Summary: We live in a world that was once a good place but now it is a fallen world infected by evil... but we look forward to a new world that is all good.
Title: Living in a Fallen World… for Now!
Text: I Corinthians 15:19-26
Thesis: We live in a world of good and bad but because of Jesus Christ, we look forward to a new world that is all good. (Revelation 21:1-5)
In St. Petersburg, Florida three police officers died tragically in the line of duty within a 30 day span. In each case law enforcement officers lined up to salute their deceased fellow officers. After the third tragedy, a reporter approached one of the officers and asked if he had a comment.
The reporter said the officer simply said, “We live in a fallen world,” and then he walked away.
That incident is just one of a myriad of incidents that happen every day, where we live and around the world. Despite my inclination to elaborate and illustrate extensively and colorfully I won’t, because you know every bit as well as I know… we live in a fallen world.
The world has been broken for a long time. In Genesis 1 and 2 the world is an idyllic place of serenity and beauty until Genesis 3, where all that changed when Adam and Eve ran off the rails and succumbed to Satan’s urging and disobeyed God. They virtually had it made living in a perfect world without restrictions or restraint except for one thing. They wanted that one thing and that one thing cost them everything. And so it is, between Genesis 3 and Revelation 21 people have lived and will yet live in a broken, fallen world of unspeakable evil and equally unspeakable good.
But before… it was all good.
It was a good world. The world was an idyllic place of serenity and beauty where God, Adam and Eve walked together in the Garden of Eden. But then Adam and Eve blew it…
But since then, the world is a fallen and broken place we might call “the real world,” where life is a mixture of good and bad. Whenever we find ourselves in a place of opposing tensions we may take a piece of paper and draw a line making two columns. Above one column we write: Pro’s and above the other: Con’s.
In the case of making comparisons in a fallen world we might title our columns: GOOD and BAD.
In our Good column we might list all the great things we love and enjoy in life like the births of our children and grandchildren, health, hobbies and pastimes, rewarding jobs and careers, a loving spouse, a comfortable home, friends… you get the idea.
In the BAD column we might cite hate in the world, bad health, child abuse, poverty, bigotry, human trafficking, lying and deceit, unfaithfulness, terrorism… once again, you get the idea.
My guess is that somewhere on our list of BAD things we would write down the word “death.”
The real world is where we live now. It is no longer an all good place. It is broken. It is fallen. It is imperfect and flawed and the presence of evil permeates our culture. And because of that we live with sin and all that goes with it, including death.
In Revelation 21:1-5, God’s Word says: “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them and they will be his people. There will be no more tears, death, sorrow, crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And God said, “I am making everything new!”
The tipping point in history that makes the hope of living once again in an idyllic place of serenity and beauty is what we call the Gospel:
“Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead. And he was seen by Peter, the twelve and more than 500 followers at one time. He was seen by James and later by all of the apostles.” I Corinthians 15:3-7
I Corinthians 15 is known as “the resurrection” chapter in the Bible. This entire chapter is devoted to affirming the defeat of death and our hope of a bodily resurrection from the dead unto eternal life.
Our text begins today with a discussion of what it would mean if Christ did not or was not raised from the dead. Some people simply did and do not believe in the afterlife and the resurrection from the dead.
So our text begins with a hypothetical question.
I. Facing the Hypothetical, “What If?”
“Since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there is no resurrection of the dead?” I Corinthians 15:12
Verses 12-19 identify five consequences that result from there being no resurrection from the dead. If Christ has not been raised from the dead then what?