• Matt Beaney

#691. THE COMING KINGDOM (16/11/22)

This week we continue our series in 1 Corinthians. We are considering what Paul teaches about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:12-34.

Summary: Jesus’ resurrection points to our resurrection and future reign with God in a renewed creation.

But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.’ (1. Corinthians 15:23-28)

THEN THE END WILL COME

Many speculate on how the world will end. Many books and stories are written about alien invasion, a spreading virus, a meteor strike, environmental catastrophe… What we can all be certain of is that life on this planet will end. As Christians, however, we have revelation from God on how, if not when, it will end.


The end will come at the right time and according to God’s will. The end - and the new beginning! - will occur at Jesus’ return; at this time all Christians will experience bodily resurrection and reign with Christ. For Christians, the end is full of hope. It’s a time of renewal.


JESUS IS RESTORING GOD’S KINGDOM ON EARTH

The end is the beginning; after the general resurrection at Jesus’ return, we are told that Jesus will ‘hand over the Kingdom to God the Father’ and that ‘the Son Himself will be made subject’ to God. What does this mean? The Son (God the Son who is equal with the Father) is, in humility, working out the plans of the God (The Father) to bring all things back under the rule of God. He is restoring God’s Kingdom on earth. J. I. Packer writes of the submission of Jesus whilst being equal to the Father:

‘It is the nature of the second person of the Trinity to acknowledge the authority and submit to the good pleasure of the first. That is why He declares Himself to be the Son, and the first person to be the Father. Though co-equal with the Father in eternity, power and glory, it is natural to Him to play the Son’s part, and find all His joy in doing the Father’s will, just as it is natural to the first person of the Trinity to plan and initiate the works of the Godhead and natural to the third person to proceed from the Father and the Son to do their joint bidding. Thus the obedience of the God-man to the Father while He was on earth was not a new relationship occasioned by the incarnation, but the continuation in time of the eternal relationship between the Son and the Father in heaven.’ (Packer, Knowing God)

ALL ENEMIES UNDER HIS FEET

It’s important to note that the restoration of God’s Kingdom involves mankind’s rule being restored in the earth also! We are told of Jesus’ work:

‘For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.’ (v.25).

Here, Paul is quoting from Psalm 8 where we read more fully:

‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet…’ (Psalm 8:4-6)

Do you see that it’s mankind who are created to rule the earth? Through the fall this rule has been corrupted and God is in process, through Christ, of restoring man’s rule in the earth. Christ is restoring our reign (See Hebrews 2:8-9). Jesus has defeated death and demonic powers in his death and resurrection. Likewise, all Christians will rise from death to rule with God in the earth!


GOD IS ALL IN ALL

However, Paul wants to make clear that man’s rule is, ultimately, under God’s. We are vice-regents; this is what God, through Christ is working toward: the restoration of the rule of man under in the earth (and universe). ‘God is all in all’; our role in ruling the earth will always be to the glory of God.

RESPONSE

Do you understand that you will reign in the earth under God? Our care for creation is an outworking of this prophetic vision. When we pray, “your Kingdom come, your will be done…” We are praying that each of us would express God’s ways in the spheres of influence and authority that He has given to us. Citizens of the Kingdom are to live in the light of that future fullness of the Kingdom. Jesus’ resurrection is the guarantee of our victory and resurrection into this hope.

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

 

2. Icebreaker

What has God been speaking to you about from His word recently? How would you like prayer?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


This week we continue our series in 1 Corinthians. We are considering what Paul teaches about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:12-34.


i. THE CORINTHIANS ARE IN DANGER FALSE TEACHING

‘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)

Some in the Corinthian church were struggling with the idea of resurrection and Paul is seeking to keep them from false teaching.


ii. NO RESURRECTION NO SALVATION

‘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)

Paul is at pains to show them that if Jesus has not been raised from the dead, they are not saved and continue under God’s judgment. If Jesus has not been raised from the dead, His death on the cross was not a victory but the defeat of a deluded man.


iii. JESUS THE FIRSTFRUITS

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.’ (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)

Paul calls Jesus’ resurrection the ‘firstfruits’. This is about Him being the first of many to follow. Imagine moving into a new home with a fruit tree that you don’t recognise in the garden. When the tree produces an apple or a pearl, you know that all the fruit that will follow will be of the same kind. Likewise, Jesus’ resurrection is the same kind as all Christians will experience.

iv. THROUGH ONE MAN

He reminds the Corinthians of the deep truth of the similarity between Christ and Adam. He writes in Romans 5:


‘For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!’ (Romans 5:17)

Just as Adam’s sin led to death in the universe and our physical bodies, so Christ’s obedience to the death of the cross will lead to the removal of death in the universe and our physical bodies. He tells them that ’In Christ all will be made alive’; He wants to reassure them that as surely as Adam’s disobedience on their behalf has affected them so negatively, so Jesus’ obedience on their behalf will lead to complete victory.


RESPONSE - DO NOT BE MISLED

Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptised for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptised for them? And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.’ (1 Corinthians 15:29-33)

God wants you to be certain of Jesus’ resurrection and of your own future hope of resurrection. Beware that “Bad company corrupts good character.” Are we putting good teaching into our minds and hearts? Are we caught up with conspiracy theories and fanciful teaching that takes one away from true faith?


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

i. Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii. What does Jesus' resurrection mean for us?

iii. Why do many fail to believe or think about their future resurrection?

iv. How often do you think about your future resurrection and how does this affect your life?


SIV - Let's keep praying and planning for how we can invite people to our carol service on 11th December (4 pm).

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.





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