I Am He That Liveth

April 19, 2009 / No. 3459

Dear Radio Friends,

Our Lord Jesus Christ died.

            There is no question about that.  We read, “Having loved his

own, he loved them even unto the end” (John 13:1).   We read, “God

commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,

Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).  He was crucified, dead, and buried.

      As a dead man, He was taken down from the cross and carried by

gentle hands and laid in Joseph’s tomb.  Tenderly two disciples wrapped

Him in linen sheets with sweet spices, and with a napkin over His face.

And then they rolled a great stone over the grave’s mouth.  The jaws of

death closed upon Him, from which we cannot deliver ourselves.

      Jesus Christ died.

      Our Lord Jesus Christ is risen.  On the third day He rose from the

dead.  There can be no question about that.  The Scriptures are clear:

I Corinthians 15:20, “But now is Christ risen from the dead”;  II

Timothy 2:8, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised

from the dead according to my gospel.”  His soul returned to His body.

And the body that lay in the grave came back to life.  No, not back to

life.  But His body was changed to life, to incorruptible life, to

glorious life.

      And they found the grave empty.  Not because the disciples stole

His body.  Not because He came out of the grave the way they brought Him

into the grave.  But He arose.  He went through the grave.  His body now

is victorious over death.  The grave clothes were wrapped around His

body.  He went through those grave clothes.  In the body He arose to

life everlasting and immortal.  And in that glorious body our Lord Jesus

Christ, after forty days, ascended up into heaven, where now He sits at

the right hand of God ruling over all things for the church’s benefit.

And in that body, that glorious, risen body, Jesus is coming again, and

with Him we shall live forever.

      Jesus Christ is risen from the dead!  That is the gospel today.

That is the glorious gospel.  Christianity is no hoax.  The gospel is no

fake.  The gospel is the truth, the only truth, the truth of life


      This means that all who by grace, through faith, belong to Jesus

Christ have victory.  We read:  “But thanks be to God, which giveth us

the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 15:57).  Death is

overcome.  We have new life.  We have hope.  We look forward to the

resurrection of the body.  We have joy in the midst of gloom.  We have

peace in the midst of despair.  We have eternal hope in the midst of all


      Belonging to Jesus Christ, by faith, is life.  Belonging to Jesus

Christ, by grace, is the victory.  For we belong to Him who is alive


      This glad day of resurrection proclaims that Jesus Christ is the

conqueror of death.  He Himself has conquered death.  And He has

conquered death for us.  For He says in John 14:19, “Because I live, ye

shall live also.”  By His resurrection He defeated death.  Did you hear

that?  Jesus Christ overcame death and the grave.  He did not merely

cheat death by escaping its clutches for a few more years.  He did not

come back from the grave (which in itself would have been quite a thing)

only to have to return to face the grave again.  No, He conquered death.

Death has no power whatsoever over Jesus Christ.  Nor does it have power

over anyone who belongs to Him by God’s gracious election.  Death is

abolished.  Death cannot destroy us.  Death, in Jesus now, is the portal

to life eternal.

      We read in II Timothy 1:10 concerning Jesus Christ, “Who hath

abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through

the gospel.”  Jesus Christ, in the body, is immortal.  He is not subject

to death.  He has rendered death null and void.

      We also read in I Corinthians 15:54-56 that “Death is swallowed up

in victory.  O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy

victory?”  Death had a stinger.  Death had a terrible venom to destroy

man.  That stinger was sin—the transgression of God’s holy law.  But,

for His people, Jesus pulled the stinger out.  Now death is impotent in

Christ to overcome us.

      In death our souls are taken to God.  We read in Revelation 1:18

these words of the risen Lord:  “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and,

behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of


      You have the keys, perhaps in your pocket, to your house, to your

car.  Those keys represent authority to open and to shut at your will,

to allow to enter into your house whom you please and to keep out whom

you please.  This is Christ’s power.  He lives.  He has the keys of life

and death, of heaven and hell.  He opens, by His wonderful love and

tender grace, and brings us in and releases us.  And He keeps out

according to His own justice and sovereignty.  He is the victor over


      Let us drink that today into our souls.  We who now live in this

mortal body belong to One who has conquered our death.  Child of God,

Jesus Christ did not conquer this or that sickness.  He did not conquer

polio, multiple sclerosis, or cancer.  He has not joined His name to the

list of doctors and specialists to be remembered.  He did not come to

conquer an aspect of death.  He did not come to remove the symptoms of

death.  He did not merely postpone death in order that we might have

more earthly days and more earthly things.  Jesus Christ defeated death.

      Death is separation from God.  Death is not only the destruction

of the body.  It is also the casting of the soul into the flames of

utter destruction and hell because of sin.  Jesus defeated it.  He

defeated it by paying for sin upon the cross.  And now, risen in glory,

He has transformed death into the passageway for every child of God into

the presence of God in eternal joy and peace.

