Many people say that they believe in the resurrection. But whether or not one claims to believe the resurrection of Jesus occurred is not the key question. The key question is, “Do you have FAITH in the resurrection?” The person who has faith will take action. They will change, be transformed. What effect has the resurrection of Jesus had on your life?
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-10
In the first 4 verses, Paul recounts the gospel by which we are saved. Jesus died for our sins; he was buried; on the third day God raised him from the dead!
In verses 5-8 he offers evidence that the resurrection actually occurred. He gives a list of names and witnesses to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection, pointing out that most are still alive and will attest to the fact that they saw the risen Christ! Today, there is a vast amount of historical evidence supporting the historical fact that Jesus was raised from the dead. Many of those who assert said evidence actually began investigating the resurrection as skeptics, expecting–even desiring–to disprove the resurrection. (Examples include Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, and Francis Collins.)
Then, in verses 9-10, Paul’s focus changes. He makes the resurrection personal. Paul points out that God’s grace (evident through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus) was “not without effect” on his life. In this chapter we see 4 KEY REASONS the resurrection had effect on Paul, and why it should have effect on us.
WHAT I WAS
Paul recounts his past. He was the worst of sinners. He persecuted the church. Paul never forgot who he was before he encountered Jesus. He realized that, had he not met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he would have lived and died a lost man.
What about you? When was the last time you thought about what you were like before Jesus saved you? What would you have likely been like had you not become a Christian? What would your life have likely looked like? What kind of relationships would you have likely had? Are you at all grateful when you think about how God saved you? If so, what effect does that have on you (Read 2 Cor 5:14-15).
WHAT I AM
Paul, however, does not let his past sins and failures define or haunt him. No, he has moved on to joyfully serving the Lord! How? He sees and believes in God’s grace–a grace he knows he can only experience because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. This is why he says, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
What about you? Do you believe you are still the same old person you were before Jesus saved you? Do you believe your decision to follow Jesus and be baptized into Christ has made a difference? Read the following passages:
What does this passage say occurred at your baptism?
What does this passage say you have shared in and will share in?
What does this passage say you are now?
What does it mean when this passage says you are no longer a slave to sin, but have been set free? Satan wants you to believe that you are still in bondage to sin. He lies to you and tells you that you are not able to change… not able to resist sin. He tries to intimidate you with fear, telling you that to step into the unknown of following Jesus, confessing and repenting of sin, etc. is too scary! It requires letting go of too much control!
Read Galatians 2:20. Is this scripture true? Have you been crucified with Christ as Romans 6 says? Is Christ living in you? Read 2 Peter 1:3. What is this verse saying? Has God given you what you need to live a godly life?
2 Corinthians 5:17
If you are in Christ (and Romans 6 and Galatians 3:26 tell us that we are in Christ through our baptism), then what are you? What has gone? What is now here? What does this mean?
According to scripture, those of us who have repented, made Jesus Lord, and been baptized into Christ are now new creations! We are no longer that person we were and would have remained had we not encountered Jesus! Our biggest challenge is to believe and live like it!
WHAT I DO
Paul says that God’s grace was not without effect. He worked harder than anyone! When you see what you once were and would have been without God, then come to understand who you now are because of God’s grace, it affects you and impacts how you live.
Read Romans 6:12-14; Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 2:20-3:10
According to these passages, what are some ways the reality of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection should impact our lives on an everyday basis? What about you, do you act and think differently because of your encounter with Jesus?
5 “R’s” of the Resurrection
Below are 5 practical things to keep in mind. Do these 5 things consistently, and you will experience the effects of the resurrection in your life:
REFLECT — Take time to think about what God has saved you from; who you were and would have been versus who God has made you and is continuing to make you. This should produce awe, gratitude, and motivation to live a life of grateful and trusting obedience to God.
RETURN — Go back to God everyday in prayer, in studying his word, in meditation, fasting, etc. This keeps you connected and aware of God’s presence in your life.
REVEAL — Reveal who you really are to others. Be open and vulnerable. Share your struggles and get the encouragement and help you need to remain faithful and keep your eyes on God. You need relationships! (1 John 1:8-10; James 5:16; Heb 3:12-14)
REPENT — When you blow it, repent! (2 Corinthians 7:10-11)
RECOUNT — Share the gospel with others! Share your story the way Paul shared his! Not only do you impact others, but you keep your own conversion experience at the forefront of your heart and mind.
WHAT I WILL BE
Read 1 Cor 15:11-58. Think about what Paul is saying, about the glorious resurrection we will share in and what it will mean. What are some of the things we have to look forward to according to Paul’s words here? What effect does it have on you?