The Hope of Eternal Life
by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: I Corinthians 15:12-19
I. It is no secret that many ministers in the denominational world lack faith in the Bible.
A. Methodists: 51%, Episcopalians: 35%, American Baptist: 33%, Presbyterians 30%, American Lutherans: 13% doubt Jesus’ physical resurrection [Jeffrey Hadden, results of a survey of 7,441 Protestant ministers published in PrayerNet Newsletter, 1998-NOV-13, Page 1.]
B. One in four Evangelicals are not certain that the physical resurrection of Jesus was a real historical event. [State of American Theology Study, Lifeway Research, 2014].
C. 66% of Americans believe the biblical accounts of Jesus’ bodily resurrection are completely accurate [“Americans Hold Complex, Conflicting Religious Beliefs, According to Latest State of Theology Study,” Lifeway Research, 8 September 2020]
1. In Britain, only 17% of British adults believe the Bible version of the resurrection as described word-for-word
2. And it rises only to 31% if you include those who call themseves Christians [“Resurrection did not happen, say quarter of Christians,” BBC News, 9 April 2017].
D. Obviously, the source of the denominations problems is in their seminaries. Clem Thurman once wrote about taking a course in a prominent “Christian University.” The professor was a well-known denominational preacher. “He made no secret of his lack of faith that Jesus had been raised from the dead, even suggesting that dogs probably stole and ate the body. But he said, ‘Whether or not Jesus was actually raised from the dead does not change the good life Jesus lived, nor the great ethical teaching He gave to the world.”
E. This man could not be more wrong.
1. The resurrection of Jesus is a major foundation of Christianity.
a. If it were not true, we are followers of a bunch of liars.
b. If it were not true, then we have no hope of heaven because there is no evidence of a resurrection.
c. And as Paul concludes - I Corinthians 15:16-19
2. Without this key fact, Christianity crumbles away.
II. The assurance of eternal life
A. Jesus spoke of life after death
1. Mark 10:29-30 - There is gain both now and in eternal life
B. Jesus’ audience understood that there was life after death - Matthew 19:16
C. The apostles spoke of eternal life - Roman 6:22-23; I John 5:11-13
D. It is a core belief, spoken of as a fact - I Corinthians 15:20-22, 42-44
E. Hebrews 6:19-20 - An anchor that Jesus has entered into heaven
F. Hebrews 5:9 - That Jesus is able to give it to us as well
III. The knowledge of eternal life alters our view of this life
A. The worldly-minded person only lives for the here and now.
1. His morality reflects this belief.
2. Personal comfort in this life is the primary goal, since this is all for which he hopes.
B. How would it affect our lives?
1. If we know that one day we will face judgement? - Hebrews 9:27
2. If we realize that this world is temporary? - II Peter 3:11-14
C. We live for the one who died and arose for us - II Corinthians 5:14-17
D. Our life does not consist of our possessions - Luke 12:15
E. Our treasure is in heaven - Matthew 6:20
F. The Christian’s life is marked by his desire to be with Christ - Philippians 1:21-23
G. This is what altered Moses’ life - Hebrews 11:24-26
IV. Our hope becomes our incentive
A. It causes us to purify our lives - I John 3:2-3
B. It teaches us to live righteously - Titus 2:11-13
C. It gives faith and love - Colossians 1:3-5
D. Hopes sustains us through sorrows - I Thessalonians 4:13
E. It gives us cause to be joyful - Romans 12:12
F. It is a motivation to teach others - Philippians 2:14-16
G. It helps us to continue on - Romans 8:23-25
H. To gain the full assurance of hope - Hebrews 6:9-12
V. Eternal life is the ultimate victory
A. Knowing there is a life in the hereafter keeps us steady - I Corinthians 15:54-58
B. It is the resurrection of Jesus that gives birth to this hope - I Peter 1:3-5
C. Christ has left us an example to follow in his steps - I Peter 2:21-25