Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Resurrection: Foolish, Fake News, or Fact? - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Resurrection: Foolish, Fake News, or Fact? - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Resurrection: Foolish, Fake News, or Fact - Part 2
TOPICS: The Power of the Cross, Resurrection, Easter

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". In today's cynical climate, not everyone shares our enthusiasm for Easter. In fact, many have grown suspect about the Resurrection of Christ. Did Jesus really conquer the grave? In secular colleges, many believe that Easter was a hoax, and professors are sabotaging the faith of our young students. So how can we defend the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? My message is titled, "The Resurrection: Foolish, Fake News, Or Fact"? on today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".

The majority of the New Testament, including the Gospels, were written between 40 and 65 AD. Some of the Gospels were written, not within decades, but within years of the life of Christ. And the reason that's important is, it is impossible for myth to corrupt the truth in that short of a time period. You have to wait until lots of people have died who knew the truth before you can inject a myth into a historical story, for that myth to gain any traction at all. You have to wait several hundred years 'til everybody who knew the truth is dead and everybody who knew those who knew the truth is dead as well.

Perhaps this illustration would help you. Suppose this week a new book came out saying that 3 days after Ronald Reagan had his funeral on June 11, 2004, 3 days after he was buried in Simi Valley, California, Ronald Reagan's grave opened. Ronald Reagan arose from the dead and for the next 40 days the resurrected Ronald Reagan walked around Southern California, teaching and doing good things, and there were 500 people who have witnessed the resurrected Reagan, and here are the names of some of those who had seen him. Suppose a book came out saying that today. It would literally be laughed off the book shelf. It would not survive one printing. The reason is: the book would have no credibility. The book could easily been disproven. Fifteen years after Ronald Reagan's death, we can still go to Simi Valley, we can still see where he was buried.

We can interview those who say they knew the resurrected Reagan and find out their story has all kind of holes in it. A story like that would never gain traction because the claim came too closely to the real event. Now, it's the same way with the resurrected Jesus Christ. If Christ had not been raised from the dead, these witnesses could have been interviewed, nobody would have followed Christianity, and certainly nobody would have given their life for a lie. But instead, do you know what happened? Not just within a period of years; within a period of weeks, Christianity spread like wildfire throughout Jerusalem. Almost overnight, hundreds and hundreds of years of Jewish tradition were overturned like the day of worship, the sacrificial system, and so many other things.

People immediately started to give their lives for this belief that Jesus was alive. Do you know anybody today if a book came out about Ronald Reagan, saying he has risen from the dead, do you believe people would be meeting in churches today to celebrate the risen Reagan? Do you know of anybody who would give his life for the belief that Ronald Reagan is still alive? No, but there have been tens of millions of martyrs for the Christian faith because they believe that Jesus Christ is alive today. The early acceptance of the Christian message is a strong evidence for the reality of the Resurrection. Fourth, the proof of eyewitnesses. We're told that eye witness testimony, especially when it occurs with many people, is some of the most convincing evidence that there is. In 1 Corinthians 15, verse 6, it says that 500 people saw the resurrected Christ. Paul, 25 years later, mentioned some of them who are still alive. They saw the risen Christ.

You say, "Well, wait a minute, they were just seeing a hallucination. They were so overcome with grief that they so wanted to see the resurrected Christ that they imagined they saw him". That's the explanation. That's a good explanation, except it doesn't mesh with the facts. You see, the facts are the disciples, the followers, weren't expecting to see the resurrected Christ. I mean, think about it, if they really believed Christ's claim that he was gonna rise from the dead, do you think they would have deserted him by Friday, all of 'em? If they really believed Jesus was Lord and he was gonna be raised from the dead, don't you think they would have camped out in front of the tomb Saturday night so that they could see the greatest event in human history? They weren't expecting to see Christ, but they saw him anyway. And did you know that has happened ever since that time? People who weren't looking for Christ found him anyway, or rather, he found them.

People who were running away from God, he ran after them and found them. I think about C.S. Lewis, Oxford scholar, doubter in Christianity, who became a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. He wasn't searching for God, but God was searching for him. Do you remember just 9 years ago, in 2009, one of the most ardent atheists and agnostics in the world, an intellectual named A.N. Wilson, shocked the world on Palm Sunday, 2009, when he announced that he had become a Christian. And the following week on Easter Sunday, he issued this letter that all the major media covered.

