I've entitled this section the disaster of denying bodily resurrection. Now you will remember that the theme of the chapter is the physical, literal, bodily resurrection of men from the grave. That's the major theme.
Paul is reminding the Corinthians that dead men do and shall rise from the dead. This is not a new truth. It is a cardinal truth in Christianity. It is also a key truth in Judaism. It is both in the Old and the New Testament. As far back as the ancient book of Job in Chapter 19, in verse 26. Job said, "Though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God whom I shall see for myself and not another though my reins be consumed within me."
In other words, Job said though my body rots in the grave, somehow in some way, yet in my flesh, I'll see God. That is the belief in a bodily resurrection. When you come into the New Testament, Jesus begins early in His ministry to promise a literal, physical, bodily resurrection. For example, in John Chapter 5 and verse 28, "Marvel not at this for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall here His voice and shall come forth." "All that are in the grave," said Jesus, "shall hear His forth and come forth."
In John 6, verse 44, Jesus said, "No man can come to me except the Father who hath sent me draw him and I will raise him up at the last day." In John 11:25, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life, whosoever believes in me so really never die, but have life that is eternal and everlasting."
So Jesus promised physical resurrection. Additionally, to the Old Testament hope and the promise of Jesus, the New Testament apostles also preached the resurrection of the dead. In fact, it got them into trouble in Acts 4, "And as they spoke under the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came on them. Being grieved that they taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection from death," or from the grave.
They were preaching physical resurrection. This was the message of the apostle Paul. In 2 Corinthians for example, Chapter 4 and verse 14. "Knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise up us also." And Paul preached this repeatedly. In Colossians 3:4, he said, "When Christ who is our life shall appear than shall ye also appear with him."
In 1 Thessalonians, he said that the dead would come out of the graves and be united with Christ and that we who were alive and remaining should be united with Him. In Philippians Chapter 3, he said, "Our citizenship is in heaven," in verse 20. And in verse 21, he said, "The Lord will change our vial bodies into glorious bodies like unto His body."
Jesus said in John 14, that He was going away to prepare a place for us and that He would come again and receive us unto Himself. In John 17, He prayed that we would be with Him in the presence of the Father. So there is the statement of the Old Testament, the word of Jesus, the word of the apostles, the word of Paul to the fact that there is resurrection bodily from the grave to be with the Lord for those who are believers.
This is basic to our faith. And I think it's important to note that in that resurrection form we will still be ourselves. For example, in Revelation 20, in verse 12 it says "that God called them to Him and out of the graves they came and John says I saw standing before the Lord the dead both small and great."
What's interesting about that is that there was still a difference in the people when they were there in the vision of the future judgment as when they were here on earth. Some were smaller or insignificant and some where greater. That is they maintained a personality and a personhood somewhat like that which they had in life. We'll be ourselves in a real way.
But in spite of the clear word of the Old Testament and in spite of the clear word of Jesus, in spite of the clear of apostolic preaching, in spite of the clear word of the apostle Paul, the Corinthians had come to the place where they were denying bodily resurrection. They had bought the bag of Greek philosophers and you remember the Greek philosophers taught that the soul was immortal, but the body was not.
That the soul would go on forever, but the body rotted in the grave and it was good-bye forever. So that immortality had only to bear on the spiritual. We would live spiritually forever not in any kind of corporeal sense. In fact, verse 12 of 1 Corinthians 15 has basically the statement these critics were making. "Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?"
In other words, they were flatly saying dead men don't rise again. That was the statement of Greek philosophy and that was being parroted by the Corinthian church, at least a few in the church. Now remember, Paul has already told them in the first 11 verses that that's an impossible view for them to have. And the reason it's impossible is because they already believe that Jesus rose from the dead, right?
In other words, if you go back to Chapter 15 in the first few verses, Paul says, "Remember the gospel," folks, "the gospel you received and on which you stand and by which you are saved." And what is the gospel? It's verse 3, "That Christ died according to the Scriptures." Verse 4, "That He was buried and that He rose again." In other words, he's saying look, you already believe in resurrection. You already believe in bodily resurrection because you've already accepted it, received it, stand on it, and are being saved by it. And it's the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Now verse 12, "If Christ is already being preached that He rose from the dead, and you're already believing that, then how could some among you say that there's no such thing as resurrection from the dead." You already believe it. You're already committed to it. You've already been saved by that confidence and that faith.
