Summary: Discover two truths Paul taught the Corinthian believers about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15.
The Radical Truth about the Resurrection
1 Cor. 15:12-34
[Come in from That’s My King video]
And you know why he is King? Because the tomb is empty! That’s right, First Family, others have claimed to be king, and prophets and leaders have tried to be pseudo-Messiahs. But only One has come back from the dead -- Jesus Christ! He alone reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords!
INTRO: Yes, the tomb is empty. But have you ever wondered, “What does empty mean in 2007? Sure, they knew it was empty on Easter morning, but what about today, thousands of years later? How does an empty tomb then connect to me now?”
In fact, maybe you’ve bought into some of the theories that have been propagated since that first Easter morning to try and make people think the tomb wasn’t empty. Theories floated around, such as 1) he merely went to sleep and didn’t really die, and 2) His body was stolen, so he never really rose again. The most common of these theories that was circulated is actually mentioned in Matthew 28.
You see, the resurrection debate is not a new phenomenon. What you see on public television each year or annually on the Discovery Channel and other networks is simply a new version of an old age argument: Did he really die and rise again? People debated his resurrection just hours after it happened, and they continued for years. In fact, false beliefs about the resurrection were one of the things Paul wrote to dispel in the book of 1 Corinthians. The city of Corinth, known for its wild behavior and idol worship (such as the religious orgies that were held at the Temples in Corinth), was knee-deep in resurrection debate, which was leading to an even further distortion: Not only did Christ not rise for the dead, but there is no resurrection for anyone. It was “one and done” so to speak. So Paul writes a glamorous piece of logic in 1 Cor. 15 showing the tragic result of unbelief and how ludicrous it is to deny the truth of the resurrection, especially Christ’s.
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:12-34
(-) If there is no resurrection…
…Christ is dead (v. 13)
…We’re wasting time and energy (v. 14)
…It’s silly to believe (v. 14)
…We’re liars and lack integrity (v. 15)
…There is no forgiveness (v. 17)
…My saved relatives who have died are actually lost (v. 18)
…We deserve people’s pity (v. 19)
(+) If there is a resurrection…
…Christ is alive (v. 20)
…He is our leader and Lord (v. 20)
…There is a future hope (v. 21)
…We have a purpose for existing (v. 22)
…History has a point and a progression (v. 23)
…There is a reason to be actively involved in sacrificing for God’s work (v. 32,33)
So what do I do with all this? Essentially, 2 radical truths jump out at me:
1. If there is no resurrection, live life in the FAST lane and quit behaving!
One of the worst and most illogical beliefs being circulated is the “be good and do right” mentality without the foundation of God to support it. If there is no God and no resurrection, why be good? I wouldn’t! Basically, if it’s not empty, I am!
In fact, just go ahead and make Easter all about the bunny instead of Jesus, kind of like the family did that was pictured a few years ago in the cartoon Family Circus. It was Easter morning and the two kids found their Easter baskets and were really enjoying them. The young boy asks, “Who colored all these eggs?”
“The Easter bunny,” his mom chimed in, grinning at dad.
“And who gave us the jelly beans?” asked the sister.
“The Easter bunny,” both parents replied again.
“And the chocolate rabbit?”
Again, both said, “The Easter bunny.”
To these kids, nothing was beyond the reach of the Easter Bunny. So that morning at church, as they were listening to their pastor talk of the resurrection and heard him say, “They came to the tomb and found the stone rolled away. Who could have done such an amazing thing?”, the little boy jumped up in his chair and shouted, “The Easter Bunny!”
Like it or not, if he is still in the tomb, the Easter Bunny is your best bet! Quit pretending like morality and civility matters. It doesn’t if there is no resurrection. Because that means there is no God. We’ve been fooled and should actually be pitied for living a lie. However…
2. If there is a resurrection, live life in the FAITH lane and start believing!
That’s right. Put it on the line and believe. Let faith become the predominant factor in your life. Not positive thinking or self-help. But faith! Belief in the visible, physical person of Jesus, God’s Son, as your only way to heaven!