I’d like to answer 2 QUESTIONS today:
1. On which day was Jesus crucified & resurrected?
2. The second question I’d like to answer is how much of the Gospel do you really have to believe in order to be saved?
Because the question comes up whether you just have to believe that Jesus is God or whether you have to believe that He died, was buried, and rose again …
… & all the doctrines which His death, burial, and resurrection imply …
… including the substitutionary blood atonement.
Because in our quest to guard the simplicity of the Gospel & not allow false teachers to make it difficult to believe …
…we also sometimes risk over-simplify the Gospel to the point that people could potentially end up believing in ANOTHER JESUS.
In a Jesus that does not have the power to save …
…. because their Jesus is not God or does not have the POWER to RISE FROM THE GRAVE & to DEFEAT DEATH.
So we’re going to examine whether believing in the RESURRECTION is required in order to be saved.
– But let’s begin with the 1ST QUESTION.
1. On which day of the week did JESUS DIE & RISE AGAIN?
– Last week, I preached on the topic of the PASSOVER & the communion of the LORD’S SUPPER.
& I mentioned how that Jesus’s death coincided w/ the PASSOVER.
& there’s a popular theory that Jesus was placed on the cross & crucified at the exact moment that the PASSOVER LAMB was being SLAIN in preparation of the PASSOVER MEAL.
But … while Jesus did DIE within the 24 hour period of the PASSOVER …
… it would be contradictory to SCRIPTURE to believe that He was crucified at the exact moment of time that the PASSOVER LAMBS were being slain.
And the reason for that …
… is because in MATTHEW 26 & in Mark 14 & in LUKE 22 …
… Jesus observed the PASSOVER MEAL w/ His disciples the night before He was crucified …
… He did this in perfect obedience to the LAW OF GOD …
… that would mean that the PASSOVER LAMBS had already been slain before His crucifixion …
Mark 14:12-15 makes it abundantly clear:
12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?
13 And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.
14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
15 And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us.
& after this, the Lord proceeds to have the PASSOVER MEAL with His disciples.
Jesus specifically said that He was going to eat the Passover meal with his disciples.
& in v. 12, it specifically says that this was the day that they killed the PASSOVER LAMB.
We see the LAMB was slain, before Jesus went on the Cross.
So while this theory is intriguing when you first hear it …
… it’s trying too hard to fulfill the types & shadows & symbols of the Law … to fit them where they did not occur.
But … it is clear … that Jesus had the PASSOVER MEAL w/ His disciples that evening …
… and was crucified the following morning, while it was still PASSOVER.
& in that way, He fulfilled the SHADOWS & TYPES & SYBMOLS which pointed to HIM as the fulfillment of the PASSOVER LAMB.
Because, you see, Biblical days, begin in the evening & go through to the next day in a 24 hour cycle.
It goes from evening to evening starting at sunset, unlike our days which go from morning to morning at midnight.
We read this in Genesis 1:5, on the FIRST DAY of the CREATION WEEK: “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
& so Jesus had the PASSOVER MEAL on THURSDAY on the HEBREW CALENDAR ….
… which would have been WEDNESDAY NIGHT for us …
& And this can mess w/ the Western mind …
… but the PASSOVER would have begun WEDNESDAY EVENING our TIME … (Thursday their time) …
… & it would have went through the whole next morning until just before the START of THURSDAY EVENING …
(So from Wed. evening to Thurs. evening our time would have been the PASSOVER).
And so taking this into account, Jesus would have been arrested WEDNESDAY NIGHT our time …
…. and then tried before HEROD & PILATE on THURSDAY our time … very early in the morning, probably around 6 am or so …
… & then CRUCIFIED … by 9 am our time (which was called the 3rd hour according to Hebraic time).
Mark 15:25 says: “And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.”
SO GOOD FRIDAY, was really GOOD THURSDAY …
And it was still PASSOVER when Jesus was crucified.
Again, He ate the PASSOVER MEAL that night with his disciples, and in the morning, He was crucified …
Making 1 Biblical Day.
This goes along w/ Exodus 12, which describes the original PASSOVER MEAL:
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
• It is written in the Gospels that Jesus died at 9TH HOUR …
He was CRUCIFIED AT THE 3RD HOUR which was 9 AM …
… HE DIED 6 HOURS LATER at the 9TH HOUR ….
… which would put us to about 3 PM our time …
It was still THURSDAY according to our reckoning …
AND THEN JESUS WAS BURIED THAT EVENING.
Matthew 27:57-61 gives the account:
57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:
58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
Now, we know that He was in the grave for THREE DAYS.
