1 Corinthians #28: an exposition of 1 Corinthians 15:29-58. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, August 14, 2011.
The resurrection is the believer’s hope. It is the source of unending joy, peace, assurance and confidence in the life of the believer. It is at the heart of who and what we are. It is essential to our faith. To be clear when we talk of resurrection we are talking about the act whereby God makes the physically dead – physically alive. We are not talking about “influence” living on, we are talking about bodies being raised to life. Further we are talking about bodies being raised to never die again. We are not talking resuscitation but resurrection. In the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul gives this extended teaching on the doctrine of resurrection. He begins by establishing the fact that Christ has been raised to life. Once he establishes that fact he then ties our resurrection to His. Because Christ was raised, we will be raised. He is the firstfruit – the pledge and promise that there is more to come. I understand folks are skeptical about such things. I understand that there are those who find this teaching “fantastic” or beyond belief. There were those in Paul’s day who thought it total nonsense. Resurrection was a stumbling block to the Jews, who thought primarily of God’s activity in this life, in this world, and it was foolishness to the Greeks who long sought to be freed from the prison of this earthly body. The Greeks believed the spirit to be good while the material world was evil. The thought of living forever in a material body was repulsive to them! For these reasons Paul labors the point in chapter 15. In our text this evening Paul comes to deal with questions related to the doctrine of resurrection.
Text: 1 Corinthians 15:29-58
This section naturally breaks into three pieces.
A. Some practical implications of the resurrection. (15:29-34)
- If the dead are not raised it is absurd to embrace Christianity. (29)
- If the dead are not raised it makes no sense to expose oneself to danger. (30-32)
- If the dead are not raised it is foolish to insist on moral standards. (32)
B. Questions/concerns about the nature of the resurrected body. (15:35-49)
- Of course it is possible and you know it. (36-38)
- There are various kinds of bodies. (39-42a)
- This body will be gloriously different. (42b-46)
- A body like Christ’s. (47-49)
C. Finally Paul brings a concluding summary. (15:50-58)
- The resurrection is necessary for the life to come. (50-53)
- The resurrection signals the defeat of death. (54-57)
- The resurrection is an incentive to service. (58)