Resurrection Sermon 2022

The Resurrection is the pivotal truth of Christianity. No Resurrection. No Christianity. Everything hangs on the reality and truth of the Resurrection. In the book of Acts, the two-fold Apostolic message is the Kingdom of God and the Resurrection as seen by the 24 references to Christ’s resurrection throughout the book of Acts. The Apostolic message was the message of the Resurrection.

And yet despite that fact, the Church has seemed to, in a counter intuitive fashion done odd things to and with the Resurrection.

For example, it is likely that the majority report in the Church today, if one counts the mainline Churches, is one wherein one finds a reinterpretation of the Resurrection in a way that seems obviously counter-intuitive to the Scriptural accounts and to people like us.

For example,

After denying a real biological virgin birth theologian Walter Banon wrote,

“No more do we consider the fact that the Christian Church is guided in her faith by an ever present, active Lord. (We are not) “dependent upon the realistic-materialistic conception that the same body which died on the tree of the cross after three days in the grave began to function again.”

To that another Theologian Walter Kunneth added,

“To insist upon the historic character of the resurrection has the result of objectifying it, … that means… that the assertion of its his­toricality leads to an irresistible process of dissolution, which omi­nously threatens the reality of the resurrection itself. “

Kunneth is saying here that if we consider the Resurrection historical the way that we consider the landing of the Mayflower historical we are led to a position where the Resurrection is threatened.

Mennonite theologian Gordon Kaufmann lets us know that “these alleged appearances were, in fact, a series of hallucinations”  and that “Contemporary belief… will not necessarily involve the conviction that the crucified Jesus became personally alive again.”

These are all expressions growing out of the thought of Karl Barth who taught that “If there is to be a genuine hope on the basis of Christ’s resurrection, this can only be if orthodoxy with all its rationalizations be brushed aside.”

In cases like this, we just have to understand that many if not most so-called educated self-referenced Christians in terms of sheer numbers approach the Scripture with an anti-Supernatural bias or failing that in order to protect the Resurrection seek to place the Resurrection in a realm where it can not be verifiable and in so doing make the apprehension of it completely subjective.

But that is not Paul’s thought here in I Corinthians. St. Paul does not argue that the apprehension of the Resurrection is completely subjective. He argues the Resurrection is objectively historically true.

I Cor. 15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

St. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit basis the reality of the resurrection upon the historical record. Upon the objectivity of its truth. He does what any good lawyer does. First he calls in the documented record and then he call in the witnesses to substantiate the record.

His first appeal is to the documentation. The Scripture is appealed to as the primary basis of His authority. St. Paul speaks of Christ that He was raised on the third day according to the Scripture. Paul’s first appeal is to the Scripture record. And of course we see Scripture give testimony to this repeatedly;

Psalm 16:10

Because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.


Peter touches this Psalm in Acts when he says; “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption (Acts 2:29–31).

Peter taught that, because David was a prophet who knew God would one day set one of his descendants on his throne and continue David’s rule through him (2 Samuel 7:11–12, 16), David was prophesying his future descendent, who would be the Messiah (Isaiah 11:1–4). Because God would not abandon this descendant’s soul to Hades (or Sheol, that is, the realm of the dead), nor let his flesh see corruption, he must have died1 and then been resurrected before his body could decay. In this way, David was indeed prophesying the resurrection of the Messiah here.

With that reasoning in our minds then we can read other Psalms and hear the resurrection prophesied from Scripture;

Psalm 49:15
But God will redeem my life from Sheol, for He will surely take me to Himself. Selah

Psalm 86:13
For great is Your loving devotion to me; You have delivered me from the depths of Sheol.

Then we have the one who was the Scripture Incarnated … the Lord Jesus Christ;

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21 ESV)

Matthew 12:40
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matthew 17:9
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Do not tell anyone about this vision until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Matthew 17:23
They will kill Him, and on the third day He will be raised to life.” And the disciples were deeply grieved.

Matthew 20:19
and will deliver Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. And on the third day He will be raised to life.

Matthew 27:63
Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

John 2:19-21
Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…

And this is only a whitman’s sampler. And it is this documented record that St. Paul first appeals to in his argument in I Corinthians for Christ’s resurrection.

So here are the documents. There is another point here besides how Paul appeals to the documents to argue for the resurrection of Christ and that is that Christianity does not allow us to merely speak of it as a “good moral system,” as if that is all that it is demanding of anybody. No, Scripture does not allow us to conclude that it only gives us good morals.

Come, Come, my friends, one who refuses the supernatural and the miraculous does not speak about the quality of a moral system where that moral system finds its chief actors testifying to the supernatural that they do not a-priori believe in. If people do not believe in the possibilities of resurrections they should not speak that they are glad for the morality they find in Christianity.

That is like saying the religion of the Mad Hatter is excellent even though the Mad Hatter was a Lunatic.

