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The Gospel of the Resurrection

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The most revolutionary fact in history; the most frequently shared message by the Early Christian Church; the most transformative event in the lives of believers, and the one truth for which everyone of the original disciples were willing to die, is the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

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TEXT: I Corinthians 15:1-4

TOPIC: THE GOSPEL OF THE RESURRECTION

Pastor Bobby Earls, Northgate Baptist Church, Florence, South Carolina
Preached online for Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020
One of my favorite passages concerning the resurrection is found in John’s Gospel, chapter 11:25, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" John 11:25
Lee Strobel in his book, THE CASE FOR CHRIST, said "Every single shred of evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is also evidence for my eventual resurrection."
Hank Hanegraaff said, "You see, without the resurrection there is no hope. Indeed, without the resurrection, there is no Christianity."
Josh McDowell, a Christian apologist, said, "After more than 700 hours of studying this subject and thoroughly investigating its foundation, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted upon the minds of men, OR it is the most fantastic fact of history."
The resurrection is not merely important to the historic Christian faith; without it, there would be no Christianity. It is the singular, most important doctrine that elevates Christianity above all other world religions.
D. James Kennedy said, "The evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ has been examined more carefully than the evidence for any other fact in history."
The gospel of Easter message is simply this, "Jesus is alive!" In the early church, as in many churches today, believers greeted one another on Easter Day by saying, "Christ is risen," to which the others would respond, "He is risen, indeed."
Do you realize that apart from the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have no gospel, no good news to share with anyone? As the Apostle Paul preached to the Corinthian Church, “if Christ be not risen from the dead, then we are still in our sins and are of all men most miserable.”
Listen to me: the most revolutionary fact in history; the most frequently shared message by the Early Christian Church; the most transformative event in the lives of believers, and the one truth for which everyone of the original disciples were willing to die, is the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
I hope you have your Bible. If so please look with me at the great resurrection chapter of the New Testament, I Corinthians 15.
1Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
We have never had an Easter Sunday quite like this one. Not since the very first Resurrection Sunday have Christians around the world been forced to remain secluded in their homes on Easter Sunday. I want to share with you a very special Easter Message today that I am calling simply, the Gospel of the Resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15 begins with a revelation; the revelation of the resurrection.

I. THE REVELATION OF THE RESURRECTION, 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
Paul REVEALS several truths:

First, there is a Message to be Proclaimed.

"the gospel which I preached to you" - means to preach the gospel; middle voice, emphasizing the subject's participation in the action. In this way Paul stressed his own participation in the gospel he had preached.
In 1 Cor. 15:5-8 the Bible records that many saw Jesus alive after His death on the cross.
5and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Three that are mentioned by name are:
PETER - a fisherman changed by Jesus that became a mighty preacher of the Cross.
1 Peter 3:18, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit."
PAUL - himself a persecutor of Jesus' followers that now is used to write most of the New Testament books. Later, he dies for what he preaches.
Romans 4:25, Paul preached that Jesus was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
JAMES - Jesus' half-brother.
Before this appearance, James was embarrassed to admit that Jesus was his brother. But after resurrection, James was willing to die for Jesus. As the Jewish historian Josephus reports, "James was stoned to death illegally by the Sanhedrin sometime after A.D. 60 for his faith in Christ."
QUESTION: "What would it take for a person to die willingly for the belief that one of his family members is God?"
ANSWER: "In the case of James, the only reasonable explanation is that Jesus appeared to him alive from the dead."

Second, there is a Message to be Received.

"which also you received" – Today we need church members whose lives are INVOLVED WITH JESUS as opposed to our lives being REVOLVED AROUND JESUS. I am praying God will use this Global pandemic as a time to reclaim many believers back to their rightful place with Christ. A life that is fully surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ! I am also praying that countless others will choose for the very first time to place their faith in Christ for their salvation!
John 1:11-12, "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name."
John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
In THE TRIAL OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST,
Jeffrey L. Pombert quotes Corrie ten Boom
"When I was 5 years old, I learned to read; I loved stories, particularly those about Jesus. He was a member of the ten Boom family. It was just as easy to talk to Him as it was to carry on a conversation with my mother and father, my aunts, or my brother and sisters. He was there.
One day my mother was watching me play house. In my little girl world of fantasy, she saw that I was pretending to call on a neighbor. I knocked on the make-believe door and waited...no one answered.
'Corrie, I know Someone who is standing at your door and knocking right now.' Was she playing a game with me? I know now that there was a preparation within my childish heart for that moment; the Holy Spirit makes us ready for acceptance of Jesus Christ, of turning our life over to Him. 'Jesus said that He is standing at the door, and if you invite Him in He will come into your heart,' my mother continued. 'Would you like to invite Jesus in?'
At that moment my mother was the most beautiful person in the whole world to me.
'Yes, Mama, I want Jesus in my heart.' So she took my little hand in hers and we prayed together. It was so simple, and yet Jesus Christ says that we all must come as children, no matter what our age, social standing, or intellectual background."

Third, there is a Message to be Cherished.

"and in which you stand" - speaks of an action accomplished in the past, the consequences of which continue infinitely into the future. This truth emphasizes the permanency of the salvation bestowed upon us by the Lord.
We began with a declaration about the Gospel of the Resurrection. Paul said, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand.
But then in verse 2 he continues with an Admonition.
1 Corinthians 15:2, "by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain."
A POSITIVE WORD
"by which also you are saved" - delivered from sin's power and condemnation.
Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death."
A POSSIBILITY
"unless you believed in vain" - a warning against a non-saving faith. Some of the Corinthians apparently had intellectually and or outwardly acknowledged Jesus' lordship, they confessed Him as savior, and believed His resurrection, but they had not trusted in Him or committed themselves to Him.
Now listen to me, I’m going to tell you something very important.
Obedience and continuous faithfulness mark the saved.
The surest reality that you are really saved or that you are a true Christian is a changed life. No one every truly came to Christ that He did not truly transform their lives. Knowing Christ as your savior means more than attending church twice a year! Do you believe in the resurrected Christ that transforms or have you believed in vain and your life is still empty and unfulfilled?
T/S—In this Gospel of the Resurrection, we saw first the Revelation of the Resurrection, but notice secondly, and this is my final point in this message today; the Proclamation of the Resurrection.

II. THE PROCLAMATION OF THE RESURRECTION 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

3For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
The Proclamation of the Resurrection,

A. DEMONSTRATED THAT CHRIST'S DEATH WAS NECESSITATED

BECAUSE OF:
1. SINS OF THE WORLD
2. SATISFACTION OF THE JUST DEMANDS OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD
The Proclamation of the Resurrection,

B. DEMONSTRATED THAT CHRIST'S RESURRECTION WAS AUTHENTICATED.

1 Corinthians 15 was written approximately 25 years after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. So impressive was this supporting evidence that it affected everyone who heard it. They could not remain the same.
They believed it. They heeded it. They lived it and they revealed it!
As we celebrate the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in our own lives, may I ask again, “What impact has the Gospel of the Resurrection made in your life?”
Are you a different person since the day you invited Jesus in your heart, like little Corrie Ten Boom?
Do you have hope that looks beyond this world to eternity? Does the resurrected spirit of Christ living in you calm your fears of the Coronavirus and give you confidence that the One the grave couldn’t hold is in control of your life?
That is the message of the Gospel of the Resurrection.
Would you pray with me?
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