Sermons

Summary: How terrible it would be had it not been for Jesus.

“Had It Not Been”

1 Corinthians 15:1-26, 53-57

David P. Nolte

Back in 1995 I was working on the roof of the new Eastside Christian Church gym/office/classroom building. I hate heights but we could easily get off the roof in one of two ways. The right way was to go down the ladder which came up through an opening in the roof – that was exit #1. Exit #2, the other way down, was to take a dive and belly-flop on the pavement below.

I was headed for exit #2 when I stepped on some of the grit from the 3 tab shingles. I began skiing down the slope to apparent oblivion.

Had it not been for Ben Prahl, a middle school boy – a big middle school boy – who grabbed me around the waist before I had gone more then a foot or so, I’m toast!. He planted his feet and was quick enough and strong enough to prevent my descent – maybe my death. He’s my hero to this day.

Had it not been for my pastor in New Mexico convincing me to attend NCC for spring term, I would have likely remained at New Mexico State University and become an electrical engineer.

Had it not been for Christmas, and Calvary, and Easter – in short, had it not been for Jesus – how lost and hopeless we would be! Toni sang a song by Rusty Goodman:

Just suppose God searched through Heaven,

And couldn’t find one willing to be,

The supreme sacrifice that was needed,

That would buy eternal life for you and me

Had it not been for a place called Mount Calvary,

Had it not been for the old rugged cross,

Had it not been for a man called Jesus,

Then forever my soul would be lost

Well I’m so glad He was willing to drink His bitter cup,

Although He prayed “Father let it pass from me”,

And I’m so glad He never called Heaven’s angels,

From these hands, Pulled the nails that torment me

Then forever my soul would be lost.

Had it not been for Jesus, willing to leave heaven for awhile, to become one of us for awhile, to die for awhile – how terrible our condition would be forever.

Lost, lonely, losers. But there is Good News, and Paul wrote, ‘Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 (NASB).

Had it not been for Jesus

I. THERE WOULD BE NO GOSPEL:

A. The Gospel, the Good News, consists of the message and fact of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.

B. It is on the basis of those facts and acts that we have hope! The gospel is God’s Good News.

C. And how we need, and long for, Good News!

1. The current news stories are distressing, depressing and discouraging. School shootings, cop killings, terrorist threats make the news abysmal, dragging us down into a dark pit.

2. A constant diet of bad news will make us nervous, neurotic and negative.

3. But the gospel is the Good News:

a.That God is merciful to us, sparing us the wrath we deserve.

b.That God is gracious to us, giving us the love we do not deserve.

D. What makes the gospel such Good News is that

1. Jesus took our sins and gave us His righteousness.

2. Jesus took our poverty and gave us His riches.

3. Jesus took our guilt and gave us His innocence.

4. Jesus took our sickness and gave us His health.

5. Jesus took our shame and gave us His glory.

6. Jesus took our death and gave us His life.

E. Not all news is good news. A gallery owner told one of his artists that he’s got some good new and bad news. The artist asked for the good news first. “Well,” he replied, “The good news is that a man came in here today asking if the price of your paintings would go up after you died. When I told him they would, he bought every single one of your paintings.”

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