Our Hope in Christ

Godly Living in the Today's World: A Study in 1 Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A Negative Look

1 Corinthians 15:12–19 NIV
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? 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.
If Christ is not raised, then our faith is without effect. If Christ did not raise, then this new age in which sins are left behind has not after all been inaugurated. The resurrection is more than just an amazing act of the divine. The resurrection marks the invasion ofChrist upon this present evil age. The age to come has arrived and with it, restoration, return, covenant renewal, and forgiveness has been made possible.
If Christ has not raised then the preaching of the apostles is false witness and thus they are under the judgment of God.
If Christ has not been raised, then we are still in our sins and there is no hope. We are still objects of wrath and our hope lies in futile appeasement instead of reconciled relationship.
If Christ has not raised, then we are just lying to ourselves and our sacrifices in this life are for nothing. Our life should be one of pity for our delusion is leading our actions.
Romans 8:18 NIV
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

A Positive View

1 Corinthians 15:20–28 NIV
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.
Just as death came through the inheritance of the curse from Adam, life comes through the inheritance of the resurrection of Christ. Paul describes the resurrection of Christ as the firstfruits, the part of the harvest given in faith to the Lord in thanksgiving for the rest of the harvest. The first fruits given in trust that there is more harvest yet to come. Christ can not be the first fruits if He alone rises.
Christ is the ruler of the age that is to come, the age of the kingdom of Heaven. This age was proclaimed at Christ’s arrival and its dominion rooted in His defeat of death. All other authorities are competing against His dominion, but all of them will fall away. Jesus is far more than just a good teacher or the idealic man, Jesus is the authority by which the redemption of man can actually occur.

Exhortation

1 Corinthians 15:29–34 NIV
Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized 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.
Baptism for the dead may have been an early practice in the church in Corinth.
Paul is emphasizing the place of the resurrection in how we live our everyday lives. Our comings and goings are impacted by the truth of the resurrection. We do not proclaim a false gospel that holds no power, but rather we proclaim a living gospel rooted in a living Savior.
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