A World Without Easter
- Thursday, April 08, 2004
Paul calls you "false witnesses." Those two words in English translate one word in Greek, the word "pseudomartus." The word pseudo means "false." A pseudo intellectual is someone who thinks he is smart, but he is not. A pseudonym is a false name. The other half of the word is the word that gives us the English word "martyr." Now originally the word martyr did not mean someone who died for a cause, it meant witness. So literally the word is just what it says; we are false witnesses if Jesus Christ has not been raised from the dead.
In fact, it is worse. If Jesus Christ has not been raised from the dead, then the greatest liar in all of history, and the biggest religious charlatan in the existence of the world, is Jesus Christ Himself. If Jesus Christ is not alive He does not deserve our empathy or our sympathy; He deserves our anger. Because He said Himself in Mt. 17:22-23, "Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, 'The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up. . .'
But not only is Jesus a liar, but that means Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the twelve disciples, and the Apostle Paul were all liars. That is the problem with a dead Christ; we must forfeit our message.
II. We Must Forget Our Mission
Now our mission is Mt. 28:19-20, which you all know as the Great Commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Our mission is to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ. But the problem is, if Jesus Christ is dead, our faith is irrelevant. "And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile. . ." (v.17a) You see, faith is no greater than its object. Now all of the faith in the world will not allow you to sit in a two-legged chair. All of the faith in the world won't keep you from falling to your death if you jump out of an airplane without a parachute. What gives faith credibility is the object in which it is placed.
Many years ago I read about a man out in Los Angeles who called himself "the human fly." This man would crawl up the walls of skyscrapers by clinging to window ledges; putting his fingers in the little crevasses in the bricks and pulling himself up. People were amazed at his ability because he could climb up a sheer wall almost like a fly.
On one particular day he was going up the wall of a huge department store in Los Angeles. There was a crowd watching him as the policemen were holding the crowd back, and they watched him climb up window ledge after window ledge, crevasse after crevasse. He was making his way carefully up the sides of this building until he almost came to the roof.
There was a ledge that he was standing on and he needed to get up just a little higher in order to make it to the top of the roof. He saw a little protrusion sticking out from the building like a piece of stone, and he thought to himself if he could just reach that protrusion he had the strength to pull himself up to the rooftop. The problem was it was just beyond his grasp; right beyond his fingertips. So he stood on his toes on that ledge and reached out and gave just a little jump and grasped it with his hand. When he did, he came falling off of that building down to his death.
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