Date: 8 April, Easter Sunday
Text: I Corinthians 15:1-20
Title: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?
Theme: Paul's declaration of the centrality of the resurrection to the Gospel and faith.
Introduction: Today is a celebration that our Lord Jesus Christ lives. God isn't dead.
1. He is our High Priest.
Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
2. He is preparing our home.
John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3. He is returning for us.
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
· However, Nearly 2,000 years ago, our Savior lovingly allowed Himself to be crucified in the city of Jerusalem. On a cross of shame our loving Jesus suffered for and died for our sin.
Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
50 ¶ And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:
51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
· Jesus had walked up Calvary's hill with boldness knowing that death would not defeat Him but that He would defeat death.
John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
· His resurrection was the only sign that mankind would receive proving that Jesus was the Messiah from God.
Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Matthew 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
· The false teachers who hated Jesus knew that He had said that He would rise again.
Matthew 27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
· Satan did His best to stop what could never have been stopped.
Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
· The day of victory came as God's angel announced the resurrection to the woman at the tomb.
Matthew 28:5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
song: "Death could not hold it's prey, Jesus my Savior, He tore the bars away. Jesus my Lord."
· Here we are nearly 2000 years later meeting on Sunday because Jesus rose from the dead on this day of the week..
Mark 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
This morning we are going to ask Paul some questions about the Resurrection. His answers are recorded in I Corinthians 15. Our first question is....
I. How Important is the Resurrection?
1 ¶ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
exp. All doctrine is important. But this doctrine is the pinnacle of the Gospel.
question: What is Paul's Gospel (good news) (read vv.3-4) Jesus died for our sins. He was buried in a tomb. He rose again on the third day.
exp. You can not be saved without belieiving in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. "wherein ye stand; by which ye are saved."
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
ill. Young Muslim at ASDA. He says that the Koran says that it wasn't really Jesus that died. Somebody else he says died in his place.
question: Based on God's Word, can that young man be saved and hold onto that belief? NO
app. Why don't we see many people coming to the Lord in Britain? We live in an age of unbelief and skepticism. HOW IMPORTANT IS THE RESURRECTION? The bodily resurrection of Jesus must be embraced by faith for soemone to be saved.
II. Did God's Word say He would rise?
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
exp. Paul starts with the best witness to the resurrection, God's Word. There is no better authority to the Resurrection than God's Word.
saying: "God said it. I believe it. That settles it." It has also been said that it would be better to say, "God said it. That settles it."
Ill. The authority of God's Word on the resurrection was a main preaching point in Peter's sermon at Pentecost.
A. He quotes Psalm 16, written about 1,000 years before Jesus.
Acts 2:25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
exp. David said this soul wouldn't stay in the grave. This body would not see corruption. This body would know the ways of life.
question: Who was David speaking about?
B. This prophecy was not fulfilled in David.
29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
exp. David was dead and buried. They knew where his body lay. They knew that he had not risen from the dead.
C. He spoke prophetically about Jesus.
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
exp. Peter full of God's Spirit rightly applied that Scripture to the resurrection of Jesus. If you've ever wondered what was in the heart of Jesus as He went to the cross, v.26 tells us.
v.26 "Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:"
app. Jesus had to rise from the dead as Paul said, "According to the Scriptures."
III. Did anyone see Him after He arose?
exp. God's Word required at least 2 witnesses to verify the testimony of witnesses to an event.
John 8:17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
exp. If only one person could be found who testified that they saw Jesus after He rose from the dead, his resurrection could not be proved legally.
Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
ill. Everyone knew about the resurrection. It was common knowledge.
Acts 26:23-26 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
exp. Paul makes a list of witnesses for anyone who wanted to verify the claim of the resurrection.
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
ill. Imagine that the queen came to Edinburgh and you were unaware of her visit. In fact, you were certain that she was in London. If you talked to 500 people on the street who witnessed the queens visit including Alex Salmond and other parliamentary officials, you would have to be biased to maintain your belief that she never came.
app. There will always be skeptics to the resurrection. But, they are biased. They don't want to believe. Paul declares that most of those who witnessed the resurrection were still living.
app. Aren't you also glad that God doesn't expect us to believe without proof? God didn't have to have witnesses. He could have declared it as fact and expected us to believe it. But, He lovingly allowed the resurrected Jesus to be observed before ascending into Heaven.
IV. Does the resurrection really matter? If you take the resurrection out of the Gospel what happens? This is a really ugly, "What if" type question.
12 ¶ Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
exp. Satan didn't wait to attack the doctrine of the resurrection. Immediately false teachers were springing up denying that Jesus rose from the dead. Why is Satan so interested in attacking the Resurrection of our Lord?
A. Christianity is vanity.
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
exp. We might as well go home today and never come again. Because there is no point to preaching or believing if Jesus is dead.
B. Preachers are liars.
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.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
exp. The Bible ceases to be a good book because it is full of lies. It declares over and over again that Jesus rose from the dead. All of the preachers in the last 2,000 years are not good men they are false witnesses and liars if Jesus has not risen.
C. Your sin is unforgiven.
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
exp. If Jesus wasn't victorious over death than salvation is not possible and our wicked sin remains unpunished.
D. Believers are in hell.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
exp. Those who have died in the faith are not saved they are lost. Those precious believers who loved Jesus were just deceived and they passed from death unto death *not life.
E. We are most miserable.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
exp. Religion and belief for the sake of religion and belief is not valuable it is vain and empty.
ill. People who say, "Well that's good for you. I don't believe it. But I can see how it helps you." They are wrong. If it isn't true - it is worth that worthless. BUT IT IS TRUE!!!!!!
final application: Praise God preaching and faith are valuable, preachers of the resurrection speak the truth, sin has been forgiven, dead believers are in Heaven and we are of all men most joyful!
V. Will we be resurrected?
20 ¶ But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
exp. The firstfruit is the beginning of the harvest. It's harvest time and the first fruits are put up in the barn. Jesus was first to be resurrected but all who sleep in Jesus are being harvested by resurrection.
ill. Job believed in a bodily resurrection prophetic eye of faith 1500 years before the first resurrection (Jesus) took place.
Job 19:26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
final application: Easter Sunday is special because we know that Jesus rose from the dead, proving that He is the resurrection and the life.
John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
app. Will you be resurrected. If you have believed in Jesus, you get to anticipate being free from this earthly body of sin and death and receiving a glorified body.
I Corinthians 15: 53-57
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.