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NEHCC Sermon - 3-23-08 - Easter Christ is Risen

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NORTHEAST HOUSTON COMMUNITY CHURCH

Sermon – Christ is Risen

Scripture –     1 Cor 15:12-21

3-23-08

1 Cor 15:12-21            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. 20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. NKJV

The death burial and resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our faith. If any part of these three is false, then like a house of cards, the whole Gospel message is false. Besides our belief that Jesus was who He said He was, the Son of God, these three are the pillars on which our faith in this Jesus stands.

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DEATH

The first pillar deals with the death of Jesus.

Some have said that Jesus did not really die but fell into some sort of swoon of unconsciousness.

The gospels describe Jesus being nailed to the cross. Roman soldiers could hasten death of crucifixion victims by breaking the legs below the knees. This technique was described for the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus. To make sure Jesus was dead; the soldiers took a spear and pierced His side. It seems likely most Roman soldiers were taught to thrust a spear through the right side of the chest through the lungs and heart - a fatal wound. 

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The idea that Jesus just swooned on the cross and didn't die is medically impossible. Death by crucifixion occurred through exhaustion asphyxia - the victim eventually suffocated. The position of the body on the cross left the chest muscles used for breathing in a permanent inhalation position. In order to exhale, the victim would have to actively push his body up against the nails holding his feet to the cross. If Jesus had passed out on the cross, He would have died within 10 minutes by suffocation. The idea that He had just swooned is unrealistic. According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association:      "Accordingly, interpretations based on the assumption that Jesus did not die on the cross appear to be at odds with modern medical knowledge.

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The Romans had perfected the act of crucifixion. The soldiers for fear of severe punishment were responsible for completing the gruesome task. The soldiers performing the execution had a large stake in being sure the victim was dead. Why? If they made a mistake, they paid with their life. The penalty for letting a prisoner escape was the soldier paying the penalty ascribed to the prisoner. For a person condemned to death, the punishment for the soldier would also be death. You can be sure the soldiers were confident Jesus was dead.

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They Crucified people all over their empire. You may remember that over 3,000 that rebelled with Spartacus were crucified along the road side. They did not except the word of one soldier that Jesus was dead for another soldier pierced Jesus in the side and blood and water came out.

John 19:32-34 2 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. NKJV

This alone is not enough for the skeptic to be convinced that Jesus was the Son of God, for death by crucifixion was a common occurrence.

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Burial

Some of the same skeptics that say that Jesus went into some sort of swoon also say that instead of burying Jesus that He was taken away to be revived.

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Recently there was a program on TV that included a professor John Dominic Crossan “The search for Jesus” hosted by Peter Jennings. John said that he believed that Jesus was either left on the cross to be picked by the birds or taken down and thrown to the side to be eaten by dogs. It is understandable that if there were three bodies that were crucified by the government that it was the government’s responsibility to dispose of the bodies by whatever method they chose. If in fact the Romans threw bodies to be eaten then it makes sense that they would also not object to a prominent man like Joseph of Arimathea to be given the body of my Lord, as the scripture says. Pilate had already acquiesced to the hastening of their death by the Jews.

John 19:38-41 38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. NKJV

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Did you see that little tidbit in the passage? Nicodemus also took part in the burial of Christ. We have here two (2) initial witness that Jesus is being buried. The scriptures say that there needs to be at least two witnesses for a matter to be established. But wait there were more.   

Matt 27:61       And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. NKJV

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We have at least two more so the total is now 4 people that are witness to the burial of Jesus. These people loved Jesus enough to stay on the scene while He was crucified and then petition Pilate for the body. It does not make sense that they would then bury Jesus if He were not dead.

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But even if all this is true, and I believe it is, that would not make Jesus any more different than any other man including the two thieves crucified beside Him.

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We now come to the third pillar – Resurrection from the dead.

Resurrection – to be risen from the dead.

Do you honestly believe that there is life after we die? Don’t answer too fast but think about it. Do you really believe that when you die to this present life that you will rise again in new life? Recent surveys show that the percentage of people in America who admit to having had ESP, extraterrestrial, life-after-life, out-of-body or reincarnation experiences has shot up from 40 percent ten years ago to about 75 percent today. Think of that: three out of four Americans professing to have had super phenomenal experiences,

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Resurrection is not to be confused with reincarnation.

