Summary: The resurrection of Jesus is the last of the major issues addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians. Our future resurrection is predicated on Jesus’ resurrection and should give us great hope.
A. The story is told of an old man named Fred who had been a faithful Christian and was in the hospital, near death.
1. The family called their preacher to come stand with them.
2. As the preacher stood next to the bed, Ol’ Fred’s condition appeared to deteriorate and he motioned frantically for something to write on.
3. The preacher lovingly handed him a pen and a piece of paper, and Ol’ Fred used his last bit of energy to scribble a note, then he handed the note to the preacher, and a few minutes later, he died.
4. The preacher thought it best not to look at the note at that time, so he placed it in his jacket pocket.
5. At the funeral, as he was finishing the message, he realized that he was wearing the same jacket that he was wearing when Ol’ Fred died.
6. He said, “You know, Ol’ Fred handed me a note just before he died. I haven’t looked at it, but knowing Fred, I’m sure there’s a word of inspiration there for us all.”
7. He opened the note, and read, “Hey, you’re standing on my oxygen tube!”
B. In case you didn’t know it – all of us are going to die of something someday.
1. You and I are terminally ill.
2. At this very moment, you and I are in the process of dying.
3. It’s just a matter of time, unless Jesus returns before that moment.
4. The death rate is 99.9 – the exceptions have been Enoch and Elijah.
C. I don’t say that to depress us this morning, but to encourage us.
1. “What are you saying, David? How can the subject of death be encouraging?”
2. The subject of death is encouraging because death is not the end, it is just the beginning of something so much better and more wonderful.
3. We, Christians, should not let death take us by surprise, nor should we let death worry us.
4. Death is a reality that we know is coming, but what happens after death is just as much a reality that we should look forward to.
D. As we turn to 1 Corinthians 15, we turn to the last of the major issues that Paul addressed at Corinth – the resurrection of the body.
1. Unlike some of the other issues Paul has addressed, this one is not about behavior but about belief.
2. Paul is deeply concerned about their beliefs about the resurrection.
3. Without the proper understanding of these things, then their belief and our belief is truly in vain.
4. So let’s take a look at the wonderful truths that Paul lays out in this chapter about Jesus’ resurrection and ours as well.
I. The Gospel Account ( 15:1-19)
A. Over a century ago, Lord Lyttleton and Gilbert West set about to discredit Christianity by disproving Paul’s conversion and Christ’s resurrection.
1. After examining the facts, both these men confessed their faith in Jesus.
2. Lyttleton concluded that the most ardent persecutor of the church would have required a personal confrontation with the resurrected Christ in order to be turned from his opposition to him.
3. How wonderfully ironic that the most extended discussion of the doctrine of Christ’s resurrection and its implications for us would come from the pen of a man who once ridiculed the claim.
B. Paul begins chapter 15 by reminding the Corinthians that the doctrine of the resurrection is at the heart of the gospel that he had preached among them and that they had believed and received.
1. His concern for them was that they “hold firmly to the word” that Paul had preached so that they would not have believed in vain.
2. The preaching of the gospel revolves around the fact that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (15:3b-4).
3. The gospel (which means “good news”) is not a set of behavioral responses imposed on us by God.
4. Rather, it is a message of love, grace and peace.
5. By means of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, God is wooing and winning our hearts by the lengths to which He has gone for our sakes.
6. In emphasizing that the death, burial, and resurrection occurred “according to the Scriptures,” Paul was appealing to OT prophesies concerning the event.
C. Additionally, Paul also cited numerous eyewitness reports of the resurrection, including his own.
1. Now we certainly would like to have more details about some of these appearances of Christ.
2. Certainly, in that day, these accounts were widely circulated and well-known.
3. By mentioning the fact that many of the eye witnesses were still alive, Paul was challenging the Corinthians to check out these stories for themselves.