So Paul as is his wonderful ability as a logician, as well as being inspired by the Holy Spirit, establishes a common ground, they both believe this, and because they already believe this, he can go ahead and build his argument against the error that's encroached upon them.
Now, I want you to notice verse 12, because it's kind of the kick off to the section. He says look this is gospel that all of us have preached verse 11, whether it were I or they, that is "whether it's myself or the other apostles so we preach and so you believe."
In other words, this resurrection of Jesus Christ is not some Johnny Come Lately, some addendum, something stuck on the end like an appendix, this is something you've already committed yourself to. You have already believed. You've already accepted. It's already been preached and if this is the case, how come you're denying resurrection.
Now, you'll notice that in verse 12 there are a couple of technical points that might help you to see the picture here. The last phrase of verse 12 is "resurrection of the dead." In the Greek there is no article. There is no the, and the text literally would read this way. "How say some among you that there is no resurrection of corpses." They're talking about the physical. "How say some among you that there is no resurrection of dead men." Dead men don't rise you say.
Oh? Then how is it you believe Jesus rose if dead men don't rise and you do believe that, because you were saved by believing that. That's his point. So he's already got them in a corner, they're never going to get out this to start with. Now Paul says further, from 13 to 19, "I want ye to understand what happens to the gospel and what happens to you if you don't believe in resurrection?" And people this is in...one of the most devastating passages you'll ever see.
By the time we're done, it literally covers every base. You can't just come along and say well, I believe that all except the part about bodily resurrection like the Corinthians. Oh I believe in the resurrection of Christ. Oh I believe in heaven, immortality for the soul and the spirit will be floating around up there. You know, and all that. I buy...it's just the bodily part I don't buy.
And Paul says, oh yeah, well watch what you've just done. You have just given a death blow to the total of Christianity. And so I want to give you seven disastrous results of denying bodily resurrection. Seven disastrous results of denying bodily resurrection.
Now remember this, now keep this in your mind. The key to remember is that Paul connects the bodily resurrection of men with the bodily resurrection of whom? Christ. Those are inseparable. And those two things are both sides of the same coin as it were all the way through his thought.
Now, the seven devastating disastrous results in denying bodily resurrection. This would, incidentally, deal seriously with any philosophy that says the soul is immortal and denies that the body is. This would certainly deal a death blow to reincarnation or as I call it recycling, where you just keep coming back in a different can.
You are a person and you will be that person forever in a form somehow physically, though in a glorious physical form, a glorified form. All right, let's look at reason number one or result number one, better of denying the resurrection. The first thing that happens if you deny bodily resurrection is one Christ is not risen, verse 13.
"But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen." In other words, while you're sort of gingerly and glugglygoing along saying we don't believe in bodily resurrection, what about Christ? If dead men don't rise, then guess what, Christ didn't rise because you just said dead men don't rise.
Now that's a logical deduction. Paul uses a contrary to fact statement, and he says, if that statement is true that dead men don't rise, then Christ didn't rise and if Christ didn't rise, etc.
And you say well, he's different. Oh? Well, you see dead men don't rise, but Christ really isn't a man. Oh? Christ is a man. Yes, He is a man. You say, half man. No, 100% a man. You say do you believe that? Absolutely, Christ was 100% man. He was also 100% God and He's the only entity who ever existed who was 200% of something.
He was totally man and He was totally God and He still is. Listen Paul assumes the full incarnation here that's the basis of his argument. If you say dead men don't rise what have you done to Christ? He's a man. If you make that the postulate, then you've eliminated His resurrection.
You say well, are you sure He was a man? Oh yes, the Bible's very clear on it. Let me show you. Acts Chapter 2, verse 22, the first thing he ever said about Jesus in terms of apostolic preaching is said in Acts 2:22 and these are the words of Peter. "Ye men of Israel hear these words, Jesus of Nazareth a man approved of God." Peter says a man.
You're in 1 Corinthians 15 or you were. Verse 21 says, "For since by man came death." And who would that man be? Adam. So by man came the resurrection from the dead and that man is Christ. He's a man. Galatians 4:4 says, "That in the fullness of time, God sent forth His son made of a woman." He was born humanly. He was a man.
In 1 Timothy 2:5, it says "For there is one mediator between God and man the man Christ Jesus." In Hebrews 2:17 comes the greatest statement. "Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like His brethren." He was in all things made a man like the rest of us. No lacking. And when the world looked at Him, they observed that He was a man. They didn't see Him as a floating phantom or some kind of mystical being. He was a man.
