Classic Friday: The Most Important Day In History - [1 Corinthians 15]


What was the most important day in history?  Listen in to Tuesday Guy in order to find out.


What makes a day great? What are some of the great dates in history? I was thinking about this and I thought, you know, if you're a history buff, you might say, well, it was a great day in history when the
Allies won World War II. V -J Day or Victory in Japan Day, Victory in Europe Day.
You might think, oh, the signing of the Magna Carta. That was a great day. If you're particularly proud about being an
American, you might think July 4th was a great day. If you love fantasy, you might think the birth of J .R
.R. Tolkien was a great day. If you're a Celtics fan, the day they drafted
Larry Bird was a great day. And if you're really old -school, the day they drafted Bill Russell was a great day.
If you're a Red Sox fan, the day they finally ended the curse of Babe Ruth was a great day.
For most people around the world, Christian or not Christian, what do you think the most important day of the year for them is?
What do you think? Well, if you think about kids, what are they most excited about? And the answer would be Christmas, right?
It's the highlight of the year. And it's a good day because it celebrates Jesus coming in the flesh, entering our world.
We just had Good Friday a couple days ago. Very important day. Why? Because it celebrates or remembers, because it's not really so much a celebration, but the death of Jesus on behalf of his people.
But I think it's clear, and I hope to make the case this morning, that the most important day, number one, with a bullet, top of the charts, is the
Resurrection Sunday. The first Resurrection Sunday, the day that our
Lord Jesus left the tomb, was raised from the dead. John Calvin said, the cross of Christ only triumphs in the breast of believers over the devil and the flesh, sin and sinners, when their eyes are directed to the power of his resurrection.
Now, the church in Corinth was a mess, had many, many problems.
However, there was no bigger problem than this, that some people had a misunderstanding of the resurrection.
That's really the heart of Christianity, and I think we're going to see that this morning. So Paul writes chapter 15, containing probably the most compelling arguments in all of Scripture for the resurrection of the
Lord Jesus Christ. And this morning, I'm going to give you a hint here.
I have nine reasons, and some of them kind of overlap a little bit, and I could maybe have more, but I have nine.
Nine is all I have. I chose nine. This morning,
I have nine reasons that the first Resurrection Sunday was the most important day in history. The single most important day in history.
Reason number one, the resurrection, and of course this is my first reason, the resurrection validates preaching.
It validates preaching. Look at verse 14. 1
Corinthians 15, verse 14, the first part of it. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain.
But he is raised, so our preaching is not in vain. Some had even denied that Jesus had risen from the grave.
This was running around the Corinthian church. Look at verse 12. Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
They were saying that there is no resurrection. Now that word proclaimed is the same, it is preached.
So Paul preaches Christ raised from the dead, him resurrected.
Now if the resurrection never took place, then what Paul says in verse 14 is, his preaching is in vain, it's empty, it's pointless.
What's the point of proclaiming a Savior who died for your sins and was raised on the third day if he wasn't raised on the third day?
And Paul goes so far as to say that he is basically a liar if Jesus has not been raised.
Look at verse 15. We are even found to be misrepresenting God. Can you think of a worse crime?
Than misrepresenting God? I don't think there is one. Because we testified about God that he raised
Christ, whom he did not raise, if it is true that the dead are not raised.
So if death is all there is, if there's no resurrection after death, then
God did not raise Jesus from the dead and he, in fact,
Paul is misrepresenting God, he's lying about him. But as Jesus has been raised, not only is preaching the gospel not vain, it is vital.
Preaching the gospel is vital. Romans 10 verses 13 and 14 say this, For everyone who calls upon the name of the
Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
Again, not necessarily from the pulpit, but the practice of preaching the gospel, of repeating the truths of the gospel to people.
This is how they are saved. Preaching is not vain. It is central to our lives, to the ministry of the gospel, to the spread of the gospel, to people being saved.
And no one will get to heaven without believing the gospel. No one will get to heaven without believing the gospel.
There is no other way. There is no other means. Paul really focused on that, on preaching the
Bible, preaching the truth, and he explained why in 1st Corinthians 2 verses 1 to 5.
Don't turn there, but I'm just gonna read it. And I, when I came to you brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.
And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the
Spirit and of power. So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
What's he saying here? Here's the essence of it. He's getting back to the power of preaching and why it's not in vain.
