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17 Jul 2022

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ [1Corinthians 15:1-11]

Overview

“12 men testified they’d seen Jesus raised from the dead, proclaimed that for 40 years, never once denying it,” despite beatings and torture. “In Watergate 12 of the most powerful men in the world couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks! [But] 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible!” These were the words of Charles Colson. He and his people could not keep the lie going, and were eventually exposed in the Watergate Scandal. But the apostolic preaching that Jesus is risen from the dead is the consistent message in the early church, because it was no lie. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a most fundamental doctrine. Take away the resurrection, then there is no gospel. If there is no gospel, then there is no way for sinners to be saved. But if there is the resurrection from the dead, then just as Jesus rose from the dead, so will you (those who believe in Jesus) when He returns. May this message help you to know the gospel, and encourage you in your spiritual journey and service unto the Lord.


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Well, 1st Corinthians, this has been a long journey of more than a year. And we realize that this is a book filled with Paul's response to the many problems that they have faced.

There was schism in the church, they were divided into different groups and factions. They were a church that was struggling with sexual sins. They were suing one another. They were a church that caused ... they were people within the church who caused others to stumble when they went to idols' temples to eat food offered to the idols. They were a people who had difficulty or the women had difficulty submitting themselves to their own husbands.

We also read about how they were selfish in the conduct of the fellowship meal in the Lord's Supper. We looked at how they abused spiritual gifts, and that was where we camped at for the past three chapters.

Today, we look at the very last problem that Paul dealt with in the book of 1st Corinthians, and it was with regard to skepticism about the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead.
Chapter 15 really seeks to answer this question, "How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?" [1 Cor 15:12]

So apparently, there are people within the church, who are now believing that there may not be any resurrection. They ... there are doubts, there are skepticisms in their mind, and so Paul gives us 1st Corinthians 15 to address this issue.

You will find that this is not an uncommon issue, there are people in those days who do not believe the resurrection, pretty much like I'm sure, our day. For example, the Sadducees, they are not Christians, but there was a major religious Jewish sect, who have a clear understanding that there is no such thing as the resurrection. [Acts 2:38]

The Pharisees, they believed, but the Sadducees they don't. And then when Paul went to Athens to preach at Mars Hill, he preached about the resurrection. But the people, the Greeks there, "When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, mocked Paul." [Acts 17:32] Some of them mocked him laughed at him, "How can you say that there is such a thing called the resurrection from the dead?"

So when we read off verse 12, in 1st Corinthians 15, we ought not be surprised that there are those who say that, "Maybe there is no such thing as the resurrection from the dead."

A story is told of a lady, she wanted to move from a city to another. She has got all her furniture moved on already, but she's now left with a dog. So, she placed her dog in a cage and placed the cage in a crate and got the movers to move. When the movers got the crate over to the other city, they opened the crate up, they open the cage up, and to their horror, they realized that the dog is now dead.

They panicked, they didn't know what to do! But one of them thought of this plan, he went to the nearby pet shop and got a dog that looks exactly like this one and replaced it. Now, the woman now got over from her previous city to where the dog is. She opened the crate, she opened the cage and her eyes were bulging and she was ... her jaws dropped, when she saw the puppy jumping and barking and, and happily running around her.

And the movers then asked her, "What's wrong? Is there something wrong with the dog?" "Oh, no, but when I placed the dog into the cage, it was already dead!"

Well, the resurrection from the dead is an amazing reality! Very hard to believe for some people, so Paul in 1st Corinthians chapter 15 seeks to answer questions about the resurrection.

[1] The Firstfruits of the Resurrection
This is a long chapter, 60 over verses, I suggest that the way to approach this chapter is to understand first of all, Paul describes the firstfruits of the resurrection. I'll explain in a while what that means, but it essentially refers to Jesus Christ. He's the firstfruits of the resurrection.

[2] The Form of the Resurrection
And then he's going to answer the question - What form, what body, what nature is the resurrection going to be in? So we see Secondly, the form of the resurrection. What body, what nature?

[3] The Fruit of the Resurrection
And then finally, Paul does not leave with just a theory, but he gives us the application, so what, when we know about the resurrection! He gives us the required fruit, the expected fruit, the consequence of knowing, believing the doctrine of the resurrection from dead.

[1] The Firstfruits of the Resurrection
[A] The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is Absolutely Fundamental.

