A letter came from Health and Human Services to a resident of Greenville County, South Carolina: “Your food stamps will be stopped, effective March of this year, because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if your circumstances change.”
Maybe the Health and Human Services department knows something about resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus is the most important event in all of history.
Many of us believe in the resurrection because that’s what we’ve been told. Some may still be skeptical. Others may think you can never really know the truth.
There’s evidence when you’ve been somewhere. You leave the hotel room, and you come back and they’ve cleaned it up. You know that someone was there because of the evidence.
There’s evidence that Jesus was here. Even the skeptics believe that. There’s proof both in the Bible and outside of the Bible.
You can know the truth about the resurrection. There is more evidence for the resurrection of Jesus than any other event in history.
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 is good news about the resurrection!
The resurrection is our hope at the center of the Christian faith.
It’s more than just a great ending to the story of Jesus. The resurrection is the foundation for the whole gospel! What if Jesus never raised? What if we do not raise from the grave?
When Christians speak to unbelievers, they often discover that the truths of Scripture that we hold onto are not believed, and sometimes even made fun of by unbelievers. Now in many circles it is not so strange that we believe in God. It does not even seem weird that we give our commitment to Jesus. Many people think that Jesus was a good man and a great moral teacher.
But all around the world, one belief sticks in the throats of non-Christians: the doctrine of the resurrection. One unbeliever said, “I can go along with you on most of what you said,” he admitted. “The world is a mess and we need a Savior … But there’s just one thing I can’t get past. It’s just not possible that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Dead people don’t come back to life … That’s one thing I know for sure. Besides, why do I need to believe in that anyway?”
The challenge against the resurrection of Jesus isn’t something that started with the rise of modern science and naturalistic thinking. It has been seen as a foolish idea to many people from the day Jesus rose from the grave. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul called on the Corinthians to hold on to their faith in Jesus’ resurrection and to realize why it was so important that they live in the light of the hope it brings.
Some people in the Corinthian church denied the resurrection of believers. They thought the doctrine of the resurrection taught a morbid reanimation of corrupted corpses, like zombies. By denying the resurrection of believers, they denied essential elements of the gospel: Christ’s resurrection and the salvation of the whole person.
Many modern churches have fallen into the same error about resurrection. Believers must hold on to the doctrine of the resurrection. We should not allow other people’s poor teaching to destroy our great hope for salvation.
1 Corinthians 15:1-8
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 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, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters 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, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
The Resurrection makes the Good News really Good.
The Evidence of Bible:
The basic news of the Gospel
- Jesus died for your sins
- Jesus was buried
- Jesus rose from the dead!
The Evidence of EYEWITNESSES
Jesus appeared to Peter. The one who denied Jesus. But then Jesus went to Peter and forgave him.
James was Jesus half-brother. How hard would it be to convince your brother or sister? James made fun of Jesus. Still, Jesus showed up to him and proved to him he was alive.
Saul was a Christian hunter. He was opposed to Jesus and then Jesus appeared to him.
Maybe you denied Jesus, made fun of his followers, persecuted his followers. He still has a resurrected life for you.
It’s for everyone.
They were not expecting Jesus to rise. They were defeated and discouraged, distressed, disillusioned, doubtful (Thomas had to touch Jesus to know). Disorganized. Then something happened that changed everything. They had power and confidence because they saw Jesus alive again! They were willing to die for this truth and many did! Not for a lie, but because they had the evidence!
He appeared to more than 500 people. You could go right then and ask those people. They were still alive. What was that like? Some people were trying to get near him. Some wondering with doubt.
Maybe you have some doubts. Jesus’ resurrection is for you. He wants to show up in your life.
Maybe you have so much faith. Jesus wants to strengthen your faith.
His resurrection power is available to all of us.
Jesus kept His promise that he would rise again, and it confirmed all of his other promises.
The resurrection makes our faith real.
1 Corinthians 15:9-12
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. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed. But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
4 basic arguments to declare the resurrection.
What if there’s no resurrection?
1 Corinthians 15:13-19:
If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 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. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
If there’s no resurrection…
- Our preaching is useless.
- We are false witnesses.
- You’re still unforgiven in your sin.
- Your faith is meaningless.
Faith is not a feeling. Faith can cause a feeling, but faith is deeper than a feeling.
True faith is based on the facts of the life death and resurrection of Jesus.
If there is no resurrection, then, we are to be pitied.
Sometimes, people say, “Even if there’s no resurrection, it is worth following Jesus.” Paul says, “That’s pitiful. Without the resurrection, it’s meaningless, because following Jesus means persecution and ridicule and maybe even death.”
We stand on the truth of the resurrection.
Because Jesus rose from the dead…
- Our preaching changes lives
- We have the truth that brings light
- We are forgiven
- My faith changes everything.
- We are to be most grateful people because of Jesus’ love!