Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Dawn

Almighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:19-28
Victory is Guaranteed

Days prior to Super Bowl III New York Jets quarterback “Broadway Joe” Namath guaranteed victory. The country was shocked and taken aback. How could he be so sure, so brazen, and so confident? People simply didn’t make such predictions.

In a more serious note, St. Paul guarantees our victory over death. From the perspective of what God intended for us – that we should not die but live – death is indeed a certain enemy. Yet here in our text Paul makes a bold statement – our victory over death is guaranteed! How is this so?

I. Our victory over death is guaranteed by Christ’s resurrection.

A. Christ is the first fruits.

1. Just as the first sheaf of grain offered as a sacrifice to God in the Old Testament represented the full harvest that was to follow, so Christ’s resurrection is the first of many resurrections that will surely follow. (v.20)

2. Because our resurrection from the dead is assured, our physical death can be regarded as sleep (“who have fallen asleep” v.20)

3. The hope we have based on Christ’s resurrection does not relate only to this life but also to life beyond physical death (v.19)

B. Christ is the source of life.

1. Death is an event brought on by the first man, Adam.

2. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, the God-man, by His death and resurrection abolished death (V.22; 2 Timothy 1:10)

Transition: But when will this banishment of death occur for us in view of the fact that we must all experience physical death? “Each in his own order: Christ the first-fruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ” (V.23) Our victory over death is guaranteed!

II. At Christ’s 2nd Coming.

A. The triumphs of evil that we see around us, especially the devastation caused by death, will not continue forever.

1. Christ, even now is in control and will one day openly display His victory over all evil.

2. In the meantime, He will not permit any evil, including death, to destroy us. (Vv.25, 27)

B. The day is coming when all the forces opposing God will be destroyed. (V. 24)

1. The scheming of Satan, the plotting of evil people, the perversities of our sinful nature, and the grip of death will be conquered.

2. From that day on there will be no more death!

C. The second coming of Christ will mark the beginning of a new existence in which the Triune God will be everything to us in a kingdom of glory without end. (V.28)

Can we guarantee victory without any hesitation or doubt? The resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantees our victory over death, pointing us to that day when we shall rise to endless life, and death shall be no more!

Artwork by Ed Riojas, ©Higher Things; - Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS;
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things

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