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The Reality of the Resurrection

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THE REALITY OF THE RESURRECTION
INTRODUCTION:
AGAIN, ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW, EVERYTHING IS POINTING TOWARD EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 1ST.
AND AS I THINK ABOUT EASTER, MY MIND IS TURNED TOWARD THE REFERENCES TO THE RESURRECTION WHICH ARE REPORTED IN SCRIPTURE…
RESURRECTION, AS A CONCEPT, SEEMS A BIT OUTLANDISH, BUT FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT WRITERS, IT WAS A COMMON THEME…
IT CERTAINLY WAS VIEWED WITH AN AIR OF MYSTERY, AND RIGHTLY SO, BECAUSE WHO AMONG US CAN REALLY UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF SOMEONE RISING FROM THE DEAD?
BUT IT WAS A WELL-ACCEPTED THEME OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, AND SOMETHING THAT IS MENTIONED DOZENS OF TIMES IN SCRIPTURE…
TAKE YOUR BIBLE AND OPEN IT TO THE BOOK OF 1 CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 15.
LET’S STAND TOGETHER AS WE TAKE VERSES 1 THROUGH 11 AS OUR TEXT FOR THIS MORNING…
STAND – READ – PRAY
THE RESURRECTION IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE…
IF YOU EXCLUDE THE RESURRECTION, YOU DON’T HAVE THE GOSPEL…
AND HERE IN THE TEXT WE READ FOR THIS MORNING, PAUL IS STATING HIS CASE FOR WHY HE PREACHES THE GOSPEL MESSAGE…
SO THE “SO WHAT?” OF THIS TEXT COULD BE STATED THIS WAY…WHY SHOULD I BELIEVE THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL?
LET’S LOOK AT PAUL’S SHORT TREATISE ON THE GOSPEL’S EFFECT, ITS MESSAGE, ITS CONFIRMATION, AND ITS POWER…
1. THE GOSPEL’S EFFECT
a. (ESV) - 15 NOW I WOULD REMIND YOU, BROTHERS, OF THE GOSPEL I PREACHED TO YOU, WHICH YOU RECEIVED, IN WHICH YOU STAND, 2 AND BY WHICH YOU ARE BEING SAVED, IF YOU HOLD FAST TO THE WORD I PREACHED TO YOU—UNLESS YOU BELIEVED IN VAIN.
b. IT IS PROCLAIMED
i. PREACHERS PREACH…
ii. IT’S WHAT WE DO…
iii. AND WE CAN PREACH, BECAUSE WE HAVE A MESSAGE TO DELIVER…
1. THE GOSPEL MESSAGE PROMPTS PREACHERS TO PREACH…
iv. PAUL SAID THIS IS THE GOSPEL I PREACHED TO YOU…
c. IT IS RECEIVED
i. AS LONG AS THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL IS GIVEN, IT WILL BE RECEIVED BY SOMEONE…
1. THERE WILL BE TIMES WHEN IT IS RECEIVED BY LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE…
2. AND THERE WILL BE TIMES WHEN ONLY A FEW WILL RESPOND TO IT…
3. BUT IT WILL BE RECEIVED…
d. IT IS SECURE
i. PAUL REMARKS TO THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH THAT IT IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST THAT THEY ARE STANDING UPON.
1. AND IT IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST THAT WE STAND UPON TODAY…
2. IT IS A MESSAGE OF SECURITY…A MESSAGE OF ASSURANCE…A MESSAGE THAT GIVES THOSE WHO STAND UPON IT THE ABILITY EVEN TO STAND ALONE, IF NECESSARY…
e. – 13 THEREFORE TAKE UP THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD, THAT YOU MAY BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND IN THE EVIL DAY, AND HAVING DONE ALL, TO STAND FIRM.