      Even as the martyr Stephen, when he was being stoned by the wicked

Jews, could say, “Receive my spirit,” so now, through Jesus Christ, our

death is the entrance into the presence of God.

      You must not think that when Jesus defeated death He lost His

body, or that He lost your body.  Jesus Christ is raised in the body.

Now that body, as I mentioned before, did not return to the life that it

formerly had.  It is now immortal.  It is heavenly.  It is able to live

eternally.  It is beyond the grave.  It is glorious.  It is perfect.  It

is a body that on the eve of the resurrection was able to pass through

locked doors and come among His disciples.  It was also a body that was

able to eat bread and honey.  It was able to be on the earth.  It could

be seen.  It could wear clothes.  But it was much more.  It was eternal

life in the body—no sickness, no disease, no arthritis, no pains, no

dishonor, no sin.  Higher than Adam in paradise, beyond the grave, the

victory over death.

      But this is also ours.  Not only does our soul rise to God in our

death because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but also our body,

when our Lord Jesus Christ returns, shall be raised and be made like

unto His glorious body.

      We read in Philippians 3:21 concerning Jesus, “Who shall change

our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body,

according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things

unto himself.”  This vile body, this body now under the ravages of sin,

this weak body, this body right now that has death inside of it—this

body shall be made like unto His body.  I John 3:2, 3, “Beloved, now are

we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:  but we

know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see

him as he is.  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth

himself, even as he is pure.”  Jesus Christ has conquered death for

every child of God.

      This is the glad day that we remember today—the resurrection of

our dear Savior Jesus.  And, therefore, because He is the conqueror of

death, all honor is due unto Him alone.  All hail the power of Jesus’

name; let angels prostrate fall.  As the women were returning from the

grave on that resurrection morning all astir in their hearts, having

seen the empty tomb, and having heard the angels’ message, Jesus met

them.  He said, “All hail.”  And they came and held Him by the feet and

worshiped Him.

      When John, on the island of Patmos, saw Him in vision, saw Him

whose eyes were as flames of fire and His voice as the sound of many

waters, and in His right hand seven stars, and His countenance as the

sun that shineth in his strength, John says, “When I saw him, I fell at

His feet as dead.  And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me,

Fear not; I am the first and the last:  I am he that liveth, and was

dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore” (Rev. 1:17, 18).

      When Jesus, after the ascension, appeared in heaven among all the

saints who had seen glorious things, and as He appeared among angels who

had been there to surround the throne since the beginning of the

creation, both the saints and the angels were shaken and they cried out

when they saw Him:  “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto

him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever”

(Rev. 5:13).

      And when Jesus, this risen Savior, comes again in this glorious

body, so much of the glory of God will be seen in Him that the world’s

wise and the world’s rich and the world’s mighty and all the proud will

cry for the mountains to fall upon them and to cover them from the face

of Him who returns.  For He shall then come also to be admired of all

the saints (II Thess. 1:10).  Honor is due to Jesus.

      We are living in a man-saturated world.  The stench of pride is

permeating everything.  We can be dazzled by the illusions and by the

thrills and by the glitter of earthly things.  But we who know Him, our

hearts burst and our souls soar when we consider our Lord Jesus Christ,

the conqueror of death.  He is not merely an idea.  He is not just a

name.  He is the conqueror of death.  He is our Lord.  To Him be honor

and glory and worship forever and ever and ever.

      How do we honor Him?  One important way that we honor the risen

Lord Jesus today and always is by keeping the Sabbath Day, Sunday, the

day in which Jesus arose from the dead, the day of celebration, the day

in which we bring honor to our risen King.

      In the Old Testament, the seventh day was celebrated as the

Sabbath—the completion of the creation.  Now, in the New Testament, we

celebrate on the first day what is the completion of the work of

salvation in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Jesus appeared to His

disciple John on the island of Patmos on the Lord’s Day (Rev. 1:10).

Our Sabbath, then, is Sunday, the first day of the week.  We did not

make it so.  God did that.  God has changed the Sabbath to Sunday, the

first day of the week.

      And we honor our Lord Jesus Christ by honoring and keeping the

Sabbath Day.  For the Christian church and for all who belong to Jesus,

this risen Savior, Sunday is not the day to sleep, but it is the day to

keep.  Sunday is the day in which we gather to worship the risen Lord

Jesus Christ—twice.  That is not too much.  Twice on the Lord’s Day.  Is

not Jesus glorious?  Why not twice?  Why do you not go to church twice?

Is not He a glorious Savior?

