Summary: The resurrection is the foundation on which the gospel is built and as long as we have this foundation, we are free from fear and have reason to hope. Found here in chapter fifteen are the reasons why I have taken my stand on the gospel of Christ.
THE GOSPEL ON WHICH I STAND
© 2001 Mark Beaird
Text: I Corinthians 15: 1-24
The Apostle Paul begins chapter 15 by addressing a group of Christians who had been hearing others teach that there was no resurrection of the dead. This was troubling to them for various reasons. If there were no resurrection of the dead then they would never again see their loved ones who had died. Worst still, was the thought that perhaps Jesus Christ had never been resurrected.
Paul comes right to the point in verses one and two when he says, “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. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” (NIV Italics added)
They had come too far and seen too much to doubt what God had done through Christ and the resurrection. The resurrection is the foundation on which the gospel is built and as long as we have this foundation, we are free from fear and have reason to hope.
Paul Hovey had this to say on the subject of the resurrection: “The simplest meaning of Easter is that we are living in a world in which God has the last word. On Friday night it appeared as if evil were the master of life. The holiest and most lovable One who had ever lived was dead and in His tomb, crucified by the order of a tyrant without either scruples or regrets. He who had raised the highest hopes among men had died by the most shameful means. A cross, two nails, a jeering mob of debauched souls, and a quick thrust of a spear had ended it all. Those hours when His voice was stilled and His hands were quiet were the blackest through which the race has ever lived. If Caesar could put an end to Jesus, then no man could ever dare aspire or hope again. Hope, in such a world, could be nothing better than a mockery. Then came Easter morning and the glorious word: "He is risen!" And evil’s triumph was at an end. Since that hour when Mary in the garden first discovered the staggering fact of victory, no man whose heart was pure and whose labors were honest has ever had reason to fear or despair if he believed in the Resurrection.
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 166.
Found here in chapter fifteen are the reasons why I have taken my stand on the gospel of Christ.
I. JESUS WAS AND IS THE SAVIOR.
A. Christ died for our sin (v.13).
A lady wrote in to a question and answer forum. "Dear Sirs, Our preacher said on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think?"
"Dear Bewildered, Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear thru his side...put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens."
Paul writes in Romans 4:25-5:2 that, “He (Jesus) was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” NIV
B. Christ arose from the dead (vv.4-8).
Henri Nouwen wrote, “The resurrection of Jesus is a hidden event. Jesus didn’t rise from the dead to prove to those who had crucified him that they had made a mistake, or confound his opponents. Nor did he rise to impress the rulers of his time or to force anyone to believe. Jesus’ resurrection was the full affirmation of his Father’s love.
Therefore, he only showed himself to those who knew about this love. He made himself known as the risen Lord, only to a handful of his close friends. There is probably no event in human history that has had such importance, while remaining, at the same time, so unspectacular. The world didn’t notice it; only those few to whom Jesus had chosen to show himself, and whom he wanted to send out to announce God’s love to the world just as he had done.”
-Henri Nouwen in Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 4.
II. BELIEVING GOD IS NEVER FUTILE.
A. The resurrection is a present and future reality (vv. 14-20).