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The Day Hope Eclipsed Death, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
April 6, 2023 7:05 am

The Day Hope Eclipsed Death, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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April 6, 2023 7:05 am

Compelled by the Cross


What could possibly be worse than living without hope? It's one of the darkest places in all of life. Maybe you've been there.

It's awful. Sinking into the darkness of despair ushers in a sense of futility that's unbearable. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll begins his sixth and final message in a brand new Easter series. It's called Compelled by the Cross. And in this final study, we'll examine what makes the crucifixion of Christ so devastating and his resurrection from the dead so joyful. Easter morning is God's solution to man's despair. This morning we want to read from the Word of God. As recorded in the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians. Please locate that in your Bible. We'll be reading beginning at verse 12, 1 Corinthians 15.

I'll be reading from a New Living Translation as you follow along. 1 Corinthians 15, 12 begins, But tell me this, since we preached that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there's no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless and your faith is useless.

And we apostles would be lying about God. For we have said that God raised Christ from the grave, but that can't be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you're still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost.

And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of the great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection. If Christ was raised as the first of the harvest, then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. After that, the end will come when he will turn the kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. You're listening to Insight for Living.

To dig deeper into the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to slash studies. And now the message from Chuck titled The Day Hope Eclipsed Death. No hope, no hope. Are there any two more desolate words to hear on this earth than those two words?

I don't think so. Think about it. What's worse than being hopeless? For example, you've not been feeling well for quite some time. You're not sleeping well. You're running a fever that for some reason doesn't stop. You're beginning to feel some numbness in your hands, tingling in your fingers. At times, your eyesight plays tricks on you.

You're troubled by that. You realize you need a full-on physical examination. You live in Minneapolis, so nearby is Mayo Clinic. So you want to go to Mayo's and have them do a workup, thorough examination. You go, more than one physician works with you, puts you through a battery of tests. You're told after the end of a couple of very busy days to go home, you'll be contacted when all the results come in. You get that call and the physician says to you, I want you to come and meet me at my office and bring your spouse with you. Both of you go back to Mayo's and the news is not good. You have ALS. He gives you the long three words that represents, then he uses an expression you've heard, Lou Gehrig's disease. There is no hope of recovery.

No hope. Your 18-year-old son has done very well through high school, in fact, so well that he's earned a scholarship. And of all things, he's been accepted at the college of his choice. He's the youngest in your family and all of you are thrilled for him. The other members of the family have either gotten into school or they're on their way to their life pursuits and you'll soon be empty nesters, so this is the last one. The morning he leaves for school, you have time together around the kitchen table. You talk about life and what he has in front of you, in front of him, and you fight back the tears a little. You give him long hugs before he drives away. You stand there arm in arm with your mate and the taillights fade.

Oh, and you certainly said to him what every parent says, drive safely. In the middle of that night that comes, there's a shrill phone call. That never brings good news. A middle of the night call, and you hear there was a head on collision with an 18-wheeler. They airlifted your son, but the hospital could not revive him, and he is gone. No hope of ever hugging him on this earth again.

No hope. One of your best friends is a teacher at a local Christian school. The school isn't large, but it's excellent. She has a class full of 24 very busy second grade students, and they're looking forward to the day. You have your lesson plan, this teacher does, and you're underway and this day is running its course, and suddenly the back door bolts open and walks a disheveled man with an assault rifle. He begins to fire indiscriminately, children drop. The teacher doesn't even have time to warn them, and then he aims that weapon directly at the teacher, fires one shot into her chest, then kills himself.

You're in your car traveling that day and news travels quickly, especially tragic news like this, and you're thinking, no, no, no. Not that school. Not that teacher. She's gone. That old word comes again, death.

No hope of ever having a cup of coffee together, a wonderful conversation, laughter, and a time of talking about life. And how about your daughter? Finally got her MBA, got on at the firm she had been looking forward to as a CPA and passes that exam as well, and she's underway. She works for the firm for over a year and is transferred to New York City, and on that September morning she shows up early, the meeting will be held in the Twin Towers, the North Tower.

