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RESULTS OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

by Dr. C. L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, April 21, 2019

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming” (I Corinthians 15:20-23).


Today is Easter Sunday. This is the day when Jesus rose from the dead! Christ really rose – not as an idea in the minds of His Disciples, not as a spirit – but in a flesh and bone resurrected body!

If Christ had not risen from the dead, there would be no point in being a Christian. The Bible says, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (I Corinthians 15:17, 18). If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, our faith is worthless and we are all still lost in sin. We wasted our time. Nobody is saved. And those who died trusting Jesus are lost forever.

But Jesus did rise from the dead, and that changed everything! Our text says, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” And it says, “Christ the firstfruits [Him first]; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming [all the Christians who have died will be raised when He comes].” Christ’s resurrection didn’t just affect Himself. It didn’t end there. The resurrection of Jesus Christ changed everything. Today I want to talk about some of the results of Christ’s resurrection.

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I. First, the resurrection of Christ led to untimely conversions.

The Apostle Peter had been with Jesus for three years. But Peter had not believed the Gospel. When Christ said He would go to Jerusalem, be killed and rise again, Peter said “NO.” Peter rebuked Jesus and said, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee” (Matthew 16:22). “No, Jesus, not the cross. Not the resurrection.” Peter did not believe the Gospel. He was not yet converted. That’s why Peter failed when the test came. After Christ was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter denied Him three times. He said, “No, I am not His disciple.” “I don’t know the man.” Peter failed because he was still lost.

But on resurrection evening it was different. Christ appeared to Peter and nine of the Disciples. Then “he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22). Dr. J. Vernon McGee was right when he said,

I personally believe that at the moment our Lord breathed on them, and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost,” these men were regenerated [born again]. Before this, they had not been indwelt by the Spirit of God (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, volume IV., p. 498; note on John 20:22).

It was the same with the Apostle Thomas. He was not there that night. Thomas refused to believe unless he could see the nail prints in Jesus’ hands and thrust his hand into the hole in Jesus’ side. One week later, the next Sunday night, Christ appeared and invited Thomas to do just that. Thomas said, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Thomas was converted!

Why do I call these “untimely” conversions? They came at the wrong time. Peter and Thomas had been with Christ for three years. They had heard Him preach the Gospel. They should have been saved long ago. It should have been too late for them. Peter had denied Christ. The others had forsaken Him and fled. Christ should have come in judgment, or not come at all. But in His love and mercy, Jesus came to them and brought them to salvation.

The resurrection of Christ led to another untimely conversion, that of the Apostle Paul. The man was on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians there. Jesus appeared to him and said, “I am Jesus” (Acts 9:5). This angry man was shattered to the core. He was converted a few days later and became the Apostle Paul, the greatest Christian of all time. He shouldn’t have been saved at all, but the resurrected Christ came to him. Paul described himself as “one born out of due time” (I Corinthians 15:8), and so he was.

Can there be conversions out of due time today? Yes! I’m thinking of one girl here in our church. There were problems. People had left. It didn’t seem like a time when people would be saved. But this girl trusted Christ in the middle of all that – out of due time! And what about you? Some of you have not trusted Jesus. Why not? You say, “I’ll wait. It’s not the time. Maybe later. I’ll just sit in my chair.” But that girl trusted Christ. You have no excuse. You will go to Hell with Pilate, Caiaphas and Judas. Don’t let that happen to you.

II. Second, the resurrection of Christ saved endless millions throughout the world.

If Jesus had not risen from the dead, Peter and the other Disciples would have remained lost cowards. Peter would be the same man who ran away and denied Christ three times. But Jesus did rise from the dead! Jesus came to Peter and saved him. Peter was a new man. A few weeks later, Peter boldly preached, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:32). Again, Peter said, “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Three thousand Jewish people trusted the Saviour that day. Peter changed from a coward into a fearless preacher. Later he was crucified upside down rather than deny Christ. What changed Peter? Or I should say, Who changed Peter? It was the resurrected Christ!

It was the same with the other Apostles. In the Garden of Gethsemane, “all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56). A few weeks later the same men were put in prison for preaching Christ. There they were beaten. Yet they rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:41, 42). Later the Apostle John was boiled in oil and sent to exile on a lonely island. All the others were killed for preaching Christ. What changed them? Jesus is risen from the dead!

It was the same with the Apostle Paul. He put Christians in prison. He was glad to see Stephen stoned. But he preached the Gospel of Christ through the Roman world. He wrote a third of the New Testament. He was beheaded for preaching Christ. What changed him? Jesus is risen from the dead!

