- Sermon Notes
Resurrection Strengthened Faith
1 Corinthians 15:1-26
April 9, 2023
This is the most important day on the calendar, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is the day that Jesus defeated sin and death and won for us our victory over our own sin and death. This is a day of victory; it is a day of triumph!
The resurrection is about Jesus conquering death by being raised from the dead into the newness of life. It’s because of Him that we, too, have resurrection from the dead. Most people have a keen interest in what will happen to them when they die. As people have since the beginning.
In Jesus’ time, there were two main schools of thought on this topic. One group said there is no resurrection from the dead, and the other said there was.
The Sadducees believed there is no resurrection from the dead. This flawed view is seen throughout history. Even today we see this as well where atheistic views try to take God out of the equation.
The reason for this is that, if you can convince yourself and other people that there is no God, then you don’t stand accountable to anyone. So people can then do whatever they want and cannot be corrected and judged because there is no primary moral code to adhere to. If you think deeply about this it becomes a very slippery slope.
Illus – There was a discussion an apologist had at an university with a student…
To believe, though, that there is no God takes a lot of faith. Many scientist is in agreement now that Darwin’s whole theory that undergirds this view is critically flawed and there had to be at least intelligent design.
This brings us back to the primary question: If there is a God, what happens to me when I die? The Bible has much to say about this.
Job 14:14, “If a man dies will he live again? All the days of my hard struggle, I will wait for my renewal to come.”
Job 19:25-27, “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and in the end He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed; yet in my flesh I shall see God!”
Daniel 12:2, The multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some will rise to everlasting life and others will rise to everlasting contempt.
John 5:28, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come forth. …Some will rise to a resurrection of life and others to a resurrection of judgment.”
How does the resurrection personally apply to you? The scriptures tell us that it has application to your life and mine when we believe with a heart of faith in what God has done.
Romans 10:9-10, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
I. Blessed are Those Who Believe
- This theme runs through the scriptures; that God wants us to believe what He said.
- And that those who believe in God and walk in that faith are blessed because of it.
A. God made us to walk by faith
- When Jesus appeared to His disciples, Thomas was not there. When he heard what had happened, he refused to believe unless he placed his hands into Jesus’ wounds.
- In retrospect we might judge Thomas as being faithless. Yet, this gives us another point of faith to believe. It showed that even amongst Jesus’ closest friends there were those who were critical and wanted evidence of the truth to be sure of what the truth was.
- Jesus doesn’t write Him off. He appears to Him and solidifies His faith with evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt so that we can also look at this event and have our faith strengthened by it.
- Today we also have those who say that they want evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt. There are many who have started out as atheists opposing Christ determined to debunk the ‘myth’ of Jesus just to end up finding Jesus while following the evidence.
- These people ultimately became defenders of the faith adding evidence to the gospel.
- So, when Jesus appeared again, He invited Thomas to touch His hands and His side and then said to him…
John 20:29, Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
- But God gives us evidence of faith in which to believe.
- First, there is general revelation as seen in nature.
Romans 1:19-22, God made it evident within them.
- Now in Christ, we have special revelation of God and His plan for redemption. Not only that, but we have physical evidence to strengthen our faith.
- In 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, Paul lists those who were eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ. He wrote so that our faith would be strengthened.
- We need to step back in time and see the perspective that he was writing this letter from. It was no small thing that he was listing these names.
Illus. – In a court case, an attorney usually prepares the jury for what they are going to hear from the eyewitness as evidence for a crime. He cannot just claim it, he has to produce those witnesses who would be under oath with the threat of perjury if they were caught lying.
- The names listed by Paul did not stand on their evidence under threat of perjury but under threat of death. They were willing to die for what they believed, and many did.
- This is great evidence that rings through the ages even into our time about the authenticity of the resurrection of Christ.
B. God adds strength to faith
- Imagine the disciples in the days immediately after the crucifixion. Imagine the hopelessness and confusion they had. Peter is a great example.
Matthew 26:69-70, Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.”
- But then, they began to believe and in believing, they began to be changed.
Acts 2:14, But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.”
- Something changed them from being scared and hopeless to boldly proclaiming the resurrection of Christ.
- We see that Peter is filled with confidence in knowing the power of God. The power of God started to work through Him and the other apostles mightily. So much so, that people lay down the sick and possessed next to the road so that Peter’s shadow could fall on them.
- After the resurrection, Peter was a man of boldness and strength. He knew that His Redeemer lives!
- If Jesus was dead and gone and did not do what He said, how would this be possible?
- By the way, these things are not only written in the bible but are confirmed by external writers who did not believe in Jesus.
- There is a powerful change that comes with believing that impacts how we live.
Illus – After many years of being active in church no one can tell me God doesn’t exist or Jesus isn’t real. Especially as I have been exposed to missions trips and crusades in Africa where witch doctors and witchcraft are the order of the day. Seeing people being set free and changed when they put their faith in Christ is overwhelming evidence that He is the name above every other name to whom every demonic power must bow.
- A strong man will only submit to a stronger man.
Matthew 12:28-29, But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.
- The fact that the enemy must flee in the name of Jesus is proof that Jesus is resurrected and has done what He said, overcame the powers of the enemy, and sin and death. His is the Name above every other name.
Matthew 28:11-15, What happened to Jesus’ body?
Illus – The modern theory of what happened to Jesus’ body is that after his death, his body was thrown out into the desert and eaten by dogs. The whole city was turned upside down by what happened to Jesus. Can you imagine his body being thrown out of the city and no one giving him a proper burial?
- Also, the guards were put there to guard the body under great threat. After they told the high priest, they were paid off to say the disciples stole the body.
- Now, this is totally out of character when we see what the disciples’ mindsets were at that stage. They were running scared. They felt disillusioned. To them Jesus was dead. Some even went back to their old vocations.
- And why would this scared group of people risk stealing a body from the guards, make up a story of Jesus’s resurrection, hold on to their disillusionment and then go through persecution and even be willing to die for this story they made up? There is no gain in this.
- Interestingly, the Bible says that this lie of the guards was well known to the Jews. Even in that time, it did not hold water under scrutiny.
II. The Resurrection is About Changed Lives
- The resurrection of Jesus means that we can be born again. It means that we can now have life.
A. Believe we can have life instead of death
- We begin by admitting that we are sinners and that the road we are on is the road of death.
Proverbs 16:25, There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
Illus – Many people are trying to “find themselves,” but unless we find ourselves in God, we are still lost.
Admitting you’re lost is the first step in finding your way. Guys have a reputation for not asking directions, but admitting we’re lost is the first step in finding our way. Then we came up with the perfect solution; GPS. Even the fact that you ask help from a GPS shows that you do not know where you are going.
We need to admit that we are lost and only God and His word can give direction and show us the way.
If I know who God is and who I am in God; all the major questions in life have been answered.
- We get guidance from the simplest verse in the whole bible.
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Illus – Many people who find their lives on a downward spiral will say, “I just need time to work this out.” We will never work it out by our own little self-help methods. What we need is to admit that we’re lost!
- The apostle John wrote his gospel so we would believe – and have life….
John 20:31, but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
- Jesus Himself gave us the promise of Life in His name…
John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
John 11:25-26, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
- Then Jesus confirmed this with evidence by raising Lazarus from the dead, something that seemed impossible because he has been dead for four days.
- You are never too far gone that God cannot redeem you.
B.Believing brings a relationship with God
- We were separated from God because of sin without hope in this world.
Yet were made for relationship with God and with others. No man is an island. That is why family is so important; it’s a picture of what we have in Christ.
- When you are in Christ, you are now in the family of God, adopted by His will and because of His love. We have Father God as our Father, Jesus as our Savior, and our eldest Brother who has paid the penalty for sin.
- We are called – co-heirs with the Son, not because of what we have done, but because of the sacrifice that He made. He lavishes us with His love and goodness.
- There is a ‘coming home’ party for everyone who comes to Christ. It is the story of the prodigal son. Those who are lost and broken in sin are invited back to the house of the Father where there are enough rooms.
- The reason He sent His Son to die on the cross was so that you and I could have a relationship with God.
C. God restores the broken
- We are not only brought into relationship but we are restored.
Illus – After Peter had denied Jesus three times, Jesus fixed His eyes on Peter, and he went out and wept bitterly.
- Peter was broken and empty because he had betrayed the Lord and his soul was filled with anguish.
Illus – Later, when Jesus appeared at the Sea of Galilee, Peter jumped into the water to be near the Lord. Jesus then walked with him and restored him. “Peter, do you love me?”
- Jesus not only forgives but also restores him and gives him purpose.
- When we have relationship to God; that is when the power of God to transform and heal our lives is applied to our lives.
Psalm 147:3, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Illus – In this room there are many lives that have been changed. We have a cloud of witnesses, here and throughout history.
D. Live the transformed life
- There is an admonishing coupled with an exhortation in this section as well.
1 Corinthians 15:32-34, If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
- If we truly believe that Christ is risen from the dead, it changes our perspective on the now and eternity. We are not then focused on ‘eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’ because our hope goes past the grave.
- This impacts how we live; not living a hedonistic self-focused life, but a surrendered life willing to be used and transformed by the Holy Spirit working in us.
- Because He lives, we have an eternal living hope that guides us into eternity.
- We can now live a life strengthened by the resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:1-26 NASB
1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast [a]the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you [b]as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to [c]James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as [d]to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, [e]and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
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 [f]against God that He raised [g]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.
20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in [h]Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.