Christ’s Resurrection Changes Everything

* This is a sermon outline on selected passages from 1 Corinthians 15.  I preached this sermon at a high school chapel service.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ—the greatest life-altering event in history—must change everything about what you believe and how you live forever.

Introduction – How many of you remember where you were and what you were doing when you first heard about 9-11?  I’m sure you were affected by the news, perhaps profoundly.  And I suspect you remember that life in the United States (and many others places in the world) almost immediately changed as a result of the terrorism on 9-11.

Life-altering events seem to occur once or twice for every generation: the assassination of JFK, the collapse of the Berlin Wall and Soviet communism, 9-11 and the War on Terror.  These historic events profoundly affected those who lived to experience them.  But eventually life always returns to a level of normalcy, and those historic events that seemed so life-altering at the time are only remembered by historians.  But there is one life-altering event that will not allow us to return to normal.  There is one life-altering event that refuses to be forgotten.  There is one life-altering event that transcends generation, race, culture, nation, and language.  There is one life-altering event that must change everything about what you believe and how you live forever.  That event is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A. The Truth of Christ’s Resurrection

  1. Jesus truly died, was truly buried, and truly came back to life (3-4a)
  2. Many people truly saw the dead, buried, and resurrected Jesus  (5-8)

B. The Meaning of Christ’s Resurrection

  1. It is not self-determined, but Scripture-determined (4b)
  2. It is the defeat of the last enemy: death (21-22, 24-26)
  3. It is the “first fruits” of the harvest on Resurrection Day (20, 22-23)

C. The Implications of Christ’s Resurrection

  1. It guarantees forgiveness of sins (17)
  2. It justifies spreading the good news to everyone at all costs (30-32)
  3. It makes those who believe fit for the new creation (42-50)
  4. It vindicates thinking and living as a Christian (58)

Conclusion – Paul begins and ends chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians by urging us to “not believe in vain”.  This is his primary concern for us.  Believing in vain, which means having useless, baseless, pointless, purposeless, truthless, or worthless beliefs is the worse kind of futility I can imagine.  If you want your life to count for God and his kingdom, then you must not believe in vain.  In other words, we must live all our life (and everything about our life) in light of the life-altering event of the Christ’s resurrection.  Which means we must live our life with our eyes set on eternity, and believe and live now according to the Word of God—which, by the way, we can trust completely because it is the teaching of Jesus Christ, the best person to trust when it comes to what is most important because he proved he is God in the flesh by his resurrection!

So how should the resurrection of Jesus Christ alter your life and beliefs?  Paul urges us to “wake up from our drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning” (1 Cor 15:34).  At the end of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 7:13-20), Jesus gives us a few pointers on how to wake up.

  • Don’t get caught up with what everyone else is doing.  In the end there are only 2 roads in life: the easy, wide road, and the narrow, hard road.  Many take the easy, wide road through the wide gate straight into hell.  But few walk the narrow, hard road all the way through the narrow gate straight to God in heaven.  Jesus says his followers must walk the narrow road that leads to life, but the wide road many take leads to destruction.  This advice is a trustworthy roadmap for your life, especially when you are young and choosing which road you will take.
    • Are many lying or cheating in school and getting grade they didn’t earn?  That’s the easy, wide road.
    • Are many sexually experimenting with their girlfriends and boyfriends?  The world will tell you that if you don’t do so you’ll inhibit yourself by restricting your growth as a person.  That’s a lie, and it’s the easy, wide road.
    • Are many caught up in idolatry, profaning the Lord’s name, neglecting the church and worship on Sundays, hating and even slandering their enemies, stealing stuff (both digital and physical) for each other?  The world says these things will show how cool you are, and besides, people will do these things to you, so you might as well pay them back.  Right?  That is the easy, wide road.
    • Are many setting their hopes on things of this world, hoping to find satisfaction there?  Things like a sweet new car, the hottest cell phone, the coolest video game system, a big collection of movies and music, better clothes, a high-paying prestigious job, a million bucks, a mansion for a home, exotic vacations, early retirement?  These things will not bring lasting satisfaction!  Many pursue them by jumping on the easy, wide road with the rest of the crowd (many of whom are friends), but they will end in despair.  Beware of envious greed and idolatry!  That is the easy, wide road.
  • Take a close look at your heart (what you spend your time desiring) and your life (what you spend your time doing).  Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit (Mt 7:15-20).  The fruit of a tree is a trustworthy test of whether a tree is good or bad.  You can evaluate other people’s hearts by what they say and do, so you can discover whether they are on the easy, wide road or the narrow, hard road.  But you can also test yourself too!  Jesus commanded us not only to be hearers of his word, but doers as well (Mt 7:24-27).

Look to your left, and look to your right.  Which life road are those around you traveling?  Then take a look inside at your heart, and outside at your actions.  Which life road are you traveling?  Are you on a road with the rest of our culture, valuing what it values and chasing what it chases?  Or are you on a road with the relative few, valuing resurrection life in Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the growth of God’s kingdom through the gospel, living with God in the coming new creation, and living for God here and now?  Young people, don’t waste your life.  Don’t believe in vain and live your life in vain.  Listen to the Scriptures to learn what is truly important in life: to glorify God and enjoy him forever.  Contrary to the world, dare to believe that the resurrection of Christ changes everything.  If you do, God promises that your life will not be in vain.

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