Summary: In the telling and retelling of the Good News, we keep hope alive!
Title: Keeping the Story Alive
Text: I Corinthians 15:1-8
Thesis: In the telling and retelling of the Good News, we keep hope alive.
Every year, early in the month of October, she set aside a day to plan her spring garden. She would get up early and if it was nasty weather, she would wear an old raincoat, with clipboard and diagram in hand she would take her seat in the wooden lawn chair that sat at the edge of her garden. He husband would then bring out the buckets of old bulbs and bags of new bulbs and plant them under her careful supervision.
This was her annual October ritual and even as the years went by and old age over took her, you could be certain that the woman would take her place in the lawn chair and oversee the planting of the bulbs that would burst into bloom come spring.
Even when her own end was near, she sat there under those dark October skies, calmly plotting the resurrection.
Just as I have told the story of the woman who plotted the resurrection of her garden in spring, we tell and retell the story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as we plot the resurrection that will be our own.
The story begins with death… the death of Jesus Christ.
I. Christ Died for Our Sins According to the Scripture
• I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me – that Christ died for our s ins, just as the Scriptures said. I Corinthians 15:3
A. We are quick to acknowledge our accomplishments and successes
B. We are less inclined to acknowledge our sinfulness… in fact many of us feel embarrassed, ashamed, condemned, and doomed by our past indiscretions and sins.
This week has been a banner week for a media feeding frenzy for a gluttonous public eager to gobble up yet one more sordid saga of human depravity as politicians have fessed up to indiscretions in their personal lives.
The Good News is that Jesus, through his all-time, award winning, sacrificial act of love, scored the ultimate accomplishment of overturning our condemnation, erasing our embarrassment, shame, and guilt, replacing doom with hope of eternal life.
• For all have sinned; and all fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
• The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
• But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment. Romans 5:8-9
The story continues with burial…
II. Christ was Buried.
• He was buried… I Corinthians 15:4a
For some time now, I have been a regular watcher of the Canadian situation comedy Corner Gas, which airs Sunday through Thursday nights on Superstation WGN out of Chicago. The inside scenes are shot at production studios in Regina and the outdoor scenes are shot in a small, fictitious town named Dog River, which is on the highway between the real towns of Moose Jaw and Weyburn, Saskatchewan.
It began running in 2004 and has had a million or more views per episode since. It was however rumored that the series finale would air on March 7, 2007. There was considerable sadness in Monty Land until March 13, 2007, when producers announced there would be a 19- episode fifth season which began airing last fall.
The thought of a season finale was bad enough… how was I to live if the series were to end forever? Some books should have another chapter. Some stories should have a sequel. However, some stories conclude with, “The End.”
A. We have all stood at a graveside…
We have all stood at a graveside and felt the finality of a relationship, as we knew it. We have felt the abruptness of the end, so to speak.
B. Once people stood at the graveside of Jesus Christ…
Once people stood at the graveside of Jesus Christ. I doubt that the funeral director set up a nice little tent, rolled out some green astro-turf, and set up chairs for his loved ones. I doubt that they broke flowers from the casket spray to be tucked away in a thick book, along with a copy of the memorial folder. But I suspect the family of Jesus felt the same sense of loss and finality we feel when we leave the graveside of a loved one.
Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried…
Elizabeth Elliot Gren has a friend who was born without legs… she is a cheerful Christian whose outlook on life is a testimony to the sufficiency of God’s grace for the pain and suffering of life. Elizabeth asked her to write a letter to a couple she knew whose baby had just been born without legs.