Summary: A sermon for the 6th Sunday after Epiphany A sermon on the Second Lesson
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
1 Corinthians 15: 12-20
"Do You Believe in the Resurrection?"
12* Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13* But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised;
14* if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
15* We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
16* For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised.
17* If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
18* Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
19* If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.
20* But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Grace and Peace to your from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
Our gospel lesson for the 6th Sunday after Epiphany is Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount. Except it is called the Sermon on the Plain. It speaks about discipleship and living for Christ.
But this morning since we are in the Epiphany season, which is the season of the revealing of Jesus, I have chosen to preach on the second lesson.
Paul is speaking to the Corinthians about the resurrection of Jesus. It seems that some believers are not believing in the resurrection. Paul is questioning how can they believe in Jesus and not the resurrection?
Indeed, how can one believe in Jesus and not the resurrection?
Paul says " if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain."
Paul is saying that if Christ had not risen, then anything we preach about Christ is not true. If Christ had not risen, our faith is worthless. all that Christ was and is, is fulfilled in the resurrection.
Without the resurrection there is no Christmas.
Without the resurrection there is no heaven.
Without the resurrection Jesus is just some guy in history who taught and walked and really meant nothing.
Without the resurrection we would be like the three people in the following:
We would be like the three buddies who were discussing death, and one of them asked the others:
“What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?” He said, “I would like them to say about me, ‘He was a great humanitarian, who cared about his community.’”
The second one said, “I want them to say, ‘He was a great husband and father, who was an example for many to follow.’”
The third guy said, “I want them to say, ‘Look, he’s moving!’” With no hope of heaven that is what all of us would want them to say. 1
Without the resurrection there is no hope, nothing beyond the grave. Without the resurrection, our lives would end in the grave, a cold and dark existence.
Paul goes on the say that without the resurrection our sins would not be forgiven. He says:" If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins."
Through the resurrection of Jesus we have gain the forgiveness of sin. Through the resurrection of Jesus our guilt is forgiven. Through the resurrection of Jesus we live as forgiven people. Forgiven people who are free to experience all of life.
Through the resurrection of Jesus we live as changed people. People who are no longer chained to sin, but free to live in and through Christ. We are people who are free, free to live in Christ.
We are like th butterfly in the following:
Two butterflies - colorful and majestic monarchs - sat side by side on a tree limb. Beside them was the ruptured cocoon from which they’d just emerged.
"Come fly with me," said the one.
"Caterpillars can’t fly,"said the other.
"But we’re not caterpillars anymore," said the first, flexing his new wings, stretching then their full span till they looked like magnificently crafted stained glass windows.
"Those caterpillar days are gone forever."
"Don’t be silly," said the other. "We were born caterpillars and we’ll always be caterpillars. That’s the way it is."
"Well, then, why did the Maker see fit to give us there wings?" said the one.
The other butterfly thought for a moment and then replied,"I don’t know. Some sort of cruel joke, I suppose. He did the same thing to the ostrich, you know."