Letters to the Family of God

by Joe Franzone | March 21, 2024 | Pastor's Blog

Family of God - Website (600 × 282 px)

March 21, 2024


Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us, only sky

Imagine all the people living for today.


John Lennon- Imagine

Dear friends.


Imagine a world with no Easter. C.S. Lewis described the land of Narnia as a place where it was always winter but never Christmas. Imagine a world where, once dead, everyone stays dead forever.


Lennon's song Imagine wanted his generation to aim for peace and harmony without thinking about what comes after death, assuming there was nothing. The song's popularity is such that footage of John Lennon singing "Imagine" was shown on the big screen as a choir from his home city of Liverpool sang onstage during Sunday's closing ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics.


Imagining the implications of a world with no Easter and, therefore, no Resurrection is what Paul was doing in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.


But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless, and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But He did not raise Him if, in fact, the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life, we have hope in Christ; we are of all people most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:12-19


It would seem that some people in the Corinthian church believed in the immortality of the soul but not the body. It was how the Greeks thought, and it somehow was carried in or seeped into the church.


Paul, in response, begins with a simple but elegant defense of the Resurrection with the eyes of witnesses, including numbers and names. (15:5-7)


Next, Paul moves from defense to consequences. He writes about the logic of the Resurrection tied to the Gospel to show what would be true if there was no resurrection from the dead.



Without the Resurrection, gospel preaching is empty of any saving substance. Our preaching would be in vain/empty, as Paul argued. The content of the Resurrection drives the medium of preaching. If you like, who cares what is being preached if Christ is not raised?



Paul continues by saying that if there is no Resurrection, the preaching of Christ would be found to be a false witness about God. To bear false witness is to say something that isn't true. No resurrection would be misrepresenting God. Subsequently, either the Apostles were lying about God, or God was lying to the Apostles. In either case, the fallout would be a disaster, Christianity cheap and meaningless, and Christ still buried and dead.



It might be a technical point about preaching in verse 17 that Paul is making here; we will save that for another time. Nevertheless, if there is no resurrection, faith in Christ is no better than faith in a bowl of chicken soup served to us after we are dead! Imagine people's overriding guilt if even half their conscience were alive. Much of the world would be tortured in mind and soul, as both Christians and non-Christians would remain in their sins if Christ did not rise.



In verse 18, Paul turns his focus not on the living members of the church but on the dead. If there is no resurrection, then the dead are not ever waking up. Jesus, Stephen, James, etc., are forever dead.



Ours is not a make-believe faith; if only for this life we had hope in Christ; we are of all people to be pitied. If Christ only had significance for today and not for eternity, then, for example, we would never see people we love ever again. In what line of thinking is that a good thing?


But the fact is Christ is raised from the dead. When thinking about the Resurrection of Christ, it becomes clear to me that the world is a better place because it.


Of the billions of people who are Christians, our outlook on the future is bright and beautiful and not dark and dismal because our life doesn't end with our death; frankly, it only begins. The resurrection gives life to life, salt, and light if you would. We make the world better because God made the resurrection a reality. Everything we do has real meaning now. The empty becomes full. What seemed impossible is a glorious truth: the lost have been saved, the dead will be raised, and the pitied turned out to be the happiest people of all.


God bless you in all things, great and small.


I am looking forward to worshipping with you on Good Friday and Easter.

Pastor Joe