Well, back to the original point at hand. Paul appeals to the documented record and after that he appeals to the eye witness record. St. Paul is seeking to establish the fact that the resurrection sits on objective reality.

St. Paul calls forth the witnesses. He does not include all the witnesses but he includes enough. He calls forth Peter to the witness stand. He calls forth the 12 Apostles as eye-witnesses. He includes 500 more and then he himself takes the witness stand. Christ has risen. I saw Him with my own eyes.

You can imagine that if this really were a court scene how many days it would take to put all these witnesses on the stand to get their testimony on the record.

Yet, as stellar as this record is there is no convincing a jury that is already set on disbelieving the witnesses no matter how many they are.  Remember, the parable of Rich man and Lazarus;

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

So, we have all these witnesses of the objectivity of the Resurrection. We have the documents of Scripture that spoke of it before hand and yet we have theologians — so called — who refuse to believe we have an objective word and instead want to base the reliability of the resurrection upon their own subjective experience.  Whatever that is it is not the way the matter is presented in Scripture.


If there are those who want to anchor the Resurrection in their own subjective word even among the good guys in the white hats the Resurrection often gets short shrift. One can find a great deal on the death of Christ but work on the Resurrection is sometimes sparse.

Richard Gaffin, Jr., has shown in his book “Resurrection and Redemption” a paucity in our Theological texts on the significance of the Resurrection. Gaffin cites that Theologians such as Charles Hodge, William Shedd, Abraham Kuyper, Louis Berkhof, and John Murray virtually ignored the resurrection’s significance in their discussions of Christ’s salvific work, even though they had a great deal to say concerning His death. (page 12)

This has also been apparent in the Theologies of other solid orthodox men like Robert Reymond, and A. H. Strong as well as less rigorously orthodox theologians such as Lewis Sperry Chafer, John Walvoord, and Wayne Grudem.

So given both this heretical theology which reinterprets the Resurrection in a baleful direction and this neglecting of duty which hasn’t adequately drawn out the meaning of the Resurrection what might we say are some effects of the Resurrection upon our Christian World and life view?

I.) Dispositional — Joy Unspeakable

John 20:20 After He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

We perhaps easily understand the Disciples joy. They had thought that their Master and friend … the one they had thought was the Messiah, had been successfully eliminated by their Judean enemies. Doubtless, they may have thought they were next on the hit list. Therefore, it is understandable that they would find joy that the Jesus was alive.


“Joy is the normal condition of a believer. His proper state, his healthy state, is that of happiness and gladness.”  Charles Spurgeon


This joy we should gain from the truthfulness of the Resurrection is, first of all, connected to the fact that the Resurrection verifies all the realities in which we have so invested ourselves.

A.) God reigns … the world is not governed by irredeemable death. We do not live in a time plus chance, plus circumstance world.

B.) God’s justice is certain Scripture teaches that the resurrection was a vindication of the ministry of Jesus.

Scripture teaches that Jesus “Was vindicated in the Spirit.” This refers to the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit raising Jesus of Nazareth from the dead on the third day in fulfillment of the Old Testament Messianic prophecies and according to the Father’s will.

This act “vindicated” Jesus of Nazareth in the sense that it demonstrated that His claims that He was the Son of God were true and that the accusations of His enemies were false and that His execution was a travesty of justice.

The resurrection vindicated Jesus of Nazareth’s claims that He was the Son of God and that faith in Him alone was the only way to receive eternal salvation and escape eternal condemnation.

There are many injustices that are left without vindication on this side. The Resurrection of Jesus gives us certainty that the vindication of God’s cause on all counts will be seen. Injustices will be set right.

C.) Death is not final… We win.

This is the one that means the most to me. I never thought 39 years ago that the toughest part of ministry would be watching people die and seeking to give comfort in a situation that on the face of it looks very ugly.

How often have I turned to the Resurrection accounts to remind myself that is not final. It does not get the last word. This life, as wonderful as it is, does not end in absurdity. It ends with glorious Resurrection.

The Resurrection of kith and kin. Resurrection of those I could only admire from afar. Resurrection of the flock. Christ’s resurrection delivers me from … delivers all God’s people from the absurdity of ignoring death right up until the point that it can no longer be ignored. Our loved ones will die. We will die.

But because of Christ’s resurrection we will live again. This should give us joy.. and all the more we get closer to that inevitable date.

Out of the verity of Christ’s Resurrection, we can find joy in the midst of the hardships, disappointments, and trials of life.  He who is Resurrected is at the Right hand of the Father praying for us. He who is Resurrected has promised He would never leave us nor forsake us. He who is Resurrected has promised that we are more than conquerors in Him. These are the concrete truths out of which joy is constructed.

