Do people see God at work in your life? For Easter, Timothy “TA” Ateek uses 1 Corinthians 15 to help renew our appreciation of the resurrection so that we can apply it to how we live our lives. The resurrection of Jesus is the fact our faith is built on. Because of the resurrection, you can have freedom from your past, power in the present, and hope for the future.
Standing Firm In A Fallen World | 1 Corinthians 16
The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts | 1 Corinthians 14
A Church Marked by Love | 1 Corinthians 13
How To Build A Church | 1 Corinthians 12
God's Design for Men and Women | 1 Corinthians 11:1-16
Repentance, Allegiance & Deference for the Glory of God | 1 Corinthians 10
Giving, Sharing, and Living for the Gospel | 1 Corinthians 9
Christians and Controversial Topics | 1 Corinthians 8
Being Single | 1 Corinthians 7:7-40
Fighting For Your Marriage | 1 Corinthians 7:1-16
Sex and Glorifying God | 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Conflict: An Inevitable Opportunity | 1 Corinthians 6:1-11
Church Discipline: Sin, Grace, and Shepherding | 1 Corinthians 5
The Resurrection Is the Remedy to Our Hypocrisy | 1 Corinthians 15
The Purpose, Plot Twists, and Power of Christ | 1 Corinthians 4
Being a Healthy Church | 1 Corinthians 3:1-23
The Miracle of Spiritual Maturity | 1 Corinthians 2:1-16
The Miracle of Salvation | 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Priority, Preference, and Power | 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
Called, Gifted, and Kept by Jesus | 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Do people see God at work in your life? For Easter, Timothy “TA” Ateek uses 1 Corinthians 15 to help renew our appreciation of the resurrection so that we can apply it to how we live our lives. The resurrection of Jesus is the fact our faith is built on. Because of the resurrection, you can have freedom from your past, power in the present, and hope for the future.
Good morning, Watermark Community Church. How are we doing today? Happy Easter. It's such a joy to be with you. My name is Timothy Ateek. I'm one of the teaching pastors here. I want to start this morning by sharing with you about a very unfortunate decision my wife and I made 12 years ago. That decision was to attempt to fly with a small child. If you've done that, you know just what a terrible mistake that can be.
Our son Noah was 8 months old at the time, and we were attempting to fly to Birmingham, Alabama, from Austin. Here's the deal. When you're traveling with a small kid, you either come out a big-time winner or a big-time loser, because the child has all of the control. You have no control. The child has all of the control, and that child determines how the flight is going to go. We came out very big losers on this trip to Birmingham.
When we touched down in Birmingham, it felt like we had flown to Europe. We had severe jetlag. We were already talking about how we were living in Austin and we would only be vacationing in Waco for the next 18 years. But I will never forget this flight. It has been 12 years, and I still remember sitting toward the back of the plane. I had Noah, my 8-month-old, on my lap, and he was losing his ever-loving. We were doing everything we could to try to calm him down. It was a frantic moment.
Kat and I were frantic individually, and we were frantic collectively. I guess it showed, because the guy behind us passed a note through the seat to me. I opened up this note, and there was a drawing, a diagram on it. It was a picture of a triangle, and at the top of the triangle it said "God," and at the bottom two corners it said "Husband" and "Wife." He had penned a note. "The closer you get to God the closer you will get to each other."
That's an interesting note to get when you're a pastor. I mean, what do you do with that? Here's what I did. I just wrote, "No duh. Signed Reverend Timothy Ateek," and passed it back. I didn't. But I think about that, and here's the reality. At least in that moment, that guy could not see God at work in my life. At least for that flight, I was struggling with hypocrisy. What's hypocrisy? It's knowing the truth and not living it out. It's having information here but no application here.
