pointed out last week, Hosea does not speak in the singular, but in the plural. He does not say, speaking in the person of Christ through the Holy Spirit, “He will revive me, or He will raise me up,” but he speaks in the plural, “He will revive us, He will raise us up.” And so I pointed out by the prophetic insight of the Holy Spirit, the Scripture there reveals that we are included in the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus died our death, that we may be identified with Him by baptism into His burial. And that by being identified with Him in burial, we might then share also in His resurrection.
In Ephesians 2:4-6, Paul makes this very clear. He says:
“But God, who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (NKJ)
Notice there that the word “together” occurs three times, each time indicating some experience that we share with Jesus through our faith in His atoning death. God made us alive together with Christ, God raised us up together, and God made us sit together or enthroned us with Christ. And all of them are spoken of by Paul in the past tense. It’s not something that’s going to happen in the eternal counsel of God, it’s something that’s already accomplished. All that’s required of us is that we enter into it by faith.
And then there’s a very significant passage in that great resurrection chapter that we’ve looked at so many times, 1 Corinthians 15:45-47. Paul contrasts the old creation and the new creation, that which was opened up by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In verse 45 he says:
“And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being [or a living soul].’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. [So there he gives Jesus the title ‘the last Adam.’ And then in verse 47 he says:] The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.” (NKJ)
There he gives Jesus the title “the second Man.” We need to set these two titles side by side, but in their right order. First, Jesus was the last Adam; second, He was the second Man. As the last Adam, He exhausted the entire evil inheritance that had come upon the whole Adamic race through sin and rebellion. It all came to its conclusion and its climax, it was all exhausted, in the death of Jesus.
Then, when He rose from the dead three days later as the second Man, He was the head of a new race which was the purpose of God in His death and resurrection; to finish the Adamic inheritance, to seal it off by death, and then to open the way for those who believe into a new race of which Jesus Christ is the Head.
The way by which we can enter into this new inheritance and become members of this new race in Christ is by being begotten again or born again. Both phrases are used. I prefer the phrase “begotten again” in a sense because in correct English the word “beget” describes the father’s part in procreation. And it is God the Father who, through our faith in Jesus Christ, begets us again. But of course, the person who is begotten is also born. So both phrases apply. This is spoken of by the apostle Peter very vividly in 1 Peter 1:3, where he says:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...” (NKJ)
So by being identified by faith with Jesus in death, burial and resurrection we pass with Him out of the old order, the old creation, into a new order, a new creation. We re begotten again by the power of God into this new race of which Jesus Christ is the Head. I call it the “Emmanuel Race,” the “God-with-us” race.
And this is the purpose of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Once we are thus begotten again, or born again, Christ is from then on our inward source of eternal life. We have an entirely new source of life which is in Christ and is in heaven. And this is described by the apostle Paul in Colossians 3:1-4, where he says this:
“If you then were raised with Christ [that is, identified with Him in resurrection] seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. [That is where our inheritance is, in the heavenlies, on the throne with Jesus.] Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. [That’s very important advice, because where our mind is, that really determines the course that our life will take. Then he goes on with this theme of identification:] For you died, [we died when Christ died, His death was our death:] and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [What tremendous security in having a life that’s hidden with Christ in God. And then he goes on to say, and this sums it up:] When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (NKJ)
Notice that tremendous phrase of limitless meaning: “Christ is our life.” It’s absolutely inexhaustible. Every need is covered by the one fact that the resurrected, glorified, victorious Christ is our life. Nothing can conquer that life. Nothing can overcome it. It’s undefeatable, it’s indestructible, it’s eternal.
And so Paul applies this to his experience and it applies also to ours. In 2 Corinthians 4:16, he says:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” (NKJ)
That’s a beautiful message of encouragement. We do not need to lose heart. Things may seem to be difficult. They may seem to be going against us in the outward, but he says we are connected to Jesus. By faith through the Holy Spirit, we have an inward source of life and we are being continually renewed from within by this source of life within us, which is the resurrected glorified Christ. Let me leave you with those pregnant words: “Christ is our life.”
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll continue with this theme of resurrection. I’ll share how the resurrected Christ becomes our righteousness.