Summary: The message of the resurrection gives us hope that whether we live or die, the best is yet to come.
OUR RESURRECTION HOPE: The Best is Yet to Come!
[Main points: The Message, The Certainty, and The Hope of the Resurrection]
Text: 1 Corinthians 15:1-28
Intro: Neil Strait once said, “Take from a man his wealth, and you hinder him; take from him his purpose, and you slow him down. But take from man his hope, and you stop him. He can go on without wealth, and even without purpose, for awhile. But he will not go on without hope” (Reagan and Phillips 1995, 154-155).
“Someone has said that if you could convince a man there was no hope, he would curse the day he was born. Hope is an indispensable quality of life. Years ago, an S-4 submarine was rammed by another ship and quickly sank. The entire crew was trapped inside. Ships rushed to the scene of the disaster off the coast of Massachusetts. Nobody knows what took place down in the sunken submarine, but it is fairly certain that the men clung bravely to life as the oxygen slowly gave out. “
“A diver placed his ear to the side of the vessel and listened. He heard a tapping noise. Someone, he learned, was tapping out a question in the dots and dashes of the Morse Code. The question came slowly: ‘Is…there…any…hope?’”
Today, let me assure you that there is hope – whatever your situation. This is not just because I say so, but because we can look at God’s word, and especially the resurrection of Christ, and discover that we have hope for this lifetime, as well as in the life that is yet to come.
Prop: Here is the main truth to take with you today: The message of the resurrection gives us hope that whether we live or die, the best is yet to come.
Interrogative: How does the resurrection make us so optimistic about the future?
T.S.: We will examine 3 thoughts related to the resurrection from 1 Cor. 15, and show why it is our source of joy, hope, and optimism.
I. The Message of the Resurrection (1-4) – (Our sin problem has been handled!)
The simple message of the Gospel is “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” (15:3-4).
-The very fact that we talk about the resurrection of Jesus implies that He must have died. In turn, death reminds us of the serious consequences of sin.
-Why was it necessary for Jesus to die for our sins? Because sin brings death. Paul made this very clear in Romans 6:23 ”For the wages of sin is death….” Also, Paul shows that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
-Now clearly, our sin should bring about our own death. We are responsible for our own actions and choices. However, Jesus Himself was willing to die in our place, providing life for us in the here and now, and eternal life with Him forever after. He faced the consequences of our sins and failures. This is the simple message of the gospel in a nutshell. Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves.
-See, the gospel, the good news, really has two sides to it: love and justice (or mercy/justice). When Christians share the good news that our sin problem that has separated us from God has been taken care of by Jesus, we have sometimes over-emphasized love and mercy to the neglect of justice and judgment. At other times, perhaps we have over-emphasized God’s judgment of sin at the expense of His love. My general recommendation for Christians is to start with the message of God’s mercy and love, and then show that judgment is sure to come to all of us, unless we accept what Jesus did for us out of His love and mercy. Different situations may call for different approaches, however, and I would encourage Christians to listen to the Holy Spirit as they share the good news of forgiveness. One evangelist recommends that you give grace to the humble – those who will receive and respond to the message of love and forgiveness – and give law (justice/judgment) to the proud – those who do not see their need for salvation and believe they are good enough already. Just be kind, loving, and sensitive in your approach- never arrogant, overbearing, or smug. God is a God of love and mercy, but He is also a God who will judge sin with total fairness.
John 3:16 gives us both sides of the message, and I want to paraphrase it so we don’t lose the powerful impact of it due to familiarity:
“God loved the world in this way: He gave up His one and only Son, so that anyone who believes in Him will not die in their sins and face a terrible judgment, but will have a life of freedom and victory that goes on forever – even after our physical death.”