In fact, in Mark 6, they looked at Him, verse 3 and they said "isn't this the carpenter the Son of Mary, the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon, and aren't these His sisters here." This is just a guy like any other guy. He's got a job. He's a carpenter. He's got some sisters. He's got some brothers. He comes from this little town, big deal.
He's a man like everybody else. John 19:5 after the excruciation of all of that thing that Pilot put Jesus through. He brought Him out before the crowd and said what in the Latin is ecce homo and in the English is behold what? The man. The man. In 1 John 1:1 and 2, John says, "Concerning this man our hands have handled Him."
In 2 John and verse 7, the very important statement of the word of God is this. It says, "For many deceivers are entered into the world who confess not that Jesus Christ comes in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."
You cannot deny the humanity of Jesus Christ without being a deceiver and an antichrist. He's a man. He's every widowman, every way a man, in all things He's a man. And if dead men don't rise, then He didn't rise, because He's a man and He was a dead man on the cross.
The details of His life indicate He was a man. Matthew 1:18 says, "He was conceived in a woman's womb." Matthew 1:25 says, "He was born in a human manner." Luke 2:21 says, "He was circumcised." Matthew 26:38 says, "He possessed a human soul." John 1:14 says, "He had a human body." Luke 2:52 says, "He grew in stature and wisdom and favor with God and man. John 11:35 says, "He cried." Matthew 4:2 says, "He was hungry." John 19:28 says, "He was thirsty." Matthew 8:24 says "He was sleepy." In John 4:6 "He grew weary." In John 11:33, "He felt sorrow and grief and pain." In Luke 22:64 His face was beaten with fists. In Matthew 27:26, He was whipped. In Luke 23:33, He was nailed to a cross. In John 19:30, He died. In John 19:34, He had His side pierced. In Matthew 27:59, He was buried. Just like any other man.
He was a man. And even after He came out of the grave, He was still a man. Look at Luke 24. In Luke 24, verse 33, it says "And they rose the same hour and returned to Jerusalem and found the eleven. They were gathered together and those who were with them. And they said this is the ones who came from Emmaus. The Lord has risen indeed and has appeared to Simon." And they told them the things that were done along the way and He was known to them in the breaking of bread and as they thus spoke Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them and said to them, "Peace be unto you."
They were terrified and frightened and supposed they had seen a spirit. Maybe they were good prospects for Greek philosophy, believing in the spiritual resurrection. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do these thoughts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet that it is I myself, handle me and see for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see me have." He still had some flesh and bones. He still was a man. Oh a glorified one, but nonetheless a man and He was still the man that He was before and so shall we because when we shall see Him we shall be what? Like Him.
And just in order to prove it, He had them touch Him and feel Him and when He had spoken that, He showed His hands and His feet, and while they yet believe not for joy and wondered, He said, you want more proof? You got something to eat and they brought Him a piece of fish and a honeycomb and He took it and ate it. He was a man.
And listen, Paul's point is this, if you philosophers say dead men don't rise, then Jesus was a dead man, He didn't rise. You sure you want to say that? You just predicated your entire faith on His resurrection. Romans 10:9, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in thine heart," what, "that God has raised Him from the dead thou shalt be saved." Salvation was predicated on His resurrection and He was a man.
So the first devastating impact of not believing in bodily resurrection is that Christ didn't rise. That leads to a second result. Point two, all gospel preaching is useless. Look at verse 14. "If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching useless?"
Stop right there. All of preaching is useless. There's no gospel. If the gospel is Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose the third day and all He did was die and didn't rise, there's no gospel. And all gospel preaching is empty useless jabber. If Christ is dead forever, the guts have just been torn out of the apostolic message. There's nothing to say. Preaching is lost. The gospel is subverted.
You see people, you have to remember this, now watch. The whole validation of everything Jesus said and did was predicated on His coming out of the grave. Do you understand that? If He doesn't rise, then everything is lost. If He does everything is gain. You see in Romans Chapter 1, verse 3 it says, "that the gospel of God," in verse 1, then there's a parenthesis in verse 2, but verse 1, "The gospel of God." What is it? It's this concerning His Son, "Jesus Christ our Lord who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh."
