Notes from 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4
The central theme of the gospel is given in these verses, a key text for the defense of Christianity. The three most important points are: (1) Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. Without the truth of this message, Christ's death was worthless, and those who believe in him are still in their sins and without hope. However, Christ as the sinless Son of God took the punishment of sin so that those who believe can have their sins removed. "The Scriptures" refers to Old Testament prophecies such as Psalm 16:8-11 and Isaiah 53:5, 6. Christ's death on the cross was no accident or afterthought. It had been part of God's plan from all eternity in order to bring about the salvation of all who believe.
(2) He was buried. The fact of Christ's death is revealed in the fact of his burial. Many have tried to discount the actual death of Christ, but Jesus did in fact die and was buried in a tomb.
(3) He was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said. Christ was raised permanently, forever; his Father raised him from the dead "on the third day" as noted in the Gospels (Friday afternoon to Sunday morning--three days in Jewish reckoning of time). This also occurred "as the Scriptures said." Jesus quoted the prophet Jonah in Matthew 12:40 (see Jonah 1:17) to show the connection to "three days" as prophesied in the Old Testament. Psalm 16:8-11 and Psalm 110 also foretell the resurrection of the Messiah.
Notes from Ephesians 1:7, 8
God showered his kindness on us--this is also called God's "grace." This is his voluntary and loving favor given to those he saves. We can't earn salvation, nor do we deserve it. No religious, intellectual, or moral effort can gain it, because it comes only from God's mercy and love. Without God's grace, no person can be saved. To receive it, we must acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves, that only God can save us, and that our only way to receive this loving favor is through faith in Christ.
Notes from Nehemiah 9:28-31
Israel was devastated by times of intense rebellion and sin. Yet when the people repented and returned to God, he delivered them. God puts no limit on the number of times we can come to him to obtain mercy, but we must come in order to obtain it, recognizing our need and asking him for help. This miracle of grace should inspire us to say, "What a gracious and merciful God you are!" If there is a recurring problem or difficulty in your life, continue to ask God for help, and be willing and ready to make changes in your attitude and behavior that will correct that situation.
Notes from Mark 12:24
What life will be like after the resurrection is far beyond our ability to understand or imagine (Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9). We need not be afraid of eternal life because of the unknowns, however. Instead of wondering what God's coming Kingdom will be like, we should concentrate on our relationship with Christ right now because in the new Kingdom, we will be with him. If we learn to love and trust Christ now, we will not be afraid of what he has in store for us then.