Summary: 1 Corinthians 15 gives us the reasons we follow Jesus.
GOOD ADVICE TO A GROWING CHURCH _____________________________________________
Why I Follow Jesus - 1 Corinthians 15:1-58
Paul wrote the epistle to the Corinthians to accomplish at least two purposes:
1. Correction—The Corinthian church was full of carnality (chapters 1-6)
2. Instruction—The Corinthian church was full of questions (chapters 7-14).
It seems that everything comes to focus in this chapter – especially in v.58.
1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Today… I’m going to be teaching out of the New Living Testament. I’ve been using this version more and more in my studies.
1 Cor 15:58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. (NLT)
Look at the words:
Always abounding (enthusiastic about the work of the Lord)
Knowing that you labor is not in vain (keep serving God)
The word “therefore now points back to v.1. Why is it “there for?”
1. BECAUSE THE GOSPEL STILL SAVES (V. 1-11)
We can’t water it down by removing parts from it…. His death, burial, bodily resurrection, and His return to Heaven.
1 Cor 15:1 Now let me remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then and still do now, for your faith is built on this wonderful message.
1 Cor 15:2 And it is this Good News that saves you if you firmly believe it--unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.
1 Cor 15:3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me--that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.
1 Cor 15:4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said. (NLT)
1 Cor 15:2 And it is this Good News that saves you
The Greek word here is an ongoing work. God continues to save me. He is always helping me.
The resurrection is an important theme for our faith…
That is what makes us different than different religions. Their gods came and died. Period.
God sent His son who died and rose again.
Resurrection is mentioned 108 x’s in the NT.
Christianity bases its entire claim upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the rock to which we hang our faith on.
If the resurrection did not occur, then the Bible and everything that we believe in is discredited.
Our faith is “in vain.” (v.2 – NKJV)
Paul takes great pains to prove that the resurrection actually took place.
He appeared 17 times after He was raised, once to 500 people (five are revealed in the passage) - vv. 5-7.
1 Cor 15:5 He was seen by Peter and then by the twelve apostles.
1 Cor 15:6 After that, he was seen by more than five hundred of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died by now.
1 Cor 15:7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. (NLT)
He also appeared to a “hostile source” – Paul himself.
Paul was a hateful persecutor of the things of Christ when Jesus appeared to Him on the Damascus road.
Historians agree that when a hostile source agrees with a friendly source - it must be true.
Now notice v.8… With utter humility and simple honesty, Paul describes his witness of Christ’s resurrection.
1 Cor 15:8 Last of all, I saw him, too, long after the others, as though I had been born at the wrong time.
1 Cor 15:9 For I am the least of all the apostles, and I am not worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted the church of God.
1 Cor 15:10 But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me--and not without results. For I have worked harder than all the other apostles, yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.
1 Cor 15:11 So it makes no difference whether I preach or they preach. The important thing is that you believed what we preached to you.
How Can I Be Sure That I Have Not Believed In Vain? - vv. 8-11
(v.2 – NKJV) “vain...” empty
Have you ever asked that? Is what I am doing worth it or not? Am I just wasting my time.
Four signs will help you determine this
1. A marked sense of humility - vv. 8-9
“For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle…”