For 5 years I was the pastor of Trinity International Church in Strasbourg, France. I created this blog with those people in mind. In mid-November 2018 I will become the Senior Pastor of Word of Life Church in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. The focus of this blog will therefore shift, but I pray that people from the blogosphere will continue to find it helpful wherever they might be found.
The churches' websites includes recorded sermons for those who are interested. Click the links below to access them.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Apostles' Creed - Part 4: Crucified and Rose Again

We have been looking at the Apostles' Creed as a way of reminding ourselves of the fundamental truths of the Bible. This ancient creed tells us that God created the world and that Jesus Christ is God and that he became flesh by being born of the Virgin Mary. This post considers the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Historical Reality

Make-believe Hero

The creed affirms that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead. It is interesting to observe that it adds the detail that he was "crucified under Pontius Pilate." This grounds the crucifixion in history. The idea of death and resurrection may be common in some pagan mythology, but the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are placed at a specific time and place in history.  The existence of Pontius Pilate is well-attested in historical literature. Belief in Jesus is not like belief in Superman, Wonder Woman, or Spiderman. The events of his life are not the work of an imaginative writer. They are not myths or legends. They are historical facts. To believe in Jesus means, at the very least, the acknowledgement that his life, death, and resurrection actually happened. Of course, being a Christian means more than this because even Satan knows this.


Of his death

Everyone dies. The fact that there was a man named Jesus that died is insignificant unless in a very unique sense did not deserve to die. We find it tragic when someone is punished for a crime they did not commit. But the Bible teaches us that all of us have sinned and therefore all of us deserve death. We cannot find someone to pay the penalty of death for us. Our parents cannot do it because they sinned. Our friends cannot do it because they, too, sinned. Everyone has sinned and justly deserves death and hell.

Jesus never sinned. Therefore Jesus is the only human being that did not deserve death. He is unique.
Because he never sinned, his death could pay the penalty for those who had sinned (Mark 10:45). He took our place. John tells us that Jesus sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10 see also Hebrews 2:17). Propitiation is a sacrifice that bears and removes the wrath of just punishment. It changes wrath into favor. Jesus died on our behalf so that we could be forgiven and experience eternal life rather than eternal damnation (John 3:16-19).
Real Hero

His death for our sin forms a foundational belief of Christianity. Remove the death of Christ and there is no Christianity. If it did not happen, then we are fools to say that it did. If it did happen, then we are fools to not accept the forgiveness that is available.

Of his resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus is important for several reasons. First, it demonstrates the reliability of what Jesus said. While it might be possible to predict that the Roman and Jewish were conspiring together to kill him, Jesus made the totally outlandish promise that he would rise from the dead. If that "outlandish" statement proved to be true, how much more should we believe the other things that he said!
Not only does the resurrection demonstrate the reliability of Jesus, it provides evidence that God accepted his sacrifice for sin (Romans 4:25). By being united with him through faith, we experience regeneration (1 Peter 1:3). The power of the resurrection is at work in Christians (Ephesians 1:19-20) and is critical in living a life free from the power of sin (Romans 6:4-11).

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