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
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
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”
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
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.