In 1983, in Constance Lake Ontario, Josephine Taylor said saw Jesus. His image was formed by the dark spots in the cement of her bathroom floor. About 3,000 Canadians came to see the spectacle.
In 1987, thousands of people flocked to Arlene Garner’s trailer in Estill Springs, Tennessee. They came to see an image of Jesus on Arlene’s General Electric freezer on the front deck of her home. Each day after dusk, a neighbor’s porch light caused a bearded face to appear in the freezer’s side. Arlene claimed God told her in a dream that He connected the porch light to the freezer and was using it as a TV. The family refused to charge viewers for taking a look.
In New Mexico in 1977 a woman claimed the image of Jesus appeared on a tortilla that had been burned in a skillet.
In 1981, the image of Christ being crucified attracted throngs of people in Santa Fe Springs, California. It was eventually determined the image was caused by two street lights shining on a bush and a real estate sign.
“Christ is risen! We have seen the empty tomb!” cried the women as they returned to the city of Jerusalem that early morning. The city was filled with rumors! People said they had seen Jesus! They said He was not dead, but alive! They claimed He was no longer entombed, but risen! “Christ is risen!”
Perhaps for those of us who are 2,000 years removed from the Easter event, the story seems like just one more headline in the National Enquirer. Or one more report about someone seeing the image of Jesus reflected in some unusual manner. It would be easy it to lump the Easter story in with all these other tales of “Christ sightings” that have occurred over the centuries. And perhaps some DO take it that way.
Is it the claim of a bunch of religious fanatics ... or the testimony of actual eyewitnesses? Is it the product of someone’s spiritual imagination ...or is it true history? Is it legend? Myth? Fiction? Or is it concrete fact?
This morning, there is no more important a question to wrestle with than the question posed by the empty tomb. For if, in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, then there is something about life that can ONLY be found in yielding your life to Him. · Consider the importance of the resurrection of Christ today, and come see for yourself!
I. The Importance of the Resurrection. 1 Co. 15:14-20
A. "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching in vain" v14
1. If there was no resurrection of Christ from the dead, then there is no gospel or good news.
2. The message of Christ is reduced to nothing more than a commentary upon a very extraordinary life.
3. Instead of the message of life, it becomes a message of death.
4. There would be no power in that kind of gospel.
a. It would be like the Declaration of Independence without the victory of the Revolutionary War.
b. It would be as meaningless as an Emancipation Proclamation without freedom to the slaves.
B. "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching in vain, and your faith also" v14
1. That means our faith would be an empty and worthless faith.
2. That all we have accepted and received by faith, as a free gift from God, would be gone:
a. no eternal life
b. no justification
c. no sanctification
d. no eternal home in heaven
3. If Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, our faith would mean absolutely nothing.
C. "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are still in your sins." v17
1. Here we have the bottom line.
2. Without the resurrection of Christ, there is no hope for salvation from the penalty of sin.
3. Paul writes, "...We are of all men most miserable"
D. "But now is Christ risen from the dead..." v20
1. 'If' is a mighty big two letter word.
2. The apostle Paul leaves no room here for any speculation: Jesus is alive!
3. Jesus declares it in Rev. 1:18, "I am He that liveth, and was dead: and behold, I am alive for evermore..."
II. The Certainty of the Resurrection.
A. Attested by the testimony of the Word of God.
1. In the fulfillment of prophecy.
a. His resurrection, as well as His death, was 'according to the Scriptures' I Co. 15:4
b. David had prophesied the resurrection in Psalm 16:9-10.
c. Acts 13:32-33, the resurrection was promised to the fathers.
2. In the predictions Jesus made Himself.
a. many times Jesus taught and made reference to His resurrection.
b. "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that he must suffer many things ... and be killed, and be raised again the third day." Mt . 16:21
B. Attested by the material evidence.
1. The stone was removed.
2. The tomb was empty.
a. this fact is recorded by each of the gospel writers.
b. 'They entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus' Luke 24:3
3. The appearance of the angels.
a. this fact is also recorded by each of the four gospels.
b. the message is simple and to the point: 'He is risen; He is not here.'
4. The appearances of Christ.
a. to Mary Magdalene. Jn 20:11-17
b. to the other women. Mt. 28:9-10
c. to Peter. 1 Co. 15:5
d. to the disciples on the Emmaus road. Lu. 24:13
e. to the disciples minus Thomas Lu. 24:36
f. to the eleven. Jn. 20:26
g. to the seven by Galilee. Jn. 21:1-23
h. to more than 500. 1 Co. 15:6
i. to the eleven at the ascension. Ac 1
j. to the apostle Paul. Ac. 9
III. The Necessity of the Resurrection.
A. Man has three concerns:
1. He is concerned about his life.
a. sometimes referred to as the 'will to live'
b. it is within us to strive to live.
c. we are not nearly as concerned about the quality of life as we are about the existence of it.
2. He is concerned about death.
a. death is a fear that exists in the hearts of all of us.
b. it is because the experience is utterly strange to all of us.
c. it is always the unknown that brings fear to our hearts.
3. He is concerned about eternity.
a. although some would laugh and try to convince themselves that there is no eternity,
b. within us is the knowledge that death is only a transition from life to eternity.
c. Jesus said there would be a 'resurrection unto life' for some, and a 'resurrection unto damnation' for others. Jn. 5:29
B. The Plan of Man's Redemption had three steps to fulfillment.
1. The first step was that Jesus must come to earth and live a sinless, perfect life.
a. this He did for some 33 1/2, years
b. 'For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin...' 2 Co. 5:21
c. '...a lamb without blemish and without spot'
d. 'Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth' I Pe. 2:22
2. The second step was that Jesus die.
a. the death of Christ was the ransom paid for the penalty of sin. 'Who gave himself a ransom for all...' 2Ti. 2:6
b. the death of Christ was to reconcile the world unto God. 2 Co. 5:19
c. the death of Christ was for the propitiation or satisfactory payment for our sins.
d. He died as a substitute for us so that we wouldn't have to pay the price of sin. 'The wages of sin is death...' Ro.6:23
3. The third and final step was the resurrection.
a. it proved Him to be the Son of God. 'Declared to be the son of God with power...by the resurrection from the dead.' Ro. 1:4
b. it makes certain the resurrection of all. 'For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive'. 1 Co. 15:22
c. it makes certain the coming judgment. 'he will judge the world in righteousness by that man ... he hath...raised from the dead'. Ac. 17:31
d. it gives assurance that we are accepted by God. 'Who was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification.' Ro. 4:25
C. The plan of redemption has been completed, and now it is faith that appropriates it for us.
1. Ro. 10:9, '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.'
2. God's love has provided the necessary means of redemption through the life, death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
3. However, it is up to each one of us to appropriate that redemption for ourselves by faith.
4. Eph. 2:8, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:"
5. A gift cannot benefit an individual until they receive it unto themselves.
This morning would you think with me for just a moment? You know what your life is. You also know that death is inevitable for each of us. But what about your eternity? Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are saved and will spend eternity in Heaven? If not, won't you take the opportunity this morning to come and receive Christ as your Saviour, and gain that assurance of eternity with Him?
Come see for yourself! He is not dead, He is risen. He is alive today. Do you know Him as your Savior?