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The Foundation of Our Faith

Tom Pennington 1 Corinthians 15:12-20


Well, I invite you to take your Bibles and turn with me this morning for our study to 1 Corinthians 15.

If you were to take a comparative religions course at one of the local universities, you would discover that there are only four world religions that are based primarily on their founders: There's Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity. And those founders all died. Abraham died in the year 1991 BC. His body was buried in Hebron. Buddha died in the 5th or 6th century BC. His body was cremated. Muhammad died on June 8, 632 AD, and his body is buried in Medina, and millions visit his grave every year on their pilgrimage to Mecca. Jesus also died, likely on this very day, April 9, in the year 30 AD. He was buried in a borrowed grave just outside the city of Jerusalem. They all died.

But the Christian faith is unique in that it alone boasts an empty tomb. It alone claims that its Founder was raised permanently, eternally, from the dead. And make no mistake, that is the foundation of the Christian faith. One of the great Protestant reformers, John Calvin, who ministered in Geneva, wrote this: "The resurrection of Christ is the most important article of our faith, the chief point of the gospel." Benjamin Warfield, one of the great American theologians who taught at Princeton, wrote this: "Christ Himself deliberately staked His whole claim upon His resurrection. When asked for a sign, He pointed to this sign as His single and sufficient credential." No article of the Christian faith is more essential, more foundational, than the resurrection. And no passage more clearly articulates its importance to our faith than 1 Corinthians 15.

Now, Paul wrote this chapter to respond to what he had heard. Note verse 12: "How do some [among] you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?" The believers in the church in Corinth were primarily Greek in their background, and many in their Greek culture believed in the immortality of the soul. Plato, for example, taught that the soul is immortal. But he also taught that the body is a prison from which death releases the soul. So, in their Greek dualistic thinking, they found the idea of the resurrection of the body absolutely ridiculous. Why would you want to stay in the prison? Tragically, that form of dualism had found its way into the church. Paul heard that some in the Corinthian church denied that the bodies of believers would be raised. They were apparently teaching Greek dualism: That once a believer dies, he or she continues to exist forever as a spirit.

That's the false teaching Paul is correcting here in chapter 15. But notice the flow of his argument: In the first eleven verses, he reminds them that the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is a central tenet of the Christian gospel. That is, the good news that sinners, who deserve God's judgment for their sins, can be reconciled to God, can have their sins forgiven, because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He here reduces the Gospel, the core message of the Christian faith, to four basic propositions.

Notice them, first of all in verse 3. Here's the first: "That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." The second proposition is in verse 4: "That He was buried," proving that He was in fact truly dead. The third is also in verse 4: "That He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." And the fourth is in verse 5: "That He appeared." And then the rest of the verses, through verse 10: That he appeared to many witnesses.

That, friends, is the heart of the Christian good news, the gospel: That we can be reconciled to God through the work of Jesus Christ. Then, in verses 12 to 19, Paul sets out to show the contradiction that existed in the Corinthians' thinking. It was completely illogical for them to believe in Christ's resurrection, but to deny their own. Let's read it together, 1 Corinthians 15, I'll begin reading in verse 12. You follow along as I read.

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But 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, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men, most to be pitied.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

Now, the foundation for understanding this passage comes in Paul's argument in verses 12 and 13. Look at them again. "Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised." He says listen, if you deny the resurrection of believers, logically, no one has ever risen from the dead. That means Christ has not been raised. And the results of that are absolutely staggering. In verses 14 to 19, Paul catalogs the frightening consequences of their position, and he does so to prove the absolute centrality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord to the Christian faith. In fact, he argues that if this keystone is removed, Christianity collapses in a heap of rubble. If Jesus' body still lies buried somewhere in Israel, the consequences are beyond calculation, even beyond imagination. In this passage, Paul outlines for us five very tragic consequences if Christ has not been raised from the dead. Let's look at them together.

