Three Questions

As I write this post, today is Easter Sunday morning.

Some faith groups strenuously object to the term “Easter.” It is true, as they object, that the term “Easter” does not occur in the original language (Greek) of our Bible. It does occur in the English of the King James Version at Acts 12:4.

But when you wish or need to check out the validity of any faith group, I have three questions which most innocently will ferret out falsehood in a hurry, whether in your own chosen faith group, or the faith group of someone who may come to your door.

Here are the questions:

(1) Why did Jesus come?

(2) What is the central focus of the witness given by the apostles and disciples? That is, to what did they give witness?

(3) What is the Bible definition of resurrection?

If the “witness” who comes to your door cannot immediately from his or her knowledge of the Bible come up with a Bible verse or verses which directly answer these three questions you will know:

(1) They do not know their Bible well.
(2) Their faith group does not match in its emphasis the emphasis or balance of truth set forth in the Bible.
(3) The faith group in question may well be a false cult if it denies any of the truths pointed to by these three questions.

If you yourself cannot answer these three questions, here are the Biblical answers to them.

(1) Why did Jesus come? Jesus himself said he came to seek and to save those who are lost (Luke 19:10).

What are the ramifications of this question and answer? If your focus is not upon seeking out and bringing to salvation those who are lost, then your emphasis does not match what Jesus stated was his purpose!

Without question, this is the area which is most lacking in the lives of individual Christians today as well as their churches. We who truly believe in Christ need to be actively engaged in reaching the lost for Christ.

How can we do this? We must utterly forsake the mistaken notion that reaching the lost is the job of the pastor, not us!

We must learn to share our faith with others.

This can be done by praying personally for those we know who are unsaved. This can be done by sharing the Scripture, the Bible, in the form of printed material written for that purpose, such as a Gospel tract or pamphlet. It can be done by encouraging spiritually hungry individuals to read the Bible for themselves. It can be done through your own verbal testimony to others of how your faith in Christ has brought you to a knowledge and certainty of your own salvation. You can readily share what Christ means to you and how He has changed your life. You can invite others to join you in the study of the Bible. If they see you are excited about the Bible, they will have reason to learn to share your interest.

If these things do not mark what is going on in your spiritual walk and experience, then you may need to pray to ask God’s guidance about how God can make these things a real part of your daily Christian life. There is a Gospel hymn with words something like “Lead me to some soul today, teach me, Lord, just what to say.” Study that hymn for more insight.

(2) What is the central focus of the witness given by the apostles and disciples? That is, to what did they give witness?

This most important question has a most important answer. The Biblical answer is found in Acts 2:32, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”

THAT is what is to be the subject of our witness to Christ: God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Any faith group which fails to witness steadfastly to the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) is not proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ as contained in our New Testament!

Study carefully the cross references given for Acts 2:24 as I share them immediately below. Many reference Bibles provide a similar set of cross references at this verse. Notice particularly the references for the keywords hath raised. These numerous references clearly show the emphasis of the New Testament witness to the resurrection of Christ throughout the whole New Testament.

Acts 2:24. Whom God. Here Christ’s resurrection is ascribed to God the Father; in John 10:18 it is ascribed to Christ himself, while in Ro 8:11 it is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Thus we have the Trinity acting in unity in the resurrection of Christ. ver. *Ac 2:32. Ac 3:13. 4:10. Ge 45:5. Jn 5:19. **Jn 10:18. Ro 3:25. 4:24. *Ro 6:4. *Ro 8:11. hath raised. Notice the single, consistent note present in all their witness: the bodily resurrection of Christ. Any religious faith which claims to be Biblical must share the same balance and emphasis the Bible itself contains (+*Is 43:10n. +*Jn 16:13n). ver. Ac 2:32. Ac 3:15, 26. 4:10, 33. 5:30. 10:40, 41. *Ac 13:30, 32, 33, 34, 37. **Ac 17:30, 31. 26:23. Ps 40:2. =Ps 105:20. Mt 17:23. 27:63. Mk 9:31. Lk ch. *24. Lk 24:3, 5, 6, 15, 25, 26, 39, 40. +*Jn 2:19-22. *Jn 10:17, 18. 20:9. Ro 1:4. 4:24, 25. *Ro 6:4, 9. *Ro 8:11, 34. **Ro 10:9. 14:9. *1 Cor 6:14. 15:4, 12, 13, 14, 15. *2 Cor 4:14. Ga 1:1. Ep 1:20. 2:5. Col 2:12. 1 Th 1:10. 2 Tim 2:8. *He 13:20. *1 P 1:21. loosed. Jb 39:2. Ps 69:15. 71:20. *Ps 116:3, 4, 16. 142:7. Is 49:8. pains. or, birth-pangs. Gr. ōdin (S#5604g, +Mt 24:8). Ps 116:3 (LXX, sorrows). +Mt 24:8. Mk 13:8. 1 Th 5:3. of death. +*Mt 24:8g. 2 S 22:6. Ps 18:5. 116:3. Col 1:18. because. Lk 24:5. **Jn 10:18. 20:9. 2 Tim 1:10. He 2:14. Re 1:17, 18. not possible. Ac 1:16. *Is 25:8. +*Is 26:19n. Is 53:10. *Ho 13:14. *Lk 24:5, 6, 46. *Jn 10:35. 12:39. Col 2:15. *He 2:14. *Re 1:18. be holden. Ac 12:7. Jn 20:23g (retain). Ro 6:9. Col 2:15.

(3) What is the Bible definition of resurrection?

A careful study of the Bible demonstrates that the only resurrection known to Scripture is bodily resurrection. What is it the disciples were looking for when they went very early to the tomb of Christ on that resurrection morning? (Luke 24:1). Clearly they went to anoint His body. But when they got there, what was missing? Clearly, His body (Luke 24:3). When Jesus Christ appeared before them, notice how he most carefully demonstrated that it was He Himself in His own body that stood or sat before them, and ate before them (Luke 24:36, 37, 39, 40). He asked for food, and ate before them (Luke 24:41, 42, 43).

This corresponds precisely to what Jesus famously predicted as recorded in John 2:19, 21, 22. Jesus predicted that though the Jews and Roman authorities would destroy “this temple,” a rare but very strong Greek grammatical construction which must be understood as referring to Himself, that in three days He would raise it–His body–up. John adds his witness to the fact of bodily resurrection when he writes “But he spake of the temple of his body” (John 2:21).

Souls and spirits cannot and do not die physically, only physical bodies die. Resurrection cannot, therefore, apply to spirits or souls, but always has reference to physical bodies. Those who teach otherwise are apostate, and deceivers. Do not follow them. Belief in the physical, bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in His own body is an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT for salvation, as plainly declared in Romans 10:9, 10. The Greek and English grammar of Romans 10:9 involving an “if” expression absolutely proves grammatically that this is an absolute requirement for salvation.

To suggest that “his body” is the Church, or the original group of disciples, and not His very own physical body is the heretical belief of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other apostates and unbelievers, but can never be the belief of any who claim truly to be Christian. Neither the Church nor the original group of believers can claim to have been destroyed and then to have been raised up in three days. Only our Lord Jesus Christ can lay claim to have done that, and it is the central fact of true, Biblical Christian faith.

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