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Importance of the Resurrection

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Intro:

AG: Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the USA, was a deist-one who believed in the God revealed in nature. Congress once printed a special edition of Thomas Jefferson’s Bible, in which he had cut out all references to the supernatural. He confined himself solely to Christ’s ethical teachings. The closing, somber words to Jefferson’s Bible are these: "There laid they Jesus, and rolled a great stone to the mouth of the sepulchre and departed." Jefferson apparently did not believe in the resurrection from the dead, unlike Benjamin Franklin who was a fellow deist.
The fifteenth child in a family of seventeen children, Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706. At the age of eighty-four on April 17, 1790, Franklin died in Philadelphia. Franklin wrote his own epitaph which reads: The Body of Benjamin Franklin Printer (Like the cover of an old book Its contents Torn Out And stript of its lettering and gilding) Lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be lost For it will (As he believed) Appear Once More In a new and more elegant edition, Revised and corrected by THE AUTHOR.
Because the resurrection is the cornerstone of the gospel, it has been the target of Satan’s greatest attacks against the church. If there is no resurrection the life-giving power of the gospel is eliminated, the deity of Christ is eliminated, salvation from sin is eliminated, and eternal life is eliminated. A lady wrote in to a question and answer forum. "Dear Sirs, Our preacher said on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered. Dear Bewildered, Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross. Hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear thru his side...put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens.
TS: God used Paul to pen our text this morning. In the 1st letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes the church in Corinth to address a number of problems which had arisen. One issue was confusion over the details of the gospel. In chapter 15, Paul reminds the church that they were saved when he had proclaimed, they received, and they believed the gospel. What was the gospel? That Jesus fulfilled Scripture by dying, being buried, and being raise to life again. Paul then uses that as a springboard to discuss the importance of the resurrection.
The Apostle contemplates some dire consequences that would arise if we only had a dead Christ.
[We would have nothing to preach, we would have no Gospel. All hope of deliverance, from sin would fade away. The one fact which gives assurance of immortality having vanished, the dead who had nurtured the assurance of life have perished.]
If Christ did not rise from the dead, then those who believed, believe an empty gospel, and nourish an empty faith, and die clinging to a baseless hope.
[We are far more to be pitied, than men who had less splendid dreams and less utter illusions."If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied" ().]
RS: If Christ did not live past the grave, those who trust in Him cannot hope to live either. But because Christ has been bodily raised, the resurrection of the dead is the new reality for man. The resurrection of Christ means the resurrection of humanity for they are inseparably linked. If Christ is raised, then there is a resurrection for all the dead.
RS:
1 Corinthians 15:12–19 ESV
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 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. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

I. THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, 12.

1 Corinthians 15:12 ESV
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
EX: Christ’s resurrection ensures the resurrection of all the redeemed.
Paul began with questioning the absurd idea which had been taught by false teachers.
Since Christ had risen, why would anyone still proclaim there is no resurrection of the dead?
The very fact that He is alive, demonstrates that we and all who die in Him will also be resurrected.
In Romans Paul discusses it this way:
Romans 6:4–8 ESV
4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
Why would some be saying that there was no resurrection?
Perhaps some Jewish members of the Corinthian church may have been influenced by the Sadducees
Matthew 22:23 ESV
23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question,
Matthew 22:23–30 ESV
23 The same day Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, 24 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. 26 So too the second and third, down to the seventh. 27 After them all, the woman died. 28 In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.” 29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
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Mt. 23
Despite the fact that resurrection is taught in the Old Testament (; ...), some did not believe in it.
Despite the fact that resurrection is taught in the Old Testament (; ...), some did not believe in it.
Maybe they had been influenced by Greek philosophy:
a. Dualism considered everything spiritual to be intrinsically good and everything physical to be intrinsically evil. To anyone holding that view the idea of a resurrected body was repugnant. For them, the very reason for going to an afterlife was to escape all things physical.
b. Materialists: Viewed this life as all their is. After death there is nothing. Paul quoted from Isaiah later in v. 32 to address their idea:
Dualism considered everything spiritual to be intrinsically good and everything physical to be intrinsically evil. To anyone holding that view the idea of a resurrected body was repugnant. For them, the very reason for going to an afterlife was to escape all things physical.

