Good News from the Tomb
Landover Hills Baptist Church
Text: 1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 10
Title: GOOD NEWS FROM THE TOMB
This week I found it necessary to do some of my research and preparation for this Easter message in a nearby store.
- One of the best sources of material on the theology of Easter is to be found in the “Easter” section of the greeting cards.
- I found a fairly good sized selection of cards on display, the vast majority of which were entirely secular.
- They ranged from the “thinking of you at Easter” variety to the ones which had pictures of fuzzy teddy bears, rabbits, and Easter eggs, and some kind of inane holiday greeting.
- Frequently there was a “Spring is Here” motif with Easter somehow associated with the coming of Spring, and the happy thought of leaving behind a dreary winter and looking forward to the fresh new life which signals the coming of Spring.
If the greeting card displays of most stores are like the one I visited, we would have to agree that the resurrection of Christ is not considered very significant by the marketplace.
- Easter bunnies and eggs have won “hands down” over Christ, the cross of Calvary, and the empty tomb.
- The significance of Easter is often overlooked in America.
All too often, Easter Sunday is more of a:
- A part of the celebration of the commencement of Spring, MORE than it is an observance and celebration of the resurrection of our Lord.
Typically, many evangelical preachers take this occasion to give an apologetic sermon, seeking to show that the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is a proven fact of history--and that it is.
- I am convinced, however, that many of the non-Christians who attend Easter Sunday services accept the resurrection of Christ as a fact.
- BUT have simply NOT come to recognize its significance.
To demonstrate the significance of the resurrection of Christ we understand that THERE IS GOOD NEWS FROM THE TOMB – this morning!
Paul declares in 1 Corinthian 15: 1 – 4 – What the GOOD NEWS FROM THE TOMB does for us as believers.
READ – Vs. 1
This Gospel is not built on “sand castles” – but on the firm ground of historical fact.
- We are not dealing w/ fairy tales or mythologies – we are dealing w/ actual events recorded in history.
- After Paul states THE GOOD NEWS FROM THE TOMB as his purpose of writing this sections – he provides for us a 3 – Fold statement of the Gospel truth.
I. THE GOOD NEWS FROM THE TOMB IS seen in the Resurrection truth of:
A. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (Vs 3)
It is not unusual for people to die – people have been experiencing the tragedy and dilemma of death since Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden.
- The Bible says – (Job 14:1) Man that is born of a woman is a of a few days – and full of trouble.
But the Bible also teaches that Jesus died on a cross.
- In those days – criminals were placed on a cross – and so Jesus died publicly as a criminal.
- The unusual fact is that when we read the NT and study the life of Christ – we discover that He had done nothing wrong.
- He never sinned – He died an undeserved death to take away our sins.
- Christ did not die as a martyr or as a victim of circumstances.
He voluntarily went to the cross of Calvary to die for our sins.
- We were guilty and deserved to die.
- When humanity stood before the judge w/ no merits of our own to claim – the judge pronounced us guilty and led us away to die.
- Jesus came and said – I want to take their places – I want to die for them.
When we read about the cross – we ought to read with ourselves in mind.
- Every time we read of a nail going through the hand of Jesus – we should remember that it should have been our hands.
- Every time we read of the crown of thorns being pressed down on his brow – we should remember that our own brow should have been torn.
- The gospel message is that Jesus – took our place on the cross of Calvary. (Isaiah 53: 5)
B. The second truth is that Jesus was dead and buried.
Today – no one denies that Christ was crucified and buried.
- This is a fact of history.
- Some people say that Christ was really dead when he was placed in the tomb.
- Others say he “fainted” while on the cross and was revived by the cold and dampness in the tomb.
- They would have us believe that Jesus –
- Who was nailed to the cross for 6 hours
- Who had a spear thrust in His side to puncture His heart
- Who was taken down from the cross –
- Who was bound in grave clothes with several hundred pounds of spices,
- Who was placed in a sealed tomb with a huge stone and guarded by Roman military,
- Who remove His grave garments – move the stone evaded a team of soldiers –
- Who went to a room where the disciples were meeting and pronounced Himself – “Alive”
No – Jesus was dead when they buried Him in the tomb!
- The Bible teaches that when He was buried – our sins were buried with Him – (Rom 6)
- When He came out of the tomb – He left His burial clothes and our sins behind!
- This truth tells me that I shall live eternally –
- Praise God my sins are forgiven and gone!
- The fact that Christ was dead and buried is the gospel truth.
C. The Third important truth of the Gospel is that Christ arose again on the 3rd day – according to the Scriptures.
W/ only Christ’s death and burial – we have NO Gospel message!
- 3 days after Jesus’ disciples placed Him in the tomb –
- He was ALIVE!
- Today – He is still ALIVE! –
- He still LIVES!
- He still is touching hearts of humanity!
- His resurrection united with His death and burial – gives us a POWERFUL Gospel message!
The GOOD NEWS FROM THE TOMB is that Resurrection of Jesus – paid the penalty for our sins … and …
II. Gospel Transformation (Vs 1 and 2)
The GOOD NEWS FROM THE TOMB is about a Transformation that takes places.
The first 2 verse of chapter 15 – remind the Corinthian believers of the the Gospel truth had done in their lives.