But there is another aspect of where we find Joy in the Resurrection that I want to briefly speak of and that is the Joy found in the certainty that because of the Resurrection of Christ, the Resurrection of the World has begun.  The Resurrection of Christ has set off a chain reaction of Resurrection. St. Paul often will call it “the age to come.” The “age to come” might also be called the Resurrected age.  In Colossians Paul writes that we have been translated into the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son…. we have been placed into the Resurrected age. We are the Resurrected people. Scripture teaches we, even now, have been raised with Christ (Col. 3:1). Having been raised with Christ even now we have tasted of the age to come (Hebrew 6:5). With the coming of Christ, the blessings of the future are manifested among God’s people in the present age.

Christ’s victory over death has far-reaching ripple effects.  Our postmillennial hopes are pinned upon the age to come which has been inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ.  This age to come is the Resurrected age. All of this is why the Apostle can say,

II Cor. 5:17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away.Behold, the new has come!

So, here we are a people who share in Christ’s resurrection who have been translated into the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son. This by itself provides the sinews and tendons of irrepressible joy.

Summarizing, with Resurrection comes joy and part of this joy is the joy of knowing that with Christ’s Resurrection God inaugurates His new age as the means by which the old age will be pushed back and overcome. This truth is our Joy and the World’s fear and trembling.

Already in the NT this joy is everywhere evident. It sings the praises of God, “who according to His great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

II.) Anthropological — Man has an eternal destiny and so significance

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

The Resurrection of Christ reminds us that man as man has meaning.  Without the Resurrection of Christ, there is no transcendent reason to think that man is anything but matter in motion.

But in the Resurrection of Christ we see that man has an eternal destiny and in having an eternal destiny we learn of the significance of man who was made a little lower than the angels.

Because the Resurrection teaches us that resurrection is in each man’s future and so man has significance we command all men everywhere to Repent out of compassion.  Because the Resurrection teaches that resurrection is in each man’s future and thus that man has significance we try and treat people on the basis of that significance.

C. S. Lewis,

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people.

The Resurrection of Christ as we connect it to the promise of Resurrection of all men reminds us that there are no little people. No people who are insignificant or unimportant. No people who deserve any less from us than any image bearer of God might expect.  When we deal with people we are dealing with those who have lived between the eternities and who will live for eternity.

As Calvinists, we would do well to remember this. Too often we are guilty of treating people abruptly and abrasively. The Resurrection reminds us that all men will be resurrected and so all men have eternal significance.

III.) Supernatural

The Resurrection is one of the greatest Miracles in the Scripture. In terms of Worldview, it reminds us that we live in a Universe that is sustained and Governed by God and it reminds us that we are Spiritual as well as corporeal beings.

The Supernatural is part of our Worldview. We are not governed by time plus chance plus circumstance. We are not, as I noted earlier, matter in motion.

Because of the Resurrection and so our confidence in the Supernatural, it is not the case that,

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

Or as more recently said in a novel by ― Janne Teller, Nothing

“The reason dying is so easy is because death has no meaning… And the reason death has no meaning is because life has no meaning. All the same, have fun!”

But because of the imprint of the Supernatural, which the Resurrection bears witness too, we are a people who lean into life differently than the consistent pagan. Because of our conviction of the reality of the Supernatural, we know life has meaning and that the meaning of this life will be taken into the next.

Our certitude regarding the Supernatural gives us the strength to hold the hand of a loved one dying of cancer knowing all is well. Our certitude regarding the Supernatural means the confidence of knowing that the colossal injustices in this life will one day be properly adjudicated. Our certitude regarding the Supernatural means that we adopt the ethic, law and so lifestyle of a God to whom we know we have one day to answer. Our certitude regarding Supernatural resurrection is that which makes marriages last, binds the generations together, and convinces us that all of life is not merely a social construct that can be redefined in any way we might imagine.

The Resurrection is riven with the supernatural and its reality reminds us daily that nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight and so everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

What kind of Christianity is it that desires to strip out the Supernatural in the Resurrection? It is a Christianity that leaves man as God with all the cruelty that arrangement has demonstrated time and again through the centuries.


And so these are just three ways that we might note wherein the Resurrection affects our worldview and so the way we understand and lean into the world. We might also have noted, had we time, how it is that confidence in the Resurrection gives us a future orientation. We might have spoken about how it is that the Resurrection confirms that our sin and guilt has been removed. We might have examined how it is that the Resurrection fills us with confidence and hope and how that impacts the lives we live.  We might also have examined that because of the Resurrection we have been empowered with the Spirit of Christ who has been poured out upon God’s people for service, obedience, and perseverance.

It is our certainty of the Resurrection of Christ that has so much made us the people we are that we can say that there would be no hope apart from the Resurrection. The West would not be the West and we would not be who we are were it not the steady abiding conviction of the Resurrection of Christ. Ideas have consequences.

We can well understand how it is the case that if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.


Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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