      Very often in Christian churches the evening service drops in

attendance.  Or the Sabbath is set aside for vacations and for cottages

and for camping and there is no church at all on the Sabbath Day.  There

is the doing of our own pleasure on His day, especially when the weather

is nice and warm.  If that is the case in your church or in my church,

then the world has the right to say, “Well, some kind of conqueror is

Jesus Christ!  Other things are more important than your Lord Jesus

Christ—than being with Him on the day of His victory.”  Sunday is the

day of Jesus’ victory.  He is worth it.  One day?  He is worth every

day.  But especially on that one day we may get together to worship Him;

we may come into His house with His people who are living in Him; we may

be with Him in the morning and then again in the evening; we may fill

the whole day with His sweet and wonderful Word.

      The Sabbath Day is the church’s testimony to the honor that we

possess for Jesus Christ, death’s conqueror.  Honor Him by hearing His

true gospel on that day.  Honor Him by inviting others on that day to

His house.  And honor Him by giving the whole day to Him.

      But we honor Him also by preaching Him as the risen Lord Jesus

Christ.  The gospel, the Word of the risen Lord—we want that gospel

preached throughout all the world, even unto the ends of the world.  He

alone is the Savior.  All religions of the world have their saviors.

But they cannot help your souls.  They are empty.  They are vain.  There

is only One who is above all others—Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.

He alone, who came from the grave, He alone can deliver us from sin and

death.  That is the gospel.

      It is His Word, His living, powerful, conquering Word, that must

be preached, for He is the risen Lord.  By His Word He will stand before

your grave one day and He will say in the day of the resurrection, “Come

out of that grave.”  And the pile of ashes called your body will be back

together as your body.  But now His Word must be uttered.  It must be

uttered through the preaching of the gospel.

      And then we honor our risen Savior by a holy life of repentance

and love and service to Him.  He has set me free.  Do you say that?  Do

you say that by the power of Christ, through grace alone, by God alone,

I have been set free from sin and death and I belong to the risen Savior

Jesus Christ?  Then the reality of that confession will be seen in your

life and in a life of repentance and service to Christ.  That will show

the power of the Lord Jesus Christ within you.  You will honor Him by a

life of holiness.

      And we will have comfort—the wonderful comfort of belonging to the

risen Savior Jesus Christ.  There is no other comfort in life and in

death.  We belong to our Savior, according to the power of His love and

grace.  That is very good to think about for a moment.  It is very good

to remember that the only comfort in this life is that we are not our

own but belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ in life and in death.

      That is comfort because the truth concerning ourselves is that we

are sinners and we are worthy, in ourselves, only of destruction.  We

are dying.  We are right now traveling this weary world and it is

heading towards the grave.  We are subject to all sickness and to

loneliness and to troubles and to pride and to sin and to vanity.  We

are in a fallen world as fallen sinners.  But now comes the gospel of

the risen Lord Jesus Christ.  Oh, the message that He lives now and

ever.  This is water in our desert.  This is shade from every heat.

This is the good word.  The good word to us today is Jesus’ word:  “I

live forever.”

      Then we have comfort.  Because He lives we have the assurance of

the pardon of our sins.  Jesus, upon the cross, succeeded.  He earned

perfect pardon for all of our sins.  I know He did.  How do I know that?

Because He arose from the dead.  The Father did not leave Him in the

grave.  Death did not gobble Him up.  Death did not break Him down.

Death did not turn Him to dust.  It could not.  Why?  Because sin had

been forgiven in His death.  And as the Head of the church, He arises as

proof that our sins are pardoned and forgiven in the sight of God.

      But there is more.  The comfort is that now by His power we too

are raised to a new and holy life.  His resurrection is the power of

that life of Christ within me right now.  The power of Jesus Christ is

seen not only in death when we are taken to the angels and to the

presence of God.  Nor is the power of Jesus Christ seen only when He

returns the second time to raise our bodies from the dead.  But the

power of Jesus Christ is seen right now.  It is seen in that He makes us

new.  It is the power of spiritual rebirth, the power of Christ by His

Spirit renewing me and Christ being in me according to powerful grace.

      And then the comfort is the pledge of the resurrection of our

bodies.  We are certain of that.  We bring the bodies of our loved ones

to the grave.  And one day your body, unless Jesus returns first, is

going to be taken to the grave.  Right now, you are dying.  But He who

is risen, who now lives in us, will come again and raise our mortal

bodies.  He will not leave them behind.  One day your body, in the

grave, will hear Him.  It will hear Him say, “Lazarus, come forth.”  And

you and your body will arise, and you will go to your Father in heavenly


      I know that.  I know that because today He is the conqueror of

death.  He is the One who has destroyed sin.  He is the One who receives

us in death to the Father’s presence.  Jesus Christ is the One who is

alive for evermore.  And all who, by wondrous grace and love of God,

belong to Him shall never perish but have everlasting life.  Praise God!

      Let us pray.

      Father, we thank Thee for Thy precious and holy Word today.  We

pray that it may be sealed to our hearts.  All glory and honor and

praise be to Thee for the great work that Thou hast done through Thy Son

Jesus Christ.  Amen.