Here's the way things are. If you're in this room and you're not a Christian, I want to apologize on behalf of all Christians, because we all struggle with hypocrisy. We all do. We all struggle with hypocrisy at different times and in different ways. If church is the classroom and the rest of the week is the lab, we struggle in the lab. We do, all the time. But our lives should look different. If we say we know Jesus Christ, our lives should look different.
The reason they don't, the reason we will still struggle with hypocrisy, the reason there will be information without application is this, and I hope you don't miss it. What I'm about to tell you is the reason hypocrisy will flourish. Hypocrisy flourishes where there is a callusing to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When calluses form on our hearts and there is a lack of appreciation, which leads to a lack of application, this is where hypocrisy flourishes.
So, what I want to do this morning is I just want to remind us of the beautiful realities of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you're here this morning and you're not a Christian, as I am calling the Christians in the room and online to live more authentically Christian lives, what I hope you hear this morning is that Jesus Christ truly is worth it and wants to have everything to do with your life.
If you're not already in 1 Corinthians 15 in your Bible, go ahead and join me there. That is where we are going to be. If you're new to Watermark or it has just been a while since you've been around, we are in a months-long series going through the book of 1 Corinthians. What we do here on Sunday mornings is we open up 1 Corinthians, and we just walk verse by verse. We read some, we explain it, and then we seek to apply it.
Watermark is not opinion time with the speaker on stage. We believe God has spoken to us through his Word, so we want to read it, we want to understand it, and then we want to apply it. It just so happens that the most extensive explanation of the resurrection… That passage is in the book we're studying. It's 1 Corinthians 15. So, we're going to hop over to 1 Corinthians 15 to look at the most extensive explanation of the resurrection.
Now, you have to remember that Paul was writing to a specific people at a specific time in a specific place. If you're not familiar with Corinth, it was basically New York meets Las Vegas. The believers in Corinth were struggling with hypocrisy, which is great for us. That makes sense. That's a good people to look at. These are people who are getting drunk off of Communion. That's a problem, people. So, these are people we can learn from.
Remember, Paul is writing to address specific issues. So, when he writes to the people in Corinth about the resurrection, he's actually addressing a problem the Corinthians have with the resurrection. Here was their problem. Their problem was that they believed Jesus Christ rose from the grave holistically. They believed his mind was raised, his soul was raised, and his physical body was raised, but they didn't believe the same thing would be true of them when Christ comes back.
So, Paul is writing to say, "Look. If it happened to Jesus, it's going to happen to you." That's why at the latter half of this passage it's all about our bodies and what happens to our bodies when Christ comes back. So, that's what he's addressing in Corinth. Now, I don't know that that is our greatest tension point with the resurrection. I don't know if you came in here this morning like, "I just need to know what's going to happen with my body. That's why I'm coming to church."
I don't know that that's our greatest pain point when it comes to application, but I do want you to see that the people in Corinth were having an application issue. They weren't properly applying the resurrection of Jesus. That is where we can connect to them, because hypocrisy flourishes where there is a lack of appreciation and a lack of application.
This morning, as we walk through 1 Corinthians 15, my goal is to increase your appreciation for the resurrection, which hopefully will increase your application of the resurrection, and I'm going to do that by identifying four things related to the resurrection. Here they are. We're going to talk about the centrality of the resurrection, the certainty of the resurrection, the necessity of the resurrection, and then the applicability of the resurrection.
We see that right at the beginning of the chapter. Look at what Paul says in verse 1. "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel…" If you're here this morning and you got dragged here and you don't know what this is all about…you don't know why people would go to all this effort to get here to do this…it's because we believe we have good news. Paul is going to remind his friends in Corinth of the gospel. That word gospel just simply means good news.
"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain." Here it is. He says, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…"
Do you see what Paul says? He says, "I delivered to you as of first importance…" If you want to know what is most important about Christianity, Paul says, "This is our message. This is our good news. This is what is ultimately important: Christ died, Christ was buried, and Christ rose from the dead." All three of those components of the gospel…Christ's death, Christ's burial, Christ's resurrection…all form together as that which is of first importance, yet we have a tendency to major in the cross but minor in the empty tomb.
