Summary: A sermon that I hope gives understanding and encouragement to believers, and brings faith to non-believers who might attend our Resurrection Sunday services. A clear Gospel presentation!
Easter 2017 (Sharon FBC)
Text: 1st Corinthians 15
Well let me start off by saying I’m happy you’ve chosen to join us this morning. And I’ll tell you why I’m so happy. I’m happy because this morning, I get to tell you the greatest news ever given to mankind. You’re not going to find it on Fox or CNN or ABC. In-fact; when you watch those, or you pick up the paper… often times, all you hear is bad news. Or “fake” news… I don’t know which ones worse? But this morning, I get to share with you good news… it’s the news that Jesus is alive!
Now I don’t know how much you actually think about Jesus being raised from the dead. It’s probably not something that most of us would bring up on a daily basis. In-fact; it seems like the only time people hear about the resurrection is on Easter… or maybe at a funeral. You know, the pastor will get up there and talk about how Jesus was raised from the dead, and how if a person is a believer, they will also be raised up on the last day. But it’s just not something we hear a lot of in our day to day conversations. And I think the reason for that is because we, as human beings; tend to shrink this message of good news down to just our lives here and now. And it’s not bad to do that… it’s not bad to talk about how Jesus is changing us… how His forgiveness refreshes our spirits. It’s not bad to talk about how Jesus is working on us and in us, and through us. But I think if that’s all we do, we’re missing a key element of this Good News. Because despite what one famous TV preacher says… Your best life is not now! The only way your best life is now is if you’re not a Christian. You see; if you’re not a Christian, then yeah… this life… with all of its bad news… all of its pain and sorrow, sadness and suffering. It’s the best you can hope for. But if you ARE a Christian, your best life is yet to come.
And the Good News is… because Jesus is alive, you can have that best life… that eternal life, in the world to come. You see; salvation starts in this life, but it carries you through on to the next.
So if you’ll take your Bible’s and turn with me to 1st Corinthians 15:3 – 8 we’ll read it together (READ).
Now the guy who wrote this was named Paul. And he was writing to a church in a city called Corinth. And this church in Corinth was in bad shape. They were a group of people that were about as dysfunctional as you can get. They had people in their church who were involved in sexual sin, they had people in their church with serious marriage problems. They had people in their church who were worshiping both Jesus and other false gods. They had people in their church who were selfish, and arrogant, and prideful, and gossips. And in this letter Paul tries to help them deal with all of these things, but at the very end, he tells them, “Out of everything else I’ve written to you, I want to remind you what I told you was most important… Jesus died, and rose from the grave 3 days later.” So he says, “That’s what’s most important.” And a little bit later he explains why that’s so important. He tells them, and us, that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead… if the resurrection is just a lie, if it’s some made up story, then we are still in our sins. Let’s look at it (READ vss. 17 – 19).
So let’s look at it here. Paul says, “Jesus died… but then He rose from the dead. And He was seen alive by all kinds of witnesses… more than 500 people at one time… and if you don’t believe me, just go ask them because most of them are still around.” So he’s giving evidence for his claim right… then he says, “But if that’s not true… if Jesus didn’t rise from the grave, then our sins haven’t been forgiven. We are still lost. We’re in big, BIG, trouble!”
Ok… so why do you say that Paul? Why is it, if Jesus hasn’t been raised, we’re still in our sins and we’re not forgiven? How does Jesus being alive show us we’re forgiven of our sins?
Well; in order to understand that, we’ve got to back up some… all the way to the beginning. You see; the Bible’s really cool. It tells us how we got here. It tells us how everything was made. How the earth was formed. How mankind came into being. In-fact; it’s the only eye witness account of that. And scientists will say to you, “Well we think it was this… or we think it was that… we think it was the ‘big bang’… but we’re not really sure. That’s why we call it the ‘theory of evolution’, because we don’t really know…” And I hope that everyone here knows that a theory is just an idea… that’s why it amazes me that so many people are willing to stake eternity on just an idea… to put all their faith and trust in an idea, from men… and whats even crazier is that some of these men who want you to stake everything on their idea of where we came from, just got caught red-handed manipulating data on this so called climate change, or global warming. You know what? I think I’ll trust the God who says, “I was there when it all began… in-fact; I’m the One who made it all happen.”