1 Corinthians 15 … Consider His Resurrection from the Dead

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (15:3-4).

As Paul begins to wrap up this lengthy letter, he culminates his message with what is of first importance to faith, unity, love and body life; the fact of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

Paul’s emphasis in his opening remarks to the Corinthians, was focused on the message of the gospel revealed in the power of His death on the cross. But before Paul began teaching on unity, love and body life lived out in edifying one another in chapters 12, 13 and 14, in every preceding chapter he continually underscored the gospel, God’s powerful means of atonement through the price Christ paid as the sole foundation for our salvation, accomplished by His death.

  • 1:17-18: For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
  • 2:2: For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
  • 3:11: For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
  • 4:20: For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.
  • 5:7: …For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
  • 6:20: For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body,
  • 7:23: You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.
  • 8:11: For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died.
  • 9:12: …but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.
  • 10:16: Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?
  • 11:26: For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

And in considering the whole message of the gospel, Paul instructed the believers in their appropriate response to His tremendous sacrifice, the price He paid through His excruciating death. The gospel should move and motivate His body to respond in unity, love and concern for others.

  • 12:27: Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.
  • 13:13: But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
  • 14:26: …Let all things be done for edification.

But there were those who doubted His Resurrection from the Dead. They had apparently placed their faith in His sacrifice and death on the cross, but denied the reality of His Resurrection; and thereby denied the hope of their own resurrection.

And in true Paul-like fashion, he boldly takes on the skeptics to prove and defend the truth, as he soundly refutes the naysayers and establishes His Resurrection from the Dead as our only hope for victory in this life and for all of eternity.

Consider His Resurrection from the Dead

  • His Resurrection from the Dead is of first importance.
    • For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received… (15:3).
  • His Resurrection from the Dead is according to the Scriptures.
    • …that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (15:3-4).
  • His Resurrection from the Dead was corroborated and confirmed by many witnesses.
    • and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also, (15:5-8).
  • His Resurrection from the Dead is our only hope for eternity.
    • For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins, (15:16-17).
  • His Resurrection from the Dead is the first fruits of those who have died
    • But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep, (15:20).
  • His Resurrection from the Dead is what will make us alive.
    • For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive,  (15:22).
  • His Resurrection from the Dead abolishes all His enemies, including death.
    • For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death, (15:25-26).
  • His Resurrection from the Dead will raise us to new life to bear His image.
    • So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body…49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly (15:42-43, 49).
  • His Resurrection from the Dead secures our inheritance.
    • Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (15:50).
  • His Resurrection from the Dead gives us the victory.
    • The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, (15:56).

How do we respond to His Resurrection from the Dead?

By His Resurrection from the Dead, corroborated and witnessed by hundreds and on several occasions, Jesus confirmed every bit of the Word of God. And because of His Resurrection from the Dead, we can have full confidence in all the Scriptures.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (15:3-4).

But this confidence must not be kept to ourselves. We must always be ready to answer the skeptics and defend our faith. After all, God’s ways are mysterious to the lost; and talking with unbelievers about His crucifixion and Resurrection from the Dead can sound pretty outrageous to the natural mind. But we have been instructed to be ready to defend our faith.

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence, (1 Peter 3:15).

The theological term, in what Peter counseled above and Paul practiced in his writing, “to defend the faith with reason and proof,” is apologetics.  Our faith is based on facts; the fact of His death, burial and Resurrection from the Dead.

If in fact Christ is not raised, then preaching, faith and forgiveness hold no meaning.

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to pitied, (15:13-19).

BUT, Christ has been raised and our hope is in the One Who is in fact alive and lives forever; in the One Who guarantees that we too will be Resurrected from the Dead.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep, (15:20).

And that ought to make a difference in the way we live. The day is coming when He will return, and we will be be changed in a moment to be made ready to meet Him and inherit His kingdom.

Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed, (15:50-52).

Oh, that we would be deliberate to remember and rely on His Resurrection from the Dead, that He would grow us to live steadfast in our faith, immovable in our love, abounding in our service and convinced of His reward.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord, (15:58).

And perhaps, one of our most effective defenses for sharing the gospel is through a life consumed in a passionate desire to know Him and His Resurrection from the Dead, and to then make Him known.

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead, (Philippians 3:10-11).

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (15:3-4).

Let’s Grow Together!

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