Sermon: The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ

The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ

The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ

Text- 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Truth Taught-Christ’s death, burial and resurrection are at the heart of the Gospel.


Today, we are looking at the genuine Gospel, which as Paul writes contains the factual historical events of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. 

Unfortunately there are many false gospels promoted in churches today.  Whether we like to admit it or not they have on some level impacted us.  One reason they influence us is because they are so widely accepted today.  We have heard them or parts of them enough that we may even believe them to a degree.  We must be very cautious when it comes to something someone calls the Gospel.  The Gospel is the message of salvation and that message must be the same message that is found in the Bible.  Since it is the only means by which we hear how it is sinners are saved it must be the genuine message. We should also realize all false gospels are demonic even if the people delivering them are seem very nice and make promises that are music to our ears.  If their gospel does not line up with the Bible’s Gospel then it is from Satan.  The devil loves to destroy the true Gospel whenever he can.  He loves it when people go to church every Sunday hearing a false gospel.  He laughs when people are deceived by a false gospel and enter hell thinking they are headed to heaven.  This shows the importance of being accurate with what we call the Gospel. 

Here’s the dilemma we face: many if not most churches promote a gospel that is different from the Gospel presented in the Bible.  We will see this clearly as we work our way through the text.  So, we have a multitude of people calling themselves Christians who believe something other than the genuine Gospel.  They are the ones telling us we are too strict or too restrictive.  They are the mega churches and we are this little tiny church seeking to maintain truth in a giant world of lies.

Let’s, very briefly, mention a few modern day satanic false gospels…

The prosperity gospel claims that if you trust Jesus, pray the sinners prayer, or do some act of faith the preacher is prescribing from the pulpit, you will be blessed on this earth and in this lifetime with material blessings and health like you never imagined.

The Bible promises God will bless believers immensely, but the main blessing of the true Gospel is a restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ for God’s glory, not our earthly comforts. The Gospel is based on grace and received through faith. Healing from cancer, millions of dollars, and “glory stories” of earthly success are all real blessings from God for some people. But the true promised reward of the Gospel is God himself with you in triumphs and trials.

Another false gospel often found throughout churches today is the “God is Love Only” gospel. In this false gospel preachers emphasize the “unconditional love” of God, the “endless grace” of God, and the “always forgiving” Father.

In their proper context, truths like these are absolutely biblical. But preaching one truth at the expense of another always leads to heresy. If you only talk about the love of God and never preach on the holiness, justice, or wrath of God, you are presenting an incomplete picture of who God is. A church in the false “God is love only” gospel will say that correcting others, church discipline, and “rule following” are unacceptable. “Acceptance,” “come as you are,” and “diversity” are buzz words used to shame anyone with a more conservative view, claiming that if you preach anything but the love of God you clearly are not accepting or diverse.

God does not love us so much that He overlooks our sins nor does He accept us no matter our behavior.  

The Christ-less gospel is found in cult groups who preach a different Jesus than is found in the Bible.  Cults are religious groups who twist the truth about Jesus Christ. Sadly, many cults claim to be Christian. They are not true Christians, however, because their beliefs and teachings about Jesus Christ are wrong. Christ-less churches often have an emphasis on “reaching your full potential,” “being the best you can be,” and Jesus is not our Savior so much as our example.

Any church that teaches Jesus was not fully God and fully man, sent from heaven to die on the cross for our sins, was buried and raised from the grave on the third day, and ascended into heaven is not a true church and is led by a false prophet. Any church that preaches something contrary to what the Bible says about Jesus is a false church and preaches a false gospel.

The list can unfortunately go on but we see from these examples that our world is full of churches with no gospel at all just where Satan wants them to be.  This is why we must be very careful to guard and share the true Gospel.

Here’s what the Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians…

Galatians 1:6–9 (ESV)

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

So, what is Paul telling us?  Something like this…  You know all the televangelists who teach that if you send them more money so that they can buy their second jet plane because their first one is getting old or the guy who stands and talks all about how God is love and accepts everyone or the guy who denies the Trinity or the guy who claims your faith is why you aren’t whole etc?  Paul is saying that they should all be assigned a place in hell.   Preach that garbage to the devil is Paul’s point.

On this resurrection Sunday, let’s listen to the Apostle Paul as he reminds us of the true Gospel, the one God sent to us in Jesus Christ.  This is the only means by which sinners can find hope and salvation.  The true Gospel is exclusive not inclusive.  God sets the parameters and we either come to Him by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ for us or we don’t come to Him at all.


A section of the text before us today was considered by many a creed and confession that the early Church would recite and memorize.  They probably recited this in unison during worship and also as a saying to help them stay on track with the true Gospel.

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

1 Corinthians 15:1–11 (ESV)

15 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

What are the main points Paul gives us concerning the Gospel.  Technically, the Gospel contains all that Jesus said and did.  For example currently we are preaching through The Gospel According to Matthew on Sunday mornings. 

