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1 Corinthians 15:1-11

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1 Corinthians 15:1–11 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
With each other
With Paul
Corinth is a Church with compromise
Moral decay per 1 Corin 5-6
Corinth a Church is a Church of confusion
Public worship around the grace of the Lord’s Supper and the gifts of the Holy Spirit
Corinth is a Church asking for clarity...
1 Corinthians 15:12 ESV
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
Our passage of focus this morning begins Paul’s most thorough and clarifying contribution around this question framed one verse later than our focus this morning.
This morning we begin our journey into , one of Paul’s most exquisite, detailed, and compelling writings.
It reads like a musical score with all the key components of a musical score:
It has portions that will feel very much like a RECITATIVE in an Opera — this is where the performers offer the spoken work with rhythm and usually only on a note or two connecting ARIAS or CHORUSES together
ARIAS are solo melodies performed with accompaniment throughout the body of the opera/musical.
CHORUS is when an ensemble — duet, trio, or an entire chorus — join and unite together to offer a key and critical part of the opera/musical.
The BALLET is the last piece in the opera/musical where everyone finishes their song and story.
Over the next four weeks we will intersect with each of these musical expressions as we read and study together.
Like every story and writing, there is a back story — some of which we covered last week.
And so today we begin where most operas/musicals begin: THE OVERTURE.
1 Corinthians 15:1–11 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Play Music Man Main Title
Play Sound of Music Overature
Play Circle of Life — Lion King
Overtures place — front and center — the main and most important themes and expressions of the scores they introduce.
This is what these first 11 verses do… they place front and center the most important, crucial, and central themes of this entire chapter.
As Paul is beginning this Overture to the Corinthian Church, it is not the first time they have heard this music.
1 Corinthians 15:1–2 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
Paul was with them 18 months preaching the gospel of Christ…
The received the gospel
They stood and stand in the gospel
They are being saved by the gospel
The need to cling to the gospel Paul preached.
Their need — and our need — for the gospel is as present today as the hour of our first moment of faith in Jesus.
If you relegate the gospel only to the moment of salvation, your Christian experience will be one of confusion and compromise.
You will waste your life if you forget the gospel — believe in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:3–7 ESV
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
1 Corin 15:3-7
First Importance — Major on the Majors
RECEIVING AND DELIVERY
1 CORIN 11:
1 Corinthians 11:23 ESV
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,
This same frame work here — delivered and received.
Two major melody lines around the score’s central theme: THE GOSPEL
The Lord’s Supper
This creed of 3-4
1 Corinthians 15:3–4 ESV
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
Died and Raised — according to the Scriptures.
His death could be a ref to
Resurrection — and
More of an allusion to the larger context and story of the OT.

And Not just an allusion to the larger context of the Biblical narrative, but to a full inclusion of the apostles and witnesses who have gone before...

1 Corinthians 15:5–7 ESV
5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.

Paul’s overture here is trumpeting — right out of the gate — the gospel that he presented… they gospel they believed… the gospel he delivered and received… the gospel embraced by Peter and the 12 and the 500 and James… and… to Paul.

1 Corinthians 15:8–11 ESV
8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
1 corin 15:
Some of the conflict happening in the Church at Corinth is Paul’s authority… role… among the giants of the first century church.
Paul’s history and story...
He equated his vision of Jesus on the Damascus as having seen Jesus in the same way as those listed — as Peter… as James brother…
BUT, many in Corinth, they didn’t buy it.
Paul constantly had to face
In our minds we are tempted to believe that our best future is completely devoid of our past.
Paul calls himself “one untimely born.”
The Greek word with that translation — it is the only time that word is used in the New Testament. It isn’t used anywhere else.
It means “abortion” or “miscarriage.”
Paul had to war against churches and communities who knew his past — a persecutor of the church — and knew his claim — that he was as much an apostle as Peter or James — and it is suspected that people in Corinth were belittling him by calling him… an abortion… ripped from his Mother’s womb too early.
“You’re right about my past. I did persecute the church.”
1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
1 corin 15:10
And here the clause “in vain” leaps off the page.
RECEIVED, STOOD, CLING — they don’t do that and their believing is in vain… wasted… empty.
BUT Paul, did receive, stand, and cling to the gospel every day of his life
“You’re not as good as Apollos”
“You’re not as important as Peter”
“You don’t have James bloodline”
“You murdered Stephen”
“Your so hideous, you are like an abortion...”
Paul preaches to himself time and time again and works day after day after day:

that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

If he left the gospel on the Damascus Road where he got saved his heart, mind, soul, and strength would be toast in dealing with Corinth.
So whoever preaches this gospel to you — me or them — may you all believe.
1 Corinthians 15:11 ESV
11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
This is Paul’s overture of reminder — the grace of God in the Gospel of Jesus for them… for us… for all time.
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