1 Corinthians 15

This time of year is fascinating. Spirituality and faith are being talked about everywhere – not just in church ...

Two years ago, it was the Passion of the Christ. Now the spirit of the culture has become one of spiritual suspicion and secrecy. What if everything we have been taught is a lie? What if the gospel we always took for granted is not the truth? What if the story of Jesus was very different from what we have always known ...

No one has captured this spirit within the popular culture as well as Dan Brown in The DaVinci Code. The movie is to be out in May and it will be better than the book. It may disturb or upset some that the premise of the The DaVinci Code is all the talk during the season of celebrating Christ’s resurrection, because The DaVinci Code suggests that something very different happened with Jesus.

But none of this is new. You may have noticed the news this week that another “secret document” has been released to the public: "The Gospel of Judas." The Gospel of Judas has been around since the second century. It, too, claims that the Jesus we thought we knew is not the true Jesus – and even more so, Judas was someone different. The common denominator between the Da Vinci Code, the Jesus Papers, the Jesus Dynasty, the Jesus Seminar, and the Gospel of Judas is that they have no place for the Resurrection. It isn't as important or it never happened. So what if? What if it isn’t true? What if the Code, the Papers, the Seminar, and Judas and the Gnostics are all correct? Perhaps we might say that even if it isn’t true, then this Christian life is still the best life. Perhaps we might say that we would still follow Jesus anyway because Christianity is still the best way to live – just on moral and ethical grounds. We might say that ... but a word of advice: Don’t let the apostle Paul hear you say that! He gets rather testy when people say that ...

And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless ...

You see, Paul – and lot of the people he knew – risked everything to follow a RISEN Christ. Paul took all the things he had built up for himself in this world to gain prestige, wisdom, and security and tossed it into the dumpster because he encountered a RISEN Christ.
Don’t tell Paul that it would be better even if it weren’t true. Don’t tell Paul that this is the safest bet.

But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead! Throughout the ages someone has always tried to reveal a new secret or a new document or new research. And yet for thousands of years in places all around the earth, a simple meal of bread and wine has sustained believers. “Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death – until he comes!” How can you proclaim someone’s death until he comes? You can only do that if that person is resurrected!

1 Corinthians 15
1Now let me remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then and still do now, for your faith is built on this wonderful message. 2And it is this Good News that saves you if you firmly believe it--unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 16 April 2006

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