Through Jesus Christ, Christianity stepped into the arena of the world religions as a challenger. The Son of God, just as the ancient athlete did, threw down His gauntlet on the ground and challenged the religions of the world to take it up. Heaven’s challenge still stands. Sophisticated religions, uncertainties, philosophic illusions and delusions have claimed the world’s interest, but Heaven’s challenge stands just as vigorously today as it ever did. So long as the blessed Word of God lives in the world, so long shall that challenge endure.
Other religions were old, long-whiskered, and gray haired when Jesus Christ entered the arena. Christianity was a babe among the ancient religions. Zoroaster had lived, taught his “purification by fire,” and worshipped the human soul – the fire god. Zoroaster could conceive only one possibility of purifying the human soul, a process of fire cleansing. There could be no other. That was the conclusion of the ancient world.
Buddha followed about 500 BC, but with no better hope than Zoroaster. His ideal was oblivion, personality lost, individuality gone, merged into the great whole, without distinctive consciousness, vacuity.
Mohammed came at a later period, bout 550 years after Jesus Christ. His heaven was a harem, the possibility of everlasting sensuality. Then in modern days Mormonism followed with its “spiritual marriages” and dream of eternal polygamy, all abominable to the Spirit of the Son of God and as unlike Christianity as anything could be.
Into the muck and the mess and the darkness came the Son of God with the glory of holiness, divine righteousness, heavenly purity, angelic estate, never ceasing consciousness, perpetuated individually, life forevermore, resurrection from the dead, man’s enjoyment of God eternally, yourself a son of God, like the Son of God, Himself; in His likeness immortalized.
Heaven stood aghast, earth stood aghast, and hell stood aghast when Jesus Christ stepped into the arena. Could He accomplish the thing He talked about? Was there power in heaven or on earth to revolutionize the nature of man, change the darkness, take away sin, and obliterate the night from his soul? Could the darkened soul be lightened from on high? Could the spirit of man, begotten in iniquity, be changed into loveliness, heavenliness, and holiness? Could the personality of man be preserved? Were Christians going to die? Did He truly possess eternal life? Could He impart it to others? Was Jesus Christ a boaster or a Savior?
Christianity did not come to the world to apologize for its existence or to beg a place to live. It came as heaven’s champion. It has the champion soul. “It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). That champion – consciousness is in the soul of the Christian. Being born of God, he is a champion of the Son of God and a demonstrator of His salvation. He is the champion of God. He cannot be anything else. “As he is, so are we in this world.”
In our day, we have almost come to the place where the world is being taught to believe that the message of Christianity is morality-Be decent, don’t act like a pig, keep the beast under control. That is about the message of modern Christianity. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, declared immortality to be the goal of Christianity, its attainment, the purpose of God for you and me. “I will raise him up at the last day,” said Jesus. “I will give him eternal life.” “The dead in Christ shall rise first.”
No religion in the world except Christianity ever suggested resurrection as it declared intent. Who in the world except Christianity ever suggested resurrection as it declared intent? Who in the world was ever bold enough to suggest a resurrection? What dying creature could? It was only the Son of God Himself, out of heaven, with the knowledge of immortality and eternal life that would dare to suggest such a climax for mankind. If there were no other evidence of Jesus Christ’s eternality but that, it would be sufficient. “Who only hath immortality.” “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” ”He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Marvelous Redeemer!
Christianity stands today absolutely unique. No other religion on earth has our hope, or our consciousness, or our power. I fear sometimes that we moderns somehow have lost the spirit of original Christianity. We have lost the smash of it. We have lost the charge of it. We have lost the overcoming of it. We are begging the devil for a place in the world, apologizing for our faith in God, trying to conform our religion to the mind of the world.
Salvation is the transforming power of God. Jesus Christ looked upon the world which was saturated with sin, shapen in inequity, and said that the task was not too great for Him. The biggest contract in this universe was undertaken back in the eternal ages when one time, in the council of the Godhead, Jesus Christ, the responsible Creator, became the responsible Saviour and settled the sin question by offering Himself as the Saviour of the world. He wrought our redemption. “He that… believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life” (John 5:24).
His dying on the cross was the first incident in connection with our redemption but it was not the conclusive incident. If Jesus had died on the cross and the process of salvation had ceased then, there would not be a redeemed sinner today.
