2005-03-27 — Now Christ Is Arisen!

Easter Sunday :
Date: March 27, 2005

Theme: Now Christ Is Arisen!

I. Its infallible proof
Hymn 199 1,2 – “Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia!”
II. Its ultimate importance
– 1 Corinthians 15:20

– Ude, John

The Order of Worship:

Liturgy: TLH, p. 5 ff.


TLH 202 : Welcome Happy Morning! Hymnary.org link
TLH 200 : I Know that my Redeemer Lives Hymnary.org link
TLH 192 : Awake, my Heart, with Gladness Hymnary.org link
TLH 189 : He is Arisen! Glorious Word! Hymnary.org link
TLH 199 : Jesus Christ Is Risen Today Hymnary.org link

Theme: Now Christ Is Arisen!

I. Its infallible proof
Hymn 199 1,2 – “Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia!”
II. Its ultimate importance

1 Corinthians 15:20

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (ESV)

Sermon: 1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

In the name of Jesus March 27, 2005
V.12 “There is no resurrection of the dead?” That was the heresy planting its unbelief in the midst of the Corinthian congregation. The self named “Christ-men” at Corinth denied the bodily resurrection claiming to offer a higher spirituality as angelic beings freed from the body; manipulated God’s Word claiming, in effect, a higher knowledge than Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles; and sacrificed the central fact of the apostolic proclamation, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, for the intoxicating liberty of believing a Satanic lie. Paul tells them to get sober, 1 Co. 15:34. But it was not just then. Listen to these words, “Mythological symbolism contributed to the interpretation of the event of the resurrection . . . Jesus is not perceived as having returned to this life. His resurrection was not a resuscitation.” That is from the Dogmatics book (Braaten and Jenson) in use in ELCA Seminaries since 1984. (See chapter 15 of the “What’s Going on Among the Lutherans?”) If I said that, you should indeed throw me out the door. Any resurrection stands or falls with the fact of the bodily resurrection of Christ. Yet these heretics in ELCA claim that they do not deny the resurrection of Christ just the physical bodily resurrection. But it’s really the same heresy as at Corinth. If Jesus did not physically, bodily arise then he is a lying imposter, the Bible is a deceiving fraud and we are nothing but maggot feed. Some may think, “Well, why not at least on Easter set aside the charges of heresy and just enjoy the sweet flowers and spring finery.” But against this heresy at Corinth and every such lie today, this greatest resurrection chapter of the Bible is the Holy Spirit’s lightning bolt from Heaven: NOW CHRIST IS ARISEN.
Since Christ is arisen, His word is the only truth to stand on lest we lose this resurrection glory. V. 1-2 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain.” In their intoxicated delusion the Corinthians had listened to some who, for all their vaunted knowledge and wisdom, had no knowledge of God. Their heresy is tearing out the very foundation of Christian faith. Without the physical bodily resurrection of Christ there is no salvation, all is vanity – a puppy chasing soap bubbles that burst whenever he bites one – feeding your children air for supper – “Mom isn’t there anything else, I’m still hungry.” Against these vain soap bubbles the Holy Spirit lines up the artillery defending: “Now Christ is arisen,” with its infallible proof and blasts Satan’s lies out of the air. For what is the Gospel of the Risen Christ. It’s summarized in the three simple facts of history expressed in this earliest Christian creed: V.3, 4 “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” So these all-controlling facts of all history are neither the speculation nor the dreams of men but have been given by Divine revelation. Paul, as all the apostles, received it directly from Christ (Gal 1:1,11,12). He died for our sins and arose for our justification. That divine origin is verified for it is V.4 “according to the Scriptures.” The bodily resurrection was prophetically foretold (Psalm 16:10, Is 53) a thousand years beforehand and exactly fulfilled, proving the divine reliability of scripture and the Resurrection. Now Christ Is Arisen! Just because it is a real historical fact we can know that our past has really been cleansed, our present really redeemed and our future really secured, body and soul. So in love for Christ and His blood bought salvation we condemn every attack on His bodily resurrection. If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. So stand. No, don’t just stand, Live by its infallible proof: Now Christ is arisen. Hymn 199 1,2
There should be no need for any further witness than this one, “Thus saith the LORD.” But that we might know the certainty of this truth the LORD condescends to marshal an imposing array of human eyewitnesses to the resurrection. There are of course the accounts familiar also to them of Mary Magdalene [Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18]; the other women [Matt. 28:9-10]; and the Emmaus disciples [Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-33]. But expanding on the gospel record, V. 5 “And that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.” Peter was such an intimate friend of Jesus he could not have been misled by an imposter of Christ. [Luke 24:33-34]. V. 6 “After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.” The recorded appearances of Jesus to the disciples were not just to a small private conspiratorial group but even to 500 [Matt. 28:7,10,16-20; Mark 16:7,15-18]. Such a group could never keep a conspiracy secret and so absolutely verify the truth. V. 7 “After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.” James, the brother of Jesus, certainly knew his Brother and was not deceived. Moreover he had not been a believer so was not in cahoots with the twelve in forging a hoax. Vv.8-10 “Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” [Acts 9:3-5; Acts 22:6-8; Acts 26:12-15]. Paul saves for last his own eyewitness to the resurrection. Paul, then called Saul had not come to apostleship while the Lord was on earth (cf. Acts 1:21-22); thus he appears as an abnormal and violent birth, one untimely born. Fanatically Saul, had thrown himself with unbridled fury into the task of rooting out every Christian. Saul the Persecutor was not open in any way to believing Jesus’ resurrection but had to be violently stopped in his tracks and turned around by the arisen and living Lord Jesus Christ. But his turning then objectively verifies the divine truth and power of the resurrection gospel. Yet Paul is not done. V. 11 “Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.” The miracle of the resurrection also came to Corinth where they had been bound up in idolatry and vile immorality, why had they turned from all of that worldliness to believe if God’s own truth and power was not at work in the resurrection gospel? And so the living proof comes down also to and through us, in the miracle at work within us. For the Spirit has led you to believe Jesus words:”Your sins are forgiven, you will bodily arise to be with Me in Heaven forever.” So in love for Christ and His blood bought salvation we condemn every attack on His bodily resurrection. If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. So stand. No, don’t just stand, Live by its ultimate importance: for now Christ is arisen. Alleluia, Amen.