Not Dead

District Fellowship News

March, April 2010

Spring should be here soon. (Note about the groundhog: Early February is 6 weeks from the first day of spring. According to the calendar there are always six more weeks of winter. How hard is that to predict?) But whether the weather cooperates or not, one thing that never changes is the celebration of Easter. Bunnies, eggs, lilies, and baskets have become a part of this celebration, some having vague connections to the real reason for this day on the calendar, others obviously tied to pagan rebirth, reincarnation, or new life motifs. For Christians, Easter (actually the celebration of Christ’s resurrection) celebrates the centerpiece of what we believe.

In the search for faith, many people concentrate on the solely here and now. How can my life improve? What must I do to be a Christ follower? What help is available for my problems? How can I be saved from my dilemma? It is a problem not limited to the area of spirituality, but it encompasses the thought process of the world. Looking ahead, future events, preparing for things to come is scoffed at in many ways. The attitude spoken of by Solomon, “eat, drink, and be merry” permeates our thinking. Voices proudly proclaim, “I live for today.” The only segment of our society that currently is vocal about the future are the environmental activists. Their concern for the future of the planet is admirable, although unfortunately misdirected. As God followers, we must be concerned for the future as well. What comes after is just as important as what comes now. 

This concern for the future in no way minimizes the plan of God in sending His Son to redeem us from the results of our disobedience. His sacrifice affords us the opportunity to make right our relationship with the Almighty God. And certainly that makes a difference here and now. We have a purpose to live our lives as followers of Christ, with integrity, honesty, and love, sharing the good news so that all men, and women may have the same opportunity, but if that reconciliation is for this life only, if death leads to nothingness, if our only hope is while we have breath in this life, we have a real problem.

In Paul’s First letter to the Corinthians, he deals with this issue. There were some among the Corinthians who  did not believe there would be life after death. In their worldview, this life was all there was. For other first century church members they had  the mistaken belief that they had to be alive when Christ returned in order to inherit the Kingdom of God. Think of how the message of hope turns to one of futility. Christ died to save us from our sins. We are in fellowship with God. We will live a life where there will be suffering, hardship, pain and persecution for our faith, and then we will die. That’s the end. No wonder Paul writes, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” If there is no resurrection, there is no hope. There is no reason for me to live my life pleasing to God. There is no reason to resist all the evils of the world. There is no reason for me to care for anyone else in this world. All I will have, or ever shall have, I must accumulate and spend in this life. What a depressing world.

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead… (1 Corinthians 15:20a). This is where Easter comes in. Good Friday is the day we remember the suffering, the agony, the sacrifice of Jesus. And without his death, we would still be separated from God. But that isn’t where the story ends. “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus...suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them...but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; HE HAS RISEN!’” (Luke 24:1-5) On this Sunday every year, we are reminded of something that should be the linchpin of our lives as followers of Christ. There is life after death, there is hope for the future, the ending is not the grave.

“Listen I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will be changed—in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable, must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” (1 Cor. 15:51-53)

As you celebrate this Easter season, remember the whole story. Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He was raised on the third day. He is risen, He is alive, and because of his resurrection we have a faith full of hope that can see us through any problem, any issue, any hardship. You serve a LIVING Savior, He is NOT DEAD.