Sermon on March 27 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi (Easter Service)
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15: 12 – 20
Would it make a difference if Jesus did not rise from the dead? Does is matter that He rose from the grave?
The resurrection matters because
1. IF JESUS IS NOT RISEN, OUR PREACHING IS WITHOUT PURPOSE! (v 14)
For Paul, no resurrection means an empty message with no content. News that is no news, let alone good news.
Does it matter to our message whether Jesus rose bodily from the grave?
‘I am not sure but I do know that everything depends on whether he rose from the dead.’
(An atheistic student when asked what he thought of Jesus)
2. IF JESUS IS NOT RISEN, OUR FAITH IS WITHOUT FORGIVENESS! (v17)
If Jesus were not raised, we would have a promise with no fulfilment, a story with no end, a gospel that cannot deliver.
The resurrection proves that Jesus is no less than God, and can do all He says – especially forgiving sins (Mark 2:7). Easter Sunday is God’s ‘Amen’ to Good Friday!
3. IF JESUS IS NOT RISEN, OUR DEATH IS WITHOUT DELIVERANCE! (v 18, 23)
With all the death surrounding us recently , how can a Christian look death in the eye and not be shaken?
‘One by one as they march our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the orders of omnipotent death. Brief and powerless is man’s life . On him and all his race, the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark.’
(Bertrand Russel, British philosopher who thought religion played on fear).
Death can touch us but not crush us because by rising from the dead, Jesus crushed death to death!
4. IF JESUS IS NOT RISEN, OUR DEATH IS WITHOUT DELIVERANCE! (v 19)
If we call the resurrection anything other than what it is, we fool ourselves – and worship and serve with no reason.
Were Christ not raised, we have no message to preach, we could not be sure that God hears our prayers, we should bring all missionaries home and every Christian from the apostles onward has been wrong for 2000 years.
Does it matter whether Jesus is risen? Yes! More so it matters what you do with Jesus and the resurrection. Do you believe that Jesus is risen? Have you been raised from the death of your sins to a life of peace, forgiveness and deliverance?
‘They may kill me – but they can never, never, never tear the living Christ out of my heart’.
(Savanarola, preacher of the gospel)
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- Why is the death of Jesus not debated at all but the resurrection often is? What does this tell us about the importance of the resurrection?
- Read 1 Cor 15:3 – 7. What is the gospel according to Paul? Why so many resurrection appearances? What convinced Paul that Jesus was all He said He was? (Acts 9:1-6)
- What does the resurrection tell us about Jesus? What does it tell us about His character and abilities? Does it matter for our forgiveness?
- Now think of the recent events in Brussels. How could news that Jesus is alive help a bereaved family? A perplexed person? How does this help us as we seek to process all that is happening around us?
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