Jesus Himself said in Matthew 12:40: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
& in Luke 18:32-33 it is written:
32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:
33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
So JESUS died around 3 PM ON THURSDAY …
So we have THURSDAY TO FRIDAY – 1 DAY
FRIDAY TO SATURDAY – 2 DAYS
SATURDAY TO SUNDAY – 3 DAYS
He rose, as the Bible says, ON THE THIRD DAY, which was SUNDAY.
I believe He rose early … so that it was not a full 3 days and nights in the grave.
But as the Bible says, it was ON the THIRD DAY itself, it was STILL the THIRD DAY, when HE ROSE AGAIN.
But he was also there, 3 days and 3 nights.
It just would not have necessarily been three full days but towards the end of that THIRD DAY …
If it were 3 LITERAL 24 HOUR PERIODS, it would be the FOURTH DAY that He would rise again, which doesn’t make sense.
The CLEAR PASSAGE is that He will rise on the THIRD DAY and it fits the entire timeline of events …
But whereas He was three days and three nights in the earth …
… is not three 24-hour periods, but simply going into 3 days and 3 nights before He is resurrected.
We see this in LUKE 24:1-7:
1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
We see also in Luke 24:21 & 46:
21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
So we see Jesus was already risen early morning of the 1st day of the week, which was SUNDAY …
You see, we’re letting our more technical Western 24-hour day mindset get in the way of our reckoning …
We see examples of three days not being a literal 72-hour period in the Book of the Kings also …
In 1 Kings 12:5, the people are petitioning King Reheboam, and it says: “And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.”
And in 1 Kings 12:12, we see that they don’t take the king literally, and come back ON THE THIRD DAY.
And look how it’s worded, 1 Kings 12:12: “So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.”
In v. 5 the king tells them to depart for three days and then later he equates this with “the third day” –
Just like the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
There’s a definite linguistic parallel there.
So when you put it all together …
Jesus DIED on THURSDAY @ about 3 PM.
And ROSE AGAIN on SUNDAY EARLY MORNING … on the THIRD DAY … perhaps just at the moment that Sunday dawned …
* A few people also say that He died on Wednesday because they are looking for that literal 72-hour period.
But that’s not possible.
Since He died at about 3 pm and rose early in the morning, that would mean He would have been in the engrave over 3 days and risen on the 4th day. It would have been closer to 3 1/2 days.
The only way to explain it is to believe that He rose ON the THIRD DAY, as the Bible teaches.
* But if you don’t follow all this, it’s OK …
… as long as you BELIEVE that JESUS DIED, WAS BURIED, and ROSE AGAIN …
And that leads us to the SECOND HALF of this SERMON …
DO YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION to be saved?
Let’s begin answering the 2nd Question of this sermon with John 11:25-27:
After Lazarus died and was in the grave for 4 days, Martha complained that if Jesus had been there, he would not have died.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
Martha made her confession of faith.
And it’s the same confession of faith in Christ and the resurrection that Paul speaks about in Romans 10:8-9:
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
We see that clearly the resurrection is a part of the saving Gospel.
Because if Jesus didn’t rise again, then He’s not God.
And if you don’t believe that Jesus is God, then it’s not the Biblical Jesus that you believe in.
So there are conditions for salvation (otherwise what are we believing in?):
… believing by faith that Jesus is Lord (which means that He is God)
… & believing in your heart that God has raised him from the dead …
The passage continues; back up again 1 verse and let’s read the whole thing:
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. [There is a FOR there, which links belief with the previous passage about believing that God raise Him from the dead].
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
So calling upon the name of the Lord is defined as believing in His Godhead & His resurrection.
And if you believe in His resurrection, then it follows that you also believe in His death and burial.
And I mention this because the question has arisen at times: how much of the Gospel does one have to believe to be saved?
We know that the Gospel is simple … easy to be understood.
We must have a childlike faith.
But if we don’t believe that Jesus is God, then the Jesus we are believing in is ANOTHER JESUS …
If we don’t believe that He rose again, they we also are denying His Godhead.
The Bible makes it clear we must believe in the death, burial, & resurrection of Christ to have saving faith.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 says:
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, [Paul spells it out, this is the Gospel that saves] if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Paul clearly lists the essential components of the Gospel required to be a saving Gospel.
1. Christ died for our sins: This speaks of the substitutionary blood atonement. Understanding that Jesus took our sins upon Himself and died on our behalf.
Without understanding that Jesus died for you, you could potentially still be trusting in your own works to save you.
But when He’s your substitute, you understand that it’s HIS WORK that saves, not yours.
2. That Jesus was buried: (that He was fully dead, not just unconscious or in a coma – which is one reason among several why I believe He stayed dead for three days).
3. And that He rose again; that He resurrected from the grave.
And notice that Paul repeats this phrase twice: ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.
