“If Christ Has Not Been Raised . . . “
Paul says there are six things that would be in shambles if Christ did not rise from the dead. Then verse 20 reverses the whole paragraph: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.” So let’s look at those six things.
- Verse 14: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain.” But since Christ has been raised, our preaching is not in vain.
- Verse 14: ” . . . and your faith is in vain.” But since Christ has been raised, our faith is not in vain.
- Verse 15: If Christ has not been raised, “we are found to be misrepresenting God [literally: we are false witnesses], because we testified of God that he raised Christ.” But since Christ has been raised, the apostles are not false witnesses about the work of God.
- Verse 17: “If Christ has not been raised then your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” But since Christ has been raised, we are not still in our sins.
- Verse 18: If Christ has not been raised, then “those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.” But since Christ has been raised, the dead in Christ have not perished.
- Verse 19: If Christ has not been raised, then “we are of all men most to be pitied.” But since Christ has been raised, we are not to be pitied.
Stating the Negatives in Positive Terms
But what really made the lights go on for me, and what showed me the good news that six of my deepest longings were being met here by the resurrection of Jesus was when I tried to go back and restate each of these six reversals in positive terms. So far we have used negatives: “preaching not in vain . . . faith not in vain . . . etc.” Now we need to see what God has really done for us in raising Jesus from the dead. We see this when we put all these negatives into positives.
I’m going to switch the order around this time because when the resurrection starts meeting our needs, there is a kind of pattern that fits our experience. I want to follow that pattern as we look at each of our longings being satisfied.
[Piper goes on to list all six positives, with detailed explanations of each, and then concludes the sermon with the following…]
The Greatest News in All the World
The greatest news in all the world is that God and his Son are most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in them. And to make that true God raised his Son Jesus from the dead to reign forevermore.