If Christ is Not Risen... by Pastor Jeff McCarthy

“And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty, and your faith is also empty.”

I Cor. 15:14 NKJV

As we continue our sermon series called “Fact Checking the Resurrection”, the facts lead us to people. When looking at the Bible accounts from a historical perspective, these people are giving eyewitness accounts of their encounter with the Resurrected Lord. Not only did they believe in the risen Christ, but their lives were also transformed by their faith.

The disciples themselves went from being followers in hiding from the authorities to bold proclaimers of the gospel. A well-known skeptic, James the half-brother of Jesus, became a believer after his encounter with the resurrected Christ. Also, a religious persecutor of the church, Saul became a missionary evangelist after experiencing the Resurrected Christ.

If Christ had not risen, there would be no reason for these people to remain in the faith as Christians. Their faith would be empty. And if their faith was empty, our faith would be too. That word empty is translated in the KJV as “vain” and in the NLT as “useless”.

When you look that word up in Strong’s concordance it literally describes an empty vessel that contains nothing. It means “devoid of truth.” The word can also mean “without effect” or “of no purpose”. So, if the resurrection is false, their words and lives have no effect, and they have no real purpose. In other words, these people who claim to have seen the Risen Jesus are all just empty vessels, whose story is false, and they are living a lie.

As I have been thinking about this emptiness described in this passage, it dawned on me: that is the emptiness that people feel when they have not encountered the resurrected Christ by faith and have not had their lives transformed. They are empty vessels. They are indeed “devoid of truth.” Sadly, many live their lives with no purpose.

Just as we will examine the facts about these people in the next few Sundays leading up to Easter, I thought about us. If people examined the facts of our lives, would we be known as people who have experienced Christ, whose lives were transformed, and who were living effective lives full of purpose? It is our prayer that we will indeed be people whose faith is full, not empty.

I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor.


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