The first consequence is that there is no legitimate gospel, verse 14: "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain." The word preaching in Greek is kerygma. It refers to the content of what Paul officially proclaimed on behalf of his Lord. Paul's already explained that; we just saw it in verses 3 through 5. The core of his preaching is that gospel message with those basic propositions, and he says, "If Christ has not been raised," then that gospel is vain. The word vain means empty, without substance, void of spiritual value. Friends, it comes down to this: Either the tomb is empty, or the gospel is empty. If Christ has not been raised, the gospel is a worthless message, and the entire structure of Christianity collapses because it stands on a flawed foundation.

One of the greatest disasters in American history was the Johnstown Flood. After several days of flooding rain, on May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam experienced a catastrophic failure. It was 14 miles upstream of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and when the dam broke, it released 20 million tons of water. Within just a few minutes, a wall of water and debris, 35 to 40 feet high, traveling at 40 miles an hour, slammed into the town of Johnstown. Four square miles of downtown were destroyed, twenty-two hundred people died, and 99 entire families were wiped out. It failed because its structural integrity was flawed.

The same thing is true with the Christian faith. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation that supports the gospel and ultimately supports the entire Christian faith. If it is not true, then the entire structure collapses, just like the South Fork Dam, and it destroys all of those who have trusted in it.

If Christ's body has not been raised but remains in some obscure Jewish grave to this day, the good news that Paul and the apostles preached, that you and I could be reconciled to our Creator, that our sins could be forgiven, that we could be restored to God, is an ancient fiction that deserves to be forgotten. There is no legitimate gospel.

That brings us to a second tragic consequence if Christ has not been raised: There's no reasonable faith. Verse 14 goes on: "If Christ has not been raised," then "your faith also is vain." Paul said to the Corinthians, listen, you believe the message of the gospel we preached, but if Christ is not raised, not only is the gospel message worthless, so is your faith. It's vain. It's empty. It's without content. It's without reality. You may believe it, but your faith is worthless. It's completely void of all spiritual value.

You see the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his substitutionary death stand or fall together. Both are historical events that happen the way the apostles described, and our faith is therefore reasonable; or they're both fabrications and our faith is unreasonable. We live in the day of postmodernism where you can just shape and form reality to whatever shape you want. You can make your own reality. You can believe it, and if you believe it, it's true for you. That's just not how it works in the real world. Contrary to postmodernism, reality is not whatever you want it to be. What you believe matters.

Several years ago, there was a sad story in the news about kids with cancer who were treated with fake chemotherapy in a neighboring country. A government official reported it this way:

"We have results from a laboratory that pointed out that the chemotherapy that was given to the children was not really a drug, but an inert compound. It was practically distilled water." That's truly tragic. Those families believed those drugs were real. They put their faith and confidence in those drugs. They believed those drugs were helping their terribly ill children. But sadly, several of those children died. That is a heartbreaking illustration of the fact that no amount of faith helps if the object of your faith is wrong. Believe it all you want, but it's not going to help you if the object of your faith is wrong. Our faith is in a risen Savior, and if He is still dead, our faith is absolutely worthless; our confidence in the gospel is completely unreasonable. Paul says if Christ has not been raised, number one, there is no legitimate gospel, [and] number two, there's no reasonable faith.

And thirdly, there's no reliable revelation, verse 15: "Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact, the dead are not raised." Notice that expression, we are found. That Greek verb is often used of discovering someone's true character. There's someone who walks around with a facade, with a pretense, and then they are found out. They're found out for who they really are. Paul says if some of the Corinthians were right, and the dead aren't raised, then Christ has not been raised. And that means everyone who has taught the resurrection has been found to be a false witness of God. Paul says we're all liars. We falsely accused God of doing what He didn't do if He didn't raise Christ from the dead. Notice how he adds "we testified against God." If Christ hasn't been raised, all who've taught that God raises the dead are liars. They're false teachers. They're not to be trusted. They're speaking contrary to God. They're like the prophets of Jeremiah's time who were not sent and in whose mouth God didn't put His words. Therefore, they're under God's judgment.

