Thursday, April 9, 2015

He's Alive

During the 1970’s as I listened to Contemporary Christian Music, Don Fransisco was one of my favorite artists.  Last month for my birthday my daughter gave me an album that has just been released titled, "We Will Stand".  It is a one of a kind live recording that includes 30 CCM artists who performed together on Jan. 21, 2015.  Don Fransisco was one of those artists and he sang his signature song, "He's Alive".

Don’s music often tells a story and “He’s Alive” is one of his best. It tells the story of the resurrection of Jesus from Peter’s point of view.  The song ends with these words:

Suddenly the air was filled with strange and sweet perfume.  Light that came from everywhere; Drove shadows from the room.

Jesus stood before me with His arms held open wide.  And I fell down on my knees and just clung to Him and cried.

He raised me to my feet and as I looked into His eyes.  Love was shining out from Him like sunlight from the skies

Guilt in my confusion disappeared in sweet release.  And every fear I'd ever had just melted into peace

He's alive, He's alive He's alive and I'm forgiven Heaven's gates are open wide.  He’s Alive.

What a powerful message.  This is the gospel; the good news that Jesus is alive. 

Let’s take a look at the story as it is recorded in Mark chapter 16. "Now when Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene.  She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.  Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.  And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved”.

Jesus gave his disciples the job of going to the entire world and preaching the gospel.  We call this The Great Commission .  Most Christians realize that Jesus didn't just tell his disciples to preach the gospel, he asks all of his followers preach the gospel.  But just what is the gospel?  The gospel is the good news that Jesus is alive.  He has achieved victory over death.  He wants to give us eternal life. 
Paul explained it very clearly to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that 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. 

The gospel is very simple.  1. Jesus died for our sins.  2. He was buried.  3. He rose again.

I once heard a preacher who stated that whatever topic he was preaching on he always included John 3:16.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".  John 3:16 is the gospel.  Whatever we as Christians are talking about needs to be wrapped in the covering of the gospel.  Whatever we are teaching, the things that we believe, need to have the gospel at their center.  Jesus, his death and resurrection, should be the center of any doctrine, teaching or belief.  Too much of what Christians are focused on is not gospel oriented. 

The most important part of the story of the cross is that He’s Alive!  We read in Acts 1:11, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”  Christians are looking forward to the second coming of Jesus because He’s alive!