The main points are what the Apostle highlights here today in our text.  I want us to be reminded of the true Gospel as we celebrate the Resurrection. 

This first section is the longest of the three, today because it has the most confusion associated it.

1.  That Christ Died for Our Sins in Accordance with the Scriptures,

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,

Paul tells us here that the Gospel is of first importance.  In other words he came to preach and teach one thing.  His focus was the Gospel of Christ not therapy, wealth, feeling better about yourself, not physical healing, it was Christ and Him crucified.  Paul never said, Come to Jesus and you will have a better _______________. 

Paul came to deliver one message.  It was an historical message.  The death of Jesus really happened.  It was an event that took place in real time.  It was not an imagined or made up story it really happened. 

Christ died for our sins is the message of atonement.  His death was not brought about by any human agency that disliked Jesus or His message.  His death came about as an atoning work.  He died for a reason; His death would accomplish something eternal for His people.  Jesus died on the cross to save sinners.  Died for our sins Here’s where a false gospel has influenced many of us, the false gospel of Universal Atonement.  This is the gospel of Universalism, free will, human choice; this is no gospel at all.  They say God has provided the way of salvation for all and now the choice is yours.  Do you see how that statement sort of sounds right?  The issue is, this is not taught in the Bible.  Jesus’ death does not make mankind savable but actually saves.       

1 Peter 3:18 (ESV)

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
Do you see that Jesus’ death brings us to God by paying the penalty for our sins?  I’ve heard old preachers who promoted this Universal false gospel say this: God casts His vote and the devil casts his vote and now you cast your vote.
John Murray writes, Christ did not come to put men in a redeemable position but to redeem to himself a people[1]

1 Peter 2:24 (ESV)

24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

He bore our sins on the cross.  His wounds have healed us.

Who is the our in 2:24?  The our in this verse is not the entire world.  If that were the case, the entire world would be Christian.  The our is the elect and them only.  Why do I say that?  Look back to the beginning of 1 Peter to see to whom the epistle is addressed.  He wrote this letter to the elect not the world of people.

1 Peter 1:1–2 (ESV)

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Peter is not addressing his letter to a universal world of people but to a particular group, namely, God’s elect.  You see Jesus’ death made atonement for the elect not the universal world.  If Jesus died for the entire world’s population then everyone would be saved because He would bore their sins and by His wounds all would have been healed.  We know all are not healed.

Here’s another one…

Colossians 1:21–23 (ESV)

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Who are the you in Colossians?  The you here are those who were once alienated and hostile to God.  Go back to the beginning in his address we see to the saints and faithful brothers.  Again there is a particular group being addressed not the world.

Many today oppose this teaching found in the Scriptures and say well what about John 3:16?  God so loved the world right?  I always say the world doesn’t always mean world and I get a puzzled look.    

John 3:16 (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

The principal subject of John 3:16 is Christ as the Gift of God. The first clause tells us what moved God to “give” His only begotten Son, and that was His great “love;” the second clause informs us for whom God “gave” His Son, and that is for, “whosoever (or, better, ‘every one’) believeth;” while the last clause makes known why God “gave” His Son (His purpose), and that is, that everyone that believeth “should not perish but have everlasting life.”[2]

We may paraphrase like this, God so loved His creation (Kosmos) that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes (Whether young, old, rich, poor, black, white) should not perish but have eternal life.  The key is God’s great love and eternal life secured by belief only. 

What we have in John 6 is Jesus’ narrative of how it was exactly that God sent Him and why He was sent from heaven.  Jesus gives us a commentary on John 3:16.

John 6:31–33 (ESV)

31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Jesus tells us that He was sent from heaven to give life much like the manna was sent from heaven to sustain life.  We see the word world again at the end of the passage.  Here as with John 3:16 world doesn’t mean the entire world of people but means literally the entire world of believers or we might say the world or all of God’s elect. 

John 6:35 (ESV)

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

We see a similar dynamic with the word whosoever comes to Jesus and whosoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life. 

Notice the way this works…

The whosoever-group is regulated by God

John 6:37–40 (ESV)

37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Jesus tells us whoever comes to Me He will never cast out. He also tells us that all who come to Him have been given to Him by His Father. Everyone who looks to the Son and believes will have eternal life.  Notice the beginning of the text, the whoever and everyone is only made up of 37 All that the Father gives me.

Then a few verses later Jesus explains exactly what He is referring to.  The whoever is made up of a specific group not everyone in the world.

For example, I may walk into a building of people and say would everyone like to walk outside for a picnic?  Who is the everyone here?  It’s not everyone in the world but everyone within the confines of the hearing of my voice or within the building.  Everyone doesn’t mean everyone and world doesn’t mean world. 

John 6:44 (ESV)

44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

Christ’s death purchased salvation for His people…all that God the Father gave Him and all, everyone, whosoever comes to Him He will not cast out.