David was sitting on the mountainside one afternoon watching his sheep, and his spirit traveled out into the regions of God. He began to observe, as a seer does, the things that were taking place; and he broke out shouting,
Thou has ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou has received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; the King of Glory is coming in.
That is the Christ of God; that is His salvation!
This was a battle of worlds. It was not a battle of earthly religions. It was a battle of every power of light and darkness in heaven and earth. Jesus Christ, the champion of righteousness and salvation, had to make good or, like the philosophers, pass into oblivion at the grave. Instead of being the life-giver, He would have been just the propounder of another philosophy.
The resurrection morning came. Jesus, discussing His life had said, “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:18). He took it at His will. He commanded life! He lived, and death became a captive. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was victor none like Him in all the universe. He came out of the battle with the “keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18). No other soul in heaven or earth ever had such an experience. None other had ever challenged death. No other had ever taken death and hell captive. Jesus Christ stood unique in earth, in hell, in heaven.
When Jesus came forth in the resurrection, something breathed and throbbed and pulsed in Him that had never breathed or throbbed or pulsed before. It was the new eternal life. He used a new vocabulary – the ordinary language was not big enough. He said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” “Who else in the universe had ever experienced such a thing? None but the Son of God. “All power” language exist in Christian vocabulary only. Christianity came from the heart of the Glorified. Christianity is the heavenly triumph. Christianity is 100 percent supernatural – God possessing man.
Just as God breathed the breath of life into Adam, so Jesus Christ breathed upon His disciples. If He could breath this consciousness of triumph into them, they would become triumphant also. If they could take the deathless life of Christ, they would become deathless likewise. “He breathed on them, and saith into them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22). In Peter’s Pentecostal sermon he gives a revelation that no other writer gives us. Peter’s broken heart was penetrative. He saw into the glory. He saw Jesus ascending to the throne of God. He saw the Almighty God receive Him at the throne. He observed what took place. He said,
Having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
He saw Him get the eternal saving marvel for universal distribution to all mankind.
Right then Jesus became the world’s Savior, the Savior of all mankind. He now possessed the saving grace, the Holy Spirit. God had fulfilled His promise. It completed His saviorhood. It made Him heaven’s High Priest. He had qualified as High Priest of things eternal. It was His right now to pour out the Holy Spirit on every hungry heart that was ready to receive. They were baptized in the Holy Spirit. So may you be.
A Two-Part Resurrection
God offers a two-part resurrection to every sinner. When a person accepts Jesus as his Savior, he will experience a spiritual resurrection.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins… Even when we were dead in sins…and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
It is Christ in you (Colossians 1:27). We are partakers of the divine nature (2Peter 1:4).
Consider the result of being born into the family of God. It mean’s a new Father, a new Savior, a new Captain, a new armor, a new Physician, a new comforter, a new Guide, a new Teacher, a new Truth.
It brings within, a new heart, a new mind, a new grace, a new hope, a new peace, a new joy, a new calmness, a new outlook on life, and a new purpose for living and being.
It is reflected in a new gentleness, a new kindness, a new cheerfulness, and a new love.
This new life brings with it a new power, a new protection, a new message, a new responsibility, a new power, a new protection, a new message, a new responsibility, a new rest, and a new shout of victory. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus (2Corinthians 5:17). Even the physical body is quickened by the Spirit that dwelleth in us, that we may have good health (Romans 8:11).
The second part is the resurrection of the physical body. This is the mark of the prize of the high calling of God (Philippians 3:14). Paul realized that he needed to attain unto the resurrection (Philippians 3:11). It is the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23). It will be a permanent condition.
What will the resurrected body be like? In Luke 24:39, Jesus had His disciples handle Him and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones. That will be the composition for the resurrected body. When will the resurrection take place?
At the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible (the dead) must put on incorruption, and this mortal (those alive) must put on immortality.
How long does it take to raise the dead and change the living? In the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52).
God has a plan for you life. It can only be realized on one condition. That condition is the (your) personal acceptance of Jesus as your Savior. Today is the day of salvation. God loves you and wants to bless you and give you rest and peace.
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John G Lake - His Life, His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith (O1)