The date is September the 11th, 2001. Your daughter is sitting there with the others in the room, her laptop is there, open, and suddenly there's a jolt. Everyone in the room thinks it might be a brief earth tremor.

Someone mentions it sounded like something hit the building. The alarms are going off and before your daughter knows it, the room is filling with smoke. They're told that the elevator no longer works and the plane hit below you, below her, and the stairwell is blocked. There's no hope of escape. There's no hope of rescue. She calls you on her cell phone and says goodbye and jumps to her death. No hope of being with her again.

No hope. Listen to the words, because with them comes that twin word, that harshest of all realities, death. Death.

Webster offers this stark, cold definition. The cessation of life on earth. The termination of earthly existence. It is irretrievable. And without hope, it's the end.

Many different causes with the same result. After a lingering terminal illness, death. After that dreadful collision on the highway, death. After a mass murder of helpless, innocent, precious children and that wonderful teacher, death. And your precious daughter. No recovery, no survival, no rescue, no hope.

Let it get set in your mind. This is how most people live. No wonder life is frightening.

No wonder they live for the most toys. These two words are the most chilling you can hear. No hope. When we turn to 1 Corinthians 15, it is interesting that the writer puts himself in the place of the skeptic. That doesn't happen often in Scripture.

Here, Paul does that. Some of you say, there in Corinth, that there is no resurrection from the dead. Life ends without hope. Alright, let's go with that, the writer says.

Let's follow that to its logical conclusions. In verses 13 through 19 of this 15th chapter, he offers seven results. They stand like dominoes on the end in a row, bumping up against one another. Seven of them.

13 through 19. Look at your Bible. Let's take them one after another. If there is no hope of resurrection from death, first, Christ has not been raised. Christ died and stayed dead.

So, to believe that, you have to ignore all the evidence. A stone was strangely rolled away. Grave wrappings around the body of Jesus are still in place, like wrapped around a mummy, but there's no body inside.

If the body was stolen, how did they re-wrap that body without its being inside? And what about those appearances? One after another, after another, after another. One of those appearances was before 500 people. Some say it's hallucination.

500 hallucinations? It takes more faith to believe that than a resurrection. But let's stay with it. Let's say there's no hope.

Arnold Toynbee was right. You produce a body and Christianity crumbles, but they can't find that cadaver. It's never shown up. In all the Middle East, no one's ever presented a body that fits the DNA of Jesus of Nazareth. But, let's say, there's no hope of resurrection. So, Christ wasn't raised. Second, verse 14.

Look, first part of the verse. All our preaching is a waste. It's nothing more than hot air. Now, some of you may have believed that all along anyway, but let's just say, in this case, in light of no hope of resurrection, all this preaching stuff is meaningless. Just a ranting of words, cult-like leaders from one Sunday to the next, mere men mouthing empty verbiage.

Nothing to it. You've got to believe that as well, because our message without hope is an empty message. It's a waste of your time and the one delivering this empty message. Third, look at the end of verse 14. Your faith is also useless.

The term means devoid of content. In other words, your faith doesn't do for you what you thought it would do. All this talk about faith? Have faith to believe this? Faith trusting in one who has made these promises? Nothing to it.

Nothing. Trusting is like that preaching comment. It's a waste of time, which brings us to our fourth. In verse 15, look for yourself. We've been lied to. You've listened to lies. All your Christian life, from your earliest days as a child, those were lies. The gospel was a lie. Those who gave that gospel to you spoke lies.

These so-called great people of the Bible. John was a liar. Peter, a liar. Matthew, a liar. James, a liar. Paul, another liar. If Jesus wasn't raised, they've lied to us. They told us something that isn't true. They've deceived us into believing a false message.

No hope. If we go with that, verse 17 says we're still guilty of our sins. That one stings. You've fought all this time that your past, which has its shameful points, we all have them, the guilt that has wrapped itself around you and your lost estate. You've been told that when you trusted in Christ, your guilt and your shame were both removed. But if there's no resurrection, there's no way it's going to be taken away.

