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Outline and Audio Sermons:
Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

www.thischristianjourney.com


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The Gospel Of The Resurrection

1 Corinthians 15.1-20

[Resourced in part from Stephen Olford]

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[Stephen F. Olford once said, “The gospel of the resurrection is an indisputable fact, an indispensable faith, and an irresistible force. Perhaps nobody sets this out as clearly as does the great apostle Paul in that classic chapter known as the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians.”[1]] 

To Paul, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus was, 

A.     A. An Indisputable Fact [- Paul declares that the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was:] 

1.      A Prophetical Fact  (vs 3-4) [- For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: - What an arresting phrase this is—"according to the Scriptures" ! What did Paul mean? Quite obviously, since there was no New Testament in those days, he was referring to what we call our Old Testament. Paul was a student of those Hebrew Scriptures, and from his familiarity with them he could declare with categorical impressiveness that Christ "rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:4). In other words, the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets all predicted the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ;] 

a.      [The Law (Genesis 3:15), ] 

[Genesis 3:15 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. ]

b.      [The Psalms (Acts 2:25-31; cf. Psalm 16.8-11), ] 

[Acts 2:25-31 25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. ] 

c.       [The Prophets (Isaiah 53:10-11). ] 

[Isaiah 53:10-11 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. ]

[Against the background of such Old Testament predictions Paul announces, "I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you .…how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;…and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:1, 3-4). The resurrection of the Savior is a fact of prophecy.] 

[Grasp Paul’s Declaration – Paul, in essence, holds up the same Bible Jesus held in His hand, the Old Testament; which is the same Bible you hold in your hands today.  Hold this Bible up, Paul declares, with boldness, in fulfillment of these Scriptures, Jesus Christ, Immanuel (God with us) came, died and rose again.  If you doubt what Paul declared then look it up and read it for yourselves.] 

2.      An Historical Fact (vs 3-4, 5-8)  [- "Christ died for our sins .…and…rose again" - Dr. F. F. Bruce points out that these words of the apostle Paul constitute one of the earliest pieces of documentary evidence concerning the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This statement of fact is dated less than twenty-five years after the Resurrection event. So impressive was this supporting evidence that it affected every one who heard it. Among the tens of thousands who were transformed by the gospel of the resurrection, Paul names three such witnesses in this very chapter,] 

[1 Corinthians 15:5-8 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. ]

[Paul first names three trustworthy individuals by name.  Paul then, in essence says, if they are not enough then ask the twelve that walked with Jesus.  If they are not enough ask any of the apostles, Matthias (Acts 1.23-26) and Paul himself.  If they are not enough ask any of over 500 eyewitnesses who were still alive having seen Jesus for themselves.  The historical testimony was so powerful and compelling that five ancient historical records mention the fact of the Physical Resurrection of Jesus. These historical works include Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny, and The Rabbinical Writings.[2]  The evidence for the fact of the Physical Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is so compelling that,] 

a.       [Illustration - Sir Edward Clarke (1841-1931), English lawyer and politician, has attested: "As a lawyer I have made a prolonged study of the evidence for the events of the resurrection. To me the evidence is conclusive, and over and over again in the High Court I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling"[3] ] 

3.      A Foundational Fact (1 Cor 15.1,12-20) [– 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; - The foundation upon which the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ stands is the Physical Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. ] 

[The Phantom of Contemporary Faith - This is no mere phantom of unsubstantiated faith, as our world would presume in defining faith as believing in something we cannot see.  I find this a most harmful definition of faith and it permeates our culture and Christian churches today.  This is no biblical faith at all.  It implies that we Christians just conjure up our belief in the resurrection in spite of reality.  This is not the faith implied by Paul and spoken of within the Bible at all.] 

[A Tangible Faith – The Greek word for faith in the Bible is always a noun, the Greek word for belief is always a verb and finds it root in the noun of the Greek word for faith.  Therefore, Our belief pours out of the foundation of a faith that is tangible, it is something you can take a hold of and stand upon. Our faith is not just an aberration of our imagination, it is not blind belief in something that we have just always been taught.  It is tangible.  It is based on the testimony of multitudes of eyewitnesses.  It is based upon empirical historical fact.  It is just as established as the fact of an Ancient Roman Empire.  It is just as established as the fact of a king called Nebuchadnezzar.  It is just as established as the fact of a king called David.  The fact of our Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection is an historical fact and it is foundational to your faith.] 

