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. The Glory of the Ressurection (Easter Sunday)

Article Index
. The Glory of the Ressurection (Easter Sunday)
1. Because Christ is raised, preaching has a glorious eternal purpose
2. Because Christ is raised our faith is secure.
3. Because Christ is raised,w e are true representatives of God
4. Because Christ is raised, our sins are forgiven
5 Because Christ is raised, those who die graduate to glory
6 Because Christ is raised we are to be envied
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1 Corinthians 15:12-20 12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

ESV 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”


What motivates us to run the race with endurance? What is the basis of our commitment to the work of God on all levels?

Now if you are looking for a good reason to stop running the race you need to look no further than Hollywood. If James Cameron, the director of Titanic could have had his way, you have all the reason in the world to stop running the race with endurance. If he is wrong, then today I have good news for you that should fire you up in even a greater way for the purposes of God. Now where does James Cameron fit into the picture? It was Easter time 2007, not too long ago and as usual Christianity was once again confronted by another challenge. This time it was not the Da Vinci Code, nor the Epistle of Judas but James Cameron and an orthodox Jew by the name of Simcha Jacobovici who were trying to sink a bigger ship than the “Titanic,” and that ship is —Christianity.

They claim that the bones of Jesus’ and those of his mother, brothers, wife (Mary Magdalene) and child named Jude, were found in ossuary (bone boxes) in a Jerusalem tomb.To prove this they produced a TV Documentary which was shown on the Discovery Channel on March the 4th 2007. Their aim was simply an effort to “report the news” so that people can draw their own conclusion. What a glorious opportunity for Hollywood to make big Dollars, but what are the implications for us?

If Jesus Christ’s tomb has really been discovered, then all of Christian history has been based upon a false claim---that Jesus physically rose from the dead, was seen alive by over 500 followers at once, spent 40 days teaching his disciples, and then ascended into heaven. The reality is that if this is true we can all leave this building now and go do more important things with our lives than waste our time serving a dead saviour.

Church family the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ is the doctrine on which all doctrine hangs, and the premise on which this doctrine rests is found in verse 20 of the text before us: 20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead...” The whole of chapter 15 is specifically devoted by Paul to the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ and the implication thereof on our resurrection from the dead. And it is this doctrine that fired up Paul in his labour. Paul states as a fact in verse 4 “that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” and then mentions the times that Christ appeared after His resurrection. In fact without the resurrection all of Christianity becomes a farce and the statement of Christ to Martha becomes a lie when He said in: ESV John 11:25 "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,”

The Corinthian church by the way was not confused about the resurrection of Christ, but were confused about what happens when they die, will they be raised? So Paul is not really trying to convince them that Christ was raised. There were sufficient eye-witnesses according to the first few verses. If Christ were not raised the implications for the believer are disastrous, even in this life, but if He is raised the implications for the believer is glorious. I believe it is this very fact of the resurrection that not only fired up Paul but also Peter, the other apostles, as well as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards Charles Spurgeon and I trust it is this message that fires up you and me. What is it that caused the radical and astounding moral transformation in the life of Peter, the man who denied Christ and has now become a defender of Christ? I believe that it is the resurrection that fired Peter up. On Easter Friday we looked at the theme ‘who killed Jesus’ and twice in Acts 2 Peter says to the Jews that they killed Jesus. But there is something else he says twice. Both in verse 24 and in verse 32 Peter says ‘God raised Him up.”  So you killed Him but it was not the end, it was only the beginning because God raised Him up.

Just think if Christ died like David and was not raised, then James Cameron is correct and Peter’s whole motivation for Christian living and preaching would be lost. If Cameron was correct would the sceptics during the apostolic era not have reminded them of the tomb in Jerusalem all the time? Let’s forget about Cameron now. What about us? Too many Christian have got stuck with the cross and therefore their lives reflect nothing more than a testimony of salvation. They live as if Christ is still dead and therefore has no authority over us. You cannot go from the cross to the resurrection and not change your attitude about living for Christ and serving Him. Paul did not stay with Christ crucified. In 1 Corinthians chapter 1 he gives a solid argument of the value of the cross and right here at the end in chapter 15 he gives a solid argument of the resurrection. Other section reflect Paul’s mind as well.

If you were to ask Paul what He values in life, he will tell you that he counts everything as rubbish and that he spends his life pressing forward to one thing and that we read about in Philippians 3:10-1110 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” So, why will we then run the race with endurance? Here is the reason why. Because of the cross, yes but also because of the resurrection. Do you think that Paul would be willing to die for the cause of a Christ who is not risen? If Christ did not rise our whole faith will be relegated to the quality and foolishness of all other religions, and we are actually wasting our time.

So I have given you out of the starting block the answer for a question I will only put now. Why should we run the race with endurance, why should we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, why should we commit ourselves for the purposes of the church for the sake of His glory, why should we give ourselves to world evangelising and missions?

Let us keep our Bibles open at the text before us and look at six reasons why the resurrection of Christ should fire us up in our commitment to His church and mission. I trust that at the end of this sermon this morning we not only have a deep sense of gratitude for what Christ did on the cross, but for what He did through His resurrection. I trust that these truths will lead us to spiritual satisfaction to the point that we glorify God better every day and that it will be manifested in our commitment to His church and mission.

According to the text before us there are six things that would be in shambles if Christ did not rise from the dead. Verse 20 reverses the whole paragraph when it says: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead," Therefore I agree with John Piper that the best way to state these negatives based on verse 20 is to put it in the positive, and I will join him in doing so.

So let’s look at these positives one at a time.