Because if you give people either what they want to hear, or you give them some flowery speech designed to get them to believe what you want them to believe, then their faith rests on your words, on your wisdom, on your persuasiveness, and not in the power of God, which is the gospel.
When we preach the gospel and people respond to it, that's the Holy Spirit working in them to save them, to transform them.
So reason number one is it validates preaching. Reason number two, the resurrection validates your faith, or the faith of the saints, the faith of believers.
Again, verse 14. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain.
If the gospel that produces faith is fake, if it's a sham, it's a fraud, then that faith that it produces is, in fact, a sham too.
If you believe in something that is wrong, then you are deluded. As one of my prophets used to say, you may be sincere, but you may be sincerely wrong.
John MacArthur says, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the single greatest event in the history of the world.
It is so foundational to Christianity that no one who denies it is a true
Christian. A person who believes that in a Christ who was not raised believes in a powerless
Christ, a dead Christ. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then no redemption was accomplished at the cross, and your faith is worthless.
Everything that you've invested in, everything that you hope for, everything that you believe about Jesus Christ to be still in the tomb, didn't happen, and your faith is worthless.
That's number two, but your faith is not worthless because Jesus is alive. Reason number three that this is the greatest day in history.
The resurrection demonstrates God has forgiven the sins of believers. Look at verse 17, and again, this is
Paul arguing from the negative. He says, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, again similar to vain, and you are still in your sins.
This really is at the heart of the matter, right? If the great transaction has not taken place, if you are still in your sins because Jesus is still in the grave, then you have no hope of heaven, because this is not true.
This verse is not true. Second Corinthians 5 21, for our sake he, that is the
Father, made him, Jesus, to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him, that is to say in Christ, we might become the righteousness of God.
This is the great transaction, where God the Father puts us in Christ, and he places the sins, our sins, the sins of all believers on Jesus at the cross, and then our, the righteousness of Jesus is then imputed to us.
So here's what happens. We get Jesus' righteousness. He gets our sin. It's the switch.
Double imputation is what it's called, and if that great transaction does not take place, then you are still in your sins, and when you get to heaven's gate, as it were, and you say, let me in, please,
God. He says, I can't let you in. Why? Because his eyes are too pure to even approve evil, to even look on evil.
No unclean thing will enter into heaven, so how can you have any hope? You need that perfect righteousness of Jesus to be imputed to you.
There is no good news if we are still in our sins. We need a substitute.
We need a sin -bearer. We need an alien righteousness, that is to say, a righteousness that comes from outside of us, an external righteousness, because inside of us, there is no good thing.
So that's reason number three, that the resurrection demonstrates that God has forgiven the sins of believers.
He raised him from the dead. Number four, the resurrection reverses the effects of Adam's fall.
It reverses the effects of Adam's fall. Now, this is interesting, and he says it a couple of different times in verse 20.
But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For as by a man came death, listen, by a man has also come the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
Leon Morris says this, he says, his resurrection was to a life that knows no death. Eternal life, right?
And in that sense, he was the first and the forerunner of all those who were to be in him.
The resurrection of Christ is a pledge and proof of the resurrection of his people.
Just as Adam dragged us all into physical death, he also dragged us into spiritual death, right?
Because of Adam, all of us will physically die, because of the original sin, because of the sin of Adam and Eve.
But worse, because of the sins of Adam and Eve, we are all estranged from God. We are dead.
As we are born alive into this world, we are nevertheless born dead to the things of God. We're spiritually dead.
We are hell -bound. And it is only through Christ that we can experience the second life, that is to say, be born again to eternal life.
In Christ, we are elevated. We're not dragged, as it were, to hell. We are elevated.
We are seated in the heavenlies with him, as it says in Ephesians. What Adam did, the last
Adam, what the first Adam did, the last Adam undid. Again, 1st Corinthians 15, look at verse 45, verse 45.
Thus it is written, The first man, Adam, became a living being.
But listen, the last Adam became a life -giving spirit. Remember how Jesus would talk about he had eternal life in him, that he was the giver of eternal life.
Verse 46, but it is not the spiritual that is first, but the natural and then the spiritual.
The first man was from the earth. Adam was formed out of the dust of the ground.
In fact, it says a man of dust. The second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust.
And is the, and is, sorry, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
We are image bearers right now, but we bear the image of Adam. We're frail.
