A Season of Hope - Pt. 3
Cole Barnett Video
John - Hey friend, we are glad you are here today! I am John Winders, the lead pastor.
Andrew - And I am Andrew Wring, one of many who help with worship here at Fellowship.
John - We are grateful that you have chosen to celebrate our Risen Savior with us today!
Intro Easter Video
Today we celebrate the risen Jesus - the One who came to seek and to save those who are lost!
If you have joined us the past couple of weeks, we have tried to remind ourselves of the eternal perspective that this risen savior alone gives.
It is in Christ alone our hope is found. It truly is because of Him we can face tomorrow, but not just tomorrow, because of Christ we can face forever!
Friend, the implications of the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes everything! It changes our worldview and the way we progress through the Christian life! And as we study, apply, and live out the truths of what Christ accomplished it continually molds every facet of our lives!
Especially in times of uncertainty, we hold to the hope of the only One who is always certain - the One who is always the same, always in control, and always right - our sovereign creator.
Since the beginning of time, this Creator has been actively involved in the lives of his creation. loving, Informing, Redeeming those who are contrary to Him.
This is the story of the Gospel - that a righteous God would extend righteousness to the unrighteous through faith in the Gospel.
God has worked out his plan of saving the lost through the finished work of Jesus. And we are going to look today at the reality of faith and the hope it actuates.
Join me please if you have a bible and turn to 1 Corinthians 15.
For some, this is a familiar passage. For others, your not quite sure what a corinthian is.
That’s ok - wherever you are in your knowledge of the Bible, you aren’t quite where this 5 year old boy was…
Five-year-old Brian who had a pivotal verse to recite in an Easter program: “He is not here, he is risen” (Luke 24:6). Unfortunately, he could not remember what to say, and the director had to quietly remind him of his line. He then confidently grabbed the microphone and triumphantly shouted, “He’s not here; He’s in prison!”
Well, friend, whether you know where 1 Corinthians is or not, we will do our best today to help you where you are at.
For a little background to this passage:
It is following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus , we find a man who was very religious in Judaism named Saul. He was well known for correcting those who weren’t doing things the way Judaism said they had to be done. This Saul actually persecuted people who said they were following Jesus. As you fast forward through the storyline of Saul, he is confronted by the resurrected Jesus and in short, he converts to faith in this Jesus. Christ transforms his life and this Persecuting Saul becomes more well known as Paul. In fact, God uses this Paul to write the majority of the NT. It’s fascinating to see how all throughout the scriptures God uses the least likely to fulfill His mission. And this Paul is the one who is writing here in 1 Corinthians.
As he is writing to the followers of Jesus at Corinth, he is reminding them of their unified foundation in Christ and how Jesus is worthy of their all.
Specifically here in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul gives us hope from the reality of Christ’s victory.
Look with me if you would to at the first 11 verses there in 1 corinthians 15:
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After 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. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Here we see the Reality of Christ’s Resurrection:
Paul says in vv. 1-2
That the message he has declared to them is the message they received, the message they continued to stand in, and the message they were saved by. This message of the gospel is their message of hope.
We see that this message of what Christ did was a personal message. The readers embraced it, and in v. 3 Paul says that it’s the same message that he received too.
The reality of the Gospel is a personal reality. This truth that we are celebrating today is not a thought for organizations or for other people, the reality of what Paul is talking about transformed his life, the life of his readers, and personally friend, it has transformed my life too!
Friend, I am not sitting here today because I have something great to give - I am simply a recipient of something great and I want you to know about it. I want you to know about Him!
Paul tells us about this personal reality of Christ has done in vv. 3-4
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
This is the simplest form you ever find on what the Gospel is. The good news of Jesus, Paul says is the reality that Christ died for our sins, he was buried, and he rose again - and all of this is according to the Scriptures.
You see, Paul is reminding us that all that Christ accomplished is the fulfillment of OT prophecy. The continuity of God’s plan is not a novel thought of Paul’s day, it was foretold of hundreds of years before in the Scriptures.
And so this personal reality of what Christ had done in Paul’s life, was all according to the plans of God. Plans that highlight that God is in control in all places at all times.
Now, Paul goes on from these personal realities of the resurrection to give us some practical realities of the resurrection. He speaks of eye-witnesses.
He says in the next several verses those who Christ came to in his resurrected body:
v. 5 - Cephas (Peter) and the twelve (disciples - including Judas’ replacement Matthias)
v. 6 - five hundred at once (some were still living, and some were not)
v. 7 - James his brother and other apostles
vv. 8-9 - Paul
Born at the wrong time - much later than the other apostles
least of the apostles, unworthy - because he persecuted the church
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Although Paul knew he was unworthy of the reality of the resurrection, he was knew he was who he was and that God’s grace was the only difference between who he WAS and who he IS at that moment.