There are even times when we're talking about what Christ has done in our lives, and we leave Christ in the tomb. If I were to stand up here and say, "You know what? God got ahold of my heart at a young age. I came to an understanding that Christ died for my sins, so I put my faith in Jesus Christ," wouldn't you be like, "Oh, praise God. Praise God that he got ahold of his heart at a young age." The problem is if you don't know anything about Christianity and you listen to what I just said, it sounds like I put my faith in a dead man.
You have to remember the reason we give our lives to Jesus is he walked out of the tomb, and then he appeared to many people over 40 days, and then he ascended into heaven where he sat down at the right hand of the Father as King, and he now rules and reigns. Our King is alive. That's why we surrender our lives to him. I tell you that just to say the cross isn't the cake and the resurrection the icing. No, it's all cake and icing, and it's all the sweetest news that will satisfy for all of eternity. That's the centrality of the resurrection. The resurrection is not the "By the way" aspect of the gospel.
After he says that Christ was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, he goes on and says: "…and that he appeared…" This is after he rose from the dead. "…he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me."
Paul's point is this. He's talking to his friends, and he's like, "Hey, guys, if uncertainty about Christ's resurrection ever seeps into your heart, just remember he appeared to Peter, he appeared to James, he appeared to 500 people at one time, and he appeared to me." He's saying, "You know what? If there's any uncertainty, just go ask people." He even said, "Most of them are still alive."
If this was just legend, that one person started spreading a rumor, Paul would say, "Just go ask people," because it's not like there was one person who had a hallucination, thought it was reality, and started talking. No. Paul is saying Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and then he appeared to many different people at many different times in many different places.
So, Paul is talking to his friends, saying, "You can have certainty that Jesus Christ rose from the dead." Here's the problem for us: it's 2022. We can't just hit up Paul and be like, "Hey, did he really rise?" So, we might sit there and be like, "Yeah, it's a big leap of faith for us to believe that Jesus Christ beat death." We, too, can have certainty. If you're a skeptic, I hope this at least encourages you to explore more.
A historian and New Testament scholar by the name of Gary Habermas has done the most comprehensive investigation, to date, on what both Christian and non-Christian scholars believe about the resurrection. Habermas collected more than 1,400 of the most critical scholarly works on the resurrection written from 1975 to 2003 in German, French, and English. Because of his work and because of the work of others, there is different evidence that points to the fact that Jesus did rise from the dead.
Now, here's what I want to make sure you hear. Right now, I am not talking theology. This is not me saying, "Well, the Bible says it, so you should believe it." The Bible does say Jesus rose from the dead, but in addition to the Bible… We're not talking theology. Right now, we're just talking history.
Right now, I just want to identify four things. There are many more we could talk about, but four things. These are known as the minimal facts of the resurrection. They all start with E. Each of these four things… There are Christian and non-Christian scholars who can agree on these things, so we have to deal with them. They can give us certainty that Christ did, in fact, rise from the dead.
The first E is the execution of Jesus. Both Christian and non-Christian scholars can agree that Jesus Christ was executed, that he was crucified. If you don't believe Jesus Christ was executed, you're on the fringe. So, if he was executed, there has to have been a body.
That brings us to the second E, which is the empty tomb. If there was a body, what happened to it? Something had to have happened to the body to necessitate the tomb being empty. Both Christian and non-Christian scholars can agree that the tomb was found empty. Here's what I want you to think about. Where was Jesus crucified? He was crucified in Jerusalem. Where was the first place that the apostles…? When I say apostle, I'm talking about the leaders of the Christian movement.
Where was the first place they began to proclaim that Christ rose from the dead? In Jerusalem, the same place where he was crucified. So, all the Roman officials or religious leaders had to do was produce a body. If they had produced a body, they would have snuffed out Christianity for all time, but they couldn't produce a body. Instead, the hypothesis was formed that Jesus' followers, the disciples, stole the body.
