map
map
Jesus' resurrection and ours
1 Corinthians 15

This morning we are going to do a quick run through of 1 Corinthians 15. This is a very important passage of Scripture as it relates to one of the cardinal beliefs of our faith- That Jesus died and rose again. In addition to proclaiming the resurrection of Christ, 1 Corinthians 15 also reminds us that death is not the end for us, for at the return of Christ all who have died will be raised to life.

1 Corinthians 15 is not the only text that teaches us of the resurrection of Christ and the one to come

Psalm 16:11 speaks to the resurrection of Christ and of us when it says "...you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead/grave, nor will you let your holy one see decay"

Job 19:25-27 says; "I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes- I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!"

Other texts include Daniel 12:2-3, Isaiah 26:19, Revelation 20:11-15, John 11, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 plus the multiplied references to the resurrection of Christ in the New Testament.

Note: In virtually every presentation of the Gospel in the New Testament the death of Christ and his resurrection from the dead is front and center. This is instructive for us- for to talk properly of Jesus there must be a discussion of our sinfulness, the judgment to come, Jesus dying as a sacrifice for our sin, the resurrection of Christ, the necessity of faith in Christ for salvation, and the resurrection to come.


Despite the clarity of the Word of God on the resurrection of Christ and of the resurrection to come, there has always been deniers.

-The Sadducees denied the resurrection
-Many of Paul's day and ours deny the resurrection of Christ and the one to come
-Shockingly, even Christians have denied the resurrection! Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians 15:12 wherein he writes "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?"

A LOOK AT OUR TEXT -read

Note the flow of the text: 2 main parts 1 Corinthians 15:1-34

A. Jesus' resurrection and ours 1 Corinthians 15:1-34
B. The nature of our resurrection bodies 1 Corinthians 35-58


A. THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST and the one to come v.1-34

1. THE CHRISTIAN FAITH HANGS ON THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST FROM THE DEAD

"By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you." v.2

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. v.3-8

2. JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD! NOTE THE EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST FROM V.3-8

Paul leans on the Scriptures, eye witness accounts and his own personal encounter with Christ!

i. Jesus Raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (Psalm 16:10 plus Jesus' prophesy in Matthew 12:40)
ii. Jesus' bodily appearance to Peter and to the rest of his inner circle
iii. Jesus' multiple appearances to large groups of people (whom Paul says you could go and talk to if you wanted, for most were still alive). In Acts 1:3 Luke, by the Spirit of God, writes of Jesus "After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God."
iv. Paul cites his own encounter with the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus (he on the way to arrest and kill Christians, Jesus appeared to him)

Paul uses this evidence as support for the teaching that we will be raised to life at the last day and given new bodies


3. IN V.12-32 PAUL RESPONDS TO THOSE WHO WERE DENYING THE RESURRECTION TO COME, OUTLINING THE AWFUL CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT THEY WERE DECLARING

In verses 12-32 Paul addresses 2 major errors that were creeping into the Corinthian church

1. A denial of the resurrection to come (which Paul argues is akin to a denial of the resurrection of Christ)
2. Some Christians were being baptized for dead relatives (which the Mormons practice)

While tackling these two sins (see v.34- "stop sinning") Paul lays out the awfu implications of what life would be like if the prophesied resurrection to come is untrue. He does this because he wants to show his readers the terrible implications of the road they were headed down.*

Note how Paul uses a series of "If" "Then" statements…..

i. If the resurrection to come is a false idea then Jesus' resurrection is false

Herein Paul leans against the certainty of prophecy and the truthfulness of the Word of God.

ii. If Christ has not been raised, preaching about Jesus is a waste of time and our faith is useless v.14

Note how all of Paul's arguments hangs on the resurrection of Christ

iii. If Christ has not been raised then we are false witnesses against God v.15
iv. If Christ has not been raised our faith is futile and we are still in our sins- and hence remain under the judgment of God v.17
v. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied v.19
vi. If the dead are not raised, if Christ was not raised,if this is all there is to our lives and existence, then party on v.32

This is logical. If the Bible is false. If Jesus was just a man. If God doesn't exist. If you and I are just evolutionary accidents, then don't waste your time in church. Make your own code for living. Eat drink and be merry, for when your heart stops ticking, that's it.