Listen to what he said about his turn to Christianity. He said: "My own return to faith has surprised no one more than myself. Why did I return to it? My belief has come about in large measure because of the lives and examples of people I have known, not the famous, not saints, but friends and relations who have lived, and faced death, in light of the Resurrection story, or in the quiet acceptance that they have a future after they die. The Easter story answers their questions about spiritual aspects of humanity. It changes people's lives because it helps us understand that we, like Jesus, are born as spiritual beings. But an even stronger argument is the way that Christian faith transforms individual lives, the lives of the men and women with whom you mingle on a daily basis, the man, the woman or child next to you in church this morning".

It is those eyewitness testimonies, not just of the few who saw him on that Easter Sunday morning, not of the 500 Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 5, but the millions of people throughout history who have been willing to endure torture and ridicule and even death because Jesus Christ has transformed their lives. Men and women who, to this very day, in this room could stand up and say, "I serve a risen Savior. He's in the world today, and he's changed my life forever". That is the proof of eyewitness testimony. We've talked about the prophecy of the Resurrection. We've talked about the proof of the Resurrection. Now, the purpose of the Resurrection. What does the Resurrection mean to me? What implication does it have for me? This is so important. Two implications of the Resurrection.

Number one: the Resurrection assures us of our justification by God. The Resurrection assures us of our justification by God. Now, that word "justification" is a legal term. It simply means not guilty. Not guilty. The Resurrection ensures that we are justified, that is, we are not guilty before God if we've trusted in Christ as our Savior. Let me illustrate that for you, if I could, for just a moment. Suppose for just a moment that you were struggling to make your mortgage payment this month. In fact, you were facing foreclosure on your home because you could no longer make the payments, and a friend comes up to you, knowing your situation, and says, "I have a check here that I'd love to give you, not just to cover next month's mortgage payment, but this amount is sufficient to erase your debt completely. Would you like to receive this check"?

What do you think you would do? Of course you would take it. All you have to do is endorse it and deposit it and that money is yours, and the debt is gone. Now, Jesus makes the same offer to you and me. Listen carefully. The Bible says we all owe God a debt because of our sin. Every time we sin, as I said last time, we increase our indebtedness to God. The wages, the payment for sin, is eternal death. We owe God a debt and that debt keeps accruing every day. Some people owe God a bigger debt than others. Some people are bigger sinners than others, but you know what? That doesn't matter because none of us is capable of paying our sin debt ourselves. But here's the good news of the Bible. Jesus says: "I am willing to pay your debt for you".

When Jesus came and died on the cross, he didn't die to pay off his sin debt. He had no debt because he was the perfect Son of God. But he came to offer you and me payment for our sins, and that is why when Jesus hung on the cross, some of his final words, John 19:30, were: "It is," what? "Finished". Literally, in Greek, "Tetelestai," "Paid in full". Jesus has paid our sin debt for us. What do we need to do? All we have to do is endorse the check. That is, by faith, saying, "I believe what Jesus said. And today I am banking on what he did for me, not in my good works, but in what he did for me, to save me from my sins". That's what it means to become a Christian and to have your debt erased forever.

Now, just suppose, rewind the tape, you take that check from your friend. You thank him so much, you endorse it, you deposit it in the bank. Three days later, the bank calls you and says, "You know that check you deposited"? "Yes". "It bounced from here to the moon". The check was worthless. I mean, your friend was sincere. He really did wanna pay your debt off and you were certainly sincere when you deposited the check, but sincerity doesn't cut it, does it? He lacked the financial resources to carry through on his promise. He had no resources to pay your debt.

Now, listen to me, had Jesus not been raised from the dead, had he stayed in the tomb on that Sunday, it would have meant he didn't pay for our sins; he wasn't the Son of God; he, like everybody else, died for his own sins. But the apostle Paul says in Romans 4:25, it says that "Jesus was raised for our justification". Romans 1:4 says: "He is the Son of God declared with power by his Resurrection from the dead". The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was the proof that he had sufficient funds to pay for our sins, that he was really who he said he was, and that is why I say the Resurrection assures that our sins have been paid and we have been declared not guilty by God forever and ever. That is why the Resurrection matters. It assures our justification.