And so we see the personal and practical realities of the resurrection of Jesus.
In short, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ had transformed Paul. God’s grace was molding him and changing him from what he was, and so it was also true of the Corinthians who were reading this letter. Christ made a personal impact in their lives and a practical impact in those eye-witnesses of his resurrection.
If you have more questions about this personal and practical realities of the resurrection, and your willing to search it out, I’d challenge you to read “A Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel.
In these first 11 verses we see the Reality of the Resurrection, and in vv. 12-19 we see the Requirement for the Resurrection.
There were obviously some within that region who were downplaying even discounting the need for a resurrected Christ, and Paul responds in vv. 12-19 with
12 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? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 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. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
There were some who were saying there is no hope of life after this life, and Paul refutes that idea.
An article by TableTalk Magazine reads: “It is important to note that we can have hope in our suffering only if there is an afterlife—a place where all that is wrong with this world will be set right. Much of the suffering that we endure is unjust. People slander us, besmirching our good names without just cause. Others are jealous of us and thus act with hatred toward us. In this world, the righteous do not always win. Often, the wicked prosper (Ps. 73:3). If our suffering is to have any meaning and purpose, this cannot last forever. Without a Judge to perfectly dispense rewards for righteousness and punishments for evil, suffering for righteousness’ sake is in vain. There is no transcendent good or evil. Everything is permissible because no one will ever be held finally to account.Thankfully, the Apostle Paul gives us evidence for both the afterlife and that God will judge the world in righteousness. 1 Corinthians 15 lays out an argument that shows how the resurrection of Jesus confirms that there will be a final resurrection of the dead and that the Lord will judge the world in perfect righteousness. Everything hangs on Jesus’ being raised from the dead. It is not that there might be another viable contender for the one true God if Jesus has not been raised. No, if Jesus has not been resurrected, there is no divine Judge and no divine judgment.
Yet, it is certain that Christ has been raised from the dead. The Old Testament points to Him, and the witnesses to His rising from the dead testify to the veracity of His resurrection (vv. 3–8).
Not only would there be no hope after this life, but as Paul puts it, if Christ isn’t risen then we are the most miserable of all God’s Creation because we are still in our sin!
And if we are still in sin - our preaching and our faith is worthless.
If we are still in our sin - the dead have no eternity
If we are still in our sin - then hope in this life is a lie and deserves pity.
But friend, none of that is true. Christ is risen! And Paul gives us the reality and requirement of that resurrection. The resurrected King Jesus has transformed Paul’s life, the life of these Corinthian believers, the eye-witnesses who had seen Him - and anything other than a resurrected Christ dismisses the point and purpose of continual existence.
Paul further explains that reality of sin in the next few verses as He addresses not only the reality and requirement of the resurrection but the result.
Look with me at 1 cor 15:20-22
20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
Here we find the result of this resurrection - which is life!
You see, Christ rising from the dead fulfills OT prophecy of God’s plans foretold all along. And His resurrection is the firstfruits (meaning the first element in a countable series) of those who have died. Christ was the first to be raised to never die again. He is the forerunner for those who believe in him, the proof of their eventual resurrection to eternal life.
And Paul then reminds us why we need this resurrection life.
The Scriptures teach us why death is here to begin with, and it starts in Genesis where Adam and Eve take God’s command and they filter it with their own thoughts. And the result is sin.
We learn in Romans 5:12
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
The sin nature of Adam has passed from generation to generation. And the curse of that fall is present too. And the death that comes naturally to us, through Adam, is only overcome by the supernatural life of the resurrected Jesus.
You see friend, on your own, you are in your sin. And our sin results in one thing - death. This death is not only eventually temporal death - ceasing to exist here on earth, but it is also eternal death - eternally separated from God in Hell.
But Paul presents to us the answer to what we deserve. And it is the Grace of God found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Today we celebrate the risen Savior!
Can I ask you today, Have you experienced the transformation of the Gospel through personal faith in Jesus? Have you ever responded to the knowledge of Christ’s death and resurrection with faith, repenting of your sin and trusting in the perfection of Jesus? If not, why don’t you do that today. You can do that where you are at today, by simply praying, confessing to God that you are a sinner in need of Jesus to be your savior. Friend turning to Jesus today, and making the reality of the resurrection personal, is the greatest decision you can make.
Paul is clear - Christ arose. It is real, it is required, and the result is life!
In a season of uncertainty. In a season of remembering how frail we are, in Jesus we have all hope!
Transition to Bobby