So, who does this include? Who are the false witnesses of the resurrection if Christ has not been raised? Well, first of all, it's all the eyewitnesses of verses 5 to 7. All of them, they're liars. They didn't see the resurrected Christ. Paul, verse 8: "Last of all…He appeared to me [also]." Paul was a deceiver and a liar, a false teacher, [as are] all the apostles, verse 5: Jesus appeared to Peter and the twelve; verse 7: to James and to all the apostles. And according to verse 11, the apostles not only witnessed the resurrection, but they preached it. They proclaimed it to others. So, all of the apostles are false teachers, and everything they taught, the entire New Testament, is false.

But Paul's indictment doesn't stop there. It also includes the Old Testament. Look back in verse 4: Christ "was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." This means the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, they're a lie. His indictment even includes Christ Himself. Remember, this gospel originated with Him. Mark 1 says Christ came as He began His ministry preaching the gospel. Make no mistake, if there's no resurrection, you can trust absolutely nothing Jesus Christ said. Paul and the apostles, who wrote, or supervised the writing of, the entire New Testament: They're all liars. And the Old Testament can't be trusted either. If Christ has not been raised, the Bible you hold in your hand is no more reliable than the writings of Confucius, Mohammed, or Joseph Smith. There's no trustworthy message from God. There's no reliable revelation.

A fourth tragic consequence, in verses 16 and 17, is that there's no real forgiveness: "For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins." Again, Paul reminds his readers of the flow of his argument here. He says if dead people aren't raised, Christ hasn't been raised. And if Christ hasn't been raised, your faith is worthless. It's useless. It doesn't produce any results. And then he specifically says what results? It doesn't produce forgiveness. You are still in your sins. See, the death of Christ accomplished nothing in regard to our sin if He has not been raised.

The New Testament often connects Christ's resurrection with both forgiveness and justification. Now, the word justification simply means that legal declaration of God by which He declares a believing sinner, a sinner who believes in Jesus Christ, to be right with Him, not based on that person's righteousness, but based on the finished work of Jesus Christ. Paul connects the resurrection to that reality. For example, in Romans 4:25 he says Jesus "was delivered over because of our transgressions" — there's his death — "and was raised because of our justification." Jesus' resurrection was necessary to secure our justification, our being declared right with God. But Paul doesn't mean that Christ secured our justification solely through His resurrection. Jesus' death was also crucial in securing our justification. In Romans 5:9, he says we are justified. We're declared right with God by Jesus' blood, that is, by His death in our place.

So how is the resurrection, then, related to justification and forgiveness? Primarily, the resurrection of Jesus proved that the Father had accepted Jesus' sacrifice for sins, and that forgiveness was now truly possible. You see, if the Father had not raised Jesus Christ from the dead, it would have been a public statement that Jesus was not who He claimed to be, and therefore could not bring forgiveness. He could not purchase our redemption. Verse 17: "If Christ has not been raised…you are still in your sins." Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, a British pastor and theologian of the last century, described it this way:

The resurrection is the proclamation of the fact that God is fully and completely satisfied with the work that His Son did on the cross. In raising Him up, God was proclaiming that His Son had completed the work, that He is propitiated, that is, that his justice is completely satisfied. The resurrection proved that the Father had accepted the sacrifice of His Son.

In my wallet, and perhaps in your wallet, there are several U.S. dollars. Each of those dollars bears the official seal of the Treasury Department of the U.S. government. And that seal has been on every bill that's ever [been] issued, from the time greenbacks were first issued in 1862 until today. Some version of that seal was on every piece of money that's ever been printed, because that seal shows that the money is real, that it is actually able to be used in trade, that it's able to be used as legal tender, that it's valid. In the same way, the resurrection was God's official seal of approval on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It was God's way of saying that He had accepted the death of His Son as full payment for the sins of all of those who would ever believe in Him. The debt was paid. God could be just and still forgive us. Someone had died for sin, which God's justice demanded, rather than the guilty; it was the innocent One in our place.

