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1 Corinthians

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The Firm and Secure Gospel

1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Most of this letter was to rebuke and correct the wrong teaching and practice in the church at Corinth. They had been spiritually side-tracked, as demonstrated by their wrong behaviour. So Paul concluded the letter by encouraging them to refocus on the true gospel about Jesus, His death and resurrection. The faith of the church can never rest on Christian morals and doing good (Ephesians 2:8-9). It must rest on Jesus who died to pay for the punishment our sins deserve, and who was raised to make us right with God (Romans 4:25).

The Living Gospel From The Living Jesus Leads To Living Faith

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

This dysfunctional church had become so concerned about themselves that they had forgotten the gospel which brought them to Christ. In addition to Paul's rebukes, corrections and training in this letter, he wanted them to be clear that the gospel was all about Jesus. Paul had received it directly from Jesus. The essence of the message was that Jesus died to pay the punishment of our sins, and that He was raised to life on the third day (www.crosscheck.org.uk). Jesus is therefore the only living Saviour.

Practical Grace

1 Corinthians 15:9-11

You may wonder why the Lord Jesus called Paul to be an apostle. Paul wondered too! He knew that he did not deserve God's favour because he had persecuted the church (which was the same as persecuting Jesus Christ Himself - Acts 9:4). His only answer was that God called him by His grace. It was unmerited, unwanted, unexpected; a free gift from God's heart of love. The Lord called Paul because He chose him (Deuteronomy 7:7). It was God's sovereign choice. Paul knew he was under divine command and he obeyed (Acts 9:5-8, 15-16).

No Resurrection ... No Hope

1 Corinthians 15:12-14

When Paul preached about the resurrection of Jesus, he got into trouble (Acts 24:21). The fact that Jesus, who was crucified, was unmistakably raised from death and given a new body greatly disturbed many people. It disturbed the Pharisees, who did not want to be troubled by Him any more, and the Sadducees who just lived in the moment and believed that death was the end of everything. It disturbed followers of pagan religions because the apostles claimed that Jesus was alive, unlike all their gods.

Resurrection Integrity

1 Corinthians 15:15-19

Without the resurrection of Jesus there is no valid Christian faith. Yet some people in the church in Corinth believed their pagan culture which said that resurrection cannot happen. They were denying the gospel, and Paul was determined to expose their poisoning of the congregation. Otherwise, the church would lose assurance of their salvation and would not be able to proclaim His saving power to a sinful world ... it would lose its purpose and risked being removed (Revelation 2:4-5). So Paul laid out the implications of the false claim that Jesus did not rise from death.

Resurrection For All Those Who Are In Christ

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

In the preceding verses (1 Corinthians 15:12-19), Paul gave seven reasons why the resurrection is pivotal for the Christian faith. If the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not happen, there would be no reason to believe in Him; His death would have been a futile gesture which could never save sinners: indeed such faith would be foolish.

The Risen Jesus Will Win

1 Corinthians 15:24-28

In this passage we have fresh clues to the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. The salvation-work of Jesus was completed on the cross and assured at the resurrection. Soon after, He returned to heaven where His mission continues. He is building His kingdom, His church, and not even death or hell can prevent Him (Matthew 16:18). In the process, Jesus is in direct and masterly opposition to every authority which defies His kingdom.

The Resurrection Encourages Courageous Living

1 Corinthians 15:29-34

Paul has concluded his teaching about the resurrection, sparked by people in Corinth believing false teachers and pagan religionists who said that resurrection did not happen. So Paul explained that the resurrection of Jesus really did happen, and that believers will also be raised to life with a new body when He comes again. The resurrection is an essential part of authentic Christianity: those who deny the resurrection cannot belong to Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

The Foolishness of Trying to Define the Unknown

1 Corinthians 15:35-38

God is not curious about anything because He knows everything. Although we are made in His image, we are not God! Our knowledge is limited to what we have been taught, what we experience and what we can find out by using our previous knowledge as tools. Human curiosity has been rewarded through logical scientific method, discovering many of the properties of the world and universe; but only because God’s creation is logical and not random.

The Glorious Resurrection Difference

1 Corinthians 15:39-44

It is not easy to grasp something totally new. We have to relate it to what we already know. The church in Corinth had that difficulty in understanding the resurrection, and the resurrection body. So Paul took time to explain. Many things we can see are not the same. Although we do not fully understand the differences, we accept them. He used the language of Genesis 1 in describing the different 'kinds' of living creatures: each with distinctive reproducible characteristics.