Kittredge Community Bible Church
10 AM - March 14
  • 1 Cor 15:12-19
    As we’ve talked about in previous weeks, the big picture of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 is the physical, bodily resurrection of not just Jesus, but of you and me.
    Paul is arguing that just as Jesus was bodily raised from the dead so will all who believe and trust in Him. Our bodily resurrection is a fact that we should believe in since, he assumes, we already believe it’s true of Jesus.

    An Old Teaching

    Belief in a bodily resurrection is as old as Job, who many believe was alive during the time of Abraham.
    Job believed as he said in Job 19:26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God”
    Job believed his skin was going to decay but it also was going to be restored. That's a bodily resurrection.
    And a bodily resurrection is taught in the New Testament, too. For example, Philippians 3:20-21 teaches we’re going to have a body like Jesus’ body, a glorious body:
    Philippians 3:20–21 NASB95
    For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
    (See also John 5:28; John 11:25; John 6:44; John 11:25; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Colossians 3:4)
    So, in other words, we are going to have a body, it will be our body, only better, a glorified body.
    But many of the Corinthians didn’t believe this. They had been influenced by the Greeks who taught the soul is immortal and would continue on forever, but not the body. They believed the physical body is just a temporary shell for the spiritual and only worth being discarded.
    But that’s not the teaching of Scripture. When God created man out of the dust of the ground he declared him to be not just good, but very good.
    So Paul is reasoning with the church along these lines and in verse 12 he asks a central question:
    1 Corinthians 15:12 NASB95
    Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
    See, if you believe Jesus' body was raised from the dead then why don't you also believe your body will be raised from the dead? Makes sense, right? But many didn't believe it.

    Paul’s Question

    So, in the first eleven verses Paul argues: “Remember the gospel that was preached to you and that you received? Remember that Jesus' body was seen alive by hundreds of people, and this truth is what the Old Testament Scriptures said would happen, and it's what the entire church is built upon, and it’s what you continue to believe.”
    So Paul’s question is, if you already believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus then why don’t you believe in your own bodily resurrection?
    Now notice that Paul isn’t asking "Why don’t you believe in heaven?" And he's not asking "Why don’t you believe in Jesus’ resurrection?" He’s asking why don’t you believe in the resurrection of the dead? In other words, why don’t you believe the actual bodies of the dead will live again?
    That’s the question and the obvious answer is that we have no good reason not to. There's no excuse if we deny the resurrection of the dead, but there are some very serious consequences if we don't.

    Seven Consequences

    The consequences, according to Paul, are disastrous. If we want to persist in denying our own bodily resurrection then not only are we persisting in error, but we're dismantling our entire faith.
    He says this in seven different ways. First, he says that if you deny a bodily resurrection then...

    1. Christ is Not Risen

    Verse 13 says...
    1 Corinthians 15:13 NASB95
    But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;
    See, if humans aren’t resurrected then not even Christ is resurrected because he, too, is fully human.
    You might say well it’s different for Jesus because He was only half human. No, that’s wrong. Jesus was fully human, 100% man and 100% God at the same time.
    And I want to take some time to show you from the Bible that Jesus is fully human, because it's so important. If we deny it then we might as well believe that Christ hasn't been raised at all.

    ​Jesus' Full Humanity

    OK, so let’s look at some verse that teach Jesus is fully human. Look at Acts 2:22 with me:
    Acts 2:22 NASB95
    “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—
    Jesus is a man. It's a statement of fact.
    1 Corinthians 15:21 NASB95
    For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
    Again, Jesus is a flesh and blood man, like Adam, except his body was resurrected and gives the dead hope for their own resurrection.
    1 Timothy 2:5 NASB95
    For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
    Jesus, the man, even now mediates on our behalf with the Father and this isn't just a figure of speech. Jesus is fully human, and he has to be as Hebrews 2:17 says:
    Hebrews 2:17 NASB95
    Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
    I could read many more verses to you that say Jesus got tired, he became hungry, he had human emotions, and, of course, bled and died. But the point is Jesus is fully human, like we are. He is 100% man and he has to be so our sins can be paid for.
    ​(See also John 19:5; 1 John 1:1-2; Matthew 4:2; John 19:28; Matthew 8:24; John 11:33; John 19:34)
    So, Jesus being fully human isn't a side issue. He had to be made like us in order to fully suffer for our sins. To deny this is a very serious matter as John says in 2 John 7...
    2 John 7 NASB95
    For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.
    In other words, to deny that Jesus came in the flesh is the same as aligning yourself with the devil. It doesn't get any more serious than that.

    Jesus' Resurrected Body is a Physical Body

    Now, just so we are perfectly clear that when the Bible speaks of Jesus' resurrection it means a physical, bodily, fleshly resurrection we need to look at one more scripture.
    (Now, just so you know where we are, we're still talking about point number one, that if we deny a bodily resurrection then we deny the resurrection of Jesus altogether.)
    And, again, this is so important because Paul is essentially saying if you deny that Jesus' physical body was resurrected then you’re denying Christ himself.
    Some might say that after Jesus was resurrected he was given a spiritual body, right? No, that’s not quite right. He could appear and disappear at will but he could do that before the resurrection since he was also God. But Jesus’ resurected body was a human flesh and blood body, and Jesus went out of his way to make sure we understand this.
    Luke 24:36–40 NASB95
    While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
    Luke 24:41–43 NASB95
    While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them.
    Spirits don't have flesh and bones, but Jesus did, even after his body was glorified. After his resurrection, he still wanted to eat because his body was still fully human, only better.
    And if we deny this, then Paul's arguing that we might as well deny the resurrection of Christ altogether. Again, 1 Corinthians 15:13 says, "But if there is no resurrection of the dead [spirits don’t die; ghosts don’t need resurrection; human beings do] not even Christ has been raised."
    OK, so we spent a little longer on this first point because it's so important. If there is no bodily resurrection of dead then not even Christ has been raised.

