Summary: Easter sermon where the consequences of Christ not being raised from the dead are explored.
God: Why did Jesus rise from the Dead? 1 Cor. 15:12-20
*** Dr. Billy Graham once told TIME magazine, “If I were an enemy of Christianity, I would aim right at the Resurrection, because that is the heart of Christianity.”
1. Well Dr. Graham knew what he was talking about because more and more theologians, those who admit to be liberal, and even some who claim to be conservative, are taking dead aim at the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
***The founder of the infamous Jesus seminar, Dr. Robert Funk, told TIME magazine as well, “The tales of entombment and resurrection were latter-day wishful thinking. Instead, Jesus’ corpse went the way of all abandoned criminals bodies: it was probably barely covered with dirt, vulnerable to the wild dogs that roamed the wasteland of the execution grounds.”
*** Thomas Jefferson totally emasculated all of the miracles from the four gospels. His bible called The Jefferson Bible, ends with the words: “Now in the place where He was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus and rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.” He had no problem with the crucifixion or the burial, but he stopped short at the resurrection.
***Dr. N. T. Wright, identified in the media as a “conservative,” said this: ”I think the resurrection of Jesus really happened, but I have no idea if it involves anything happening to his corpse, and, therefore, I have no idea whether it involves an empty tomb. . ..so I would have no problem whatsoever with archeologists finding the corpse of Jesus for me. That would not be a discrediting of the Christian faith or the Christian tradition.”
2. When I hear from these so-called “biblical scholars”
***I feel like a well-known politician who visited a city one time and was speaking to a local civic group. He got there late and arrived just in time to make his way to the platform, shake hands with the committee and begin his speech.
1. He gave it everything he had, ranting and raving at length. Finally, pausing momentarily for breath, he was collared by the horrified chairman who whispered frantically that the sponsoring civic group he was speaking to was on the other side of the issue.
2. Well this politician was slick. Clearing his throat impressively, and not missing a beat, he said, “My friends, I have told you exactly what the opposition is saying. Now I’m going to tell you the truth.”
3. I want you to imagine this headline on the front page of every major newspaper around the world: “Body of Jesus discovered in Israel: Christianity in Chaos.” What would this mean? Just what would be the ramifications and the implications if the body of Jesus were found? Well it would mean something for the church, something for Christ, and something for the Christian. What if Jesus Christ wasn’t raised from the dead?
I. Our Message is Meaningless 1 Cor. 15:14-15
A. All Preaching is Pointless 1 Cor 15:14
1. Let’s just start with me, a preacher of the gospel. If Jesus is not risen, all preaching is profitless. 1 Cor 15:14, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” If Jesus Christ is still in a tomb, if He is as dead now as He was when they took Him off the cross, then basically for forty years of my life I played the fool. I wasted seven years in college and seminary, I have wasted thirty-five years pastoring churches, and I have thousands of books in my library that need to go to the junk heap.
2. If Jesus Christ has not been raised from the dead, I’m wasting my time preaching and you’re wasting your time listening. As a matter of fact, it would be hard to figure out who the bigger fool is; me standing up here preaching as if what I am saying is true, or you sitting out there saying, “Amen,” as if you believe it. The truth of the matter is, if Jesus Christ is still dead, bonnets and bunnies make more sense than the cradle and the cross.
3. Without a risen Savior no sermon, regardless of how beautiful, how oratorical, how logical, or how stimulating it might be, is really worthy hearing. That is why he calls that type of preaching “vain or empty.”
*** A little six-year-old boy complained to his mother that he had a stomach ache and his mother said, “That’s because your stomach is empty; you would feel better if there were something in it.” Well, that afternoon the pastor stopped by for a visit, and the little boy said, “Preacher, how are you feeling?” He said, “Well, my head hurts.” The little boy said, “Well, that’s because it’s empty; you’d feel better if there were something in it.”