Sunday, April 12, 2009

The day everything changed

1 Corinthians 15:1 – 22

“The day everything changed”

 

The resurrection of Jesus is THE single most important event… ever.  The resurrection proved who Jesus is, it provided focus for the disciples’ preaching, it is the power of God to transform daily life.

 

 

I.          Why is the resurrection so influential?

 

            A.        The resurrection’s impact.

 

                        1.         PAST: as an historical event it shows us God did something great.

 

“And who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Romans 1:4]

 

                        2.         PRESENT: the power is available for us today.

 

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” [Philippians 3:10]

 

                        3.         FUTURE: God will do something greater in the future!

 

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable.” [1 Corinthians 15:42]

 

            B.        The resurrection’s importance.

 

                        1.         The resurrection is the foundational Christian belief.

 

                        2.         The resurrection is the ultimate source of hope.

 

3.         The resurrection is the guarantee for power in our current life and our future resurrection.

 

II.        Why is the resurrection so critical?

 

            A.        If no resurrection then faith is useless.

 

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” [v 14]

 

1.         The resurrection separates Christianity from every other religion.  You can go to their founders’ occupied graves.

 

2.         Christianity celebrates life, not death.

 

            B.        If no resurrection then we are false witnesses.

 

“More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.” [v 15]

 

                        1.         The core of being a follower of Jesus is to continue the witness.

 

                        2.         The witness is of the living Jesus.

 

            C.        If no resurrection then there is no salvation.

 

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” [v 17]

 

1.         “Faith” as a general thing is pointless.  People can believe in anything but that does not make it real.

 

2.         “Faith” must be specific and life changing for it to have any effect.  Otherwise it is “futile.”

 

            D.        If no resurrection the “lost” is forever.

 

“Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.” [v 18]

 

1.         “Lost” is a technical word that means separated from God, like a lost sheep.

 

2.         The state of being “lost” is permanent unless something more powerful than death intervenes… the resurrection!

 

            E.         If no resurrection then we are pitiful.

 

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” [v 19]

 

                        1.         Without the reality of what is promised then everything is empty.

 

                        2.         So Christians would deserve contempt for holding to empty myths.

 

III.       How can we be so sure?

 

            A.        Scripture.  (Prophecy: Predicted before it happened.)

 

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, [4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” [vv 3 – 4]

 

            B.        Eye witnesses. (Legal “proof”)

 

“… He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. [6] After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. [7] Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” [vv 5 – 7]

 

            C.        Paul. (Personal experience)

 

“And last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” [v 8]

 

IV.       What should be our response?

 

            A.        Hope.  (NOT wishful thinking… confident expectation.)

 

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. [21] For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.” [vv 20 – 21]

 

            B.        Celebrate life, both spiritual and eternal.

 

“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” [v 22]

 

            C.        Be transformed.

 

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve 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 to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” [vv 9 – 10]

 

1.         God took someone who was actively seeking to destroy Christianity and transformed him into an apostle!

 

2.         God can take you, from whatever place you find yourself and transform you.

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