Summary: Easter Sermon
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: 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, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
The Easter Message Is Of Utmost Importance.
What is important in your life, and why? We all have priorities. They way we live our lives tells people what our priorities are. Our families are a high priority. We put a great deal of energy and effort into making sure our families are well-cared for. Our jobs are a high priority. We work toward promotions. We strive for recognition and advancement. We put a great deal of effort and energy into our jobs. Now, where does Jesus Christ fit in? Obviously, he must have some degree of importance, or you wouldn’t be here this morning. Is the Lord, your worship of him, and your attention to his gospel message--is that a high priority? The highest priority? When St. Paul visited the Greek city of Corinth, he proclaimed the resurrection of Christ to them. He recalled his visit when he wrote, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance." (1 Corinthians 15:3) What St. Paul proclaimed centuries ago is no less important today. The Easter message is of utmost importance. Scripture foretold it. Apostles witnessed it. Jesus fulfilled it. And we are saved by it.
I. Scripture Foretold It.
The main reason St. Paul wrote the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, often called the Resurrection Chapter, was to respond to a question that had sprung up in Corinth. Apparently, some people had some serious doubts about the resurrection of the dead, and concluded that the resurrection was not real. St. Paul pointed out that they should not doubt the resurrection, since Scripture had foretold it. First St. Paul said, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures..." (1 Corinthians 15:3)
Christ died. Scripture foretold it. The prophet Isaiah, 700 years before Christ, said, “Just as there were many who were appalled at him— his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness—By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 52:14;53:8,9) Scripture foretold it.
1,000 years before Christ, David wrote: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? ...You lay me in the dust of death." (Psalm 22:1,15) Even back in the Garden of Eden the Lord had foretold that the Christ would suffer and die.
But Scripture foretold more than the death of Christ. "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures..." (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)
Christ is risen! The Scriptures had foretold this too. After foretelling Christ’s death, Isaiah says, "He will ... prolong his days... He will see the light of life." (Isaiah 53:10,11) King David also wrote, "You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay." (Psalm 16:10) Scripture had foretold the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus had told his disciples that these things would happen. Actually, he said, "They must happen." The death of Jesus was no surprise, not if you know the Scriptures. The resurrection of Jesus should have been expected, if you understand the Scriptures. God had laid all this out centuries in advance.