God’s Antidote to our Doubts -
- Persevere in believing the risen gospel
We come to one of the greatest chapters in the whole Bible. Here we find truths so profound, so transforming as to defy our imaginations and surpass our wildest dreams. The greatest miracle in the history of the world is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our faith stands or falls upon the historical proof for the resurrection of Christ. Prove the resurrection and you prove Christianity to be true beyond a shadow of doubt. Disprove it and it is just one of many religions.
It is not only one of the greatest chapters in the Bible, but also one of the most important.
Twice now we have seen God’s gives us an antidote for our doubts about where we will go when we die. That for the Christ He has provided a new heaven and a new earth. Last week we saw that when facing doubts when our ministries are under attack, Christ is to be our treasure.
To day we will hear how God makes Heaven a real certainty through the death, burial and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ. And that believing or not believing this makes the difference between life and death, heaven or hell.
Who is the Apostle writing too?
They are citizens of Corinth who may have been converted Jews who where called; Sadducees. The Sadducees denied the resurrection and they clashed with Paul in Acts 24:6-9 & 26:6-8. So this may have been something as converted people they struggled with. The other alternative is that they where Athenians who came to the city. They "mocked" when Paul preached on the resurrection of the dead. They believed the soul was immortal but that matter was the source of evil, and therefore wasn't suitable for a future state. Hence their difficulty in believing that the body would be resurrected. This is supported if you read verses 35-58.
lt's no surprise to learn others denied a future resurrection. Hymenus and Philetus in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 taught the resurrection was already over.
Why did Paul write to the Corinthians?
Because he was deeply concerned about what he had heard;
Look at v12 – 14 “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”
What is the overall problem here?
It seems they thought it rather crude, this teaching. It was not contemporary enough for them, so they modified it. They didn't deny a spiritual resurrection of the body but a physical one. We shouldn't be surprised that today millions of modern and post-moderns denied the physical resurrection of Christ.
Here is the real possibility of apostasy from the Gospel because of the subtle denial of the physical resurrection of Christ and hence our resurrection. lt is a direct attack on the claim of the Gospel'' i.e. unite Body and soul into a new glorified body and hence God's ability to completely reverse the heinous results of Adams fall. Christ is the form runner of this for those who believe in him
Our Father God,
Please come now and cause our hearts and minds to again be overcome by your risen gospel. Help us to believe it more and more if we are yours and if we are not may this hour see both our sin but be persuaded that Jesus Christ your Son’s life, death, burial and resurrection where for someone like them. Amen
What is the Holy spirit’s purpose (thru Paul) in these first eleven verses?
To proclaim the evidence for the resurrection of Christ so you preserve in believing it
But he first addresses there problem and ours: – which is;
- 1.The risen gospel escapesv1-2
Why does the risen gospel escapes them & us?
Notice verse o 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,
They did once believe it and held onto it but not it has escaped them
V2 a – b and by which you are being saved
if you hold fast to the word I preached to you.
if you hold fast that word which I preached to you - lt implies a condition; Their salvation and by implication ours depends on holding fast the word preached.
The word does only mean, if ye keep in but shows
it’s self in persevering in believing this risen gospel. 'if your preserve in the Gospel and particularly this great foundational doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Christ you will be saved."
A searching question
V 2d “unless you have believed in vain. “
'Ye are saved, if ye persevere, unless indeed faith is worthless.
The problem is, was your belief the real thing and not a passing fancy. Did you really believe in the first place
So he begins by identifying our problem that, the risen gospel escapes us. Shortly we will see the reason for this. Next he corrects us by calling us to…
- 2.Preserve in believe the risenv3-4
Look at verse 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,
First principles – the essentials of our faith
Why did he die?
For our sins –
What is sin? Here are some Scriptures
1Jo 3:4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness
How do we know we sin?
Listen to the apostle Paul
Rom 7:7 last part I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, "You shall not covet."
He said this because in God’s 10 commandments we read turn to
Exo 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's."
Why do we covet? It began with our first parents Adam and eve
Listen to Gen 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Aren’t we no different?
Listen to this helpful definition of sin, “You can define sin as building your identity—your self-worth and happiness—on anything other than God. We sin when we are looking to someone or something to save us, to give us everything that we should be looking for in God.
And what are the consquences of us doing this?
Paul writing to the Romans says in Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death
The punished God pronounced on them is the sentence of death we all are carrying in our bodies at this very moment – God says we are dead to Him, we don’t know He or love Him. In our hearts.
