Summary: Easter sermon on the source and cure of death with thoughts gleaned from Glen Schaumberg’s 2000 Easter sermon.
April 11, 2004 1 Corinthians 15:19-26
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Are you one of those kinds of people who like putting things to death? When you see a squirrel or rabbit or cat crossing the road, do you speed up to try and hit it? That might seem a bit extreme to you, but there are some things that all of us like to kill. We love killing germs and bacteria. Most of us rejoice when the Pest Control comes and kills the ants and cockroaches and termites around our homes. With joy most of us swat mosquitos off of our arms and laugh in it’s face. There’s nothing more satisfying than slapping a deer fly between your hands and watching it squirm on the floor for life - only to then squish it beneath your foot.
There are other things that all of us would like to put to death - but don’t have the ability to as of yet. We’d love to declare that cancer is dead. We’d love to declare multiple sclerosis is dead. Thousands of dollars are being invested into trying to put AIDS to death. But more than anything, mankind would love to declare that death is dead. With DNA and all of the advanced medicine, man is trying his hardest to achieve this. What they don’t realize, is that death is already dead. This Easter morning, we are going to celebrate -
The Death of Death
I. Death was born in Adam
In order to cure AIDS, the medical profession first tried very hard to figure out where it came from. They figured if they could find it’s source, they could find it’s cure. I don’t know if this is true or not - but the history of the disease ended up being very ugly, supposedly originating back to a man having sexual relations with a monkey. The history of death - where it came from - is also an ugly history. It goes all the way back to Genesis chapter 3. In it we find an ugly and vengeful creature by the name of Satan - inhabiting a snake - and telling lies about our God - accusing Him of trying to hold something back from Adam and Eve. What is just as ugly is seeing Adam - who was supposed to be protecting his wife, just sitting there and allowing her to be led into temptation and sin. It’s sad to see him and Eve then try to run and hide from God - covering themselves with leaves and causing the death of the first animal so that they could cover themselves. God’s Word declared in Romans 5:12 sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned. When we track the path of death - it was born when Adam and Eve sinned. That’s what Paul told the Corinthians when he said, death came through a man . . . in Adam all die.
From that point on - it only gets uglier. The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Romans 8:22) Cain kills Abel. The flood comes. The Israelites turn into a murderous and idolatrous group. As time goes on - and the child of sin grows and grows in the womb of the earth - this death gets worse and worse. In the Bubonic Plague of 1350 as much as half of the population was wiped out. The Black Death was far worse than any scare from the AIDS epidemic. Wars have claimed the lives of thousands of men and will continue to do so for the rest of time. America is up in arms over the five hundred plus young men and women that have died in service over in Iraq. Yet more deadly than that - thousands are dying every day with heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and accidents throughout the world. No matter what the reason, everyone is going to die. The reason is simple. Paul told the Romans - Death came to all men, because all sinned. He told the Corinthians - IN Adam all die. Since you are born as a descendant of Adam - you too will die. You can’t escape it - not any more than you can escape the physical characteristics of your immediate parents.