Today, we're going to look at the firstfruits of the resurrection, not the entire section because this I think, stretches from verse 1 to verse 34. I don't think you can, I can last so long to deal with everything in these 34 verses. But the first 34 verses deal with the firstfruits of the resurrection.

What is first fruit? Not a concept that is familiar to Singaporeans, but I think it's a concept very familiar to the Jews. The Jewish culture, they are largely agricultural, at some points of their, of their lifetime, of their history.

So it is common, it is expected, it is written in the Scriptures, that when the farmers have the first crops of the harvest, these will be dedicated first to God. They are offered to God, they are the firstfruits, they are given to God as an expression of their gratitude of their faith, their beliefs that as God has given them the first crops, God will give them more. And that all this really comes from God and belongs to God, so when someone offers the firstfruits, he is saying, "I believe there is more to come, they belong to God."

So, Paul uses this idea to talk about Jesus as the firstfruits of the resurrection. In verse 20, I'm jumping ahead just to let you know, verse 1 to 32, what essentially it's all about, Paul says, "Christ has been raised from the dead, and He is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."

So, just as the first batch of fruit or harvest is given to God, believing that there are more to come, Jesus is the One who is first raised in the New Testament Church, symbolizing that there will be more to come. Symbolizing that we, who are followers of Jesus Christ will also be resurrected, just as He was resurrected.

So, Paul establishes this fact - Jesus is risen from the dead, He is alive today and so will we. We will rise together with Him.

So this is the beginning of 1st Corinthians 15, the firstfruits of the resurrection. Like I've said, Paul is not here trying to prove the resurrection of Jesus Christ alone, but he is proving just as Jesus is resurrected, so will you. He's basing the generalization of the resurrection reality for all of us on the specific resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We are going to look today just at verses 1 to 11, and verses 1-11 only, and specifically focuses on "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ". That's all we're going to look at! And you get the idea, Paul has to establish Jesus is risen, then he can argue — so will we, in verses 12, all the way to 34. Alright?

So let's look at what he says, this logic, "Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?" [1 Cor 15:12]

So here, here's his logic. There are people who do not believe that there is the resurrection, but Paul says, "Look at Jesus, He was resurrected from the dead! And if He is resurrected from the dead, how can you say that there is no such thing as the resurrection from the dead? But if Jesus is resurrected from the dead, He is the firstfruits, more will follow, you guys will also be resurrected from the dead."

So again, this similar, this same line I'm going to give you - Jesus is risen, so will you!

Alright, so let's look at these verses before us verses 1 to 11.
Now, it's a little bit technical, it's a little bit like study like that. But I hope that you will love that Word of God and you love to study the Word of God, and to know the Word of God for yourself.

So just to prepare you, he begins in verses 1 and 2. "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the Word I preached to you — unless you believed in vain." So, I'm going to take this a step at a time.

Paul says, "I want to remind you of the Gospel I preached to you." The Gospel simply means the Good News, and it's about Jesus Christ and how he died and how He rose again to save His people from their sins. So Paul starts his defense of the resurrection from the dead, by speaking about the Gospel, you'll see why in a while.

He says, "I want to remind you of this Good News of Jesus Christ, who died and rose again to save you from your sins, a message that you received, a message in which you stand, and by which you are being saved." I hope you can see that there's a past, present and future dynamic in this phrase.

The Gospel is a message that the Corinthians received, they heard and believed in their heart some time ago. But it's not a message that they believed last time and now forsake, but it's a message that they believed in the past, and that which they still stand upon. They still believe up to today, because that is the means by which we are all being saved. He's also looking forward to a future salvation to come.

So the Gospel message is not something that we believed last time and now we can don't believe, it's a message that we believed, we must still believe and we will have to believe until Jesus returns for us.

I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1995. That's a long time ago, 27 years ago. And it's a message I have believed for these 27 years and it's a message I still believe today. It's a message I stand on. My justification, my salvation rests not on my works, rests not on the fact that I'm a pastor, but rests on the fact that Jesus died and rose again to save me from my sins.

And I hope and I trust and work towards that end, that I will keep on believing till the day I die, or till the day Jesus returns for me. And that is how God saves us. Yes, we are saved by grace through faith, but the real child of God is someone who will hold fast to the Word of God, who will hold fast to the Gospel. And they who endure unto the end will be saved, unless you believed in vain.

