In this special Resurrection Day sermon, Pastor Joe Babij examines the apostle Paul’s teaching on the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:20-28. Pastor Babij explains not only how Jesus’ resurrection is the most well-established fact in antiquity but also how Jesus’ resurrection results in two mighty guarantees for believers:
1. Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees Our Resurrection (vv. 20-23)
2. Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees the End of All Evil (vv. 24-28)
Pastor Babij concludes by exhorting all listeners to receive Jesus’ offer of pardon by repentance and faith and thus become recipients of these guarantees.
Good morning. We’re going to look at 1 Corinthians this morning, a great passage of Scripture on the resurrection. There was a question in the reading this morning in verse number 12. Someone had said and Paul mentions that some say there is no resurrection of the dead. That’s not an uncommon understanding in our world. People always sneer at something like the resurrection. Even in Scripture, when the resurrected message was given to the people, often times they just sneered at it because it’s so impossible, the resurrection, trying to wrap your mind around it. It’s impossible.
Now if there is no resurrection of Christ, that would mean that there is no possibility at all for any one of us to experience the resurrection. All our expectations would end in disappointment. Many repeated promises found in the Bible would prove to be false. Any assurance we had about sins forgiven and everlasting life are all worthless. Jesus is not Savior and Lord. The apostles are false witnesses. Death is victorious and final. There is no good news for dying, nothing good to say, encouraging to say at a funeral. For a Savior, we have a ghost. Heaven becomes a pipe dream.
Yet the apostle Paul takes a whole chapter to address and stress the facts of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. That because Christ did rise from the grave, there are real lasting consequences of the resurrection of Christ. Now a Christian is a person who has confessed that he or she is a sinner and honestly and wholeheartedly believes that the Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born, live a sinless life, died in the place of sinners, rose from the grave, defeating our greatest enemy – death. A Christian is a person who has repented of their sins and turn to the Father’s only solution for their sin problem, and that is Christ Jesus. So when they do that, they confess Him. They receive Him. They call on Jesus as their Savior and Lord. They receive Him, in other words. Romans chapter 10 tells us that:
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
So why is it important to believe that, that God raised Him from the dead? It is because the resurrection is the culmination and the crowning point of all God had accomplished in Jesus Christ. In other words, if there is no resurrection of Jesus, there is no salvation. There is no eternal life. The Bible, through the passage we just read in 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 tells us six things about the Christian that would make them hopeless fools unless the resurrection of Christ is absolutely true. Verse 13, it says:
if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain,
That means it’s foolish. It’s totally useless. Christian preachers for thousands of years of history, it would be useless. Noah, a preacher of righteousness, was just a big windbag, along with the prophets and apostles and all preachers of the gospel, if Christ is not raised from the dead. The Bible says in verse 14:
your faith also is vain.
That means the confidence of millions who have died as martyrs at the hands of evil men who hated them and thought them useless. Even recently in Mozambique, Africa, a group of terrorists entered a village for one reason – because there were Christians there. And they went in and killed them, beheaded them, and threw their bodies in the street. See that’s the result of someone not believing in the true and the living God. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all the prophets, all the apostles, and for that matter all the saints including you and I, all would come do nothing. That believing in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection was just a big leap in the dark, in which we all just splatter on the ground and our believing amounts to nothing, if Christ is not raised from the dead.
Also in verse 15 – we’re liars. It says:
Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God,
So the apostles, they are false witnesses every time they praise God or told someone of salvation offered in Christ. It would mean nothing if Christ is not raised from the dead.
Also in verse 17, maybe the most devastating one – you’re still in your sins if Christ has not been raised:
your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
That means no redemption, no salvation, no forgiveness, no hope. People just die in their sins. Even Jesus said in John 8:24,
unless you believe that I am He, you will all die in your sins.
So either you die in Christ or you die in your sins. There’s no other way to die. If Christ is not raised from the dead, there’s no hope.
Also in verse 18, Christians who have died just perished. And those have falling asleep in Christ have perished. They are not in heaven where there is no sickness or sorrow or pain. They have no hope. They just die like a common animal if Christ is not raised from the dead. And then in verse 19, who are the most miserable people on the planet? Christians. It says:
If we have hope in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
It is not the vilest of the vile. It’s not the lowest of the low. It’s not the poorest of the poor who are to be pitied, but Christians should be most pitied if Christ is not raised from the dead. And what does the best life has to offer? In verse 32, it says:
If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.
