For What I Received
By Pastor Jim Jenkins
"For what I received, I passed on to you, as of first importance; that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve."
"After that, he appeared to more than 500 hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still alive, although some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles and last of all, He appeared to me also as to one abnormally born . . .." (I Corinthians 15)
"As of first importance . . .."
For Paul, it was the most important thing to tell people about Jesus. In the Book of Acts, we read about the time Paul was in Athens. He wasn't there for a scheduled event (he was waiting for Timothy to join him) when his spirit was provoked as he beheld the city that was full of idols. He began to reach out to anyone he found in the marketplace to tell them about Jesus.
Initially they belittled him and called him a "seed picker." This was a not so veiled insinuation that Paul was an idler who just picked up scraps of information and that he wasn't very bright. They derided him that is, until they heard him preach that Jesus had been raised from the dead. "We will hear you more concerning this," they said.
This weekend the Christian Church celebrates the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus from the dead. In almost 40 years of ministry, I have observed that people will not want to hear things from the Bible that point to the need for them to change their behavior and preferences. In our day, preachers have a legitimate concern that one day they might be brought before a tribunal for merely reading the scriptures that address issues that run counter to our increasingly progressive/liberal/Socialist culture.
I have also observed, however, that when you proclaim that Jesus rose from the dead and that his death burial and resurrection have made a way for those who believe to live forever with Him, people rarely turn a deaf ear.
It was in April of 2001 that I had the privilege to visit my nephew, who was in the last stages of cancer. We wasted no time and I asked his permission to tell him what I knew about Jesus. When I asked him if he wanted to invite Jesus to take over his life and that Jesus' sacrifice would make a way for him to go to with Him forever, he bowed his head and prayed with me. I will never forget the peace that descended on us, or the look in his eye. He went to be with the Lord a few days later.
Therefore, I put it to you, as of first importance.
Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He asked Lazarus' sister a question that we must all answer one way or the other. "I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes will never die."
Do you believe this? If you believe this, why not pray?
"Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner and that I cannot satisfy the claims of a Holy God by my own attempts to make things right. I believe that you died and were buried and that You rose again, for me. Because you love me. Come into my heart Lord Jesus. Fill me with you Holy Spirit. Save me."
Christ the Lord is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
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