Summary: The Resurrection is the central tenent of the Christian faith.
This We Believe
“I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body, and the Life Everlasting”
1 Corinthians 15 (selected verses)
We come this morning to close our series This We Believe as we take our final look at the foundations of our faith contained in the Apostle’s Creed. We have recounted the wonderful works of God in trying to understand what we mean when we say the words of this creed. God has done all these great things: created the universe and all that is in it, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the chosen vessel of God’s redemption, given us the Holy Spirit, built the church, and forgiven our sins. But if we stop there we are left to say, “So what?” To end there leaves our faith unfinished. There would be something missing. The statement, “I believe in the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting,” are the exclamation point of the Apostle’s Creed. They are, therefore, the exclamation point of our faith, as well. These words serve to remind us that, not only is God’s redemptive work moving toward completion, but that we are part and parcel of that work. The closing words of the Apostle’s Creed inspire confidence and hope as we live out our faith in this world so full of confusion and doubt.
The Christians who lived in the city of Corinth wrestled with the issue of the resurrection. Some even said there was no resurrection from the dead. Paul, in his first letter to the church in that city, addressed the issue head-on, and in so doing, laid the foundation for the words contained in the Creed. I want us to look at chapter 15 of that letter today, and find the words of confidence and hope Paul shared with those Christians as we seek to understand what we mean when we say, “I believe in the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”
I want us to read verses 12-23 and 51-58. Paul takes the whole chapter answering the question of the resurrection, not only of Jesus, but our resurrection as well. These verses form the heart of his argument, but as we go through the message this morning I will reference other passages in the chapter, too. Let’s look at what Paul says:
1 Cor. 15:12-23
But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead?  For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless.  And we apostles would all be lying about God, for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave, but that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead.  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still under condemnation for your sins.  In that case, all who have died believing in Christ have perished!  And if we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world.
 But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again.
 So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, Adam, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man, Christ.  Everyone dies because all of us are related to Adam, the first man. But all who are related to Christ, the other man, will be given new life.  But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised first; then when Christ comes back, all his people will be raised.
1 Cor. 15:51-58
But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed.  It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die.  For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die.
 When this happens—when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die—then at last the Scriptures will come true:
"Death is swallowed up in victory.
 O death, where is your victory?