[Paul says,] 

[1 Corinthians 15:1 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; ]

[Our world is working hard to cause you to doubt the physical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Why?  Because it is the foundation of your faith, it is essential to your spiritual well-being.  Without the resurrection you will spiritually wither and die.  Listen to Paul in our text,] 

[1 Corinthians 15:12-20 12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?[This is no new argument, People in paul’s day were wrestling with these attacks] 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.[There is no hope for forgiveness, why even strive against sin?] 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.]

[The Foundation of the Church of Christ – Make no mistake about it, my Christian friends, the physical resurrection is the foundation of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Without the Physical resurrection we might as well all just go home and not return to this Church again.] 

[The Foundation of New Life in Christ – The physical resurrection is not only the foundation of the Church but it is also the foundation of your salvation.  Without the physical resurrection you cannot and are not born again.  The Bible says,] 

[Romans 10:9-10 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. ]

[It is not good enough to just believe that Jesus was.  It is not good enough to believe that Jesus lived many years ago.  It is not good enough to believe that many people believe that Jesus was God and rose from the grave.  No, God says that . . . thou shat confess . . . and . . . believe in thine heart that God hath raised him [Jesus] from the dead. You must agree with God about the physical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.] 

[Resurrection Day is a remembrance of the Physical Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This Church is a foundational representation of the fact of the Physical Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Do you believe that Jesus, in fact, physically walk out of that grave nearly two thousand years ago?] 

B.     An Indispensable Faith (vs 17-20) [– Now one might think that I have already been speaking to the indispensable nature of the resurrection of our Lord.  And in one sense I have.  For the Church the Physical Resurrection is absolutely essential, it is foundational.  But what does the physical resurrection mean for you?  The Physical Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ assures you of,] 

1.      Your Forgiveness (vs 17; Isa 53.6; Rom 3.23; 1 John 1.7-9) [- 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. -  Is your faith worthless?  Is your faith vain?  If your faith is merely based upon your ability to believe in something then at some point your religious system will crumble and fall.   It will prove itself worthless.  However, if your faith is based upon something larger than your ability to believe.  If your faith is based upon empirical historical fact, such as the eyewitness reports recorded by the Apostle Paul and the historical records of Paul’s day, then your religious system is founded upon something far greater than yourself and becomes utterly undeniable.] 

[The Vibrancy of Forgiveness - If what the Bible records about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is true then hope and vitality spring forth in your life just as life springs forth from the cold damp soil as spring arrives.  There is a hopefulness and liveliness that accompanies true forgiveness and restoration.   Most of us have known the darkness and despair associated with our sins and transgressions.   We are all haunted by the failures of our past.  We hear the words of God, when he said,] 

[Isaiah 53:6 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; . . . ]

[We know the despair of passages like,]

[Romans 3:23 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;]

[We fully realize that we are lost and undone in our humanity.  Something within us testifies that there is coming a payday someday and we desire to make our wrongs right.  We hear these words from God and we know, “Yep, that is in me, and I’m just not sure what to do with this desperate desire to make my wrongs right.”]

[Many seek the help of psychologists who can only ask probing questions that hopefully will help some discover their own answers, but deep inside they know those answers are ever so shallow.]

[Others seek out spiritual counselors who they hope will appease their desperate desire to make all things right.  But these deceivers never bring the assurance and hope that is truly needed.]

[Folks, without Jesus, you are still in your sins (vs 17) and hopelessness and despair prevail like the boisterous storm clouds of a prevailing storm.  Without the Physical Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ there is NO forgiveness of sins.]

[But through Jesus Christ and His propitiatory sacrifice and atoning efficacy you will discover the true forgiveness of your sins.

[1 John 1:7-9 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.]

[Complete forgiveness, the kind of forgiveness that touches the heart and soul of a person, is only found through the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  What your psychologist and spiritual counselors could not do for you, the Lord Jesus Christ can and will do for you and that is made available to you only through a confidence in the Physical Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.]

[Isaiah 53:6 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. ]

2.      Your Future (vs 18-20) [- 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. – Hope, confidence, and purpose in life are all found through the Physical resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Without the Physical Resurrection you will have,] 

[No Purpose In Life – If Jesus did not physically rise from the grave then there is no life after death and there is no reason for living.  There are no eternal rewards, there is no eternal judgment.  Your life just is what your life is and in the end you are just going to be a bunch of dirt.  We examine human history, and while a few, very few names are remembered in some very small way, we realize that our lives really are just a vapor, a mere shadow on the horizon (James 4.14; Job 14.2).  All that you struggle to do will one day be forgotten, so why live and do anything at all?]

