I. The Resurrection Of Jesus.
A. What importance does the resurrection of Jesus have to the Christian faith?
1. Bible reading (Matthew 28:1-10)
a) Key Bible Verse (Matthew 28:5-6)
(1) The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith.
(a) The resurrection of Jesus is the key to the Christian faith. Why?
(i) Just as he promised, Jesus rose from the dead. We can be confident, therefore, that he will accomplish all he has promised.
(ii) Jesus' bodily resurrection shows us that the living Christ is ruler of God's eternal kingdom, not a false prophet or impostor.
(iii) We can be certain of our resurrection because he was resurrected. Death is not the end—there is future life.
(iv) The power that brought Jesus back to life is available to us to bring our spiritually dead self back to life.
(v) The Resurrection is the basis for the church's witness to the world. Jesus is more than just a human leader; he is the Son of God.
2. Bible reading (1 Cor.15:1-11).
a) Key bible verse (1 Cor.15:3-4)
(1) The Resurrection is the decisive point of the Christian faith.
(a) There will always be people who say that Jesus didn't rise from the dead.
(b) Paul assures us that many people saw Jesus after his resurrection: Peter, the disciples (the Twelve), more than five hundred Christian believers (most of whom were still alive when Paul wrote this, although some had died), James (Jesus' brother), all the apostles, and finally Paul himself.
(c) The Resurrection is a historical fact. Don't be discouraged by doubters who deny the Resurrection. Be filled with hope because of the knowledge that one day you and they will see the living proof when Christ returns.
II. Our Resurrection
A. What does the Bible teach about our resurrection?
1. Bible reading (1 Cor.15:12-28).
a) Key bible verse (1 Cor.15:12)
(1) Our resurrection includes body and soul.
(a) Most Greeks did not believe that people's bodies would be resurrected after death. They saw the afterlife as something only for the soul.
(b) According to Greek philosophers, the soul was the real person, imprisoned in a physical body, and at death the soul was released.
(c) There was no immortality for the body, but the soul entered an eternal state. Christianity, in contrast, affirms that the body and soul will be united after resurrection. The church at Corinth was in the heart of Greek culture.
(d) Thus many believers had a difficult time believing in a bodily resurrection. Paul wrote this part of his letter to clear up this confusion about the resurrection.
(2) Our resurrection is certain because of Christ's resurrection.
(a) The resurrection of Christ is the center of the Christian faith. Because Christ rose from the dead as he promised, we know that what he said is true—he is God.
(b) Because he rose, we have certainty that our sins are forgiven. Because he rose, he lives and represents us to God.
(c) Because he rose and defeated death, we know we will also be raised.
(3) Our resurrection is our only hope for eternal life.
(a) Why does Paul say believers should be pitied if there were only earthly value to Christianity? In Paul's day, Christianity often brought a person persecution, ostracism from family, and, in many cases, poverty.
(b) There were few tangible benefits from being a Christian in that society. It was certainly not a step up the social or career ladder.
(c) Even more important, however, is the fact that if Christ had not been resurrected from death, Christians could not be forgiven for their sins and would have no hope of eternal life.
B. What will our resurrected body be like?
1. Bible reading (1 Cor.15:35-58).
a) Key bible verse (1 Cor.15:51-53).
(1) Our resurrected body will be eternal.
(a) Paul launches into a discussion about what our resurrected body will be like. If you could select your own body, what kind would you choose—strong, athletic, beautiful?
(b) Paul explains that we will be recognized in our resurrected body, yet it will be better than we can imagine, for it will be made to live forever.
(c) We will still have our own personality and individuality, but these will be perfected through Christ's work.
(d) The Bible does not reveal everything that our resurrected body will be able to do, but we know it will be perfect, without sickness or disease (see Phil. 3:21).
(2) Our resurrected body will be different than our present one.
(a) Paul compares the resurrection of our body with the growth in a garden. Seeds placed in the ground don't grow unless they "die" first.
(b) The plant that grows is very different looking from the seed because God gives it a new "body."
(c) There are different kinds of bodies—people, animals, fish, birds. Even the angels in heaven have bodies that are different in beauty and glory. Our resurrected body will be very different in some ways, but not all, from our earthly body.
(3) Our resurrected body will not experience present limitations.
(a) Our present body is perishable and prone to decay. Our resurrection body will be transformed. Our spiritual body will not be limited by the laws of nature.
(b) This does not necessarily mean we'll be super people, but our body will be different from and more capable than our present earthly one.
(c) Our spiritual body will not be weak, will never get sick, and will never die.