Through Peter, Paul, and others who followed them, Christ is preached – for two thousand years! Uncounted millions have been saved. Today in every nation many praise the name of Jesus. In land after land men and women willingly die as martyrs for Christ. What made this happen? Christ is risen from the dead!

III. Third, the resurrection of Christ showed that He was the Son of God.

If Christ had not risen from the dead, it would have shown that He was an ordinary man. He would have stayed dead like everyone else. And it would have made Jesus into a false prophet, for He said of Himself, “the third day he shall rise again” (Matthew 20:19). Christianity would be a false religion, for the Bible says, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain [worthless]” (I Corinthians 15:17). That verse also says, “If Christ be not raised...ye are yet in your sins” (15:17). Every man and woman, in every age, in every land, would be lost and going to Hell.

Thank God that Jesus did rise from the dead! The resurrection proved that Jesus was the Son of God. The Bible says Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power... by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). The Greek word translated “declared” in this verse means “to specify,” “to mark out” (Strong’s Concordance #3724). Jesus was marked out, specified, named, described, and proven to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead. The resurrection proved that Christ was right all along. He is who He said He is – the Son of God. He did what He said – to die on the Cross for our sin and rise on the third day. Jesus was right all along. Because He is the Son of God who died and rose for you, you can trust Him. Jesus won’t fail you. He gave His Blood to wash your sin away. He rose from the dead to give you life. If you trust Him you will be saved forever. I pray you will trust Him soon.

IV. Fourth, the resurrection of Christ conquered death itself.

When Jesus rose from the dead, He rose never to die again. When Christ rose, He conquered death itself! Our text says,

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming” (I Corinthians 15:20-23).

What does that mean? The best commentary on Scripture is Scripture itself. The Book of Romans says, “For if by one man's [Adam’s] offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17). When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, he brought sin and death to the whole human race. When Christ died to pay for sin and rose again, He brought forgiveness and life to all who trust Him. That’s why our text says, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:21, 22). Christ came to undo what Adam did. Adam brought death. Christ brought life.

In Christ death is conquered! Christians will live forever with Him. The Bible says that God “hath begotten us again [gotten us born again] unto a lively [living] hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (I Peter 1:3, 4). By the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Christians are born again. By the resurrection from the dead, we have an eternal inheritance in Heaven.

By His resurrection Christ rose victorious over death. That’s why the Bible says, “Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death” (II Timothy 1:10). You say, “But won’t we all die?” Yes, we will die physically. We will leave this life. But Christ has conquered death for us as well as Himself. He rose first. The Bible says, “Christ the firstfruits” (I Corinthians 15:23). And the Bible says, “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits [Him first]; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming” (15:23). When Jesus returns for His own, Christians will be raised forever. The Bible says, “the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16, 17). Again, the Bible says, “We shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (I Corinthians 15:52). Then the Scripture shall be fulfilled, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Corinthians 15:54, 55). Christ has conquered death forever!

But what about you? Some of you have not trusted Jesus. You don’t have this hope. Yes, you will have a resurrection. After you die and go to Hell, you will be raised from the dead. But you will be raised to “the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:29). You will be raised out of Hell to face the Last Judgment. Then, for your sin, you will be sent to the Lake of Fire forever. I hope this doesn’t happen to you.

The difference is clear. The resurrection of life, or the resurrection of damnation. Eternal life or eternal death. I pray that you will trust Jesus and receive eternal life. If you would like to speak with me about trusting Jesus, please come and sit in the first two rows. Amen.


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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Jack Ngann: “Christ Arose”
(by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899).


THE OUTLINE OF

RESULTS OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST

by Dr. C. L. Cagan

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming” (I Corinthians 15:20-23).

(I Corinthians 15:17, 18)

I.    First, the resurrection of Christ led to untimely conversions,
Matthew 16:22; John 20:22, 28; Acts 9:5; I Corinthians 15:8.

II.   Second, the resurrection of Christ saved endless millions throughout
the world, Acts 2:32, 36; Matthew 26:56; Acts 5:41, 42.

III.  Third, the resurrection of Christ showed that He was the Son of God,
Matthew 20:19; I Corinthians 15:17; Romans 1:4.

IV.  Fourth, the resurrection of Christ conquered death itself,
Romans 5:17; I Corinthians 15:21, 22; I Peter 1:3, 4,
II Timothy 1:10; I Corinthians 15:23; I Thessalonians 4: 16, 17;
I Corinthians 15:52, 54, 55; John 5:29.