And so Paul puts his finger on it. Your sins have not been washed away. You believed all this time that, though they were crimson-like, they'll be washed white as snow.

Nope, nope, no such hope. Still in our sins, still wrapped in guilt. And look at verse 18. This one really hits close to home. All dead believers are lost.

That'll grip you. My mother, a believer, died when she was 63. We count on the resurrection to see her again.

Nope, not again. There's no hope. She died. She's lost.

My father died nine years later, buried him. He's lost also. Even though he spoke openly of Christ, as did my mother, your mother and father quite likely, your grandparents. How about those who led them to Christ and down through the ages, those faithful evangelists, those messengers, your mentors, your teachers, those who took time to develop the faith that grew you into the maturity you have today. They've died and they're lost. They died lost.

They believed in a hoax. Even, how about this one, martyrs whom we extoll like few others died in vain. Their epitaph reads, died in Christ will soon rise. It's wrong.

It's wrong. It should read died in Christ, believed in vain, perished. We are, look at verse 19 wraps it up. We are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. What a bunch of fools we've been to gather like this, to listen to someone talk from a book that means nothing. You want to know the truth? If there is no resurrection from the dead, the one with the most toys won. We lost. There was nothing to this subject of sacrificial living and dedicated service. We're to be pitied more than any others on this earth. But wait, aren't you glad the chapter doesn't end in verse 19?

I love this 20th verse. Look closely. First Corinthians 15 verse 20, but in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. The evidence proves it. The witnesses declare it. The changed lives verify it. But from the scriptures, we read it over and over again, promised here, fulfilled there. One of my mentors used to put it this way. The resurrection of Christ is God's amen to Jesus.

It is finished. You're listening to Insight for Living and the Bible teaching of pastor and author Chuck Swindoll. Chuck titled his message, The Day Hope Eclipsed Death. And there's much more teaching from this passage in First Corinthians 15 coming up. If you'd like to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at Also, let me remind you that Chuck wrote a book called The Darkness and the Dawn describing the paradox of the cross.

Yes, Jesus' crucifixion was horrific, but in those awful moments of pain and suffering, he unleashed his power to mankind. We highly recommend this uplifting book to anyone who wishes to celebrate the resurrection in a fresh and meaningful way. Chuck's book is called The Darkness and the Dawn, and you can purchase a copy right now by going to slash store. Or call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. This daily program is made possible by those who financially support the ministry of Insight for Living. And if it's been a while since you've sent a donation, we invite you to join in this worthy effort. We can assure you that your gift, no matter the size, truly makes a difference.

For example, this brief note describes a season of hardship. This listener said, Dear Insight for Living, through many ups and downs, I've tapped into the resources you provide, including many of Chuck's books. Insight for Living has been so important in keeping me focused and stronger during all of my challenges.

Thank you so much. Well, if you're among those who give generously to Insight for Living, this comment demonstrates the impact that you're making. Thank you so much for releasing your resources so others can benefit from the power of God's Word. To support the ministry of Insight for Living, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can give a contribution online at slash donate. Take it from Chuck Swindoll, there's nothing quite like the beauty of the great frontier. Wide open skies, pristine glaciers with various shades of blue and turquoise mingled within them, towering pine trees and all manner of wildlife. I'll tell you, Alaska is truly a masterpiece of God's creation. I've been to a lot of places and seen a lot of things, but honestly, nothing compares to the beauty in Alaska.

God is awesome. Come with us on the Insight for Living Ministries cruise to Alaska July 1 through July 8, 2023. When I'm in Alaska, I feel like I'm in an amazing painting created by God. Let yourself get lost in the majestic beauty. Spend quality time with those you love. Allow God to refresh your soul as you reflect on His Word and His goodness in your life. To learn more, go to slash events, or call this number 1-888-447-0444. The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us next time when Chuck Swindoll continues to describe what he calls the Day Hope, Eclipse Death, right here on Insight for Living. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-05 14:35:01 / 2023-04-05 14:42:42 / 8

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