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by Pastor Robert Griffith

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by Pastor Robert Griffith

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If Christ had not Risen …

by | Apr 17, 2022

Easter has become a wonderful celebration. We celebrate with holidays and picnics and family gatherings and Easter eggs. The commercial world recognises this time by announcing a sale. On Easter Sunday morning we all arrive at Church in our Sunday best (or at least we used to). But deep down, even the least committed Church-goer on Easter Sunday knows there is more to it and inside each of us is the question: “What about the real meaning of Easter?”

The Bible tells us the real meaning of Easter is the resurrection of Christ. That is why we are here in this service of worship. Indeed, Christian worship itself testifies to the resurrection of Christ every day  of the year. It says to the world that we serve a risen Saviour. It speaks of the importance of the resurrection to all of humanity.

But what if Easter had never happened? Would that make a difference in your life? I know that every sincere Christian would immediately affirm that Jesus rose from the dead.  That affirmation is important but I wonder if every Christian knows why it is important? I wonder how many of you this morning understand the crucial nature of this one event which million of Christians around the world stop today to reflect upon.  How important is the resurrection of Jesus Christ to your life? Let’s see what the Apostle Paul had to say about this:

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-20)

Paul describes the depressing reality of what life would be like had Christ not risen from the dead. Indeed, life would be quite different had Easter never happened. Life would be despair if Christ had not risen. Only in the resurrection of Christ can we be filled with hope for the future. Without His resurrection, life is hopeless. So what reality would we face today if Christ had not risen?  On this Easter Sunday morning, we really should know how important the resurrection is to us all.

If Christ had not risen . . . we have no faith

The Christian faith rises and falls on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Throughout history, preachers, beginning with the apostles, have stood to proclaim the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead for the resurrection proved that Christ was indeed God. The Christian faith, without the resurrection of Christ, is a hoax. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then those who have proclaimed His resurrection would have been better occupied twiddling their thumbs. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then those of us who believed what those preachers said, have believed a lie. However beautifully the picture has been painted, whatever sentimental feelings have been aroused, it has all been for nothing. It is not true. If Christ has not been raised, then all the earnest believing, all the desperate praying, and all the dedicated service is simply an exercise in futility. If Christ has not been raised, then the Christian faith is a joke. One might as well worship a rock or a cloud, as to worship the man called Jesus.

If Christ had not risen . . . we have no forgiveness

Had Easter never happened, then the Christian faith is worthless and we are still trapped in our sins. There is no forgiveness if Christ has not been raised. The resurrection proves the deity of Christ and it makes His atoning death possible. Unless Christ is who He says He is, then His death is merely the death of another man. The heart of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ, the eternal God-man, took all sin upon Himself and died on a Cross. He died there in our place as the sacrificial Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus, the man, obeyed the law of God perfectly for you and me and then Jesus the man paid the price for our disobedience by dying on the cross. But Jesus, the divine Son of God had to then rise from the dead to conquer sin and death and Satan once and for all time. Without the resurrection, the cross means nothing. Without the resurrection, we just have another dead religious guru. Without the resurrection, we remain trapped in our sins.

If Christ had not risen . . . we have no future

If Christ has not been raised, then there is no future. This life is all there is. There is no hope for us when we die. If Christ had not risen, then we cannot rise with Him and dwell in the presence of our God for eternity. If Christ is not risen, there is no resurrection for us either.  If there was none for Him, there can be none for us. if Christ has not been raised, then our entire life has been lived in vain. If we lived in the hope of eternal life, we are simply deluded fools. We are to be pitied. We have squandered our time. If Christ has not been raised, we have no faith, no forgiveness, and no future. The blessed truths with which we have been comforting our hearts are mere fable.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. On that first Easter morning, as the first rays of Gods glorious sunshine bathed the rich mans tomb where they had laid the body of Jesus, God stretched forth His mighty arm and brought forth His Son from the grave. All the demons of hell were petrified at the sight of Jesus coming forth from the tomb. The shackles of death and hell fell from His hands and feet and He came forth victorious over sin and death. He is risen! God dispatched His angels to roll away the stone, but not to let Christ out. You see, Christ did not need the stone to be rolled away. We see Him later walking into a room which was locked tight. His resurrection body had the power to walk through walls. No, the stone was not rolled away so that Christ could come out. The stone was rolled away so that we could look in.

Because Christ has risen from the dead – we now have true faith, true forgiveness and a hope for the future. The challenge to us once more on this Easter morning is to fully embrace that truth and submit to risen, reigning Lord and embrace His mission to bring all of God’s lost children home.  Happy Easter!

 

 

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