Summary: Our text for this day speaks to us of the horror of what it would be like if Jesus had not been raised from the dead. There would be no grace from God bestowed upon us.
IF HE’S DEAD, BECAUSE HE’S NOT
I CORINTHIANS 15: 1-20
EASTER SUNDAY APRIL 15, 2001
INTRODUCTION: “But for the Grace of God” By Keith Urban. “I can hear the neighbors They’re arguin’ again and there hasn’t been peace on our street since who knows when. I don’t mean to listen in, but the shoutin’ is so loud. I turn up the radio to drown it out and silently I say a little prayer. “BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I. I MUST’VE BEEN BORN A LUCKY GUY, HEAVEN ONLY KNOWS HOW I’VE BEEN BLESSED WITH THE GIFT OF YOUR LOVE. AND I LOOK AROUND AND ALL I SEE IS YOUR HAPPINESS EMBRACING ME. OH LORD I’D BE LOST BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD.” I can see that old man, He’s walking past our door and I’ve been told that he’s rich, but he seems so poor ‘cause no one comes to call on him and his phone it never rings. He wanders through his empty home surrounded by his things and silently I say a little prayer, yes I do, But for the grace of God go I. I must’ve been born a lucky guy. Heaven only knows how I’ve been blessed with the gift of your love and I look around and all I see is your happiness embracing me. Oh Lord I’d be lost but for the grace of God. I look around and all I see is your happiness embracing me. Oh Lord I’d be lost but for the grace of God. Oh Lord I’d be lost, Oh Lord I’d be lost But for the Grace of God, Oh Lord I’d be lost but for the Grace of God.
THESIS SENTENCE: BECAUSE JESUS WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD, WE WILL BE ALSO!
TRANSITION SENTENCE: Our text for this day speaks to us of the horror of what it would be like if Jesus had not been raised from the dead. There would be no grace from God bestowed upon us. Can you imagine life without the grace of God? The Apostle Paul tries to explain to us the difference between the realities of the Resurrection and if there had been no Resurrection and the Key Word is GRACE.
GRACE DEFINED: G: GOD, R: RICHES, A: AT, C: CHRIST, and E: EXPENSE
LET’S START WITH THE NEGETIVE PROPOSITION THE APOSTLE PAUL OFFERS US, WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE WITH OUT GRACE?
I. IF HE’S DEAD (VV. 12-19)
WHAT WOULD REALITY BE LIKE WITH OUT THE RESURRECTION?
A. PREACHING IS USELESS (v.14)
1. There is no goodnews to proclaim
2. There is no story to tell
3. Jesus was just a lunatic who thought HE was God
4. And to tell that story would be of no use, but to ridicule!
5. Preaching would be a hollow shell, empty!
B. FAITH IS USELESS (V. 14 & 17)
1. You would have nothing to believe in.
2. Faith would be devoid of value and totally ineffective.
3. Faith would have no reward; belief would be in vain.
4. In verse 17, Paul says your faith would be futile.
5. Faith would be an endless effort to attain what is unattainable.
C. WITNESSING IS USELESS (v. 15)
1. This may concern preaching
2. God has been misrepresented.
3. We have testified that God raised Christ from the dead.
4. This makes us out to be liars and false witnesses of God.
5. We have lied about GOD!
D. SALVATION IS USELESS (V. 17)
1. For some reason, Paul assures us, if there is no resurrection, there is no forgiveness of sins.
2. We are still in our sins.
3. Jesus said He had the authority to forgive sins, but if He is dead, then He is a liar and our Sins are still separating us from God!
4. To make it even clearer, The Apostle Paul asserts that those who died believing in Christ are lost.
5. They died believing a Lie and are forever separated from God!
E. HOPE IS USELESS (V. 19)
1. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” 2. False hope is worse than no hope.
3. It is a mirage in the desert.
4. This life is all we have.
5. There is no future Reward, Peace, Joy, Healing!
6. WE ARE HOPELESS!
ILLUSTRATION: “The grave is the end. This brief life is all that we have.” There are a lot of people who believe that today. Let me put it in the eloquent words of Bertrand Russell, one of the spokesmen for those who do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus. In one of his works, he wrote: “The life of a man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, toward a goal which few can hope to reach and where none may tarry long. One by one as they march, our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent death. Brief and powerless in man’s life. On him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls, pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way. For man, condemned today to lose his dearest, tomorrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet to blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day.”