If the dead are not raised, x“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

b.
AP: Many today deny our future resurrection.
AP:
We are in an age in which so called scientific thought reigns. Atheists begin with an assumption there is no God and thus no miracles. Our life is no more special than any other plant, animal, or fungus.
They ignore all evidence which doesn’t support their preconceived beliefs
That leads many to the same conclusion that this life is all there is.
Why?
Because people don’t want to have to confront the judgement which awaits!
Hebrews 9:27 ESV
27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
While the resurrection is a comfort to us who eagerly await our Lord’s return and the resurrection of our friends and family who are with Him, the lost dread the judgment.
While the resurrection is a comfort to us who eagerly await our Lord’s return and the resurrection of our friends and family who are with Him, the lost dread the judgment.

II. THE CONSEQUENCES OF NO RESURRECTION, 13-18.

1 Corinthians 15:13–18 ESV
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 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. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
EX: Paul explores the ramifications of denying the resurrection.
1st If there is no resurrection, then Jesus hasn’t been raised.
He is dead
He can do nothing for people today.
It makes Him proven to be a liar.
2nd Ramifications to the faith
a. Preaching of the gospel is in vain.
b. Faith is futile
vain (kenos, "empty, fruitless, void of effect, to no purpose").
3rd To deny the resurrection is to call the apostles and every other leader of the New Testament church not simply mistaken but liars.
They were eyewitnesses.
They based the gospel on preaching the resurrected Christ.
If they had contrived a hoax, they were liars!

III. NO RESURRECTION, NO HOPE, 19

1 Corinthians 15:19 ESV
19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Why does Paul say believers should be pitied if there is only earthly value to Christianity?
In Paul’s day, being a Christian often brought persecution, ostracism from family and other social and economic problems. Believers gave up the sensuous joys of worldliness.
There were few tangible benefits from being a Christian. It would not get you a step up the ladder. An even greater forfeit though is the lost of spiritual blessings.
Without the resurrection, and the salvation and blessings it brings, Christianity would be pointless and pitiable.
To have hoped in Christ in this life only would be to teach, preach, suffer, sacrifice, and work entirely for nothing.
To have hoped in Christ in this life only would be to teach, preach, suffer, sacrifice, and work entirely for nothing.
Since there would be no hope for anything after this life, then the point of Christianity would have to be whatever applies to ‘now‘.
A Christian has no Savior but Christ, no Redeemer but Christ, no Lord but Christ. Therefore if Christ was not raised, He is not alive, then our Christian life is lifeless. We would have nothing to justify our faith, our Bible study, our preaching or witnessing, our service for Him or our worship of Him, and nothing to justify our hope either for this life or the next. We would deserve nothing but the pity reserved for fools.
Since there would be no hope for anything after this life, then the point of Christianity would have to be whatever applies to ‘now‘.
Since there is no judgment of the dead, then there are no eternal values. Do what ever you want. Say what ever you want. Treat others however you want. The only consequences I’ll pay for disobeying man made rules are those natural consequences I bring upon myself here. No golden rule, just win, however you must do it.

Conclusion:

The resurrection of Christ is the center of the Christian faith. Because Christ rose from the dead as He promised we know that He is God and what He said is true. Because He rose we have a certain assurance that our sins are forgiven. Because He rose, He lives and ministers to us today. Because He rose and defeated death, we know we will also be raised.
A little girl lived near a cemetery, and often had to walk through it after dark. When someone asked her, "Aren’t you ever afraid?" She answered, "Oh, no! My home is just on the other side."
The best way to end this sermon today I think, is to ask the question; ‘where are you going’?
Do you have hope for journey’s end? Do you walk with a confidence that ‘home’ is just the other side?
It all comes down to this, you know; either you know that when you leave this life you will enter into eternal life with the risen Christ, or you have no hope for salvation beyond this life, then you must face the fact that life is ultimately futile. Jesus offers you hope today. Because He lives, so you too will live.
This morning, we are observing the Lord’s Supper.
This ordinance was given for the church to do to memorialize Jesus’ atoning death on the cross and celebrate what it brings.
As we have discussed this morning, because He paid the price for our sins, we can have eternal life.
1 Corinthians 11:23–33 ESV
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. 33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—
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