Summary: Having a good understanding and belief in the resurrection of Jesus is essential to being a Christian.
CSI and the Resurrection
Text: 1 Cor. 15:1-28
1. You all know that I love all of the CSI shows on tv. They consist of a crime being discovered based on evidence taken from finger prints, DNA, and public records. The solution is there; you just to put together all the facts.
2. Illustration: I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history . . . ~E. M. Blaiklock, Professor of Classics at Auckland University
3. Just like a CSI, we are going to examine three things:
a. The proof of the resurrection
b. The priority of the resurrection
c. The promise of the resurrection
4. Read 1 Cor. 15:1-28
Proposition: Having a good understanding and belief in the resurrection of Jesus is essential to being a Christian.
Transition: First, we must understand...
I. The Proof of the Resurrection (1-11)
A. He Was Raised From the Dead
1. The church at Corinth was a very talented, but also a very troubled church.
a. Gifts of the Spirit were plentiful in this church.
b. However, so were sin, pride, and erroneous teaching.
c. One of those incorrect teachings was that there was no resurrection from the dead.
2. Paul begins the discussion with "Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it."
a. Paul is writing to a very prideful people, especially when it comes to knowledge.
b. Now he has to make remind them of something that the already knew but seem to have forgotten (Fee, NICNT: 1 Corinthians, 719).
c. With a twinge of irony, he actually says "I make known to you," using their favorite language about knowledge (gnosis), as if they had never heard of this central doctrine before.
d. But this was what they believed when they first became Christians, and only by continuing to believe in a bodily resurrected Jesus can they demonstrate the reality of their faith and persevere until the end (Blomberg, 295).
e. By denying the resurrection, the Corinthians were almost certainly not denying life after death; virtually everyone in the ancient world believed in that.
f. Rather, they would have been disputing the Jewish and Christian doctrine of bodily resurrection and endorsing one of the more Greek forms of belief that limited the afterlife to disembodied immortality of the soul (Blomberg, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: 1 Corinthians, 295).
3. He goes on to tell them, "It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place."
a. By the gospel Paul preached they not only were, but still are being, saved.
b. But they will only continue being saved if they hold fast to the word Paul preached to them, that is, to the gospel.
c. Otherwise, even their initial belief is "in vain," useless, to no purpose (Horton, I & II Corinthians: A Logion Press Commentary).