Memories of Hope


Message Title: Memories of Hope
Theme: “Here Is the Church” 1 Corinthians series
Season: Epiphany
Main Text: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20;
Scripture Reading: Luke 6:17-26
RCL Scripture: Jeremiah 17:5-10; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 15:12-20; Luke 6:17-26
Focus: Paul connects the Gospel message with the Christian hope of resurrection.
Function: To return the focus of our hope on the resurrection.
Other Notes:

SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 6:17-26 17 Jesus came down from the mountain with them and stood on a large area of level ground. A great company of his disciples and a huge crowd of people from all around Judea and Jerusalem and the area around Tyre and Sidon joined him there. 18 They came to hear him and to be healed from their diseases, and those bothered by unclean spirits were healed. 19 The whole crowd wanted to touch him, because power was going out from him and he was healing everyone. 20 Jesus raised his eyes to his disciples and said: “Happy are you who are poor, because God’s kingdom is yours. 21Happy are you who hunger now, because you will be satisfied. Happy are you who weep now, because you will laugh. 22 Happy are you when people hate you, reject you, insult you, and condemn your name as evil because of the Human One.[b] 23 Rejoice when that happens! Leap for joy because you have a great reward in heaven. Their ancestors did the same things to the prophets. 24 But how terrible for you who are rich, because you have already received your comfort. 25 How terrible for you who have plenty now, because you will be hungry. How terrible for you who laugh now, because you will mourn and weep. 26 How terrible for you when all speak well of you. Their ancestors did the same things to the false prophets.


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: have you ever left a gift at a loved one’s grave or a special place that reminds you of that deceased loved one?
    1. How did that action help you?
  2. I did not grow up in a family that celebrated Memorial Day in the traditional sense of visiting a loved one’s grave and giving of flowers or mementos. I remember my mom being adamant “They’re not there anymore, they’re with Jesus.” However, my adolescent mind always wondered what the experience would feel like because of the movies.

TRANSITION: In our text for today, Paul continues the conversation about the Gospel with why the Gospel matters to us. He connects Jesus’ death and resurrection with our Christian Hope. Let’s hunt for hope together.

MAIN TEXT: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 12So if the message that is preached says that Christ has been raised from the dead, then how can some of you say, “There’s no resurrection of the dead”? 13If there’s no resurrection of the dead, then Christ hasn’t been raised either. 14If Christ hasn’t been raised, then our preaching is useless and your faith is useless. 15We are found to be false witnesses about God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, when he didn’t raise him if it’s the case that the dead aren’t raised. 16If the dead aren’t raised, then Christ hasn’t been raised either. 17If Christ hasn’t been raised, then your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins, 18and what’s more, those who have died in Christ are gone forever. 19If we have a hope in Christ only in this life, then we deserve to be pitied more than anyone else. 20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead. He’s the first crop of the harvestof those who have died.

EXPLAINATION: Paul connects the Gospel message with the Christian hope of resurrection.

  1. Recap from last week:
    1. The Gospel Message—Belief in Jesus is the only thing
  2. Why does Jesus’ story matter?
    1. Paul says, if we believe Jesus died and resurrected, then we all have resurrection through him.
    2. Resurrection is key to the Gospel—we have nothing to believe in if Jesus didn’t resurrect.
  3. Resurrection points to our forever hope.
    1. We too, though we die, will live again.

INTERPRETATION: Paul connects the Gospel message with the Christian hope of resurrection.

  1. The Gospel is our hope.
    1. In Bible study this week we briefly talked about Atonement theories—these are Christian theories answering the question “Why did Jesus die on the cross?”
      1. Christians across denominations don’t agree on the answer to this question- 7 theories.
      2. The importance isn’t about the details of these theories because theology doesn’t save us, belief in Jesus saves us. Also, differences in theology doesn’t condemn us.
    2. Without choosing a specific atonement theory, we know that Jesus died and that opened a door for our eternal hope.
  2. Our faith in Christ isn’t just about death, it’s about resurrection. After death, we have hope. Even after death there will be life.
    1. Our faith isn’t about dying and going to heaven.
    2. Our faith is about receiving the same resurrection as Christ and living again.
  3. Christians have had a habit of weaving our hope up in death and heaven while forgetting resurrection. We’ve lost sight of the long-term goal of resurrection and focused on the short-term comfort of heaven. Death feels like comfort because we know our loved ones are with Jesus.
    1. We see this demonstrated in the gospels as Jesus promised the thief on the cross “Today, you’ll be with me in paradise.”  (This story is in Luke 23.)
      1. This man wasn’t baptized, wasn’t part of a church, didn’t go to Sunday school or receive communion. He didn’t even pray a sinner’s prayer—technically he didn’t even repent. He acknowledged his punishment was just in correlation with his actions but didn’t say that he regretted his actions.
      2. This man was promised paradise.
  4. Christ didn’t die so that we could all die and go to heaven. Christ lived so that we could live.

APPLICATION/RESPONSE/SO WHAT: To return the focus of our hope on the resurrection.

  1. Resurrection points to the value of caring for the physical. Christ isn’t just healing spirits but bodies too.
    1. However, we have at times hyper focused on healing spirits—it seems like a ticking time bomb “save them before they die” but their healing isn’t coming before death… their healing includes death. The physical his healed along with the spiritual.
    2. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: identify physical and spiritual ministries
  2. RETURN TO OPENING: As an adult, I have changed my tune, sort of. My husband and I visit his grandfather’s and aunt’s graves on Memorial Day and leave a flower. But the act is more for us than for those who are gone. We actively remember them through this action. We take time to call them to the front of our mind and for Josh specifically to share stories.
    1. Though I don’t have graves to visit, I like to take time to remember my grandparents through photos and storytelling.
    2. Memories of them sometimes hurt—because I miss them so—but they also remind me that I’ll see them again. Not just in heaven but when we are all resurrected.

CONCLUSION: Next week we will talk more about resurrection as the people in Corinth had many questions… much like us. Feel free to read the remaining of Ch 15 in preparation for next week as we wrap up 6 wks in 1 Corinthians.

Until next week. Find peace in knowing that belief in Christ is the only requirement for a ticket to the resurrection. No other action or belief is necessary. For Jesus said: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (End of Matt 11)

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