1 Corinthians 15:14-20 King James Version (KJV)
“14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.”
If the resurrection did not happen then everything I would be doing right now in teaching and preaching, and every church in the world, would basically be in vain. Christianity and ministry wouldn't actually matter for anything, our faith for eternity with Jesus would also be in vain and we would also be found to be false witnesses of God – liars – our faith would be in vain and we would be dead in our sins. If Jesus had not risen from the day then we're all just waiting to become compost – there would be no hope for eternity! But verse 20 says, “but now is Christ risen from the dead!” Jesus is alive and because he's alive our faith is not just a fantasy; our faith is based on substance!
The resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate proof of the accuracy of his doctrine. It proves that he is who he says he is – God! This means that we should listen to what he said.
The resurrection of Jesus makes Christianity different from any other religion because we're not dealing with a tomb which is got a corpse in it, we’re dealing with a real alive person. We're not just dealing with principles. Every other religion in the world is a powerless philosophy or a way of life to follow. Christianity is not a way of life; Christianity is not a religion – Christianity is a relationship with a real person that you can talk to and have Him talk back to you. 1 John 1:2-3 New King James
1 John 1:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
They’re talking about a tangible experience not just an idea or philosophy. They're not just saying that an Angel visited them or they had a dream or vision… they're saying that they experienced something; that they touched something (Someone!). Christianity is fellowship with a real person who is living. This is an experience to be had, it's not just some kind of tradition which has been passed down from generation to generation. The writer of this First Book of John is telling us that this is something he’s experienced and that we can experience, too!
1 John 1:1-3 The Passion Translation (TPT)
1 We saw him with our very own eyes.
We gazed upon him and heard him speak.
Our hands actually touched him,
the one who was from the beginning,
the Living Expression of God.
2 This Life-Giver was made visible
and we have seen him.
We testify to this truth:
the eternal Life-Giver
lived face-to-face with the Father
and has now dawned upon us.
3 So we proclaim to you
what we have seen and heard
about this Life-Giver
so that we may share and enjoy
this life together.
For truly our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus, the Anointed One.
Christianity is not just something to follow. Christianity is not just a set of principles to live by. True Christianity is about a real person (who died for our sins and was raised up to give us a new life) and having a real relationship with that Person (Jesus Christ). We can experience the risen Christ! We can have a relationship with the risen Christ! Amen!