In other words, Paul says, "If you believed last time, and now you say, you do not believe, then you did not really believe from the word go. It was a vain kind of faith, it was an empty kind of faith.

I often like to quote this: The faith that fizzles at the finish was faulty from the first. It's all the Fs! The faith that fizzles at the finish was faulty from the first.

In other words, the Bible does not say, "Oh, you began with real faith, but you did not have enough of it, and it fizzled and died." No! The reason why you did not endure unto the end was because your faith was not the real deal from the first place, in the first place from the word go. And that I think is what Paul is saying.

What he's emphasizing here is — that you are saved through faith, if I may add, you are saved through on-going faith in the Gospel. They will endure to the end shall be saved.

Now you may ask, "Alright, can I know a little bit more about the Gospel? What ... what is it actually? What is it according to Paul?" So Paul says, "Alright, let me tell you." "For I delivered to you as of first importance that I also received." [1 Cor 15:3]

Now, the Gospel is a message of first importance, it's a message that is most important. We, as a church do not argue about the color of the carpet, the kind of light designs. We don't argue about a lot of things. We don't fight over a lot of things, we don't want to. But the message that we will fight for, is the message of the Gospel, it's a message of first importance.

Like Paul, I hope to say, "I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." The Gospel is a message of first importance, and Paul says, "It's a message I received." "Huh, it's not a message that I invented. It's not a figment of my imagination, it's not up to man's originality, it is given by God, it's a message I received."

And so let me tell you what the Gospel is. He says, "That Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas." [1 Cor 3-5]

I say to you, there are four statements in this passage. You say, "What four, looks like six lines leh?" Well, trust me, there are four lines in this passage. It will be clear once we rearrange the verses. Let's push them all to the left, and you will now see that there are actually four statements in this creed, or in this confessional statement about the Gospel.

It's very succinct, but it's very clear! The four lines are initiated each by the word, 'that'. So, the message of first importance that I will declare to you, preach to you is that number one - Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and so on, and so forth.

And these four statements, do not hold the same weightage. There are two main statements in this four statements creed. And they are seen with this qualifier, "in accordance with the Scriptures", and also "raised on the third day in accordance with the Scripture".

So there's a nice parallel, there's a nice balance, two on each side. The major emphasis is that Christ died for our sins. The fact that He was buried, supports the fact that he was, He died for our sins. The second emphasis is that He was raised on the third day. And the fact that He appeared to Cephas supports the fact that He raised ... He was raised on the third day.

So this is part one, this is part two. So it would not be that off, if we say that the Gospel is about Jesus dying and rising.
Of course, we support the dying with the fact that He was buried, it was a real death. And the rising is supported by the fact that He did appear to some other people. But the essence of the Gospel is seen here.

Let's take it a little bit more slowly. "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." The death of Jesus Christ is not an afterthought for God, it's according to the Scriptures.
When Jesus went to the cross, oh, don't think that he was caught off guard, He was powerless, that the ... the religious leaders were too strong for Him. No, he died in accordance with the Scriptures! Is exactly the way God has said will happen.

And the Scriptures hint about the death of Jesus right from the beginning in Genesis, chapter 3, "That the seed of the woman will crush the serpent's head, but His heel will also be crushed." It prophetically hinted of the death of Jesus Christ.
Of course, you may be familiar with other stories in the Old Testament, like the Passover Lamb. The lamb had to be slain in order for Israel to be saved, and that's a foreshadowing of how Jesus will die according to the Scriptures.

We read about Psalm 22, the great messianic psalm about the sufferings of the Messiah. We read about Isaiah 53, about the Suffering Servant. The Bible is filled in the Old Testament with the prophecy that the Christ, the Messiah, the Chosen One will die.

See, the Gospel is about a great sacrifice and substitution to save us from our sins! The Gospel is not about you earning your way to God, the Gospel is about Jesus dying, giving His life to save us from our sins. The Good News is not about you, it's about Jesus and He did it all. He paid it all on the cross, He died for our sins accordance with the Scriptures.

Like I said, the fact that He was buried was important because it was not a phony death, it was not a fake death, it was a real death. He was buried! He was buried in an empty tomb, because He, after His burial would rise from the dead.

