- Sermon Notes
The Foundation of Hope
1 Corinthians 15:12-26
As we get closer to the end of this letter to the church at Corinth, it seems that Paul has saved one of the most important corrections for the last. There was a debate in the church regarding whether or not there is a resurrection from the dead.
This is such so important that Paul takes a large section of this letter to prove the point. The resurrection is the foundation of all that we believe; it is the foundation of our hope. Without the resurrection, Paul will say to them, we have no hope. In fact, without the resurrection, our faith is worthless and we are still in our sins.
We gather for worship on the first day of the week as a commemoration of the resurrection. In Russia, the first day of the week is called, “The day of the resurrection.” It should be called the day of the resurrection because all life comes from God and all new life comes from the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.
It’s interesting that Islam teaches that not only was Jesus not resurrected, he was never crucified! They believe that God took Jesus up and allowed someone else to die in his place. This is exactly the opposite of the Christian faith that declares that Christ died on the cross in our place.
To Paul this is of first importance. To be wrong on this is to miss the whole point of the gospel!! The resurrection is the key to God’s plan of the ages and His plan for our lives. If Christ is not raised from the dead, we have no hope. But because Christ is raised from the dead we have hope in this life and for eternity.
How about you, do you have hope? What do you put your hope in? In technology? That’s always changing. In the stock market? In the new deal with Iran? In the amazing strength of the United States economy? Even EF Hutton wouldn’t advise that. In politicians? If you put your hope in politicians to solve our problems, you will be sorely disappointed.
If you have no hope, you have nothing. If you have lost hope, you have lost everything. Have you lost hope? There is a growing sense of hopelessness in many young people today. Sometimes devastating things happen in life that cause people to lose hope. Finances blow up and you can’t pay the bills, someone close to you dies and it’s impossible to understand why, your marriage is in shambles and you don’t know what to do, or your health tragically turns for the worse. It shows how important it is to have hope.
The resurrection is about newness of life and the hope that God gives in this life and for eternity. He ignites our soul and fills our lives with purpose and transforms us by His presence in our lives.
I. Our Hope is Built on Nothing Less
- There is a belief in the world that all roads lead to God. You may or may not agree with this, but I believe that all roads do lead to God.
- The question is not whether all roads lead to God; the question is what happens after you meet Him.
- Our hope is built on the blood that Jesus shed for us.
A. No one else could have died for us
- The scripture says that everyone has sinned and that the wages of sin is death. But what is death? Ultimately, death is separation from God.
- There is temporal death- where life has no meaning… the walking dead, you might say.
Ephesians 2:12, Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ ... having no hope and without God in the world.
Illus - “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”
Blaise Pascal, French genius mathematician
- And there is eternal death where you die in your sins. The problem with dying in your sins…. is that you’re eternally separated from God.
- Everyone else who has lifted themselves up as a religious leader has also sinned and therefore could not die for anyone else.
Illus - It’s like someone saying, “I’d like to pay that man’s debt.” And then the judge responds, “With what? You yourself are so far in debt you have no hope.”
Ephesians 2:13, But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
B. He gave many infallible proofs
- In the introduction of the book of Acts, Luke writes that Jesus presented Himself alive with many infallible proofs.
Acts 1:3, To the apostles He presented Himself alive… by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of 40 days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
- This is the compelling point Paul makes earlier in this chapter. It’s reasonable to believe eyewitnesses - and there were more than 500. That’s infallible proof.
- And the resurrection is proof that God calls all men to repentance.
Acts 17:30-31, Having overlooked times of ignorance, God is now declaring to all men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.
C. He told us in advance
- Jesus provided proof and then He told the apostles in advance. In the same way, He provided proof to us and then He told us in advance.
Illus – Two men were walking on the road to Emmaus and were discussing the events in Jerusalem when Jesus appeared to them. At one point He said to them…
Luke 24:25-27, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the scriptures.
Luke 24:32, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the scriptures to us?”
- We need to have hearts that burns for God. It’s the opposite of a cold heart that isn’t responsive to God’s Word at all.
II. Experience Resurrection Life
- The resurrection of Christ is about moving from death into life. Jesus transforms, He makes all things new.
- He transformed the meaning of the cross itself from a symbol of fear and death, to a symbol of hope and life!
- He’s transformed the grave from being an end to being the beginning!
A. In Christ we are born again
- Nicodemus came to Jesus at night and said, “Teacher, we know you have come from God as a teacher because no one can do these signs You do unless God is with him.”
John 3:3, Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
- Nicodemus then asked, “How can a man be born when he is old?”
Illus – The difference between the womb and being born is similar to the difference of living in darkness and having the life of God in your heart. What’s the difference between life here on earth and life in heaven?
Revelation 21:1, 3-5, Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away… He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
B. Experience life even now
- We are born again, and that new life begins now! How? He gives the Spirit of life!
Illus – After Jesus died, the disciples hid in a locked room because of fear. Later, they boldly stood in the middle if Jerusalem and proclaimed that God raised Jesus from the dead.
Illus – Chuck Colson used to be called the “hatchet man.” He was special counsel to the President of the United States and once boasted that he would run over his own grandmother if it would help reelect the president. Religion to him was a crutch; but God opened his eyes and he wrote the book Born Again.
Illus – What about you? How many here would say, “God has changed my life, once I was blind but now I see.”
- Verse 22- In Christ, all shall be made alive.
- Many people are trying to “find themselves,” but unless they find themselves in God, they are still lost.
Illus – Admitting you’re lost is the first step in finding your way. Guys have a reputation of not asking directions, but admitting you’re lost is the first step in finding your way. Then we came up with the perfect solution; GPS. God’s Positioning System is better.
John 8:31-32, 37, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free… and if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
- We were once in bondage to sin; bound by its condemnation, and bound by its power.
Romans 8:1-2, Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
C. Our hope is eternal
- For some, death is an enemy to be feared, but not if you have hope that’s eternal.
Illus – Our bodies are in the process of dying… but our souls are in the process of living.
2 Corinthians 4:16, Therefore we do not lose heart; though our outer man is decaying, our inner man is being renewed day by day.
- For us, death is the door to new life.
Illus – I visited Will in the hospital just before he died and as I was leaving his room he said, “I’ll see you in heaven.” Beautiful.
Philippians 1:21, To live is Christ; to die is gain.
Illus – Winston Churchill planned his own funeral service. He had them read the verses about Christ being the resurrection and the life and then a trumpeter played “Taps,” the day is done. Then as the last note died, another trumpeter played “Reveille,” a new day has begun.
App - God is giving an invitation, an invitation to get right with God. He will forgive your sins and give you life.
1 Corinthians 15:12-26 NASB
12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.