Men Most Miserable

What if Jesus Had NOT Risen Again?

1 Corinthians 15:19

Audio MP3


April 24th,  2011 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (1Cor 15:19)


A.    Let me make some strong statements about today…


1.      What Jesus Christ did on the cross only matters if He did not stay in the tomb!

2.      There is not a gospel without the resurrection.


a.       Without the resurrection the good news of the gospel would be bad news. Christ arose is the victory of the gospel. The resurrection of Jesus Christ presents man with eternal salvation. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

b.      Without life from the dead, there would be nothing to look forward to but a cold, dark, permanent grave!


3.      The Bible makes NO SENSE without the resurrection


a.       Then there is no heaven, no hell, no soul

b.      There is no reason to do right – just eat, drink, rob, murder, dance, rape, lie, cheat, take, destroy – because tomorrow we die!


4.      If Christ be not risen from the dead, then we are of all men, most miserable

5.      No wonder our world is in the state it is in – they have nothing beyond the grave!


B.     Most men already ARE miserable


1.      They live as if there is nothing more to this life that what we see, hear, feel, touch and hold

2.      And so the downward spiral of misery, frustration, disappointments, and stress only build and build until people

3.      Oh they may turn to religions, or to drugs, or to hypnosis or to counselling

4.      But deep inside, they are still miserable!


C.     I wonder if we sat and listened to the Apostle Paul this morning talk about the resurrection, if we might be firmly convinced that Jesus was more than just a Man – more than just a great teacher, and that His death on the cross was so much more than just a tragic accident!


II.    Message


A.    The Promise of the Resurrection (Mt 27:63)


1.      For 3 ½ years, the disciples only looked forward to Jesus’ crowning one day in Jerusalem! They believed that He was the Messiah – the King of the Jews!

2.      Yet He always spoke of “betrayal” and death. Over and over again Jesus would tell, not of His worship, but of His coming crucifixion in Jerusalem!

3.      But thankfully, He never spoke of the cross without including the resurrection (Mt 16:21; 17:22,23; 20:18,19)

4.      You see, Jesus was making a promise – that He would not stay dead

5.      Everyone heard it

6.      But no one paid attention to it, except Christ’s enemies (Mt 27:63)


B.     The Problem with the Resurrection (Mt 22:23) – it is Impossible!


1.      The “very” intelligent crowd of the day (the Sadducees) rejected the idea of a literal resurrection – why?


a.       Because it is simply impossible. It would be as impossible as rebuilding a destroyed Temple in Jerusalem, all in just three days – when it had so far taken 46 years to build (Jn 2:19-21)

b.      When life ends, not just brain waves, but when every part of a body ceases to live – the lungs, heart, neurons, and blood vessels – there is just no way that it can come back to life – no way whatsoever


2.      Whenever you have gone to a funeral, and seen the body lying in the casket, they make the body look so good – almost like they are about to open their eyes, and start breathing again, and sit up

3.      But it only takes a few moments before your mind reminds you, that person is gone. Dead. They have died, and they are not getting up!

4.      Dead people don’t get back up.

5.      I’m not talking about people who have been resuscitated after a few minutes; but rather people who have died, and been dead for hours

6.      If you only knew the complexities of life, and how fragile it is and how many things have to be exactly right for someone to be alive, you would understand just how impossible the resurrection is

7.      It is logically impossible to believe in the resurrection of a dead person

8.      It is physically impossible that it could ever happen

9.      Critics simply accept the impossibility as fact

10.  So, what if critics are right? What if Jesus did not get up from the grave?


C.    What If There Is No Resurrection?


1.      Then Jesus Lied (1Cor 15:12-16)


a.       He was really no different than any other mortal man

b.      All His talk about heaven and hell, and angels and demons was false

c.       What we preach is worthless, vain, empty – no substance

d.      And we are found to be liars too!


2.      Then Forgiveness is Impossible (1Cor 15:17)


a.       The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23a)

b.      The soul that sinneth, it shall die!

c.       We all know that justice demands payment for wrong doings

d.      Without life from the dead, then there is no forgiveness

e.       Forgiveness is not a word, it is a power that overwhelms the hurt, and the pain

f.       And without the power of a resurrected life, forgiveness is nothing more than a word!

g.      No wonder people do not forgive – it is because they have never known the resurrection power behind forgiveness

h.      What an Enslaved Life!

i.        People hear all the time…


1)      In AA, once you are an alcoholic, you are ALWAYS an alcoholic

2)      In NA, once you are a drug addict you will always be an addict

3)      People are born with a gene that makes them drunkards

4)      They are born homosexual

5)      They are born paedophiles

6)      They are born with a gene that makes them murder

7)      They are born angry and will die angry

8)      What an enslaved life people live, if there is no resurrection!


j.        Do you know why people don’t really believe the Bible has any answer for man’s problems? Because they don’t believe in the Resurrection!!!

k.      Oh, if only people knew that Jesus DID get up, and lives today!


