It’s every preachers secret fear that his preaching is useless but this is normally because he fears he has not communicated well or that people aren’t understanding his application, but there is nothing more useless than preaching a lie. Paul states clearly, “if Christ is not risen from the dead, then all of our preaching is useless” (1 Cor. 15:14) If the resurrection never happened then Jesus was simply one more religious teacher who led people astray, only to disappoint them in the end. To preach his message while the linchpin of his prophecy is a lie is to become a liar. Rabbi Gamaliel understood that if the account of the resurrection was a fraud then the preaching of even the apostles would cease. Gamaliel advised the other Pharisees in his day to, “Leave these men (the apostles) alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39) Gamaliel was right! If the resurrection was a fraud the story of it probably would have ended with the apostles.
If Christ never rose from the dead our faith is in vain.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then just what do we even believe in. There has been a popular expression recently that says we should live a “Cross Centered Life.” The truth is that if the resurrection didn’t happen the cross has no significance. The core of Christian belief is the finished work of the resurrection. If Christ did not rise our faith has no fountain, our belief has no blood. Imagine attending the funeral of your dear Christian friend who just lost his Christian mother. You walk up to him and wrap your arms around him and say, “Just consider the cross!” You may be well intended – but the good news of the gospel which comforts the crushed is this – “Now is Christ risen to become the first fruits of them that slept!”
If Christ never rose from the dead the apostles are liars.
That’s a scary thought isn’t it? But that is exactly what Paul says. Paul is stating dogmatically “If the resurrection didn’t happen then, yes, (even) we (meaning myself – Paul – and all the apostles) are found false witnesses of God” (1 Cor. 15:15). I can only speak for myself but I know I’m not intentionally telling you a lie, but Paul says that if the resurrection didn’t happen then everything I’m saying right now is a lie . . . Oh, and by the way you’re a liar too just for agreeing with what I'm saying.The apostles were beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned and martyred because they were absolutely convinced of the reality of the resurrection. If the resurrection was a farce then they were just a bunch of crazed fools willing to give their lives for a pointless cause. We know that the apostles are telling us the truth because the resurrection actually happened. We know that the Bible is God’s Word because the resurrection took place.
If Christ never rose from the dead our sins are not forgiven.
Paul states that Jesus was raised “for our justification.” In other words, if Jesus failed to rise from the dead we are still dead in our sins. This is perhaps why Paul could say just a few verses later, “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19). Think about it: what is the basis of the Christian hope? Our hope is based on the fact that Jesus has power over life and death. If the resurrection did not happen Jesus does not have power over death. Without the resurrection we are lost no matter how much we hope otherwise.
If Christ never rose from the dead we have said goodbye to our Christian loved ones, never to see them again.
The point Paul is making is that Adam’s sin brought death and Christ’s resurrection offers life to those who believe. Those “in Christ” must arise since Christ arose. The resurrection of Jesus from the tomb set in motion the defeat of all God’s enemies, including death. This is why Paul could right later in this chapter “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? (15:55). Death is defeated – Christ is alive. This reality means that as believers we are alive “in him.” The imagery of “first-fruits”used in 1 Cor. 15:23-25 implies that Christ’s resurrection set in motion a series of events that will culminate at His coming. Every believer will receive a brand-new body, but we must all wait our turn. The key work here is “order.” The word translated “order” (tagma) refers to a military rank or order. Paul is describing a military parade passing by, with each corps falling into position at the proper time. Throughout history, different Christians fall into their place in the parade at their appointed times. For the believer, God is not finished with you at death. 1 Thess. 4:16-17 describes this miraculous event: “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” This is the victory of our resurrection with Him. From the time we first meet Jesus face-to-face, we will live with Him forever. Paul would write at the end of this chapter “Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not sleep, but we shall be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (15:51-52). Without the resurrection none of this is possible.
The reality is the Christ did rise from the dead. We have not swallowed some dummy drug and felt better while still actually being sick. We truly are healed from the deadness of sin. Christ truly is our Savior.
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Posted by Caleb