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Resurrection Hope

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Introduction

Today is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Today is also the day known as “April Fool’s Day”. On this day we play pranks, give false reports, fake announcements, and generally lie outrageously for the soul purpose of being able to say “April Fool’s!” when someone believes us.
Dictionary.com defines a fool as 1 - a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense. 2 - a person who has been tricked or deceived into appearing or acting silly or stupid.
Scripture defines a fool very differently. (S).
Psalm 14:1 NKJV
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.
We live in the midst of a culture that denies the existence of God! To reject Him and reject the miraculous is perceived as the height of intelligence and wisdom. Yet the Bible says that the person claiming there is no God is a fool!
As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ we must understand that this is a contested doctrine. And yet
The Resurrection of Christ is essential to our faith.
Without it we really do not have any hope and the foundation of our faith is stripped away leaving us with sand.
There are those who want to diminish the resurrection to the level of an April Fool’s joke. The resurrection is no joke. It is a historically verifiable fact. Everything we believe rises and falls on the resurrection.
My goal today is to examine three benefits of the resurrection to impress on us how essential it is to our faith.
In understanding the importance of the resurrection our faith will be strengthened enabling us to stand firm.
The first benefit Paul gives us is that…

1. The Resurrection Of Christ Gives Substance To Our Preaching And Our Faith vv. 12-15

When I was a kid one of the things we thought was funny to do was to carefully take a stick of gum out of the foil wrapper and then fold it back up to look like there was still gum in it and offer it to someone. When you open it up expecting gum and find it empty, there is a sense of disappointment and loss. It’s a letdown! There is no substance.
Already as we have worked our way through the book of Acts in our regular service it has become obvious that the resurrection was the primary message of the disciples. If that is stripped away, there is no substance to preaching or faith. Paul demonstrates this clearly as he declares that…

a. Apart from the resurrection of Christ we have nothing to preach vv. 12, 14a, 15

According to v. 12 the resurrection of Christ was already being preached when Paul wrote this. Paul is saying, this is what we proclaim! We proclaim the risen Christ! How can you say that resurrection is impossible?
v. 14. If Christ didn’t rise, our preaching is empty! Empty – κενός (kenos) empty; vain; empty-handed. Vain adjs. — vacuous and devoid of any advantage or benefit. Predicate adjective, nominative, singular, neuter.
Empty – κενός (kenos)
Have you ever been scammed? Scammers are really good at what they do. They get you all hyped up and excited about what they are offering. But in the end you discover that it was empty words! You have been cheated! That is what Paul is describing here. If Christ didn’t rise than all the preaching that has been done for 2,000 years is empty! You will pass from this life only to discover that you have been cheated!
More than that, in v. 15 Paul expresses the reality that if Christ didn’t rise, we are liars! We have been deliberately deceiving people.
False witnesses – ψευδόμαρτυς (pseudomartys) false witness. False witness n. — a person who deliberately gives false testimony. Noun (subject), nominative, plural, masculine.
False witnesses – ψευδόμαρτυς
If Christ didn’t rise we are fake martyrs.
The disciples testified, they gave firsthand evidence of the resurrected Christ. If the dead don’t rise they are guilty of horribly misleading all who heard them.
We have misrepresented God! If the dead do not rise.
The bottom line is that the resurrection of Christ is our message. Not just in pulpits but in the life of every believer.
Without the resurrection, gospel presentations are merely empty promises.
In these verses Paul also states that…

b. Apart from the resurrection of Christ our faith is vain vv. 13, 14b

In v. 13 we find the core element of Paul’s argument. If the dead don’t rise, Christ didn’t rise. There can be no exceptions. Either Christ rose and therefore others will also. Or there is no resurrection and therefore Christ did not rise.
If that is true. If Christ did not rise, our faith is empty.
v. 14. Why does he say our faith is empty? The object of our faith is Jesus Christ. Turn to (p. 1383).
(p. 1383)
Hebrews 12:1–3 NKJV
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
He is called here the author and finisher or perfecter of our faith. If He did not rise and is still dead, He is the perfecter of nothing! He isn’t at the right hand of God! He can offer no strength or encouragement because He is dead! This is the reality we would face if the dead didn’t rise! If Christ never rose from the dead, we are left empty.
If Jesus didn’t rise our faith crumbles and we are left with nothing.
However, because Christ did rise, we have substance to our preaching and faith!
Resurrection Hymn (v. 1)
The second benefit is that…

2. The Resurrection Of Christ Guarantees Our Resurrection And Forgiveness Of Sin vv. 16-17

When you purchase an expensive product, one of the factors that often influences the decision is the guarantee. If a company is willing to replace or repair their product for life, you know they are confident in what they have made and will stand behind it.
As believers in Jesus Christ we have the greatest guarantee that could possibly be given. The resurrection of Christ guarantees that we will rise and that we have been forgiven of all our sin. Paul lays this out in the next two verses. He first declares that…

a. Because Christ rose again we know that we will rise too vv. 16-17a

In v. 16 Paul restates his point from v. 13 with a slight variation. This verse tells us two very important things. 1 - Jesus really did die. The argument in this verse has no validity whatsoever if Christ didn’t actually die. The penalty for sin is death and Christ paid that penalty through His literal, physical death. 2 - Because Christ really died, if the dead don’t rise, He has not risen.
If we take this verse and flip it around we have a positive affirmation of our future resurrection. Because Christ did rise, we too will rise!
If the dead don’t rise, Christ hasn’t risen. If Christ hasn’t risen, our faith is futile.
Futile – μάταιος (mataios) useless; empty; fruitless. Empty (vacuous) adjs. — devoid of significance, point, or benefit. Predicate adjective, nominative, singular, feminine.
Futile – μάταιος (mataios)
If Christ didn’t rise, believing in Him is a waste of time and energy. Our faith is useless, empty, fruitless, without significance, point, or benefit. This is how vital the resurrection of Jesus Christ is!
Our resurrection is absolutely, 100% guaranteed! Why? Because Jesus is alive!
And because Jesus is alive, our faith is not futile, and the dead will rise. In addition…

