"HE IS RISEN"
I. THE VALIDITY OF THE WHOLE CHRISTIAN MESSAGE STANDS OR FALLS WITH THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS FROM THE DEAD.
A. If there is no resurrection there is no gospel.
1. All of our preaching is in vain.
a. Think of all of the inspiring messages that have been preached from the pulpits around the world through the centuries, that have inspired people to noble deeds, to good living, that have inspired hope, brought hope and peace. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, it is all in vain.
b. Think of all of the books that have been written inspiring faith, and hope and love. If Jesus did not rise, they are all worthless trash.
c. They are all in vain, if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead.
2. If Jesus did not rise from the dead our faith is in vain.
a. Think of the millions of people who have come to a faith Jesus Christ and have entrusted their lives to him.
b. Think of the millions who gave their lives because of their faith in him. It has been estimated that during the Roman persecution of the church, as many as 6 million were martyred for their faith.
c. Think of the missionaries who have given their lives to go to live among the savage primitive people to bring them a better life, established hospitals, orphanages, taught them sanitation practices as well as the gospel.
d. If Christ is not risen, their sacrifices were all in vain.
3. We are still in our sins.
a. You who had done such horrible things in the past, things that you were ashamed of; things that tortured your mind to think about; things that were destroying you because you could not overcome your feelings of guilt; things that were driving you to distraction; things that when you accepted Jesus were lifted like a heavy burden from off your back.
b. If Christ is not risen from the dead, those horrible things have not been forgiven, they still hang like a noose around your neck.
4. Those who have died in faith, have perished.
a. It is all over, that is all she wrote, blotto.
b. All of their virtues have ended, they suffer the same fate as the worst, vilest human beings, oblivion.
c. All of the words of hope and comfort that we have given to those who were dying, words that gave them the courage to face death with a smile, to face death without terror, were lies.
d. We have talked to those who were dying, of the beauty being in the presence of Jesus and seeing Him face to face, to be rejoined with their loved ones in His eternal glory. We have seen the peace that comes over their countenance as they slip into eternity.
e. If Christ did not rise from the dead, what I said were all lies. They do not continue to live. They are gone, it is all over.
5. Life is unfair, there truly is no justice.
a. Wicked people who were not caught have gotten by with their evil deeds. They have lied, stolen, deceived, raped, killed, extorted, and will never have to pay.
b. Some good people have experienced disabling tragedies.
c. Evil has triumphed over good.
d. Why should we even try to stop the rappers from advocating that you rape your sister or mother, or disembowel a friend?
e. Why should we try to stop young men killing innocent people in order to be initiated into a gang?
f. If there is nothing that is intrinsically good or evil as is being taught in many of our public schools, what makes these things bad?
h. Why have any judicial system at all? Why have laws? Why have law enforcement agencies?
i. If Christ is not risen from the dead, why try?
6. Life is not worthwhile, we are living in the most bleak, dark hopeless state possible.
a. No wonder those who do not believe turn to drugs, or alcohol to deaden the pain.
II. BUT NOW IS CHRIST RISEN FROM THE DEAD. THAT MEANS,
A. Our preaching is not in vain.
1. God is merciful and will forgive your sins.
2. God is calling you to love Him and love your neighbor.
B. Our faith is not in vain.
1. Our belief in Jesus is confirmed.
2. It does pay to serve the Lord and live a better life.
C. We are no longer in our sins.
1. God has forgiven all of our sins. The blood of Jesus Christ does indeed cleanse a man from all sin.
2. Your record has been wiped clean. No charges against you remain.
3. You have been washed, cleansed, forgiven.
D. Those who have died in faith are now with the Lord.
1. "For to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord."
a. We are told that in His presence is fullness of joy, and pleasures forevermore.
2. And through the ages to come God will be revealing to them the exceeding riches of His grace and love toward them, through Jesus Christ.
3. There are no more tears, for them, no more pain, or sorrow, for the earthly things have passed away.
E. There is a final justice. It does pay to live a righteous life.
1. There will come a day when the sinners will be judged.
a. They will not get by with their evil ways.
b. One day they will stand before God and those things done in secret will be openly revealed, and God will judge them in righteous judgment.
Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret [sins] in the light of thy countenance.
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.
I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings.
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts:
c. God said, You can be sure that your sins will find you out.
2. Because Jesus has risen, good will ultimately triumph over evil, and God's righteous kingdom will reign forever. Our Lord will come again and His kingdom will be established on the earth.