TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
Regarding First Corinthians 15:6, Thomas Coke said, “The appearance to the 500 was probably in Galilee, where our Saviour had a very great number of disciples. This is so far from being an objection to the truth of our Saviour’s resurrection, that it is a glorious proof of the contrary. Had it been an imposture, so many false hearts and tongues could never have acted in concert; nor would they all have kept the secret, which remorse, interest, and perhaps often torture, might urge them to divulge.”
Today, we are continuing our series drawn from the Word of God, the Holy Bible, and a historical text based on the Word of God, the Holy Bible, that was passed down from the early church all the way to us today — the Nicene Creed. In this series, we are talking about the importance of the historical Christian faith that was passed down to us from the early church, how that we as Christians who are falling away from it ought to return to it, and how that the world ought to hear it so they can believe on Christ.
Regarding the purpose of the Nicene Creed, Robert Goff said, “One of the purposes of the Creed was to give continuity to Christianity as it expanded over the world. As the faith spread across the globe it found itself interacting with the customs and practices of the indigenous people. In many instances new converts found themselves adopting the practices of Christianity in conjunction with their old way of life. This led to a myriad of heretical beliefs. The Creed gave a firm theological basis for universal Christian faith and doctrine so that as the faith spread globally its core tenants would stay firm.”
In this series, we have looked at the following factual statements from the Nicene Creed:
We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and was buried.
Today, we will continue looking at the next section of the new Nicene Creed, which deals with the resurrection and the evidence for the resurrection:
The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
He was seen alive by Mary Magdalene and the other women,
the disciples, and over five hundred other brethren;
From the words of the Nicene Creed, we see three important facts about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We looked at the necessity of Jesus’ resurrection. We have looked at the unlikely evidence for Jesus’ resurrection — that women were the first to find the empty tomb and the first to declare the risen Lord.
Today, we are looking at FURTHER EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY OF THE RESURRECTION. Jesus was also “seen alive” by “the disciples, and over five hundred other brethren.” These are men and women who met with, talked with, and ate with Jesus after His crucifixion. It is impossible that all of them were hallucinating, experiencing flashbacks, or fabricating a story. Paul even adds in his letter, “the greater part [of these eyewitnesses] remain [alive] unto this present [day], but some are fallen asleep [or have died].” He says, “Most of these guys are still alive. You don’t have to take my word for it. Go ask them.”
The disciples and brethren who saw Jesus alive went on to establish the church in Jerusalem. Jesus’ crucifixion was a major event in the life of the city. Historians tell us that the population of Jerusalem was normally about 100,000. But, during Passover, the city’s population swelled to around 3 million as Jews from all over the diaspora traveled to the city for the commemoration. Everybody knew what had happened to Jesus, not only in Jerusalem, but in the surrounding areas as people left the city and traveled back home. It would have been ridiculos for Jesus’ followers to begin preaching that Jesus was alive when everybody knew He was dead — unless He actually was alive.
The disciples’ preaching about a risen Jesus only got them persecuted and killed. And that is yet another evidence that the resurrection really happened. Dr. Jonathan Morrow said, “The earliest disciples would have known — not just believed, but would have known — that either Jesus was who He claimed to be and was actually raised from the dead or they were making this thing up. And yet history tells us that we have good reason to think they all went to their death with the exception of one for that core belief: that Jesus was raised from the dead. They didn’t recant that. Conspiracies break down under pressure. And this conspiracy would have cost them their lives.”
The disciples were willing to die for Jesus because Jesus had died for them — and because they knew that since He had risen from the dead, He would raise them from the dead as well.
On yesterday, I shared with you part of an interview between Focus On the Family host Jim Daly and investigative journalist Lee Strobel who described how women being the leaders in the resurrection account bolsters the claim that Jesus actually, physically rose from the dead. After investigating this evidence on his own as an atheist, Lee Strobel came to the conclusion that what the Bible says is true, and that led him to give his life to Christ. He said in the interview, “I read John 1:12 which says, ‘But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believed in His name.’ That verse forms an equation of what it means to become a child of God — believe plus receive equals become. So believing is a great first step. Believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be. He claimed to be the son of God. He backed up that claim by returning from the dead. I believe that based on the historical data. But that wasn’t enough. I had to receive this free gift of God’s grace, forgiveness, and eternal life that Jesus purchased on the cross when He died for our sins as our substitute and paid for all of the sins that we’ve committed so that we could be given this free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. And then when we receive that gift in a prayer of repentance and faith, then we become a child of God… I think there’s a lot of people who would agree with the resurrection evidence, but their life hasn’t changed. Their values haven’t changed. Their character hasn’t changed. Their morality hasn’t changed. Because they haven’t taken that next step — to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior in a prayer of repentance and faith.”
If you are ready to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.