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Easter in the Fall

I Cor. 15:1-8a

 

Easter is the best holiday for the Christian, because Jesus was only born to die, that we might live.  Now it's fall and I want to celebrate Easter again.  Halloween is not a holy day.  Isn’t it amazing how all out our world goes for death and fear, rather than Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And as for Easter, well, they go a different direction with that as well!

 

We can have great holidays by celebrating the real reason for the season, that the incarnation was for the purpose of the substitution and the resurrection!

 

Since the beginning of time, man has asked the question Job did in

Job 14:14
14 If a man die, shall he live again?

 

The resurrection of the dead…it’s the oldest question man’s mind has ever pondered.  What happens to us?  Where do we go?  Recently I witnessed to a neighbor who has stage 4 cancer.  He believes he will reincarnate as a butterfly or something.

 

Some people in Christ’s day didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, and they were a thorn in Jesus’ side.

Lk. 20:27--Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection

 

(not on screen)  Lk. 8:49-54--…there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. (“What can you do about death?”  they said…forgetting they were talking to the author of life!)  54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.

 

 John 11:25
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

 

Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection at Athens and they called him a babbler!

 

Today, many believe death to be annihilation…it’s all over.

 

There have always been enemies of the doctrine of the resurrection…of Christ’s resurrection, and of believers!  This is not a new thing.

 

The Greeks at Corinth did not believe in it.  Even some in the church there began to doubt.  Their skeptical attitude needed to be dealt w/ head on…

I Cor. 15:1-11, Paul does this by flat out proving that Jesus Christ rose from the dead!  The Bible calls Jesus the “firstfruits” of our resurrection, meaning that if Jesus didn’t rise up, we have no hope of being raised up either.  If He didn’t come out of the grave, neither will we!

 

Why is this so important?  Let’s illustrate...

3 PARTS TO RESURRECTION:

Firstfruits (1st 10%)/main harvest/gleanings (corners)

Represents Jesus’ resurrection/rapture of church (dead in Christ first [Baptists?!], then we which are alive/tribulation saints!

 

Paul gives 4 evidences that Christ arose, that we might too!

 

Here’s evidence that demands a decision: (because conquering death sets Him apart from all others who’ve claimed to be God…it proves He is the One and only, the true and living God!)

Paul says…

  1. Your own salvation

v. 1-2       “by which…ye were saved”

Paul had already been there, preached, and they had gotten saved.  That was big…they had been greatly changed, and they knew it [“such were some of you” he said in ch. 6:11]

(some were perverts/adulterers/thieves/homosexuals/ drunkards/cheaters/liars!)

And Paul says, a dead God couldn’t make that change…how do you explain yourselves?

        And 2,000 years later, the greatest evidence He’s alive is that He’s still changing lives, still saving souls!  Such were some of you (point)!

 

The second proof:

  1. The OT scripture

v. 3-4       “according to the Scriptures”

We know that many times His death was predicted in the OT, but what about His resurrection?

Ps. 16: 10 For thou wilt not …suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (decay, decomposition)

 

Ps. 2: 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed…4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh…

 

Why is God laughing?  Because He knows it’s not the end of the story!  God knew they were lighting the fuse of a powder keg that was about to explode w/ resurrection power!

 

Following the crucifixion, hell rejoiced for 3 days, and meanwhile, God the Father just laughed!

(Pilate, Herod laughed and congratulated each other on a plan well executed…religious leaders laughed and said, that’s the end of that!)

        But they didn’t have the last laugh!

 

Is. 53, read it for yourself, it sounds like it’s talking about 2 different people…stricken, smitten of God, bruised, beaten, crucified/then all of a sudden it’s talking about a king on His throne…and of His kingdom there shall be no end…

…huh?  How can this be the same person…how can He be on a cross and on a throne?  Only 1 way…a literal, bodily resurrection!

 

The OT scriptures prove it!

 

Liberals have their theories of how the resurrection happened: (since even secular historians document the empty tomb!)

  1. stolen body theory—tho’ it was sealed, guarded…the disciples succeeded at this capital offense of breaking the seal, defeating the guards, and then talked over 500 people into claiming they had been a party to it!  That would be almost as big of a miracle as the resurrection!

The Bible says the authorities made the guards claim the disciples stole the body of Jesus while they were sleeping (how could they know who then?…that’s like the time I told my dad people were looking around during prayer!)

  1. hallucination theory—all 500+ were hallucinating!  Even though Jesus appeared on 11 different occasions, to different groups, totaling over 514 people in several different locations!  [and all these eyewitnesses’ stories were collaborated!…and all were willing to lay down their lives for it!]

--w/ all these eyewitnesses and historical records of Jesus presenting Himself ALIVE, the liberals have had to come up w/ something better…their best effort was called the…

  1. swoon theory—Jesus wasn’t really dead, but unconscious, and the coolness of the tomb revived Him!

 

The liberals would rather believe in bigger miracles than the resurrection itself! (like evolution)

 

The 3rd proof:

  1. The eyewitnesses

v. 5-7

You can convict a person in a court of law w/ just 2 eyewitnesses!

 

4th proof:

  1. His own eyes

v. 8  “me also”

                Paul said, yes, there’s proof in the fact that you’ve been changed, and yes, OT prophecy and predictions have all been fulfilled, and yes, you’ve got all these eyewitnesses…but here’s how I know He lives:  He lives within my heart!

 

Have you met Jesus?  Have you seen Him w/ the eyes of your heart?  Heard His voice?  Been touched by Him?  Do you know He lives inside of you?

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