by Mike Ratliff
1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ” Luke 24:1-7 (NKJV)
Secularism is a philosophy. When he was still living and ministering R.C. Sproul taught a series titled Secularism. In this teaching series Sproul contended that the philosophy of Secularism is the driving force behind the collapse of the Christian World View with it being replaced with that of Secular Humanism. This view contends that there is no possibility of any person knowing or finding absolute truth. It demands that all religions be considered equal with each relinquishing its claims of exclusivity. In the visible Church, many professing Christians are secular in their personal philosophy. Since Secularism removes the possibility of absolutes it follows that its proponents must doubt the Bible’s display of Jesus’ miracles and the supernatural as proof of the deity of Christ for example. It separates Christianity from the sacred and holy and the miraculous. This separation leaves Christianity as just another World Religion. It relegates it to little more than an institution of good works to improve society. We see this in false forms of Christianity such as those that espouse “Seeker-Sensitity,” and “Social Justice” in that these replace the genuine Gospel with a man-focused gospel that in no way resembles the Biblical Gospel as we saw in yesterday’s post, “What is Biblical salvation?“.
Christianity is not just another ‘World Religion’ nor is it just another philosophy that exists for the improvement of society. No, our Faith consists of the Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God created everything, but He is transcendent and not part of creation. He is above it and outside of it. However, He is also imminently involved in the management of it. He created Man who fell into sin (Genesis 1-3). Because of this fall the entire human race was plunged into sin. All of the first man’s descendents were born spiritually dead. All are on their way to an eternity separated from God because of their sin. There they will experience the wrath of God. However, God is merciful so He sent God the Son to be incarnate as a man. This is Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect, sinless life. However, sinful men murdered Him. As He died on the cross, the father laid the sin of all of those chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1) on Him. His death paid the penalty for their sin. He purchased them with His blood. As these are effectually called and regenerated by God, they believe the Gospel and repent of their sin. God justifies, sanctifies, adopts, and glorifies them. Their sanctification continues for the rest of their lives.
Let us look now at some of the events that transpired the third day after our Lord’s crucifixion. Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post (Luke 24:1-7). Notice that our crucified Lord is not in his tomb. His body is gone. Angels exclaim that He is risen! He is not dead but alive! Now let us join a couple of Jesus disciples later that day on the road to Emmaus.
13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. Luke 24:13-16 (NKJV)
What things were these guys talking about? Obviously, the arrest, trial, crucifixion, and death of Jesus along with the fact that on the third day afterwards His tomb is found empty would be at the forefront of their minds. Who joined their discussion? Jesus Christ, their risen Lord joined them, but they did not recognize Him. Why? God, in His sovereignty kept their eyes from recognizing Him. This is not the result of stress or that it was night. They were kept from recognizing Jesus because that was God’s will. This is supernatural my brethren and this is the sort of thing that professing Christians who are of the secular mindset reject. We accept it because God’s Word says this very clearly. Therefore, to reject this means that those doing so reject that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. If the Bible is the Word of God then it is authoritative and must be obeyed. Do you see now why the secularists desire to strip the Bible of this authority?
17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”
18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”
19 And He said to them, “What things?”
So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” Luke 24:17-24 (NKJV)
Here we see that these two men knew exactly what had transpired with Jesus’ arrest, trial, and execution. Do you see where their hope was placed? It was that Jesus would be the redeemer of Israel. They knew He was from God, but their hope was that He was the Messiah for the nation of Israel. They missed the point that He was much more than that. They had heard of the empty tomb as well, but didn’t understand the significance of it. Then our Lord opened up their hearts to receive the truth from God’s Word.
25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:25-27 (NKJV)
This is something each of us should do. When we see Sacred Scripture correctly, we see that it is all about our Lord and God’s plan of redemption of His elect. If the Bible is not the Word of God and, therefore, not authoritative, complete, and inerrant then this is just another myth that could be an object lesson, but no more. However, to the regenerate Christian this is vital that we grasp these things, know these things, and exercise our faith to believe and live according to them.
28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.
30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.
36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” Luke 24:28-36 (NKJV)
Do you see the sovereign work of God in this passage? As our Lord broke the bread and blessed it these two disciples’ eyes were opened so they recognized the Lord. Then our Lord vanished from their sight. Wow! Then these two men said to each other, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” This is what God’s Word does in the hearts of the regenerate as the Holy Spirit works there to teach and train according to what is being read or studied or meditated upon. The unregenerate do not understand this. I debate so many of these fellows who attempt to secularize Christianity and do not like it when we take God’s Word at face value and use it to expound its truth to them. Their grasp of scripture is shallow and has no power because the Holy Spirit is not with them. These two fellows rush back to Jerusalem just as our Lord appears to them again.
My brethren, Jesus is alive and the Bible is God’s Word. It is authoritative, complete, and inerrant. When we view scripture like this then we see that it speaks of our Lord and the redemption of His elect all through it. We have no business trying to be united in fellowship with professing Christians who reject these things. We must not be unequally yoked. Also, we are commanded in God’s Word to contend earnestly for the faith. It is wrong for us to seek peace with the unrepentant.
Examine yourselves my brethren. Ask God to show you the truth about what is in your heart. Repent of what He shows you then devote yourselves to serving Him with your all for His glory alone. Get into God’s Word as you ask Him to open it to your hearts that they may burn as the Holy Spirit does scalpel-like spiritual surgery there. Reject all secular tendencies that attempt to rob you of your faith. To God be the glory!
Soli Deo Gloria!