In other words, verse 3 proves His humanity. He was a man. He was born in the family of David according to the flesh. He was made of the seed of a woman of the line of David and a man of the line of David. That's His humanness. But verse 4, "He was declared to be the Son of God," that's His deity, "with power according to the Spirit of Holiness, how by the resurrection from the dead."
In other words, the humanness is obvious from His Davidic lineage. His deity is predicated on the resurrection if He doesn't rise, He isn't God. And if He isn't God, then all gospel preaching is worthless, empty vanity.
In Revelation 1:18, He is saying there in effect, I have right to rule a church. I have a right to lead the church. I have the right to call the church to accountability. Why? "Because I am He that liveth and was dead and am alive forever more, Amen." And that's why I have the keys of Hades and death.
In other words, His right to reign in His own church, His right to rule in the church, His right to promise life after death is predicated on His own resurrection. In Romans 14:9, he says, "He is not only the Lord of the dead, but the Lord of the living." And He wouldn't if He didn't rise. You see the Lordship of Christ over the church, the deity of Christ is predicated on His resurrection. If He doesn't rise, the whole of the gospel, which is all about the resurrection and all about the Lordship of Christ and all about the deity of Christ. The gospel is gone. It's empty. There's no good news. The news folks is bad news.
And the angels who said, "Behold I bring you good news of great joy," lied. There's no good news. If Jesus didn't rise because He isn't God and there's no good news. Gospel preaching is a sham. It's a hoax. It's a fake. It's a phony. He didn't conquer death and He didn't conquer sin and He didn't conquer Hell. Bad news.
So Paul says, if you don't believe in bodily resurrection, if dead men don't rise, one, Christ didn't rise. Two, all gospel preaching is useless. Three, faith is empty. Verse 14, the rest of the verse. The end of the verse says, "and your faith is also useless." Same word, empty, useless, vain. Verse 17, "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain." Empty, useless, same phrase repeated again.
Now, the point is that if the gospel is a lie and the gospel is useless, then putting your faith in it is equally useless, right? We've reached out our hand to grasp a God who isn't there. We've tried to touch a Savior who isn't alive. We've believed in a gospel that didn't happen. This is an inevitable consequence people. The apostles preached a risen Christ. The Bible teaches a risen Christ. If dead men don't rise, then He didn't rise and if He didn't rise, they've been telling us lies. And they've been telling us lies, we've been believing them, our faith is useless.
I mean, we might as well say with Psalmist on Psalms 73:13, "I have cleansed my heart in vain." We might as well say with Isaiah in 49:4, "I have labored in vain. I have spent strength for nothing." Abel who believed God was a fool. Enoch was a myth. Noah was a fool beyond any fool. 120 years building a dumb boat for a God who couldn't pull off the sacrifice to save him from his own sins.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Gideon, Sampson, Barak, Jephthah, Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and all the rest all had an empty faith in a God who couldn't pull off the salvation He planned, because He couldn't His son out of the grave, if dead men don't rise.
And all those precious people in the 11thof Hebrews, those people who had trials of mockings and scourgings and bonds and imprisonments and were stoned and sawed in half, and tested and slain of the sword and wandered in sheep skins and goats skins and destitute and afflicted and tormented, those of whom the world wasn't worthy who wandered in deserts and mountains and dens and caves of the earth. All of those people who through faith held on to God were stupid. Their faith was useless if the dead don't rise.
Incredible, incredible emptiness if the dead don't rise and all the martyrs of the New Testament and all the saints of the new age are examples of useless faith and so is your and so is mine. If there's no resurrection because then Christ didn't rise and if He didn't rise, the gospel is useless and so is our faith.
Fourth, Paul says the apostles were liars, verse 15. "Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ whom He raised not up if so be that the dead don't rise." If the dead don't rise, then God didn't raise Jesus and if God didn't raise Jesus, we're liars because we've been telling everybody that He did. So you know what, we've not only lost our faith, but we've lost the ability to believe the apostles. They're liars.
Now do you see people what happens when you just pick one little thing in the Bible that you want to discard? You got the apostles all liars. You say well, well, wait a minute, I don't...I may want to deny the resurrection...this is what liberals, well, we want to deny the resurrection, certainly don't believe that, but they're wonderful men. Listen, they're all a bunch of liars if you do that. Do you realize that in Acts 1:22, they all said, "we are witnesses of His resurrection" and that that was the bottom-line on their entire ministry? That the whole thing is predicated on a lie. They're a bunch of phonies. You say well, their well meaning fellows who are somewhat misguided. It doesn't say that. It says they were false witnesses. And the term means they were out right deceiving liars.
