Lord's Day Evening Meditations September 28, 2003

Acts 25:24-27

"The Lord Is Risen"

Each verse of this hymn (L.F. no. 34) begins with the words "The Lord is risen." That is a wonderful thing; I would like to read a few verses and give a few thoughts on the subject of the Lord's resurrection.

Firstly, read Acts 25:24-27. You know the story of the Apostle Paul, how he did all he could to arrest believers and to have them put to death. But one day the Lord appeared to him, and he saw a ray of His glory - "a light above the brightness of the sun." Paul was saved that day, and he was a changed man. Here in Acts he was a prisoner, and the reason for his arrest was that he believed in, and preached, the resurrection. He said to Agrippa, "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?" Acts 26:8.

When the Lord Jesus walked this earth he loved a family in Bethany: Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Lazarus took sick and died, and when the Lord came to the tomb he told them to remove the stone. Martha objected, but the Lord raised her brother and brought him back to life again. Is it a thing incredible with you "that God should raise the dead?" Do you think that it is impossible for Him to do that? We have proof of it in Scripture. The Old Testament prophets foretold the Lord's coming and resurrection. The Lord explained that to the two on the way to Emmaus when "He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself."

You know the story of the Lord Jesus Christ - the things He did and the miracles He performed. We remember the cross of Calvary, and how after He died they placed Him in a tomb. But that wasn't enough; they placed a large stone at the door of the sepulchre and set a guard for they were really afraid that He would rise again. Well, He did rise again on the third day. "The Lord is risen!" What does that mean for you and me? But the enemy always comes to put doubts on what the Lord has done.

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand." 1 Cor. 15:1. The enemy had come and had put doubts in the minds of the Corinthians, and Paul reminded them of the message that he had preached to them: "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day." vs. 3, 4. When we were born into this world, we were dead in trespasses and sins. We needed life, which God gives us in Christ Who died and rose again. In 1 Cor. 15 the argument of the Apostle Paul is the truth and the importance of the resurrection. Without resurrection there would be no hope. "Unless ye have believed in vain," means that if there was no resurrection, then their faith was useless. If Christ died for our sins but didn't rise again, there would be no salvation; but, since He has risen we can be assured that our sins are forgiven.

All the disciples were witness of the Lord's resurrection. The one chosen to replace Judas had to be a witness of His resurrection. The scripture says that "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established," but here the apostle gives us seven witnesses to His resurrection. 1 Cor. 15:4 - 7. "Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" v. 12. This was false teaching, the work of the devil, who doesn't want people's sins to be forgiven. See how strong is the argument of Paul against this error. "If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen." v. 13. "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." v. 14. Paul would have been a false witness (v. 15), and "If the dead rise not, then is Christ not raised, and ye are yet in your sins." vs. 16 - 17. Yes, if Christ did not rise, then we are still in our sins, and besides, those who have died have all perished. v. 18.

John Bunyan lived at a time when it was forbidden to preach the gospel. He spent 12 years in prison because of his faith. It was there that he wrote "The Pilgrim's Progress" describing how Christian got rid of his sins after leaving the City of Destruction. The way was very difficult at first because of the big pack on his back (his sins) which he couldn't get rid of. When he came to the cross the pack was loosed and rolled down the foot of the hill into a sepulchre, never to be seen again. Then he sang: "Thus far did I come laden with my sin, etc."

"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." v. 19. But the truth is that our Saviour has died and is risen again: "But now is Christ risen from the dead." v. 20. He is "the firstfruits of them that slept." The first man brought death, but "the second Man is the Lord from heaven." He has brought life to us. We need to have a new life because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." v. 50. The Lord told that to Nicodemus, that he had to be born again, but he didn't understand. We need new life in Christ, risen from the dead.

"Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." v. 51. "Sleep" means a believer who dies. If he dies, "the dead shall be raised incorruptible" in bodies of glory. Why will they be raised? Because there is a resurrection. Who will be raised? Those who believe that the Lord Jesus died for them and rose again. But it is possible that we may never die. We are given an average of 70 or 80 years, but "it is soon cut off and we fly away." Whether long or short, our life here will end. But for a believer, that is not the end because Christ rose from the dead, and if the Lord came tonight we would never go through death. "Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." v. 54. What a victory that will be! I trust that everyone here will be among those raised to glory. "But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." v. 57. Death will be gone, and the grave will be gone through this victory given to us. I can say that I'm ready to live, but also that I'm ready to die. How is it with you?. If the Lord called tonight, would you be ready?

There was a young woman who went to a gospel meeting and heard the Word of God.. The preacher stressed how the door of salvation was still open for all. She was exercised about her soul, and she told her friends, "If it's true, I'll go in." She accepted the Lord Jesus and was saved. She liked the hymn by Sankey that begins, "There is a door that stands ajar." When school holiday time came she took a train to go home, but the train had an accident in which many people were killed. She was fatally injured and died 2 or 3 days later, but they found her hymn book open to the page, stained with her blood, that had the hymn, "There is a door that stands ajar." She had come in the door and had been saved, just in time.

There is a tract entitled, "The Last Cool Drink," that tells of another young woman who had a very different experience. She also went to a gospel meeting, heard the Word of God, and was exercised about her soul. However, her father was not a believer, and he didn't want his daughter to become a Christian. That night he gave her the order that he forbad her to accept Christ and be saved. Mae obeyed and told the Lord that she would never accept Him. Not long after she took sick and had to come home from school. A few days later they called the doctor who told them that it was too late; she had only a few hours more to live. The father's first thought was of the order he had given her. Now he said, "Oh, Mae, pray, seek the Lord, pray, Mae!" But she couldn't. She asked him for a drink from the old well and he brought it to her. Then she asked him, "Papa, pull me up in this bed. My feet are on fire." Before he returned with more water she was gone. The father lost his mind in remorse for the order that he had given his daughter.

The Lord Jesus Christ, Who died and who rose again, invites you to be saved and to be with Him for eternity. "The Lord is risen." What does that mean to you? R.C.