And yet: The Bible is true. The prophesies of the Scripture have a 100% track record. Jesus was more than just a man; He was God in the flesh. The existence of God is declared everywhere and in everything. We are not evolutionary accidents. Death is not the end (not how this relates to the saying "He has set eternity in our hearts"-- Ecclesiastes 3:11 We have an innate understanding that death is not the end) Life is worth living. We are the beautiful results of an all powerful God who over the span of 6 literal days spoke the world into existence and then-on that 6th day, by his Divine power made us in His image


4. CHRIST AROSE! HOLD ON TO THIS TRUTH. DO NOT BE MISLED. HE IS RISEN. V.33-34

This is a very important point! We must cling to the truths of God's Word and not be swayed by the culture or even by other Christians who do not have as high a regard for the Word of God as they ought.


B. THE NATURE OF OUR RESURRECTION BODIES v. 35-58

A very natural question to ask, particularly after reading of the certainty of the resurrection of Christ and of the certainty of the resurrection to come- our resurrection, is this "What will my resurrected body be like?"

In his answer, Paul sticks to a discussion that concerns the resurrected bodies that we will have as the followers of Christ. Paul does not discuss the nature of the resurrected bodies that unbelievers will have (which the Scriptures declare they will have- See Daniel 12:2-3, Revelation 20:11-15)

Note also that in Paul's answer, while he talks in specifics, there is a mystery to what he says


1. Our resurrection body will be different from the one we have now v.35-41

In v.35-41 Paul uses three illustrations from nature to make this point
.

i.e A seed planted in the ground doesn't come out of the ground as a bigger seed. It comes out as wheat (if it was a wheat seed) etc

i.e Just as there are differences between people, animals, birds, and fish, so the resurrection body will be different

i.e Just as the sun, moon, and stars differ from each other in splendor, so will the resurrection body be different

In expanding on this Paul contrasts our present body with the one to come

Our present body: Perishable (because of sin), sown in dishonor (because of sin), sown in weakness (because of sin), natural,

Our future body: Imperishable (not subject to decay or death), glorious (bearing the likeness of Christ), powerful, spiritual (holy and perfect)


2. Our resurrection bodies will be like Christ's v.45-49

Note what Paul says in v.49 "And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man"

This connects back to the points made in v.35-41. Our resurrection body will be imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual- just like Christ's.

We will be what God made us to be in the first place and more. We will be as Paul describes in Ephesians 5:27 "a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."

3. Not every believer is going to die, but all followers of Christ will receive a new body that is like His v.50ff

For our benefit and to answer the question "What about the followers of Christ who are alive at the return of Christ?" Paul takes time to answer this query in v.50ff - making the point again that every believer will have a body that is like Christ's- whether it be by the resurrection or by a miraculous transformation.

For more info check out 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 which says; "Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words."


CONCLUSION

Alongside of the Deity of Christ, the Resurrection of Christ from the dead is a core teaching of the Christian faith. One cannot be a Christian and deny the Deity of Christ or His resurrection and the life to come.

While much more can be said from 1 Corinthians 15 I hope this chapter of God's Word has inspired you in regards to your devotion and worship of Christ who came down from Heaven on a rescue mission to save us from our sins and the judgement to come. Jesus came, he died, he rose to life, he is at the right hand of God the Father, he intercedes for us, he is the guarantor of our resurrection from the dead. In Christ alone is eternal life and the forgiveness of sins.

Death is a defeated foe. Because of Christ's triumph over the grave, death ought to hold no fear for us for us who are the followers of Christ- for to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ.

BENEDICTION

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." v.58