3.      Then We Have Only Temporary Hope (15:19)


a.       People only live for Now

b.      The only hope people have is a pipe dream – like a vapour

c.       Get all you can

d.      He who dies with the most toys, wins

e.       99% of all Europeans measure success in terms of what they can "lay up for themselves" on earth. And when they die, they hope that that is the end, for they have made no preparations for what lies beyond! They are not willing to look at the problem of death, the end of life on earth, and make no attempt to solve it. To them, “you have only one life to live, so get all you can out of it.”

f.       And so they work, and get

g.      They play and try and have fun

h.      They struggle, and strive for a little bit more

i.        And then at death, everything stops – everything perishes with them

j.        They have put all their hopes into the Stock markets, and the Money Markets, and the land prices, and house prices

k.      They have looked to science and physics – chemistry and biology – hoping for a way to live just one more day

l.        And then they still die

m.    They look to politicians and armies – diplomats and philosophers, only to find that they offer nothing but words

n.      What an empty, fleeting hope that THIS world holds on to!


4.      If there is No resurrection, then people have Only Fear of Death (15:18,30)


a.       They are at risk of dying at any moment

b.      No matter if you are poor or the richest person in the world

c.       Doesn’t matter if you have the best doctor or a witch doctor

d.      At any moment your heart could stop, you car could blow a tyre and you lose control into an oncoming lorry

e.       At any moment a building could collapse on top of you

f.       A hole could open up beneath you swallowing you up in the blink of an eye

g.      At any moment a bomb meant for someone else could go off and take you with it – like the 29 people killed in the Omagh Bombing

h.      No wonder people fear dying – fear falling asleep – fear going into surgery – fear stepping out of their homes… BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID that THAT is the end!


5.      All men are only most miserable, if they would just admit it!


a.       Howard Hughes. William Randolph Hearst. Michael Jackson

b.      Cary Grant, Janice Joplin, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley

c.       Oh, you can be deceived into thinking Bill Gates is wondrously happy with his billions, and all the Rap singers are happy with all the girls, and all the cars, and all the money – but the highest rate of suicide and murder among musicians is found in the Rap culture!

d.      They are miserable! They pay tens of thousands of euros in counselling, and for prescription drugs and sleeping pills, and stimulants

e.       AND some of YOU are miserable, because to you, Jesus is not very much alive! Because maybe you have forgotten that He not only died to save you, he rose again to KEEP you and secure you, and get you home!


D.    The Proof Of The Resurrection - the Resurrection DID Happen (Acts 26:8)


1.      Act 26:8  Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?

2.      You see, we are not talking about a world without God! You see, GOD changes the equation! Always has and always will, if you will let Him be in charge of your life, AND your death!

3.      The Empty Tomb Proves it (Mt 27:60; 28:1,2)


a.       All other religious leaders, secular leaders, political leaders – they all are enshrined in their tombs

b.      But NOT Jesus of Nazareth!

c.       Anyone could see and verify that there is nobody in the tomb

d.      People have even gone so far as to try and say that the fact that there is no body means that Jesus never existed! Right!

e.       It means He is ALIVE!!!!


4.      The Enemies of Christ Prove it (Mt 28:15)


a.       That is a very powerful proof that Jesus is Alive

b.      They could not find the body – if anybody would have been able to find the body of Jesus, it would have been a mob of angry Pharisees who had authority to search every square inch of Jerusalem and Judaea

c.       Certainly a hundred Roman soldiers would have been able to find the mangled body of Jesus – it could not have been carried far

d.      So, they had to bribe the soldiers, and the Roman Governor to make it seem like the body had been stolen

e.       Their inability to find the body is a powerful proof


5.      The Eleven Disciples Prove It Happened


a.       The eleven disciples had been reduced to a trembling group of cowards hiding behind a locked door.  The Man they had followed for three years was dead, and in their opinion He had failed in his mission.  They had expected him to take over the government and establish an earthly kingdom, and yet he had been easily captured and tortured and murdered right before their eyes!

b.      And yet, from these same eleven men came the theology of the most successful religion in the history of the world, and they based the credibility of that religion on a literal bodily resurrection of a dead person (Acts 3:13-15; 4:33; 25:13-19)

c.       They said they saw him.  They said they touched him.  They said they even ate with him.  They said he was alive.  And when they started saying these things, people started to become Christians!


6.      The Appearance of Jesus Proves It (1Cor 15:3-8)


a.       Jesus appeared first to the women at the tomb: Mary Magdalene specifically

b.      Then to ten of the disciples

c.       Then to 2 on the Road to Emmaus

d.      Then to the eleven, including Thomas – told him to put his doubt to the test!

e.       Then to over 500 over the next 40 days!!!

f.       Then to even the murderer Saul of Tarsus!


