Summary: This sermon explores the consequences of not having a hope of resurrection and assures that, since Christ is raised, there is promise of resurrection for His followers.
The Hopeful “If” I Cor. 15:19
INTRO.: Today we conclude our series of messages on the “If’s” in the middle of life. I want us to consider the theme, “If there is no resurrection.” If there is no resurrection, we have no hope beyond this life.
Without the resurrection, the message of the Gospel makes no sense at all. The life of Jesus makes no sense at all, and our faith in Him makes no sense.
I. If there is no resurrection:
A. Christ is not raised. V. 13
1. Mt. 16:21 - Jesus clear prediction He would be raised.
2. Mt. 12:40 - sign of Jonah. Only proof He offered of His deity and truth of His claims.
3. Jn. 10:17, 18 - he has authority to lay His life down and take it up again.
4. If there is no resurrection and Christ is not raised, He must be a liar
B. Our preaching is in vain. 14
1. Because there is no Gospel. No good news.
2. Here is the Gospel: I Cor. 15:3, 4. Resurrection is essential to it.
3. If I had no good news for you beyond this life, I would never have started preaching.
C. Our faith is in vain:
1. ILLUS.: Where would I run for help if a loved one had a heart attack? The cemetery?
2. Who wants to put their trust in Jesus if He is dead?
3. Rom. 10:9 - this is the Word of Faith.: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
D. The Bible was written by a pack of liars. 15
1. Resurrection is the heart of the Gospel preaching and teaching of these men.
2. All but one died a martyr’s death. One will not die for a lie.
3. If we don’t believe in a coming resurrection, we must doubt everything the Bible says.
E. There is no escape from sin. 17b
1. The resurrection proves God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins.
2. Rom 4:25 “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
3. Praise Chorus: “You came from Heaven to earth to show the way, from the earth to the cross my debt to pay, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky. Lord, I lift Your Name on high.”
F. We will never see our loved ones again following death. 18
1. I believe the promised reunion is the best part of the Gospel message.
2. I Th. 4:13, 14, 18 - There is no encouragement.
3. ILLUS.: I had a funeral for a dear Saint in Illinois. It was January and as we left the cemetery, I looked back at the bleak, wind swept frozen landscape and thought, “Thank God she is in a better place than this.” The cemetery is not the end.
G. We would be most pitiable. 19
1. Because, as blind fools, we have followed and lived for a lie.
2. All our sacrifices would be worth nothing.
3. As Ernest Hemmingway said, “It’s as though we were a colony of ants living on one end of a burning log.”
II. But, Christ has indeed been raised from the dead:
A. The first fruits from the dead:
1. Refers to Jewish practice of offering first fruits of harvest to God. Anticipates further harvest..
2. Jesus’ resurrection holds the only hope for ours.
3. As Adam introduced the human race to death, Christ introduces us to resurrection & eternal life.
B. God made us to anticipate Heaven:
1. We always want something better than we have. Nothing is enough.
2. ILLUS.: Keith Green song.
3. Heb. 11:16 Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
C. How shall we then live?
1. Seek the Kingdom first. Mt. 6:33
2. Take the narrow gate. Mt. 7:13, 14
3. Set your mind on Heaven. Col. 3:1
CONC.: Thomas Jefferson, a great man, nevertheless could not accept the miraculous elements in Scripture. He edited his own special version of the Bible in which all references to the supernatural were deleted. Jefferson, in editing the Gospels, confined himself solely to the moral teachings of Jesus. The closing words of Jefferson’s Bible are these: “There laid they Jesus and rolled a great stone at the mouth of the sepulcher and departed.” Thank God that is not the way the story really ends!
You might have heard about the couple from north Oklahoma who decided to go to Florida for a long weekend to thaw out during one particularly icy winter.