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When Easter Becomes Just Another Holiday    1 Cor. 15:1-4, 12-19, 54b-58    03-31-10


Introduction

       It is sad when people think of Easter as a Holiday and not a holy day. They change the “Y” to “I” and it changes the entire day. I know Christians who think of Easter just as a holiday or time to get away. It still is a day for higher attendances at church but very few enjoy real spiritual impact from these services. Personally

I have never seen a lot of people saved around Easter time. Perhaps this happens because we are experiencing the times When Easter Becomes Just Another Holiday.

 

1.   If Easter Is Just Another Holiday People Have Forsaken

      The . . Purpose Of Easter. 1 Cor. 15:1-4

       A.   The Purpose Of Easter Gives Us A Message On Which To . . Stand.

       15:1 Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken

       your stand on it.

 

       B.   The Purpose Of Easter Gives Us A Message From Which We Can Be . . Saved.

2 You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed to no purpose.

 

       C.   The Purpose Of Easter Gives Us A Message Based On The . . Scripture.

3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,


(Life Application Study Bible.)

15:3, 4 The central theme of the gospel is given in these verses, a key text for the defense of Christianity. The three most important points are:

(1) Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. Without the truth of this message, Christ's death was worthless, and those who believe in him are still in their sins and without hope. However, Christ as the sinless Son of God took the punishment of sin so that those who believe can have their sins removed. "The Scriptures" refers to Old Testament prophecies such as Ps 16:8-11 and Isa 53:5,6. Christ's death on the cross was no accident or afterthought. It had been part of God's plan from all eternity in order to bring about the salvation of all who believe.


(2) He was buried. The fact of Christ's death is revealed in the fact of his burial. Many have tried to discount the actual death of Christ, but Jesus did in fact die and was buried in a tomb.


(3) He was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said. Christ was raised permanently, forever; his Father raised him from the dead "on the third day" as noted in the Gospels (Friday afternoon to Sunday morning—three days in Jewish reckoning of time). This also occurred "as the Scriptures said." Jesus quoted the prophet Jonah in Matt 12:40 (see Jonah 1:17) to show the connection to "three days" as prophesied in the Old Testament. Ps 16:8-11 and Ps 110 also foretell the resurrection of the Messiah.

(Life Application Study Bible.)


(Ryrie Study Bible)

15:2 unless you believed in vain. That would be the case if the resurrection of Christ were not true.


15:4 that He was buried. Certain proof that Christ actually died. that He was raised is attested to by the main witnesses and the perfect tense, which indicates that He is still alive.

(Ryrie Study Bible)


(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)


Man's fivefold responsibility to the gospel:

1.    It must be preached (1 Cor 15:1; Mark 16:15).     2.    It must received (1 Cor 15:1; John 1:12).

3.    It must obeyed (1 Cor 15:1; Rom 1:5; 6:17).        4.    It must be kept in memory — held fast (1 Cor 15:2;

                                                                                              Heb 3:6; 12:14; 10:23).

5.    It must believed from the heart (1 Cor 15:2; Rom 1:16; 10:9-10; John 3:16-20).

 

Verse 2

a [By which also ye are saved] Four main parts to the gospel of salvation:

1.    Death of Christ (1 Cor 15:3; Rom 5:6-10; 1 Cor 4:14-21; Col 1:20; Heb 9:15)

2.    Burial of Christ (1 Cor 15:4; Matt 26:12; John 12:7; Rom 6:4; Col 2:12)

3.    Resurrection of Christ (1 Cor 15:4,12; Rom 14:9; 2 Cor 5:15; 1 Thess 4:14)

4.    Manifestation of Christ after the resurrection (1 Cor 15:5-8; note, John 21:14)

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)


 

2.   If Easter Is Just Another Holiday People Have Forsaken

      The . . Preaching Of The Easter Message. 1 Cor. 15:12-19 

       A.   The Preaching Of The Easter Message Gives Us Not A Negative But . . Positive Message. 15:12-14

12 Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, "There is no resurrection of the dead"? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is without foundation, and so is your faith.

 

       B.   The Preaching Of The Easter Message Gives Us Not An Unprofitable But A . . Profitable Message. 15:15-19

15 In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ—whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have placed our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone. HCSB


(Life Application Study Bible.)

15:12 ff Most Greeks did not believe that people's bodies would be resurrected after death. They saw the afterlife as something that happened only to the soul. According to Greek philosophers, the soul was the real person, imprisoned in a physical body, and at death the soul was released. There was no immortality for the body, but the soul entered an eternal state. Christianity, by contrast, affirms that the body and soul will be united after resurrection. The church at Corinth was in the heart of Greek culture. Thus, many believers had a difficult time believing in a bodily resurrection. Paul wrote this part of his letter to clear up this confusion about the resurrection.


15:13-18 The bodily resurrection of Christ is the center of the Christian faith. Because Christ rose from the dead, as he promised, we know that what he said is true and that he is God. The Resurrection affirms the truthfulness of Jesus' life and words. The Resurrection confirms Jesus' unique authority to say, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25). Because he rose, we have certainty that our sins are forgiven. Because he rose, he lives and represents us before God. Because he rose and defeated death, we know we also will be raised. Christ's resurrection guaranteed both his promise to us and his authority to make that promise. We must take him at his word and believe.


