James Dixon, Resurrection day message 2018, Ferry Road Baptist Church
Today is resurrection day. If you could go back in time 1986 years, and imagine today were a Saturday, right now Jesus would have been in the grave almost three days, and sometime after dark today, he would be rising from the dead.
Today is being called “Easter Sunday”
We are here today to remember Jesus resurrection. I try to say “resurrection day” vs “Easter” so as to not mislead people concerning the two holidays. In today’s world, the two words are almost interchangeable, but they are two different days at different times.
A little bit about Easter.
This year, Easter was actually March the 20thr. Easter was last month. Oddly enough, today, at many churches across our land, you’ll see Easter bunnies and Easter baskets and colored eggs. They are about a month late.
Easter is reckoned by the spring equinox, and honors a fertility goddess named Ishtar, pronounced Easter. Today it is Ostara. Ostara is one of the 8 sabbaths of the wiccan religions . Other wiccan sabbaths are New year’s day, January 1, then Yule, the winter equinox, Dec 20-23 and Samhain, which begins at midnight on October 31st,
We have all been to New year’s eve parties. I gather with many of my friends on New years eve to celebrate the new year, not witchcraft. But we don’t meet at the Lord’s house for it.
I visit family and celebrate Christmas with family and friends, not witchcraft, But not at the Lord’s house.
I personally do not observe Halloween. I don’t even pass out candy in the neighborhood. But if I did, It wouldn’t be at the Lord’s house. I don’t condemn others for doing so.
For me, it is a matter of conscience. For a church, it should be a matter of honoring the Lord.
Earnest hated a Christmas tree with a passion. He didn’t condemn others for enjoying Christmas lights and Christmas trees. But he kept one in the social hall. Why? Tolerance. Love. Acceptance of others. Not worth being right about.
In 1 Tim 4:7 Paul says: But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
You know, anytime someone has a birthday, or a wedding, THEY are the one’s who should get the undivided attention of those who have came to honor that person. Today is a day we should give the Lord our undivided attention, and be especially grateful, on today of all days, for his sacrifice, and his resurrection from the dead.
At the Lord’s house, today is the Lord’s day, as it should be every time we meet, BUT ESPECIALLY on the day of his resurrection, to honor HIM, in his house. JESUS should have our undivided reverence and attention in the Lord’s house, not the Easter bunny, or colored eggs, or chocolate eggs, an Easter egg hunt.
What a man’s conscience allows, and what a man does in his house is his business. The Lord’s house is a different place.
Ok, enough about all that.
Why the resurrection?
Paul says: In 1 Cor 15:14 Paul says And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
If Jesus had not risen from the dead, our faith is a total waste of time. A dead man has no power. A dead man cannot help anyone. Paul bet the farm on Jesus resurrection. He gave up his head before he denied the risen Christ, or worshipped the roman emperor.
I had an exchange once with a muslim once who said “If God died, he is not a god”
I said “seems to me God can do what ever he wants to do, including dying and raising himself up from the dead”.
He then asked me “Why would Jesus die, and rise from the dead”?
If a man told you when he was going to die, HOW he was going to die, when he was going to die, and who would kill him, and that he would raise HIMSELF up from the dead, and then, after all that, after three days, prove himself, would you follow him? If he fulfilled over 300 prophecies from the Bible, which YOUR KORAN says is true, would you follow him?
-If this same man PROVED to you that he had power over death, hell, and the grave, would you follow him?
-to which he replied “Jesus is not God”
– I asked him “Is Jesus ALIVE”?
-He said “yes, of course he is” (He HAD to say this, or contradict his koran)
-To which I replied “So, Jesus has NEVER died, but he is 2019 years old, and promises anyone who believes in and follows him eternal life” would you believe it coming from a 2000 year old man?
Seems to me a 2000 year old man has the secret to long life.” You would be fool not to .
-He said “god is not a man”
-I said: “Why can’t he be? can God take on any form he wants”
– “Well , yes he can”
-“The Bible says god is a man. Fully God, yet fully human. Fully devine, fully flesh. Remember, we are made in HIS image, not he in ours”. “And your Koran says the Bible is true, so”
-Tell me what your god looks like.
