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REAL CHRISTIANITY – AN EASTER MESSAGE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, March 23, 2008

“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (I Corinthians 15:17).


Tonight I am going to speak on the subject of “Real Christianity.” We have a great deal of pseudo-Christianity and counterfeit Christianity today. How can you tell the real from the false? That is my subject tonight. I am going to give you four real things that are true of genuine Biblical Christianity.

I. First, real Christianity teaches that Christ really rose from the dead.

The entire context of this passage in I Corinthians reveals that the Apostle Paul was speaking of the literal, physical resurrection of Christ’s body. I had liberal professors in one of the seminaries I attended who said that Jesus rose from the dead in the minds of the Disciples. That’s a tricky way of saying that His body didn’t really rise, it only rose “in the minds of the Disciples.” But that is untrue to the facts. In fact the Disciples did not believe “in their minds” that Jesus rose from the dead until after they actually saw Him. Only when they saw Him and touched Him did they finally, reluctantly, believe that His body had risen. The whole Christian religion rests upon the fact that Jesus actually rose bodily from the grave. Only as His followers saw Christ, and encountered Christ, were they finally persuaded that He had risen. And it was not a spirit that rose. Not at all. When Jesus appeared after His resurrection to the eleven Disciples, He said,

“Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet” (Luke 24:36-40).

They could see the nail prints from the crucifixion in His hands and feet. He even said to the Disciple Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27).

These verses of Scripture show that Jesus really rose from the dead physically, bodily from the tomb. And there is no way to get around the fact that His body itself rose, flesh and bone, from the dead. Jesus’ physical body rose up from the dead in the tomb where they had buried Him, the tomb that had been sealed, with Roman guards watching it throughout the day and night. But Jesus rose and broke those bonds and came forth physically, resurrected from the dead.

That is my first point. We believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ simply because that is what the record of the four Gospels tells us. We need no other proof. This has been the belief of millions of people since the day that Christ’s body walked out alive from that tomb. Everything else in true Christianity stands or falls on the record of the four Gospels, which tell us He rose. Take away the miracle of Christ’s physical resurrection and there is no foundation at all for the Christian message. We believe that Christ’s resurrection was a real resurrection of His body. He was not a spirit; He was now a living man who had been raised from the dead. That is the foundational truth of the Christian faith. We believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ! The Apostle Paul made this clear when he said in our text,

“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (I Corinthians 15:17).

II. Second, real Christianity teaches that Christ really died on the Cross
to pay the penalty for sin.

We believe that Jesus Christ died a real substitutionary death to pay for our sins. The Bible says,

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”
     (I Corinthians 15:3).

Christ really died on the Cross, to pay for the real sins of real sinners. Furthermore, He shed real Blood on the Cross to cleanse real sinners from real sins. These are not just pretty stories or myths, these are facts, and they are real facts. Believe these real facts about Christ’s real vicarious substitutionary death, and believe in the cleansing power of His Blood, and you will be saved. Reject them and you will be damned. This is very real, and very, very important. Jesus Himself said,

“He that believeth…shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

Your eternal destiny depends upon you believing these real facts about Jesus’ death, to save you from sin, and then in coming to Him by real faith, and giving Him your heart and life. Then you will really be saved.

III. Third, real Christianity teaches that you need a real conversion.

We hold that you must believe in more than these mere facts about Christ. There is more to it than just believing those facts. You must come to Christ and actually encounter the living Christ, and thus be really converted. No false conversions can be accepted. What you need is a real conversion, and you can have one if you will put away your pride and prejudice and come to Jesus, by a face-to-face encounter with the living Christ, now in Heaven at the right hand of God. Do not accept any substitute for a real conversion to Christ. All substitutes will fail to save you. Jesus said,

“I say unto you, Except ye be converted…ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

There is no substitute for a real conversion. Therefore you must seek a real conversion in Christ Jesus. If you have a false conversion you will lose your soul for eternity in the flames of Hell, which Jesus so often spoke about in the four Gospels. Jesus said,

“Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

The new birth is the other side of conversion. You must be born again and converted, or you cannot be a real Christian no matter how much you pray and attend church. None of that will help you at all unless you are truly born again and converted, by a real conversion.

IV. Fourth, real Christianity teaches that a person who is really converted
will live a real Christian life.

You can only live a real Christian life after you are converted. You can be religious without being converted, but none of it will be real to you until you come to Christ, throw yourself on Him, and receive eternal life, a new life, that will enable you to live out a real Christian life in the local church. Yes, we believe that you can only live a real Christian life after you have experienced a real conversion. Jesus said,

“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” (John 3:36).

My dear friend, these are real things, things you must take to heart, and embrace as reality, if you would inherit eternal life. And it all begins when you really believe that Jesus Christ really rose physically from the dead. Our text said,

“If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (I Corinthians 15:17).

“If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain [worthless, useless].” It is my prayer that you will see the worthlessness of life if you have not come to the risen Christ and trusted Him with all your heart. Do that, and all the other points will become self-evident, and you will be converted, becoming a real Christian for the first time in your life. May the resurrected Christ become a living reality in your soul and in your life. As the old-time evangelist Paul Rader put it, in one of his songs,

Mary beheld Him, and “Master!” cried, After He came from the tomb;
Suddenly Jesus stood in their midst, Entered the tight shut room.
He who was dead is alive again! He who was dead is alive again!
Broken the strong, icy clutches of death – He who was dead is alive again!

Peter beheld Him there on the shore, Ate with Him there by the sea;
Jesus was saying, with lips once dead, Peter, dost thou love Me?
He who was dead is alive again! He who was dead is alive again!
Broken the strong, icy clutches of death – He who was dead is alive again!

Thomas beheld Him there in the room, Called Him his Master and Lord,
Put forth his fingers into the holes Made by the nails and sword.
He who was dead is alive again! He who was dead is alive again!
Broken the strong, icy clutches of death – He who was dead is alive again!
   (“Alive Again” by Paul Rader, 1878-1938).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Luke 24:36-43.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Alive Again” (by Paul Rader, 1878-1938).


THE OUTLINE OF

REAL CHRISTIANITY – AN EASTER MESSAGE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (I Corinthians 15:17).

I.   First, real Christianity teaches that Christ really rose from
the dead, Luke 24:36-40; John 20:27.

II.  Second, real Christianity teaches that Christ really died on
the Cross to pay the penalty for sin, I Corinthians 15:3;
Mark 16:16.

III. Third, real Christianity teaches that you need a real conversion,
Matthew 18:3; John 3:7.

IV.  Fourth, real Christianity teaches that a person who is really
converted will live a real Christian life, John 3:36.