1 Corinthians 15:14-17 : “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”
The resurrection quickly became the central theme of the apostles preaching. Within 50 days of the death of Christ and of the apparent collapse of His cause, the city of Jerusalem rang with the cries of those who with all boldness declared that God had raised Jesus from the dead and that they were His witnesses. Hundreds had seen Him after His resurrection! On the day of Pentecost cowering cowards were changed into courageous confessors. Fishermen from Galilee became heralds of the King. All who saw and heard them were compelled to acknowledge that something had happened which had utterly transformed their lives. When questioned by their critics, the apostles had no hesitancy in making reply. They accounted for their own boldness by attributing everything to the risen Christ.
On the day of Pentecost the resurrection was the keynote of Peter’s sermon, (See Acts 2:14-40) which inspired 3,000 people to confess Christ as Lord.
Acts 2:41: “Those who accepted His message were baptised, and about three thousand were added to their number that day”.
The resurrection was the dominant theme in all of Paul’s preaching. Everywhere he declared: “By His power God raised the Lord from the dead, and He will raise us also.” 1 Corinthians 6:14
Thousands of people will go to church on Easter Sunday to hear sermons about the resurrection. But how many actually believe that Christ is alive?
What a difference it would make if they did!
What a difference it would make in domestic and international affairs if people understood that Christ is risen!
What a transformation would take place in our families!
On the day of the resurrection the angel at the tomb delivered the most important message that has ever fallen on the ears of mankind: “He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” Matthew 28:6 ( Mark 16:6, Luke 24:6)
The power of those words changed the course of history, brought hope to a hopeless world and gave men and women a purpose and a power which they had never before known.
We live in a day when science has harnessed the power of the universe. But such power has not made the world better. It has not solved the riddle of human evil; it has not helped us to cope with the problems that threaten the world’s peoples.
What relevance has the resurrection of Christ to our human dilemma?
Christ’s resurrection can have everything to do with answering our problems. Alive forevermore, the risen Christ can do today what He did for those who received and believed Him in days gone by.
1). THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION SAVES AND REDEEMS INDIVIDUALS
Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:25)
I have seen hundreds, thousands of men and women who are among the living dead. Life to them has become a hollow mockery and a sham; life has lost its purpose and meaning. These people are bored and fed up; they have no zest for living.
I have seen them come in simply, trusting faith to the living Christ. They have put their trembling hands into the strong hands of the crucified and risen Christ.
I have seen them in the glow of the living Christ step out of a casket of broken hopes and dreams to become happy, useful, integrated people, filled with purpose and power.
Jesus words have not changed. Time has not robbed them of their power.
When “the dead … hear the voice of the Son of God … they will live.” (John 5:25)
The Christ who lived on this planet still lives today, raising from their lifelessness all those who believe in Him, raising them from a wretched existence that is worse than death.
We read in the Bible:
a). “and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms.”(Ephesians 1:19-20)
b). “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins”. Ephesians 2:1. “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:5-6)
Have you been raised to a new life in Christ – you who are discouraged and despondent? You who are bored with living? You who cope with psychological and mental problems? You who experience gnawing fear and insecurity? You who are dead in trespasses and in sins? I tell you on the authority of the Bible that the risen Christ can raise you out of your spiritual lifelessness and can transform you.
2). THE RESURRECTION EMPOWERS US TO LIVE VICTORIOUSLY IN THIS LIFE
The living Christ is able to bring all of our energies and powers into focus and to help us to be conquerors over the world, the flesh and the devil.
The Bible says: “Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
With the risen Christ as our Commander in Chief we can say with Paul: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
I have exciting news for all that are staggering under the burden of life’s load. After the resurrection Jesus promised: ” … and surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
God wants you to have His power today. He longs to give it to you, but you must be faith open your heart to Him. When you come to the cross of Christ for forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit will raise you from the mundane, the monotonous, the hopeless, to a new, thrilling, adventuresome life filled with dynamic power.
3). THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION GIVES HOPE
“Is there hope?” That is the constant question of humanity, and Easter is the answer to that question. The New Testament is the textbook of hope. The word hope occurs over and over in the New Testament after Christ’s resurrection. It was the resurrection of Jesus Christ that sets off a chain reaction of hope in the world.
Thomas Carlyle wrote: “Man is … based upon Hope; he has no other possession but Hope.”
On the purely human level there is little hope in the world. Immorality and lawlessness seem to be increasing. Wrong seems to be winning and right seems to be losing the battle for the minds and hearts of people. But the living Christ can bring glorious hope to individuals and to the world.
Scripture says: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)
Many of us have put our faith in stocks, bonds, gadgets, pleasures and thrills.
Many of us have tried to bypass God. We are in trouble because we have left out God; we have left out the Ten Commandments; we have left out the Sermon on the Mount.
Now we are reaping the tragic results. But there is hope in the Easter message: in Christ there is hope for all.
All of us are facing death, and we can know that with Christ there is hope beyond the grave, because the same power that raised Christ from the dead will also raise those who confess Him. Death becomes only a veil, only a river to cross; on the other side is heaven, home and Christ.
One moment we say “Good night” here, and the next moment we say “Good morning” there.
I do not know how people outside Christ cope with the thought of death. They must experience utter hopelessness, for there is no hope outside Christ.
Easter, with its message of resurrection power, brings us face-to-face with the living Christ.
Will you reject Him and be eternally lost? Or will you receive Christ and the eternal life that He alone can give?