Summary: Two point sermon to show how unbelieving leadership in the church fails to live up to the gospel call and the results of believing that He is Risen!
A Sermon on ResuReduction
My text for today is from 1 Cor 15:14
“…if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.”
Text Illustration: HE'S NO LONGER IN THE GRAVE.
In 1887, twenty two years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, his coffin was dug up and opened because there were constant rumors that his body was not in the grave. So they dug it up and the body was there. The rumors continued, so 14 years later they had to dig it up again!
Both times witnesses were present who testified that Lincoln was still in the grave.
Three days after the death of Jesus Christ, similar rumors began to spread throughout the land of Israel. Only this time there were no witnesses who could say that they had seen His body.
In fact, to the contrary, many witnesses claimed to have seen him out of His grave and even talked with Him after the resurrection. (So they saw His body but it was alive!)
As great a man as Lincoln was, there were witnesses to prove he was still in the grave. If one of…. the leaders in our government were to cry out today to Lincoln or NZ Prime Ministers, Keith Holyoake, Michael Joseph Savage or Robert Muldoon for help, there would be no response. If a scientist were to cry out to Einstein for help today there would only be empty silence. If someone were to call out to any other name religious or philosophical leader Mohammed or Buddha or Gandhi today there would be no help.
But if you and I call out to Jesus Christ there is instant power available to us... power to change lives ...why? Because He lives! (1)
What difference does Jesus’ resurrection make? Does it really matter?
If Jesus did not arise from the dead, the Christian faith is meaningless.
It’s all in vain. An interesting social experiment maybe, but all meaningless words.
Live in any society, live among any people and you will soon discover what makes them tick. They are directed, guided by social, political and religious influences.
So what is the motor that drives us?
Our way of life was based on Christian spirituality, philosophy and morality until fairly recently.
We now live in a ‘post cross’ society. A Post-Christian belief system has taken over. What has it taken over? It has taken over the thinking of most people in NZ!
While we were discussing post modernism, during the 1980’s-90’s, I think it was, post-modernists were teaching our own Christian children (or at least children from Christian homes) how to think without reference to God, Truth, Justice, Beauty or absolute standards of any kind.
When we were debating, wrestling with Church Union in the 1970’s, and 80’s they were teaching humanism from the pulpits, the university lecture theatres and all over the newspapers, TV and Radio. Meanwhile the Charismatic Movement and Pentecostal Churches were being established.
The history of how we came to be where we are, and the story of the cross in NZ was relegated to antiquity.