f. IT IS THE SOURCE OF SALVATION…
i. IT IS THE WORD BY WHICH YOU ARE BEING SAVED, IF YOU ARE IN CHRIST…
g. IT IS THE PATTERN FOR LIFE…
i. UNLESS YOU BELIEVED IN VAIN…
1. VAIN – IN THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGE MEANS WITHOUT CAUSE OR WITHOUT SUCCESS…
ii. PAUL’S POINT HERE IS THAT IF ONE REJECTS THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS, THE REDEMPTIVE WORK OF JESUS IS OF NO EFFECT…
iii. TO REJECT THE RESURRECTION IS TO REJECT THE ENTIRE GOSPEL…
iv. IT MAKES THE GOSPEL MESSAGE WITHOUT SUCCESS…
h. HENRY MORRIS – THE FOUNDER OF THE INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH, WHICH IS THE ORGANIZATION FOR WHICH KEN HAM WORKED BEFORE HE STARTED ANSWERS IN GENESIS, SAID THIS ABOUT THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST…
i. “THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST FROM THE DEAD IS THE CROWNING PROOF OF CHRISTIANITY. IF THE RESURRECTION DID NOT TAKE PLACE, THEN CHRISTIANITY IS A FALSE RELIGION. IF IT DID TAKE PLACE, THEN CHRIST IS GOD AND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IS ABSOLUTE TRUTH.”
i. THE SUSTAINING FORCE FOR THE BELIEVER IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST…
1. THE COMPLETE GOSPEL…
2. IT IS WHAT DRIVES US TO DO WHAT WE DO AS INDIVIDUALS…
ii. IT QUICKENS OUR SPIRITS – MAKES US ALIVE AND ENREGIZES US TO DO THE WORK OF THE GOSPEL…
iii. IT IS WHAT DRIVES US TO DO WHAT WE DO AS A CHURCH…
1. IT IS THE FOUNDATION UPON WHICH ALL OF OUR MINISTRIES REST…
iv. IT IS WHAT KEEPS US MOVING, EVEN WHEN THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL IS NOT AS WELL RECEIVED AS IT USED TO BE…
j. AND KNOW THIS, IT DOES HAVE A MESSAGE…PAUL SHARES THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL IN VERSES 3 AND 4.
2. THE GOSPEL’S MESSAGE
a. (ESV) - 3 FOR I DELIVERED TO YOU AS OF FIRST IMPORTANCE WHAT I ALSO RECEIVED: THAT CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES, 4 THAT HE WAS BURIED, THAT HE WAS RAISED ON THE THIRD DAY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES…
b. CHRIST DIED
i. ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES…
c. THE DEATH OF CHRIST IS AT THE SAME TIME THE MOST TRAGIC AND THE MOST GLORIOUS EVENT IN HUMAN HISTORY…
i. TRAGIC IN THAT IT PICTURES THE SINFUL STATE OF ALL MANKIND…
1. SO SINFUL THAT THEY WOULD CRUCIFY THE LORD OF GLORY…
ii. GLORIOUS IN THAT IT PICTURES THE INCREDIBLE LOVE THAT GOD HAS FOR HIS CREATION…
1. THAT CHRIST WOULD WILLINGLY GO TO THAT CROSS AND BECOME OUR SACRIFICE FOR SIN…
2. CHRIST DIED ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES…
d. CHRIST WAS BURIED
i. HE WAS BURIED IN A BORROWED TOMB…
ii. BORROWED, BECAUSE HE ONLY NEEDED IT FOR A FEW DAYS…
iii. IT’S INTERESTING THAT PAUL DOESN’T TAG CHRIST’S BURIAL WITH THE PHRASE “ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURE,” EVEN THOUGH SCRIPTURE IS VERY CLEAR THAT HE WAS BURIED…
e. BUT HIS BURIAL IS NOT WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT…
i. WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT IS THAT HE WAS CRUCIFIED FOR OUR REDEMPTION, AND HE WAS RESURRECTED TO GIVE US HOPE OF LIFE BEYOND THIS LIFE…
f. AND CHRIST WAS RAISED…
i. ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES…
ii. THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL IS CHRIST CRUCIFIED AND RAISED FROM THE DEAD…
g. IT IS A MESSAGE THAT HAS BEEN CONFIRMED…
h. LOOK AT…
3. THE GOSPEL’S CONFIRMATION
a. (ESV) – 5 AND THAT HE APPEARED TO CEPHAS, THEN TO THE TWELVE. 6 THEN HE APPEARED TO MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED BROTHERS AT ONE TIME, MOST OF WHOM ARE STILL ALIVE, THOUGH SOME HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP. 7 THEN HE APPEARED TO JAMES, THEN TO ALL THE APOSTLES. 8 LAST OF ALL, AS TO ONE UNTIMELY BORN, HE APPEARED ALSO TO ME.
