Of first importance

Be United! Book of First Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:16
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Paul tells us that the resurrection is of first importance, but why? This morning may we look at some facts (cultural, religious, Christians) about resurrection.
Fact the Greek culture did not believe in resurrection, much less Jesus resurrection (Act17:32)
Paul in Athens was even laughed at about resurrection.
Acts 17:32 NASB95
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.”
Fact the religious Sadducees did not believe in resurrection, much less resurrection of Jesus (Mt22:23; Act23:6-9)
Jesus dealt with this issue (resurrection) on questioning Tuesday (during passion week)
Matthew 22:23 NASB95
23 On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him,
They questioned, used a woman married multiple times on who she would be married to if there were a resurrection.
Fact: In general for many generations God was the God of a nation (Israel) but the individual did not matter.
Fact that there were questions about resurrection of the body that were being asked or Paul would not be addressing this issue.
In the O.T. there is very little scripture that would lead you to have hope in an a life after moral death, Job is one who gave a glimpse
Job 19:25–26 NASB95
25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. 26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
The believers at Corinth did not struggle with the fact of THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS, but did of a physical resurrection. So, Paul, like we, should go from what they do believe and go from there. The aim of Paul was to prove there would be a bodily resurrection.

Of First Importance - proclamation

Stating facts, fact in which they believe Paul sets up to answer the question about bodily resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:1–2 NASB95
1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:3–4 NASB95
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Gleaning from the scripture a couple of questions:
Question: What is Paul making known to them (v.1)?
The gospel in which he preached
Question: What is the Gospel delivered (vv.3-4)?
Christ died, was buried, rose again according to the Scriptures.
(Transition): Paul presents some proofs of Jesus resurrection and some statements of facts regarding the good news in which they received.
Proof 1 - their very salvation (vv.1-2)
They received it, what? the gospel (v.1)
They stood in it, that which they received (v.2)
The gospel was not made up, it was preached to them (v.1) and they received it.
The gospel, the good news in which they stood gave them stability in the midst of a world that did not believe in the resurrection, they stood on solid ground in the truth of God’s word, but still had questions about a bodily resurrection which we will deal with over next couple of weeks .
It is something in which you are also saved (v.2)
The Greek word here for saved is in present tense, not past tense.
It is the gospel in which we are being saved. This goes hand in hand with what John says in 1Jn1:1-9.
It is something you are to hold fast to. (v.2)
This world wants to call you weak if you believe in God.
The world wants to discount or take away your faith
The gospel being good news does not mean it does not have some dark times in this present world in which we are being saved. But the gospel is faith victory over the world. God’s victory in you, victory over your very soul needs to be clung time tenaciously.
It must be received, believed, protected so not to believe in vain (v.2)
Faith cannot be haphazard, it cannot survive if it is weak, it needs to be able to stand the tests of this world.
Faith that cannot be tested is not faith that can be trusted.
Faith needs to be personal, not because I tell you to believe or anyone else, it has to go from the nation to the person as we stated talking about the nation (Israel) originally earlier this morning.
Proof #2 - The Scripture (v.3)
The Old Testament scriptures point to the fulfillment that would happen in Christ Jesus (Lev16, Isa53; and Jesus words Mat12:38-31)
Leviticus 16 speaks of the sacrificial system
Isa53 about the suffering servant and
Mt12 points back to Jonah and the three days in the great fish as what the son of man would be in the ground.

Of first importance - proof

Paul goes on now to offer proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that the question remains on bodily resurrection. Paul is making the defense of a bodily resurrection by presenting this proof.
1 Corinthians 15:5–6 NASB95
5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
1 Corinthians 15:7–8 NASB95
7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.
What do you see what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Gleaning from the scripture:
Question: Who did Christ appear to in (vv.5-8)?
Appeared to Peter (Cephas), then the twelve (v.5)
Then 500 at one time (v.6); and James (v.7)
Finally to untimely born, Paul (v.8)
Proof #3
Christ was seen by many witnesses (vv.5-8)
On the cross Jesus was seen and displayed mostly to the unbelievers, in the resurrection it was to the believers
Scriptures to consider about believers seeing the resurrected Christ (Act1:22, 2:32, 3:15 and 5:32)
Act1:22 is about one of the qualifications for an apostle is had to have seen the resurrected Christ.
Acts 2:32 NASB95
32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.
and add in
Acts 3:15 NASB95
15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
(Insert Resurrection -1 picture here)
Peter who denied Christ saw him, one who abandoned was one who was embraced. God’s love, grace and mercy see beyond our failures.
Then by the apostles collectively, remember all but John had abandon at the cross. - so there was comfort brought to them by the resurrected Savior in a time they had to be worried about their physical life and even their spiritual life since Jesus was gone.
Next came James the 1/2 brother of Jesus who previously did not believe in face along with his family thought Jesus could be mad (see Mk3:21) and even by Jesus own word they did not believe in Him (Jn7:5); who after Jesus appeared to him became a believer.
So, here are Peter and James both of which had hurt Jesus because of actions were forgiven and comforted by Him in His resurrection. Jesus meets the penitent heart not partially, but fully. He comes to you! Now is that not good news? Our part, receive Him!
(transition) now pressing on:
Then what about the 500? There could be no doubt, no made up story about the resurrection if 500 people all at once saw Him
Then the untimely born, Paul (v.8) - Paul the unbeliever, Paul the persecutor, Paul the zealot against Christ became an advocate and a zealot for a resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ. And that sets us up for the next part of our passage in Paul building a case for a bodily resurrection

