Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter, Christianity, and the Resurrection

The Gospel (Good News) is 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.” -1 Corinthians 15:3-4; The Bible

Did Jesus really die for our sins and rise from the dead on the third day? Yes! He really, physically, literally, bodily, rose from the dead and is living today.

Easter is special, but really every time followers of Jesus worship on Sunday it is in celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Sunday is sometimes called the Christian Sabbath or the Lord’s Day.

We see from the following verses that the Christians began to worship on Sunday:

Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."
When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” -John 20:19-21

And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!” -John 20:26

On the first day of the week, Peter preached his sermon on the day of Pentecost and 3,000 souls were saved.

Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. -Acts 20:7-8
(As a preacher who still has Sunday Evening Worship Services, I can’t help but point out that John 20:19-21 and Acts 20:7-8 refer to Sunday Evening gatherings.)

On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. -1 Corinthians 16:2

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet. -Revelation 1:10

The early church was composed of Jewish believers in Jesus as their Messiah, their Savior. They had always worshipped on Saturday, the 7th Day. Why in the world would they change? It would have taken an incredible event. And it did. The incredible miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What did the early church do? The church soon after New Testament times? They also worshipped on the first day of the week.

Barnabas, AD 120 - “We keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose from the dead.”

Justin Martyr, c. AD 165 - “But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our communion assembly because Jesus Christ, our Saviour, on the same day arose from the dead.”

Bardesones of Odessa, Asia, AD 180 - “On one day, the first day of the week, we assemble ourselves together.”

Clement of Alexandria, AD 194 - “He, in fulfillment of the precept, according to the gospel, keeps the Lord’s day, when he abandons an evil disposition…glorifying the Lord’s resurrection in himself.”

Tertullian in Africa, Bishop of Carthage, AD 200 - “We solemnize the day after Saturday in contradiction to those who call this day their Sabbath.”

Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, Africa, AD 250 - “The eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, and the Lord’s day.”

Apostolic Constitution, AD 250 - “On the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day meet more diligently.”

A man told a preacher, “The Christian religion is no big deal. It would be easy to start a religion like that.”
The preacher replied, “Oh yes. You would only have to get crucified and rise again the third day.”

And that is exactly what Jesus did.

Believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose again. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and come into your heart to be your Lord and Savior. Follow Him. And Easter and the Resurrection will have meaning as never before. Jesus loves you. He is the way to forgiveness, salvation, resurrection, and everlasting life. Jesus gave His all to you; give your heart and life to Him.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” -John 11:25.

Reference: R. G. Lee.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 1, AD 2010.

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