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1 Cor. 15:12-20
WHAT IF THERE HAD BEEN NO RESURRECTION?
Intro: In the opening verses of this chapter, the Apostle Paul reminds
us that the doctrine of Christ's resurrection from the dead is a vital and foundational
doctrine. In fact, he tells us that it is an essential component of the Gospel of grace,
v. 3-4. With that in mind, he proceeds to offer proof that Jesus did indeed raise from the
dead, v. 5-8. Apparently, there were some members of the church in Corinth who doubted the
truth of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead. In this chapter, Paul is
writing to remind them that the resurrection is essential to salvation and to any hope of
Heaven. In an effort to awaken the Corinthian believers to the importance of the
resurrection, he paints a dismal picture of what life would be like if there had been no
resurrection. You see, if there had been no resurrection from the dead, then we would be
in sad shape this morning! As the Lord leads, lets take the time to consider what would be
true if there had been no resurrection.
I. V. 12-19 A BITTER ASSUMPTION
(Ill. If there was no resurrection from the dead, then we
A. V. 12-13 No Foundation - Paul reminds us that
if there is no resurrection from the dead then Jesus did not rise again, If He is dead,
then everything we believe in come crashing down around us. If there is no resurrection
from the dead, then Jesus Himself is no better than the tens of thousands of others who
have claimed to be sent from God. If He did not rise, then His death was the unfortunate
end to a misspent life and His teachings are nothing more than the raving of some maniacal
madman! If it is true, and there is no resurrection from the dead, then the very system of
belief that we cherish so deeply is nothing more than just another religion that offers
life and hope to no one. If Jesus is still in that tomb today, then our way of life is a
farce and we are among the greatest of fools to have ever walked upon this planet. For, if
Jesus is dead, then our system of belief is dead, our foundations have crumbled beneath us
and we might as well go home right now!
B. V. 14-16 No Faith - In these three verses,
the great Apostle moves to paint an even more sobering portrait of how things would be if
Jesus were indeed dead today. He tells us three areas that are truly of base if Jesus is
1. V. 14 Our Preaching Is Vain - Paul tells us that if
Jesus is dead, then all the preachers have wasted their words and time proclaiming the
message of the resurrection. Form the first witness, Mary Magdalene - John 20:2, to the
several hundred mentioned in verses 5-8 of our text, to great men like Spurgeon, Wesley,
Sunday, Jones, Graham, Edwards, Talmadge, Moody, Truit, Criswell, Evans, Carroll, and
millions of others have been fools, if Jesus did not raise from the dead!
2. V. 14 Our Faith Is Vain - Paul tells us that if
Jesus is still dead, then we are wasting our time serving Him and worshiping Him. If Jesus
is really still dead, then you would be just as well off worshiping a rock, a tree or an
image of some type. If Jesus is still in the grave, then everything we do is false, phoney
and foolish! If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then all the preaching you have listened
to over the years is a lie, all your praying, serving, witnessing, and church attendance
have all been a waste of your time. If Jesus did not rise from the dead then you are the
victim of the most cruel hoax ever played on humanity and the Christian faith is the
greatest joke of all time.
3. V. 15 We Are False Witnesses - Paul tells us that al
those who spread the Christian message of salvation through the crucified and resurrected
Jesus are liars if Jesus did not in fact rise from the dead. Every time we open our mouths
to sing, to witness, to testify, to preach, or whatever we do in His name, then we are
liars if He did not rise from the dead.
(Ill. Just consider for a moment what a leap of faith this is! Paul was
a man of wealth, social standing, influence and great education. Yet, he was willing to
throw all of that away for the cause of Jesus. He was beaten, imprisoned, assaulted,
stoned and left for dead, all for the name of Jesus. Here is a man who was at one time
dead-set against Christians and Christianity. His single purpose in life was to destroy
everyone and everything associated with, "that name!" For Paul to turn his back
on everything he loved and then devote his life to spreading a lie is simply too much to
believe. If Paul did this, then he was absolutely crazy!)
C. V. 17 No Forgiveness - As if things couldn't
get any worse, Paul now tells us that if Jesus isn't alive, then we are still lost, hell
bound and still in our sins this morning. The heart of the Gospel message is the great
truth that Jesus Christ left Heaven above, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and
died on the cross to pay for the sins of the world. It doesn't stop there! The Bible goes
on to say that He rose again the third day for our justification, Rom. 4:25. If Jesus is
still dead, then we cannot be justified and we are still lost in sin this morning! If He
is dead today, then we are still looking for a redeemer and we are all headed to Hell!
