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Summary: DEATH IS NOT SOMETHING THAT WE LIKE TO TALK ABOUT, IT HAS ALWAYS HAD A NEGATIVE MEANING IN THE WORLD. TO THE CHRISTIAN THOUGH, DEATH IS NOT THE END.

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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DIE

1 CORINTHIANS 15:12-58

A QUESTION THAT HAS PLAGUED HUMANITY SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME, IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DIE. AS CHRISTIANS WE HAVE A CERTAIN HOPE THAT WE WILL SPEND ETERNITY WITH CHRIST, BUT WHAT IS THAT HOPE BASED ON. WHAT DO WE PUT OUR FAITH IN?

DEATH IS NOT SOMETHING THAT WE LIKE TO TALK ABOUT. IT HAS ALWAYS HAD A NEGATIVE MEANING IN THE WORLD. WE SPEAK OF VISITS FROM “THE GRIM REAPER” REPRESENTED BY ALL KINDS OF HORRIBLE PICTURES. DEATH HAS COME TO BE SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE GROWN TO FEAR, AND TO AVOID HAVING TO DEAL WITH. THAT’S WHY WHEN IT INVADES OUR FAMILY OR OUR CHURCH, IT IS SO HARD TO DEAL WITH.

THERE ARE MANY VIEWS ON DEATH AND HERE ARE THREE PROMINENT ONES:

1. ATHIESTIC: THE ATHIEST RESPONDS TO THE ISSUE OF DEATH “ THE GRAVE IS THE END OF ALL MEN. WE ARE JUST ANOTHER ANIMAL THAT IS BORN, LIVES, AND THEN DIES AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AFTERWARDS.

2. REINCARNATIONIST: MANY OF THE EASTERN RELIGIONS TEACH THIS VIEW. THIS PARTICULAR VIEW STATES THAT WHEN ONE DIES THAT THEY WILL REINCARNATE OR COME BACK TO LIFE AS SOMEONE OR SOMETHING ELSE. IT IS BASED ON EVENTUALLY REACHING “NIRVANA”, AND TAKING AS MANY TRYES AS IT TAKES TO GET THERE.

3. CHRISTIAN: THE CHRISTIAN VIEW TEACHED THAT ALL PEOPLE, SAVE FOR THOSE TAKEN AT THE TIME OF THE RAPTURE, WILL DIE AND WILL BE RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD, AND THAT ALL WILL BE CHANGED FROM OUR PRESENT CORRUPTIBLE STATE, TO AN INCORRUPTIBLE STATE, WHERE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO LIVE FOR ETERNITY IN EITHER HEAVEN OR HELL.

I WANT TO CONTINUE LOOKING AT SOME OF THE KEY DOCTRINES OF OUR FAITH TODAY BY EXAMINING WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT DEATH. WE ARE GOING TO CONSIDER PAUL’S TEACHING TO THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH CONCERNING DEATH AND SEE HOW IT APPLIES TO OUR LIVES TODAY.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND:

WHEN PAUL ESTABLISHED THE CHURCH AT CORINTH, HE HAD TO DEAL WITH A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT ISSUES THAT PEOPLE BROUGHT INTO THE CHURCH WITH THEM. DEATH AND THE RESURRECTION WAS ONE OF THESE AREAS.

CORINTH WAS THE CENTER OF WHAT WAS CALLED THE EPICUREAN PHILOSOPHY. THIS PHILOSOPHY TAUGHT THAT THERE WAS NO ETERNITY, SO MAN SHOULD EAT DRINK AND BE AS MERRY AS HE CAN WHILE HE IS ALIVE FOR WHEN HE DIES, THAT’S IT. THAT’S ALL SHE WROTE.

PART OF THIS PHILOSOPHY FILTERED INTO THE CHURCH AT CORINTH. THERE WERE THOSE IN THE CHURCH WHO TAUGHT THAT THERE WAS NO RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. THEY WOULD SAY, “BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST. BELIEVE THAT HE DIED ON THE CROSS AS A SACRIFICE FOR OUR SINS. DON’T BELIEVE THAT HE REALLY ROSE AGAIN, OR THAT AS CHRISTIANS WE WILL BE RESURRECTED.”

IF WE FOLLOW THIS TRAIN OF THOUGHT THROUGH, IT HAS TO LEAD TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THERE IS NO HEAVEN OR HELL, AND HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE IN JESUS FOR IN FACT HE IS A LIAR FOR TEACHING ABOUT HEAVEN AND HELL. THIS BELIEF WAS A CANCER THAT HAD TO BE DEALT WITH, AND PAUL DID THIS HERE IN CHAPTER 15.

THE CHAPTER ITSELF CAN BE DIVIDED INTO TWO SECTIONS:

1. VV.1-34: DEALS WITH PAUL’S DEFENCE OF HIS BELIEF IN THE RESURRECTION, USING CHRIST AS AN EXAMPLE.

2. VV.35-58: PAUL TEACHES ON WHAT OUR RESURRECTION BODIES WILL BE LIKE.


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