- The historical account of the resurrection is not just written on the dusty scrolls of Scripture or on the dusty pages of history.
- The gospel truth has a life transforming power!
(Vs 1) – The word “received” describes for us how a person is saved.
- The Bible says that we become Christians when we “receive” this gospel – “believe it in our hearts!”
Paul then offers a word of caution – (Vs 2) –
- The word “vain” refers to a belief which does not produce a “change in our lives.”
- The Bible teaches that when we receive this gospel – is changes our lives.
- We become a different person.
We must ask ourselves a couple of questions:
- “Have I believed in Jesus Christ AND is my life different than before?”
- “Does my conduct give testimony to the truth that my life has been powerfully transformed by Christ’s power?”
I love the word “saved” – some people in Christina circles – today are offended by the word – “saved” –
- I have never been offended by it – because each one of us belong in one of two categories.
- We are either saved or lost.
- It is not enough to believe Jesus w/ our heads – Romans 10:9 say …
The gospel of Jesus – has a transforming power.
- Jesus does the transforming – we do not do it for ourselves –
- Many people say – “I am going to live a better life – and turn over a new leaf.” –
- Problem is that when they “turn over a few new leaves” they make the discovery that every leaf is stained with sin!
- We are born with a sinful nature – and only then can they realize that Jesus Christ – can come into their lives with transforming power – to give new direction – purpose and meaning to their lives!
THE GOOD NEWS FROM THE TOMB IS:
· Christ paid the penalty of our sins … and
· He brings a Transforming Power into our Lives … and …
· THE GOOD NEWS FROM THE TOMB is that there were WITNESSES OF THE RESURRECTION.
III. Proofs of the Resurrection
Paul now sets forth a series of proofs of the resurrection He gives us historical evidences that have never been successfully disproved.
- The evidence for Christ’s resurrection stood then – stands now and will stand in the future.
- 4 Times in verse 5 – 8 Paul repeats these words “He was seen” the resurrection appearances of Jesus fall into 2 categories: Public and private.
A. Public Appearances
In Vs. 5 & 7 Paul writes that the 12 Apostles saw Christ.
They didn’t expect to see Him – when they stumbled down Calvary’s hill and locked themselves in a room – they were filled with anxiety – fear and worry – if the next knock at the door would be the Roman officials to crucify them as well.
- Yet through – locked doors – Jesus spoke to them – (Luke 24:36) –
- Christ also spoke to them on a fishing trip and joined them for breakfast (John 21: 3 – 14)
- Not long after meeting with them – He appeared to 500 people at one time – in Galilee.
- Paul tells the Corinthians believers that most of the 500 are still alive today. (Vs 6)
- Some might say that the appearance of Jesus was “hallucinations” – that might be true IF he only appeared to a FEW individuals – but for 500 people to all have the SAME hallucination at the same time and have all the details correct – NEXT TO Impossible!
B. Private Appearances
Christ appeared privately to Peter – who denied Him 3 times
- – After Jesus arose – the angel told 3 women to: “Go tell His disciples AND PETER”
- Somewhere in private – Jesus came and made Himself known to His “doubting – denying disciple”
- Then next we see Peter – who once was afraid of a servant girl –
- Standing up before the hostile crowd – that had crucified Christ – and preached in resurrection power and 3000 souls were saved in one day!
Christ appeared to James –
- (Half brother) who “did not believe that He (Jesus) was the Son of God.
- Vs 7 – Paul writes … then later in Acts 12 we read that James became a great prayer warrior and pillar in the Church.
THE GOOD NEWS FROM THE TOMB IS:
· Christ paid the penalty of our sins … and …
· He brings a Transforming Power into our Lives … and …
· That it was witnessed by many … and …
· THE GOOD NEWS FROM THE TOMB is that there is POWER in the RESSURECTION!
IV. Power of the Resurrection
Paul in his own testimony of his conversion to Jesus Christ is one of the greatest “proofs” of the resurrection.
How else can we explain that Paul –
- An enemy of the Cross of Christ –
- An enemy of the Christian Church –
- Was suddenly and powerfully changed one afternoon on along the roadside.
- The only explanation is that the Power of the Resurrection that brought a change in his life.
- Resurrection produces a 3 – fold response in our lives.
A. It produces LIFE –
The resurrection is the power to produce life.
- Vs. 8
- Paul was saying that he was “dead” – when Christ appeared to him.
- No doubt that Paul was shocked when Jesus told Paul who He was …
- Every fiber of Paul’s being – began to pulsate with the Power of the resurrection!
B. It produces HUMILITY –
- Paul – had been arrogant – and full of pride
- He was proud of “his” accomplishments in life:
- His Race –
- His Education –
- His Religion –
- His Family Linage –
- His Persecution of the church
BUT after being confronted with the Power of the resurrection – he writes …
- Vs 9
- Jesus breaks down our – prideful – arrogant spirit and God puts humility in our lives.
C. It produces LOVE OF LABORING –
- Notice Vs 10 …
- We cannot have any comprehension of God’s grace in our lives
- UNLESS His resurrection power causes us to constantly love to labor or work for the Lord!
Is the Resurrection Real to Us?
Are we different because we have met Christ?
Have we received the Resurrection Gospel?