Just like that Easter is over. In the weeks leading up to Easter we started a "Wednesday in the Word" on our social media pages (Facebook & LinkedIn). Here's what you missed if you aren't following our pages:
Here's our post from Good Friday as well:
Easter is a time to remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Did Jesus really rise again from the dead?
Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 15:14, "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." The resurrection of Jesus is of utmost significance to Christianity. For this month's Cornerstone Impact blog I'm going to explain why we can have confidence that Jesus did really rise again from the dead. We're going to focus on 1 Corinthians 15:1-4:
"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you -- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures."
Today, I'm specifically going to be focused on consistency.
Before jumping in, it's important to understand what the gospel is which Paul mentions in verse 1.
The gospel is the good news. What's the good news? God created humans to be with Him (Colossians 1:16). Adam chose to sin against God, and because of that choice, all humans are born with a sinful nature which opposes God (Romans 5:12). God is reconciling sinners to Himself through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Jesus made the full payment for the sins of everyone who would trust and believe in Him through His crucifixion (John 3:16; 1 Peter 2:24). After three days he rose from the dead (Luke 24:1-9). Because of these things, anyone who repents and believes in Jesus will be forgiven and will be made right with God forever (Acts 2:38).
Is the gospel just some story Paul is telling the Corinthians here? No! Terms such as "delivered" and "received" are used here and in several other passages talking about the gospel. (See Luke 1:2, Acts 6:14, Philippians 4:9) The gospel is a specific message that Jesus "delivered" to His apostles. The apostles "received" the gospel and are now "delivering" it to other Christians as Paul is doing here with the Corinthians. We see the same gospel being preached by the apostles.
That's great, but how do we know that this gospel they all preach is actually true? I want you to think about how hard it is to keep a lie going in a group of people. What tends to happen (especially when multiple people are in on the lie) is either the story gets changed as time goes on or someone in the group caves and the truth finally comes out. That doesn't happen here; the story maintains its consistency. Also, what would the apostles gain from telling this lie? It wouldn't make any sense for the apostles to give up their lives to maintain a lie!
"Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures." Throughout the Bible Jesus' resurrection was mentioned. See below for just 2 examples:
Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." When, therefore, he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. -John 2:19,22
Set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. -Romans 1: 1b-4
Old Testament scripture also foreshadowed the resurrection:
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. -Hosea 6:2
And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. -Jonah 1:17
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. -Isaiah 53:5
This isn't an exhaustive list of evidence for the resurrection, but with this I believe we can have confidence that the resurrection actually happened. Although we have evidence of the New Testament being an accurate historical document, we don't have to rely just on that for evidence of Jesus. There are many non-Biblical history books recounting Jesus as a real person. A book I recommend is I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek. We're currently studying this is a small group led by SEM's Director of Technology, Dustin Briles.
Chapters 9-12 specifically discusses the reliability of the New Testament. One specific non-Christian contemporary historian mentioned in this book was Flavius Josephus and his book, Antiquities of the Jews. Book 18, chapter 3, section 3 says the following:
At this time [the time of Pilate] there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good and (he) was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.
Within 150 years of Jesus' life, there are 10 known non-Christian writers who mention Jesus including: Celsus, Tacitus, and the Jewish Talmud. Not only do they mention Jesus, they all reveal a storyline that is congruent with the New Testament (see Chapter 9, pg 223).
If you're still unsure of the reliability of the New Testament, Norman Geisler and Frank Turek answer the following two questions in detail in chapters 9-12:
- Do we have accurate copies of the original documents that were written down in the first century?
- Do those documents speak the truth?
(Spoiler: both of these answers are yes!)
There is consistency about Jesus' existence throughout the period of the Old and New Testament, from believers and nonbelievers alike. With that knowledge, we should be living our lives every day with a Christ-centered focus. The gospel is not a seasonal trend! This good news isn't something to be celebrated around Easter and then forgotten. Are you living your life like the gospel is just a seasonal message? I encourage you to consider this message carefully. If you are not yet a believer, we pray that you would explore this further and would join the family of God very soon.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out! If you are a believer, remember to preach the gospel to yourself regularly and share it with others around you.
More than just our IT Director
Our Director of Technology, Dustin Briles was originally a music major at Northern Arizona University before he began his career in IT. Our family has been blessed to witness his musical talents over the years, first at our church in Tucson and now at our new home in Virginia. A few weeks ago, Dustin brought down the crowd with his solo at the end of Everlasting God. The band performed Death Was Arrested next, which fits in well with our message this month.
Here's the video of the two songs. That's SEM's Portfolio Manager, Jeff Hybiak on bass guitar.
Cornerstone Impact Update
One of the reasons we added our Cornerstone Portfolios is because we realized that we have an opportunity to make a difference with our investments. Avoid, embrace, and engage are the 3 key factors of company ownership. See below for some recent pieces from three of our BRI partners:
Eventide loves investing in companies that flourish as a result of helping other flourish. They also want to avoid some companies that sell products which hinder human flourishing. An example of this is alcohol which, for some, can lead to addiction. Learn more about Eventide's approach to alcohol investments in Shaun Morgan's recent article.
God commands us to "Love your neighbor as yourself." I wrote about love in the February Cornerstone Impact blog. Who is considered your neighbor? Shaun also wrote about our micro-cosmos (families, close friends, and loved ones) and macro-cosmos (people we barely know or do not know at all.) We have a natural inclination to empathize with those outside our micro-cosmic worlds. When we follow this natural inclination it changes everything – even how we invest. Learn more in his blog article.
Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. -Ecclesiastes 11:2
You have probably heard of the phrase, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." This is essentially what the above verse is saying. In investing, this is called diversification. Dr. Erik Davidson, CFA, the Chief Economic Advisor for Inspire, discusses the importance of diversification.
Do pro-lifers only care about stopping abortions or do they also care about the mothers and the baby after delivery? Timothy Plan confronts the lie that pro-lifers don't care once a child is born. See this blog article for how pro-lifers provide support post-delivery.
If you have any questions or would like more information on how to align your investments with your faith, please contact me. You can also learn more about the Cornerstone Portfolios at: SEMWealth.com/Cornerstone.
We have also created a free multi-session financial workshop, "A Biblical Approach to Finances." If you're interested in learning more, fill out the interest form here.