The Book of 1 CORINTHIANS
James J. Barker
IMPORTANCE OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION
- Philip Schaff, the church historian said, “The resurrection of Christ is therefore emphatically a test question upon which depends the truth or falsehood of the Christian religion. It is either the greatest miracle or the greatest delusion which history records.”
- Wilbur M. Smith wrote, “The resurrection of Christ is the very citadel of the Christian faith. This is the doctrine that turned the world upside down in the first century, that lifted Christianity preeminently above Judaism, and the pagan religions of the Mediterranean world. If this goes, so must almost everything else that is vital and unique in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘If Christ be not risen, then is your faith vain’ (I Cor. 15:17).”
- A.T. Pierson said the resurrection of Christ “is the miracle that stands at the base of the whole system of gospel truth and fact.”
- Many famous and influential men have walked across the stage of life, and they have had a profound impact in one way or another – Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Mohammed, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Karl Marx, and many others.
- Good men, bad men, famous men, religious leaders, military leaders, philosophers, founders of major world religions and great movements have all come and gone.
- And they have all had one thing in common – they have all died, and today their bodies are in the graveyard.
- But the Lord Jesus Christ is alive today!
- Our Lord says in Revelation 1:18, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
THE RESURRECTION IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT IS PART OF THE GOSPEL
- There can be no salvation without the Gospel (15:1, 2), and there can be no Gospel without the resurrection of Christ (15:3, 4).
- “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures…” (15:3). The Old Testament Scriptures predicted the substitutionary death of Christ.
- “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:3-7).
- “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:14-16).
- The resurrection of Christ is very important because the resurrection of Christ is part of the Gospel (15:1-4).
- There are many false teachers and deceivers who deny the literal bodily resurrection of Christ. For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult published a book entitled, Let God Be True. This book says, “Jehovah God raised him from the dead, not as a human Son, but as a mighty immortal spirit Son.”
- In I Corinthians 15:5-11, Paul states that there were many witnesses who saw the resurrected Christ. And Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned (15:6).
- E. M. Blaiklock, the Professor of Classics at Auckland University in Auckland, New Zealand, said, “I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history.”
- Dr. Simon Greenleaf was a skeptic from Harvard law school who was challenged by Christian students to apply his own book on the laws of legal evidence to the resurrection of Jesus. Taking the challenge, he concluded that the evidence was so convincing that he became a believer. He later wrote, “The resurrection of Jesus is one of the best-established facts of history.”
- Dr. Benjamin Gilbert-West and Lord Littleton were from Cambridge University. They wanted to discredit Christianity, and so they took a leave of absence to study and write a book to refute both the resurrection of Christ and the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. As a result of their study, they became Christians and wrote: “Reject not, until you have examined the evidence.”
- Dr. Frank Morrison was a lawyer and engineer, and was brought up in a rationalistic background. He thought the resurrection was a myth and he wanted to write a book to refute it, but in the process of writing his book, he committed his life to Christ. His findings are in the book Who Moved the Stone?
THE RESURRECTION IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IF CHRIST BE NOT RAISED, OUR FAITH IS IN VAIN (15:12-14).
- Christ repeatedly predicted that He would be crucified and that He would be raised from the dead (cf. Matthew 17:22, 23).
- If this did not really happen, then our faith is meaningless because it would be based it is based upon false prophecies. If Christ was not raised, he was an impostor.
- If Christ was not raised, it means that all of our hopes of pardon through Christ would be in vain.
- “In vain” means, “empty, of no purpose” (cf. 15:14-19).
- Throughout the book of Acts, we see that the apostles repeatedly preached the resurrection of Christ. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32).
THE RESURRECTION IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IF CHRIST BE NOT RAISED, WE ARE YET IN OUR SINS (15:17-19).
- If Christ was not raised up, we are lost sinners.
- If Christ was not raised up, we are unpardoned sinners. Pardon of sin is connected with the belief of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and, if Christ was not raised, we are lost.
- “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
- Approximately 2,400 years ago, the great Greek philosopher Socrates drank some poison hemlock and then laid down to die.
- His friends asked him, “Shall we live again?”
- His answer was, “I hope so, but no man can know.”
- The Lord Jesus Christ, answered that question with authority and He proved it when He rose from the dead. Jesus said in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
- Our Lord’s empty grave proves that He is Lord.
He is Lord, he is Lord!
He is risen from the dead, and he is Lord!
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord!
- His appearance to the disciples after the resurrection, proves that He is Lord.
- His power to change lives today proves that He is Lord.
- The apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”
- A number of years ago, certain liberal unbelievers advanced a theory called “the swoon theory,” which says that Jesus didn’t really die; He merely fainted from exhaustion and loss of blood. Because everyone thought Him to be dead they buried Him, but later He resuscitated and the disciples thought it to be a resurrection.
- A while ago, a church member wrote a letter to an advice column in his local newspaper.
“Dear Sir: Our preacher said, on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered.”
- Here was the reply, published a few days later:
“Dear Bewildered: Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him out in the sun for six hours; run a spear through his heart; embalm him; put him in an airless tomb for three days and three nights, and then see what happens.”
|| Next >>