Summary: This is a message on the resurrection of Christ.
“BUT CHRIST IS RISEN”
TEXT: 1 Cor. 15:1-20; 58 W. Max Alderman
INTRODUCTION: We have just celebrated the birth of Christ; now, may we look at the resurrection of Christ. As we were studying Christ and His birth, please remember that He was wrapped in “swaddling clothes”. These birth clothes were prophetic in that they pictured His death. The Gospel requires that there be a birth, a death, a burial and a resurrection. We will study The Gospel of Christ today as we look at this great resurrection chapter. We must remember that the resurrection of Christ is a cardinal doctrine to our faith; without it, we would have no faith in which to believe and to rest our souls. Without the resurrection there would be no reason to celebrate his birth and to proclaim salvation to the lost and dying soul. We could yoke up with the Jehovah Witnesses and declare that there was no bodily resurrection of Christ, but Praise God… Christ is raised from the dead. So therefore, I preach and you sing “Up From the Grave He Arose”.
I. THE PROOF OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. (Vv. 1-11)
This chapter begins as an apologetic for Truth as it pertains to the resurrection. The “full-mention” principle is used here as it describes the resurrection. Doctrinally everything is said that needs to be said to support the clear teachings of the resurrection. Paul initiates this treatise of Truth as he personally declares that what he says is so because he was an eye-witness of the resurrected savior (V. 8). Paul’s formula for stating his argument goes like this: “I declare” and “I preached”, therefore because I declared and preached Truth, “ye have received” and “ye stand”. The “Therefore” in verse number 58 refers back to Paul’s beginning statement. Notice verse number 58: 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58. Because the resurrection was an actual fact that includes the believer, the last verse in chapter 15 says that we should be “stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”.
A. Proof As Given By the Testimony of the Preacher (Vv. 1-4)
The testimony of the preacher counts… The Preacher was Paul and he was preaching the Gospel with its three elements clearly given. Paul states that he delivered to the Corinthians what he had personally received. The King James Bible uses parallelisms when it is teaching or presenting truth that is connected. It does this with same or at least similar words, such as the word “that” in this case. Notice with me how the word “that” is used: “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;” then notice “that he was buried” and “that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures”. As a side note, notice that it was all “according to the scriptures”. This gives authority to the doctrine of the resurrection being taught. We must remind ourselves that what we believe must be in accordance to the Scriptures.
B. Proof As Given By the Testimony of the People (Vv. 5-11)
The people who witnessed the risen Savior were listed in this apologetic of Truth by Paul. The word “that” once again ties these truths together:
“that he was seen of Cephas”
“after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once”
“after that, he was seen of James.
Notice that I left out the apostles witnessing the resurrection to give it to you now to draw special attention to the way that they witnessed the resurrected Savior. The first mention was “then of the twelve” (V. 5), then in verse number seven “then of all the apostles”. This went on to include Paul, when he said “last of all he was seen of me also”. Paul shows that he was included as a listed apostle, thus meeting the requirements of his apostleship.
II. THE PROBLEMS OF NO RESURRECTION. (Vv. 12-19)
Paul further develops the argument that pertains to the resurrection by stating the apparent problems that would exist had there been no resurrection. The Christian faith demands that there be the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A. If There Was No Resurrection the Preaching Would Be Affected. (Vv. 12-16)
Preaching would have no purpose or reason if there was no resurrection. The preaching would be worth nothing and the witnesses would be false. Can you imagine how much would be stripped away from a preaching opportunity if there was no resurrection to relate to? I have been hanging around here preaching for over twenty-five years, because there was a resurrection!
1. Worthless Preaching if no resurrection!
2. Witnesses False if no resurrection!