That it. It’s all we got. There’s nothing else. A lot of people actually believe that. Yet, the resurrection of Jesus is the best established fact in antiquity. Most people do not believe in the resurrection of Christ. They really have no support for their opinion because they have never examined the evidence honestly. And did you know that the Christian faith is the only evidential and historical religion in the world? The Bible never calls us to a blind faith. We don’t take a blind leap in the dark. We are called to faith in evidence, in reality. Blind faith is without evidence. The Bible calls us, as it says in Acts 1:3, to many infallible proofs. That’s what we’re call to. And are these proofs able to stand up to the light of criticism? It says in Scripture:
To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.
That even after Jesus rose from the grave, He wasn’t done yet. He was still planning what needed to take place in the future, and that’s the kingdom of God. And that’s our hope.
Dr. Simon Greenfield was more qualified to examine such evidence than any man who ever lived. He was a royal professor of law at Harvard University and was declared to be by the chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States to be the greatest authority on legal evidence who ever lived. He was the highest authority on evidence that could be quoted in any english-speaking courtroom in the world. And after writing many volumes on the laws of legal evidence, he decided to turn his searchlights of his knowledge and his ability to sift the true from the false toward the evidence of the resurrection of Christ. He had minutely examined every thread of evidence concerning the resurrection of Christ and concluded that in any unbiased court room in the world, if the evidence for the resurrection of Christ were presented, it would be judged to be an absolute historical fact. Now that was the opinion of the greatest authority on evidences that the world has ever known, but there’s even a greater authority – the word of God. Infallible word of God, which proclaims, if you notice in verse 20 of chapter 15, this is what Paul says:
But now Christ has been raised from the dead,
Now the language there is very powerful here. Paul uses a perfect tense verb with a middle voice, meaning that the force of the perfect tense is simply that it describes an event that completed in the past has results existing in the present. And the middle voice, the subject, the action express by the verb in such a way that it emphasized the subject’s participation of the completed past actions. In other words, the action of the resurrection was completed. Jesus participated in that action, and that action produces results for us today. Because Jesus has been raised, it has several real guarantees resulting in the present time for those who are in Christ. And believe me, in this life, there’s not many guarantees. You have guarantees that you’re going to die and you’re going to pay taxes, right? The Bible says well, there’s other guarantees for those who are in Christ.
Here’s the first one – that Christ’s resurrection guarantees our resurrection. Verse 20:
But now Christ has been raised from the dead,
and this is what he says about this. He says that Jesus has been raised from the dead and became the first fruits of the dead. But now it says:
Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
See, Christian death is often described in Scripture as sleep because Christians will be awakened by the resurrection of their body to life. This is not soul sleep – don’t get me wrong. Because the Bible says when you die, your body goes to the grave but your soul goes into the presence of Christ. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Our bodies will go to the grave. And some day they’ll come together in the resurrection and they’ll be different. They’ll be a body like Christ’s body.
But I want you to notice in verse 20, it talks about the first fruits. The first fruits are the initial harvest of a crop that proves the entire crop will come to maturity and be harvested. The first fruits is a feast day found in the Old Testament in Leviticus. After the wilderness wanderings, Israel eventually entered the promised land, a land of milk and honey, where they would actually be able to grow crops. In the wilderness, they couldn’t. So they were commanded to keep this feast day. It involved the harvest period. The standing ripe harvest of barley and wheat that would soon be reaped. A person would go out to the standing harvest and take one of the sheaves and bring it to the priest. That lone sheaf was called the sheaf of the first fruits. The priest would then take that one sheaf and wave it before the Lord in the Lord’s house. This was done after the Sabbath day. Certain prescribed offerings were also to be presented along with the sheaf. None could eat the bread or roast the grain of corn harvest until that sheaf has been presented to the Lord and then the Lord accepted it. He accepted it for Israel.
Now we come to the New Testament and Jesus is using this phraseology. The New Testament fulfillment of this single sheaf presented to the Lord on this feast day speaks of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the sheaf of the first fruits. Jesus was presented to the Father and accepted as the first of those who would be resurrected thereafter. In other words, Jesus’s resurrection guarantees the resurrection of life to all those who are in Christ. Jesus was the first in order to be raised from the dead. And all who believe in Him will follow Him. That’s a guarantee, because Jesus did rise from the grave.
