Thursday, December 06, 2018

2018.12.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

Questions for Littles: What were some of the Corinthians saying (v12)? But who is preached, that He has been raised from the dead? If there was no resurrection from the dead, then Who would not be risen (v13, repeated in v16!)? What two things does v14 say become empty if Christ is not risen (v14)? And against whom have the apostles borne false witness, if the dead do not rise (v15)? Again, if Christ is not risen, what v16 say about our faith? What are we still in, if Christ is not risen (v17)? If Christ is not risen then what happens to all who fall asleep in Him (v18)? What is true about us, if in this life only we have hope in Christ (v19)?
In this week’s Epistle reading, we learn yet another shocking error to which some of the Corinthian church was holding. Some of them did not even believe that we would be resurrected from the dead!

Apparently, they thought that they could believe that Jesus was a special case—that He could be raised from the dead, even though no one else can. In our short text, the apostle directly corrects this not once but twice. “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen” (v13). And “For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen” (v16).

In effect, he’s saying something very similar to what we learned from Hebrews: that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was made truly and fully Man.

So, v17 is true in two extremely important ways. (1) If Jesus is not made just like other men, subject to all of the same rules and conditions—except that He is not a sinner—then, He is not qualified to be our Substitute. (2) If Jesus did not in fact rise from the dead, then He has continued under the curse of death, and there has been no visible display and declaration from God that His sacrifice has been accepted for the forgiveness of our sins (cf. vv3-4).

One of the problems that we have in our culture is that we seem to be content without the resurrection. “Rest in Peace” we often say or hear—even about those who have nothing like a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ!

But even about those who believe in Christ, vv14, 18, 19 say that this would be a terrible mistake! If Christ was not raised, then we have not been made right with God. If we will not be raised, then we have not been made right with God.

Are there advantages for this life in being renewed and learning to love and obey God and one another? Sure there are. But if there is no resurrection, then there has been no forgiveness, and Christians who die would not be “absent from the body and present with Christ” in glory. Rather, if there is no resurrection, then there has been no forgiveness, and Christians who die would be suffering Hell.

As it is, others are most pitiable, because they seek after the “good life” that Asaph coveted in the first 2/3 of Psalm 73, but they will be suddenly and eternally destroyed. If the resurrection were not true, then we indeed would be most pitiable: living a life that builds for and anticipates everlasting joy, only to find that at last Hell opens its mouth to swallow us in eternal suffering.
Thinking about your own heart: how often do you think about Christ’s resurrection? How much does it mean to you? Why or why not? What would help you think more often about Him being resurrected and alive and returning soon? What has He given in the life of the church to stir us up to think about these things more frequently? How often do you think about your own bodily resurrection? How important is it to you? How can you see it making a difference in your choices?
Suggested songs: ARP72B “Nomads Will Bow” or TPH358 “Sing, Choirs of New Jerusalem”

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