It worked like this: On Friday afternoon of Good Friday, at 3:00 in the afternoon, after six hours on the cross, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, out of the darkness, "It is finished." And then He said, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit." And then the Scripture says He yielded up His spirit. He chose to die at that exact moment, at 3:00 in the afternoon. Why? Because nearby, on the temple grounds, it's when the Passover lambs were being sacrificed. And He was the perfect fulfillment of that entire sacrificial system. He was the perfect Passover lamb. He was the one who died so that His blood, sprinkled on us, means that we are exempt from the death we deserve. Jesus said, "It is finished."

But heaven waited to see if the Father agreed. And on Sunday morning, sometime before sunrise, the Father said, "It is finished" by raising His Son from the dead. It was His approval on the sacrifice of Christ. Charles Spurgeon, a Baptist pastor who pastored in London in the 1800's, said it more powerfully and profoundly than I ever could when he spoke these words:

The blood of Jesus Christ is blood that has been accepted. Christ died. He was buried. But neither heaven nor earth could tell whether God had accepted the ransom. There was needed God's seal upon the great Magna Carta of man's salvation. When Christ came out, rising from the dead in the glory of His Father's power, then was the seal put upon our redemption. The blood was accepted, the sin was forgiven.

Spurgeon goes on to bring out the implications. He says,

And now, soul, it is not possible for God to reject you if you come this day to Him pleading the blood of Christ. The everlasting God cannot reject a sinner who pleads the blood of Christ, for if He did so, it were to deny Himself. He can never revoke that divine acceptance of the resurrection. And if you go to God pleading simply and only the blood of Him that did hang upon the tree, God must ungod Himself before He can reject you or reject that blood.

But if the Father didn't raise Christ, there was no seal in the work of Christ, and it means that He rejected His sacrifice, and you and I still bear the guilt for our sins. There's no real forgiveness.

There's a final consequence: If Jesus has not been raised, verse 18, there's no eternal life, "Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished." The word then implies that this is the inevitable consequence of what he's just said. If we, who are living, are still in our sins, the same must be true of those who have fallen asleep in Christ. If the Corinthians were right about the resurrection, then those who have died believing in Christ died still in their sins. And to use Paul's words, they "have perished." The word translated perish here is Paul's normal word to describe the condition of those who die forever separated from God. He defines it in 2 Thessalonians 2:10 like this: He says, "Those who perish…did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved."

Now, be clear about this. We live in a day when it's become increasingly popular to embrace the idea that when we die, we just cease to exist. That's the annihilation of the individual. And people like that idea because it means there's no God to give an account to; live the way you want, and when you die, it's over. Friend, let me tell you, it's not over. You can hold that view if you want, but you stand squarely against what Jesus Christ taught, because in Matthew 25:46, He said this: Unbelievers "will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." He used exactly the same words, eternal, on both sides of that equation. For those who are believers, there is eternal life. For those who are not, there is eternal punishment. The duration is exactly the same. There's no annihilation of the soul. Christ taught that those who die without believing in Him will exist as long as those who have eternal life, and they will do so in punishment.

So, Paul doesn't mean here that those who died believing in Christ have ceased to exist. They will still live forever. When he says they "have perished," he means they're lost for good. They're forever separated from God. For them, if there's really no forgiveness, then there's no eternal life. There's only eternal punishment. And Paul summarizes the tragic consequences if Christ had not been raised with these sobering words. Look at verse 19: "If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied."

Listen, if there's no resurrection, then we deserve the pity of humanity more than any other people on the planet. Why? Because the gospel has no substance. Faith in Christ is worthless. God's word is a lie. We still live under the penalty of sin and all believers who have died before us are irretrievably lost. And when we die, we too will be forever separated from God at death. Therefore, we are the most deserving of pity because all our hope is hung on a lie. It's built on a flawed foundation.