[But God did create your life, and He created your life with potential and opportunity.  And God says that one day all things will be remembered and judged or rewarded (Rev 20; 2 Cor 5.10).  The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ assures us that there is hope for our future.  Consider what Paul wrote in this passage,

[1 Corinthians 15:51-57 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.]

[My friend the Physical Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and confidence in it will give you the tranquility of the forgiveness of God and the fortitude of a continuing future to come.] 

[Now, these are not reasons to believe in the physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ, instead these are the results of your faith in the absolutely established empirical historical Physical Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  If you believe in His resurrection because Jesus really was physically resurrected, then hope and confidence for life now and everlasting will be the result in your life.] 

C.     An Irresistible Force [- Most of you here have heard my testimony or at least know my background, enough to know that I was Born Again as a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps.  I was and, in many ways, still am a Marine.  I am one of the Few and The Proud.  But when I realized that the Physical Resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ was absolutely true and accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior I transferred my allegiance from that noble national force, or mere mortal orientation, to join my Lord’s eternal Corps, or the Lord’s Marine Corps (most would call this the Lord’s Army, but we marines hesitate to use that title, for purely political reasons).] 

[This supernatural reaffiliation is what Paul is speaking of throughout 1 Corinthians 15.20-50.  Through the Physical Resurrection and the multitudes of God’s promises that it substantiates the people of our Lord Jesus Christ, who are the people of His resurrection, have a whole new reason for living this life in this world.  They have an undeniable perspective and persuasion that could never be dulled or dimmed.  They are fully aware that their Lord is really alive and that He is fully aware of their choices and stewardship.  Hence, they have become an irresistible force for our Lord Jesus Christ.]  This force is, 

1.      A Purified Force (1 Cor 15.31-34) [– 31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. 33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. – What is Paul really saying here?  He is saying what every born again believer, who is convinced by the Physical Resurrection of our Lord, already knows.] 

[Paul is saying, I have given my life everyday for something that is far bigger than myself (vs 31).  Paul suffered under severe persecutions. Paul gave up his life for the Lord Jesus Christ.  Why did Paul give what He gave?  Because the Lord Jesus Christ has Physically Risen from the grave.  He gave everything for Christ because Christ is worthy of everything and much more, and offers everything and much more.] 

[Now notice Paul’s plea in verses 33-34,] 

[33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 34 Awake to righteousness] 

[Paul is saying, don’t be vexed by this wicked and unbelieving world and culture.  They will seek to draw you away from the reality of our Resurrected Savior to live a life that denies His resurrection.  If Jesus and His resurrection is real in your heart and life then you will . . . awake to righteousness. . . or you will live a life that truly reflects the reality of His Physical Resurrection within you.] 

[The force of the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which consists of those that truly believes in the Physical Resurrection of our Lord, will be a purified force.  They will live lives that,] 

a.       [Reflect their coming accountability to their Lord.] 

b.      [Renounce the hopelessness of a world lost in philosophy and religious traditionalism separated from the Lordship of our Living Lord Jesus Christ.] 

c.       [Resound the gospel with the confidence of Paul, Cephas, and James who all confidently proclaimed the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.] 

[Christian, are you a part of this confident, purified force for our Lord?] 

2.      A Powerful Force (vs 58) [- 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.  – Without any doubt, there are many around us who call themselves Christians who deny the Physical Resurrection of our Lord.  They believe that one is a Christian merely because they desire to call themselves a Christian.  But they are wrong, very wrong.  In order to be a Christian, as we use the word Christian, in this fellowship, one must know that Jesus Christ,]  

a.      [Was and is the Only Begotten of the Father.]

b.      [Is Deity or God with us; born of a Virgin.] 

c.       [Is the perfect, sinless Lamb of God crucified dead and buried.]

d.      [Is Physically Resurrected from the dead and is now seated on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.] 

[Brethren, walk in the absolute assurance of these truths and you become a part of a powerful force that can and never will be defeated until our Lord’s calls us home in the rapture of His Church.  Walk with any other belief, walk in any other way and utter defeat is on your horizon.] 

[Where do you stand when it comes to the Physical Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ?] 



[1] Stephen F. Olford, Expository Preaching Outlines – Volume 2, (Memphis, TN: Encounter Ministries, 1981), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "Front Matter".

[2] See Walter Huyck Outlines, Luke 24.36, The Bodily Resurrection.

[3] Pulpit Helps, published by AMG International, Chattanooga, Tenn.

 

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