They were charlatans, they were phonies, they were frauds, giving false testimony about God claiming God raised Jesus when God didn't. This is not just a small detail. You have just in effect devastated the entire gospel and all the people whoever preached it. They're not just honest men with sincerity giving bad advice. They said, "Jesus arose." They said they saw Him, but if dead men don't rise, the Jesus didn't rise and they didn't see Him and if they said they did, they're what? They're liars.
Now you can see there's a circle of reasoning here isn't there? All the way from verse 13. You see the resurrection of dead men, the resurrection of Christ, the preaching of the apostles, the faith of the Corinthians and everybody else and the testimony of the apostles form a unit. You either believe all of it or none of it. Did you get that? Now listen to this, you either believe all of it or none of it. You don't come along and say well, I believe in the resurrection of Jesus, but not the resurrection of the rest. Paul says, no deal. Or you don't come along like liberals and say well, I believe maybe in the resurrection of us, but not of Christ. No deal.
Well, I don't believe in those two things, but I certainly the apostles are wonderful men. No deal, they were liars. Well, even there wasn't a resurrection and even though there won't be one we certainly have to put our faith in God. No deal. Nothing or everything.
It's a closed case folks, you can't cut it anywhere and let anything leak out. If the dead don't rise, Christ didn't rise and if He didn't rise, the gospel isn't true and if the gospel isn't true, your faith is stupid and everybody who ever preached is a liar.
Now besides this, this also is a death blow to the Old Testament saints who prophesized the resurrection, they're liars too. And you know what comes out of it that's worst of all, you make Jesus into a liar. Listen, if the apostles are liars, then what am I going to do with the New Testament? Can I believe it? No, none of it's written by liars, well, they say they didn't mean to be liars. Yeah, well, how do I know where they missed it. See if I can't believe in the credibility of these men, then I'm really lost because that does it for the Scripture. At least the liberals are consistent there. They not only deny the resurrection, they also deny the authority and the truthfulness of Scripture, because it's obvious they go together.
But you know what's the worst thing of all? You make Jesus into a poor victim, because in John 16 said to those same apostles who would write the New Testament, he said, "I'll send a spirit and when my Spirit comes He will lead you into all," what, "truth." And the sad part of it is if you just deny one little thing like bodily resurrection, you have made Jesus into a liar. The Holy Spirit didn't keep them from error and lead them into all truth. If they told lies, and they told lies if Christ didn't rise and Christ didn't rise if dead men don't rise.
Then 16 restates the major premise of his argument. "If the dead rise not, remember then is not Christ raised?" Now that's...that's a summary of all that he said and it's also a kicker for what he's about to say which is the second part. The first part he has treated theologically. The first part has been a look at what happens to our theology. The second part, the last three disastrous results of denying bodily resurrection are personal. Not what happens to our theology, what happens to us if we deny dead men rise, which results in denying the resurrection of Christ.
Christ has not risen. Gospel preaching is useless, faith is empty, apostles are liars, and now we get to us, in verse 17, "sins powers unbroken." We're still in our sin. Look at verse 17. "If Christ be not raised," now it gets to us, "your faith is vain." Before he was saying our preaching is vain, and then your faith is vain. Now he really singles in on us. "Your faith is vain because you are still," what, "in your sins."
If Jesus didn't rise, you know what happened? Sin killed Him and held Him dead. You know it was sin that killed Jesus, did you know that? He died on the cross not of His own sin, but of the sins of the world put upon His back. He died because He was made sin for us and sin killed Him.
And you know something if He didn't rise, sin killed Him so dead that He couldn't come back and sin won. If He didn't rise and He didn't rise if dead men don't rise. You see people, to benefit us our faith must forgive us our sins. Our faith must bring us to the place where we're delivered from sin and guilt and punishment. If it doesn't do that "it's useless faith," he says in 17. If Christ isn't raised your faith is dumb, because it doesn't do a thing with your sin. It can't deal with sin. And if it can't deal with sin, it can't help you. You see because the wages of sin for us is what? Is death. And that's eternal death, and that's spiritual death, and if Christ couldn't handle it and He couldn't overcome it, then we'll have to do it ourselves and pay the price. And our faith is ridiculous and useless. We can't put faith in Christ with any sense at all if Christ's act cannot take away our sin. It's a waste.