So the Christian has to be moved, in other words, from being in Adam to being in Christ. Now how does that happen? You can’t do that. Nobody human can do that. In fact, no spirit could do that. How does that happen? If you notice in our passage in verse 21, it says:
For since by a man came death…For as in Adam all die,
So what did Jesus had to do was not only He is the first fruits, the first of the resurrection, but Jesus has to counteract what Adam did by reversing sin and death. He had to do that. So what happened in the Garden of Eden and what Adam did necessitates a reversal from being in Adam to being in Christ, from being dead to being alive. So what did Adam do? He didn’t listen to the voice of God, but he listened to the voice of Satan and he disobeyed the voice of God, disrespecting the boundaries God had set for man. The man Adam, by his sinful disobedience, plunged the whole human race into sin and death. All human beings are in Adam, and therefore all died. Bernard Shaw said the statistics on death are staggering – one out of one people die. That’s 100%. So all who are in Adam are still linked to the old things, the old things being the old Adamic nature with all its old corruption, its old habits. The old sinful being with its enslaving sins. And what did Adam actually do? Well, remember what God said – this tree in the middle of the garden. Everything i’ve given you in paradise is yours, but this one, don’t touch this one. This is what God says,
but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’
And then what does Satan say right after that?
The serpent said to the woman, ‘You shall surely not die!’
Well, the day they took of the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened and they understood what death was. They understood that death was the separation of the spirit from the body. They understood and they began to understand that their spirit was now separated from God. Man was dead to God now. And then of course eternal death, the second death. Sin has to pay for the wages of that rebellion, separation forever from God and His many expressions of goodness and love. So once they sinned, their eyes were open.
So this necessitates that God had to reverse what Adam did. Why? Because man choose his own path, and that path led away from God and into the spiritual wilderness, meaning that man was now lost. Man chose to listen to and follow another voice other than God’s, and he chose to listen to and follow Satan and join in his rebellion against God. So man became an enemy of God. Man choose to sin against God, which brought consequences and separation between the perfect holy God and man. So man became alienated from God. Man’s ear was now close to God and tuned to the father of lies. Satan willing employees his lies to keep people deceived and blind and in bondage. So man became a slave to sin.
Man’s rebellion against God and the breaking of His laws caused God to take a posture as judge against those found guilty of the crimes of sin, so man became guilty before a holy God. And man, as a sinner, came with a price for his sins. The penalty of sin was death. Man was now a debtor with a huge price to pay, an unpayable price for the many sins that he will commit. So how far mankind had become as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, that man could do nothing to deal with the consequences of his sin. Nor could he regain a right standing before God or be accepted into God’s presence at all. The first Adam failed.
So who could reverse the curse of sin? Who could cover that sin forever? Who could do that? What was the problem in the first place that caused people to die that would necessitate a resurrection?
No, we have to understand the problem from Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 15:56:
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
So that means people sin and the law of God condemns them in their sin, exactly what the law is suppose to do – call someone to be guilty and condemned before God. That’s a good healthy way to look at yourself. So to understand resurrection, there’s at least two ingredients that we need to realize. The first ingredient is simply this – sin.
Now you may ask – why all the violence in the world? Because after all, the basic thinking is – most people are basically good. You hear that all the time, right? Or isn’t it a true that there are no such things as a bad boy and a bad girl, or for that matter a bad person? The media tells us to get the very best because we deserve it, because we’re good. But what we really deserve as hell. The wages of sin is death – that’s what God says. That is the wrath of God. The Scriptures make it plain that all of us are sinners. And there is nothing more clear in the Bible than you’re a sinner. Like Romans 3:
There is none righteous, not even one;
Nobody understands. No one is profitable for God. They’ve become useless. Ecclesiastes 7:20:
Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.
And then Jeremiah:
The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?
So if you want to be honest, if people are honest, they must look at the matter clearly. All of us were on death row, condemned already. This is what it says in John 3:18:
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
So you are condemned to die because of what Adam did that passed on to us. So the problem is sin. The reason why we die is because of sin. And the Scriptures make it very plain that if you offend in one point, you’re guilty of it all – James 2:10. You don’t have to break all the commandments. All you have to do is sin one time and you’re broken them all and guilty of them all. And it’s amazing how many people think that their good works are going to outweigh their bad works, and that’s what they’re depending on. The attitude of many people is that they are really quite good and they are certainly sufficiently good and better than some people they know. But no person is good enough. The whole world is a fallen race of rebels. And stands condemned in the sight of God. You see, the sting of death is sin. It’s a sting. It’s a poison that’s in uS. But the power of sin is the law, and the law does its job and it condemns us. So sin brought death and condemnation and judgement.