b. JESUS VALIDATED ALL THE STATEMENTS HE EVER MADE WHEN HE APPEARED ALIVE AFTER HIS CRUCIFIXION.
i. NOW AND FOREVER, THE QUESTION OF WHETHER JESUS STATEMENTS ARE TRUSTWORTHY ARE SETTLED…
ii. BECAUSE HE DID WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD DO, WE CAN HAVE COMPLETE TRUST IN ALL THE PROMISES HE MADE, AND WE SHOULD BE COMPLETELY OBEDIENT TO ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS HE GAVE…
iii. LOOK AT ALL THE PEOPLE HE APPEARED TO AFTER HIS RESURRECTION…
c. PETER…
d. THE TWELVE…
e. 500 BROTHERS…
f. JAMES…
g. ALL THE APOSTLES…
h. PAUL…
i. HE DID SO TO PROVE THE FACT OF HIS RESURRECTION…
j. TO CONFIRM THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL…
k. AND THEN FINALLY, WE SEE…
4. THE GOSPEL’S POWER
a. (ESV) – 9 FOR I AM THE LEAST OF THE APOSTLES, UNWORTHY TO BE CALLED AN APOSTLE, BECAUSE I PERSECUTED THE CHURCH OF GOD. 10 BUT BY THE GRACE OF GOD I AM WHAT I AM, AND HIS GRACE TOWARD ME WAS NOT IN VAIN. ON THE CONTRARY, I WORKED HARDER THAN ANY OF THEM, THOUGH IT WAS NOT I, BUT THE GRACE OF GOD THAT IS WITH ME. 11 WHETHER THEN IT WAS I OR THEY, SO WE PREACH AND SO YOU BELIEVED.
b. IT IS THE BASIS OF OUR CALLING…
c. IT IS THE SOURCE OF OUR SPIRITUAL ENERGY
d. IT IS LIFE-CHANGING FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE…
CONCLUSION:
A STORY IS TOLD OF AN AFRICAN MUSLIM WHO BECAME A CHRISTIAN. HIS FRIENDS ASKED, “WHY HAVE YOU BECOME A CHRISTIAN?”
HE ANSWERED, “WELL, IT’S LIKE THIS. SUPPOSE YOU WERE GOING DOWN THE ROAD AND SUDDENLY THE ROAD FORKED IN TWO DIRECTIONS, AND YOU DIDN’T KNOW WHICH WAY TO GO. THERE AT THE FORK WERE TWO MEN, ONE DEAD AND ONE ALIVE—WHO WOULD YOU ASK WHICH WAY TO GO?”
WE’VE ANSWERED THE “SO WHAT?”
BUT THE OTHER QUESTION TO BE ANSWERED THIS MORNING IS “NOW WHAT?”
WHAT ARE WE TO DO, KNOWING THE REASONS THAT PAUL PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST?
THERE ARE TWO ANSWERS TO THIS QUESTION…ONE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED CHRIST, AND THE OTHER FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED HIM…
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED CHRIST…YOU CLAIM THAT CHRIST HAS SAVED YOU AND TRANSFORMED YOUR LIFE…
THE “NOW WHAT?” FOR YOU IS TO TAKE THE GOSPEL TO THE NATIONS…WHEREVER YOU GO, WHATEVER YOU DO, BE PREPARED TO SHARE THE MESSAGE OF THE GOSPEL…
THAT IS THE EXPECTATION THAT GOD HAS FOR YOU…AND WE MUST NOT SHIRK THIS RESPONSIBILITY…
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED CHRIST BY FAITH…LISTEN VERY CLOSELY…
THIS PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE OUTLINES THE REASONS THAT YOU CAN PERSONALLY BELIEVE WHAT CHRISTIANITY CLAIMS…
THAT JESUS, FIRST IS A REAL PERSON…
AND THAT HE DIED FOR YOUR SINS, JUST AS THE SCRIPTURES CLAIM…
AND THAT HE WAS BURIED…
AND THAT ON THE THIRD DAY HE WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD, JUST AS THE SCRIPTURES CLAIM…
AND THAT HE IS ALIVE, AND HE DOES HAVE THE ANSWERS FOR YOUR LIFE, AND HE IS WAITING…TODAY…TO RECEIVE YOU AND GIVE YOU THE GIFT OF EVERLASTING LIFE…
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