SanLo Community, an update for Easter Sunday…
Thank you Pastor Brian for the message from 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, “The Resurrection...It’s No Joke!” Today is Resurrection Sunday. It is a day Christians all over the world celebrate Jesus rising from the grave. It is a joyous celebration because just three days previously Jesus was crucified on the cross, buried and rose again conquering sin and death. But what if Jesus did not come alive and they found Jesus body in the tomb? What if the resurrection of Jesus did not happen?
Some Christ followers in Corinth were questioning the resurrection of the dead. Paul responds very clearly that if Jesus was not raised from the grave there would be four weaknesses to the Christian faith. In fact without the resurrection, Christianity is destroyed. We’re going to take a look at these four fatal flaws of the Christian faith, if Jesus was not resurrected.
1) If Jesus was not resurrected then our Lord is DEAD. (vv.13, 16) The risen Jesus appeared to the twelve, five hundred believers and to Paul himself. Many of those witnesses were still alive during Paul’s time. Even with the overwhelming evidence of Jesus being raised from the dead some questioned the resurrection of the dead. Paul’s argument in verse 13 is that if there is no resurrection of the dead then not even Christ has been raised. If Jesus was not raised, then Jesus did not defeat death and died just like all the other religious leaders. If Jesus was not resurrected, then what many critics of the Christian faith say is true, Jesus was a great teacher and prophet but He is not God and only human just like the rest of us. If this is the case then all of us who are followers of Christ are a lost cause and are not saved. If the dead are not raised, the first downfall of the Christian faith is that our Lord is dead.
2) If Jesus was not resurrected our preaching is POINTLESS then we are LIARS. (vv.14a, 15) Paul notes that his whole life of preaching the good news of Jesus has been a complete waste of time if there is no such thing as resurrection. All the persecutions, sufferings, tribulations he experienced were for nothing and pointless. The same is true for every Christ
follower who has sacrificed, suffered, or been ridiculed for their belief in the teachings of Christ. All our troubles are for nothing. When we teach and preach that God raised Jesus from the dead but if He didn’t, we are saying things about God that are not true making us false teachers and liars. If Jesus was not resurrected all the good things you do with and for God would be meaningless, pointless, and devastating for all believers to learn our preaching is pointless and we are liars because the resurrection did not happen.
3) If Jesus was not resurrected our faith is FUTILE, then we are UNFORGIVEN. (vv14b, 17) Faith and trust are tied together. Trusting the words of the Bible builds faith. Because our faith in large part is based on what is taught and preached in the Bible about Jesus’ resurrection, it means our faith is vain or useless without it. Without the resurrection of Jesus there is no foundation upon which to build faith. Further if Jesus stayed dead, Christ dying for our sins becomes meaningless. We remain in the guilt and punishment of our wrong doings because there is no forgiveness of sins. I can’t imagine living in the guilt and shame without the promise of forgiveness because of Jesus’ resurrection. Can you?
4) If Jesus was not resurrected we have no HOPE then we are FOOLS. (vv.18, 19) If there was no resurrection then death is final. Death for the Christ follower would not be falling asleep (dying) and waking up in the Father’s house as the Bible teaches. Without the resurrection, death is final and there is nothing beyond this life and we are all doomed to perish without God and without hope. So the saying, “The one who dies with the most toys wins” is all there is to live for. Paul concludes his teaching about the necessity of the resurrection with (v.19), “Christ followers are of all people most to be pitied.” Without the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity is destroyed, it is worthless and empty. That would be a correct statement because a fool is one who pursues emptiness but thinks it is fulfillment. Without the resurrection, Christians are truly fools and most to be pitied.
Without the resurrection Christianity would be destroyed. Without the resurrection... our Lord is DEAD; our preaching is POINTLESS and we are LIARS; our faith is FUTILE then we are UNFORGIVEN; we have no HOPE and we are FOOLS. What a depressing Easter message! But Paul does not leave us there. He gives the good news in verse 20, “BUT NOW... we rejoice...because... Christ has been raised!” Because Jesus has been resurrected... our Lord is ALIVE; our preaching has PURPOSE; we speak TRUTH; our faith gives LIFE; we are FORGIVEN; we have HOPE, we are NOT FOOLS. Jesus is Alive! The Resurrection...It’s No Joke!