Summary: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is either smoke and mirrors or a historical fact, the tomb is empty.

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“Smoke and Mirrors or an Empty Tomb”

I Corinthians 15

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is either smoke and mirrors or a Historical Fact – the Tomb is empty.

People have various viewpoints concerning the person of Jesus Christ. Many are set in their ways and refuse to objectively examine the historic evidence of Jesus.

#Two boys were playing basketball in Kentucky when one of the boys was attacked by a rabid Rottweiler. Thinking quickly, the other boy ripped a board off the nearby fence, wedged it down the dog’s collar and twisted it as hard as he could. The dog’s neck was broken before he could bite the other boy.

A Lexington Herald Leader reported saw the incident take place and he rushed over to interview the boy. “Young Wildcat fan saves friend from vicious animal,” he wrote in his notebook. “But I’m not a wildcat fan.” The young boy responded.

“Sorry” the reporter replied, “We’re in Kentucky and I just assumed that you were a Wildcat fan.” The reporter starts writing again, “Cardinal fan rescues friend from terrible attack.” The boy looked at the pad and said, “I’m not a Louisville fan either.”

The reporter looked at him and asked, “I assumed that everyone in the state of Kentucky was either for the Wildcats or the Cardinals. What team do you root for?” “I am a Tennessee Volunteer fan.” The boy said,

The reporter turned to a new sheet in his notebook and wrote: “Little redneck hoodlum kills faithful family pet.”

Everyone looks at Easter with different views. I Corinthians 15, Paul is writing to the church in Corinth. Some in the church doubted the resurrection of Jesus and others rejected the fact. Many in the congregation in Corinth were gentiles with a Greek heritage.

Greek philosophers taught that the body of a person was evil. The thought that Jesus rose from the dead in bodily form was more than they could believe. The Greeks were looking forward to living in the spirit separated from the body.

The Apostle Paul gives clear teachings about the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Paul assured the people in Corinth that a day was coming when God would give them a spiritual body that would never die.

Two groups of people: 1st group – convinced that Jesus rose form the dead and are committed to honoring Jesus in their lives.

2nd Group – have had bad experiences in church. They are seeking God but haven’t come to a point of making a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.

1. Smoke and Mirrors

What if group two is right? What if the Christian life is smoke and mirrors. James 1:22-24 talks about a person who looks in a mirror and goes away and forgets what he/she looks like. James 4:13-15 James talks about a person’s life being like a vapor of smoke, here for a while and then it vanishes. If Jesus did not rise from the grave then your life is like smoke and mirrors.

If Jesus did not rise from the dead then your Christian faith is like taking a placebo. The pill is a dummy and has no medical value.

If Jesus has not risen from the dead then you are to be pitied. I Corinthians 15:12-19.

If Jesus has not risen form the dead then your faith is a fake.

If Jesus has not risen from the dead then you are still in your sins.

If Jesus has not risen form the dead then you have false hope. The fact of eternal life is a sham. I Cor. 15:32b.

2. Empty Tomb – Historic Fact – Jesus has risen form the grave.

I Corinthians 15:20 The tomb is empty. Jesus is alive. The Gospel that was preached in the early church is still true today: I Corinthians 15:1-8.

While driving to church on Easter Sunday two years ago, Peggy Key in Portage, Michigan told her children the Easter story. "This is the day we celebrate Jesus coming back to life," She explained. Right away, her 3-year-old son, Kevin, piped up from the back seat, "Will He be in church today?"

Your faith is more than smoke and mirrors. Your faith has substance. You’re put your trust in one who lives. When you pray, Jesus hears. When you worship it bring joy to the heart of God. You have placed your trust in the living Lord, Jesus Christ.

Because Jesus lives your sins are forgiven.

You have hope. I Corinthians 15:58

# Old Hans

ILL. In Henry Garrity’s book, "Portraits of Perseverance," Carl was a very rich man who owned a great estate. One of his favorite pastimes was riding horseback through his valley, looking at everything he owned & congratulating himself on his great wealth.

One day, as Carl was riding along, he came up over a hill & in the distance saw one of his tenant farmers, an old man named Hans. It was lunch time, & Hans had set a little table under a shade tree & was getting ready to eat. But before he ate, he bowed his head & folded his hands in prayer to thank God for his food.

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