Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"If" Christ is preached?




Scripture

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
(1 Corinthians 15:12 NASB)
If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
(1 Corinthians 15:19 NASB)

 

Observation


The absolute power of God is revealed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. His resurrection, the first of its kind for a human body, was to pave the way for the hope of the resurrection for all of humanity. In Christ we are all changed and we can know resurrection power. Christ and his work in incarnated human flesh is the central message of the Bible. Jesus came and set things right for corrupted humanity and it all ends in the resurrected Christ. Here is the power of God, the victory over sin and death and an eternal victory, showing us that we will all be resurrected just like him. The Muslims would like to believe that Jesus was a good man who lived a good life but there is no power or victory in that. Paul says that if we have hope only in the life he lived that we should be pitied. Yes, we should because that is not what Christ accomplished by his death and resurrection. His resurrection punched a hole into the curtain of eternity and gave us a glimpse of what is to come.

Application

What is interesting is that Paul begins this section with "Now if Christ is preached." I find the placement of the "now if" quite fascinating. I think that its placement begs a question for us today. Do we preach and/or share the story of Christ on a regular basis? Or, do we assume that everyone knows the story of Christ? Do we ever, in excitement, share with someone that Jesus Christ lived on this earth as a human, died on a cross and rose again from the dead! Or has that story become so ordinary to us that we keep it to ourselves? "Now if" we share about Christ. Wow, is there even a question whether I would share or preach about Christ? Then I think back to sermons that I have heard preached. These days we have become the masters of topical sermons preaching a series from the latest popular Christian book, but are there weeks and/or even months that can go by without us ever preaching about Christ? Have we lost the very central focus of who this "Christianity" is all about?

The entire Christian life should be one in which we have dedicated ourselves to becoming Christlike. Like Paul I declare, "I want to know Christ!" I only get to know him if I study him, and then I imitate him while I spend time with him in intimate relationship. Christ is in me and I am in him and there comes a point and time where I hope that the world can't tell if they are seeing me, or if they are seeing Christ in me because I have become one with him. Yet, how can this happen if Christ is not the measuring rod for our lives, if we never share him, if we never preach him? How can I be involved in his work in the kingdom of God if I have never experienced resurrection power?

This admonition of Paul to preach Christ is a nudge that tells us that Jesus must be the very center of all things in our lives. Our goal must and should be Christ. Anything else that distracts us from the goal, while it may seem like a good thing, will lead us to a place of destruction. May there be no "if" in our lives but instead "when" we share and/or preach Christ.

 

Prayer


Lord Jesus, thank you for your death on the cross and your resurrection. Thank you for the power of the Father which is revealed in you and is made possible for us. May the strength of your power to heal and resurrect be revealed today. Amen.

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