Have you ever wondered why, over the past fifty years, America has had so many professing Christians while our culture has been circling the drain with increasing velocity? How is it possible to have churches on every corner but for those churches to have so little impact in the public square?
At the risk of oversimplification, I believe the church has been largely ineffective because we do not understand the ramifications of Christ's bodily resurrection. Many Christians assent to the fact that Jesus was raised on the third day, but, by and large, Christians in America do not understand that Jesus' resurrection is the basis for his lordship over all things. As the conqueror of death, hell, and the Devil, Jesus rules over all things in heaven and on earth, and He will bring all things into subjection under His lordship.
Acts 2:29-33 -- "Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing."
Acts 13:32-33 -- "And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, "'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'"
Rom. 1:1-5 -- "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 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, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations..."
1 Cor. 15:20-25 -- "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. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet."
Rev. 1:4-5 -- "Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth."
As we can see clearly in the book of Acts, our eschatology and our impact on the culture around us are directly tied to our understanding of the resurrection. This is why Paul concludes his extended treatise on the resurrection with an exhortation to labor diligently in this life for the advancement of Christ's kingdom on earth: "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Cor. 15:58). Christ's resurrection and his lordship over every aspect of life is the foundation for the Church's witness and transformation of this world.