7.      The Effect on the World Proves It


a.       No other theology has ever affected people so much as the idea that God would become a Man, and live just like us perfectly, and then allow Himself to be betrayed and then tortured and murdered at the hands of the very people he loved

b.      It turned the world upside down – just with the good news that Jesus is alive!

c.       Him being ALIVE affected me – changed my life

d.      It changed a religious murderer (Saul) into the greatest soul-winner ever

e.       It changed doubting Thomas into the Martyr Thomas in India

f.       I didn’t believe a new dogma, or a new creed – I believed that Jesus is alive and well

g.      The greatest nations have come about because of the revelation that Jesus really did come back to life, just as he promised!


E.     The Power of the Resurrection


1.      Because of the Resurrection… Because He got up – because He unwrapped Himself – because He folded up the grave-clothes and placed the face napkin aside – because He kept His promise…

2.      Proves that Jesus is Lord (1Cor 15:47; Philp 2:5-11) – “IS lord!”

3.      Proves that OUR Resurrection is Certain (1Cor 15:50-53)


a.       We can’t go into heaven in THESE bodies

b.      We ARE going to be changed

c.       In a moment – in the twinkling of an eye

d.      Resurrected with a b rand new body

e.       Immortal – can’t die

f.       A body just like Jesus’


4.      Proves that Death has No More Fear, no more sting (1Cor 15:54-56)!


a.       Death itself has already been beaten – defeated!

b.      We who believe in the risen Jesus, do not fear death anymore – it is compared to simply falling asleep

c.       As a matter of fact, death is a good thing


1)      We don’t die – we just move house (2Cor 5:1-8)

2)      We finally are freed from the effects of sin (Rom 6:6,7)


d.      When a believer dies, we don’t weep like the world does – we KNOW that we are going to see them again!

e.       It is when an ungodly man or woman dies that we weep – because they truly ARE gone – not destroyed, but separated from God, and from hope, and from heaven! And that there is no more chance to be forgiven!


5.      Proves that Whatever we go through, will be worth it (1Cor 15:57,58)


a.       Troubles don’t matter so much now (2Cor 4:14-17)

b.      God promises to make EVERYTHING worth it

c.       We have a very good reason to put up with THIS life – because there is a BETTER one coming!

d.      We have every reason now to pray for our enemies, go the second mile, turn the other cheek, and love the unloveable

e.       Because of the resurrection!


6.      Proves that He is coming again – He keeps ALL His promises!


III. Conclusion


A.    What Jesus Christ did on the cross only matters if He did not stay in the tomb!


1.      There is not a gospel without the resurrection.

2.      The Bible makes NO SENSE without the resurrection

3.      If Christ be not risen from the dead, then we are of all men, most miserable

4.      No wonder our world is in the state it is in – they have nothing beyond the grave!


B.     Most men already ARE miserable

C.     This morning we have been challenged to fully believe that He lives!


1.      He gave us His promise that He would rise again!

2.      He overcame every Problem with the Resurrection

3.      He gave us every proof that the Resurrection DID Happen


a.       The Empty Tomb

b.      The Enemies of Christ

c.       The Eleven Disciples Prove It Happened

d.      The Appearance of Jesus Proves It (1Cor 15:3-8)

e.       The Effect on the World Proves It


D.    Let’s allow The Power of the Resurrection to Affect Our Lives Once Again!


1.      Because of the Resurrection… Because He got up – because He unwrapped Himself – because He folded up the grave-clothes and placed the face napkin aside – because He kept His promise…

2.      Let Jesus Be Lord – in control

3.      Look forward to heaven – start living eternal life NOW

4.      Ignore the fear of death

5.      Remind yourself that Whatever we go through, will be worth it (1Cor 15:57,58)

6.      Look forward to Him coming again – He keeps ALL His promises!


E.     Somebody summarized the question this way… If Christ be not risen


1.      Faith is a farce (17a)

2.      Forgiveness is a fallacy (17b)

3.      Faithfulness is a folly (18)

4.      Future is a forfeit (19)


F.      But, Because Jesus is alive…


1.      We are sure there is a place called heaven.

2.      We can be sure of our salvation.

3.      We believe all of our loved ones that died in the lord are waiting for us in heaven.

4.      No one has to go to hell.

5.      I have the privilege of inviting you to trust him as your Saviour today!




1.      A Young boy named Jonathan had been promised a new puppy for his 10th birthday, but had a tough time choosing between a dozen likely candidates at the neighborhood pet shop.

2.      Finally, he decided upon one shaggy pup that was wagging his tail furiously.

3.      Jonathan was asked, “Why that one?”

4.      He explained, “I Want The One With The Happy Ending.”

5.      Your Life Can Have A Happy Ending If You Trust Jesus As Your Savior and Live For Him.


H.    Invitation


1.      In Rom 3:23, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

2.      And Rom 6:23, the wages of sin is death

3.      But the best part comes next!

4.      But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

5.      Rom 5:8, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

6.      Jesus died, and was buried, and rose again according to the Scriptures

7.      John 3:16!!!