Is the Resurrection Necessary?
Why an empty grave is the pivotal piece in the case for our faith.
For the church – for us Christian this is our big weekend. College Basketball has March madness, professional football has the Super Bowl, but this is our weekend Easter.
- Maundy Thursday we got to share the Lord’s Supper with believers in Richwood.
- Good Friday and what Jesus accomplished on the cross – His death as tragic as it was then we are on the other side of Easter and know the rest of the story. We are thankful that we have a wonderful gift of grace and forgiveness.
- Early this morning we gathered on the mountain to have a Sonrise service and worship together - to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- But if watched TV or read articles in magazines or newspaper you will see critics of our celebration. Historians, theologians, and others mock our beliefs. Time magazine ran a piece (in 2004) called "The Search for Jesus."
- That's a goofy title because the fact is anybody searching for Jesus can find him easily. Some people who say they're searching for Jesus are really searching for a reason not to believe.
- Time magazine reported that theologians and so called experts on the subject of Jesus, "They quoted these authorities and concluded that all the nativity descriptions to be inauthentic, except for the name of Jesus' mother, Mary."
- No miracle working, nothing miraculous of any kind.
- Regarding Easter and the resurrection, all descriptions of Jesus' trial were deemed inauthentic, along with his Palm Sunday statement that he is the Messiah. Of course a secular magazine wouldn’t be expected to fairly report biblical truth.
- Here is the catch – they quoted a number of so called Christian – biblical scholars.
- Here is the point – the church from Pentecost on has had to defend Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection.
- Is the Resurrection necessary? Must a Christian believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ? Is it really that important? A survey conducted by Barna Research group finds that 30 percent of born again Christians do not believe that Jesus came back to physical life after he was crucified. Thirty percent. That's terrifying!
- Can you really be a follower of Jesus Christ and not believe in his physical, bodily resurrection from the dead? The answer is clearly, no.
- Like most errors that bombard our faith, it's not a new one. It's what Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul says, in effect: "Hey guys, listen up! If there is no such thing as a resurrection, then Jesus didn't have a resurrection, either. And if Jesus didn't have a resurrection, if he didn't rise, then Christianity is in trouble"
1 Corinthians 15:12-19 (NLT)
12 But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? 13 For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. 15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
I Cor. 15:19 (the Message)
If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we're a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.
- If Christ did not rise from the dead; Christianity is a colossal waste of time.
- "And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is useless (empty), and your faith is also useless (empty)" (1 Corinthians 15:14).
- The word "useless" in most modern translation is the Greek word canos; it means futile, empty, useless, worthless and without purpose.
- If Christ is not risen, preaching is a waste of time. There's nothing to talk about, there's nothing to gather for, there's nothing to say.
- What would I preach on if I didn't believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? What would I say? "I read this great book, and I want to review it with you this morning."
- I'd say, "I'm going to preach on social reform, I'm going to preach on horizontal goodness with generic references to a god we can never know." In that case, the church would be empty and Paul would be right. Preaching that does not include the resurrection of Jesus Christ is useless—it's worthless.
- Notice how the verse ends. It says, "If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is useless and your faith is also useless."
- If Christ is not risen, we have nothing to believe. Everything hangs on that. Jesus would be a liar if he's not risen. He said he would rise. The Bible is a joke because it's filled with things that never happened.
- Prophecies would not be filled.
- If Christ is not risen, why are you here? You might as well go home and have your ham and eat your chocolate crosses and eat some jelly beans. We might as well lock up the building and close Christ’s kitchen and have no youth group. We probably could have a toasting marshmallow party as we burn all the Bibles and Christian books we have.
- I certainly will be busy as a counselor – I have a degree in counseling. I will be busy helping people find hope in a hopeless society.
- But we're all here because Christ is risen. Everything hangs on that. If Christ is not risen, Christianity is a colossal waste of time. Believe in what? Trust in what? Trust a god who's dead? Pray to a Savior whose body was eaten by dogs? Is that what we're doing? I don't think so.
- If Christ is not risen, forgiveness of sin is an impossibility.
- The Bible teaches that we're all sinners, everyone. If you don't know that, read the newspaper or watch the news.
- Look at the toll unresolved guilt takes on people's hearts as they walk through society under the weight of wrongs they've never been cleansed of or atoned for. Have you seen that bumper sticker that says, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven"?
- Paul says, “and if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.”(1 Corinthians 15:17 NLT)
- Jesus paid for our sins. We can be forgiven. We can know that cleansing. Many people could testify, "I came to Christ, and I asked for his forgiveness, and he cleansed my heart. There was a transformation that took place."
- But if Christ is not risen, forgiveness for sin is an impossibility. Isaiah 53:6 says all of us are like sheep; we've gone astray. We've all turned to our own way, and God has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
- Is the resurrection important? Is it essential? Can you really in any significant way be a follower of Jesus Christ if you do not believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ?
- If Christ is not risen, I have been living a lie and so have you - all Christians are living a rather worthless existence. The Message translates verse 19 this way “If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we're a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.”
- It is pretty sad if all we have is a hope that Christ arose from the grave. Why would you give your whole life for a hope? If all we got is this religious thing in life that has no eternal reality – that is pretty sad – that is rather depressing.
- Every choice to do right, every deed of kindness, every time you stood up for Christ and people laughed at you or ridiculed you, what a waste.
- Every song of worship, if Jesus isn't risen, is a joke. Every child we've ever taught the things of Christ, every moment invested for eternity, everything we've ever done, as we've lived this life, if Christ is not risen, it's worthless and that makes us pathetic.
When I was little my brother and I tried to build wooden blocks as high as we could but before it toppled on its own Jim would pull a block out of the middle and everything would come toppling down. Think of this as the Christian faith. The pivotal piece is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Pull this out and we've got nothing. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the piece on which all of Christianity stands firm.
- Since Christ rose from the dead:
- I believe in the virgin birth
- If He can rise from the dead then He can raise others from the dead, feed the 5000 and do other miracles
- He gives grace and forgiveness
Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.