2005-04-03 — The Bridge Of Christ's Resurrection Is Absolutely Secure!

Easter 1:
Date: April 3, 2005

Theme: The Bridge Of Christ’s Resurrection Is Absolutely Secure!

I. There is no “if” in “is.”
Hymn 193 – “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”
II. There is no “my way” in “Christ’s Way.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:20

– Ude, John

The Order of Worship:

Liturgy: TLH, p. 5 ff.


TLH 203 : Morning Breaks upon the Tomb Hymnary.org link
TLH 208 : Ye Sons and Daughters of the King Hymnary.org link
TLH 193 : Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!! Hymnary.org link
TLH 306 : Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Hast Prepared Hymnary.org link
TLH 429 : Lord, Thee I Love with all my Heart Hymnary.org link
TLH 313 : O Lord, We Praise Thee Hymnary.org link

Theme: The Bridge Of Christ’s Resurrection Is Absolutely Secure!

I. There is no “if” in “is.”
Hymn 193 – “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”
II. There is no “my way” in “Christ’s Way.”

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
How devastating an “if” can be. For example: “I love you if . . .” Or on an extremely windy day you are driving across a suspension bridge feeling it sway and in the middle of the bridge you read: “If the wind exceeds 20 MPH, this bridge is not safe.” The Corinthians had ventured out on such a bridge suspended by an “if”- if there is a bodily resurrection. The Holy Spirit asks, “Why would you try to take an unsafe bridge to Heaven?” For there is infallible proof that THE BRIDGE OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION IS ABSOLUTELY SECURE. It is held up by “thus saith the LORD” and an imposing array of human eyewitnesses to the resurrection. Since Christ is Arisen crossing to Heaven on an insecure bridge is absurd. V. 12,13 “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, then Christ is not risen.” Traveling on the “if” bridge destroys the hope, purpose and joy of all life. The link between the resurrection of the Christ and the resurrection of those who are His is so firmly established, that if either falls they both do. V. 14,15 “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead do not rise.” Christ’s resurrection is the heart and soul of Christianity, the distinction from every other religion, the validation of Christ, the confident foundation of faith. So if Christ did not physically, bodily rise from the dead, then Christianity is nothing but a lie; then Christian living has lost all purpose. So if the resurrection of Christ didn’t happen, all is vanity of vanities. Every Baptism, every celebration of Lord’s Supper, every artistic design in praise of Christ is pure deception. V. 16,17 “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” If the resurrection of Christ falls, the cross itself is “emptied of its power” (1:17), for no mere martyr’s death can assure the forgiveness of sins. Only the holy precious blood of God Himself could purge the guilt of the sins of all people in all the world. Only this Lamb who was slain and lives again is worthy to receive the throne and scepter of Heaven, to rule bestowing His blessings: “Your sins are forgiven, you will bodily arise to be with Me in Heaven forever.” So every bridge suspended on the “if” of man must be condemned. V.17-19 “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” How devastating those two letters, “IF” are. If Christ is not risen, then those who have clung to Christ’s resurrection in the hour of death are now even worse off then the rest of the maggot feed. For we are found to be gullible fools who have wasted our time, money and lives running around yapping and snapping at soap bubbles. But with a jubilant hallelujah Paul celebrates the security of Christ’s bridge to Heaven. 15:20 “But now Christ is risen from the dead.” There is no “if” in “is.” Our sacraments then are divine gifts for you and me to possess for the risen Christ gives the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation, the treasure that saves. Christ’s bridge is secure.
As further verification of which bridge we should travel on, The Holy Spirit reminds us which bridge got us into our current mess. V.21 “For since by man came death.” We live in a world which is simply a great cemetery – the remains of death are found fossilized in the rocks, rotting in the soil and floating in the air. Adam, the man from whom we all come according to the flesh, led us from the Paradise garden into this cemetery by crossing that bridge suspended by “If the LORD’s way is right.” The LORD had provided the secure bridge of life in Paradise with its harvest of a blissful life with the LORD forever. Adam took the alternate bridge, “My way is right” and death struck. It struck man’s soul, for Adam and all who have followed him were separated from God in sin. It struck man’s body, which in time returns to dust. Sin has claimed our mortal bodies. Every breath we draw may be out last. We need no faith to know that death reigns in this world of sin, it is written upon the whole face of the earth. So why would we take any bridge suspended by “If the LORD’s way is right,” or “My way is right.” But note the contrast of Vv. 21, 22 “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” As surely as Adam was created with a body that in death turns to dust, so surely Christ is risen with a glorified body that He provides for all who cross to Heaven upon Him. And this is revealed in another garden – the garden of the Resurrection where the rule of sin is ended and the power of death is broken. V.20 “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” On that first Easter morning many inhabitants of Judea’s valleys were not thinking of Golgatha or the resurrection garden. When they arose from their beds they stepped out of doors and let their eyes roam over their fields of barley grain and said: “Yes, the spring crop is ripe. Let us bind the first bundle, and take it as the first-fruits of our harvest to the house of God. Then on the morrow we shall gather the crop.” And the LORD was doing the same thing. For in His grace He had redeemed mankind from sin by the sacrifice of the Cross, abolished death, ended the rule of death which began with Adam, and that morning gathered the first-fruits of a large harvest. He raised Christ bodily from the dead and with the risen Christ shall all be made bodily alive. Christ is the beginning and the guarantee of the full harvest of the resurrection of the dead that will surely follow. Those who have fallen asleep in faith are not maggot feed but celebrating the harvest. The first fruits are the tangible “bodily” evidence that the harvest follows. No more hunger but a feast of life. No more worry about the future harvest but a celebration of the harvest in hand. The paradise of Christ is the pledge of the bodily resurrection to all who are in Christ. Since Christ is risen from death, all men shall come forth from their graves. “All shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and shall come forth” (John 5:28-29). Yet for many there will be a resurrection without Christ’s glory. They will not rise to live with the second Adam in the new world designed for them. Our text indicates that with its limiting phrase: V.23 “Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” Manifestly this excludes those who are not Christ’s; excludes them, not from resurrection, but from its Easter glory. So some will rise to their eternal doom for they chose to remain on that bridge suspended by “My way is right.” Christ’s people are the people who are found crossing on Christ. Easter, then, is both the Way of Life and a way of living. We are found on His bridge by daily drowning “my way of sin” in repentance and seeking the guidance of the Spirit in heart and life. There is no “my way” in Christ’s Way. All our life, our worship and prayers, our work and home receive direction from being on the bridge of Christ’s resurrection, receive strength from that bridge to struggle on through this valley of tears, receive joy from that bridge to know our life is a joyful doxology well pleasing to the LORD and receive security from that bridge that brings us to the dawn of everlasting life, yes, in our glorified bodies. Adam’s sin made this world one vast morgue but Christ’s resurrection has restored par
adise. No ifs remain – only divine certainty in the resurrection bridge of Christ. Alleluia, Amen.