Pastor Charlie Rousey
1 Corinthians 15:3-8:
3. 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
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.
Do we have hope? As we turn on the news, pull up the next internet story, or read another social media post, are we seeing and hearing hope? As we look at 1 Corinthians 15 there is nothing but hope to be found.
Paul lays out the greatest story of hope ever written: that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, that He lived a sinless life, and He died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins and rose on the third day. In doing this, He paid the debt that I owed God for my sin, and I am declared innocent by God because of this great sacrifice.
But how do I know this is true? Paul tells us in verses 5-8 why this has to be believed: there was not just proof of an empty tomb but there were people that had seen the resurrected Savior. These witnesses gave this story validity by the fact that many gave their lives by taking this story around the world.
The last person listed was Paul, an exceptionally pious and religious man who believed that his faith and the fervent way he practiced earned him a home in heaven. It was not until he saw the risen Christ that he understood the only true way to God was through faith in the finished work on the cross - and nothing else. Paul would tell the Gentile world this about hope…
1. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord
2. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and
rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation
4. And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in
our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Because Jesus truly did rise from the grave, we have hope. This hope can only be strengthened, refined, and perfected as God brings circumstances into our lives to test that hope. There has been much in my life these last few weeks to try my hope, but I see God using it all to strengthen the hope I have, making it more real. Now, like the witnesses in the Bible, it is our duty to share this hope with those around us.