Summary: Another sermon that can be used at Easter or any time the resurrection is treated
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Anticipating the worst, England braced itself for news from the front. Their embattled general, Wellington, faced the notorious warmonger, Napoleon, in a winner-take-all battle that would determine the fate of all Europe.
Napoleon’s objective was clear - to extend the borders of France BY FORCE till the whole of Europe submitted to his rule.
The future of the British Isle was uncertain. The English waited for news on bated breath.
There were no cell phones or 24-hour cable news networks in those days. Their best mode of mass communication was “semaphore.” A ship would sail into the harbor, use flags to signal a message to a watchman stationed atop Winchester Cathedral, who in turn would signal that message to another and another till news had reached the whole realm.
When the ship came into harbor to report news from the front, the signalman began his message. First word, “Wellington.” Next word, “Defeated.” Before another word could be signaled, heavy fog moved in and obscured the messenger.
England plunged into mourning as the news, “Wellington Defeated,” traveled to every village and hamlet across the English countryside.
Three hours later, the fog lifted and the REST of the message came through, “Wellington Defeated - - the Enemy!”
Which reminds me of the day they placed our Lord’s broken body in the tomb. On all accounts, the message was “Christ defeated.” But three days later, the fog lifted and the good news rang out – “Christ defeated - - the enemy!!!”
For 2,000 years, no other message has brought greater hope and joy than the message “He is risen!” But in recent decades, Satan has launched a massive propaganda campaign to sew seeds of doubt in the minds of many regarding our Lord’s resurrection. Every year or two some story circulates that acts like a thief - stealing what little faith our world might have had.
Tragically, it has been successful. Even some formerly great “Christian” denominations and colleges, are questioning the validity of this long held doctrine of the church. But they fail to understand the implications of a dead “savior.”
This controversy surrounding the resurrection is NOT new. All the way back to the first century, Christians were ridiculed for believing the resurrection.
The city of Corinth was something of a paradox. Though immoral to the core, still there were those who enjoyed discussing religious and philosophical ideology. It mattered not that their religious speculations made no impact on their behavior. To THEM, a man whose lifestyle may seem reprehensible to US, had just as much right to engage in religious debate as the most orthodox and upright.
The widespread rejection of the resurrection had proved difficult for that little body of believers to overcome. Some were waffling in their faith. But they had failed to consider what this compromise might mean. So Paul asks, “how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” And what follows is a list of 7 disastrous consequences that would result if such a compromise is taken to its logical conclusion:
1. First, if there is no resurrection, then Christ is not risen. You can’t get much plainer than verse 13, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.”
The reason many Corinthians had made this disconnect in their minds, that Jesus’ resurrection in NO WAY guarantees OURs, is because many false teachers preached that Jesus was not fully man. “Since Christ was God,” they said, “He was not ACTUALLY human, and therefore he was not subject to death.” They said, “When the disciples saw Jesus after the resurrection, they only THOUGHT they were touching a human body.”
But that view doesn’t square with the NT, does it?
The Gospels clearly prove Jesus was human. He was physically born to a human mother. He ate, drank, slept, and grew tired just like any other man. He felt real pain when He was beaten. He shed REAL blood when he was crucified, and his human body died – as was verified by Roman soldiers.