1 Corinthians 15:16-23
We have talked at some length about the Resurrection as an encouragement to believers, and it surely is; however, it is far more than just that.
Joseph Smith founded the Mormon Church. Buddha founded Buddhism. Charles Taze Russell founded the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The prophet Mohammed founded Islam. Other than founding a religion, what do all of those have in common? They are all dead. In fact, they all died just like normal people die, from normal things which cause human death. They died normal deaths, and have stayed quite dead. There are a couple of things of additional note. None of these claimed to have died for their followers, and their follower do not claim this. None of these made any claims that they would come back to life, and their followers do not claim that they did.
Friends, only Jesus claimed that His express purpose was to die for those who follow Him. Only Jesus claimed he would overcome that death and rise again to life. Furthermore, Christians are the only people who claim that their savior actually did all of these things.
The equation here is astoundingly simply, and Paul summed it up well in our verse today. If Christ is not raised, our faith is useless; in fact it is nonexistent. If Christ stayed dead, then when we die we will as well. In fact, if Jesus stayed dead, then we are already dead in our sins and will stay that way.