Summary: If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
Dakota Community Church
April 24, 2011
Hope at Easter
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
There have always been naysayers where the supernatural is concerned.
I believe this present age is particularly marked by faith in science and skepticism towards faith.
The Bible is filled with unbelievable stories, from Noah to Jonah, Goliath to Shadrach, from fire called down from heaven, to the feeding of thousands with a few small loaves; there is a reason we refer to ourselves as believers!
Something happened to us, something turned me from skepticism to faith; don’t get me wrong, that old skeptic is not dead, especially not when listening to current tales of the supernatural. When it comes to the Word of God though, where the Holy Scriptures are concerned – I believe - and I believe it all: hook, line, and sinker if you will.
But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Mark 4:13-14, 26-28
Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word.
26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.
First I was not a believer, I was lost, I was dead in my sin, I didn’t even care – in fact when the rest of my family began to take an interest in the things of God – I WAS HOSTILE towards them.
Then; all at once, I heard.
The seed landed on my hard heart, somehow it made its way into a crack in that rocky surface and took root; breaking, softening, and at last transforming – it is happening for some of you right now!
This morning we gather to celebrate the most sacred event in Christendom – the resurrection!
In our text Paul is addressing those who doubt this most important of supernatural events.
…how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
Paul is saying that everything hangs on this one:
1. A startling disclaimer
Christianity is unique amoung religions of the world because it contains this rider – if Christ is not risen we can reject all of it. Find the bones of Jesus and Christianity is moot!
Paul gives six disastrous consequences if there were no resurrection:
1) Preaching Christ would be senseless
2) Faith in Christ would be useless
3) All the witnesses and preachers of the resurrection would be liars
4) No one would be redeemed from sin
5) All former believers would have perished
6) Christians would be the most pitiable people on the earth
It is important to realize that:
Salvation is by Jesus alone but not just any Jesus, the Jesus who saves is the Jesus of the Bible, the one who has revealed Himself in the inspired Word of God.
If you do not believe in the Jesus who was fully God and fully man
If you do not believe in the Jesus who gave Himself as our substitute
If you do not believe in the Jesus who rose from the grave and is coming again to judge the nations – YOU BELIEVE IN A DIFFERENT JESUS!
2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15