Continuing in our deconstruction of the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed, today we come to the resurrection, which is a key belief in Christianity. If Jesus wasn’t resurrected, then we’ve got no hope.
In 1 Corinthians 15 — which is also referred to as a creed for Christian believers — the Apostle Paul tells us…
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.1 Corinthians 15:12-17 NIV
The Apostles’ Creed cont…
He ascended into heavenThe Apostles’ Creed
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
Quoting again from Matt Chandler’s study on the Apostles’ Creed in the Bible App…
Jesus’ ascension and authority…
As gloriously expressed by this Scripture passage and this section of the creed, the ascension confirms that Jesus is no longer among the dead and never will be again. His power has proved to be greater than anything in this world—even death. The gospel of Jesus and salvation from sin are certain for people who believe in Him.
Although Jesus ascended to heaven, it’s wrong to say that He’s not active in the world. Throughout the Book of Acts, Jesus was still working in the world through the Holy Spirit. The same is true today. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is at work to empower Christians to be His witnesses. We’ve received the Spirit in order to know God and to make Him known with boldness.
Being at the Father’s right hand means that Jesus has unique authority and a unique relationship with the Father, one that belongs only to the Son. He shares in all His Father’s power and authority. His presence with the Father doesn’t make Him absent from the world but uniquely powerful and present by His Spirit.
The fact that Jesus ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty should give you confidence and a sense of holy discontentment—a refusal to settle for anything less than a life that glorifies the risen Lord.
You don’t have to (and you can’t) live the Christian life by your own strength. Your abilities have no effect on the righteousness of Christ and on your mission to be His witness. You live in His power. He’s interceding on your behalf. Because you can be sure that Jesus is alive and in control, you can have confidence that He’s at work in and through you. You aren’t yet what you’ll be. He’s not finished with you. You live everyday in the power of His resurrection and engage in ministry with the authority of heaven.Matt Chandler, LifeWay.com
In Acts we read the story of Jesus’ ascension…
6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”Acts 1:6-11 NLT
Jesus is Coming Back…
Christians in our culture seem to forget or neglect the fact that Jesus not only rose from the dead and ascended to heaven but is also coming back. When kept in our hearts and minds, Jesus’ return will transform our daily lives. He will return. When He returns, everyone will give an account for their lives and for their response to the gospel. Or as the Creed puts it—“He shall come to judge the living and the dead.”
Only a handful of disciples witnessed the Lord ascend to heaven. His birth was even less conspicuous. Even with a sky full of angels singing, only Mary, Joseph, and a few shepherds witnessed Jesus’ coming into the world. However, His second coming will be unlike His first.
Although it hasn’t happened yet, the second coming of Jesus is just as certain as His first coming. The question to ask yourself isn’t whether He will return, because He will. The question to ask yourself isn’t even a matter of when He will return, because we can’t know. The only question you need to ask yourself is whether you’re ready to stand before Him when He returns to judge the living and the dead.
Most of the time we don’t like to think about God’s judgment. Unless we’re seeking comfort in the fact that God will judge blatantly wicked people, we prefer to dwell on the God who “so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). The grace of God through the sacrificial death of Jesus is indeed unique among major religions throughout history, but it’s also because God is holy and good that He judges sin with incredible wrath.
The gospel is good news because without faith in Jesus, we would all rightfully receive the punishment we deserve for our sin. For those who belong to Christ, though, He has taken the punishment of death and God’s wrath on Himself. But for those who haven’t placed their faith in Jesus, refusing to bow their knee to Him as Lord, they’ll receive the judgment they’re due.Matt Chandler, LifeWay.com
In Hebrews we read…
27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.Hebrews 9:27-28 NLT
Where do you Stand?
No one, not even a born-again believer will be able to escape God’s judgement. It’s just a matter of salvation and if you’re good with God where you end up — in heaven or in hell. If you’re born again, then you are forgiven. You’ll still have to be judged, but you are redeemed and free. If you’re not, you’re guilty and doomed.
If we believe what we say in the Apostles’ Creed, then we need to be ready for His imminent return. If Jesus returned right now — and He could — what will He find you doing?
Jesus told us…
26 “Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
28 “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. 30 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
32 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
34 “The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”Mark 13: 26-37 NLT
Jesus Christ is coming back soon! Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!