Summary: A sermon on the resurrection, including some apologetic proofs of the resurrection.
What if Jesus DID Rise from the Dead
An Easter Sermon
April 19, 2020
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation is available for this sermon by request at email@example.com. Please mention the title of the sermon and the Bible text to help me find the sermon in my archives.
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:14-15, 17 – “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain. 15 We are feven found to be false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised Christ whom he did not raise not, if it is true that the dead are not raised. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not….17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; and you are still in your sins.”
Last Sunday was Easter and I preached on the resurrection. This morning I’m going to do something a little unorthodox. I’m going to talk about the resurrection again, but from a different perspective.
You know, many people don’t really grasp the significance of Easter.
Illus. – One Sunday a few weeks before Easter, a Sunday School teacher decided to ask her class what they knew about Easter. The first little guy said, “Easter is when all the family comes to the house and we eat a big turkey and watch football.”
The teacher suggested that perhaps he was thinking of Thanksgiving, not Easter. Next a pretty little girl said, “Easter is the day when you come down the stairs in the morning and you see all the beautiful presents under the tree.”
At this point, the teacher was really feeling discouraged. After explaining that the girl was probably thinking about Christmas, she called on a boy with his hand tentatively raised in the air.
Her spirits perked up as the boy began, “Easter is the time when Jesus was crucified and buried.”
She felt she’d gotten through to at least ONE child until he added, “And then He comes out of the grave, and if He sees His shadow, we have six more weeks of winter.”
We laugh, but many adult Christians do not really understand the significance of Easter either. They may not know that, in fact, both haters and lovers of Christianity have recognized the resurrection of Christ to be the FOUNDATION STONE of the Christian faith. Throw out the resurrection and Christianity as proclaimed in the Bible CRUMBLES.
Because of this, the resurrection is one of the MOST ATTACKED teachings in the Bible.
Now—either Jesus Christ DID rise from the dead or he DID NOT. If he DID, it was the most SENSATIONAL event in all of history. If He DID NOT, then, as Josh McDowell states in his book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, the teaching of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the “most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted upon the minds of men...” (p. 179).
As Paul put in our text int 1 Corinthians 15:17 – “…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; and you are still in your sins.” – In other words, if Christ did not rise from the dead, He was not God as He claimed to be, and if He were not God, His dying for our sins was meaningless because He would have been just another sinful man on that cross, no different than the two thieves on that hill who died with him.
The exciting thing about the resurrection is that it is one of the most indisputable and well-attested events in history, contrary to what you read or been told.
The great Roman historian, Professor Thomas Arnold—author of the 3-volume History of Rome, and holder of the chair of modern history at Oxford—was well acquainted with the value of evidence in determining historical facts. – This great scholar said:
I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God [gave] us that Christ died and rose again from the dead. [Thomas Arnold, Sermons on the Christian Life—Its Hopes, Its Fears and Its Close, p. 324]
Illus. – Frank Morrison was one of America’s foremost lawyers in the early 1900s. He was ALSO A SKEPTIC of the sort of Christianity that took the Bible literally and accepted its supernatural elements. He recognized that the resurrection of Christ was the LYNCHPIN of Christianity—that if you could knock it over, the rest of Christianity as a supernatural religion would fall with it, leaving what he thought was a great moral code to live by, but nothing more. He determined to use his critical abilities as a lawyer to tear holes in what he was sure were myths and legends about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.