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The Importance of the Resurrection-1 Cor. 15_12-19

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The Importance of the Resurrection

1 Cor. 15:12-19

Introduction

On Easter Sunday little Johnny listened as his Sunday school teacher told the class that the lesson would be about the meaning of Easter. “Can anyone tell the Easter story?” she asked. When no one volunteered to speak, she called on Frank. “Umm, I don't think I know,” Frank said. The teacher reassured him that was okay and moved on to Betty. “I don't know how to tell it,” she responded. Finally, little Johnny decided to raise his hand. He said he would tell the Easter story. The teacher was pleasantly surprised at his willingness, since he was usually the class clown. “On Easter,” said Johnny, “Jesus and his disciples were eating the Jewish Passover at the last supper, but later Jesus was deceived and turned over to the Romans by one of his disciples. He was accused of teaching he was the Messiah and when he confessed it, the Romans made him to wear a crown of thorns, took him to be crucified, and was hung on a cross with nails through his hands and feet. He said ‘It is finished’ which means ‘Debt paid in full’ and died. He was definitely dead because the water was separated from his blood when they stabbed his side. So they buried him in a nearby cave on Friday which was sealed off by a large boulder.” “Very good, Johnny!” the teacher gasped excitedly. “And what else happened that we celebrate on Easter?” Johnny thought for a moment before continuing. “Now, on Easter Sunday each year, we move the boulder aside so that Jesus can come out. And if he sees his shadow, then we know there will be six more weeks of winter!”

·         The thrust of 15:1-11 sets the stage for our text.

·         In these verses, Paul explains the Gospel in simple terms.

·         He validates the resurrection by providing evidence of Christ appearing before hundreds of people.

·         The doubt that Paul was trying to fight was the idea that people in general could not raised from the dead.

·         Paul argues Jesus was fully human and could only have been raised from the dead if it were possible for the resurrection of the dead to occur.

·         Today we want to take Paul’s argument and apply it to our lives by asking a simple question…

·         If Jesus did not or could not rise from the dead what effects would it have on Christianity as a faith and on those who called themselves Christians?


 

Effects upon our Beliefs. (12-16)

Jesus Christ would not have risen. (13, 16)

15:12 Now if Christ is being preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised….15:16 For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised.

·         We have seen from verses 1-11 that the essence of the preached Gospel is the resurrection of Jesus.

·         The argument being made by Paul is against those who wanted to state that Jesus only appeared as human but actually was always a spirit.

·         So essentially he did not rise from the dead because he did not have a physical form he only appeared to die.

·         Not having the time to argue it here, suffice it to say that the evidence for Christ’s humanity is clear.

·         So if the Corinthians did not want to believe is the resurrection of the dead they would have to believe that Christ was still dead.

·         The idea that Christ did not rise from the dead leads the rest of Paul’s discussion.  From the idea that Christ has to rise we see other reasons for the vital importance of the resurrection of Christ.

Sharing the Gospel is meaningless. (14a)

15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile…

·         The heart of the Gospel message, the essence of having new life and hope for the future is tied to the fact that Christ was no longer in the grave.

·         Three things were at stake with Christ’s crucifixion- sin was being atoned for, death was being defeated and hell was being conquered.

·         If Christ were not raised then sin, death and hell would still have power and influence.

·         There is no meaning or hope in the message of the gospel if God does not win.  To preach it would be offering nothing to anyone.  The Gospel offers a relief from our greatest problem and without the resurrection that problem is not solved.

1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Pet. 1:3

Faith in Christ would be worthless. (14b)

15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, … your faith is empty.

·         A dead savior is no savior at all if he could not conquer what he claimed he could and provide for those who followed him.

·         The faith we follow is one that hopes to conquer sin and death, but if the one who was to save us from these two could not do it himself we are hoping or having faith in something empty, fruitless and with no purpose.

·         If Christ did not rise than neither will we. Having faith in Christ would not provide anything and so why endeavor to be faithful.  Live life as we please for there is no hope of a better tomorrow.

I concluded, “Surely in vain I have kept my motives pure and maintained a pure lifestyle. Ps. 73:13.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christians would be promoting a lie. (15)

15:15 Also, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified against God that he raised Christ from the dead, when in reality he did not raise him, if indeed the dead are not raised.

·         If Jesus did not rise from the dead than Christianity is a lie.

·         Every one of the witnesses to his resurrection, the apostles and Paul all were lying to everyone that they shared the Gospel.

·         Not only were the y telling a lie they were living a lie.

