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The Significance of the Resurrection

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The Importance of the Resurrection

1 Cor. 15:12-19

I.                     Intro

a.        Every Easter you can expect to read scores of news Magazines on the Issue of religion

                                                               i.      Newsweek- “Is God Real?”

“Later when Blaise Pascal tried to get it all down on paper, he wrote in bursts, capturing flashes of what he thought he had seen in a vision- a vision that, by empirical standards, could only be fantastical.  There was no doubt in Pascal’s mind, though, that it happened, and happened in time and space, in a way his mathematically trained brain conceived of things as happening.  Pascal remembered the exact time- between the hours of half past 10 and half past midnight on Monday, Nov. 23, 1654, the feast day in the Christian calendar.  Jesus appeared to him, God was real, the Christian story true, “Certainty, certainty, heartfelt joy, peace.  God of Jesus Christ. My God and your God.”  In a collection of writings found after his death, published as Pensees, Pascal blended his two passions, mathematics and faith, to lay out what has come to be known as Pascal’s Wager.  It is simple: it is smarter to bet that God exists, and to believe in Him, because if it turns out that He is real, you win everything; if He is not, you lose nothing.  So why take the leap of faith?

                                                             ii.      This is the logic of rationalism, the post modern thinking that pervades our society today

                                                            iii.      We can even outthink ourselves and God to get everything

1.       We have come to salvation as like a calculated poker player, playing the odds

a.       The reality of one’s faith is not placed upon odds, nor on personal encounters with God

b.       They come through His Word- Paul stated, “I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of salvation.”

b.       Man cannot come to terms with God in humility and repentance of one’s sins so he has to think up of a new game and make up his own rules

                                                               i.      It is tragic what consequences one come to without God

c.        Bertrand Russell- British philosopher and mathematician, millions look to him as the prophet of creative and rational life

                                                               i.      A Free Man’s Worship  “All the labor of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system… the whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins.  Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

d.       Will Durant- American philosopher and historian, authored the History of Philosophy

                                                               i.      Life has become, in that total perspective which is philosophy, a fitful pollution of human insects on the earth, a planetary eczema that may soon be cured; nothing is certain in it but defeat and death.”

1.       Now contrast to these words,

a.       "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.  I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.  – John 5:24-25

2.       How can we trust Him?  How can we trust the word of God to be true?  What causes us to place all our eggs into this basket called Christianity?

3.       Simply, it is the Resurrection

a.       Why is the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ essential to the Christina faith

Reading the Passage

Opening Prayer

II.                  Theological Importance, 12-15

a.        If one is familiar with 1 Corinthians, it is a church commentary by Paul, explaining many issues such as splits and divisions in the church, how to deal with sexual immorality in the church, marriage issues, Christian liberty, spiritual gifts, the true meaning of love, church ecclessiology and of course theology

                                                               i.      Often you will read harshness in the rebuking efforts of Paul to this church

1.       This is one messed up church and the core of their problem, conforming to this world as he warned the Roman church not to do

a.        Many of the problems this church was encountering was because they were incorporating worldly views into church doctrine

                                                                                                                                       i.      Inviting the world into the church

                                                                                                                                      ii.      You look at every church that is failing in teaching and preaching the gospel, it comes to this one issue

1.       The church must be the light of the world, there must be a deep and distinct line between the world and the church

                                                              ii.      Some would say that is exclusive and goes against the heart of the inviting heart of Jesus Christ

1.       On the contrary- the church is open to anyone who comes

a.        In fact the world would only be interested in a church that is truly transformed- that would be refreshing

                                                                                                                                       i.      Who would want to come to a church where what is offered can be gained in the world?

1.       If it moralism, you can find that in a book, if you want spiritualism you can join a yoga class

2.       Why come to church, to be with people who try to drive through a dark world with only a cigarette lighter

3.       People would only be attracted to someone who can offer them a floodlight to navigate through this darken world

b.       Once you give your life to Christ, He is now your Lord

c.        That’s what Friday was all about

                                                                                                                                       i.      If you know you are a lost sinner and recognize that Jesus died for your sins- confessing w/ your mouth Jesus is Lord and believing in your heart God raised Him from the dead- you are saved

                                                                                                                                      ii.      w/ that miracle comes a miracle transformation in one’s life

1.       do not believe for one moment that God will change your nature but not touch your character

