introduction: In John 11:25, ”I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.”
Lee Strobel, 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 resurrection there is no hope. Indeed, without 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 doctrine that elevates Christianity above all other world religions.
With this in mind, 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 is ”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.”
Just as the heart pumps life-giving blood to every part of the body, so the truth of the resurrection gives life to every other area of the gospel truth. Again, without the resurrection, Christianity would be so much wishful thinking, taking its place alongside all other human philosophy and religious speculation.
I. THE REVELATION OF THE RESURRECTION. v.1-2
A. COMMENCES WITH AN EXHORTATION. 1
Paul REVEALS several truths:
1. 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. This gave the message LIFE, PASSION, and HEART.
In 1 Cor. 15:5-8 the Bible records that many saw Jesus alive after His death on the cross. 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.
JAMES – Jesus’ half-brother.
John 7:5, ”For neither did his brethren believe in Him.”
Before this appearance, James was embarrassed by Jesus. Afterwards, 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.”
2. A MESSAGE TO BE RECEIVED.
”which also you received” – Dwight Watson talked about church members being INVOLVED WITH JESUS as opposed to our lives being REVOLVED AROUND JESUS.
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.”
3. 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.
B. CONTINUES WITH AN ADMONITION. 2
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.”
1. 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.”
2. 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, saviorhood, and resurrection, but had not trusted in Him or committed themselves to Him.
Obedience and continuous faithfulness mark the saved.
They believed to no purpose, or in vain. We believe to the point of believing Him to save and change us forever.
II. THE PROCLAMATION OF THE RESURRECTION. 3-4
A. DEMONSTRATED THAT CHRIST’S DEATH WAS NECESSATED
1. SINS OF THE WORLD
2. SATISFACTION OF THE JUST DEMANDS OF THE
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD
B. DEMONSTRATED THAT CHRIST’S RESURRECTION WAS
1 Cor. 15 was written approximately 25 years after the Easter account. So impressive was this supporting evidence that it affected every one who heard it.
They could not remain the same.
1. THEY BELIEVED IT.
2. THEY REVILED HIM.
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