Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Christianity's Most Important Doctrine

Luke 24:6 "He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee"

Today we are going to be talking about the most important doctrine and truth of the Christian faith - The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  In Luke 24 we witness the events surrounding the morning in which He had raised from the dead.  We know the resurrection to be the most important Christian doctrine, since without it, Christianity cannot exist. (1 Corinthians 15:19)  The Resurrection issues forth four essential elements that enable Christianity to be a living Christianity.    I will list them and then deal with them briefly one at a time:

1. Living Scriptures
2. Living Christ
3. Living Proclamation
4. Living Testimony

1. Living Christianity is built around the Living Christ
The Angel's assertion to the women who came to the tomb was "He is not here, He is Risen".  This statement constitutes the most fundamental truth of the Christian faith.  We assert the centrality of the crucifixion of Jesus - without which Christianity would be in crisis.  However without the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christianity is dead.  The Resurrection validates the identity and accomplishment of Jesus Christ. 

2. The Living Scriptures Center upon the Living Christ
Luke 24:1-12 shows us the episode of the women coming to the empty tomb.  What the angel spoke to them in Luke 24:6 constitutes the heart of the Christian Good News (the Gospel) - namely that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.  The angel was bring to their attention the living words of God.  These words that we have in written form are of course the Bible, from the Latin term scriptura meaning "those things written".  The Angel reminds the women that Jesus Himself had predicted His own, death, burial and resurrection.  Years later, when the four Gospels were composed, those very statements were recorded stated by Jesus on at least half a dozen occassions. 

3. Living Scriptures, about the Living Christ require Living Proclamation
In Luke 24:9 the women ran from the tomb and "proclaimed" to the rest of the disciples what they had seen and heard.  The idea of communicating God's truth has always been a central hall mark of true Biblical faith.  In the Old Testament the Prophets' preaching centered around Prediction and Explanation.  When Jesus Christ came preaching went from prediction to pronouncement.  The King and His Kingdom were not merely coming, He was here!

However there still was the element of anticipation, since the arrival of the King meant that He was going to achieve something significant in His realm.  When Christ raised from the dead, preaching and communication of God's word went from pronouncement to proclamation.  Proclamation is way different from the first two, in that there is no longer anticipation, but completion.  The victory has been won!  Jesus Christ demonstrated Himself to be both the living God and Perfect man!  Preaching or proclamation that lives centers its content around the victory of the cross demonstrated in Christ's resurrection from the dead. 

4. Living testimonies issue forth from living proclamation of the living scriptures about the living Christ
Luke 24:8-9 tells us the response of the women to the angels words: "And they remembered His words, 9and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest."  These women had a living Christianity that overflowed into the telling of their own personal experience - their testimony.  Like a testimony in a court of law, the value is confirmed by experience, tested by evidence and confirmes what took place.  Matthew 28:8, the parallel text to Luke's, records these details: "And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples."

A Living Christianity that centers itself around the Living Christ, Living Scriptures, Living Proclamation and Living Testimony is the only hope for a dying world. 

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