2.       that is the problem of this church, they let the flood gates wide open

a.        you could no longer tell the believer from the unbeliever

b.       what drives one’s attitudes, what drives one’s actions- it is doctrine

b.       V. 12  First and obvious consequence of there being no resurrection is that “not even Christ has been raised”

                                                               i.      If the dead cannot rise, neither can Christ

1.       Christians believe in the resurrection, otherwise we would not be believers

2.       The affirmation of this reality is a double edged sword argument

a.       If Christ has raised, bodily resurrection is possible

b.       If men cannot be raised, than Christ cannot be raised

                                                              ii.      The disbelieving Corinthians got around this small issue

1.       Stating that Jesus was not a man, he was not fully man, Paul comes to the question in v.12, How can this be?

a.        Where did they get this idea?  From the world

                                                                                                                                       i.      It was Plato that introduced a concept of “dualism”

1.       Considered everything spiritual to be intrinsically good and everything physical to be intrinsically evil

                                                                                                                                      ii.      There came the rise of the 1st Century heresy called Gnosticism- Jesus was not man

1.       To say He was flesh is to say He was evil

a.        The church is still dealing with remnants of this heresy in the Gospel of Thomas, Judas, even Mary Magdalene

b.       Spurned off into this slew of fictional works like the DaVinci Code

                                                            iii.       Jesus couldn’t possibly be human- he only appeared to be human

1.       That his appearance on the cross was an illusion and so was His ascension

                                                            iv.      Totally contradicts the Canonical Gospels

1.       Jesus was human, He was a man

2.       Jesus was born of a human mother, had a human birth, he drank, ate, slept, became weary, was crucified, stabbed, he bled and he died

3.       He appeared to the twelve after His resurrection

a.        Made a point to have the disciples touch Him to prove he was more than spirit which “does not have flesh and bones as you see I have”

b.       He asked for something to eat, “took it and ate it before them”  - Luke 24:39-43

4.       Testimonies of the Apostles

a.        Peter’s Testimony

                                                                                                                                       i.      “Jesus, a man attested to you by God… This man delivered up by the predetermined plan of God, you nailed to the cross.”  - Acts 2:22-23

b.       Paul’s Testimony

                                                                                                                                       i.      “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”  - 1 Timothy 2:5

c.        John’s Testimony

                                                                                                                                       i.      “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”  - 2 John 1:7

                                                              v.      Corinthians could not fall to the pagan understanding that Jesus was only illusionary to them as a man and not fully man.  He was a man, in full flesh, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

1.       Why am I going on with this- Christians are being criticized for being brainwashed- living in fairy tale, we need to know the facts and recognize the deception and lies spun by demons coming as angels of light

a.        If you do not believe Jesus to be 100% man and 100% God, you cannot be saved, it is not peripheral issue, it is an essential issue to salvation

c.       Second Consequence, Preaching the Gospel and Our Faith Meaningless, v. 14

                                                               i.      The heart of the Gospel message is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ

1.       Why is the resurrection so important to the Gospel?

a.        It affirms Jesus to be who He said He was, the Christ

                                                                                                                                       i.      We know Jesus died on the Cross for our sins,

1.       All our sins, eternity past, present and future were nailed to the cross

                                                                                                                                     ii.      There are no sins that are beyond the boundaries of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross- praise be to God!!!

1.       But our hope of all of this being true is affirmed with His bodily resurrection

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Because God raised him on the third day, He is who He said He was, Jesus is the Son of God and that feat of dying on the cross did what he said would be done

b.       Secondly,It also demonstrated His victory over death, sin and hell and they shall never be conquerors for the life of a believer

                                                              ii.      w/o the resurrection, the good news would be mediocre news

1.       what more hope would Christianity offer than say Buddhism, Confuscism, Sikhism

a.         Jesus was a good man, very wise, listen to him

b.       Or Hinduism or Islam

c.        They all offer good men, great teachers, but they all died

                                                                                                                                       i.      Jesus lives!!!

1.       A dead man cannot offer life

                                                                                                                                      ii.      But it is only Christianity that offers a solution to the moral dilemma of sin, only God offers grace and salvation through Jesus Christ

                                                                                                                                    iii.      It is affirmed in the resurrection

d.      Third Consequence, All Witnesses of the Resurrection Would Be Liars, v.15

                                                               i.      If there was no resurrection, everyone who testified to the witnessing of the risen Christ and all those who preached such a message would be liars

1.       To deny the resurrection is not to imply or to say they had good intentions, or innocently mistakened, it is to boldly call them liars

a.       And if they did lie about the resurrection, how can they be believed about anything else, especially the inspired scriptures?