But I want you to think about that rationale. If they stole the body and began to proclaim something they knew was a lie, but that lie didn't get them fame, what did it get them? Death. Persecution. One source said liars make terrible martyrs. They do. What reason did the apostles have to proclaim a lie that was getting them killed? None. So, you have to at least deal with the fact that both Christian and non-Christian scholars can agree that the tomb was found empty.
The third E is eyewitness experiences. Both Christian and non-Christian scholars can agree that people believed they saw the risen Christ. It's so encouraging. What Paul is saying here is, "Hey…" This kind of snuffs out the hypothesis that people just had a hallucination about Jesus. A group of 500 people all together don't have the same hallucination, but even if that were to happen, Paul is saying it wasn't just one person or one group of people at one time. Jesus appeared to many different people in many different places at many different times, so just go ask around.
We have different people's eyewitness accounts, but even beyond that, I think something interesting to think about is the fact that when you read the Gospels, the first people to witness the resurrection of Jesus Christ were women. Here is why that is so important. I love it, because I think it shows God's heart and the way God gives value and worth and dignity to women. I think it shows just how important women are to accomplishing God's purposes throughout the earth. The first witnesses to the resurrection were women.
In the first century… This is not where we are today. In the first century, women had a lower social standing than men. So, if you're going to create a fake religion that you need a bunch of people to buy into, who are going to be your social media influencers in the first century? You're going to try to find the most famous, the most high-standing people you can find, but instead, Christianity was founded upon those who, at least in the first century, didn't have the highest standing in society.
Why would that be the case? Because that's just the fact. That's what happened, so the apostles wrote about it. I think it's amazing that God shows the value he places on women, even in the time when they weren't valued as they should have been, which is awesome. So, you have to deal with the eyewitness experiences.
The fourth E is the explosion of the church. Within 100 years of Jesus being crucified on a cross and rising from the dead, Christianity had spread throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. How did it spread? Well, it was spread by the same people who, when Jesus Christ was arrested, all fled and deserted him. Those same people are found in the book of Acts, testifying boldly that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and that message spread all throughout multiple continents.
The reason we're even here today is because of the explosion of the church within the first 100 years after Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. Do you see it? The execution of Jesus, the empty tomb, eyewitness experiences, and the explosion of the church. We're just talking history here. When we take those things, it should cause certainty for us in the resurrection. It should cause our appreciation for the resurrection to increase.
Verse 13: "But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised…" This is good. Paul is going to go down the rabbit hole of the hypothetical scenario, "What if Jesus didn't rise from the dead?" All eyes on me. What Paul is about to do is he's going to tell us what would be true if Jesus actually didn't rise from the dead. Here's what would be true. Don't miss it.
"And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain…" So, what I'm doing right now is a waste of time. "…and your faith is in vain." What you're doing right now is a super waste of time. "We are even found to be misrepresenting God…" We're liars. "…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."
He's going to repeat his argument. "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile…" Worse news right here: "…and you are still in your sins." So, if you're expecting heaven after you die, good luck with that. You're headed toward judgment. You're still in your sins if Christ was not raised from the dead. Verse 18: "Then those also who have fallen asleep…" That's just a euphemism for those who have died. "[Those who have died] in Christ have perished."
He's saying they've just gotten to judgment first, and you're following them shortly. Verse 19: "If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." Isn't that interesting? Paul is like, if you give your life here on earth to Jesus, a dead guy…like, you live a surrendered life to a dead man…then you deserve for the rest of the world to look at you and be like, "You sweet, poor, innocent soul. I pity you."
