“Easter Hope”  

Pastor David Moore 

New Testament reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-10 (NIV)  

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.  Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.  After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.  

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.  

The theme since the first of the year has centered on how a small band of Christians were able to spread the gospel through the Roman Empire in about 250 years. That occurred because they followed Jesus (God), and they allowed their lives to be directed by Him and followed His example in caring for the world. Today, we also talk about the hope and the future because of the Resurrected Christ. ~D. Moore  

1 Corinthians 15:47-58 

The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man from heaven.  As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.  And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.  

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable must clothe itself with the  imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.  

First let’s look at hope. Christians have a vision of what the future can hold. Christians have a hope that because Jesus rose from the dead, and they would follow Him, they too would be invited into His life after death. ~D. Moore  

Why do you think the Christians were the caretakers of the world? Because all people were included in the Christian vision. ~D. Moore

The Christians were certain about the future, the Christians had a hope that they would be with God in Heaven because of what Jesus had done.  

The second theme today is the Resurrection of Jesus, and how it accomplished the certainty of God’s future and the decided shape of God’s future. ~D. Moore  

1 Corinthians 15:4-5: That He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.  

So whatever the background of the early Christians, what Jesus did in the resurrection was outside of their understanding of how the world worked and yet, because of the evidence they believed. Overnight all these folks changed their minds about what was possible. People started to believe what had been the impossible. There was no debate they had seen what they had seen. ~D. Moore  

Jesus was alive again, they touched Him, hundreds saw Him, they fed Him, they talked to Him, the Tomb was empty. ~D. Moore  

These hundred believers told others and suddenly there were thousands of believers. These believers were committed believers, they were persecuted, lost their jobs, shamed by friends and family, tortured and killed because of their faith. They changed the world. ~D. Moore  

The early Christians had hope and a secure future because they believed Jesus rose from the dead. ~D.  Moore  

Now the resurrection doesn’t mean that suffering is done with. Think of this, if you lose something you loved, over time you start to love it more. You miss it, perhaps you’d taken it for granted, and then if you find it, the joy is so much greater than if you’d never lost it. So, in the resurrection, Jesus’ wounds are still there, His sorrows are a part of His glory. So, I think Heaven is not where you get paid back, or get consolation for the life you didn’t get. But the resurrection is the life you wanted. You get the body, the family, the love you wanted. That’s the defeat of suffering. Your deepest sorrows that you have been going through in this life will make your new life in Christ that much better than it would have been.  ~D. Moore  

Your body, according to Paul, will become not less physical but more. Your body won’t decay and grow old. You have five to six senses now; imagine having 50 for 100. And the last part of the hope is that you will become the true you. There is a core of who you are, and presently it is surrounded by bad, sticky sort of stuff. All the sins, fears, unfulfilled dreams, the insecurities given to you by your parents, are all around the core of who you are. But that core will be planted in a resurrected body, and it will express the true you. This world, this broken place was never meant to be your home. Jesus took on all the pain, evil, violence of the world on Himself. And gives us back this promise that we will be resurrected also, to be like Him, to be with Him.  Let this year be a year of hope in your walk with God.  He is risen. ~D. Moore  

Our hope and our future are secure with Christ in Heaven!