·         The apostles and Paul believed that they were sent by God with the message of Christ’s resurrection.  If Christ was not raised than they were not sent by God and anything else they have to say cannot be trusted.

·         This does not make sense for these people were willing to be beaten, imprisoned and even killed for something that they knew was a lie-it just does not make sense.

·         Not only would the disciples be liars but Christ would be a liar as well because he claimed that he would rise again.

·         If he would lie about that than it makes sense to presume that anything he said about his claim to be God would also be a lie.

·         Our entire faith rests on Christ being God and Christ being God rests on his resurrection from the dead.

Reflections:

·         Christ’s resurrection has much more at stake for our lives than just knowing that God has power to do anything.

·         It means that every doctrine and theology that hinges upon Christ being triumphant would fail to be true.

·         The task of evangelism would have little purpose.

·         Faith in Christ would be built upon a dead man.

·         Every Christian would either be horribly deceived or a reprehensible liar.

·         All of our Christian beliefs would be a waste of our time.

Dr. Seamands tells of a Muslim who became a Christian in Africa. “Some of his friends asked him, ‘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, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one dead and one alive—which one would you ask which way to go?’“


Effects upon our personal lives. (17-19)

All people would still be in their sins. (17)

15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins.

·         If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then sin won the victory over Christ and therefore continues to be victorious over all or us.

·         If Jesus remained dead then the very task that he came to accomplish would have not been achieved for he came to conquer sin and it could only be accomplished by defeating the consequences of sin which is death.

·         If he could not defeat death than sin would remain and forgiveness of sins or a reconciled spiritual life would not be possible.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? Rom. 5:10

All deceased believers would have eternally perished. (18)

5:18 Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished.

·         Part of our salvation and every person who has died as a believer is that we look forward not only to our souls going to heaven but also the resurrection of our bodies.

·         If Christ is not raised then it is impossible for the bodies of the dead in Christ to be raised making our salvation incomplete.

·         We and all others would never have had their sins forgiven and the act upon the cross would have been incomplete because death had not been defeated.

·         Also, even those who do not die before Christ returns have little hope because the resurrection of the dead must come first.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians. 4:15 For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep.  1 Thess. 4:14-15.

Christians would be a pitiful people. (19)

 

15:19 For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone.

·         Christ’s death and resurrection on one hand gives hope for today.  If we follow Christ in this life we hope for a life guided by Jesus and protected by him.  We experience a portion of joy and contentment that does not come apart from Christ.

·         The other side of faith in Christ is the hope of eternal life and perpetual joy and contentment.  If there is no resurrection all we have to look forward to is what we now have.

·         There would also be no reason to suffer and put up with the troubles that living for God bring.

·         We would be a pitiful bunch for believing in a dead man, seeking forgiveness, preaching the gospel, trying to live an obedient life all for something that never happened.  We would be fools.

He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 1:10 but now made visible through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus. He has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel! 1:11 For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher. 1:12 Because of this, in fact, I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, because I know the one in whom my faith is set and I am convinced that he is able to protect what has been entrusted to me until that day.  1 Pet. 1:9-12.

Reflections:

·         Our lives would be significantly different without Christ rising from the dead.

·         We would continue to live in sin because it was not defeated with his resurrection.

·         Salvation would not be completed because the dead in Christ could not live again.

·         We would be pursuing a life, going through persecutions, trying to live a holy life for something that would only last until our death.

Resurrection! It happens in the dark with no witnesses, just the Father bending over the Son and breathing the Spirit back into his flesh. And everything is shattered. The Sabbath is over. It is the first day of the week, the eighth day of the week. It is the new creation, and it is just dawning. …

Resurrection sends Jesus back into the world, and it sends us back into the world, unafraid now, still seeking the crucified One who is now raised up in glory and hidden in our midst.

Conclusion

While driving to church on Easter Sunday two years ago, I told my children the Easter story. "This is the day we celebrate Jesus coming back to life," I explained. Right away, my 3-year-old son, Kevin, piped up from the back seat, "Will He be in church today?"

·         The resurrection of Christ is critical to our faith, in fact without it we have absolutely no hope.

·         Because he did not stay in the grave we have a savior who is alive. 

·         We have a savior that is always with us, ever present, forever willing to help us.

·         We can go to him for all our concerns.  He is able to sympathize with all our troubles.

·         Because Jesus rose from the dead we can know that death is only temporary, it has been defeated and faith in Christ assures us that the battle has been won, we can know without a doubt that one day we will rise as well.

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