Do you see what Paul is doing? He is saying that our entire faith rests on the single block of the resurrection. That's it. If you're a skeptic in the room, I'm just letting you behind the curtain. Everything we stand for, everything we believe, the reason we go to all the effort to get into this place on Sundays is because we believe the tomb is empty. It all rests on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have to understand, when we talk about the necessity of the resurrection, what we're saying is there is no good news without the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If you remove this one block, everything else falls apart. All of Christianity hinges on the resurrection. It falls apart without it. We have no reason to do anything we do. So, church? Pointless, a super waste of time. Consider yourself released from ever fighting traffic again to get into 7540 LBJ. It is a super waste of time. Find a better hobby.
When it comes to a new identity, what we say, for those who are in Christ, is that we're new creations or we're children of God, but you don't have a new identity. You're still an enemy of God. Paul just said we are still in our sins. When it comes to having strength to fight different sin in our lives, I can just point you to the self-help section in Barnes & Noble and tell you, "Good luck with that." Sharing our faith? There's nothing to share. We don't have any good news to share.
To talk about God being full of grace… He's not. He's full of wrath. He's coming for you. Judgment awaits you. To pray? What a waste of time. Why would you waste another second talking to a God who doesn't want to hear from you? You are his enemy. When you talk about the love of God… He doesn't love you. He hates you. You're his enemy. Do you see it? Everything we believe, any good news, falls apart if Christ is still in the tomb. Without the resurrection, we have no good news, yet Christ walked out of the grave.
Here's what I want you to understand. Because Jesus Christ conquered the grave, three things are true of those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. You have freedom from your past, you have power in the present, and you have hope for the future. That should change everything. You have freedom from your past, you have power in the present, and you have hope for the future. I want to unpack those three things for you.
I'm going to have to do it by stepping out of 1 Corinthians 15. Remember, 1 Corinthians 15 is the most extensive explanation of the resurrection, but it's not an exhaustive explanation of the resurrection, so we have to zoom out and look at what the rest of Scripture might say about the resurrection. The rest of Scripture will talk about the fact that we have freedom from our past because of the resurrection.
Listen to what Paul says in Romans 4:25. "He [Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." I want to make sure you understand what Paul is saying. He says that Jesus was delivered over… That word delivered in the Greek is a judicial term that refers to a criminal being given over to his punishment. Jesus was considered a criminal because of us, and he was given over to our punishment because of our sin.
What was rightfully ours because of our sin was death, but Jesus died in our place. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life (there's the resurrection) for our justification. That word justification in the Greek means to be declared right standing. It's a judicial term that means to be considered not guilty.
So, Jesus Christ went to the cross, and through his death, he was punished for the entire record of your sins. When he rose from the dead, he did something. Something so significant happened that the God of the universe could look at you and see you as not guilty, even though your sin is what put Jesus on the cross.
All eyes on me. I want to show you how the cross and the empty tomb work together. Here it is. The cross was Jesus' payment for our sin, and the resurrection was God the Father's acceptance of that payment. On the cross, Jesus hung and declared, "It is finished!" What was finished? Jesus Christ had finished making payment for all of our sins. He had finished enduring the wrath of God for your sins and mine.
On the third day, when he rose from the dead, that was God the Father's declaration, "It is finished indeed!" That is how the cross and resurrection go together. When Jesus Christ conquered the grave, all of our past was completely dealt with…all of it. This is why our lives, as followers of Jesus Christ, should look different.
We should walk in the world with far less amounts of guilt, shame, and regret for what we've done, because Jesus Christ has dealt with our pasts. He has traded stories. He has taken our story of failure and given us a new story. He has given us a story of forgiveness and favor. That is what is most true about us. As Christians, we are forgiven people more than we are failures. We're forgiven.
Several years ago, my wife was cleaning out our closet, and she found a stack of my journals. Now, I want to make sure you're clear on what I just said. I did not say "Diaries." This is not like, "Dear Diary, today was pretty." That's not what we're talking about. We are talking about leather-bound, musky-smelling, man journals. All right? That's what we're talking about.
