Saturday, April 23, 2011
Sermon Notes for Easter Sunday 2011
1 Corinthians 15:1-6, 12-22
Feast of the Resurrection
April 24, 2011
This whole message of resurrection has always been a hard pill for people to swallow. The Jefferson Bible has Matthew’s Gospel end with the burial of Jesus. Many people today are ‘practical Jeffersonians’ - people who want a very non-dramatic, perfectly rational, almost algebraic faith: no mysteries, no mess; no inexplicable or embarrassing miracle stories for which to account. But of course this is exactly what authentic Christian Faith isn’t. We’re all about a Virgin Birth, and walking on water, and water into wine, and dead people rising in new life. Its always been that way.
Before I get ahead of myself though, let me pause for just a moment, to go back over what the last few days have meant in terms of our Faith. In short, Jesus was dead. He was a dead as my mother was when I saw her in her coffin. His body limply fell from the cross when they pulled out the spikes and untied the ropes that had held him to it, and his dead weight would’ve been hard for the mourners to carry. His body was cold, blood covered him, bruising marked him, his back was shredded, his tongue was swollen and protruding from dying thirst, and his eyes were lifeless, staring out emptily at those who came to care for his body. The Pieta has it right – Mary his Mother in agony, and Jesus dead.
See, this whole resurrection story makes no difference if he didn’t really die, if he wasn’t really dead. But he was. Historians differ on the resurrection but they never differ on the death: the Romans were expert executioners, and Jesus was dead.
That’s why the words in Matthew and Acts and here in Corinthians are so crucial. The dead man Jesus had come back to life. Not only was he alive, but alive now in such a way as to never die again. And that makes all the difference. On Friday, hope died. On Sunday, hope showed up victorious and split time in two, starting creation all over again, only this time with a new Adam – this One rising from the dead in a Garden whereas the first Adam had dragged us all down to death in a Garden. And for Paul, that meant everything. Literally.
I. The Resurrection Priority – 1 Corinthians 15:1-6, 12-15
The Value of Repetition when it comes to the Main Thing
Not saved by believing in the events or the results, but by believing in the Person.
Paul’s Preaching was Christ Crucified and Raised
The Reign of Death Overthrown
The Reign of Death Secured
The choice is stark
Big Picture Living – Dealing with the Biggest Issues: Sin and Death
II. The Resurrection Promise – 1 Corinthians 15:16-22
Release the Bound: New People
What it means to be forgiven and accepted
Raise the Departed: New Life
- What is means to face death now
Reverse the Curse: New Creation
- What it means to embrace the future in hope
We come to this day with a three-fold prophetic declaration about God’s great loving plan, easy to say, easy to recall, easy to pass along:
Christ has died
Christ has risen
Christ will come again
Because he has died our past is forgiven; because he has been raised, our present has purpose and power; because he will come again, our future is bright.
Man alive! Let’s rejoice!