• Matt Beaney

#692. IF THE DEAD ARE NOT RAISED (17/11/22)

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

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.’’ (1 Corinthians 15:29-32)

Summary: Both true and false teaching about the resurrection will radically change every day of our lives. If I want to know what I believe about the resurrection, I just have to look at where I'm investing myself.


Jesus’ resurrection and our hope of bodily resurrection are central to the Bible’s story. It’s to be in our minds and effect how we live every day. I know that I am too earthbound and focussed on this life. Of course, we are to focus on this life, but we are to do so in light of eternity. In this section, Paul shows how the teaching on the resurrection or false teaching can direct our lives.


PREPARED TO FACE DANGER, DEATH AND PERSECUTION

Paul says that because of the teaching on resurrection, ‘we endanger ourselves every hour… face death…fought wild beasts’. He can do these very difficult things because He knows that God loves and is in control. However, He can also do this because He knows that death is not the end but just the beginning of his true and eternal life. Jesus commands us:

‘Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.’ (Matthew 16:38)

A person who can ‘take up their cross’ and ‘lose their life’ is someone who has found a better and lasting life in Christ.


EAT AND DRINK FOR TOMORROW WE DIE

A failure to believe in Jesus’ and our resurrection, also has profound and opposite results. We can easily become hedonistic; we live for pleasure because this short life is all that we have. The fact that we don’t all live self-centred and destructive lives is proof of mankind’s innate sense of justice because he is made in the image of God.


RESPONSE

Are you living for your own pleasures or are you living like you will face God in judgment? Are you living like this life is the only life that you will have? Do we realise that we can store up wealth in heaven rather than waste our resources by investing selfishly in this life? Jesus’ teaching in The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-29) teaches us that Jesus has gone into heaven, likened to ‘ a long journey'. We are to be waiting for His return. At the time of His return, we will face judgement. True Christians will have put their ‘talent to work’. We all have a choice whether to use our ‘talents’ - God-given gifts and resources - selfishly, fearfully or faithfully. Let’s live in light of the resurrection.

 

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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