Summary: How the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is reflected in our lives.
INTRODUCTION: Several years ago I read a fictional novel called, A Skeleton in God’s Closet. It was about an archeologists’ that claimed that he had found the skeleton of Jesus. The chaos that followed was amazing as churches closed and the earth began to tear itself apart. What if I could convince you that the resurrection never occurred? I never read a book so fast because I had to know what happened in the end! What if somebody had really found the body? Despite the fact that fictional books like this may peak our interest; I want you to know that the resurrection is a proven historical fact and does not need to be the emphasis of what I say today. The point that I want to make today is that the Death, Burial and Resurrection is Good News and it is evidenced in Paul’s life; my life; and possibly in your life. I don’t know if you have ever thought about it in this way before; but our lives are in some ways a reflection of the gospel.
1.Witnessed By (well attested) Verses 5-10
Hundreds of years before Christ; Isaiah prophecied about how Jesus would die, be buried, and finally resurrected. He was seen at the time of his resurrection by:
Peter the twelve disciples, more than once
more than 500 others (some who had died since the time that the apostle Paul told the story)
James seen Him too!
I was reading….(The Third Day, Hannagraaf, 24-26) In the book, “Dr. Alexander Metherell, a prominent physician who has thoroughly investigated the historical and medical facts regarding the death of Jesus Christ, drove a fatal stake through the heart of the swoon hypothesis.” (you know, the swoon hypothesis) …. Another guy Gary Habermas says, “Even if Jesus were alive before he was stabbed, the lance would almost certainly have killed him.” …. Even a liberal scholar named David Strauss said, even if Jesus had survived his crucifixion, he could never have rolled a massive tombstone uphill out of its gully---especially in his weakened condition….” …. Had he accomplished this miraculous feat (that is rolling the stone away) he would then have had to limp around on pierced feet, find his disciples hideout, and then convince them that he had conquered death and the grave. Strauss pointed out that, far from fantasizing that this bleeding shell of a man was their Savior, the disciples would have run and fetched a doctor.
TRANSITION: But, not only did all those people see Jesus…………..“Last; but not least, Paul” saw Jesus!
I have seen the evidence of the gospel; very simply! But, what I find more intriguing than the evidences for the resurrection is this: “How was the death, burial, and resurrection reflected in the apostle Paul’s life?”
….Secondly, I do not want you thinking that I am forgetting the work of Jesus because I am just talking about people…. And talking to you people…my friends. The reason I am talking about people is to demonstrate the impact the gospel.
The gospel is “good news” and is evidenced in Paul’s life, my life, and your lives. The passage that I am helping you understand today has much to say about the resurrection; but I need you to understand that Paul includes the whole gospel here, not just the resurrection. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus!
2.The Gospel. Paul defines the gospel in verse 1-4. He preaches not because they need some proof that Jesus actually died, was buried, and was raised. He preaches out of encouragement!
For one, Paul says that he wrote to the brethren, and he describes them as having received it, standing in it, and being delivered by it. Paul wants so much for the people who hears him to be marked by a consistent faith.
My friend MacArthur(you know.... John) says, “The doctrinal problem on which this chapter focuses was not the Corinthians’ disbelief in Christ’s resurrection but confusion about their own. Paul was not trying to convince them that Christ rose from the dead but that one day they, too, would be raised with Him to eternal life.”
a.The things that I am telling you today are of the utmost importance! Paul even says, that the gospel was the first thing of importance; which had to be delivered to us.
TRANSITION: What was it, what was so important that it would affect our lives profoundly?
Death: 1 Peter 2:24 says, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. You know, it is important to know that Jesus was not just some phantom that could not relate to you and me; but that he was flesh and blood. I sometimes think about the love that a dog has for its owner. You have to think, the dog doesn’t know any better…it just is a licking machine. My point is: Jesus knew better. He died on a cross as your fellowman; someone who could identify with you in all your pain and suffering…and finally death.