Summary: In our lesson today we learn about the promise of a bodily resurrection for Christians.
We continue our study in The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians in a series I am calling Challenges Christians Face.
The Corinthian Christians were very confused about what happens to Christians after they die. The entire 15th chapter of The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians is an explanation of the resurrection. He concluded the chapter with a victorious promise of resurrection for the Christian. Let’s learn about this in a message I am calling, “Mystery and Victory.”
Let’s read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58:
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
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 beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:50-58)
Someone has written:
There is a preacher of the old school but he speaks as boldly as ever. He is not popular, though the world is his parish and he travels every part of the globe and speaks in every language. He visits the poor, calls upon the rich, preaches to people of every religion and no religion, and the subject of his sermon is always the same. He is an eloquent preacher, often stirring feelings that no other preacher could, and bringing tears to eyes that never weep. His arguments none are able to refute, nor is there any heart that has remained unmoved by the force of this appeals. He shatters life with his message. Most people hate him; everyone fears him. His name? Death. Every tombstone is his pulpit, every newspaper prints his text, and someday every one of you will be his sermon.
Thomas Gray wrote, “The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power and all that beauty and all that wealth e’er gave await alike the inevitable hour. The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”
As far as human power, beauty, wealth, and glory are concerned, that truth applies to Christians as much as to any others.
But the hope of the Christian is not in such things, which he knows will end at the grave.
The hope of the Christian is expressed by the epitaph Benjamin Franklin wrote for himself, engraved on his tombstone in the cemetery of Christ’s Church in Philadelphia: “The body of Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding, lies here food for worms. But the work will not be lost, for it will appear once more in a new and more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the Author.”
That is the hope of the Christian and the message of 1 Corinthians 15!
The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians was written to correct many errors that the Corinthian believers had embraced.
One of the errors that some of the Corinthian believers had embraced is that there is no bodily resurrection for Christians. Chapter 15 is Paul’s teaching regarding our bodily resurrection.
Paul concluded this chapter with a powerful affirmation of a promise of a bodily resurrection for Christians.
So, in our lesson today we learn about the promise of a bodily resurrection for Christians.
Let’s learn about this as follows:
1. The Situation Requiring the Promise (15:50)
2. The Secret Associated with the Promise (15:51)
3. The Suddenness of the Promise (15:52a)
4. The Signal Introducing the Promise (15:52b)
5. The Schedule of the Promise (15:52c-53)
6. The Scriptures Predicting the Promise (15:54-57)
7. The Strength Derived from the Promise (15:58)
I. The Situation Requiring the Promise (15:50)
First, notice the situation requiring the promise of a bodily resurrection for Christians.
Why is it that Christians need a resurrection body? Why can we not simply use these same bodies that we now have?
Paul said in verse 50: “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”