The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ isn’t a passing moment in time nor is it merely some theological truth we hold to. Rather, the death and resurrection of Jesus is central to Christianity and to our salvation.

In Ephesians 1:20, as Paul gives the first example of the overwhelming and indescribable power of God, the resurrection and exaltation of Christ is examined.

But in order to understand why Paul emphasizes this truth and builds his life upon it (see 1 Corinthians 2:2), we must understand why the resurrection is so essential and central to Christianity.

Without knowing this, we often downplay its importance and lose the grandeur in our lives.

In this expositional message, Nathan Johnson preaches from Ephesians 1:20 and addresses why the resurrection of Christ is the linchpin to our faith.

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Key Passage: Ephesians 1:20

Ephesians 1:20 – “… that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, …”

Power of God Demonstrated in the Life of Jesus (Ephesians 1:20-23) – Outline:

  • 1:20a – performance (demonstration) Life
  • 1:20b-21 – position
  • 1:22 – preeminence
  • 1:23a – person
  • 1:23b – purpose

The Resurrection is the focal point (central truth) of Christianity

  • Without the resurrection of Jesus, there is no Christianity!
  • Was the message of the Early Church
    • 2 Timothy 2:8 – Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, …
    • Acts 2:32 – This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
    • Acts 4:1-2 – And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
    • Acts 17:20-31 – The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

WHY is it important for Jesus to be raised from the dead?

  1. It reveals the power of God (our passage)
    • The resurrection proves that God is sovereign over life and death.
  2. Is distinctive from all other religions … only Jesus is alive!
  3. We as believers have hope in our future resurrection (because He was the firstfruits)
    • 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 – But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
    • 1 Corinthians 15:53-55 – For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
  4. It becomes essential to Jesus’ identity
    • Romans 1:4 – … and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord …
  5. It becomes essential to Jesus’ character
    • If He didn’t rise, He is a liar
    • Matthew 20:18-19 – See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.
  6. It becomes essential to Jesus’ ministry
    • If He didn’t rise, His ministry ended in defeat
    • He would not be our Great High Priest interceeding for us at the right hand of the Father
    • There would be no head of the Church
    • We wouldn’t have the Holy Spirit to indwell our lives and enable us to live godly lives
  7. It becomes essential to the Gospel
    • If He didn’t rise, there is no Gospel … and thus no hope

Paul gives 6 other reasons in 1 Corinthians 15:14-20…

1 Corinthians 15:14-20 – And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

  1. Our preaching would be in vain (empty/pointless)
  2. Our faith would be in vain (useless/pointless)
  3. All the witnesses of the resurrection would be liars
  4. We would still be without salvation (we would still be condemned in our sin)
  5. All former believers in Jesus would have died without hope
  6. If hope in Christ is limited to this life, Christians are to be pitied above all people
    • There would be no meaning or hope for humanity

In Our Next Study Together …

I invite you to join me on this journey from the book of Ephesians to discover God’s eternal purpose, His plan for your life, and learn how to practically live out an abundant and fruitful Christian life. 

  • Focus of our next study: Ephesians 1:20-21
  • We will examine the position of Jesus Christ, which is seated above all else (Ephesians 1:20-21)
  • I encourage you to read through Ephesians a couple of times this week and focus specifically on the first example of the power of God in the life of Jesus, in Ephesians 1:19-23.

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The Deeper Christian Bible Study Series

The Deeper Christian Bible Study Series in Ephesians is an in-depth verse-by-verse study of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. These studies will guide you through this life-changing book of the Bible and give you practical application to help you grow in your faith, gain greater intimacy with Jesus, experience the victorious Christian life, and help you build your life around Jesus Christ. 

About NRJohnson 

NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson) is a Christian who has an overwhelming passion for Jesus, the Gospel, and Studying God’s Word. He is a writer, teacher, and communicator who helps Christians discover and experience a passionate love for God and His Word so that they can grow in their faith, live victorious lives, share the Gospel boldly, grow in their intimacy with Jesus, and transform the world through the indwelling life of Christ.
Read more about him here.

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