There is a second ingredient that is needed to understand the resurrection, and that is the justice of God. The Bible teaches us that God is absolutely just and holy. He is of pure eyes, that even to look upon iniquity would be wrong for Him. And thus no sin could ever enter into heaven, not one, because God is just. He must punish every and all sin. Did you ever hear of anybody brought into a court and charged with murder or whatever they may be charged with, any get up and take the witness stand and say – well, yes your honor, but you need to understand that I was a boy scout, that I was on the honor roll in school, that I helped a number of old ladies cross the street. I have merit badges to prove it. I did this, I did that, I did the other thing. A just judge, though, is bound to uphold justice. Rather, the judge must say – you are here to answer the charge of murder and nothing else.
See, we would like God to lower the bar, to go easy on us, but He cannot. He cannot violate His own Being, His own holiness, His own justice. God has declared the soul that sins will die. You have broken the holy law of God and therefore you are guilty and condemned. We sin everyday in thought, in word, in deed. We also sin deliberately and we sin unintentionally, and we’re guilty of it all, even sins we forgot. God hasn’t forgotten. So we have all broken all the laws of God in one of those ways, and therefore we are condemned already, under God’s holy justice.
So what we need is a second Adam. We need a second Adam who’s qualified, who’s able, who’s willing to reverse the curse of sin and death and reverse what Adam did. So how does Jesus counteract what Adam did? Well look at verse number 21 of 1 Corinthians 15:
For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
And then it says in verse 22:
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
You notice two terms in Adam and in Christ. So who’s going to take you from being in Adam to being in Christ? The only one who could do that is Jesus Himself. We know that God accepted Christ’s payment for sin and that Christ is perfectly righteous because He rose from the dead. We know that trusting in Jesus alone will save us and that’s the only thing that will save us because Jesus gives or imputes His righteousness to all who believe in Him by faith. And likewise, we will be resurrected unto everlasting life. In other words, Jesus’s resurrection guarantees our resurrection.
So what is the solution? Well in 1 Corinthians 15:54, it says:
But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
And then in verse 57:
but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So in verse number 23, Jesus has fulfilled His purpose – to be the first one who arrives. But notice what it says in verse 23:
but each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,
So if you are here today and you are no longer in Adam but in Christ, then you are Christ’s. And if you are Christ’s, we’re just waiting for our resurrection. We’re waiting for that. So that’s the hope of the believer, that Jesus’s resurrection demonstrated His victory over death, demonstrated His victory over Satan, vindicated Him as righteousness, indicated His divine identity, lead to His ascension and enthronement, and His present heavenly reign in which He is interceding for the saints. And it guarantees the believer’s present forgiveness and justification. It is the basis of resurrection life for the believer here and now. When we baptize people, we usually say – we baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, buried in baptism, raised up to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. That’s the picture of the new resurrected life that the Spirit of God begins to work in us, making us ready for the presence of God.
But all that leads to a second guarantee. Now look in verses 24 to 28. That second guarantee is this – that Christ’s resurrection guarantees the end of all evil and the coming reign of God’s kingdom. Isn’t that what people ask all the time – what about the evil in the world? The Bible is telling here that God is dealing with it. He’s dealing with to the point it will never bother us again. Christ will one day deliver up the kingdom to God the father, but four things must happen before that takes place. Here’s the first thing – that Christ must first subject all evil power and enemies under His rule of righteousness and love. Verse 24 says:
then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
This refers to both human and spiritual enemies, to the evil of both men and Satan. When Christ returns in glory to rule and reign in majesty, He will subdue all the enemies of God and present the kingdom to God the Father. That’s going to be the end of His plan.
Second thing that Christ must do is He must subject the great enemy, the great leveler of mankind, and that’s death. Look at what it says in verse 26:
The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
That tells us that death has an end. Death will cease to be. The reign of death will be stopped. Mankind will be delivered once for all from death. As the Scripture already recorded and I mentioned, death is swallowed up in victory. And then we read other passages of Scripture like Revelation 20:14, where it says:
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
And then love this passage – Revelation 21:4:
and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.
