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EASTER MESSAGE - 2013 - Dr. Oliver Ottley Print E-mail
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Written by Dr. Oliver Ottley   
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 00:00

Dr. Oliver OttleyDr. Oliver Ottley - District Superintendent Emeritus
Church of the Nazarene

Scripture: “. . .  if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. . . .  But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:17a, 20 (NIV).

Theology:     The sine qua non of the Gospel

The Apostle Paul was dealing with the issue of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, which some of the Corinthian Church were rejecting or questioning. The inspired Apostle was explaining that to reject the resurrection of the dead is tantamount to rejecting the resurrection of Jesus Christ without which there could be no salvation, inasmuch as the actualization of redemption through our Lord’s death at Calvary depended on the verification of His resurrection.

There are many religions in the world. Some worship false gods and not the Creator of the Universe; others claim to worship the Creator but not the Saviour who died on the cross and rose again from the dead. This was the preface of the passage:

“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” ( I Cor. 15:1-4 [NIV] ).

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is both inclusive and exclusive in its presentation. This is couched in John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (KJV).

John 3:16 is called the golden text of the Bible. It reflects both the inclusiveness and the exclusiveness of the good news of salvation. “World” is all inclusive of God’s love; “whosoever”, however, by implication is exclusive of those who will not believe.

Terminology:       “What’s in a name?”

The term Easter is of Pagan origin and; so are most of our personal names. All the names of the days of the week as well as most of the names of the months of the year on our Gregorian calendar are of Pagan origin. They are thus because they came from a Gentile world The Great Commission was sent to the world not to make us Jews but Christians, or disciples of Jesus, the risen Christ.

The crux of the matter lies in who we are and whom we serve; what we believe and what we do from Monday to Sunday, from January to December; and at Christmas and Easter. “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet . . .” (Juliet in Julius Caesar, modified). You can call a reed a rose but it won’t look like a rose. You can even make an artificial rose but it won’t smell like a rose. But call a real rose by any other name and it will still smell like a rose. Nevertheless, when professing Christians participate in Pagan practices, be it at Christmas or Easter, or at any other time, they become part of a syncretism that is ungodly. I write in sincere Christian love to all---on behalf of the Church of the Nazarene

Happy Easter!
God bless you!
“He is risen!”

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 12:15