St. Andrew's-Cheney Memorial Church
March 2002
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If Christ Had Not Arisen

Easter is a most wonderful time of the year. It is a time to celebrate life. It is a time to rejoice in the life we now have and to look forward to the eternal life God has given us by virtue of Christ’s resurrection.

But what if Christ had not arisen. What if He had remained in the grave? Would that have made a difference to Christianity. There have been many religious leaders who died and remain in their graves. Mohammad, Confucius, and Buddha were not resurrected from the dead, yet the religions they founded continue? Could there be Christianity without a resurrected Christ?

The answer is a resounding “No.” Without Easter there would not be Christianity. St. Paul made this very clear in I Corinthians chapter 15. There he poses a hypothetical situation. Imagine that there was no Easter. Imagine that Christ remained in the tomb.

If that were the case St. Paul first says, “...if Christ had not been raised, then our preaching is in vain....” (I Cor. 15:14a) The word vain means empty or hollow. The preaching of the gospel is no longer good news, but only meaningless words.

If that is the case then it follows that, “...your faith is in vain.” (I Cor. 15:14b) All of our beliefs as Christians are also empty and meaningless. Our faith would be like those hollow chocolate Easter rabbits. Once we get to the inside we find there is nothing there. There is no substance to our faith without a resurrected Christ.

In fact without the resurrection on Easter morning our entire view of God is proven to be false. As the apostle put it, “We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he had raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised,” (I Cor. 15:15) Both God’s intentions and His power have been misrepresented.

This also has far reaching and devastating implications for the doctrine of salvation. “If Christ had not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (I Cor. 15:17) concludes St. Paul Here the word translated “futile” means fruitless. In other words, our faith in Christ hasn’t accomplished anything. Christianity teaches that we are saved by faith, but if Christ has not been raised, then faith is fruitless and we are not saved from sin. To accomplish salvation for humanity Christ needed to not only defeat sin, which He did on the cross, but also to defeat death, which He did in His resurrection from the dead. The resurrection was an absolutely necessary part of Christ’s work as Savior. Without that Jesus simply becomes another great moral teacher, like Socrates, who suffered a tragic death.

Without a resurrected Christ those who have died believing in Him are forever gone. As St. Paul put it “Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” (I Cor. 15:18) If Christ could not defeat death, then no one is able to conquer this dreaded enemy. All hope is gone. “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (I Cor. 15:19) All that we will ever have or know is right here. There is no escape. There is no future. And we are reduced to being less than animals, because we have the capacity to appreciate and enjoy life, but cannot hold onto it. If Christ had not arisen, we are left with nothing but a dark, depressing, and hopeless picture of life and humanity.

Thankfully, this hypothetical picture the apostle has painted is not true. St. Paul went on to write, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (I Cor. 15:20) Our faith is not in vain for salvation is available through Jesus Christ who defeated death, hell, and the grave. For those who have faith in Christ death is not the end. As Christians we should never lose sight of the significance of Christ’s resurrection. It is the very foundation of our faith.

by Rev. F.M. Levi

Parish News

On Sunday, January 27, 2002, Mr. Steve B. was a guest speaker at St. Andrew’s. Steve, a recent college graduate, spoke of his experiences doing summer missionary work in China, Greece, and Azerbaijan, His talk was both informative and inspirational. An offering was received for him as he prepares to engage in full time mission work.

Missionary of The Month

In May Judy met with Bishop Robert Booth in Sao Paulo, with representatives of a Brazilian church that left the Episcopal Church and now call themselves “The Reformed Episcopal Church.” Judy continues to press on with final revisions of the Apurina New Testament.

Domestic Missions

Pray for the Rev. Canon and Mrs. Dennis Cagle (Jeri) and their children Ashley, Austin, and Chelsea. Christ the Redeemer, Phoenix, Arizona.

Happy Birthday!

March 1 - Dale Muir
March 3 - Holly Ardizzone
March 5 - Ian Christenson
March 12 - Amy Christenson

March 29, 2002
Evening Service - 7:30 p.m.
Breakfast - 9:00 a.m.
Preschool Children Sing - 9:45 a.m.

Holy Communion - 10:30 a.m. April 14, 2002, following Morning Prayer.
The meeting will be preceded by a catered luncheon in the Parish Hall. All members should plan to attend. All treasurers and committee chairmen should be prepared to deliver reports.

“After The Winter ... God Sends The Spring”

Easter is a season Of Hope and Joy and Cheer,
There’s beauty all around us To see and touch and hear ...
So, no matter how downhearted And discouraged we may be,
New Hope is born when we behold Leaves budding on a tree ...
Or when we see a timid flower

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