Statue of Brother Bryan
One of the great joys I have in ministry is the opportunity to preach every Tuesday night at the Brother Bryan Mission in B’ham AL and seeing others in our church involved in the lives of the men to help fulfill the Missions’ purpose in “serving the the economically, emotionally, and spiritually impoverished men of the Birmingham area.”
The mission was birthed out of the heart of a local minister, the Reverend James Alexander Bryan, who came to Birmingham in 1889 to pastor the Third Avenue Presbyterian Church, where he remained as pastor until his death in 1941. Shortly before his death, “Brother” Bryan made a request to a few of his closest friends to establish a place that would take the poor and down-trodden men of Birmingham off the streets and give them food, shelter and care. An in-depth look at his life and remarkable ministry can be read in his biography, Religion in Shoes.
Recently I came across a little book of Brother Bryan’s sermons preached in 1927. His heart for kingdom ministry is seen in the foreword: “I prayerfully and gratefully submit these few sermons to the public, hoping that anyone who reads them may be helped in his Christian life. This is done, I know, for God’s glory.” The following is his sermon titled “The Fruits of the Resurrection of Christ.” I hope you are blessed, and that you are helped in your Christian life., to the glory of God.
The resurrection of Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian’s faith. It is one of the undeniable facts in the history of the world, because it is the best witnessed fact in all history, sacred or profane. That Christ was dead even scientists would not deny. After the thrust of a Gentile spear, blood and water came out of Christ’s heart. which, to sensible people, was the death certificate of a criminal. At the request of friends, His body was placed in Joseph’s new tomb, in Joseph’s garden. His resurrection was prophesied, even foretold by Christ Himself.
The resurrection of Christ is emphasized in the teachings of the New Testament in the startling fact that it is recorded over one hundred times. That Christ rose from the dead is borne by witnesses numbering over six hundred people. Unbiased, unbought, truthful witnesses. Heaven testified to His resurrection like it dis His birth, the angel stood at the empty tomb, and said to the women “Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, He is not here, He is risen, come see the place where the Lord lay.” Heavenly witnesses, earthly witnesses.
We are to study this morning not only the facts of the resurrection, but the fruits of the resurrection of our Lord. One fruit of His resurrection is that it proved His Deity; anyone who could triumph over death, in His only power, over the tomb with its darkness, command angels to come from Heaven and move a grave stone, enormous in size and weight, was none less than the Son of God, truthfully, God Himself.
Secondly, another fruit of the resurrection of Christ is the change of the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week. The only day on which He rose was to those who loved Him a day of worship. That evening you find the apostles and disciples in the upper room; they were worshipping by prayer. In their worship Christ appears to them. Remember that this is the first day of the week and that they were worshipping the risen Christ, and that day has continued to be the Christian’s Sabbath. The next first day of the week you will find the Christian church worshipping the same risen Lord. Paul urges the Corinthian Christians in his inspired letter to them to lay aside on the first day of the week by a act of worship, gifts as God had prospered them, to be given in the name of the Lord, to the poor. This day continues in New Testament history. It is frequently called the first day of the week, and also the Lord’s Day.
When John was on the Island of Patamos (sic) he was in the spirit of the Lord’s Day, he was in the attitude of worship. The resurrection of Christ is the cause for this undeniable fact.
Third, another fruit of the resurrection of Christ is the final resurrection of the body of believers in Him. Paul in writing to us in his letter to the Thessalonians distinctly says: “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others that have no hope, for if we believe that Jesus dies and rose again from the dead, even so them also who sleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him.” This is the most comforting fruit of the resurrection of Christ because Christ rose, our loved ones will rise, our bodies will be like Christ’s in Heaven. Spiritual, immortal, incorruptible, unchangeable, recognizable bodies.
We will be like Christ and with Him forever. Another fruit of the resurrection is the fact that Christ said: “If I got not away the Comforter will not come unto you.” He meant by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has worked in all ages of the world, even in the creation, but not until after Christ rose from the dead, ascended unto God, is He sent unto us, without measure and in great power. Jesus Himself said, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
We read in the Book of Acts that the apostles gave witness of the great of the resurrection of Christ, our belief in that helps us to die for Christ, to be martyrs for His Kingdom.
If Christ be not risen our faith is in vain, our preaching is forceless, He could not forgive or sins. The three outstanding fundamental facts in world history, in the history of the church, in God are these: The virgin birth of Christ, His death on the cross for our sins, His resurrection from the tomb. All the blessings that we have, spiritual or material, are fruits of this great fact.