She took them and put them on my desk in my home office. On a Saturday night, I had every intention of just binging Netflix, and I felt like God was prompting me to go into my home office. So I walked into my home office, I sat down at my desk, and there were these journals that chronicled about the last 15 years of my life just sitting in front of me.
So I picked them up and began to read through them. Do you know what I read? I read page after page of shame and guilt. I read page after page of me feeling like a failure. I read about feeling like a failure as a follower of Jesus Christ, feeling like a failure as a dad, feeling like a failure as a husband, feeling like a failure as a minister.
Do you know what I did with those journals? I sat there that Saturday night, and I tore out every single page, and I shredded every single page. Do you want to know why? Because that's not my story. Jesus Christ has given me a new story. He took my story of failure. He gave me his story of forgiveness. On the cross, he shredded all of my sin, and through his resurrection, God the Father has declared that what he has done for me and my sin is enough.
For some of you, the reason God even brought you here this morning is just so you could hear that you are not what you've done. You are not defined by your past, and your past doesn't have to determine your present or your future. Jesus Christ is able to give you a new story through his death, his burial, and his resurrection.
Because of the resurrection, we have freedom from our past, but we also have power in the present. Look at what Paul says in Ephesians, chapter 1. "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people…" This is it. Verse 19: "…and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…"
Do you understand what Paul just said? What Paul just said is the same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to you today. Have you ever thought about that? The same exact power that raised Christ from the dead is actually available to you. Now, you might ask, "Well, how? How is it available to me?" Paul tells us in Romans 8:11. "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you."
When you put your faith and trust in Jesus, God puts his Spirit in you. God himself actually lives inside of you, which means the same power that raised Christ from the dead actually lives inside of you. The greatest lie our Enemy can whisper to you is that you're powerless, that you are weak, that you're a failure, and there's no hope. No. The power that raised Christ from the dead is inside of you because the Spirit of God lives inside of you.
I hope you saw how Paul described it in Ephesians 1. He said it is an incomparably great power. What that means is nothing can stand against it…no addiction, no lie from the Evil One telling you that you're a failure, worthless, or not enough, no hurt, no heartache, no anger, no bitterness, no resentment…nothing can stand against the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. The question is…Are you allowing yourself to be filled with the Spirit so you can harness the power that raised Christ from the dead?
I'll explain it this way. What if I was walking around with a cell phone that was dead, just dead battery, and at the same time I was holding a power cord? What if this was me? You'd see me just walking around the Town Center, like, "Hey, did you call me yesterday? My phone is dead. You DM'd me, didn't you? You texted me. Right? My phone is dead." Wouldn't you be like, "Well, plug it in"? "Just hug a wall, and you'll find an outlet. This building is laced with power. All you have to do is take the cord, plug it in one end, plug it in the outlet, and you'll be good."
Yet so many of us walk through life like, "You know what? I'm a failure. I will never break free from this sin." I think God is like, "Plug in." The power that raised Christ from the dead is in you. I just want to encourage you to take a step to get plugged in. What does that look like? What does it look like to plug in? Well, for starters, what if you just woke up each morning this week and said, "God, I want to be filled with your Spirit today. Would you unleash resurrection power in my life this week?"
If this is your first time in church in a long time, what if you came back next Sunday? What if you just came and got plugged in next Sunday, plugged into power? If you're getting beat down by sin right now, why don't you come to re:generation, our recovery ministry, Monday night? Plug in. We have freedom from our past, we have power in the present, and, finally, we have hope for the future. Look at verse 50. This takes us back to 1 Corinthians, chapter 15.
"I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Do not miss this. Paul is saying that God has not forgotten about us. God will come back for us. A day is coming where the trumpet will sound, and Jesus Christ will come to get us. In that day, everything will be changed. Jesus Christ will make all things new. That's great news, because what that means for us is that there will be no more struggle, no more temptation, no more sin.