D. V. 18-19 No Future - Paul now moves beyond
this life to consider things of an eternal nature. He tells us that if Jesus is still
dead, then we have no hope for the future at all. Notice 2 terrible things that are true
if Jesus did not rise from the dead.
1. V. 18 Our Loved Ones Who Have Gone Before Are Gone Forever
- One of the blessings of the Christian life is the knowledge that one day, we will
participate in a reunion in Heaven which will include all those we have known and loved
who knew the Lord Jesus Christ. However, Paul tells us that if Jesus did not rise from the
dead, then every one who dies is forever lost. Either we are like a dog and go to the
grave, or we go to Hell to be forever separated from the Lord. If this is true, then there
will be no Heaven, there will be no gatherings on the other side. There will be no hope
and there is no future to anticipate. If Jesus is still dead, then we might as well live
it up down here and enjoy the time we have left. If Jesus is dead, then we are all but
dust and when we die, we are gone forever!
Heaven is a cruel joke, mom and dad are gone forever, sons and daughters
are gone, brothers and sisters are gone, grandparents are gone, if there is no
resurrection from the dead.
2. V. 19 We Have Lived Our Lives In Vain - Paul
is saying that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then every child of God has wasted
his/her life in living for Jesus. We have a believed a lie and are headed to Hell! If the
Bible lied about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, then you and I can
believe nothing this Book tells us! (Ill. Matt. 11:28; John 6:37; John 3:16; Heb. 13:5;
Psa. 103:12; 1 John 1:9 - All bitter, cruel lies if Jesus did not rise from the dead!)
(Ill. All of this paints a pretty bleak picture for us. If there is no
resurrection from the dead, them we are all in real trouble and need to seek psychiatric
help to be delivered from the delusions that have gripped and enslaved our minds. But,
thank God, aren't you glad that Paul did not stop writing with verse 19? Verse 20 stands
like a majestic lighthouse pointing the way to hope, safety and salvation.)
I. A Bitter Assumption
II. V. 20 A BLESSED ASSURANCE
(Ill. Paul states, for the record, the thrilling fact that Jesus did
indeed rise from the dead! He lives this morning just like the Bible says He does. The
storied penned by the Gospel writers aren't just the ranting of deluded men, but are in
fact the truth of God and the means of salvation for lost souls. When the angel told the
women that Jesus was risen, his witness was true! He lives! He lives! Now, because He
lives, all of those negatives I spoke about a minute ago are transformed into positives.
You see, before the first ray of sunshine ever broke the darkness on that Sunday morning
2,000 years ago, God had already stretched forth His hand and had called the Son to some
forth from the grave. Then, the Father sent the angels to roll away the stone. Not to let
Jesus out, for He was already gone, the stone was rolled away so that you an I might look
into the most sublime and powerful event the world has ever known! Yes Jesus lives and now
all our negatives have been placed in the positive column. He lives therefore:
A. Our Foundation Is Firm - The bedrock doctrine
of our faith is true. Jesus lives and Christianity stands as the only valid means whereby
a lost sinner can reach the God of Heaven.
B. Our Faith Is Genuine - Our preaching has
power, our faith is real and our witness is true! Jesus lives and we stand vindicated in
our faith and in our claims concerning Him. It is not a waste of time to trust Jesus. It
is not an exercise in vanity to believe in the One called Jesus. He lives and because He
lives our faith lives also!
C. Our Forgiveness Is Accomplished - Because He
lives, we are no longer lost in sin, but we have been delivered by His blood and have been
justified by His life. Now, all our sins have been washed away as far as the east is from
the west. We have been forgiven and we have been redeemed!
D. Our Future Is Secure - Our loved one, who
died in faith, live on and await our arrival in glory. There is a heavenly home waiting
all of God's children on the other side. In this life, we can enjoy the victory, but in
the life to come we can enjoy the presence of the One who died in our place on the cross.
Yes, negatives have become positives, but despair has also been changed into hope for all
men who receive Jesus and trust Him by faith.
Conc: I am glad that I know in my heart that Jesus lives today! Oh, I
read the Bible and that wasn't what convinced me, even though I believe what it said. I
heard the preachers tell me, but I didn't believe because of them. I believe He lives this
morning because I have met Him on a personal basis. I shall never forget the day when
Jesus Himself came to where I was, lost and undone, full of sin and so wicked and corrupt
before Him. Yet, in His love, He saved my when I cried out in faith. I know He lives
because I have met Him. How about you? If so, isn't that a great feeling? I mean just to
know that He lives is more wonderful than anything else I have ever heard. If you don't
know that, then I invite you to meet Him personally today. He will receive you, save you
and prove to you that He really is alive!