But then comes verse 20: "But now Christ has been raised from the dead." Now is not chronological, it's logical. For the purpose of argument, Paul has assumed for one long, dark moment that Christ has not been raised. But with that word now he brings us back to reality.

I don't usually recall my dreams, but occasionally I have a recurring nightmare. I'm in an auditorium like this one. It's filled with people, and they're singing. They're singing a hymn. And I discover that I've arrived just in time to hear them singing the last song before the message. And as they're singing, someone comes up to me and says, "Tom, we're really looking forward to your message." And I discover that I'm the one who's preaching within a couple of minutes. And I am completely and totally unprepared. I'm sitting there in the pew with my Bible on my knees, desperately trying to discover what it is I'm going to do. Maybe you have even more unsettling nightmares, although I'll confess, for me, that one's pretty unsettling. But what's it like when you wake up? When you wake up from a nightmare and you realize, no, it's not true, it didn't happen? And when you come to that realization, there's this huge sense of relief that comes sweeping over your soul. That's what should happen when you get to verse 20: "But now Christ has been raised." Welcome back to reality.

And because Christ has been raised from the dead, all of those tragic consequences are not true. In fact, not only are they not true, but exactly the opposite is true. The gospel is a legitimate message of grace and hope. Our faith is reasonable. Our confidence in the gospel is thoroughly justified because Jesus our Lord lives. All who witness Christ's resurrection are trustworthy, and the Scripture is God's reliable revelation. Christ's death accomplished genuine and permanent forgiveness. Our sins are gone forever. Believer, you will never stand before God in judgment for your sins again, because Christ absorbed the full fury of God's justice your sins deserve, He paid it in full, and the debt is done. And no Christian ever, really, in the ultimate final sense, dies. They're in the presence of Christ. To be absent in the body is to be in the presence of the Lord, "to be at home with the Lord," as Paul says. And someday they will experience the resurrection of their bodies. And we can have great confidence in all of those truths because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

How should we respond to this passage and what we studied this morning? Well, here are several implications of Christ's resurrection. Let me start with those who might be here this morning who are not believers in Jesus Christ. Maybe you came knowing that. Maybe you're here with family or friends. Maybe you're a part of this church and you know good and well in your heart that you are not a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. Or perhaps you're deceived. You claim to be a Christian, but there isn't enough evidence in your life to convict you. You made a childhood profession, but frankly, you don't live in obedience to Christ. You show up occasionally at church, maybe Christmas and Easter. You have a very nominal commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. If you're not a Christian, if those things describe you, here are the implications for you if you've never repented and believed in Jesus.

Number one: Jesus' resurrection proves His claims to be God the Son. Jesus Himself staked His claims on His own resurrection. You remember early in His ministry, in John chapter 2, He cleansed the temple. And the Jewish leaders said, "Wait a minute, what are You doing? Who gave You the authority to do this?" And Jesus said, "You want My authority? Here it is. Destroy the temple of My body, and in three days I'll raise it up." Jesus said, "If you want to know that I am everything I claim, and I have the right and authority to do what I'm doing, then wait and see. If I am raised from the dead after three days, then you'll know that everything I said and everything I taught is true." The resurrection proved His claim was absolutely true. This is what Peter says in Acts 2:36, on the day of Pentecost. This is how he concludes his sermon. There he says, therefore, in light of the resurrection, God has made Him both Lord and Messiah, "this Jesus whom you crucified." He's everything He claimed. [In] Romans 1:4, God declared Jesus to be "the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead." The resurrection forever proved Jesus' claims. Listen, if you're here this morning and you're not a follower of Jesus Christ, God has given you all the evidence you need. You don't need more evidence. That's not the issue. The issue is, like all of us before we come to Christ, you will not have Him to rule over you because you want your life your way. It's not evidence. There's plenty of evidence.

