2021-01-10 – 1 Corinthians 15 – The Resurrected Life
2021-01-10 – 1 Corinthians 15 – The Resurrected Life
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
We have been going through the letter-book of First Corinthians, written by the apostle Paul. You may recall in chapter 14 we talked about Spiritual Gifts and that God’s love needs to be the focal point of everything we do as Christians. For In God’s eyes, without love we are basically useless. That spirit of love is what is behind everything that is written in our Bibles. Jesus is God’s love incarnate. And that love was proven out by His ministry, His persecution, His death on the cross and especially by Jesus rising from the grave. The two hymns we sang this morning were about that resurrection event. I Serve a Risen Savior, and Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Hallelujah indeed! And that is what we are going to talk about today, the resurrection, but more specifically The Resurrected Life.
Please turn now to 1 Corinthians 15:1, page 1020 in your pew Bibles, which is the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. Prayer..
Before we start today, I want to forewarn you that we are going to read through the whole chapter of First Corinthians 15 together, as the whole chapter deals with the topic of Christ’s resurrection, and Paul has a lot to say about that monumental event. As we are now just one more chapter from completing this long letter of correction, Paul ‘seals the deal’ and justifies everything He previously instructed by pointing again to Christ’s resurrection. Jesus rising from the grave means everything to the Christian. This first part is entitled in our pew bibles that Resurrection Essential to the Gospel. Starting at verse one Paul wrote: [SLIDE]
1 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, [SLIDE]
4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. 6 Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers and sisters at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one born at the wrong time, he also appeared to me. [SLIDE]
9 For I am the least of the apostles, not worthy 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, yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
11 Whether then it is I or they, so we proclaim and so you have believed.
Again, Jesus’s resurrection should mean everything to the Christian. Paul refers to it as “most important” as it most surely is. For Christ’s resurrection is proof for us that there really is life after death, everlasting life in eternity. That Fact should change the way we look at our life here on earth. This is not the end, this is just the beginning. We have heaven to look forward to, Amen?
There are a lot of people these days using the term YOLO which means You Only Live Once. Although I understand what they are getting at, but for the Christian the praise is really not true. It is intended to cause folks to let down their guard and their inhibitions and “go for it”. Do things they normally wouldn’t do, get crazy, and take risky chances. That phrase though might also lead somebody to possibly believe there is no afterlife. There is no heaven, there is nothing more than what is before us now. Frankly, in my mind it is actually quite a sad pronouncement, because that is not what the Bible tells us, and that is not what a Christian should proclaim.
Paul says in these first verses that Jesus was buried, and that He was raised on the third day. That is our hope brothers and sisters. And that hope was verified by many, many people. And at the time of this writing, most of them were still alive and could have refuted this fact if it was untrue but they did not. Again, Christ’s resurrection is what the Christian’s faith and hope is based upon, and we should never take it for granted. Verse 12 continues:
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is in vain, and so is your faith. 15 Moreover, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified wrongly about God that he raised up Christ—whom he did not raise up, if in fact the dead are not raised. [SLIDE] 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Those then, who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.
What Paul is saying here is, if this was a ruse, if this resurrection event was all fake and made up. If we are wrong about this one event, then we are surely fools. Jesus rising from the grave is the most important piece of our faith-based puzzle. Everything we hold on to regarding our faith walk is pinioned on that resurrection. Have you ever watched one of those mega-domino events? Where they put together a colossal structure of maybe a million dominos, then somebody tips over the first key domino, and subsequently they eventually all fall down. Yeah, Jesus’s resurrection is the key to our faith. If we remove that one blessed event, we have nothing. No hope, no heaven, no life after death, and no God. But praise be His name, Jesus did rise and for that reason our faith in Him and eternity is sound. These next verses celebrate that fact. Paul wrote:
20 But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. [SLIDE]
23 But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits; afterward at his coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy to be abolished is death. [SLIDE] 27 For God has put everything under his feet. Now when it says “everything” is put under him,
it is obvious that he who puts everything under him is the exception. 28 When everything is subject to Christ, then the Son himself will also be subject to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.