But if there's no resurrection then He didn't conquer sin. Sin conquered Him, it killed Him and kept Him dead. There's no reconciliation. There's not justification. There's no salvation. There's no life. If Christ is still dead, then every believer is still dead in trespasses and sins and there's no deliverance, none at all.
As long as Christ our surety was held by Satan, as long as He was held by death and not released, then the debt was never paid and we're still liable. But in Romans 4:25, bless God, it says "He was raised for our," what, "justification." He came out of that grave. The Bible says when you put your faith in Christ you're united with Him. "If He died and stayed there, we'd die and stay there too. But if He came out of the grave so we come to walk in newness of life."
"Only as the living Christ," Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:30, "can He be made unto us wisdom and sanctification and righteousness and redemption." He couldn't keep us. He couldn't save us. He couldn't do anything for us if He wasn't alive. And there's nobody else to turn because Acts 4:12 says, "salvation is in Him." And if He couldn't pull it off we're dead folks, we're dead. And what Jesus said to those leaders in John 8:21, "You will die in your sins," was true of Him and of everybody else if He didn't rise.
There's two elements here. If Christ doesn't rise, number one, He didn't pay the penalty for sin in full and come back to grant us life. Sin killed Him if He didn't rise. Secondly, if He didn't rise, He's not alive today to intercede for us and to keep on cleansing on us and to keep on forgiving us. And His life is not there. Romans 5:10, "To hold us and keep us." He couldn't save us and He can't keep us if He didn't rise.
That's why it's so important that we believe that He did rise. That's why Peter said what He did in Acts 5:29. Peter and the other apostles answered and said, "we ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our Father raised up Jesus whom you slew and hanged on a tree and Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a prince and a Savior and give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins." God did raise Him and God made Him a prince. And the word in the Greek is archagos. That's the word that means front runner, pioneer.
Seamen...seamen had a guy on the ship who was the archagos. And he was the strongest swimmer and when he would come to shore and he would get into the billows and the waves and they didn't know whether they could get the ship to shore and how they would get the people safely, this guy would take the rope and he would tie it around his waist and he would dive in and he would swim through the turbulent waters and because he was a strong swimmer, he would get to the shore and he would take rope and he would tie it around a rock or a tree and the rest of the people would come along that rope to safety on the shore. But it was the archagos who took the rope and anchored it.
And Jesus is the prince, the archagos. He swam through the waters of death and death couldn't hold Him and death couldn't drown Him and He got to the shore and He anchored the rope and the rest of us have come along behind. That if Jesus drowned, then we're going to drown too.
If He's doomed, we're doomed. If Jesus didn't rise, then sin killed Him and sin will kill us. And there's nobody interceding for us now to make it any different. If Jesus didn't rise and He didn't rise if dead men don't rise.
The next conclusion in Paul's thinking follows immediately on what I just said. Sixthly, he says, "The dead in Christ have all perished." "The dead in Christ have all perished." Listen, if dead men don't rise, Christ didn't rise. And if Christ didn't rise, all faith is empty. Everybody's still in his sin. And everybody whoever died with his faith in Jesus Christ is damned. That's Paul's statement. Look at verse 18. "Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." That's it. Their faith is as vain as ours. Peter, James, John, Paul, beloved Stephen, all of them are in eternal torment. So is Augustine, so is Luther, so is Calvin, so is Billy Sunday, so is D. L. Moody. So is your grandmother who love Jesus. They're all in Hell. If the dead rise not and Christ didn't rise, and you're still in your sins when you die. Hell holds them all.
Satan won, God lost if the dead don't rise. Every believe whoever closed his eyes in death full of hope to open them and see the face of Jesus Christ perished forever and never saw Him whom their soul loved if the dead don't rise. They were damned with everybody else in sin if Jesus didn't rise. It's a crushing argument people.
You can't just take a little small variation out of Scripture, not this one. Because if the dead don't rise, Christ isn't risen, preaching is useless, faith is empty, apostles are liars, sin is unforgiven, and dead believers are damned. And lastly, summing it all up, that means Christians are the world's most pitiful people, verse 19.
The Christians are the world's most pitiful people. "If in this life we have hope in Christ only." The Greek has the only right at the end of it's clause. "If in this life we have hope in Christ only, we are of all men the most to be pitied." The only goes at the end of the clause and what it means is if in this life we have put our trust totally in Christ. In other words, that's it, we've put all our eggs in one basket and if it isn't true what we've hoped about Christ, we are a pitiful bunch.
