5th, if Christ is not risen, then the dead in Christ are hopeless. “Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (1 Cor. 15:18, NKJV).
I read a story about the self-made millionaire, Eugene Land. He had been asked to speak to a class of 59 sixth-graders. “What could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would drop out of school? He wondered how he could get these predominantly black and Puerto Rican children even to look at him.
“Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart. ‘Stay in school,’ he admonished, ‘and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you.’ At that moment the lives of these students changed. For the first time they had hope. Said one student, ‘I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling.’ Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.” (http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/h/hope.htm. Accessed April 11, 2009)
If Christ is not risen, then there is no resurrection of the dead to look forward to. If Christ is not risen, then the dead who trusted in Christ while they were still alive, are hopeless. They have no hope for a future resurrection.
If they have no hope for a future resurrection, then I’m wasting my time visiting the dying in the hospitals. I’ll be wasting their time telling them that they will live again someday if they have trusted Christ! I’ll be wasting my time telling the dying that there is still hope in heaven.
If there is no hope for a future resurrection, then there’s no point in preaching a sermon for the living during a funeral, except to bury the dead. All our loved ones who died in Christ are lost anyway.
If Christ is not risen, then it does not matter whether your dead loved ones lived for Christ. It does not matter if they served Christ. It does not matter if they believed in Christ. There’s no use following Christ when you’re alive, when there’s no hope of seeing Christ when you’re dead.
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