Lesson 03 第三课

RELIGION WITHOUT THE RESURRECTION

(1 Cor. 15:12-23)

I.    Religion Without the Resurrection Has No Substance (vv.12-16)

A.     Without the resurrection of Christ our preaching is useless.

1.     One of the lies of Satan is that all religions are to be seen as equal.

2.     All religions can be equal only if they are all false.

3.     It is the fact of the resurrection that separates Christianity from all other religions.

a.     The fact of the empty tomb - Even the enemies of Christ acknowledged the empty tomb following the crucifixion and burial. There has never been any evidence brought forth which can disprove the empty tomb.

b.     The fact of the moved stone - Engineers have calculated that a stone the size necessary to cover the opening of such a tomb would weigh 1 ½ to 2 tons!  There is one ancient manuscript which adds that it would have required 20 men to move it once it had been rolled into place.

c.     The fact of the Roman guard - Many notable Greek scholars contend that the wording in Greek indicates that the guard at the tomb was a Roman guard rather than the Temple police.  This would have been a unit of four to sixteen men.  For a Roman guard to flee his post or go to sleep on his post was an offence punishable by death.

d.     The fact of the empty graveclothes - The method of Jewish burial was such that when a body was prepared and wrapped it would have been extremely difficult to remove the graveclothes.  And the amazing thing was that not only were they graveclothes empty, but they lay there in the form of a body!

e.     The fact of the post-resurrection appearances - Christ appeared on several occasions after the resurrection.  In fact, Paul states that Jesus had appeared to over 500 people at one time, most of whom were still alive and could be questioned (1 Cor. 15:4-6).

B.     Without the resurrection of Christ our faith is useless.

1.     Our faith rests not merely on a set of ideals, but on the person of Jesus Christ.

2.     There are those who teach that we can be Christian without believing in a literal, bodily resurrection of Christ.

3.     However, Paul made it clear that the foundation of our faith is the resurrection of Christ.

4.      Genuine Christian faith is not a blind faith, but an intelligent faith (1 Peter 3:15).

II.     Religion Without the Resurrection Provides No Redemption (v. 17)

A.     Only a resurrected Savior can offer a relationship with the One, True God.

1.     The Bible tells us that Jesus is the only mediator between us and God     (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6).

2.     Christ also is our great intercessor before God (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25).

3.     Too many so-called Christians play the religious game without a life-changing relationship with Christ.  Because Christ is alive, every believer should have a vital relationship with the living Christ.  This means more than practicing a religion!  It means more than participating in some ritual! It means more than an occasional church attendance!

4.     Too many deceive themselves into believing they are in good standing with God without having a growing relationship with the resurrected Christ.

B.     Only a resurrected Savior can offer forgiveness of sins (Heb. 9:28).

1.     The Old Testament sacrificial system did not take away sins  (Heb. 10:1-4).  God’s plan always has been that salvation for any individual was obtained by faith.

2.     Only Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice, could have eternal significance (Heb. 10:10).  All other sacrifices had to be repeated over and over.

3.     The resurrected Christ sat down at the right hand of God as evidence that his work of salvation is complete (Heb. 10:12-14).

III.    Religion Without the Resurrection Gives No Hope (vv. 18-19)

A.    Such religion gives no hope for those who already have died (v.18).

1.     The resurrection of Jesus proved him to be the firstfruits of those who belong to him (1 Cor. 15:23).  Firstfruits were evidence that there was more to come.  Jesus’ resurrection was evidence that his followers would also be resurrected.

2.    The resurrection of Jesus assures us of a bodily resurrection (1 Cor. 15:35-54).

3.    For those who belong to Jesus, death is not an enemy (1 Cor. 15:25).

4.    The resurrection of Jesus enables us not to grieve hopelessly for believers who have died (1 Thess. 4:13).

B.    Such religion gives no hope for those of us who still live on this earth (v.19).

1.    Apart from the resurrection, our only reward for our faith comes in this life.

2.    If there is no resurrection, we are to be pitied (v.19).  Although you and I likely will not experience much persecution for our faith, there have been countless who have.  They have done so willingly because they know they serve a risen Savior and that they too will rise from the dead.


Discussion Questions

1.         According to 1 Cor. 15:14, what is one thing that is useless if Christ did not raise from the dead?

2.         What are some facts about the resurrection that separates Christianity from all other religions?

3.         According to 1 Cor. 15:17, what is something else that is worthless if Christ has not been raised from the dead?

4.         The Christian faith rests not merely on a set of ideals, but on what?

5.         Genuine Christian faith is not a blind faith, but what kind of faith?

6.         According to 1 Cor. 15:17, religion without the resurrection provides no ____________?

7.         Only a resurrected Savior can offer a ___________________ with the One, True God.

8.         Only a resurrected Savior can offer ___________________ of sins (Heb. 9:28).

9.         Religion without the resurrection gives no ______________ (1 Cor. 15:18-19).