We are made of dust and went to the dust we will return. But like it says there, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
This is the only place I can think of in scripture where Jesus is described basically, you know, like in the words of a a country music song.
This is, this is the man from above, you know, this is the man of heaven. We will bear the image of Jesus.
We will be as he is, which is kind of a repetition of something I'm going to say, but I'll skip that.
And reason number five, the resurrection is a foretaste of the ultimate destruction of death.
The resurrection is a foretaste of the ultimate destruction of death. Look at verse 24. Then comes the end when he delivers the the kingdom to God the father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
This is talking about spiritual rule. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For God has put all things in subjection under his feet.
But when it says all things are put in subjection, it is plain that he is accepted who put all things in subjection under him.
In other words, everything except for God, the father will be subject to him. But about death in Revelation 20 verses 13 and 14, we see this, and the sea gave up the dead who were in it.
Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them and they were judged each one of them according to what they had done.
And verse 14, then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
This is the second death, the lake of fire. So even death is destroyed by Jesus.
And it's because he's been raised from the dead and because he has been raised from the dead, because he defeated death, we know that death ultimately will die.
Death will cease to exist. And we have the personification of death being thrown into the lake of fire.
Reason number six, the resurrection validates Scripture.
It validates Scripture. Back in verse 3, and as you can tell,
I took them in no particular order, although I do think number nine is the most important. So we're getting the most important one.
The resurrection validates Scripture in verse 3, for I delivered to you as of first importance what
I also received, that the Christ died for our, or that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the
Scriptures. What Scriptures were those? Well, first of all, Jesus predicted it.
Jesus himself predicted that he would be raised from the dead. So if he's not raised from the dead, then he is a liar and not somebody we should follow.
He predicted it in Matthew 20, among other places. And as Jesus was going up to, this is verse 17, and as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and on the way he said to them, see, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the
Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him over to the
Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.
The prophet Isaiah, as we just read in Isaiah 53 a few moments ago, said that the
Savior would die for sins of his people and then see his offspring. Well, how could he see his offspring if he was not raised from the dead, if he was not resurrected?
The psalmist said that God would not permit his Holy One to undergo decay. Jesus was raised from the dead before that decay began.
Job speaks of how his Redeemer lives. All these things were validated by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Reason number seven, the resurrection foreshadows this truth. We shall be like Jesus.
I mentioned it earlier, but here we go again in verse 35 of 1 Corinthians 15. But someone will ask, how are the dead raised?
With what kind of body do they come? Paul says, you foolish person. What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
The same principle Jesus talked about in John 12. Unless a seed of wheat dies, right?
How do you get the harvest? Verse 37, and what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of weed or some other grain.
But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body, for not all flesh is the same.
But there is one kind for humans, another kind for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.
There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.
This is very similar, right? Talking about Adam and Jesus, the difference between the two. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another of the stars, for star differs from star in glory.
So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable. Our bodies are perishable.
They will rot in the grave. What is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor.
Our bodies are filled with sin. It is raised in glory. No sin, no flaw, no scars, no sickness, no illness, no disease, no weakness.
Look, it says it is sown in weakness. It is raised in power. It is sown a natural body.
It is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
We will have in glory a spiritual body, a perfect body, one without weakness.
John writes of it in 1 John 3, 2, when he says, Beloved, we are God's children now. We belong to God even now.
And what we will be has not yet appeared. But we know that when he appears, talking about the second coming of Jesus, we shall be like him because we shall see him as he is.
Reason number eight, that the resurrection is the most important day in history. Resurrection Sunday, the most day, most important day in history.
The resurrection affirms the gospel. The resurrection affirms the gospel. Back to verse 1.
Now I would commend you, brothers, or 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. For I delivered to you as of first importance what
I also received, 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. Now he was raised. Perfect tense verb, meaning one time event with ongoing events.
He is ever raised. He is risen. And without the resurrection,
Paul says here, essentially, there is no good news. There is no gospel.
The gospel is predicated upon the resurrection. If you preach the gospel of somebody, if you try to present the gospel of somebody, and you forget the resurrection, you haven't given them the good news.
You haven't given them all the good news. Because the resurrection means that the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins has been accepted.
The price has been paid. God's wrath has been assuaged. In fact,
Romans 1 would tell us that the resurrection affirms that Jesus is the
Son of God. Romans 3 verses 24 and 25 tells us that our justification has been accomplished because Jesus has satisfied that wrath of God.