Number two: Jesus' resurrection is essential to be saved from your sins. Look back in verse 4. Paul says there that the resurrection was a key proposition, a key tenet of the gospel that he and the apostles preached. That means that to be a Christian, you must believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead — real, physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This was the gospel that was preached. Look back at verse 1: "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which you also received," in which "also you stand, by which also you are saved," [that you] are rescued from your sins and the penalty of your sins "if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain." Paul puts it this way in Romans 10:9, "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." You'll be rescued from your sins and the penalty your sins deserve.

There's a third implication for you, if you're here this morning and not in Christ. Jesus' resurrection means He will be your judge if you refuse to turn from your sins and believe in Him. This is what Paul said to the philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens. In Acts 17:30, Paul says, "God is now declaring [to men] that all people everywhere" — that's you — "should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed." And He furnished proof as to who that Man is "by raising Him from the dead." If you're not a follower of Jesus Christ, there's one very simple implication of the resurrection for you, and that is: Repent and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. In the resurrection, God gave you all the proof you need to believe. And I don't say this lightly, and I say it with a heavy heart, but you need to understand, this is exactly what the New Testament says: If you refuse that invitation, if you refuse the gospel, if you refuse the invitation to repent and believe and receive forgiveness, someday Jesus Christ will be your judge. You will stand before Him as your judge, and it will not go well. In Romans 2, Paul says, "That will be a day of justice and wrath." No mercy, no grace, no "But I...," nothing but justice: Pure, straight justice. God will give you, Christ will give you, exactly what your sins deserve, and only that. It comes down to this: You have two choices. You can either repent and believe in Jesus Christ, or you can stand before Him someday as your judge and absorb the full fury of His justice and anger against your refusal and rebellion. Those are your only two choices. I plead with you today: Repent and believe. He invites you, He invites you to come. Today is the day. The moment you die, that day is done. And then He will only be your judge. I plead with you today.

If you're already a follower, a disciple of Jesus Christ, [as are] many of us here, there are some wonderfully encouraging implications. Let me just bring out a couple for you.

Number one: Jesus' resurrection secured and guarantees all He purchased in His death. The fact that He was raised from the dead means everything He promised is yours. In Romans 5:10, Paul says, "[For] if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved" — that is, delivered, rescued from God's future wrath — "by His life." Literally, the Greek text says in His life, that is, by our connection with the life of our resurrected Lord. We benefit from His always living, because that will secure our everlasting salvation. Hebrews puts it this way, in Hebrews 7:25: "[Therefore] He is able [also] to save forever those who draw near to God through Him." Let me ask you: This morning, have you drawn near to God through Jesus Christ? Is that where you live? Is that the hope in which you place your eternal rest, Jesus Christ? You've drawn near to God through Jesus Christ? He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. It is His eternal, incorruptible, imperishable life that ensures that every promise He's made [to] you will be eternally true.

Number two: Jesus' resurrection means that you, and all who die in Christ, will be raised from the dead. Death is a constant reality. Our lives are filled with the death of people we love. But when you weep, Christian, over the death of a loved one, those who died in Christ, remind yourself that Christ has defeated death and He has removed its sting. We no longer have to fear it. Look down in verse 55: "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" Christ removed the sting of death for us who trust in Him. How? By taking the stinger Himself. Now we can face death with joy and with confidence. Look at verse 57: "Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory" — What victory? Over death — "through our Lord Jesus Christ."

And finally, a third implication for us as believers is this: Jesus' resurrection, and therefore our future resurrection in Him, inspires a life of faithful service to Him. At the end of this chapter, Paul gives one last implication of Jesus' resurrection and of our future resurrection in Christ, verse 58: "Therefore," in light of the resurrection of Christ, in light of your own coming resurrection, "my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord," because you know this, "your toil is not in vain." It's not useless. It's not worthless in the Lord. Why? Because He lives. You will live also. But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He is risen. He is risen indeed.

