1Corinthians 15:1-7
The Road to Salvation

Did you notice that Paul mentions three aspects of the crucifixion of Jesus as
being the gospel?
   \\#3\\ Paul mentions the death of Jesus.
   \\#4\\ Paul mentions both the burial of Jesus and His resurrection.

Again, all of these make up the GOSPEL \\#1Co 15:1\\ or GOOD NEWS which saves us
\\#1Co 15:2\\.

Why mention the death, burial, and resurrection as being the gospel?  Why not
just speak of Jesusí death?

Because all three are necessary to produce the work God calls SALVATION. Each
aspect of what Jesus did provides us with something essential.

As we saw last week, Jesusí death makes the payment for our salvation.
   When Jesus announced, "It is finished," He meant the payment was made.

But if the gospel story ended at the cross, while we might have our sins paid
for, we would have no life. Where Jesus is in the payment process is where
we would be in the salvation process.  If He is left dead in the grave, we are 
left dead too.

Let me explain. If the gospel story ended at the cross, Jesus would be left in
the grave. Death would still be holding Him. At that point, our sins have
been paid for by His death, but there would be nothing more.  There would be no
NEW LIFE in Christ, no triumph over the grave.

God, in His mercy, has not only promised us FORGIVENESS, He has promised us
LIFE. The road of salvation, as we enjoy it today, would not be complete without
the resurrection.

God promised us two kinds of life.
    1. Eternal Life - You cannot having eternal life and be dead.  Even if you
        are forgiven and dead, you are still dead.  The Bible is clear.  God
        promised us life. 

John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal
life.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that
believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never
thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water
springing up into everlasting life.

    2. Abundant life - But God not only promised us life, He promised is an
        abundant life. 

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more
abundantly.

        a. Eternal life is primarily spiritual life. It starts at the moment of
            salvation, but we all know and understand that we are not going to
            live forever on this earth. We will see the greatest benefits of
            eternal life in eternity.   
        b. However, when Jesus is talking about abundant life, Heís talking
            about something that we should see the benefits of immediately.
            Abundant life starts with whatever earthly life we have after
            our salvation. 
        c. Since a dead Savior cannot produce a living salvation, before either
            one of these can be given to us, Jesus must get out of the grave.
        d. The next segment of salvationís journey must be completed.

According to Paulís words, there are two more segments of the salvation journey
after Jesus died. Jesus must be buried and then rise from the dead.

    I. What is the burial about?

John 19:38  And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus,
but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the
body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body
of Jesus.
39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night,
and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the
spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the
garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jewsí preparation day; for
the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

        A. The burial is what separates the dead from the living.
            1. When a person dies, the body must be buried, or else the
                corruption from the dead body will bring sickness and even
                death to the living.
            2. There must be a separation between the dead and the living.
            3. There must be a burial.
        B. Jesusí burial is a picture of Godís removal of our sins.
        
Psalms 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our
transgressions from us.

Jeremiah 50:20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of
Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and
they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.

1 John 1:7 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.

            1. Once saved, God not only removed the penalty of our sins.
            2. He removed the sins.
            
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins
and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Hebrews 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

            3. Jesusí death paid for sinís penalty while Jesusí burial separated
                our old life from our new one.
        C. Of course, for Jesus, no separation was needed.
            1. Jesus had no sin and no corruption.
            2. Whatís more, God had promised that Jesusí body would see no
                corruption.
                
Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer
thine Holy One to see corruption.
 
            3. In truth, Jesus needed no burial.
            4. However, Romans 6:1-6 tells us that we are also buried with Jesus
                and there is a lot of difference between us and Him.
            5. Jesusí burial provides the barrier between what we were and what
                we are. 
        D. Jesusí burial also provides a message to the new Christian.
            1. The old life, although forgiven, is still potentially deadly to
                the new convert.
            2. The old temptations, the old haunts, even the old friendships,
                can pull the "babe" back into his old sinful life.
            3. The new convert, at least until he is stronger, must but
                separation between his old and new lives.
            4. This is the message of Jesusí burial.
        E. But even a buried Jesus is still a dead Jesus. 
            1. He paid the price for sin (giving us salvation) and separated us
                from that sin (through His burial).
            2. However, if there is only death ahead for us, we are still without
                the life that God has promised.
                
   II. What is the resurrection about?
        A. So, on the third day, sometime either before or as the sun began to
            dawn, our Savior rose from the grave.
            1. The Dead One received His life again.
            2. Jesusí resurrection gives us life, without which, Paul says, we
                would be most miserable. 

