Summary: This sermon examines the Hope we have as Christians based on teaching in 1 Corinthians 15:2-58
1 Corinthians 15:20-58 21st April 2002 Basingstoke
THE CHRISTIAN’S HOPE
When Nikita Khrushchev died, a humorous story circulated in political circles.
The Communist party who’d cast Mr Khrushchev aside were uncomfortable about burying his body on Soviet soil.
So they called the President of the United States, Richard Nixon, asking if the U.S. would take Khrushchev’s corpse.
Nixon had his own problems at the time and declined.
Then the Soviet leaders tried Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel.
She was agreeable but added, "I must warn you that this country has the world’s highest resurrection rate."
We may laugh but the events of Easter and the Resurrection give us hope!
Jesus’ resurrection gives hope to every Christian believer that death is not the end.
However it was for Krushchev – Christian believers will rise again! Death is not final!
Corinthians caught in materialistic world couldn’t see beyond their present troubles.
Like today many have no hope - when you die that’s it!
No future, only death. How gloomy! Despair!
v13 "Some of you say there is no resurrection from the dead"
Listen! Truth is quite the opposite.
Christians like others face world’s troubles but we see them in the light of eternity!
1. OUR HOPE GIVES US CERTAINTY:
(i) Certainty there’ll be a Harvest! v20 v23
v20 "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep".
In answer to sceptics who were saying when you’re dead you’re dead
Paul states firmly in light of the resurrection "But Christ has indeed risen!"
A new day has in fact dawned!
Jesus is the 1st fruit of an immense harvest yet to come - an OT Picture.
The 1st fruits of harvest were offered to God – He promised the rest will follow.
Jesus the 1st fruit has risen and God promises a full “Harvest” of his people will be gathered in ..
v22 "Those IN CHRIST will ALL be made alive"!
“All” is explained in v23 as "Those who belong to Him"
Again in v23 Paul talks about the "First fruits".
All who by Grace are IN CHRIST will be raised from death! It will have no hold!
That includes you if you’ve committed your life to Him. You’ll be part of the harvest!
In Spiritual sense already happened.!
Eph 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
But our perishable human bodies can’t inherit the imperishable!
In v50 Paul declares Flesh and blood can’t inherit the kingdom!
We must wait for resurrection day!! Jesus return! We will be given new bodies
v23 "Each in His turn" clear order- Military term.
1st of all “Christ the first-fruits”. Then those of us who belong to Him
Order will be – “Asleep in Christ” v20,= those who’ve already died as believers Then “those alive who belong to Him” v23 = those alive when He returns
§ If you are a Christian Believer then since Christ is risen and You are IN HIM
You can be certain of Resurrection too!
Our Hope is based on the certainty of God’s Promised harvest of believers
Jesus has risen He is the first- fruit. You certainly follow Him!
(2) Certainty that Death has been defeated v21-22
“For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Death isn’t merely a natural or unpleasant thing- its punishment for Human Sin!
Adam disobeyed God - “Eat and you’ll surely die!” and He died and so will we.
Here’s another man. Not a man from Earth but a man from Heaven!
v47 Adam was of the dust of the earth,… Christ from Heaven!
Christ came from heaven and became a man
The man from heaven! The sinless Son of God gave Himself as a sacrifice for me upon the Cross.
Paid the penalty for all my guilt, my bitterness, selfishness and pride, Paid for all my defiance and my rejection of God,
Paid for my independence & my wilfulness that left God out in the cold.
Jesus, the pure, holy one the man from heaven took the wrap for me and for you!
The man from heaven died for you! Judgement on sin was carried out He bore it!
By doing that and rising again the sting of death has been removed!