Coney Hill Baptist Church

Demonstrating God’s Love Together

Cause Effecct

 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

 3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

 9For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.

Intro:

As we’ve considered the resurrection appearances of Jesus, and thought about the journey of the disciples, from frightened doubters to fearless apostles, we have, naturally enough, focussed on the gospels ... the last chapter or so of each of them.   But now we find ourselves in the heart of the subsequent New Testament story, in the middle of the mission to which the disciples were called, and we see these appearances referred to again, more than that, Paul gives us new information as to just how extraordinary and widespread this resurrection awareness was – and how fundamental to everything that came after.

In Corinth, all sorts of things were going wrong. The Church there, even in this first generation, was full of life and energy, but was making a real mess of things. Paul’s letters to them are an attempt to sort it out.  As he gets near to the end of this, his first letter, he gets back to basics.  He reminds them again of the truth, and the power, of the resurrection, it’s as if he is saying, it is the resurrection that not only creates disciples, out of frightened men, but also continues to sustain them and equip them, in each new situation, to be followers of Jesus where they are.  It’s the resurrection that causes disciples and the resurrection which makes them effective.

Take your stand…

A Reminder, of the gospel, on which they’ve based their lives, made their foundation…     

It’s all they have, to save them, to hold onto…

 

Make your priority…

The first thing, the most important thing, he says is Jesus … not only his identity, character and teaching, but what he did.  …

On what basis?  On real evidence…

The fact of the resurrection is so important that you’d better understand its not myth or allegory, or ‘religious tradition’, but bold, stark, historical truth.  As such he unleashes a crescendo of conviction, cascading from Peter’s arrival at the empty tomb, through the disciples, to crowds of believers and sceptics alike, down to Jesus’ brother, James, and Paul himself, in the next wave.  The Corinthians, and we, can be confident enough of this event to make it the focal point of or lives, to be effective disciples we have to  …

 

Have an Effect…

Paul, despite his undoubted abilities, feels himself to be the worst and the least …with good reason.  But he has come to know the impact of this resurrection… grace …. and to see its effect.  The whole world saw its effect to, not least through him.

 

Conc.

Stuff happens, things matter, actions, our actions have impact - circumstances create them, consequences follow them. 

We don’t live in isolated bubbles – we’re influential. 

Cause and effect, scientists like to analyse each circumstance as a hinge of what has gone before, and that which comes after. 

Me and you, here today, followers of Jesus, disciples.  We are because he is alive, he has risen, He has made it possible for us to see him, know him, follow him, just like Peter, like James, like Paul. His resurrection is the cause of our being Christians, without it we are nothing.

But what are we to do? Paul is just as clear, we are, with confidence, to take on this world and change it, transform it into the likeness of Jesus, knowing that His power, His Hope, His mission is guaranteed by that first Easter.

His resurrection fuels the effect of our being Christians, as we take our stand, make our priority, and see our, even our, impact  reflect this most basic yet most wonderful reality.