Sermons

Summary: The resurrection and its impact on the life of the believer.

“If Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” [1]

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead!” The heart of the Christian message is that Christ has been raised from the dead. The tomb is empty and the tomb is emptied of all terror. We Christians need no longer live in fear of death, for Christ has conquered death. And yet, it seems that we are traumatised at the thought of death. Is it because we are not so very different from the ancient Corinthians? If we think of what lies ahead, it seems as if we give only a cursory acknowledgement that the Bible speaks of life, real life, that is somewhere beyond this present existence.

Each year, for a brief moment, what should be central to our worship is forced to the fore, and mankind is compelled to think of our Living Saviour. Thinking of Him, we consider for a brief moment the implications for our own lives because He has conquered death. The challenge of the Faith is for believers to live as Resurrection People each day. The challenge is for us to live as though the Master did indeed conquer death. The challenge is for us to live as those who are now free of the fear of death.

THE MESSAGE — The message of the early disciples was pointed and specific—Christ Jesus rose from the dead. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter stood to preach before the wondering crowd—the very crowd that like maddened animals had bayed for the Master’s crucifixion. In the same manner as religious zealots whom we have witnessed in this day, in their rage they had cried out for Him to die. Now, empowered by the promised Spirit which the ascended Saviour had sent, Peter and all those who had gathered in prayer for ten days, testified to the resurrection of Jesus the Crucified.

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,

‘I saw the Lord always before me,

for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;

therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;

my flesh also will dwell in hope.

For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,

or let your Holy One see corruption.

You have made known to me the paths of life;

you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,

“Sit at my right hand,

until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” [ACTS 2:22-36].

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