"God's Promise" 04.01.16
“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that 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 futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Corinthians 15:14-21 ESV)
Have you ever been given a promise that fell through, maybe your boss promising a promotion for the past year, or a friend promising to be there for you, only to desert you when things got hard? Many people today live in a place of faithlessness, and a hopelessness when it comes to promises; they hear the echoes of broken promises from their past, and cannot bring themselves to believe the promises given to them by others.
When Paul preached the resurrection from the dead, people found it hard to hear and hard to believe also. Paul wanted people to understand that God’s promises found in Jesus were verifiable, and he pointed to the resurrection of Jesus as evidence of their own future resurrection in Christ – Paul used Easter morning as a verification of the promises of God. After all, who else has been raised from the dead! But people (both then and now) are skeptical, they hear us as Christians proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and offer of new life, but are only reminded of the empty promises that they have heard in the past.
To make things more difficult, on Sunday Joe explained that Easter proclaims a supernatural truth – Easter is supernatural! Not weird aliens and magic supernatural, but a truth that exceeds the laws found in nature. This is an extremely difficult pill to swallow in today’s post-postmodern era, and is often met with laughing and looks of insanity. But supernatural doesn’t mean false. The two are not synonymous, and if in fact Jesus has been raised from the dead, than we know that we too will be raise like Him (I invite you to look at the verse above again).
God has made a lot of promises to us, many of which are difficult to believe and sound crazy, like resurrection from the dead, or eternal life in His presence. Easter is an amazing reminder that God has promised these things, and better yet, it reminds us that God has verified that He will fulfill all of His promises to us by the resurrection of Christ. We are ambassadors of the truth of God to a skeptical world of hurt and despair. Even though Easter has passed for this year, let’s proclaim the resurrection of Christ to our neighbors and coworkers and friends all year long. They may look at us crazy, but God might move, and we may have gained a friend for eternity.
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-17 ESV)