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Summary: Easter sermon on the resurrection of Christ

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"I’M JUST DYING TO GO TO HEAVEN!"

TEXT: I Cor. 15:1-58

INTRO: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single most important event in human history! It has touched everything in this life, and in the life to come. Even when cultures have attempted to stamp out the reality of Christ’s resurrection they have failed.

ILLUS: The Russian word for Sunday, woskersicnye, means resurrection. Every communist, every atheist, must speak of the resurrection when referring to the first day of the week! -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

Isn’t it interesting when Communism in the former Soviet Union was officially "atheistic" every week they spoke the word "resurrection" for each Sunday!

The two greatest holidays in the world are Christmas and Easter, Christ’s birth and resurrection. Even if cultures of the world have attempted to change the meaning of these two holidays to Santa Claus and a bunny rabbit they still spring from Jesus, and most know this.

Take away the resurrection and you destroy Christianity! Does it really make a difference? YES! There is a huge difference between those who die believing in Jesus Christ and those who don’t.

ILLUS: I have talked to doctors and nurses who have held the hands of dying people, and they say that there is as much difference between the death of a Christian and a non-Christian as there is between heaven and hell. -- Billy Graham (1918- ) - Edythe Draper, Draper’s Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 2305.

Both in life and in death we will face Jesus’ resurrection ... if Christ lives in us now, so will His resurrection power.

PROP. SENT: There is only one religious figure in history that has risen from the dead ... no other religion has a living founder, unless it is a new religion today. Jesus Christ is God’s son, and it is His death and resurrection that makes possible our eternal life.

I. PRIORITY OF THE RESURRECTION 15:1-19

A. Central To Faith! 15:1-11

1. The Gospel IS the resurrection of Christ!

a. Paul reminds the Corinthians that this is the essence of the Gospel, that when they believed it was on the basis of Christ’s resurrection.

b. If this were not so then they believed in vain!

2. Paul bases Christ’s death and resurrection on the Scriptures as well as on the testimony of many people who witnessed the living Jesus after His death on the cross.

a. The first witness is the Scriptures, many Old Testament passages prophesied Christ death and resurrection!

b. Then there were the disciples, and even at one time more than 500 brothers at one moment saw the resurrected Christ.

c. Jesus did not hide the reality of His resurrection.

3. It is important to note that the story of Jesus’ resurrection was based on many witnesses, it was not a myth made up by a few people!

ILLUS: There is more evidence that Jesus rose from the dead than there is that Julius Caesar ever lived or that Alexander the Great died at the age of thirty-three. -- Billy Graham (1918- ) - Edythe Draper, Draper’s Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 9700.

a. Hundreds of people saw Jesus after His resurrection, over a period of weeks!

b. There are plenty of secular sources besides the Bible and Christian writings of the first century that speak of Christ’s resurrection, including a first century Jewish historian named Josephus.

c. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is well attested to in history.

4. This is the central theme for Christianity ... IF Jesus did NOT rise from the dead then everything we believe is meaningless!

a. It is the core of Christianity.

b. There is no hope of life after death if Jesus did not rise again .... especially since there is NO other religion in the world that claims to have their founder still alive, every other religion in the world has a dead founder in a grave somewhere ... only Christianity has an empty tomb for its founder!

5. Even Paul had seen the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus, and this was many years after Jesus’ death.

B. Clear Focus 15:12-19

1. Some of the people in the Corinthian Church were saying that there was no resurrection from the dead ... that when we die that is it, no more life anywhere.

a. Paul tells them that this is ridiculous!

b. If that were true then even Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, BUT He did!

2. If Christ has not risen then all those in the Church were still in their sins like everyone else in the world, and there was literally no hope for anyone!

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