But there are physical consequences. Everyone of us will die. There are spiritual consequences. We are dead in our sins – the Bible says.
But notice the good news Paul says;
V3d “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
What does He mean in accordance with the Scriptures?
Well, This was prophesied in the O.T – Ist proof
Look at Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
So to his Jewish readers they joined the dots. Here is the promised messiah. Here is the sacrificial lamb.
But why Christ die for our sins?
Look at the verse below Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isn’t this a picture of us? We are that sheep going astray; astray from God’s commandments. We turn to our way, looking to someone or something to save us.
Saves us from our fat hell, poor hell, single hell, bored hell, sexually frustrated hell. We need a Saviour from not these but a Holy God who must punish sin.
And the good news is –
Look again at Isaiah 53 :6 “The LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
And GOD has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong, on him, on Christ. He did that on the cross – He came to be that perfect sacrifical lamb and the Priest who who offered Himself as the sacrifice – we ned to appease this Holy God who is rightly angry at our constant idolatry.
He takes the punishment we deserve. He dies the death we could not die.
And look now at 1 Cor 1 5:4 And that he was buried,
buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea –
and that he rose again the third day
Rose Literally in the Greek tense... He hath been raised and still lives.
Now the resurrection is either a Myth – made us story
Or a hoax – someone stole body
What is the significance of resurrection? Why is the resurrection so important?
lt was the proof that Christ’s work on the cross for sinners had been successful and that he had completely conquered death. Death no longer had a hold on him or on any of those for whom he died. He proved who he claimed to be, the Son of God. His resurrection is the guarantee that at the appointed time His people will also be raised in a glorious resurrection.
But we are called to not just preserve in believing this risen gospel. We can believe it
3. Because of eyewitnesses v 5-8
They give us public proof of Christ’s resurrection v5-7
Look at 15:5 – 7 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen It, asleep.15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
An Apostles had to have been witnesses to his death and resurrection.
So he’s saying remember the proof of all these witnesses.
Remember lvan Milat and the British Backpacker. Onions who heard about the case in the U.K. He became a vital witness, identifying the vehicle and Miltat.He was able to do this because he had been lured
Into the forest and tied up but managed miraculously to escape.
But there was not just the public proof of Christ’s resurrection v5-7
There was the personal private proof v8
Look at v:8 And last of all he was seen of one born out of due time.
The word born out of due time means an abortion, a still-born embryo. a dead-born child. What does Paul mean? That when Christ appeared to him and called him, he was – as compared with the disciples who had known and followed Him no better than an aborted fetus among living men. Pretty strong words to say about yourself. Apparently his enemies nicknamed him "The Abortion"
Finally he returns to where he began in verse 1
Look at v Co 15:11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
He returns to where He began in V1 I preached to you, which you received. To receive is to believe
For those of us who are Christians this morning what should our response be?
Lets determine God helping us to not let the gospel escape us through the subtlety of idolatry rather lets mediate daily on Christ who died for our idolatry., was buried and rose
Lets repent daily seeking to preserve in thinking deeply on this risen gospel and so experiencing it’s resurrection power in our lives.
What a powerful demonstration to our families, friends and this community that we know the risen Christ.
To you who aren’t yet a Christian this morning
A US Bomber pilot tells the story of how he became a Christian. They where flying a bombing mission over Germany and as they approached a city to bomb in the distance there was big fire ball in the sky just at their altitude. It was a plane caught in the anti-aircraft fire. When it happened again just ahead of them he said, “I was saved between that explosion and the one which hit the plane behind our.”
He had to make a split second decision; would he take the risk and face being killed and going to hell or believe in Christ and was saved for time and eternity.
He had the wisdom and sense to know that if he died in midair without believing in Christ he would be raised to eternal destruction and hell.
May be today for the first time you have seen that you are an idolater and you convicted of this and you realize that you deserve because God is holy and just that in your present state he must punish you in hell forever.
But you’ve seen too that God has done the most amazing thing in sending his Son Jesus Christ to die in your place, so you can be forgiven your idolatry. You are sorry this offends God who made you to worship him.
You want to change, to follow Christ and worship Him rather than someone or something. You now believe with all your heart that He is your Saviour.
Well, I’m going to give you an opportunity now to pray this back to God in your on words.
If you did pray let me encourage you to tell someone close to you – so we can help you get started as a Christian .
Lets sing our final Hym