"He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures." Now interestingly, whilst the death of the Messiah is heavily prophesied of and spoken of and written of in the Old Testament, the resurrection, not so easy to find.

But you will find some references for example in Psalm 16 and verse 10. And this is specifically referring to Jesus because it was quoted in the New Testament to be applied to Jesus. It hinted of His resurrection. Of course, Jonah, in the belly of the fish for three days was also a ... a hint or foreshadowing of the resurrection of Jesus.

But the fact is, Jesus was raised on the third day. So, I'd like you to now begin to appreciate Paul is talking about the Gospel. Why? Because he's going to show that the resurrection of Jesus is central, it's crucial in the Gospel. You don't have the Gospel if there is no resurrection of Jesus Christ. So if you say, that there is no resurrection from the dead, then you're saying that there is no resurrection of Jesus Christ, then you are saying, there is no Gospel for you. There is no salvation for you.

This doubt, this skepticism you have with regard to the resurrection of the dead, is a very important problem. He doesn't want anybody to trivialize the attack on the resurrection. It hinges ... the Gospel hinges on the resurrection of Christ.

And then number four, "And that He appeared to Cephas." He did not evaporate into thin air! He did not rot away! He was resurrected! How do we know? He appeared to Cephas, He appeared to one of the key leaders in the New Testament Church, to one of the apostles.

So what is the Gospel? It's about Jesus, it's not about you, what you can do, what your pastor can do, what your church can do, it's about what Jesus did! It's news, it's not advice. It's not what you need to do today. It's not advice, it's news. News is what happened yesterday and Jesus had already died. He had already been buried, He had already been raised, and the tense in the Greek is that He's raised and He's now alive forevermore, and He did appear to Cephas.

So wrapping this up, you must be wondering, "How is this related to the resurrection?" Well, "The Gospel I preached to you ..." which you received, which you stand on, which you are being saved by, involves these four elements - Christ dying, Christ buried, Christ rising, Christ appearing. And so the resurrection is intimately, crucially tied to the Gospel.

So if I may summarize for you, these five verses, it will be this effect - If you do not believe in any resurrection, then you do not believe the Gospel, because the Gospel says that Jesus is raised from the dead. And if you do not believe the Gospel, then you will not be saved, because that's the only way by which men may be saved.

"Your skepticism of the resurrection is a serious one! And I will not allow this to take place or to take root in the local church at Corinth. But if you believe the Gospel, then rightly, you should believe that just as Jesus is risen from the dead, so will you!" So he locks in, he locks in this argument powerfully.

A story is told of a young boy and a man in an art gallery. The man asked the boy, "Do you know what this picture is all about?" The boy says, "Sir, this is a picture of Jesus Christ crucified on a cross, to save us from our sins." The man said, "Thank you." He moved on to look at other paintings and then he ... he felt up on his sleeve. It was the little boy! And the little boy said to him, "Sir, I forgot to tell you, Jesus is not dead anymore, He's risen from the dead."

And that is the message of the Christian faith. Our Savior died — yes. He was buried — yes. But He was also raised from the dead. And He appeared to Cephas, we know we serve a living risen Savior, that is the Gospel. That is the message that people need to hear and to believe for them to be saved.

So Paul, here therefore argues that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is absolutely fundamental. You take away the resurrection, you have no Gospel. Don't trivialize this problem.

[B]The Resurrection of Jesus is absolutely Factual
But in verses 6 onwards, he's going to tell us that the resurrection of Jesus is absolutely factual. It is very important to get this right and it is absolutely true.

And that is the thrust, because we read verses 5-8, where he says, "Then He appeared after to Cephas, then to the 12. Then He appeared to more than 500 brothers at one time," and so on and so forth. So in short, Paul mentioned six groups of people, the post resurrection, Jesus appeared to. Cephas, his name also is Peter, one of the key apostles, and then to the 12, clearly to the 12 apostles. I think, including Matthias, not this one, but the One in the Bible. And then He appeared to more than 500 brothers at one time.

So a lot of people at one time and he says, "Most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep." The point is — "Yes, I know out of the 500, some have died, passed away, but there are many of them who are still alive and you can talk to, you can ask, if they really saw Jesus."

"Then He appeared to James ..." not James, the brother of John, he was already beheaded, but this is James, the brother of Jesus. "... Last of all, and then to all the apostles." Now, the apostles here we must understand not to be part of the 12. In the Bible, small "a" apostles are a term that will be used for some other people like Barnabas, and so on.

