Summary: Glory of the Resurrection (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verse 1-19.
Quote: Andrew Murray:
“Jesus Christ was born twice.
The birth at Bethlehem was a birth into a life of weakness.
The second time he was born from the grave – “the first born from the dead” – into the glory of heaven and the throne of God”.
• Corinth was a Greek city, 40 miles away from Athens.
• Corinth and Athens were very much like Edinburgh and Glasgow today.
• Athens was the University city where the philosophers lived and art festivals were held.
• Corinth was a bustling port.
• Greek philosophy was the background of Corinth’s beliefs;
• And the Greeks did not believe in the resurrection' of the dead.
• In fact when Paul had first preached at Athens;
• (Read about it in Acts chapter 17 verse 32).
• They listened until he mentioned the resurrection of Christ,
• Then some of those listening actually laughed at him! They mocked him!
In New Testament times:
• Most Greek philosophers considered the human body a prison,
• And they welcomed death as deliverance from bondage.
• This sceptical attitude had somehow invaded the church and Paul had to face it head-on.
• So in this chapter Paul dealt with the subject of ‘resurrection’ by answering 4 basic questions.
• Question 1: Are the Dead Raised? (That is answered in verses 1-19).
• Question 2: When are the dead raised? (That is answered in verses 20-28).
• Question 3: Why are the dead raised? (That is answered in verses 29-34 & 49-58).
• Question 4: How are the dead raised? (That is answered in verses 35-49).
This morning we are looking at the glory of Christ’s resurrection:
• And that overlaps the first question Paul answers in this chapter:
• Are the Dead Raised? (verses 15:1-19)
• The Corinthian Christians were a strange mix;
• No Church founded by Paul had more problems than the one at Corinth.
• As a result of their difficulties and struggles.
• We have two amazing letters.
This first letter and this chapter (15);
• Contains the earliest account of the resurrection appearances of the Lord in the N.T.
• Don’t miss that!
• 1 Corinthians chapter 15 was written about A.D. 56.
• This is the very first written record of the witnesses of the resurrection body of Jesus.
• Because Greek philosophy was the background of Corinth’s belief;
• This meant they too did not believe that they would be raised to life again.
• Ever since they were born they were taught the soul not the body is important;
• The human body was the source of man’s weakness and sin.
• They viewed it as a corpse, a tomb.
• They looked upon death with joy, anxiously waiting the time;
• When their souls would be liberated, unshackled from their bodies.
• Now although the Christians at Corinth denied the resurrection of their own bodies;
• They did believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ;
• So on this point Paul starts to build his argument.
• He presented three proofs to assure his readers that Jesus Christ;
• Had indeed had been raised from the dead.
PROOF No 1 - THEIR SALVATION (verses 1-2).
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”
In verse 1 the apostle Paul describes a three-fold process in conversion:
(1). THERE IS ALWAYS A VEHICLE OF KNOWLEDGE.
• “I preached to you”
• That vehicle may be a preacher, or maybe a Christian simply witnessing.
• It maybe a Bible that has been read or may be some other Christian literature;
• But in conversion there is always a vehicle of knowledge.
(2). THERE IS ALWAYS A RECIPIENT.
• “Which you received”
• There is always a recipient, beneficiary, a receiver;
• Who hears that preacher, or talks to that Christian, or reads that Bible or literature;
(3). THERE IS ALWAYS AN ACCEPTANCE.
• “On which you have taken your stand”.
• In other words you heard the gospel, you believed the gospel;
• And you embraced, or received the gospel.
• That gospel is a rock on which you are able to stand.
Paul explains what that gospel is in verses 3-4:
• That gospel was and is a message about Christ!
• His death and also his resurrection.
• After all, a dead Saviour cannot save anybody!
• And so an integral part of the Gospel message was the fact of Christ's resurrection.
Paul's readers had received the Word, trusted Christ, and been saved: