Do you ever wonder if what you are doing in your life is “worth it”? Maybe you came here today wondering if what you’re doing in life is worth the trouble, worth the hassle, worth the pain it takes to get where you are. Have you ever been in a place in life where you worked so hard for something, and it never really panned out the way you had hoped, or maybe that you had been promised. Maybe you are here simply because you have tried everything else and you haven’t found anything that “works” to give you fulfillment in your life, or to plug the hole inside your heart. If you think about it for a minute, almost all of the marketing and sales in our culture is geared to try to sell you something that promises to bring you the fulfillment you want. They are offering a cure to the felt need we all have. Now, all of us know if you have a health problem. It is important to get a correct diagnosis before looking for a cure. Because at the root of every health issue is a cause and that must be addressed to actually fix the problem. There are many things we can do to mask pain, or to relieve symptoms, but if the root cause is never addressed, the treatment is in vain.
This Easter morning, the question I want to pose to you is this, “What difference does the resurrection make?” Would it change anything about our faith if the resurrection was a myth perpetuated by Christians over the past 2000 years or so?
Let’s read the text for this morning and see what the Apostle Paul has to say about this question. The apostle Paul has a lot to say about this.
Just a quick overview of what we just read. The apostle Paul is writing one of two letters that we have that were sent to the church in Corinth. Paul was writing to them to clarify and correct some areas where this church had really gotten some stuff wrong. There was a lot of divisions in the church, and there was sexual immorality, and even people getting drunk at communion. There was a lot going on there for sure. So, Paul had a lot to address with them, and one of the errors that was being spread was that there was no such thing as the resurrection of the dead. Now, Paul must address this because it is clearly an error. Not only that, this error, if left unaddressed could cause some serious damage to the church. So, let’s think about this for a moment, What kind of damage happens when we neglect our belief in Christ’s resurrection, and therefore our own resurrection? Well, to put it as Paul did, it makes everything you do now Vanity! I see this play out in a couple ways, the first is when people are so focussed on this life, that they are all about helping people in this life and never share the Gospel. The second way is that people get so focussed on this life that they are crushed when their hopes for this life are unfulfilled. The way I see it, either way can have devastating effects on the church. Essentially, they are focussed on the first 75 years of eternity. Thats like putting all your hopes on the first play of a football game, or trying to find all your enjoyment in the first note of a song, or basing your relationship with your child on the first few seconds of their life. That makes no sense. At the same time, if there is no resurrection, then it makes no sense to follow Christ. Paul makes it clear that following Christ only makes sense if there is resurrection. What I want to do now is briefly look at Paul’s logic as he corrects their error.
- If Christ is not raised from the dead, there is no atonement for sin: V. 13-19. The first problem with denying the resurrection of Christ, is to deny the need for and accomplishment of the atonement.
v. 17. If Christ is not raised, you are still in your sins. This points back to verse 3, where he says that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures. To understand and believe the gospel, you must recognize your need for your sins to be dealt with. This points back to my opening statement about having a correct diagnosis of a health problem. We see the evidence of the fall all around us. we don’t have to look far to see the brokenness of this world. it is everywhere, and the world knows it, that is what is being leveraged to sell you all manner of goods and services. It is the promise of removing the curse, but only for a moment. Because you see, the symptoms that we have cannot be cured with by earthly goods and services. A new car, or a new house, or the next new gadget will never remove the mark of sin. It is a curse that we inherited from our first parents. Furthermore it is not something that just makes us unhappy, is is something that makes us worthy of God’s wrath. And the only thing that could remove that wrath was for Christ to bear the full weight of it on the cross… That is why Paul says, if there is no resurrection, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. And he goes on to say, if we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. He goes on later in verse 32 to say, if there is no resurrection “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die”
- If we lose the resurrection, we lose the guarantee our resurrection. v. 20-23
a. Because Christ did raise, he is the first fruit of resurrection. His resurrection proves his sacrifice was sufficient for the forgiveness of sins.
b. His resurrection is simply the first of all who follow him.
- If we lose the resurrection, we lose his second coming when all will be made right and death will be totally swallowed up in victory. v. 50-56
Now, let me ask you this again, what does the resurrection of Christ mean to you?
What do we gain with the resurrection?
Atonement, resurrection, eternal life.
We also gain the ability to suffer well.
We gain true Joy in Christ.
We gain a testimony.
Is the risen Christ knocking at the door of your heart?
Do you see and feel the sting of death all around you? the evidence of sin all over the place? What diagnosis are you trusting in?
Let me implore you, don’t put your trust in a hope that is for this life only. Trust in the only one who has seen death, and been in the grave, and born the weight of your sin, and rose to prove His victory, so that you too can have victory, and life everlasting.