Throughout old Jerusalem, various types and styles of archways predominate the architecture of the buildings. An archway is like an inverted “U” made up of blocks that arch together at the top. The strength of the arch is a wedge-shaped stone called the keystone at the very top of the arch. The keystone is the stone that keeps an archway from collapsing.
The elements of Christianity form an arch of triumph (The deity of Christ; the blood atonement; salvation by grace; the blessed hope of the believer).
The resurrection of Christ is the KEYSTONE Christianity. All the building blocks of Christianity are held in place by this one stone. If Jesus did not raise from the dead, everything else would collapse.
- THE PRODUCTS OF THE RESURRECTION: The resurrection brought several new things into being that never existed before. These things cannot be accounted for apart from the resurrection of Christ: The New Testament; The Local Church; The “Lordâ€™s Day.”The Local Church is a direct result of Christâ€™s resurrection. You cannot explain the existence of the church apart from the fact that Jesus arose triumphantly from the grave.
- THE COMMISSION OF THE CHURCH: What were Jesusâ€™ parting words before ascending back to heaven. A personâ€™s LAST WORDS are usually very significant. If you want to know what is closest to the heart of Jesus, listen to His last instructions as He commissioned His disciples, who became the foundation of the local church, with Christ being the chief corner stone (Eph. 2:20).
To commission something means to grant certain powers and authority to carry out a particular task or duty. For example, all ocean going ships are commissioned. When a ship is taken out of active service, it is “decommissioned.”
The local church is like a ship. We call it “The Old Ship of Zion.” Jesus gave this “ship” a commission. He gave no commission to any other organization. All other religious organizations are operating without divine sanction. The local church is Godâ€™s appointed agency through which He works today. (Read Ephesians 1:22-23; 3:21).
“The Old Ship of Zion” hasnâ€™t been “decommissioned!” It still has a job to do.
What exactly is our commission? We are commissioned to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to win the lost and establish them in a growing relationship with the Lord (Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Luke 24:45-47; Acts 1:8).
Christâ€™s commission of the church is stated in five different places in the New Testament. In each instance, He give a separate element of our commission.
I. (Mt. 28:18-20) The Spreading of His Programâ€”
- Win people to Christ. Our mission is not reformation, but regeneration.
- Baptize them.
- Teach them to do likewiseâ€” Reproduction
II. (Mk. 16:15-16) The Subject of our Preaching â€” Gospel (good news).
- Christ died for our sins. His death.
- He was buried
- He rose from the dead.
- Believe. What does it mean to believe? = Trust.
- A warning to those who reject the Gospel.
III. (Luke 24:46-48) The Security / Supply of His Power.
- People excuse themselves saying, “I canâ€™t!” Hey, neither can I!
- Godâ€™s business requires Godâ€™s power.
- There is a price for that power.
IV. (Acts 1:8) The Strategy of His Plan. Big task. Where do you start? Start where you are.
- Start with YOUR Jerusalem (your house, family). Start with yourself!ILLUS.: Andrew got saved and won his brother Peter.
- Then reach out to your friends, co-workers, classmates, and neighbors.
- My first convert- a girlfriend who became my wife.
- We need to make Christ known every way we can.
V. (John 20:21) The Serenity of His Peace.
- No need to fear.
- He is with us.
- If you want to enrich days, plant flowers;
- If you want to enrich years, plant trees;
- If you want to enrich Eternity, plant the Gospel in the hearts of people.
Isnâ€™t is strange that the thing that is closest to the heart of Jesus is farthest from the heart of some Christians? Can you explain that?