                                                              ii.       

                                                            iii.      Question would be what would be their motive?

1.       As the Pharisees had accused them of stealing the body of Jesus, the resurrection was a fabrication to carry on the deception

2.       To carry on a lie?  To save face?  For selfish gains?

a.        But their ends does not justify such accusations placed upon them

b.       For everyone of the original twelve except John was martyred

                                                                                                                                       i.      Peter crucified upside down

                                                                                                                                      ii.      Andrew crucified in Achaia

                                                                                                                                    iii.      James was beheaded

                                                                                                                                    iv.      Philip executed in Turkey

                                                                                                                                      v.      Bartholomew was flayed, skinned alive and then beheaded in south eastern Russia

                                                                                                                                    vi.      Thomas was speared to death in India

                                                                                                                                   vii.      Thaddeus killed in Persia

                                                                                                                                 viii.      Simon killed alongside Thaddeus

                                                                                                                                    ix.      James the Less killed in Egypt

                                                                                                                                      x.      Matthias killed in Ethiopia

                                                                                                                                    xi.      Paul executed by the Emperor Nero

1.       John boiled in oil and exiled to Patmos

a.        All preaching a lie

c.        Self sacrifice is not a virtue of charlatans

                                                                                                                                       i.      People die for the truth, no one dies for a lie

                                                            iv.      If there was no bodily resurrection, not only are the apostles liars but Jesus Himself would have been a liar

1.       If so He would have disqualified himself from being the perfect, unblemish lamb, the only sufficient sacrifice to take away the sins of the world

III.                Personal Consequences

a.        How does it directly impact the believer

b.      All Men Would Still be in Their Sins, v.16

                                                               i.      Not only is our faith worthless, but we must face the reality that we are still in our sins and we will die in our sins

1.       This argument does not disqualify the existence of God, it just disqualifies the legitimacy of Jesus as our Christ, our Messiah

2.       In other words, we would be in the same boat as say the Muslims

                                                              ii.      We believe in the same God, according to the Muslims, Hebrews call God, Eli, Aramaic, Eloi, Arabic, Allah

1.       Semitic languages

2.       You must understand that Muslims descend from Ishamel, Abraham’s illegimate son

a.        As the seed of Christ, our Messiah, flows from the line of Isaac

b.       To the Muslims, there is no Christ

                                                                                                                                       i.      You can read so many wonderful books about the Islamic faith written by ex-Muslims, why did they come to faith?

                                                                                                                                     ii.      GRACE- it is a concept so foreign to them

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Allah is an impersonal God, all they are driven by as all false religions is self merit- do these things and gain favor with Allah

3.       Whenever you speak of grace and redemption you will gather a crowd of Muslims

a.       You can be the most perfect Muslim- there is no assurance of their salvation

                                                                                                                                       i.      No resurrection, no salvation

c.       All Former Believers Would Have Perished, v.18

                                                               i.      If no bodily resurrection-

1.       Every saint, every believer, every OT Testament, NT believer would be in hell today

a.        Every church father, Origin, Ignateus, Polycarp

b.       Theologian, John Calvin, Augustin, Martin Luther

c.        Preaching giants, Edwards, Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon

                                                                                                                                       i.      All spending eternity in torment

                                                                                                                                      ii.      Their faith in vain, their sins not forgiven, their destiny solidified in damnation

d.      Christians Would Be the Most Pitiable People on earth, v.19

                                                               i.      No resurrection, and the salvation it brings, the blessing that are tied, Christianity would be pointless and pathetic

1.       No salvation, no grace, no blessing, no peace, no joy, no love, no hope

a.        We would be like the world, we live today, we die tomorrow, end of story

                                                              ii.      Story of a teacher assigned to a children’s hospital

1.       She stammered, “I am the hospital teacher and I was sent by your teacher to learn about verbs and adverbs”

a.        What did you do?  Before she could muster up a plethora of excuses, the nurse said for the first time he is fighting

b.       Boy later explained he had completely given up all hope until he saw that teacher and a simple reality dawn on him- he said with joy in his voice and tears in his eyes, “they wouldn’t send a teacher to teach a dying boy about verbs and adverbs would they?”

2.       God sent His Son, not for us to die but to live

a.        We can believe this because we know Jesus was raised from the grave

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