1 Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all
men most miserable.

        B. Now, in case I have confused you, let me repeat myself.
            1. Jesusí death provides forgiveness for you.
            2. Jesusí burial provides separation from your old life.
            3. Jesusí resurrection provides new life to you.
        C. All three elements of the gospel provide something necessary to the
            salvation God wanted you to have. 
            1. Together they give you the ETERNAL and ABUNDANT life that God
                has promised.
            2. This morning, as I close, I want to focus on the third element of
                the gospel, the resurrection.
            3. The resurrection is the bow which ties all the elements together.
         
  III. What can we say about the resurrection?
        A. The resurrection must be powerful.
            1. The cross paid for your sins, the burial removed your old life.
                a. Both of these had to have power in their own right to
                    accomplish what they did.
                b. But neither of these could get us out of the grave.
            2. For the resurrection to take the lifeless and give eternal and
                abundant life, it must be a powerful work of God.
                a. To put life in the dead, is no small feat.
                   (1) Man with all of his science and education, cannot bring
                        the dead back to life.
                   (2) Neither can man create life.
                b. We canít even come close.

I have heard the story several times over the years of the scientist who
challenged God. The scientist told God that mankind just doesnít need Him any
longer. He bragged about all the advances of science, how we have defeated so
many sicknesses, how we have decoded DNA, and how we have duplicated life with
cloning. He ended his declaration by stating that mankind had now advanced so
far that we could now do exactly what God had done in the Garden of Eden,
create life itself. 

God accepted the scientistís challenge, "If you can do that, you do not need Me
anymore." 

As the scientist was scooping up some dirt to fashion it into the image of a
man, when God interrupted. 

"Wait a minute," God said. "Youíll have to get your own dirt."

            3. Get what Godís power is offering you.
                a. Forever life
                b. A life free from your sins, you weaknesses, and your failures.
            4. You can see this power in the resurrection of Jesus.

Matt 27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief
priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive,
After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest
his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is
risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye
can.
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a
watch.
                a. The tomb was sealed by the authority of Rome.
                b. The tomb was guarded by soldiers.  (The Bible doesnít say how
                    many soldiers were there but it does say that Pilate gave
                    the Jews as many necessary to make the watch secure.)
                c. Death itself holding Jesus.
                d. There was Satan and His hordes of demons keeping watch.
            5. All were defeated by the power of the resurrection.
            6. The song by Robert Lowery, "Up From the Grave He Arose!"
                describes it  well.

Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior,
waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain:
Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph oíer his foes;
he arose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

        B. The resurrection must be an act of God.
            1. Here is where foolish man so often makes his mistake.  He thinks
                that somehow he will find this new life on his own.
                a. Most every person recognizes his failure and faults.
                b. Most are looking for a new life.
                    (1) Literature and religion are filled with terms to describe
                         this new life - utopia, Nirvana, Shangri-la, wonderland,
                         never-never land and hundreds of others.
                    (2) We have all made promises, taken vows, made resolutions,
                         turned over new leaves, and started afresh more times
                         than we can count.
                    (3) The problem is we cannot do this by ourselves.  We need
                         a resurrection and resurrections are works of God.
            2. You and I must face the fact that what we need is more than we can
                do for ourselves.
                a. For some, this is a matter of pride.
                    (1) Some are just stubborn and will not admit they cannot get
                         along with God.
                    (2) Howís it working for you so far?
                    (3) If you say it is fineÖ
                         (a) You are not only proud but you have a vision problem.
                         (b) Just wait, you will see before long.
                b. For some, this is a matter of faith.
                    (1) I make the plea quit relying on circular and parroted
                         reasoning.
                    (2) Start with the basic question of existence, "Where did
                         life come from?" and do no stop looking until you have
                         a reasonable answer.
                         (a) Life must be by design.
                         (b) Then, find the Designer.
                         (c) That journey will lead you to the God of the Bible.
        C. The resurrection was for you.
            1. God did not need the death of His Son.
                a. Neither did the burial or resurrection of Jesus do anything
                    for God.
                b. These are the selfless acts of a loving God for you.
            2. Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, is all for you.
                 a. Would you receive Jesusí death as payment for your sin?
                 b. Would you allow the power of God to give you both eternal and
                     abundant life?
                 c. Would you place your faith in Godís love and goodness today?
                     I pray you will.

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