Summary: For those who lack hope and do not believe in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the hope of Sunday never comes.
BECAUSE HE LIVES
Text: First Corinthians 15:1-11
There is one Christian writer who once said, “It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!” (Tony Compollo). What that means is this, Jesus was crucified and then resurrected from the dead three days later. For those who lack hope and do not believe in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the hope of Sunday never comes. For them the hope stops on Friday. The reason that Christians have hope is because of their belief in the resurrection of Christ (First Thessalonians 4:13).
There are many Friday moments in our lives---moments of doubt and hopelessness. Our faith in Christ for those who are Christian gives us hope because our belief in the resurrection. Someone has said that “The resurrection of Jesus Christ equips us to face the two biggest fears in the world: the fear of dying and the fear of living”. (John A. Huffman, Jr. The Abingdon Preaching Annual: 1995 Edition. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994, p. 71). There are times when our well-being may depend on our belief that Jesus is the proof of the promise of resurrection (First Thessalonians 4:13, First Corinthians 15:13).
I just recently read about a mother who once received some shocking news. “On February 27, 1991, at the height of Desert Storm, Ruth Willow received a very sad message from the Pentagon. Her son, Clayton Carpenter, Private First Class, had stepped on a mine in the Persian Gulf and was dead. For three days she had mixed emotions of anger, shock, and loss. People tried to comfort and console her but to no avail. Three days later, the phone rang. The voice on the other end said, “Mom, it’s me. I’m alive”. At first she was in disbelief, but then she recognized his voice. He really was alive. She laughed. She cried. She was overjoyed”.
When they crucified Jesus, His disciples thought it was the end. It was only the beginning. Jesus as we know was resurrected from the dead. “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!”
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST EQUIPS US TO DIE.
First Corinthians 15:26 tells us that the last enemy to be destroyed is death. For Christians that enemy---death was destroyed when Jesus died on the cross. Jesus died on the cross to defeat sin, death and the fear of death. It is when the fear of death is greater than our hope and our faith that we become slaves to fear.
Paul did not fear death. The apostle Paul once said that for him to live was Christ and to die was gain (Philipians 1:21). For Paul to live was to be at home in the body and absent from the presence of the Lord---to be alive and labor for Christ (Second Corinthians 5:6 KJV). God has put eternity in the minds and hearts of everyone (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God has a desire for us to know Him and to have a relationship with Him (Jeremiah 31:31-34). It is through this hunger for eternity that God calls us to Himself through the prompting of His Holy Spirit. This hunger (Matthew 5:6, Ecclesiastes 3:11) for eternity is our spiritual homing instinct.
It is interesting to note how many creatures of nature have what scientists have called a homing instinct. “The question has sometimes been raised whether or not man ever possessed this same homing instinct and lost it through the ages in his preoccupation with other things”. (W. E. Sangster. Can I Know God?. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1960, p. 53). Years ago, Disney made a movie that was a box office hit. It even had a sequel. It was called Homeward Bound. Homeward Bound was a movie about two dogs and a cat that were able to find their way back home. The things of this earth will just cannot satisfy our spiritual longing for our heavenly home. Jay Gould who was one of America’s famous millionaires died while possessing fifty million dollars. He summed up his life before he died by saying “I suppose I am the most miserable devil on earth” (Sangster, p. 54). Perhaps he was miserable because of his misplaced treasure: Jesus once said that where your treasure is your heart will be also. Gould’s treasure was earthly and not heavenly (Matthew 6:20-21). When Benjamin Disraeli, twice Prime Minister of England, reviewed his life, he said, “Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret” (Sangster, p. 54). For Gould and Diraeli Sunday never came, because they did not appear to know Jesus. If they had truly known Jesus, then they would also have had hope. Only those who are Christian can look at the Fridays of their lives and face the future with the kind of certainty that will allow them to say “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!”. Otherwise, death is an enemy that conquers.