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#8  Jesus rose from the dead to give the church a message of resurrection for the world

What is the message the church is meant to announce to the world?

It is difficult to concisely summarize this message because there is so much the church wishes to announce to the world. Some aspects of the overall message include things like:

  • Jesus is Lord and Saviour.
  • Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand
  • Our world belongs to God
  • There is forgiveness [reconciliation, healing, freedom, etc.] in the name of Jesus
  • The gift of the Spirit has been poured out on the church
  • Etc., etc., etc.

All of these items are important. But what are they all orbiting around? What is the centre or core of Christian preaching?

As we look at the books of Acts (the earliest Christian teaching and preaching) it seems that at the heart of this Christian message is a laser focus on the resurrection. Here are some examples:

  • A significant part of Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost is devoted to the resurrection:

    "But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him:

    “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
    Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope,
    because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay.
    You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

    “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it" (Acts 2:24-31).

  • They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead" (Acts 4:2).

  • “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33) 
  • At the end of the recorded sermon of Paul in Athens, Paul ends with these words: "For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” (Acts 17:31-32).
  • "Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.”

In his recent book (The Resurrection Of Jesus Christ) Russ Hastings says the following about the sermons in the book of Acts: "It is very apparent that the preaching of the gospel by Christ's resurrection community in the book of Acts is very much focussed on the resurrection."

As we can see from the book of Acts the resurrection (along with the cross of Jesus) lies at the centre of the church's teaching from it's earliest days. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ at the centre the Christian message loses its focus, its joy, its hope and its prupose.

Let us, as followers of Jesus in these days, continue in this great, good and grant tradition of proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ to those around us!