God’s grace at work

A drastic change in the heart of man is described as God’s grace at work in the life of Paul. Again, all a part of his defence for the bodily resurrection still yet to come.
1 Corinthians 15:9–10 NASB95
9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
1 Corinthians 15:11 NASB95
11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Question: How does Paul consider himself, and why (v.9)?
He considers himself least of the apostles
For reason he persecuted the church
Question: What was the cause and the purpose of the change (vv.10-11)?
The cause of the change was grace of God
The purpose of the change was so they would believe.
(Transition) This now leads to a major point about the resurrection of the dead having laid out the evidence of Jesus resurrection as proof #1, the scripture as proof #2 and the witness as proof #3.

Don’t let your faith be worthless

Paul has proven the resurrection of Christ. Now he will give a logical argument regarding resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:12–13 NASB95
12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
1 Corinthians 15:14–15 NASB95
14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. 15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.
1 Corinthians 15:16–17 NASB95
16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
1 Corinthians 15:18–19 NASB95
18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Gleaning from the scripture:
Question: What is the problem with some of the people (v.12)?
They say that there is no resurrection of the dead.
Question: If there is no resurrection than their faith is what (v.13-14)?
Their faith is in vain
Question: In (vv.15-17) Paul makes a few more observations but one major point in (v.17), what is it?
Without the resurrection you faith is worthless and you are still in your sins.
Question: if hope is only in this life, then we, believers are to be what (v.19)?
We are to be most pitied.
So a few things to say on this section:
Paul attacks the no resurrection position directly for “dead men don’t rise again.” And there is sufficient proof that Jesus did rise
Why is it of first importance, why is it so vital to believe in the resurrection? It proves a few quick points to make .
The resurrection proves:
Resurrection proves truth is greater than falsehood (Jn8:40)
Jesus came in truth with truth and man did not want the truth to do alway with their falsehood.
Resurrection proves good is stronger than evil (Jn8:44)
The forces of evil destroyed Jesus on the cross. but death could not hold Him; If there were no resurrection than evil would have won.
Resurrection proves love is stronger than hatred (Jn8:42)
Man’s hatred put Jesus on the Cross, the Fathers love for the world raised Him up through the resurrection ; love is the victory over hate and death!
Resurrection proves life is stronger than death.
There was an apparent victory by death for 3 days, but God gave victory, fulfilled scripture and gave us hope due to the resurrection over death!
So, why is the resurrection so important, so vital to the Christian? For without it we are a pitied people still stuck in their sins. Take away the resurrection and you destroy both the foundation and the fabric of our Christian faith.
(Transition) But wait, I did not give you the passage, or give it in context. It is some harsh words from Jesus and we should quickly look at them before we close.
John 8:40–41 NASB95
40 “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41 “You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.”
John 8:42–43 NASB95
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.
John 8:44–45 NASB95
44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.
John 8:46–47 NASB95
46 “Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
wait, wait, wait just a minute, to get the full effect I need to back up a verse.
John 8:39–40 NASB95
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40 “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.
(insert truth matters picture here)
Hey Abraham believed and acted on the belief, so you should too. but yet they wanted to kill him.
Hey we have one God, God the Father, Jesus states than you should love Me who came from the Father (vv.41-42)
You are of your Father the devil since you will not hear and believe the truth (vv.43-45)
I speak the truth, what sin have I committed, the one who hears believes and the one who does not is not of God (vv.46-47)
(summarize) - Paul is using logic and history to prove the resurrection of Jesus and in turn will use that to further prove the bodily resurrection in our next lesson, next week.
Don’t let your faith be baseless it needs to be based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and from there a hope for our resurrection one day.
(Prayer) (Exit)
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