Christ’s death was an atoning death, it paid the price for His people and reconciled us to God.

Christ’s death was also foretold in the Scriptures.  It was a prophesied death.  Now, here we understand that the Scriptures being spoken of are the Old Testament.
There are many places in the Old Testament that speak of the death of the Messiah being atonement for His people.

Isaiah 53:3–5 (ESV)

   He was despised and rejected by men,

a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

       and as one from whom men hide their faces

he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

   Surely he has borne our griefs

and carried our sorrows;

       yet we esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

   But he was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

       upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.

So what does it mean that Jesus died according to the Scriptures?  It means it was a planned event.  God ordained this to happen in eternity past and centuries before gave us details.  This planned event had a divine purpose, namely, to pay for our sins.  This planned event was prophesied about which tells us this is God doing it not man and we can put our full trust in this account both the account before Jesus’ death the OT prophecy, the death itself and what this death accomplished.

2.  That He was Buried

that he was buried,

This section is a bit more condensed because this statement is made to show the exact reality of Christ’s death.  We’ve heard various heresies that would try to teach us that Jesus didn’t really die but was unconscious.  These false teachers have no idea of the authority of Scripture nor understand what crucifixion was.  Jesus died as dead as any dead man who has ever died.  Paul wants us to see that Jesus’ dead corpse was placed in the tomb.

This is given to us as an historical account and not a myth.  Jesus’ body was buried by Joseph of Arimathea and placed in his own personal tomb.  Roman soldiers guarded the tomb.  It was a known location that could be checked and verified.   

This event was also spoken of in Isaiah 53…

Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)

   But he was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

       upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:8–9 (ESV)

   By oppression and judgment he was taken away;

and as for his generation, who considered

       that he was cut off out of the land of the living,

stricken for the transgression of my people?

   And they made his grave with the wicked

and with a rich man in his death,

       although he had done no violence,

and there was no deceit in his mouth.

His burial is found in the Old Testament.  It too is according to the Scriptures.  This burial, this tomb that contains the corpse of Christ is a fundamental factor to prove His resurrection.  So, part of the reason Paul speaks of Christ’s burial is to also turn to the fact that He was also raised from the dead.

3.  That He was Raised on the Third Day In Accordance with the Scriptures

that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

Jesus died and was buried and has been raised.

Jesus was raised or more literal has been raised which means that He will always remain alive.  The Greek uses the perfect tense has been raised which means that the resurrection of our Lord has ongoing significance.    

The resurrection is an historical fact.  The tomb of Jesus was found empty. 

Christ died, was buried, and has been raised from the dead according to Old Testament prophecy.  So, the fact that the OT tells us centuries before hand what will happen, then those promises are fulfilled in Jesus’ death burial and resurrection prove that Jesus is all He said He is and did all He said He would do.  God the Father accepted all Jesus did for His people by raising Him from the dead on the third day.

Acts 17:30–31 (ESV)

30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

God accepted Jesus’ payment on behalf of all of His people and God having accepted payment raised Christ from the dead.

The resurrection is shown in multiple Old Testament passages.

Psalm 16:10 (ESV)

10    For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,

or let your holy one see corruption.

Jesus before His death reveals that His resurrection would take place on the third day.

Jonah 1:17 (ESV)

17  And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jesus then clarifies,

Matthew 12:40 (ESV)

40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

4.  That He Appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve…

and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

Proof of the resurrection goes further.  Jesus actually died and there were multiple witnesses.  He was actually buried and there were multiple witnesses.  He truly rose from the dead and there were multiple witnesses to attest to the tomb being empty.  Here we have even more proof.  After His death by crucifixion, after He was buried, and after He rose there were multiple people, literally hundreds of people who saw Him walking around, teaching and speaking with them.  All the Apostles saw Him and notice 500 people saw Him at the same time. 

What more proof could God give us?

Now, based on historic facts we are called to respond. 

What should our response be to such a Gospel?

To the Lost- The right response to the true Gospel is faith and repentance.  Today is the day of salvation.  Today, trust all that the Scriptures say about Jesus.  Believe and be saved.  Jesus came to seek and to save the lost.  All He said and did have been accepted by the Father and shown to be accepted through Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

To Christians- the right response is to take this Gospel and share it with others. 

15 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

Give this great Gospel message to others.  Declare it as truth foretold, based in the reality of time and space and proven by multiple eyewitnesses. 

Believe the Gospel and be saved.

*Resources Used:

1 Corinthians by Simon Kistemaker

1 Corinthians by Steven Um

The First Epistle to the Corinthians by Gordon Fee

The First Epistle to the Corinthians by Anthony Thiselton

A W Pink, Kosmos and John 3:16

John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied

[1] John Murray, (Redemption Accomplished and Applied, 63).

[2] A W Pink, Kosmos and John 3:16

%d bloggers like this: