#324 – NO RESURRECTION NO LIFE (8/4/21)
During this week after Easter, we are thinking about Paul’s longest section of teaching on the resurrection from 1 Corinthians 15.
Some in Corinth were teaching that Jesus had not really been raised from death. Paul responds,
‘But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?’ (1 Corinthians 15:12)
Having given a list of witnesses to the resurrection in 15:4-8, some people seem to think that they know better. Paul goes on to teach what would be the results if it turned out that there actually had been no resurrection.
‘If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.’ (1 Corinthians 15:13-19)
Firstly, without the resurrection, Jesus is not alive. He’s not kept His word. His death for sin contains no victory over sin and death.
Secondly, the message of the gospel - the death and resurrection of Jesus for sin - turns out to be a false message and doesn’t have the power to save. In fact, it's a message that is a lie; its proponents warrant God's judgement.
Thirdly, our hope of life after death and future resurrection turns out to be nonsense.
Paul responds to these resurrection deniers with,
‘But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.’ (1 Corinthians 15:20)
Of course, we all have moments when doubts assault us. At such times, we need to take the ‘shield of faith’ and defend ourselves from the ‘flaming arrows’ of the evil one.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - TAKE HOLD OF THE ROCK
On Sunday we celebrated Easter Sunday - the resurrection of Jesus.
Like those first disciples, there are so many things that stop us from remembering the resurrection as we need to. We may well believe that Jesus is alive but are we taking hold of it as we could? Those first disciples did not listen and so did expect the resurrection as Jesus had promised.
Take a moment to read through Matthew's account of that first Easter Sunday from Matthew 28: 1-15.
There are many things that could be said, but here are three things that Jesus wants us to know as a result of the resurrection:
i) Jesus is alive
Christians don’t follow a dead guru, hero, example, prophet… We don’t just remember Jesus, we meet with Jesus in the Spirit!
ii) He's truthful
Jesus was not mad, bad, psychotic, super-spiritual… He was telling the truth. All of Jesus’ words can be trusted
iii) He gives life
Those who come to Jesus will receive new life now. We also receive the promise of future resurrection.
1. How often do you think about the resurrection?
2. How does the truth of the resurrection affect your daily life?
3. Why do you think that the first disciples failed to expect Jesus' resurrection as He had promised?
4. In what ways could you let God fill your heart and mind with the hope of the resurrection?
Serving, Investing and inviting
Jesus' resurrection gives us a vision for the future that we want others to enjoy. Let's take a moment to share and pray about how we are serving, investing and inviting into our community.
1) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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