THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS
1 COR 15:1-9
INTRO: In the narrative of the rich man and Lazarus the rich man (who had died and was in torment) said to Abraham, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent (Lk 16:30). He was, of course, concerned about the eternal fate of his five brothers. The good news this morning is that one has been raised from the dead and has provided for all mankind a great message of assurance and hope. But have all repented? Indeed, not. Still, the resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact with far reaching ramifications. Jesus, slain on a Roman cross, buried in a borrowed tomb is alive today. This historical fact, however, has been one of considerable controversy from the very beginning. It matters, my friends, what you believe about the resurrection of Jesus.
I. SOME OF THE BELIEFS ONE MIGHT ENCOUNTER?
A. First, to the best of my knowledge few deny the empty tomb
1. Lk 24:1-7 - He is not here, but is risen...
2. if the tomb was empty, there must be some explanation
B. Some say the disciples went to the wrong tomb
1. Lk 23:50-55 - And the women...followed after, and beheld...
2. several people made a conscious effort to know exact place of burial
C. Some say His disciples stole his body
1. Mt 27:62-66 - this was exactly the concern of Jesus enemies
2. would so many of them have consented to their own torture and execution knowing they were dying for a lie? hardly
D. Some say His enemies (the Jews, the Romans) removed His body
1. Acts 4:1-4 - Being grieved that they...preached...the resurrection...
2. why did they not produce the body to end their troubles - in v. 10 Peter asserted to them that the Jesus whom they had crucified God had raised from the dead - the corpse of Jesus would have been the end of Christianity!
E. Some say He was not really dead (swoon theory)
1. Jno 19:31-35 - ...and saw that he was dead already...
2. this theory is foolish in view of various facts about the death of Jesus
a. the Roman scourging and its physical effects (many often died of it)
b. the extreme weakness of Jesus (another is compelled to carry cross)
c. the Roman knowledge of crucifixion
d. the blood and water (evidence Jesus was already dead)
e. impossibility of Jesus unwrapping himself, rolling stone away, overpowering Roman guards, etc.
F. Some say disciples just thought they saw the risen Jesus
1. Jno 20:25-29 - Except I shall see...I will not believe
2. there were numerous appearances in various settings to people who would have known Him best ... Acts 1:3
II. THE EYEWITNESSES
A. Acts 2:27-32 - The apostles (v. 14) were all there to testify - we say Him
1. this is not hearsay - it is not rumor - it is not based on the circumstantial
2. this is eyewitness testimony from credible people of varied backgrounds
3. this is the testimony of eyewitnesses who had seen Him more than once ... numerous times
4. this testimony was never refuted
B. 1 Cor 15:4-9 - This is the testimony of one who had opposed Jesus
1. he had opposed Jesus and Christians actively (Acts 26:9,10)
2. what could happen that he became the great proclaimer of the risen Jesus? (Acts 26:23)
3. there was just too much eyewitness testimony to affirm the risen Jesus!
4. in all that I have read for over forty years I have never read of a single eyewitness recanting - nor has anyone truly impeached their testimony
III. WE MUST UNDERSTAND SIGNIFICANCE OF HIS RESURRECTION
A. Rom 1:4 - It is the great declaration of that Jesus is Gods Son
1. all of His claims of Sonship are confirmed by this great event
2. if there was no resurrection, Jesus must indeed be an imposter
B. 1 Cor 15:17 - It is the confirmation that our sins are forgiven
1. the risen Christ makes intercession for us (Heb 7:25)
2. if there was no resurrection, there is no Advocate with the Father
C. 1 Cor 15:19-22 - It is the confirmation of life after death
1. our hope in Christ is not just for a better life now ... I agree with v. 19
2. if there was no resurrection, the Christian life is without real reason!
CLOSE: One has come back from the dead. His doing so validates His claims and His message as absolutely true. The ball is in our court, my friends. Each of us must make a decision about the course of his life. I urge that you decide in keeping with the great resurrection fact.
Cecil A. Hutson
06 November 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)