The word, 'apostle' simply means, sent one or messenger. So there are other people who are preaching the Gospel. And so Paul says, "Jesus appeared to other apostles, not necessarily the group of 12 that was earlier mentioned."

And then he says, "Last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me." He saying, "We are all witness, we are all credible witnesses."

In the Bible, if there are two or three witnesses, a thing will be established. "I don't give you just two or three, I tell you that there are six groups of people. One group have more than 500 people at one time. The resurrection of Jesus is no figment of imagination. It is absolutely factual and true."

This is a picture of a man named Chuck Colson. He's an American, you won't get to ... you won't know very much. But he was one of the key people in the former US President Richard Nixon's administration. You might have heard of Richard Nixon. He's called a hatchet man, he deals with the many problems for Richard Nixon.

Well, Chuck Colson was embroiled in what is quite well-known today as the Watergate Scandal. The Watergate Scandal in essence was how Richard Nixon's people tried to cover up lie about their break in of the Watergate Complex.

We do not know why they wanted to break in, but they broke in. And when investigations would get done, Chuck Colson together with his gang of people conspired to lie and say, "We did not go, we did not break in." They had extensive cover up and it was a scandal, because Richard Nixon was subsequently impeached. The conspirators were interrogated and they broke. They eventually professed that they had lied, they admitted their guilt, and so Chuck Colson was thrown into prison.

Just as he was facing arrest, someone passed him a book called, "Mere Christianity" by CS Lewis. You might have heard about CS Lewis, and you might have heard about the book. He read it and amazingly came to faith in Jesus Christ. He served his sentence in the prison, but after he was released, he founded an organization called "Prison Fellowship". It is up till today, the largest non profit Christian organization for prisoners and ex-prisoners and their family members. And they are in operation here in Singapore, as well.

Well, I say all that so that you know Chuck Colson and know that he's a Christian. And he said this, "12 men [the apostles] testified, they preached everywhere in Jerusalem, in Judea. They preached, they testified that they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, proclaimed that for 40 years, never once denying it," despite beatings and torture. In Watergate, 12 of the most powerful men in the world couldn't keep a lie for three weeks. But 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible!"'

The point Paul is making therefore here is, "I'm telling you, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not a hoax, it's not a lie, it's not a conspiracy, it's not a figment of our imagination. We know it, we've seen Him, you can ask any of us here! We are all credible witnesses."

Then he talks about himself, he says, "That I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God." [1 Cor 15:9] "I killed Christians, I killed the followers of Jesus Christ, but by the grace of God, I am what I am today, look at me, I ... I work harder than all the other apostles. But I'm not boasting because it is the grace of God working in me.

And Paul is essentially arguing, "I'm a credible witness, because you see how my life has changed. I was a Christian hunter, I hunted Christians to kill them, but now I serve Jesus. And look at the way I serve, I give my life, it must be the grace of God. And I am telling you today, Jesus is risen from the dead, I saw Him on the road to Damascus. He's risen!"

So, "If Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, [now, I've proven to you how important this matter is, and how Jesus is truly risen from the dead,] how can you now say that there is no such thing as resurrection from the dead?" [1 Cor 15:12]

Now, that takes us nicely, prepares us nicely to look at the sermon next Sunday, but today, it suffices for us to say, Paul established the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That it was absolutely fundamental, it's an important message, and that it was absolutely factual. And if Jesus was risen from the dead, so will you! You do not have to doubt it at all.

I close with some applicatory thoughts, my time is running by, but I want to remind all of us who are gathered here today. Some of you are new, some of you have never been to church. You wonder what is the most important thing about the Bible? What is the most important thing about the Christian faith? Is it tithing? Huh, is it singing? Is it baptism? Is it Lord's supper? Is it coming to church on Sunday morning? I tell you what is the message of first importance, and it's not a message I came up with. It's not a message we came up with. It's a message we received from God in the Bible, and the message is that Christ died for our sins.

He was buried, He was raised from the dead, He appeared to Cephas. And he died and rose again to be your Substitute, to pay for your sins, something which you can never do for yourself, so that through Him, you might be saved, you might be reconciled with God. You do not need to face the holy wrath of God in judgment, on the Day of Judgment. This is the message of first importance!

