Summary: How important is the resurrection to us as Christians? It may carry more importance than you thought.
I love this particular season. Easter holds with me a special place. There is just something about this particular time, and what it means to Christianity, that somehow seems to excite me.
One thing that is normal for Easter is that you get a lot of visitors to come to church. That can be exciting when you think about it. It means that you get to meet them, make them feel welcome, and invite them to come back. That is an enjoyable thing about Easter.
Usually, Easter is a time when people buy a new outfit. This time of year, people want to get something new and wear the best thing possible to church. There is nothing wrong with that. I believe when we come to church, it is good to look the best that you possible can. Easter can be enjoyable because of that.
It is always fun to watch the children hunt Easter eggs. When you think about it, it can be quite comical to see. Have you ever seen 10 children converge on one Easter egg?
Something else that is enjoyable about Easter is getting to come together for a sunrise service, just what we are doing this morning. It has a special place with me to be able to get up early, and come to a place of worship to celebrate Easter as the sun begins to come up. It ought to bring us joy when we can do that, and reflect upon the meaning of Easter.
In the Gospel accounts of the coming to the tomb happened early in the morning. It was the dawning of a new day when my Lord and Savior rose from the grave.
We also read in the Gospels how that some that came to the tomb were afraid, some were confused, and others had trouble believing. There can be little doubt as to the fact that the very ones who walked with Jesus, talked with Him, ate with Him, fellowshipped with Him, did not really understand what it all meant. In fact, John 20:9 clearly tells us that they did not yet know the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
Listen, that one particular verse in John’s account of the resurrection contains a very significant word. “They did not know that He MUST.” He MUST rise again. He MUST come back from the dead. He MUST come out of the tomb. One key element that is essential to the Christian faith is that He MUST.
Down through the ages following the resurrection of our Lord, man has made feeble attempts to explain away the resurrection. Man has derived plans and theories to discredit this historical event. No matter what theory man has concocted, they all fall short of truth because of the overwhelming evidence to the truth. The evidence of the resurrection crushes every lie constructed by man to explain it away, and the evidence points to the one unchangeable fact that we are celebrating this morning. He has risen! Jesus Christ, the Son of God is alive! Why do you think that preacher? It is because He MUST! He MUST rise from the grave. He MUST come back to life! He MUST!
John Warrick Montgomery, a Christian Lawyer and Apologist, wrote a book entitled, “Faith Founded on Fact.” In that book he carefully laid out all of the evidence for the resurrection. Upon presenting the facts he said that there is no competent jury who would rule that the resurrection did not happen. Why? It is because the resurrection is a very well documented historical event. It happened. Jesus arose from the dead. The resurrection was not an accident. It didn’t happen by chance and happenstance. He arose from the tomb for a definite purpose. What was that? He MUST! He MUST rise again!
But what if He didn’t? What would it do if Christ did not arise from the dead? I would like for you to notice with me this morning four implications that Paul gave to us, if Christ did not arise.
First of all, if Christ didn’t rise again, God’s Word would be worth nothing. Look at verse 14, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching in vain.” Without Christ being raised from the dead, our preaching becomes meaningless. Looking back at verse 1 notice what Paul says. “Moreover I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which ye received, and wherein ye stand.” What was that message? Notice verse 3 and 4. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
What is Paul saying? The scriptures, the very Word f God, which we proclaim before men encompasses the resurrection of Christ. Without the resurrection, then God’s message becomes of no effect.