If He has risen
1 Corinthians 15:12-22
1 Corinthians 15:12-22
Last week… Easter Sunday.
Jesus rising from the dead changes everything for us.
let me just say, there are consequences for when we do things wrong in this world, yes? Well, I offer that there are consequences for everything we do in life. true? when we make a choice, it takes us in a direction. what we believe, takes us in a direction. as we go in one direction, we can’t go in another. make sense? we see in the Corinthian church, this struggle they are having around the resurrection. Paul works to correct their view.
we will start out in verse 12-19 today with a logical “if then”arguments that Paul is expressing to his readers that point to a clear struggle in those days.
It was a struggle with people understanding what happens after life because some thought that there was no resurrection of the dead and others believed that the resurrection had already taken place.
an important thing we must remember when reading scripture is that these words were penned in a certain time with people having a past that would have an affect on them as they read the words.
what do I mean by that..... well, if we today, wrote about events in which were in our immediate past, say 911, the readers would simply make a connection to their past..... it would make sense to all of us because of our culture and our times that we live in.
So too, we will find the writers connecting with their audiences. It helps us when reading the bible to get an understanding of the people of the bible.
To understand the people , we need to know what their world was like..... what did they think and believe?
good books for that would be manners and customs books, handbooks of the bible, and history of early Christians. We will dig into some of this today.
first, lets read 12-19 and remember, we are coming from Paul talking about preaching the gospel to them which is the full gospel, His death, burial and resurrection.
as I read, listen for the “if then” argument. if it is this way then this has to follow.
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
In this portion of text, Paul shows us what the result is when a person doesn’t believe in a resurrection. see the line of thought. if we don’t rise, then Christ didn’t rise. If Christ didn’t rise, we are done!
yet, in the verses just prior to today's text, we see Paul proving the point of Christ rising by the eye witness testimonies of so many.
Maybe we ask, why does Paul need to deal with this issue? He wrote often about the issues that were happening within the church.
Remember, these were people living in a certain day, with a past of philosophy and thought that might have had an affect on how they saw Jesus and the church.
a bit of history in Acts 17:18 when Paul was in Athens.....
Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him.
-Epicureans in the day. their philosophy started around 300 bc.
thought everything was only matter. atoms. lived to find happiness and pleasure.
did not believe in a life after death.
really avoided the need for Gods
thought gods lived in the space between universes and they didn’t involve themselves with earth.
-also there were Stoics which was one of the most influential philosophies in Paul's day.
pantheistic, where everything is god, essentially.
logic was number 1
they believed there was a connection with the divine but that the universe itself was a being with intelligence and will.
they believed the entire universe was destroyed by fire perpetually and reborn with everything occurring exactly as before.
we have the church of Corinth, some believing the resurrection had already taken place so there was no hope of a future one. Also, some could have been of the belief that we find in the philosophy of the age which the soul lived on without a body. Paul certainly was compelled to write an answer to the issues the Corinthians had.
looking at Paul’s line of thought, we see if one believed there was no resurrection, then Christ did not rise. And what of a persons faith then? useless. We would be complete fools to hope in something and allow our lives to be changed completely for something that wasn’t going to happen. think about it..... if Christ died and wasn’t raised, but said I want you to give up your life on earth, live believing that you have eternal life, but He didn’t blaze the path for us, how many people would walk that path?
the resurrection is central to our faith! because Christ has gone before us! He has proven that we will rise because He rose.
today, maybe our issues aren’t identical to those days, but does the church today struggle in the understanding of the resurrection and our hope of the future?
What does the resurrection actually do?
knowing it is a fact, we a faced with an incredible truth.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
that line in verse 20, but in fact. it is a fact. Over 500 people witnessed Jesus raised from the dead. it is a fact.
and Paul also uses a word “firstfruits” which maybe we don’t use in our day, but the meaning behind it is wonderful for you and I.
the firstfruits in the old testament were presented to God the first day of the week following Passover. It was a guarantee of the coming harvest.
that is you and I and all believers! because Jesus rose again, we are guaranteed as the harvest to rise.
then Paul uses the thought of how death came to us through Adam but Christ brought so much more. He brought life for us.
What grace from God.
what encouragement to us about life eternal.
we have resurrection power from our mighty King!