It doesn't matter how long you've been to church service, my question to you is - Have you received this message? Or maybe some of you today are flagging in your faith, you're, you're doubting, you have questions in your faith. By the way, I ... I am not saying we can never have doubts, we ... we will have doubts. And it's a, it's not a bad thing to have doubts, but don't give up on your faith, seek the answers in Scripture, talk to someone here today, because the faith that fizzles at the finish was faulty from the first, and they who endure unto the end will be saved.

I say to you, together with Paul in Romans 10:9, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Jesus is Lord. In this passage, it's really referring to how He is God.

Jesus is God, the very God, who was born into this world as the unique God-man, lived a sinless life, that He might be a perfect sacrifice to save you from your sins. And this is the Bible's message of first importance, that if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart, who Jesus is and what He has done for you, the Bible says, "You will be saved."

This is tremendous Good News, because you don't have to earn it anymore! You don't have to wonder if you're good enough for God, we are all not good enough for God, but Jesus is good enough, and He paid it all on the cross. I pray God will grant you grace to repent and believe in Him.

This week, we have been hit with many difficult news amongst members in our church as we have prayed, for brother Ee Kwang, sister Benita, Pastor Robert. And actually through the COVID period, there have been a lot of people who have suffered and gone through difficulties. But the Bible tells us that we do not need to despair.

Now it's sad, and we ... we should sorrow in a sense, because it's not easy for them, but we should not sorrow to the point of despair. Because we know that according to 2nd Corinthians 4, this momentary light affliction ... according to Paul, whatever we suffer, whatever Paul suffered, in his estimation, it's momentary, it's light, and it's only working out an eternal weight of glory to come.

And he says, "I can have such an attitude because he says, for example, in 2nd Corinthians 5:1, "We know that if the tent ..." This body is like a tabernacle a tent, this earthly home is destroyed, even if I should have my arm chopped off. Or if I should be handicapped, "... even if this earthly body is to be destroyed, it's not the end, huh, because we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Some of you maybe physically handicapped, but that is not you forevermore, there's a glorious, incorruptible body that God will bless His people with in time to come. Oh yes, we will suffer here, but that is not the end of your story, we are looking forward to the glorious day that is to come. I pray you will steady your heart through your trials.

And Paul says in verses 6-9, "So we are always of good courage." Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. That's ... that's the dynamic of the Christian life. There's sorrow over the circumstances, but there is a joy in the hope that is to come. "We know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight." We don't measure our life based on what we see, and sense and smell and hear alone.

We operate by faith, believing God, in spite of the difficulties and trials, we believe that God is working something good for us, for eternity to come. "So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him."

If you really believe the resurrection, it will change the way you live. It will change the way you have been trying to strive for a better life here, to living in a way that pleases Him. You will sanctify yourself in the power of the Spirit, you will give of your life to the Lord's service.

I do not want to steal the thunder to come at the end of the 15th chapter of the book of 1st Corinthians, but I want to leave this thoughts with you:-

If Jesus is risen from the ... from the dead, there is salvation for you.

If Jesus is risen from the dead, we do not need to despair in this life.

If Jesus is risen from the dead, then let it be that we would sanctify ourselves.

If Jesus is risen from the dead, let us serve Him.

Make it our goal to please Him in all that we do. Why? Because Jesus indeed is risen from the dead.

Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

Father, we thank You this morning that we serve a risen Savior. Thank You that there is now a new living way opened up for sinners to come to You. No more that futile and frustrating way of earning our way to God by our own imperfect obedience, but resting on the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ, resting on His finished work on the cross.

Oh, I pray today that You will grant insight and understanding for all who are gathered here, that they will confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord and that God has raised Him from the dead. May You today by Your Spirit grant to men and women repentance and faith that they might be saved.

Once again, we pray for those who are going through hardships. Dear Lord, comfort them. We do not always know why You do what You do. We do not always know why people go through sicknesses and sufferings, but we do know who You are. We do know that You're sovereign, and You're wise, and You're loving and You're all powerful. We thank You that there is a certain hope in front of us and I pray that God's people will endure unto the end.

We pray that as a church, we will be a people focused on pleasing You in all that we do. O God, spare us from living for ourselves and building our own kingdoms. May we all long to say, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in our lives." Thank You and we pray all this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
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