Thursday, April 9, 2009
1 Corinthians 15:12-19—12But 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? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More 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.
16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
A.B. Simpson said that Easter is New Year's Day of the soul. It's a day of new beginnings, of new life, of starting over. Here in our part of the world we see this symbolized by the fact that Easter takes place in Spring—the trees fill up with leaves, flowers start to bloom, things become green again. We see signs of life all around us.
"Why is Easter so important?” The resurrection proves that Jesus is who he said he is, God, and it changes the meaning of our existence.
I believe in the ressurection because Easter was made for new beginnings!
A new beginning that changes the meaning of faith. (v. 17) And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
Christianity is not based upon religious whim. It is based upon a historical fact: Jesus Christ died and rose from the grave. Since he conquered death, that means he must be who he said he is—the Messiah.
That means he must be able to do what he said he could do, give us eternal life. That must certainly mean that his promises, such as "I am with you always" and "I will never leave you or forsake you" are true.
Easter gives us assurance that our faith is not just a sentimental wish list.
A new beginning that changes the meaning of death. (v. 18) Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
Those with a strong faith in Jesus are able to face death—their own and that of loved ones—much differently than do people who are only "marginally" religious. Why? Because Christ's resurrection gives a new meaning to death. Death is not the end, and it no longer has power over us.
This is why Paul says 1 Corinthians 15:55&55—54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
Because of the resurrection of Christ we know that death is merely the transition from this life to the next, death is not the end. It is the beginning.
A new beginning that changes the meaning of life. (v. 19) If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
If there is no resurrection—if this life is all there is—anyone would be a fool to allow themselves to be even slightly inconvenienced for the sake of religion.
If there is no resurrection, Paul says, 1 Corinthians 15:32b—If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
If in fact, Jesus is risen, then that changes everything, every detail of our lives has special significance. If there is no resurrection, the only logical purpose for living is pursuing your own pleasure. However, if Jesus Christ is risen the only logical purpose for living is to follow him and do his will.
Easter is the day of new beginnings; a day when your faith is transformed from what you've merely heard to what you experience for yourself.
Posted by Preacher Phil at 2:42 PM