Let's pray together. Father, thank You for the beautiful clarity of Your word. Thank You for the resurrection. Thank You for its reality. And Lord, thank You for its foundational importance to our faith. Thank You that all of those terrible, tragic consequences that Paul outlines are not true, because Christ has been raised from the dead. He is alive, and He's alive forevermore. Lord, help us to live in light of that. Help us to live in confidence that what He secured for us in His life and death and resurrection is guaranteed to us eternally because He ever lives on our behalf. Help us to hope, even as we face death, and the death of those we love who are in Christ. And Father, I pray that You would help us to live lives of faithful obedience until You take us in death or until our Lord returns, all because of the resurrection. Lord, I also pray for those who came in this morning, either fully aware that they're not Christians, or Lord perhaps, who came in self-deceived, clinging to some worthless hope. They're really not a disciple of Jesus Christ, not really a follower of Christ. Lord, remove the deception. Help them to see the reality both of their sin, their state; and the beauty of Jesus Christ. May they be willing to give everything else in life up to have Him, even today, to repent and believe in Him. We pray this for His sake, who deserves to be worshipped, followed and adored, our risen Lord. Amen.


The Unlawful Arraignment of Jesus Christ

Tom Pennington John 18:12-24

The Foundation of Our Faith

Tom Pennington 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

The Real Reason for Jesus' Execution - Part 1

Tom Pennington Mark 14:53-65

More from this Series

Passion Week Sermons


If Christ Had Not Been Raised

Tom Pennington 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

The Promise of Paradise

Tom Pennington Luke 23:39-43

In Defense of Sinners

Tom Pennington 1 John 2:1-2

The Evidence for the Resurrection

Tom Pennington John 19:31-20:31

The Cross' Commentary on Man

Tom Pennington Matthew 27:33-44

God's Commentary on the Cross

Tom Pennington Matthew 27:45-54

Conspiracy! The Plot That Proves the Resurrection

Tom Pennington Matthew 28:11-15

Pierced For Our Transgressions

Tom Pennington Isaiah 53:4-6

Jesus' Own Evidence for the Resurrection

Tom Pennington Luke 24:36-49

The Fragrance of Worship

Tom Pennington John 12:1-8

The Innocent Found Guilty

Tom Pennington Matthew 26:57-68

The New Covenant

Tom Pennington Selected Scriptures

The Two Reasons Jesus Had to Die!

Tom Pennington John 11:47-57

The Place on Which We Stand

Tom Pennington Romans 10:5-10

Kangaroo Court: The Illegal Arraignment of Jesus Christ

Tom Pennington John 18:12-24

The Heart of the Gospel

Tom Pennington 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

The Murder of the King

Tom Pennington Matthew 27:27-37


Tom Pennington Matthew 28:1-7

Father, Forgive Them

Tom Pennington Luke 23:34

For God So Loved the World

Tom Pennington John 3:16

The Man on the Second Cross

Tom Pennington Luke 23:39-43

The Perfect Son

Tom Pennington John 19:25-27

The Rescue Mission

Tom Pennington Luke 19:1-10

Jesus Will Cost You Everything!

Tom Pennington Mark 8:34-38

The Triumphal Entry

Tom Pennington Mark 11:1-11

He Is Risen

Tom Pennington Matthew 28:1-7

God Forsaken

Tom Pennington Mark 15:33-37

He's Alive!

Tom Pennington John 19:31-20:31

I Thirst

Tom Pennington John 19:28-30

The Best Case Against the Resurrection

Tom Pennington Matthew 28:11-15

It Is Finished!

Tom Pennington John 19:30

Jesus' Last Words

Tom Pennington Luke 23:44-49


Tom Pennington Mark 16:1-8

The Worship Jesus Loves

Tom Pennington Mark 14:3-9

The Borrowed Tomb

Tom Pennington Mark 15:42-47

The Unlawful Arraignment of Jesus Christ

Tom Pennington John 18:12-24

The Foundation of Our Faith

Tom Pennington 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

The Real Reason for Jesus' Execution - Part 1

Tom Pennington Mark 14:53-65

The Real Reason for Jesus' Execution - Part 2

Tom Pennington Mark 14:53-65