-He couldnt. Because he doesn’t know.
He tried to say muslims worship the same god as the Christian, which is a lie, the koran says Allah has no son, but I digress.
I then asked-Tell me: has your god loved you so much, he is willing to assume your form and die in your place to satisfy his justice and his own judgements?
I continued. We do not worship the same god. There is a big difference between YOUR god, and my god.
Your religion teaches that God is not a man, and that all humans are slaves.
-My religion teaches that God IS a man, and we are his brothers, sisters and mothers.
Your religion teaches that you shall die for your god
My religion teaches that My God loves me so much, he died for me
Your religion teaches that you cannot go to god, and he will not come to you.
My God came to me. In the man Jesus Christ, and will return for me one day, raise me up if I am dead , and take me to be with him in heaven. Has YOUR god made such a promise? Can mohammed help you? Nope, Mohammed is dead.
You cook meals and sacrifice animals and human beings for your god.
My God sacrificed himself for ME, and cooked meals for and ate with his creation. And will cook a meal for me in heaven when I get there.
Your god requires you to humble yourself to him.
My God washed the feet of his disciples in all humility and humbled himself at the cross for my sake.
My God is a man, as such, he is acquainted with grief, having been tempted and tried in every way as we are. He feels our pain. He understands our troubles and temptations.
Your god knows no such temptations or grief. He cannot empathize with you. “I know how you feel” is not in his vocabulary.
Your religion REQUIRES you to worship 5 times a day. And sacrifice to your god:
My God sacrificed HIMSELF for me. He loves me that much.
My God never asked me for worship, I worship him freely from LOVE, not compulsion
Muslims cut themselves for their god. You bleed for your god
MY GOD bled for me.
Your god has already ordained and decreed all things, including where you will spend eternity, and there is not one thing you can do about it but hope he chose you for paradise.
My God loves his creation so much, he gave him complete sovereignty, meaning the full liberty to pick his poisons and choose his changes, knowing full well we may choose evil, and moreover paid the penalty for my bad choices himself.
Your god will require payment at your hand, not his.
Your god hates his creation. According to the Koran, most will see hell, especially women.
That is how much MY god loves me. How much does your god love you? How many times in your Koran does it say your god loves you? Not once.
Your god hates you, and will require all men, including muslims to “burn off your sins in hell” for a time, if not for all eternity.
My god loves me so much, he paid the penalty for my sins, and is not willing that any should perish he sacrificed HIMSELF for me. He loves me that much.
Your god has decreed all will see hell, including you, at least for a time.
My god has decreed that all who believe in him, and accept his sacrifice, will not perish, but will see heaven with him for all eternity.
My God has spared me from hell. Fact is, because of his shed blood, and my faith in him, again it is impossible for me to go to hell. Hell is the last thing I have to worry about.
My God loves me so much, and desires fellowship with me so much, he has a special place built for me in heaven, so that I will have a heavenly home with him for all eternity.
My God loves me so much, he will dispense judgement and vengeance to all who have denied him for the righteous sake.
-He stopped conversing with me after this.
All Religions across the world teach some sort of eternal life. This is the hope of all religions.
But Mohammed did not die for the sins of man.
And he did not rise from the dead. He’s still dead. Still in the dirt.
Buddha? Still dead.
Vishna? Still dead.
Darwin? Dead. And still dead.
Isis? Horus? Sorus? Still dead.
Haven’t saw a Pope rise from the dead yet.
Haven’t saw Jean Calvin rise from the dead yet.
Haven’t saw EG white rise from the dead yet.
Only Jesus has risen from the dead. In no other religion has anyone has died and came back. Not . one. Single. One.
I once saw a facebook post that asked why Jesus had to die for us?
I said “well, I guess there are many reasons for Jesus death on the cross, not the least of which is the blood payment for our sins”, but one more thing I get out of the cross is this:
If a man told ME he could defeat death: Meaning he could WILLINGLY lay down his life, be killed, and come back from the dead, and do the same for me if I followed him, logically, then, my response would be “OK then, you go first” . And if he did, and rose from the dead, I would be a fool not to believe and follow him.
Well: Jesus did go first. He has PROVEN he can give us eternal life. And he does to all who believe in him.