Because can you believe what we've been through for the last 2,000 years. Pretty dumb. If in this life we have hope in Christ only, we've got nothing else going and believe me anybody who's a Christian knows that you become a Christian when you've got nothing else going but Christ, right? When you commit totally to His Lordship. No other Gods, no other tolerance.
So ever Christian has Christ only and our whole hope is in Christ. Hey folks, if Christ doesn't work, I haven't got anything to fall on, how about you? This is it. I'm a one horse shea, I'm telling you. And if it isn't in Jesus, we are a pitiful bunch. And believe me it isn't he says if dead don't rise, and Christ didn't rise. We wasted our lives. What a pitiful bunch. All those people. Imagine, all these people have been fighting against temptation, struggling with sin, seeking to please Christ, obeying the Scripture, having Bible studies, bearing the cross, suffering reproach, trying to witness, all...and it's all a bunch of bologna. What a bunch of dumb-dumbs. This is not easy folks.
We are to be pitied, what a waste. But says, Paul, look at verse 20, "But now is Christ," what, "risen." Amen? Listen, He is alive. He did rise, it's all true. The resurrection's essential. Listen as I summarize this. The resurrection is essential.
Number one, because the resurrection proves truth is stronger than the lie. Now listen, Jesus came, He said, "I am the truth." And His enemies wanted their lies and so they killed the truth and if the truth stayed dead, then the lie won. If the enemies of Jesus succeeded in obliterating Him, falsehood won, truth lost.
The Earl of Morton, Region of Scotlandduring the great reformation times sent for one of the great reformation leaders by the name of Andrew Melville. He said to Melville, "there will never be quietness in this country til half a dozen of you be hanged and banished." "Tush, tush," said Melville. "Threaten your corderesin that fashion. It is the same to me whether I rot in the air or on the ground, yet God be glorified. It will not lie in your power to hang or exile God's truth." Listen to this, the resurrection is the final guarantee of the indestructibility of the truth. The truth came out of the grave.
Second, the resurrection of Christ proves that good is stronger than evil. The forces which crucify Jesus were the forces of evil. "You are of your father, the devil," he said in John 8:44. And if there's no resurrection then evil won and the very moral principle of the universe, the holy nature of God is in peril because...because evil is winning, but if Jesus comes out of the grave, the good winds and the evil is destroyed and the resurrection then is the final guarantee that good is indestructible and evil will be destroyed.
Thirdly, the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that love is stronger than hate. Jesus came to the world as the love of God incarnate. He faced a world of hate. They hated Him so bitterly, they killed Him. And if He stayed dead, hate won and love lost. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the triumph of love over all of hate.
A poet wrote, "I heard two soldiers talking as they came down the hill. The somber hill of Calvary bleak and black and still and one said the night is late, these thieves take long to die and one said I'm so afraid and yet I don't know why. I heard two women weeping as down the hill they came and one was like a broken rose and one was like a flame. One said men shall rule this deed their hands have done. And one said only through her tears, 'my son, my son, my son'. I heard to angels singing "Er yet the dawn was bright.' And they were clad in shining robes. Robes and crowns of light and one sang 'Death has vanquished,' and one in golden voice sang 'Love Hath Conquered, Conquered All Oh Heaven and Earth Rejoice.'" The resurrection proves that love conquers hate.
Lastly, the resurrection proves that life is stronger than death. Death couldn't hold Him. William Barkley tells the lovely little story of the church in England, in London. It was all decked out for harvest celebration at Thanksgiving, beautifully decorated. The folks already to come. On the communion table in the front of the church was a great sheaf of corn to symbolize the thankfulness of their hearts for God's provision. They never met.
There was an air raid and the church was bombed into bits. The months passed on says Barkley. And the people in the community noticed amidst the rubble some green shoots coming out of the ground. Summer came, the shoots flourished, and in the autumn there was a flourishing patch of corn growing in the midst of the rubble. Not even the bombs and the destruction could kill the live and the seeds that were just lying on the table. So it is with life. Life conquers death, because Jesus conquered death. And now is Christ risen?
Let's pray. Father thank you for thus filling us up so much with this great truth, glorious resurrection. Oh God, help us to know this is so basic. Thank you for resurrection life, in Jesus Christ. Amen.