Jesus is alive brothers and sisters, He is alive indeed, Amen? [SLIDE]
Anyone here ever watch the movie or read the book called A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel? If you haven’t seen it, it is worth your time as it depicts a true story of where the author Lee Strobel was an atheist and also an investigative reporter. His wife had come to know the Lord and became a Christian which caused a lot of tension in their marriage. So Lee thought he would investigate Jesus’s Resurrection, disprove it, case closed, and then everything in their marriage would return to normal. So he interviewed many religious experts, and in the end, the truth of resurrection and Christ being the Son of God was so convincing that he subsequently accepted it for himself and became a believer. The Case for Christ was proven out again. Ladies and gentlemen, don’t let anyone sway you on this matter. For if Jesus didn’t rise from the grave and defeat death, then everything else He said or did would be meaningless. And that is what Paul addresses in these next verses. [SLIDE]
29 Otherwise what will they do who are being baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are people baptized for them? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I face death every day, as surely as I may boast about you brothers and sisters, in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus as a mere man, what good did that do me? If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. [SLIDE]
33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 34 Come to your senses and stop sinning; for some people are ignorant about God. I say this to your shame.
There are many interpretations of these verses and it may be a bit difficult to follow. But if Jesus was now just a dead body in the ground, then why would anyone get baptized. The Bible makes it clear that although baptism is not a requirement of salvation, Christians should be baptized as it is a proclamation of the faith we have in Jesus being alive not dead. And just like He was baptized by John the Baptizer, we too should demonstrate our faith in baptism. The apostles put themselves in harms way because the truly believed Jesus rose from that grave. We too should stand up for our faith. Matthew 10:32-33 says, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men,
I will also deny him before My Father in heaven”. So let us stand-up and represent Christ to the world. Be His ambassador, and take the risk like Paul and the apostles so well demonstrated to share the Good News Gospel to the people God puts in your path. Are you willing?
In this next section Paul talks about our heavenly bodies. It is a topic that many people ask about. There is a natural desire to know what our lives will be like after we die and go to heaven. In verse 35, Paul writes: [SLIDE]
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come?” 36 You fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And as for what you sow—you are not sowing the body that will be, but only a seed, perhaps of wheat or another grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he wants, and to each of the seeds its own body. [SLIDE] 39 Not all flesh is the same flesh; there is one flesh for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is different from that of the earthly ones. 41 There is a splendor of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; in fact, one star differs from another star in splendor. [SLIDE]
42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; 43 sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; 44 sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written, The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual. [SLIDE]
47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 Like the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; like the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.
So if you have been convinced that Christ’s resurrection is real. That Jesus was raised in glory and is now sitting on His heavenly thrown, then we can have some assurance that we too will have heavenly bodies one day. We may not know what they look like, however if Jesus’s resurrected body is any hint, we know He was supernatural. Although He still showed His scars to Thomas, and He ate and drank with the disciples, He also walked through the door of the upper room and later ascended into heaven. He was supernatural. We also know in scripture that others have returned from heaven and some even recognized them. Elijah and Moses for instance on the Mount of Transfiguration “appeared in glorious splendor”, for instance. These are just some hints as to what our new bodies might be like, but we really can’t know completely until that day comes. However, in all this, the natural question of what Paul is addressing in these verses is, what are you Sowing. Does what you Sow here on Earth reveal your faith in the resurrection? Paul is encouraging us to start living like we believe it. Start now sowing the seeds that grow into a stronger faith walk. Be the example of one who emulates well The Resurrected Life.
In our last verses here today, Paul conveys that ideal well, it is entitled Victorious Resurrection [SLIDE]
50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. [SLIDE] 53 For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality. 54 When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place:
Death has been swallowed up in victory. 55 Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting? [SLIDE]
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
[SLIDE] So in Summary, today we all read that:
Christ died for us and He most assuredly did rise again.
He verified His resurrection with both small and large public appearances.
Because Christ has risen, we can have faith now in our own resurrection.
Our resurrection body will be imperishable, glorious, powerful, and spiritual.
Death now has no sting and will one day be swallowed up in victory.
So now with me, perhaps you can now claim for yourselves Paul’s words he wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:10: [SLIDE]
“by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain”
Despite everything that happened this last year, and everything that is going wrong with the day, as Christians we can still be optimistic and still be confident in our future with Jesus Christ in heaven, Amen?
Let us pray and then sing together Amazing Grace.