Summary: Easter Sermon - Examines how different the world would be without Christ, and how Christians have impacted the world for good.
EASTER 2012 WHAT IF THERE WAS NO RESURRECTION?
At the time this letter was written, Paul was in Ephesus. While there, he received a letter from the Christians in Corinth, telling him about some of the problems going on in the church. In the letter, they told him about some of the issues they were facing and they told him some of the things that were being taught by some of the folks in that church.
The same thing happens today. People in a church make friends with a pastor, and even after he leaves and moves to another church, they often remain friends and ask him questions about what they’re being taught.
So a letter was sent to Paul and in response he wrote this letter addressing some of the problems and concerns the people had. Evidently, someone in the church, perhaps a deacon, or a Sunday School teacher, or someone like that was telling folks that there was no such thing as life after death. Evidently they were telling folks that when you died, that was the end of it.
There are folks today who say the same thing, though not usually people in church. There are people in our country who say that Easter is nothing more than a time to celebrate the Easter Bunny and that this story about Jesus rising from the dead is all fantasy. It is a figment of our imagination.
What if that were true? What if Jesus had not risen from the dead? What if He were still in the tomb? Would it really make that much difference?
Let me tell you this morning my friend, and you be sure and tell all of your separation of church and state friends, that if there were no resurrection, if there was no empty tomb, they would neither recognize nor enjoy the world today.
I. IF THERE WAS NO RESURRECTION THERE WOULD BE NO CHURCH
1. He appeared to Peter – v5
Peter was a coward. He denied that he even knew Jesus …
But, after he saw the empty tomb, after He saw Jesus alive again, and after the Holy Spirit came on him he was a changed man.
Acts chapter 2 tells us that on the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and preached and on that one day, over 3000 people became Christians. He preached again a few days later and another 5000 people were saved.
That was the beginning of the church among the Jews.
2. He appeared to Paul – v8
When the church started to grow, there was a Jewish leader by the name of Saul who didn’t like what he saw. He believed this was some new cult and that people were being led away from the true God, so he began to arrest Christians. He was there when one of the early Christians was stoned, and he held the coats of the people who were stoning him. He arrested Christians, tore apart families, and took their possessions from them.
The Bible tells us that he was on his way to Damascus one day, with letters giving him the authority to arrest more Christians there, when the risen Lord appeared to him and changed his life. Saul’s name was changed to Paul and instead of attacking Christians he became a Christian preacher, primarily among the Gentiles; folks like you and me.
The Risen Lord used this changed man, this man who had seen the risen Lord to write nearly ½ of the New Testament. He used this man to plant churches throughout the Roman Empire.
Let me tell you my friend, if Jesus had not risen from the grave, Peter would still be a coward and Paul would still hate Christians and there would probably not be a Christian church today.
II. IF THERE WERE NO CHURCH THE WORLD WOULD BE A CRASSER PLACE
In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus taught Christians were to be salt and light in the world. Jesus taught that people were to turn the other cheek, leave vengeance to the Lord, and be kind to their enemies. He taught that we are to love our brother as ourselves and that we are to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
How many parents have taught their children to turn the other cheek? How many of us have been taught to do unto others … How many of us have been taught that honesty in dealings instead of trying to put one over on others is a virtue? Where do you think those ideas come from? They are largely Christian ideas.
If you don’t believe me, look at the parts of the world where there is little or no Christian presence. See if things are not different.