Summary: The fact - and if it isn’t....
Epiphany 6 The Fact
1 Cor. 15: 12-20
Example – gravity
† In Jesus Name †
Grace, Mercy and Peace, from God, our Father, and from our Risen from the Dead Lord Jesus Christ!
Example – gravity
Fact, from the Latin factus, something made. As in manufacture, or factory. In verb form, something that makes, or causes.
A fact then, is more than simple trivial bit of knowledge. It generates action, either willingly or by compulsion. Let me give you two examples, one of a fact, and one, a trivial knowledge.
This hymnal is red. Though that is a true statement, it is primarily trivial. I know it is red, you know it is red, but that doesn’t require us to do anything. I can ignore it is red, and identify it as the “hardback” hymnal.
Gravity, however, is a fact. It causes me to compensate, to adjust what I do, or it will drastically alter what happens.
Anyone have a cell phone? Can I see it for a second? Thanks!
Now, if I try to ignore gravity, and say that it has no effect, I could toss this phone up in the air, and walk away, not caring what happens. Gravity, being a fact, will cause XXX to act, will it not? Otherwise, the fact that a massive item will attract the item with less mass at a specific rate of acceleration will be observed, and impact will happen. Either way, with a active reaction, or a passive submission to the law of gravity, change has happened to the cell phone.
In today’s reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, there is a fact. I will state, very clearly, that this fact is more important, and has a greater impact, than the fact of gravity. Seriously, there is no other “fact” in this world, nor has there ever been, a fact that is more dynamic, which causes more of a change, than this.
Christ is risen from the dead.
Hallelujah, it is a fact, Christ is Risen from the dead.
That fact has a very definite product, faith, and that faith results in our hope, and in our witness. It literally changes us, bringing us to life, as the Spirit pours out the grace of God on us, His disciples, His people, His children
For we are united in His death, and in His resurrection.
1. No resurrection
a. Time to go home
b. Nothing made from sermon
c. What is there to believe in?
d. What is there to hope in, for this world?
It is interesting to me, that the epistle passage talks of those who struggle with the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is a situation that I would love more information on. Was it simply that the Corinthians had trouble comprehending the miraculous? Or was someone deceiving them? A rabbi that didn’t believe in the afterlife, or a greek scholar who believed that consciousness was the only real reality, and that ended at death? We don’t know – but we know that some among them challenged the idea of the death, and the resurrection of Jesus.
If they were right, that there was no resurrection from the dead, for Jesus, or for us, we might as well go home, put a sale sign on the church, and split the proceeds. For everything we do in the church, finds its basis in what we claim – that Jesus is risen from the dead.
Paul says our preaching, our proclaiming of the gospel is vain, if Christ has not risen from the dead. Think about it – according to scripture, we proclaim one thing – Christ crucified, dead and resurrected. But if Jesus did not rise from the dead, we proclaim a gospel that is nothing more than a lie. We literally perjure ourselves. Our hymns, which proclaim God’s glory, because He has redeemed us, are lies, nothing more than a scam.
What do we have faith in, if not in the promise of God to save us from our sins, and to eternal life – and if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then we have no link to either the forgiveness, or the gift of everlasting life.
In a few moments, we shall see that link made, as William Kristopher Parker will be baptized. Accordig to Romans 6, the passage printed at the bottom of the sermon notes page, this baptism will unite him with Christ’s death, and with the hope of Christ’s resurrection.
But if there is no resurrection from the dead, the act is meaningless. It is empty, and William doesn’t have the assurance of eternal life, or the forgiveness of His sins. I might as well not do it. Heck I might as well just walk out of here, for baptism, communion, confession and absolution, it is all meaningless, without the fact of the gospel. The good news so ably summed up in the following words of Luther.