Secondly, and oh boy, this is so great, not only that, the Resurrection ensures the glorification of our bodies. It ensures our future glorification by God. The fact that Jesus was raised from the dead means that one day those of you who trust in him for salvation will also conquer death. You'll be reunited with your loved ones and with God forever in history. How do you know that, forever and ever? Look at 1 Corinthians 15, verses 20 to 23. Look at this. "But now Christ has been raised up from the dead. He is the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead". That man was Adam, "For since by a man," Adam, "came death, by a man," Jesus' "also came the resurrection of the dead".

Now, star this. "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming". We hear this story about the Resurrection. We think, "Okay, that's wonderful. Jesus is raised from the dead, but what does that mean to me"? What it means to me is, if we are in Christ, what happened to Jesus was not just a one-time event in history where one person conquered death. It means we too shall conquer death and live forever. You see, how is that possible? Well, notice what he says: "Christ is the first fruits of those who are asleep," verse 20. Verse 23: "Christ was the first fruits, and after that those who are Christ's at His coming".

Do you know what first fruits are? In Israel, whenever they were ready to harvest crops, before they would bring in the entire harvest, they would take a sample of the harvest and bring it to the priest as an offering. That sample harvest was called the first fruits. The first fruits wasn't the entire harvest. It was just a small sample of the greater harvest that was yet to come. Now, Paul says Christ is the first fruits of the Resurrection. He was the first one to be raised in a brand-new body, but he isn't the last one. In fact, there are many more who are gonna be raised from the dead just like Jesus was. And who are those people that will be part of the Resurrection harvest? Look again at verse 21: It's those who are in Christ.

Verse 22: "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive". Do you know what you have to do to die and go to hell? You know what you have to do? Nothing, zero, zippo. Just be born, live your life, and die, and you will go to hell. You know why that is? Because he says right here in verse 22: We are all born in Adam. Every one of us is physically related to Adam, and that means we've inherited Adam's curse, Adam's sin, Adam's disobedience. That's why he says: "Those of you related to Adam, for in Adam all die". That's not just physically; that is eternal separation from God. But you know how you escape death and know you're gonna be living forever with Christ? Notice the second part: "So also in Christ all shall be made alive". To be in Christ means to trust Jesus for your salvation. To believe with all of your heart that he paid the price for your sins, to trust in that and not your good works for your salvation.

The Bible says in John 1:12: "For as many as received Him," Jesus, "to them He gave the power to become the children of God, even to those who believe on His name". To go to hell, we have to do nothing. To trust in Christ, to go to heaven, we have to endorse the check. There has to be that moment in time when you deposit his grace in your life, when you reach out and say, "God, I accept your gift of salvation today". You know, I began this sermon with a question: Is the Resurrection foolish, it is fake news, or is it an indisputable fact?

Let me tell you in closing how one man answered that question. His name is Simon Greenleaf. Many of you may know him. He was perhaps the most renowned professor that Harvard Law School ever had. He was an expert in the rules of legal evidence, and he was also a hardened atheist. In fact, he wasn't contained to keep his atheism to himself; he wanted to spread it. He wanted to destroy Christianity. And from a legal perspective, he knew the best way to destroy the Christian faith was to once forever drive a nail in the coffin of the superstition known as the Resurrection.

And so, for years, he studied the so-called evidence for the Resurrection in order to disprove it. But after years of study, he was so overwhelmed by the evidence for the Resurrection of Christ, that he became a devout follower of Jesus Christ and spent the rest of his life sharing the news of Christ. I want you to listen to his summary of what he discovered. He said, quote, "According to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence of the historical fact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any event in human history".

The Resurrection is a fact, but it's a fact that demands a response from every one of us here today. For, you see, if the Resurrection is true, it means that Jesus was exactly who he said he was. He was the Son of God. And if Jesus was who he said he was, then it means everything he said to us is absolutely true, about heaven, hell, and eternity. If Jesus was raised from the dead, it means the promise of John 11:25 is true: "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes and trusts and clings to Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live again". And if Jesus was raised from the dead, it also means he was telling the truth when he said in John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me".
Are you Human?:*