15:19 Why does Paul say believers would be "more to be pitied than anyone in the world" if there were only earthly value to Christianity? In Paul's day, Christianity often brought a person persecution, ostracism from family, and, in many cases, poverty. There were few tangible benefits from being a Christian in that society. It was certainly not a step up the social or career ladder. More important is the fact that if Christ had not been resurrected from the dead, Christians would not be forgiven of their sins or have any hope of eternal life. If what Christians believe is a lie, we would be pitiful because we would be going through such suffering for no purpose. Fortunately, that is not the case!

(Life Application Study Bible.)


(Ryrie Study Bible.)

15:12 no resurrection of the dead. Nothing in the Greek background of the Gentile converts at Corinth led them to believe in the resurrection of the dead. In general, they believed in the immortality of the soul, but not the resurrection of the body. To them, the body was the source of man's weakness and sin; death, therefore, was the welcomed means by which the soul was liberated from the body. Resurrection, in their thinking, would only enslave the soul again.


15:13-19 If there is no resurrection,

1.    the bodily resurrection of Christ is untrue (vv. 13, 16),

2.    the preaching the gospel is a lie (v. 15),

3.    the Christian faith is without meaningful content (v. 17),

4.    and Christians are hopeless concerning their prospects for the future (vv. 18-19).

(Ryrie Study Bible.)


(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)


Proofs of the Resurrection:

1.    Proved from Scripture (1 Cor 15:1-4; Job 19:25; Ps 16:10; Dan 12:2; Matt 28; Mark 16; Luke 24;

       John 20-21; Acts 2:27)

2.    Proved from fact (1 Cor 15:5-8; note, John 21:14; Eph 1:20; Rev 1:12-18)

3.    Proved by the absurdity of unbelief in the resurrection (1 Cor 15:12-19)

4.    Proved by declaration of fact (1 Cor 15:20-22)

5.    Proved by prediction (1 Cor 15:23-56)

6.    Proved by the inconsistency of those who deny it (1 Cor 15:29)

7.    Proved by faith and consecration in sacrificing all for it (1 Cor 15:30-34)

8.    Proved by nature (1 Cor 15:33-49)

9.    Proved by absolute necessity of immortality of body in order to inherit the kingdom and other promises (1

       Cor 15:50-54)

10.  Proved by fulfillment of prophecy in final victory over death (1 Cor 15:54-57)

 

Verse 14

a [And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain]

 Twelve calamities "if Christ be not risen":

1.     We have no guarantee of resurrection (1 Cor 15:12-13,20-23).             2.     Our preaching is in vain (1 Cor 15:14).

3.     Our faith is in vain (1 Cor 15:14,17).          4.     We are liars; because we have preached such a doctrine (1 Cor 15:15).

5.     We are yet in our sins (1 Cor 15:17).          6.     All the dead are perished (1 Cor 15:18).

7.     We have no hope (1 Cor 15:19).                 8.     We are most miserable (1 Cor 15:19).

9.     We are plain fools (1 Cor 15:30-32).           10.   Nature is a farce (1 Cor 15:35-49).

11.   Promises are lies (1 Cor 15:50-54).             12.   Prophecies are false (1 Cor 15:55-56).

(Dake Annotated Reference Bible.)





 

 

3.   If Easter Is Just Another Holiday People Have Forsaken

      The . . Power Of The Easter Message. 1 Cor. 15:54-58

       A.   The Power Of The Easter Message Gives Us Not A Defeat But A . . Victory. 15:54-57

54 Now when this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal is clothed with immortality,

       then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. 55 O Death, where

       is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? 56 Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the

       law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

 

       B.   The Power Of The Easter Message Gives Us Not A Vain Message But A . . Vivacious One. 15:58

58 Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord's work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. HCSB


(Life Application Study Bible.)

15:54-56 Satan seemed to be victorious in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3) and at the cross of Jesus. But God turned Satan's apparent victory into defeat when Jesus Christ rose from the dead (Col 2:15; Heb 2:14,15). Thus, death is no longer a source of dread or fear. Christ overcame it, and one day we will also. The law will no longer make sinners out of us just because we cannot keep it. Death has been defeated, and we have hope beyond the grave.


15:58 Paul says that because of the resurrection, nothing we do is useless. Sometimes we become apathetic about serving the Lord because we don't see any results. Knowing that Christ has won the ultimate victory should affect the way we live right now. Don't let discouragement over an apparent lack of results keep you from doing the work of the Lord enthusiastically as you have opportunity.

(Life Application Study Bible.)


(Ryrie Study Bible.)

15:51 The rapture of the church described in verses 51-58 was a mystery unknown in the OT but now revealed. we will not all sleep. I.e., not all die (1 Thess 4:15). Some will be alive when the Lord returns, but all will be changed.


15:56 The sting of death is sin because it is by sin that death gains authority over man, and the power of sin is the law because the law stirs up sin (Rom 5:12; 7:8-11).


15:58 A firm belief in the resurrection and a solid hope for the future gives incentive for service in the present.

(Ryrie Study Bible.)