Sermon Ideas For 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 Part 8
God has always loved to empower the powerless. Gideon’s family was the least in Manasseh, and Gideon the least in his family. Yet with the help of God, he led a vastly outnumbered army to an overwhelming victory.
Peter felt powerless because he’d worked hard all night at his nets and caught nothing, but with Jesus’ help, Peter drew up nets so full his boat began to sink.
Old Testament believers were given supernatural strength when God came alongside them. New Testament believers possess an even greater treasure. The spirit of the living Christ now dwells within and grants us access to nothing less than the resurrection power of Christ. Paul was the least of the apostles. He’d persecuted the church and blasphemed the name of God. The risen Christ within him changed him so much that he worked harder in the ministry than any other apostle.
Paul’s’ experience reminds me of Robert Duvall’s character, Sonny, in the film The Apostle. Sonny is one of the least—a preacher who genuinely loves God and people—but also a wife-beater and a womanizer. When he discovers his wife in bed with his youth minister, he becomes insanely jealous. The next time he sees the man, he grabs a baseball bat, clubs him almost to death, and flees the scene.
Knowing he’s made a mess of things, Sonny prays and begins searching for a new ministry. He settles in a town where no one knows him and works hard with his own hands for the sake of the gospel. His work bears miraculous fruit.
One afternoon during a church social, a racist with a bulldozer appears and announces he is going to demolish Sonny’s refurbished church. Bible in hand, Sonny confronts the racist. The man ends up praying for forgiveness in front of everyone.
A young auto mechanic knows the police have gathered in the back of the church to arrest Sonny, but Sonny has been a good friend. As Sonny finishes his sermon, the mechanic is so moved he gives his life to Christ that very night. The risen Christ loves to work through earthen vessels to change other people’s lives.
Not long after G.K. Chesterton became a Christian, a reporter approached him on a London street corner. “What would you do if the risen Christ appeared at this very moment and stood behind you?” the reporter asked. Chesterton looked at him and said, “He is.”
In his painting Supper at Emmaus, Carvaggio depicts the resurrected Christ as a youth. The Renaissance painter’s Jesus is sitting at table with the Emmaus disciples. His face is full, his skin smooth with the luster of youth. Carvaggio was probably wondering if the reason the two disciples hadn’t recognized Jesus was the fact that He appeared to them in the body of His youth.
I imagine the painter was also speculating about the nature of his own resurrection body. A youthful manifestation of the risen Christ is the kind of surprise you expect from a loving God—Jesus appearing to his disciples in the vigor of youth, an earnest of what they have to look forward to in their own resurrection bodies.
The last part of the Crucifixus in J. S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor depicts Christ going down into the grave. The music descends; the voices sink into utter desolation: dead silence, a long wait and then an explosion of joy!
The voices join in one after another in a kind of bubbling ecstasy. “He is risen, He is risen, He is risen. And He has risen on the third day according to scripture, and He is risen, He is risen.” It is as though individual after individual is suddenly caught up in the incredible truth that not only have they received a Friend back from the dead, but because that Friend has risen, they also have the assurance of one day rising and reigning with Him.
How good to remember that today He is with us and in us! How good to know that, in spite of yesterday’s failure, if I look to Him, He will give me inner strength, and motivation! How filled with hope is the knowledge that some day our bodies will no longer cause us pain and frustration, but will be raised with Christ unto health and immortality.
May God ever remind us of the priceless treasure we have in the risen Christ!