Summary: EASTER (B) - The risen Savior is our living hope: a living hope that is guaranteed and a living hope that is our victory!
THE RISEN SAVIOR IS OUR LIVING HOPE! (Outline)
1 CORINTHIANS 15:19-26 - March 22, 2005 - EASTER SUNDAY
INTRO: This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it! Today we are going to study our living hope that far surpasses any hopes or dreams any of us have ever had. In our lives many of us have seen many of our hopes and dreams fall short of what we expected. On this resurrection festival of Easter today’s text reminds us of the fact that the risen Savior is our living hope. Unlike any other earthly hope our risen Savior, Jesus Christ never falls short of our expectations. Jesus cannot disappoint. In the epistle of Peter the writer encouraged the persecuted Christians. As he reminded them, so we are re-minded today to focus not so much on our limited earthly hopes but on that eternal, living hope – Christ, the resurrected Savior of mankind. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead"(1 PETER 1:3). We are privileged to rejoice and praise God for this Easter fact:
THE RISEN SAVIOR IS OUR LIVING HOPE --
I. our living hope guaranteed, and
II. Our living hope of victory.
I. OUR LIVING HOPE GUARANTEED
A. The apostle Paul addresses this letter to the Christians at Corinth who are facing many problems.
1. In the first 13 chapters of 1 Corinthians Paul addresses these problems with divine solutions.
2. Then Paul comes to chapter 15, the resurrection chapter. Some struggled with Jesus’ rising.
B. Verse 19 reminded the congregation of their living hope. Their living hope was in the living Savior.
1. Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. Verse 20. Christ is the firstfruits from the grave.
2. Note that death is connected with those who sleep. Death, like sleep, is not the end.
C. Jesus’ resurrection as the firstfruits is the guarantee for the rest of believers to also rise from the dead.
1. Verse 21 describes that because of sin mankind has been guaranteed death.
2. Verse 22. The result of Adam’s sin to death is replaced with Jesus’ guarantee to be made alive.
D. Today’s society does not like to discuss sin. We really do not like to hear that much about sin either. After all, who really wants to be reminded of all of their shortcomings? As long as we live in this world and have flesh and blood and life and breath we are tainted by sin. We cannot dismiss sin by saying eve-ryone is doing. We cannot disguise sin by calling it a sickness. God still looks at our wickedness and re-bellion in thought, word and deed as sin. The effects of sin are seen in the ultimate end of everyone’s earthly life. "For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son--both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die"(EZEKIEL 18:4). None escape an earthly death because of sin.
E. There is a very close connection between sin, living and dieing. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden death entered the world. No one would really want to live forever in the midst of suffer-ing and sorrow caused by sin. Each of us have inherited our first parent’s sinfulness. Every day our Old Adam (sinful nature) leads us into sin – that is guaranteed. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory that is guaranteed! "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men"(ROMANS 5:18). Adam passed on to us sin and death. Christ graciously gives us forgiveness and life.
F. Our living, loving Savior want us to know that his resurrection is a guarantee of our own resurrection. That is the meaning of firstfruits. Not only is Christ the first and the best of the harvest of resurrection but also firstfruits also mean there are more to come. We, too, are guaranteed to be raised to life. Chapter 10 of the gospel of John is known as the Good Shepherd chapter. The Lord Jesus Christ emphasizes and re-emphasizes his promises and guarantee to lead his sheep. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand"(JOHN 10:27,28). We all, like sheep, have gone astray but the Lord brings us safely to himself.
TRANS: THE RISEN SAVIOR IS OUR LIVING HOPE – our living hope guaranteed AND