God declares us righteous because his wrath, his just wrath, has been assuaged by the death of the
Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 19 of 1
Corinthians 15, Paul says if in Christ we have hope, and this is so key, we have hope in this life only.
We are of all people to be most pitied, or most to be pitied.
But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. The firstfruits are those who have fallen asleep. If your focus is on the here and now, then the resurrection doesn't mean anything to you.
Jesus says that, or Paul writes that, if in Christ we have hope in this life only, then we're missing the whole thing.
Our focus should be on the fact that we are going to follow in the footsteps of Christ.
Just as Jesus went before us and was raised from the dead, so we will be. Our hope is on a resurrected
Christ. In fact, that is reason number nine. The resurrection affirms our hope in Christ.
Verse 51, and I think this is the most important reason. The resurrection affirms our hope in Christ.
It is, it is everything. Verse 51, Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, that is to say die, but we shall all be changed.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
And when the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written,
Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our
Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast and movable, always abounding in the work of the
Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. Our hope, our victory over death, in fact, it was just a friend of mine who lives in Vermont.
His mother -in -law is dying, and she just found out, she just got the diagnosis that she doesn't have long to live.
And he says, we are rejoicing even in the midst of our sorrow. Why? Because Christ has conquered the grave, and she believes in Christ.
She's going to be raised from the dead. There is no death in, or no sting in death.
The pain of death is gone. Why? Because we know it's just a moment.
It's just a step, as it were, toward heaven.
G .I. Packer said this, talking about the Resurrection, Optimism is a wish without warrants.
In other words, it's not enough to be optimistic. Christian hope is a certainty, guaranteed by God Himself.
Mere optimism reflects ignorance as to whether good things will ever actually come. I hope they do.
Christian hope expresses knowledge that every day of this life, and every moment beyond it, the believer can say with truth, on the basis of God's own commitment, that the best is yet to come.
The best is not in this life. The best is yet to come. Why do we proclaim the gospel?
Why do we have joy? Why do we have hope? Because he is risen. Because the tomb is empty.
Jesus has conquered death for us. So we ought to be abounding, that is to say, joyously occupied in his work.
Spurgeon said this, he said, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is one of the best attested facts on record.
There were so many witnesses to behold it, that if we do in the least degree receive the credibility of men's testimonies, that is to say, if we believe the more than 500 people who saw him raised from the dead, we cannot and we dare not doubt that Jesus rose from the dead.
We have that sure hope. God gave himself to save us from himself, that is to say, no one but God could face the wrath of God poured out on account of our sins.
No one else could pay the price for our sins. No one else could be raised from the dead as evidence that the payment for sin had been accepted as payment in full.
Just closing here with a quote from John Calvin. He says, next comes the resurrection from the dead.
Without this, what we have said so far would be incomplete. For since only weakness appears in the cross, death, and burial of Christ, faith must leap over all these things to attain its full strength.
We have in his death the complete fulfillment of salvation, for through it we are reconciled to God.
His righteous judgment is satisfied, the curse is removed, and the penalty paid in full. Nevertheless, we are said to have been born anew to a living hope, not through his death, but through his resurrection.
For as he is rising again, coming forth as victor over death, so the victory of our faith over death lies in his resurrection alone.
Paul better expressed its nature when he said he was put to death for our sins and raised for our justification.
This is as if he has said, sin was taken away by his death.
Righteousness was revived and restored by his resurrection. For how could he by his dying have freed us from death if he himself had succumbed to death?
How could he have required victory for or acquired victory for us if he had failed in the struggle?
Therefore, we divide the substance of our salvation between Christ's death and resurrection as follows.
Through his death, sin was wiped out and death extinguished. Through his resurrection, righteousness was restored and life raised up so that thanks to his resurrection, his life manifested its power and efficacy in us.
Let's pray. Father, we praise you this morning as we contemplate the resurrection of our
Lord Jesus Christ, as we thank you for raising him from the dead because of all that it portends for us.
Father, we thank you for the glory of the cross and we thank you most of all for the glory of the resurrection. Knowing that Jesus did not die to stay in that tomb, that he lives, he lives, he lives.
Father, we thank you that he lives. Bless each one here this morning. Encourage us, strengthen us, point us toward the cross and to the empty tomb, we pray in Jesus' name.