A Serial Killer’s Argument for The Resurrection

The Resurrection: God Saves
Paul’s Argument for the Resurrection
Easter Lesson 2012-

• Peanut Butter or Jelly?
• Wendy’s or Burger King?
• Branson or Gatlinburg?
• Paper or Plastic?
• PC or Mac
• Is Elvis still alive?
• There are some things that no matter what your position is, it doesn’t really matter.
• There are some events that if they were really happened or not, it doesn’t matter.
• This is not true of what the resurrection of Christ.
• If it did happen it is the most important thing that has ever happened in history.
• If it did not happen, then Jesus isn’t who He says He is and we need to leave right now because we are wasting our time.

• In this series on doctrine…
• Tonight, I want to study the testimony of someone who hated Jesus so much that He was a serial killer of his followers.
• I think this is powerful, because if the most staunch critic of something becomes a fan, then you know there is something to the product…
• So let’s look at this witness to the resurrection…Turn to Acts 26

Let me give you some background here:
Paul’s been on these missionary journeys. He started churches all over the Mediterranean.
Acts 21-
• He starts to head toward Jerusalem, and a man named Agubus warns Paul that if he goes to Jersualem, he’ll be taken captive.
• Paul says, I’m going even if I have to die.
• Paul gets to Jerusalem, and goes to the temple.
• They arrest him.
Acts 22
• Paul gives a defense of the gospel by giving his personal testimony…
• They want to whip him. He says- wait I’m a Roman Citizen…
Acts 23
• Paul is taken before the San Hedrin.
• Some are Pharisees and others are Saducees…
• He gives his testimony and brings up the resurrection. This divides the council
• The Roman guard is so concerned that Paul is going to get killed He takes him out.
• Then there is a plot to kill Paul, and so Paul goes before Felix.
• Eventually He gets accused of Sedition
Acts 24
• Paul is taken before Felix. He gives a defense here.
• The Felix doesn’t know what to do so he just leaves him in jail.
Acts 25
• Festus comes- Come on, what are we supposed to do with you…
• Paul appeals to Ceasar.
• Festus then says- You’re going to Caesar!
• Agrippa comes and is staying with Festus…
• Festus says- Hey you’ve got to hear this prisoner….They are accusing him, and I don’t know what to do. I need your advice on what to do with this guy!
Acts 26
• Paul makes this defense of himself to Agrippa
• Paul we can’t figure out what to charge you with! Tell me, why are you here?

Acts 26:1-28
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:
(2) I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: (3) Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
(4) My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; (5) Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
(6) And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: (7) Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. (8) Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
(9) I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. (10) Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. (11) And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
(12) Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, (13) At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. (14) And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. (15) And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. (16) But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; (17) Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, (18) To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
(19) Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: (20) But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
(21) For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. (22) Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: (23) That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
(24) And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
(25) But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. (26) For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. (27) King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
(28) Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
Paul’s argument is this: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is means everything or it means nothing.

Here is Paul’s argument:
1. The Prophecy Argument: Christ’s death and resurrection was prophesied by Moses and the prophets. V.6-7, 22

• Gen 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
• Gen 22:18
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
• Ps 16:9-11
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
• Ezek 37:25 (Jesus, the ancestor of David would reign forever)
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
• Ezek 37:24-25 (Jesus’ ancestors being used to refer to Him. Only Jesus reigns eternally, this did not Jacob and David do. They died. Jesus died, resurrected and sits at the right (the power hand) hand of God on the throne. This Is not so of Jacob or David)
24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
• Job 19:26
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
• Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; … I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
• 2 Samuel 7:12, Psalm 132:11, Isaiah 4:2, 7:14, 9:6, 40:10, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:14-16, Ezekiel 34:23, 37:24, Daniel 7:24

2. The Power Argument: If it is possible that God exists and created everything, then it is certainly possible for God to have power over death. V.8
• (8) Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?

• I believe that this is why Genesis Chapter 1 is attacked so harshly in our culture.
• If God didn’t have the power to create the world- if it happened by chance and not by cause- then a God who saves by resurrection is a hard thing to believe.
• But if God made the World and everything in it, why is it difficult to believe that He can raise Himself from the dead!

3. The Personal Change Argument: “I wanted to kill Christians and saw them as the enemies of God, but then I met Jesus Christ. He is alive and I have a relationship with Him.” V. 9-21
• By the way, King Agrippa- I know what it’s like to disbelieve in the person of Jesus Christ.
• This is where this argument is so incredibly powerful. I am different.

4. The Public Argument: Paul argued also that the resurrection wasn’t a private thing with no evidence. God did this in public. There are many witnesses of the risen Christ, including Paul. V.25-27

a. Jesus died on the cross publicly.
Matt. 27:45-54; Mark 15:33-39; Luke 23:44-48; John 19:28-42
b. Jesus was buried in a tomb that was easy to find.
Matt. 27:57–60
c. Jesus appeared physically alive three days after his death.
John 20:17; John 20:20–28; Luke 24:36–43
d. Jesus’ resurrection was recorded as Scripture shortly after it occurred.
1 Cor. 15:3–4
e. Jesus’ resurrection convinced his family to worship him as God.
Acts 1:14; 12:17; 15:12–21; 21:18; 1 Cor. 15:7, Gal. 2:9; Jm. 1:1; Jude 1
f. Jesus’ resurrection was confirmed by his most bitter enemies, like Paul.
Acts 7:54–60; Acts 9; Phil. 3:4–6

5. The Point Argument: The point of Christ’s resurrection is summed up in v. 18.
a. Paul expands this critical argument in 1 Corinthians 15:12-24-

“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.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.”

iMission’s Interview with Richie Orrick

In the month of March, my church has our annual Mission’s emphasis.  This year we are really wanting to help people take missions very personally.  As a part of this we are doing a series of interviews with some of the missionaries we support.

In this week’s interview I talk to Richie Orrick.  He is a new missionary to the country of Wales.  He is a good friend of mine, and is an incredible minister of the gospel.  Take a few moments to hear our conversation below.