Just this past week, I went to the funeral of my pastor friend Tom Leek. I went to school with him. The first time I met him in California, I knew him for ten minutes and we started talking ministry and church and Scripture. We never stopped talking ever since then for over 20 years. But he got wrecked with cancer, pancreatic cancer, survive six years with that. Just preached the week before he died, but just grew too weak and God took him. Funerals are a strange thing. Death does not belong here. It is an enemy. You do not let enemies into your house. You keep them out. That’s why we have locks on our doors, right? But the enemy is here. The enemy of death is here, and it is real. I don’t know about you, but I hate going to funerals. I hate going to wakes. I hate open caskets, because it’s so confusing. Now for a believer, they have hope, but it’s still confusing because it doesn’t belong here. It’s like saying – get rid of this.
Well, we can’t do that, but Christ has done that. But he’s not done yet. That last enemy still has to be vanquished. He still have to subdue all the enemies that are against Him. But there is a place that there will be no death. There will be no mourning. There will be no crying or pain, and these first things have passed away. Aren’t we looking forward to that? But without the resurrection of Christ, that’s not true. But with the resurrection of Christ, that is true.
Christ must do something else also. He must subject all things under him and His rule, all things except God the Father. It says in verse 27:
For he has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.
See, this verb tense here points to the finality, the once for all fact that all things will be subject to Christ. All peoples, all beings, all the earth, all the universe, seen and unseen, all angels, all nature, all the heavens, everything shall be under the loving and righteous rule and reign of Jesus Christ someday.
And then Christ does one other thing – Christ must subject Himself to God the Father. It says in verse 28:
When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
In other word, it simply means that God the Father send Christ on a great mission to conquer all the enemies of God. Therefore, when Christ has completed His mission, He will to return the God the Father and present the kingdom of God and all to God. William Barclay said it like this – as God sent forth His Son to redeem the world so that in the end God will receive back a world redeemed. And then there will be nothing in heaven or in earth outside of the love and the righteousness and the power of God.
That’s the hope the believer has, the guarantee we have that because Christ rose, we will rise. Because Christ rose, He’s shifted us from being in Adam to being in Christ and we’re heading for the kingdom of God. That’s God’s plan, and believe me that plan will happen.
But what’s the great problem of humanity? Well it’s this – that God has sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to provide for the real needs of the human race. He provides life. He provide truth. He provides knowledge. He provides understanding and peace and reconciliation with God and man and how to have that. He has offered everything that we need. Yet the world rejects Him and still rejects Him and refuses Him. To this very moment, they refuse to receive the offer of pardon through Jesus Christ. Believe me, this offer of salvation must be received. If you don’t receive it, you don’t have it.
Yet God is offering to us – freely come. It’s yours. It’s free. But you’ve got to receive it. But you don’t see people falling over each other to receive it. Such an offer like this is incredible. And yet because man is so blind and so entrapped by sin and dead to the things of God, they cannot. They need divine help, right? They need to be made alive to receive the offer of salvation.
I ran across this story, that during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, George Wilson, a postal clerk, robbed the federal payroll from a train and in the process killed the guard. The court convicted him and sentenced him to hang. But because of public sentiment against capital punishment, a movement started and president Jackson had pressure upon him to offer a pardon to Wilson, which eventually he did. But what really confused people was that Wilson refused it. He didn’t receive it. Now this has never happened before, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on whether someone could indeed refuse a presidential pardon. Chief Justice John Marshall handed down the court’s decision and he said this – a pardon is a parchment whose only value must be determined by the receiver of the pardon. It has no value apart from that which the receiver gives it. So George Wilson has refused to accept the pardon. We cannot conceive why he would do so, but he has. Therefore George Wilson must die, and as a punishment for his crime he was hanged. Pardon, declared the Supreme Court, must not only be granted. It must be accepted and received.