He proved his power over death and hell in his resurrection, and promises all in John 11:25 he says-26Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
If you want to live forever, Jesus is the only way. There is no other way. John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the father but by me”
Well? Just what does it require to have eternal life?
Believe. Believe he is who he says he is, and will do what he says he will do. John 3:16 says; For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. … For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
The bible says “as a man believes in his heart, so is he”
Can it really be that easy?
There is nothing hard about believing.
I often talk about the imminence of the rapture being a strong motivator for a believer. It is the same principle for one who believes.
The one who truly believes in Jesus cannot help but to be changed. That change affects his behavior. It affects the way he thinks, the way he talks, and the way he treats others.
The change is not from the outside in, but from the inside out. That change is not something that has to be forced, it is a natural process of growth and maturity in Christ Jesus. That change is not overnight in most cases, but it is a change nonetheless. As Jeff often says: Its not “have to”< but “want to”.
Well, many say that Jesus is a fictional character. There are those that claim he never existed. They are pitifully ignorant or lying. They would have better luck denying Lincoln was president.
Believe it or not, Jesus is THE MOST verifiable , confirmed person who ever walked the planet. And notably, you won’t hear anyone say he is dead.
More than a dozen historians have written about Jesus. More than a dozen of his disciples gave their lives before they would deny their witness of the resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus has a half dozen holidays in his honor.
More songs have been written about Jesus than any person that ever existed.
At the present, I don’t know of any man on the planet anyone else, of any religion would die for.
Yet, in the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, More people stand ready to die Jesus at this very moment than any man who has ever lived, or ever will live. A man none of them have met in person.
Here is what Napoleon said: Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was, by all accounts, a giant of history. Soldier. General. Emperor. Exile. And although no would add ‘theologian’ to this list, Napoleon faced a question common to all mankind: Who is Jesus Christ?
History has seen many different answers. Christians have claimed Him as Savior, others have considered Him just another wise teacher, and skeptics have deemed Him to be a largely mythological figure.
Near the end of his life, the exiled Emperor Napoleon came to the following conclusion about the King of Kings:
I know men, and I tell you Jesus Christ was not a man.
Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist.
There is between Christianity and other religions the distance of infinity.
Jesus Christ alone founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men will die for Him.
Alexander, Cæsar, Charlemagne and myself founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon sheer force. Jesus Christ alone founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men will die for Him. In every other existence but that of Christ how many imperfections!
From the first day to the last He is the same; majestic and simple; infinitely firm and infinitely gentle. He proposes to our faith a series of mysteries and commands with authority that we should believe them, giving no other reason than those tremendous words, ‘I am God.’
The Bible contains a complete series of acts and of historical men to explain time and eternity, such as no other religion has to offer.
If it is not the true religion, one is very excusable in being deceived; for everything in it is grand and worthy of God.
The more I consider the Gospel, the more I am assured that there is nothing there which is not beyond the march of events and above the human mind. Even the impious themselves have never dared to deny the sublimity of the Gospel, which inspires them with a sort of compulsory veneration.
What happiness that Book procures for those who believe it!
So said Napoleon Bonaparte. What about you? Who do you say that Christ is? Scripture tells us that “every knee should bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Even the great Napoleon.
Yet Christianity is the most hated and persecuted religion that has ever existed.
And still, Christianity is the dominant religion on the earth. And it will dominate in the tribulation.
In the tribulation, many folks believe “the church will go through the tribulation”. They lack understanding.
Tribulation root word is Tribulum. Which means to sort, or to sift.
When the tribulation begins, there will not be a single believer on the earth. The entire earth will be nothing but UNBELIEVERS. Yet billions of believers will come out of the tribulation. “no man could number” The tribulation will be a victory for the gospel, and a victory for the church. Even with completed control over the earth, the antichrist will not be able to overcome the gospel. When the tribulation ends and Jesus begins his reign, there will not be a single UNBELIEVER alive on the earth.
Jesus says: I will build my church, and the gates of hell[b] shall not prevail against it.
All through the power of his death, burial and resurrection. Share it with others. Enjoy today, but lets not forget its meaning, and be grateful for what the Lord has given us, and what he has in store for us.