Definition - Reincarnation - The state of being reincarnated b: rebirth in new bodies or forms of life; especially : a rebirth of a soul in a new human body 2: a fresh embodiment

Our bible does not teach reincarnation. It is eluded to in the scriptures.

Luke 9:7-9 7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him; and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. NKJV

In these examples the person is thought to have come back in the form of another, not as their previous self.

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    Jesus touched on this but not to be confused with reincarnation.

Mark 9:13       13 But I say to you that Elijah has also come, and they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him." NKJV   

Jesus was teaching them that John the Baptist had come in the spirit of Elijah to fulfill the scriptures.

Luke 1:17        17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,'* and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." NKJV

Elijah did not come back as John the Baptist, but John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah to put things in order for Christ.

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The resurrection is the lynch pin of the salvations story. For if Jesus was not saved how can we be saved. If Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead how can we be raised?

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This is why this season in memory of the death, burial and RESURRECTION is so important.

With resurrection in Jesus we will be raised in the person that we are now. I am not coming back as a roach, a cow or a rat as some religions worship as reincarnated beings.

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I plan to be resurrected as Fred Diggs How else can I stand before Christ to be judged and get my rewards?  You also will stand in the person that you are now.

There are so many prophecies that speak of resurrection even in the OT.

Job 19:25-27   25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; 26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, 27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! NKJV

Job is referring to his fleshly body state.

   

Ezek 37:1-3     37 The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."  NKJV

The army that God raised from dry bones was the same army that died on that battle field.

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Daniel prophesied of resurrection no reincarnation.

Dan 12:2         2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. NKJV

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Our best example is Jesus. Jesus appeared in the same form that he was in before He died and was buried.   

John 20:25-27 So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!"  27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." NKJV

Christ is the first fruit of all who die in Him that will be raise in Him this old body with its ache and pains will be raised not in corruption but in incorruption.

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20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

 

·         If Jesus had not risen from the dead he would be like every other person who claimed divinity.

·         If Jesus had not risen from the dead we could not look forward to being raised from the dead.

·         If Jesus had not risen from the dead then we would be lost in our sins.

·         If Jesus had not risen from the dead then Jesus was either a liar or a lunatic.

·         If Jesus had not risen from the dead then the gospel, the witnesses are liars.

·         If Jesus has not risen from the dead then we who believe in Him are of all people most miserable.

But praise God, I tell you that I believe that (responsive reading) 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.

I mentioned that there were three Pillars and every pillar must be firmly seated on a solid foundation, that foundation is the Word of God.

For those that do not or cannot believe the word of God they will never believe the death, burial and resurrection of the savor of the world. The savoir of Fred Diggs, the savior of all who believe and receive.

END


 

   

Responsive Reading

   

1 Cor 15:1-11

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.

NKJV


 

Never tell the pastor, “We love your church and might even come back next Easter.”

[1]

2781 Merry Christmas In Advance

The church was crowded. The minister said he was very glad to see so many out to the Easter services, and as many of you will not be here again until next Easter, I want to take this occasion to wish you a Merry Christmas.

[2]

2783 “Better Be Risen Too”

After 12 years as a church organist, I did the unforgivable: I overslept on Easter morning. The church service was scheduled for 6:30 a. m. At 6:31 the minister called to see if I was on my way, but I was still in bed. Happily, I live near the church, and in ten minutes I was seated at the organ.

The following Easter my phone rang at 5:45 a. m. When I answered, the minister told me gently, “Christ is risen, and you’d better, too.

[3]


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[1]Anderson, R., & Veerman, D. (2000, c1999). Bible humor top 7 lists (electronic ed.) (191). Nashville: Word Pub.

[2]Tan, P. L. (1979; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1997). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers (electronic ed.). Garland TX: Bible Communications.

[3]Tan, P. L. (1979; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1997). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers (electronic ed.). Garland TX: Bible Communications.

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