Now most illustrations fall short when they’re trying to describe spiritual truth. Yet this one has some correlation to what has been communicated this morning – that salvation must not only be granted. It must be accepted. It must be received. If it’s not, it has no effectual power to it. If you look at 1 Corinthians chapter 15:1, what Paul says:
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,
And then look at verse 3:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
So Paul is saying there – if I didn’t receive it, I couldn’t have it. And if you don’t receive it, you cannot have it. No one could have it. They can have all the facts. They can have the plan of salvation and even quote it to you. But if they don’t receive it, if they don’t believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead and that’s essential to salvation – to believe that Jesus died. He was buried because He was a human being. A person who is not dead doesn’t get buried. A dead person get buried. Not only that, the tomb had a rock rolled in front of it. When the angel moved the rock, he wasn’t moving the rock away from the hole in the tomb for Jesus to get out. He was removing the rock so people can get in. Jesus got out of the tomb before the rock was moved. It must be received, accepted as a gift from God through Christ Jesus.
So do you have in your heart the blessed assurance that you are on your way to heaven? Do you know that your sins have been washed away and forgiven? Are you still in Adam or are you in Christ? Is your resurrection this morning guaranteed, and you know it? If you do not, then there is a reason. And this is the reason, this is usually always the reason – because you’re still trusting yourself. Or you’re trusting in something you have done, trusting in some goodness or merit on your own, that there is some morality and goodness in you that will earn your passage to heaven. But I say to anybody thinking like that today – stop lying to yourself and stop believing the lies of the enemy. My friends, simply agree with God that you are a sinner, guilty as charged, and cast yourself on the mercy and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Say to Him – Lord, it was for me You died. I place my trust in Your cross. And as to him records it, nothing in my hands I bring. Simply to Thy cross I cling. I receive you as my Lord and Savior. All who trust in Jesus Christ alone for eternal salvation, repent of their sin and follow Him, are given the free gift of eternal life, paid for with an infinite price by the One who died, who shed His blood in the place of His children and Who promises that having risen from the dead, He will take you to be with Him in the kingdom of God. The ground on which a person comes to Christ is that they are nothing but sinners and that they have a need to be washed in the blood of Christ and be made clean.
Very simply, if you come to Christ this morning as nothing but a sinner, He will not cast you out. He will not turn you away. But you don’t need to clean up your act to come. You don’t need to prepare. Come with all your wickedness and all your sin. You don’t need to be qualified to come. Come empty-handed. You have nothing to offer God. Don’t look within. Your righteousness is as filthy rags. Don’t look at your works. Your works cannot save you. Don’t consider your feelings, because your feelings are as unreliable as the wind. Believe because Christ tells you to do so. And what you are commanded to do, you may do. Sinners need someone to have mercy on them in their helplessness and their pitiful state. Jesus is that person. The gate of mercy stands wide open for anyone who will come. But you have to give up your excuses, and you have to come and believe.
See, Jesus was born of the virgin Mary to become a sinless man. He lived a sinless life and died that He could pay the price of death that God has put upon sin. And after He died and satisfied the demands of a righteous God for our sins, He rose from the grave with salvation complete. There’s nothing we can add to it or take from it. It is done. It is finished, as we learned on Friday. See, that’s the hope of the believe, the hope that these are true and these are guarantees.
So why is it important to believe that God raised Him from the dead? It’s important because the resurrection is the culmination and crowning point of all God has accomplished in Jesus Christ. In other words, if there is no resurrection of Christ, there is no salvation and you have no resurrection either. But that’s not true. Jesus did rise. He did guarantee your resurrection. He was the first. We’re going to follow Him and we’re heading to the kingdom of God. That’s the hope that we have. That’s why we celebrate on this day. Because He did rise, and I’m thankful that He did. Remember, there’s not many guarantees in this life. But these are true guarantees and they are lasting guarantees. These are eternal guarantees, that Christ’s resurrection guarantees your resurrection unto life. Christ’s resurrection guarantees the end of all evil and the coming reign of God’s kingdom, in which we are going to be there. That’s exciting and that’s what we await. And so that’s why sin doesn’t have a sting for a Christian that has for someone who’s not a believer, because we have this hope. It removes the stinger. It removes the pain. And it gives us the hope that we can trust God for everything He says. And we can put all our eggs in one basket.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank You this morning. Lord, Your goodness to us is something we can celebrate. Your truthfulness is something we can bank on. Thank You Lord, that in this life with so many things that are hopeless, You give us hope and You give us guarantees that are all based in Your character. And so for this Lord, we worship You. We praise You. Lord, for those who have not genuinely believed in Christ, today may be the day of salvation for them. Please Lord, keep saving people and help us to see the fruit of their salvation before our eyes, that we may give You glory and honor and praise for all that You have done and will do. And I pray in Christ’s name. Amen.