Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
We are living in unparalleled times in our world. Right now as I write these words the COVID-19 crisis is prevailing upon mankind. People are scared, and many are dying around the globe because of this dreaded and invisible disease. This Sunday is Easter Sunday, but for the first time in my life I will not be worshipping at church along with the body of believers on Easter. It’s as if Easter has been cancelled in the minds of many. I’m here to share with you….EASTER IS NOT CANCELLED! Churches may not be able to hold Easter services in their buildings, but because of the glorious resurrection of Christ EASTER IS NEVER CANCELLED, NOR IS WORSHIP!
The Church at Corinth, among its many issues, had some that said there was no actual resurrection. Following the example of the Jewish Sadducees they asserted that resurrection was not real. Paul rebukes them sharply here with the implications of that teaching and the heretical nature of it. First, he says if there is no resurrection then faith in Christ is vanity. If Christ merely fainted on the cross and woke up in the grave then death still is master over us and He is not God as He claimed to be….BUT HE DID RISE FROM THE DEAD AND HE IS GOD. Second, he says if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then the church has no message. He says their preaching is in vain. Why waste your time worshipping a dead prophet? Those who gather on Sundays and fail to preach sinful man, a bloody cross, and an empty tomb really have no message at all. There is no amount of self-help psychology that is going to save our souls. If Christ simply came back as a ghost and didn’t rise body and all then we are without a message to preach…BUT HE DID RISE FROM THE DEAD AND WE DO HAVE A MESSAGE WORTH PREACHING. Lastly, Paul says if Christ didn’t rise from the dead then life is hopeless. Wow, the world is in such a hopeless state right now. I’ve never seen and heard such despondency, such fear, and such anxiety in my lifetime. I’ve got good news for us all today, Christ is alive! We have a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from the dead. No matter our circumstances Heaven is our home and Jesus is our risen Savior! The only thing that gives us hope in these days is knowing that Christ is really, tangibly, physically, bodily on His throne at the right hand of the Father as I write this, and He is coming again soon to establish His eternal Kingdom here. If Christ’s body was taken from that tomb by the disciples and the resurrection is a hoax then we have no hope…BUT HE DID RISE FROM THE DEAD AND WE DO HAVE ETERNAL HOPE.
The citizens of Feldkirch, Austria, didn’t know what to do. Napoleon’s massive army was preparing to attack. Soldiers had been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border. A council of citizens was hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. It happened to be Easter Sunday, and the people had gathered in the local church. The pastor rose and said, “Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our Lord’s resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend us.” The council accepted his plan and the church bells rang. The enemy, hearing the sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the town. Before the service ended, the enemy broke camp and left. Church, we may not be able to gather together in a building on Easter to worship, but nothing is stopping us from ringing the bell of worship at home. Jesus is alive, Easter is never cancelled, so let’s give Him praise!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Oh Lord Jesus, I know that You are alive in Heaven. You are our risen Savior! No matter the circumstances around me right now I know You are on Your throne. I rejoice in Your resurrection power and I rest in Your unfailing love. In Your name I pray, amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead