Sundays | 9am & 10:30am

In Fact: 1 Corinthians 15:12-34

The Historical Resurrection
Jamey Bryant

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 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 futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.—1 Corinthians 15:12–34 (ESV)



Intro
Sunday’s message begins our series leading up to Easter. Like other days that began as Christian celebrations (especially Christmas), this holiday has become highly secularized with more focus on the Easter Bunny than on Jesus. It is, however, also a time when many people attend church who might not otherwise come. Encourage your Group to be thinking of friends and neighbors to invite.

Icebreaker
Ask the Group to tell stories about their most memorable Easters from childhood. What aspect made them special? Was it an occasion for new clothes, or perhaps a big family meal? Have any of those traditions continued until now? Are there some that should be brought back? Are there new ones?

Sermon Summary
Jamey opened the sermon with a story of disappointment. He listed several light-hearted examples of untrue things we might have previously believed that eventually proved to be untrue. That kind of disappointment is light compared to that which we experience when fundamental beliefs are destroyed. Our most important belief as Christians is in the historical resurrection of Jesus. What if that proved to be untrue?

What if we learned that Jesus died and was not resurrected? How much difference would that make to our faith? First, Jesus and the Bible would be a testimony of lies. Second, everyone from the apostles to us would be shown to have been deceived. Last, and finally, death would be the victor.

We know IN FACT that Jesus did rise from the grave. Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. Paul lists many convincing proofs of the historical resurrection. If then Jesus is risen, He is IN FACT – God Almighty. Everything he said is true and everything he promised will come to pass. Our challenge is to respond accordingly.

Group Discussion Questions
  1. Read 1 Corinthians 15:12–19. Paul’s careful argument in this section is designed to show the Corinthians, starkly, what would follow if you were to declare that there is no resurrection. What would be the consequences if Christ was not raised from the dead?
  2. Why is the Corinthians’ faith—and our faith—“pointless” if the Messiah has not been raised (v. 17)?
  3. Christians have always testified and continue to testify that Christ gives them peace, hope and many other benefits in this present life. Why then do you think Paul would make such an extreme statement as verse 19?
  4. Read 1 Corinthians 15:20–28. This passage is near the heart of Paul’s understanding of Jesus, God, history and the world. It’s near the heart of what Jesus himself spent his short public career talking about. It’s about the coming of God’s kingdom. What is the “proper order” (vv. 23–24) of the stages of the coming of the kingdom?
  5. “Death is the last enemy to be destroyed” (v. 26). In what ways is death an enemy?
  6. How does the resurrection show the defeat of death?
  7. What difference does this make as we grieve for those who have died and as we contemplate our own death?
  8. What insights about resurrection have you drawn from 1 Corinthians 15 so far?

Dig Deeper: Liar, Lunatic, or Lord
“I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Lewis, C. S. 2001. Mere Christianity. New York: HarperOne.
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