b. Because Christ rose again we know that our sins are forgiven v. 17b

The idea of the word “still” is that we are even worse off than we were. Not only are our sins not forgiven, we have followed a vain, empty hope! If Christ didn’t rise, we are still in our sins!
If Christ didn’t rise, the only glimmer of hope we have to be forgiven is extinguished. There is no hope apart from a risen Christ!
Once again, let’s turn this around. Christ did rise! Therefore, we can be absolutely confident that our sins have been forgiven!
As believers in Christ we have no need to fear death because Christ conquered it, which is proved by his resurrection. We ought to live fearless lives as bold witnesses for Christ.
We also have a confidence that no other religion on earth can have. The confidence of completely forgiven sin.
The resurrection of Christ shows that the Father was satisfied with Christ’s sacrifice, and forgave our sins.
Resurrection Hymn (v. 2)
The third and final benefit is that…

3. The Resurrection Of Christ Is The Basis Of Our Hope, Both Now And For The Future vv. 18-19

If we had the chance to make an investment that was guaranteed to give us the return of a lifetime, would we take it? What if that investment was also guaranteed to benefit us right now?
Sounds too good to be true right? Yet that is the reality that Paul presents in these verses!
Our faith in Christ is like an investment with unimaginable returns. We first learn that…

a. Christ’s resurrection gives us hope for our present lives vv. 18-19

These two verses contain an interesting statement. There is a recognition that we have hope in our present life. But there is also a recognition that hope in this life is not enough. If we are still left to spend an eternity separated from Christ, we are pitiable.
If all our self-control, self-sacrifice, and endurance of persecution, have no eternal value, we endure in vain!
There are two passages that help shed light on why we are miserable if Christ didn’t rise. First, (S).
John 16:33 NKJV
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Second, (S).
2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Think about it. If all we have is an expectation of tribulation and persecution, we are objects of pity!
But. We know Christ has risen! Therefore, we do have hope in this life. Our hope in this life is centered around the hope of life to come!
We recognize that this life is merely the proving ground. It is the preparation for life that is to come. Are we preparing well?
Hope in this life is centered in the resurrection of Christ!
Hope. That is the one thing that this world longs for and is constantly missing. Our hope for life right now is centered on the resurrection of Christ. How? If He hadn’t risen than our sins wouldn’t have been forgiven. Because He rose we know that we are forgiven.
Because He lives, we have abundant life.
That abundant life doesn’t end when our bodies fail and die.

b. Christ’s resurrection gives us hope for the future vv. 18-19

Because Christ has risen, it is not the end for those who die in Christ! v. 20 tells us that Christ is the firstfruits. There are more to come!
We are not pitiable because our hope in Christ extends beyond this life.
His resurrection gives us hope for loved ones who have “died in Christ”. We can be confident of their resurrection and of ours after we die.
Christ is risen and we too will rise!
Our believing loved ones who have passed from this life are not dead and gone! They are with Jesus! They are experiencing unspeakable joy and abundant life in the presence of our Redeemer! This is only true because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! He is alive and so we shall be. He is alive and so all who have trusted in Him will never die!
We are not miserable in this life because we know that this is “tent life”. (S).
2 Corinthians 5:1 NKJV
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Our hope is in eternal life! This body is merely a tent. It is a temporary residence not intended for permanent use! It is after we leave the tent behind that we move into the house!
Beloved, our hope is not in this life! Our best life will never be enjoyed now! Our best life is the life to come! Our hope is in eternal life in the presence of Jesus Christ!
All of this is only true, it is only possible because when Jesus died, three days later, He rose from the dead.
Resurrection Hymn (v. 3)
Turn with me to . This is a time for believers to remember the price that was paid. To be reminded of the penalty of sin. Taking part of communion does not save you. This is simply a way for us to be reminded of what Christ has done. If you know the Lord as savior this morning, please join us in bread and juice as we remember Jesus Christ. These are only symbols, they represent the body and blood of our Savior. Examination – verses 26-32

OBSERVANCE OF COMMUNION

The Bread (His Body) vv. 23-24 #350 “'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” (Chorus Only)
Jesus Jesus how I trust Him How I've proved Him o'er and o'er Jesus Jesus precious Jesus O for grace to trust Him more
The Cup (His Blood) v. 25 #358 “I Am Thine, O Lord” (Chorus Only)
Draw me nearer nearer blessed Lord To the cross where Thou hast died Draw me nearer nearer nearer blessed Lord To Thy precious bleeding side

Conclusion

V. 20
Christ Is Risen!
He is the firstfruits which means we will rise!
It means our faith is centered on a risen Savior!
It means we have a message that every single person needs to hear.
It means our sins have been forgiven.
It means that we have a blessed life now, and an eternity with Jesus Christ!
Because of the resurrection of Jesus, our confident expectation is of life in His presence that never ends.
We will spend an eternity with Jesus Christ. Will we live for Him right now?
#170 “One Day!” (v. 1)
One day when heaven was filled with His praises One day when sin was as black as could be Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin Dwelt among men my example is He
Living He loved me dying He saved me Buried He carried my sins far away Rising He justified freely forever One day He's coming O glorious day O glorious day O glorious day O glorious day
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
1 Corinthians 15:12–20 NKJV
Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
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