“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures …And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
This again shows that to be saved, you have to believe in the JESUS OF THE BIBLE …
… & not a Jesus of your imagination or the Jesus of a false religion …
… and not a powerless Christ who dies but does not have the power to defeat death.
So when we place these passages together in their context, we see the essentials of salvation.
– Now do you have to understand every nuance and every jot and tittle of these doctrines to be saved?
Of course not, that’s where the simple childlike faith comes in.
It’s as simple as just knowing that Jesus is God and that He died for you and rose again to save you.
That without Him, you would be condemned to Hell.
My 6-year old can understand this simple message.
Remember, Romans 10:9 said very clearly: “That if [there’s the condition] thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
1 Peter 1:3 also says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
If you don’t believe this, what Jesus are you believing in? Who is your faith in?
Jesus could have been begotten in the flesh, could have took all our sins upon Himself, could have died for us and been buried …
… but if He had not risen from the grave, it would all be for nothing.
The Gospel itself would be powerless, and He would be nothing but a dead god.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19:
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
In v. 17 Paul says that if Christ hasn’t risen, then we are still in our sins …
He also mentions that his preaching clearly included the resurrection …
In v. 12 he says: “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead.”
& In v. 14 he says: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”
• So it’s important that when we preach the Gospel, we preach the whole Gospel & not exclude any essentials.
It’s the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ that has the power to save.
It’s the fact that Jesus is God begotten in the flesh that has the power to save.
It’s that Jesus took our sins that has the power to save.
Not one of these elements can be left out.
They’re part and parcel of the Gospel message.
Otherwise we risk preaching an incomplete Gospel, which could lead people to A JESUS that is not the real Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 says:
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
There’s the IF again. This condition is mentioned over and over again in Scripture.
John 3:36 says: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
What are you believing ON HIM about?
John 6:47 says: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
Again, what specifically are you believing ON HIM about?
>> That He is God … that He paid for our sins on the cross … >> that HE IS RISEN.
THE RESURRECTION BRINGS HOPE …
Paul says that we are to sorrow not … even as others which have no hope.
Have you ever been to the FUNERAL of an UNBELIEVER?
It is full of sorrow, despair, remorse, sadness, wailing and weeping …
… The person is just gone … in their mind … they’re just gone … forever …
… but for the believer, the life we experience on earth is the worst it’s ever going to get …
Did you get that?
The LIFE WE EXPERIENCE HERE ON EARTH is THE WORST IT’S GOING TO GET.
IT won’t get any worse than this …
… it’s all uphill from here.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10:
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
When a believer dies, we may miss him, but we know that we will see him again in glory.
Romans 6:5-9 says:
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
Through the resurrection of our bodies, we will finally be freed from sin.
THE RESURRECTION GIVES HOPE to an OTHERWISE HOPELESS LIFE.
We read earlier from 1 Corinthians 15.
Let’s pick up where we left off.
1 Corinthians 15:19-26:
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
THE RESURRECTION is, above all things, VICTORY OVER DEATH.
DEATH ITSELF is vanquished by Christ’s resurrection.
Paul says later in this same chapter, starting at v. 51:
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Our labor for the Lord is never in vain no matter how bleak things may look in this life at times.
In the end, no matter what happens or what they do to us, we will be RESURRECTED in glory and live forever in this perfect state.
Romans 8:11, 16-18:
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
I was thinking about how sin entered into the world through Adam.
And how sometimes people feel that it’s not fair, because they were born into this world without their choosing, without asking to be born.
We were born into sin …
… And you may wonder sometimes if it all makes sense …
… But there’s nothing else that makes as much sense as what the Bible teaches.
It’s difficult for the human mind to grasp it all … in all its fullness.
But think about what happened.
God had made everything good.
There was no sin nor death in the world, no suffering, no disease, no pain.
But Adam transgressed & through SIN brought DEATH into the WORLD.
& The punishment for Adam’s sin effected everything about him …
… it effected his children and all the generations of man to come …
… When he sinned, that was the judgment …
… his now sinful nature beget sinful men …
The whole world and all of history was effected …
GOD’S JUDGMENT ON SIN WAS GENERATIONAL.
There’s no other way to explain why DEATH and SIN and IMPERFECTION even exists in the world …
… why we are compelled to do evil …
… why not even 1 man is exempt from the sin nature.
& so we see a perpetual cycle of birth, life, sin, disease, and death.
We are all born into Adam’s transgression.
… And the only way to break that generational curse of sin and death …
… was for another man to come and pay the Just penalty for Adam’s transgression and ours.
ONLY JESUS WAS QUALIFIED, AS GOD HIMSELF.
No other Person could accomplish what only God Himself could do.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)