Summary: A Sermon I gave on Easter teaching why it is essential that we believe in the resurrection of Jesus.
Introduction: Swoon Theory – Read Crucifixion Described
Background: Paul talking to those who deny the resurrection, still today, 4 consequences
Purpose Statement: If Christ is not raised from the grave…
I. Our Preaching is in vain
A. Preaching a Dead Christ won’t save anyone
B. If He’s not raised why waste our time
C. Sunday School Egg Illustration
II. Our Faith is Fruitless
A. It’s not faith that saves, but faith in Jesus
B. Heaven’s Gate Cult Illustration
C. A drowning man will grasp at anything
III. Forgiveness is Impossible
A. You are still in your sins/still separated from God
B. It all hangs upon Jesus
C. Good Friday is only “Good” because of Sunday
IV. Our Future is Fearful
A. 3 Eulogies Illustration
B. We have not been reconciled to God
C. We cannot trust God
Conclusion: Bukharin Illustration
Swoon Theory Illustration
One lady wrote in to a question and answer forum. "Dear Sirs, Our preacher said on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered.
Dear Bewildered, Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear through his side...put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens." Sincerely, Charles.
Crucifixion Described Illustration
First, the person is whipped with a leather strap interwoven with small pebbles 39 times. If they survive this the crossbeam is strapped upon their shoulders for them to carry nearly a mile to the place of the crucifixion. Once there the beam is assembled to the main member and the cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place.
The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain—the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of his feet.
As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.
Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.
It is now almost over—the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level—the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues—the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air.
He can feel the chill of death creeping through is tissues. . .Finally he can allow his body to die.
All this the Bible records with the simple words, “And they crucified Him.” (Mark 15:24).
What wondrous love is this?
Sunday School Egg Illustration
Young Harold had a really bad case of Attention Deficit Disorder. On Palm Sunday, Harold’s Sunday School teacher sent empty plastic eggs home with each of her students. Mrs. Wilson told them to bring something back in the eggs next Sunday to represent Easter. She really didn’t expect Harold to bring anything, because he never listened in class. The next Sunday her children brought their eggs back. Susan had a pretty spring flower inside her egg. Joey had a little cross in his egg. Jackie had put a plastic butterfly in her egg. But, just as Mrs. Wilson suspected, there was nothing in Harold’s egg. She was surprised that he even remembered to bring it back! She had praised each of the other children for what they brought, but she didn’t say anything about Harold’s empty egg. Harold looked at her with anticipation and said, "Mrs. Wilson, you didn’t say anything about my egg!" Mrs. Wilson said, "But, Harold, you don’t have any reminder of Easter in your egg." Harold replied, "Uh-huh! It’s empty just like Jesus’ tomb!"