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? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
1 Corinthians 15:12-14 (NIV)
The Christian faith stands or falls on the fact of an historical bodily resurrection of Jesus – that’s the gist of Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 15. He argues that the resurrection proves the effectiveness of Jesus’ sacrificial sin-bearing death and is itself the firm foundation on which our faith is based. It also happens to be a fact that distinguishes biblical Christianity from every other religion in the world. David Seccombe put it so eloquently when he wrote:
For a religion to hold water it must do at least three things well: it must give a straight answer to the question of whether God is real, and it must have something sensible and hopeful to say about the mess the world is in. But it must be more than just beliefs; there are too many alternatives — I cannot base my life on something I would like to be true. So it must do a third thing; it must provide some foundation, some proof.
The King of God’s Kingdom (Authentic Media)
The resurrection of Jesus is precisely this proof. Christianity, as a movement, began because something remarkable happened – on the third day after the dead body of Jesus was laid in a sealed and guarded tomb people saw him alive again! The resurrected Jesus was not only seen by a marginalised band of his faithful – and some might argue deluded – disciples, but over 500 witnesses. He appeared over a period of forty days eating and drinking with them and giving many convincing proofs that he was alive (Acts 1:3).
Barely six weeks after the empty tomb was discovered Peter addressed a massive crowd in the same city of Jesus’ public execution and burial and declared that the empty tomb proved that Jesus was both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). If there was no verifiable evidence of this at the time then Peter would have been written-off as a grief- and guilt-stricken mad man, but instead 3,000 people joined this new movement.
If ever there was a battle line to be drawn then the historical, bodily resurrection of Jesus is it! The Christian faith is not a leap in the dark, but a step into the light based on historical evidence. It cannot be replicated in a science laboratory, but it can be explored from the historical documents produced by eye-witnesses. This is true of every historical figure.
It’s important in our evangelism to keep bringing the discussion back to the historical person of Jesus. Far too often we get side-tracked with endless discussions about evolution, the short-comings of the Church or the ‘hypocrisy’ of Christians. Many of these arguments are either ill-informed, subjective or emotive.
But when we talk about Jesus we move the conversation to the realm of objective, historical facts; either Jesus did live, die and rise again which makes biblical Christianity true or he didn’t and it’s all futile.
When you next get into a ‘religious discussion’ ask the person what they think about Jesus. What do they make of the overwhelming evidence for the resurrection? If it’s true, is it worth investigating the life of Jesus a little further? As the Australian evangelist John Chapman used to say, “When we’re talking about Jesus, we’re on good fighting ground!”
It’s critical that we equip our children to speak about Jesus in this way. Our weekly teaching and discussions need to have an apologetic edge by including questions that help children to think about how they might prioritise speaking about Jesus and give a reasoned defence of the faith. Paying special attention to the eye-witness details in the Bible text is always a good place to start. We’re making a concerted effort to write material that helps those who teach children and teens to equip the next generation in this way.
It took a bit longer to publish David than we’d hoped, but this was mainly due to a manic training schedule in February and March.
Solomon is in the final stages of publication and is due online by mid-April. We’ve also completed writing the final missions module for Serving in Mission. We’re busy laying that out and working on craft activities. It should be online by the end of April.
We published the 1 Peter series for 11-18s early in February and Laura is busy writing a five-part series on Colossians. More information about these and other resources together with full sample lessons of each product can be found here: www.mustard-seeds.net.
We couldn’t have packed more training into February and March if we tried! We hosted a total of 25 training events. Two of these were run by Brenda in Villiersdorp and Stelenbosch in the Western Cape, South Africa.
Villiersdorp is a small town in a farming community and there were a number of farm labourers who had come for the training. Stellenbosch is a university town so there was quite a disparity between the levels of education and experiences of the two groups.
It’s wonderfully reflective of the diverse nature of the country, but does require a more agile approach to training and presentation. She received very good feedback and invitations to run further events at the same venues. There are also two other potential days awaiting confirmation in the northern suburbs of Cape Town. A good start to our expansion efforts in Africa!
Brenda training Sunday school teachers in Stellenbosch,
Rory ran training events at a few new venues including Uxbridge and The Wirral as well as annual training at Cornhill Scotland and The Tron Church in Glasgow. A regular slot at the Sussex Gospel Partnership ‘Come and See’ event was almost cancelled due to heavy snow, but a good number braved the weather to attend a morning of training on creative ways to teach narrative.
Then it was back to Hong Kong for an intensive five days of training in five different churches. Top of the list of topics was our Parenting with Purpose session which challenges parents to take responsibility for the spiritual nurturing of their children and explores ways in which they can actively do this in partnership with their local church.
It’s no doubt a sign of just how far society has moved away from the Bible that we have been asked to present a parenting session in Germany in June entitled Transgender and My Child. Please pray for this event!
Thank you for your faithful support of the work of TnT ministries. We value your prayers and in many cases your sacrificial financial contributions to sustain the work.
Items for Prayer
- Give thanks for an intensive period of training and the many opportunities to equip adults to teach the Bible to children in various countries, cultures and socio-economic circumstances. Pray for the wisdom needed to assess the needs of each group and the flexibility to engage them at the appropriate level.
- Give thanks for the opportunity to promote our work in the Word Alive exhibition space. Pray for many new contacts for both our training and the Mustard Seeds resources.
- As our financial year closes give thanks for a very good year of Mustard Seeds sales with over 25,000 lessons sold in 44 countries. Pray that those who use the resources would gain a deeper understanding of the Bible and a firmer grasp of the gospel so that they will teach it well.
- Give thanks for the many good developments in Rwanda and for yet another opportunity to train adults there to teach the Bible to children. Pray for safe travels for Rory and good engagement from those who attend the training.
- Give thanks for churches that are deliberately trying to engage the current ‘hot topics’ of our time. Pray for us as we prepare material for parents on the transgender issue. Pray that we would be sensitive to the culture and the experiences of those suffering gender dysphoria, but that we would remain faithful to the Bible as we hold out the hope of the gospel to make broken people whole again.