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In Fact: 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

Easter / Dust in the Wind
John Witte

Ask the Group to talk about their day on Easter Sunday. What did they do? Was the whole family together? Some people might have been separated from their loved ones. Allow everyone to share both happiness and disappointments about the day.

Easter at Faith Bible Church saw an overall attendance of over 2,200 people – almost double that of a typical Sunday. As we noted yesterday, this was expected as many people come to church on Easter and Christmas who do not generally attend otherwise. Our Groups should likewise seize the seasonal opportunity to extend invitations to new people who might have attended our Easter service. The conversation is an easy on-ramp: “I hope your family had a great Easter. It was so good to see so many families at church. I’m glad you could make it (OR). I hope you can attend soon – it’s terrific every Sunday!” Use the conversation as a springboard to invite them to one of your Group meetings for a sample of the fellowship.

Parts 4 of our IN FACT series concluded our study of the resurrection, focusing on the immediacy of everlasting life. We tend to think of it as something that starts when we die, but as we learned, it is a powerful reality that fuels us today and helps us face the trials and hardships of life in this broken world.

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.—1 Corinthians 15:50–58 (ESV)


Sermon Summary
Easter is all about the resurrection. We readily acknowledge the resurrection of Jesus, but as we learned earlier, we will be resurrected too! The emphasis on our new, everlasting life causes us to consider the death from which Jesus has freed us. The old classic rock song “Dust in the Wind” summarizes our existence without Christ, so why would we continue to hang on to it once we have been set free? The problem for many people is their lack of awareness. Many things can blind us. John Witte said

“For a few of you just entering adolescence, your body feels very much alive! Some of you are just about to finish high school, get out on your own, and it feels like your entire life is ahead of you. Others of you have finished your education, and now you are pursuing the career for which you trained. You’re excited to get started. Some of you just got married, and he’s still awesome! She’s still the most beautiful creature you’ve ever laid eyes on! Many of you are in the thick of raising kids, getting them to school every day, helping them grow up, and following them through the myriad of sports leagues. Others of you are at the apex of your career. You’re respected, appreciated, competent, feared, and some people even think you’re wise. If I told you all you’re doing right now could be dust in the wind, you’d give me that odd, “I don’t think so” stare and move on.”

We learned from our text that death lurks regardless of our optimism or sunny circumstances and will find each of us sooner or later – perhaps much sooner than we think. Death does not always come all at once but is usually a slow process of disappointment and deterioration. Our hope and strength in Christ is that he has defeated death and the everlasting life he now extends to us begins immediately – not just when we die. Given this beautiful truth, we should embrace it now and not cling to the corpse of our old life, quickly on its way to dust. Jesus is risen!

Group Discussion Questions
  1. What does Paul say will happen to believers who have died when the Lord appears?
  2. One apparent problem remains: what happens to those still alive when the Lord appears since “we won’t all sleep” (v. 51)? What does Paul say about them?
  3. After a spectacular chapter like this one, you might think that Paul would conclude by saying something like, “So let’s rejoice at the wonderful hope we can look forward to!” But he doesn’t. What does he do instead in verse 58, and why?
  4. Do you ever suspect that the work you are doing for the Lord is futile or too small to make a difference? How can verse 58 be an encouragement for you in those times?


Pray
The truth of the resurrection of the dead and the transformation of the living is not just a truth about the future hope. It’s a truth about the present significance of what we are and do. If it is true that God will transform this present world and renew our whole selves, bodies included, then what we do in the current time with our bodies and with our world matters.

Conclude this study with an extended Group prayer time, thanking God for the hope of transformation. Pray that you will be energized by the confidence that God will have the last say and victory over weakness and corruption. Pray that you will be “firmly fixed, unshakable, always full to overflowing with the Lord’s work” (v. 58)
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