A great poster campaign from Outreach Media in this Easter month:

Jesus made both a promise and a prediction in His earthly ministry… the church He was building would never fail. ‘The gates of Hades’ Jesus said, ‘would never prevail’ over the church (Matthew 16:18). In other words, Hades (the place of the dead) would never swallow up Christians forever. Rather, as the years continued, they would keep gathering around the world, worshiping God until this age closed in readiness for the next. And, as each generation encountered physical death, their trust would be in a living Jesus who, because He Himself had already risen, was able to also raise their bodies from the dead.

This is the Christian hope and the promise of Jesus.

In recent years it’s been a popular idea that the Christian movement is dying. Attendance at churches is regularly said to be in terminal decline. ‘But all is not lost for Christianity.’ say some. ‘And that’s because Jesus was an inspiring moral teacher’. ‘Famous speeches like the Sermon on the Mount and acts of compassion towards the less fortunate will continue to live on and inspire countless people down through the ages.’

But if Jesus wasn’t truly the Son of God, then it’s hardly inspiring to follow either a liar or a man deluded. If Jesus was wrong then the prospect of the Christian movement dying out is likely – even if it takes thousands of years. Yet even if it doesn’t, even if always, somewhere in the universe, there is some small group of humans meeting and worshiping Jesus… that fact still doesn’t make the Christian story true.

What makes it true and relevant to every person is if Jesus really is God’s Son who rose from the dead – the man God sent into the world to save it from its rebellion towards Him. One of the writers of the Bible, Paul of Tarsus, wrote these words, “… if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” A few sentences further on he declares, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

So there’s no use being poetic about Jesus or sentimental. Christianity lives or dies with Jesus.If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then it was a misguided movement. It’s followers foolish and pitiable. If Jesus did, then there is exciting and tremendous hope for you unlike any other. Either way, it’s important that you make a decision about Jesus.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for showing yourself through Jesus in such a clear and encouraging way.

Bible: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”1Corinthians 15:14

5 comments on “Christianity Lives or Dies with Jesus

  1. Hi Kieth,
    I concur with everything you have said, and yep, what a dreadful example some in the Church set, in fact with people like that why would you want to be a Christian !!

    There are however two issues:
    1. Man is evil and there are evil men in the Church and everywhere. Jesus also had this problem with one of his disciples ……Judas.
    2. The problem we have is – as the Bible tells us – is that we are born into a dark world and are actually “walking dead” and unless we are born again from heaven and have God as our Father rather than Satan we will suffer Gods wrath.

    So, my thoughts are:
    1. As easy as it is to get bitter and frustrated, God says “Revenge is mine”; and
    2. As long as man realises his sin and has a burden for his sin (even those doing wrong in the church) Christianity will never die as it is only through Jesus that we can be forgiven.

    In the meantime

    • Nigel, one cannot gauge ‘Christianity’ by the activities/behaviour of people claiming to be ‘Christian’. It can only be gauged by those following the rules of life laid down by Christ and by the rules themselves. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21).

      I do not believe (point 1) that “Man is evil”. Nor do I believe that ‘mankind/humans is/are good’. ‘Man’ is a being of free choice that can differentiate between evil and good and choose to follow or be one or the other. Evil only becomes entrenched/a part of us as we choose it over and over despite the equal possibility of choosing good. The reverse works for good.

      We can’t really say that Judas was evil (only God can read the heart) – that depends entirely on the motivation behind his betrayal. His act of betrayal was evil but he did repent in the fullest possible way when he realised what he had done.

      I agree with your point 2 but “God’s wrath”? God is ‘love’ – a love that is total, absolute and unchangeable. Jesus/Immanuel/(God with us) demonstrated the true nature of God – not even a sniff of wrath or revenge. Love isn’t, can’t be wrathful or revengeful. It would no longer be love. What a confused role model for people who are striving to make they lives an image and likeness of the divine.

      IMO, true Christianity (based on the revelation of Jesus Christ) cannot ‘die out’ but the so called Christianity of some denominations, sects and individuals based on distorted human interpretations, and human traditions, will.

      • Hi Ralph,
        Agree with you fully.

        Was using the term evil as a figure of speech so in the context of “people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil” (Johns gospel) you are quite correct that evil is a “doing/thinking word”.

        If you also ask the question “Is Satan evil?” and then look at things from the context of “doing the will of your father” of which Satan is to those who are unsaved …….and you also look at Jesus’ statement “no-one is good” (and the opposite of good is evil) you can see my (general) context.

        But yes I still agree with you.

        If we were in the medical profession I can see that l would be the General Practicioner and you the (overpaid) Specialist …….am joking of course.

  2. I also like the double meaning in the title. For Christianity is about life & death, and Christians also die & live with Jesus

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