But not just that. Paul says this perishable body will be changed. What that means is cancer can put you in the ground, but it can't keep you there. A disability can hinder you from seeing or hearing or walking or understanding for your short stay here on earth, but nothing can keep you from beholding or hearing or running or understanding for all of eternity. Why? Because Jesus' resurrection is going to become our resurrection.
The perishable is going to put on the imperishable, the mortal will put on immortality, and the same will be true. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? Because Jesus Christ has overcome the grave. That is our hope. We have hope for the future. That should be incredible comfort to you this morning. This is the closest you will ever get to hell if you know Jesus Christ. A day is coming where Jesus will come back for us, and everything will be changed.
Several years ago, a fraternity brother of mine reached out to me. I was living in College Station. He said, "Hey, can I stop by your house?" He came by. His name was Brian. He had a very aggressive cancer. He had brain cancer. He sat on my couch, and he just said, "Hey, is it wrong for me to pray that God would heal me?"
Here's the good news. I already knew the most important thing in Brian had already been healed, because Brian knew Jesus Christ in a personal way. He had put his trust in Jesus Christ, and the moment he put his trust in Christ, his heart that was broken by sin had been healed. God had given him a new heart. His relationship with God had been healed. But what Brian was asking about was his physical body being healed, so here's what I told Brian.
I said, "We already know he will heal you. We just don't know which side of eternity he's going to do that on." Brian went to be with the Lord a couple of years ago. Here's the good news for Brian: he is experiencing more wholeness than he could have ever fathomed on this side of eternity. God answered his prayer. He is healed. The sting of death right now is real, but it won't last forever, because Jesus Christ has overcome the grave.
I'll close this morning by telling you about another note I received about hypocrisy. After I graduated seminary, I was serving as a youth pastor in Austin. One Sunday morning, all of the high school students had left, so I was just cleaning up the trash in the room. I found that a student had left a note for me on the chair. Here's what his note said. I think he was trying to quote Gandhi. We're not sure who the quote really came from, but the important thing was it represented how this kid felt.
He just wrote, "TA, I like your Christ, not your Christians." If you were to look at his Facebook profile today, he would identify himself as an agnostic. It's just a reminder that how we live matters. Our lives, as followers of Jesus Christ, are declaring something. May we be a compelling community. May people look at our lives and see something worth pursuing. We have freedom from our past. We have power in the present. We have hope for the future. Why? Because he has risen indeed. Let's pray together.
I just want to ask you, as we pray, to listen to my voice. If you're in this room right now and you don't consider yourself a Christian or you're not sure if your faith is real, here's what you need to decide: Do you believe in the Jesus who lived, or do you believe in the Jesus who lives? We're celebrating the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, which means he's alive today. To believe in the Jesus who lived is to believe in the Jesus who lived 2,000 years ago. Yeah, he died on a cross for the sins of the world and has become a poster child for a worldwide religion, but he has no relevance to your life today.
To believe in the Jesus who lives is to know the Jesus who, yeah, lived 2,000 years ago, and yes, he died on a cross for the sins of the world, but when he died on that cross, he was dying for you. He was put in the ground for you. He rose from the dead for you. He ascended into heaven. He sat down at the right hand of God. He is ruling and reigning now as King, and he wants to rule and reign in your life. He wants to have everything to do with you. He wants you to know him as your Savior and as your King.
So, if you want that to be true of you, if this morning you just want to say yes to Jesus, then just invite him in. Say, "Lord Jesus, would you come into my life today? Thank you that you died for me. Thank you that you rose from the dead for me. Would you come into my life? Would you forgive me of my sins? Would you be my Savior, and would you teach me to live with you as my King?"
For the believers in the room, your application this morning is the words of Paul as he ends 1 Corinthians 15. "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your [toil] is not in vain."
Lord Jesus, we need you. We love you. We celebrate you as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the one who died, was buried, and yet rose from the dead. We love you. In Jesus' name, amen.