    2-3. Preaching and Faith are Vain

    ​Secondly and thirdly, if we deny the bodily resurrection of the dead both preaching and faith are vain. That's point two and three. We'll pick up a little speed now.
    1 Corinthians 15:14 NASB95
    and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
    In other words, it's "useless or of no advantage" to believe anything that is preached from the word of God. I might as well preach about unicorns and fairies because it will do you about as much good.
    If Jesus’ body didn’t rise from the dead then there is no benefit to believing in him. What good is it to say you believe in Jesus if he was a liar and a lunatic?
    See, if Jesus didn't rise from the dead then He isn't God. And a god who can’t get his body out of the grave is no god at all.
    Now, we’ve already established that Jesus is fully man, was fully capable of dying. But if he didn’t rise from the dead then that proves he isn't also fully God, and our faith is in vain because He's still dead.
    We may call him our Lord, or the head of the church, but if he didn’t rise from the dead He isn’t any of those things, no matter what we say. He’s just a figment of our imagination.
    So, denying the bodily resurrection of Jesus means first, Christ isn't risen, and second and third, our preaching and faith are vain, and fourth:

    4. The Apostles are False Witnesses

    1 Corinthians 15:15 NASB95
    Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.
    In other words, if there is no resurrection of the dead, then the apostles are liars and we can’t believe anything they say. See, they all claimed, as God was their witness, that they actually saw Jesus, in the flesh, after he died. But if they didn't, then they are false witnesses and shouldn't be trusted.
    So we either believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus and our own bodily resurrection or we believe none of it. We don't get to pick and choose because these beliefs all stand or fall together.
    As Paul summarizes for us again in 1 Corinthians 15:16...
    1 Corinthians 15:16 NASB95
    For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;
    The two beliefs go together. Fifth, if we deny the resurrection of the dead...

    5. You are still in your sins

    ​Verse 17 says,
    1 Corinthians 15:17 NASB95
    and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.
    See, if there is no bodily resurrection of Jesus then sin and death win. Since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) if Jesus' body saw corruption and decomposed then prophecy wasn't fulfilled and our sins aren't forgiven. And if that's the case then our faith is worthless.
    And sixth, not only do we have no hope but neither do any of our loved ones because...

    6. The dead in Christ have perished

    1 Corinthians 15:18 NASB95
    Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
    Perished means "lost, never to be seen again." In other words, if there is no resurrection of the dead then you're never going to see Aunt Sally, or your husband or wife again. Once someone dies, that's it, if there is no resurrection of the dead. You might believe they are in heaven right now but that's just wishful thinking if there is no bodily resurrection. It all stands or falls together.
    And, lastly, number seven, obviously if there is no resurrection of the dead...

    7. We are the Most Pitiful People

    1 Corinthians 15:19 NASB95
    If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
    See, if we believe like the Greeks did that this body of ours is just a temporary shell for what really matters, that it's only our spirit that's important, then we are truly a pitiful people because we are in essence, perhaps unknowingly, denying the only hope any of us have.
    For the Greeks, and the Gnostics only the spirit is what's good and the only way for them to gain salvation was to transcend beyond the body into a completely spiritual state. But this view, even though it's still taught in some churches, is completely rejected by Scripture.
    Christ's mission on the earth was not to rescue our spirits trapped inside these "evil bodies" but to bring resurrection life to what God created in the garden and called "very good."
    For the Christian, then, the body is not a thing to transcend, but to resurrect. To deny this is to deny the very heart of what it means to trust in Christ because we deny what Christ came to earth to do.
    If we deny the resurrection of the dead we are of all men most to be pitied. Pitied means feeling sadness for someone's unhappy situation. Maybe you've felt sorry for a homeless person or a person with an incurable health condition but if you believe in Jesus but not in the bodily resurrection of the dead, you're worthy of pity beyond comparison.
    But, the truth is Christ has been raised from the dead.
    1 Corinthians 15:20 NASB95
    But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.
    Christ isn't just alive; he's the firstfruits of everyone else who will be bodily raised from the dead, too. And our bodies will be like his body. Physical and material, yes. But also perfect and glorified, without sin, as God intended them to be from the very beginning.
    More about this next time. But for now rest assured that your faith is not in vain if you believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead.
    Finally, I'd like to conclude with a hymn called "See, What a Morning" by Keith and Kristen Getty. The words will be on the screen so you can sing along.
    Pray
      • Philippians 3:20–21KJV1900

      • 1 Corinthians 15:12KJV1900

      • 1 Corinthians 15:13KJV1900

      • Acts 2:22KJV1900

      • 1 Corinthians 15:21KJV1900

      • 1 Timothy 2:5KJV1900

      • Hebrews 2:17KJV1900

      • 2 John 7KJV1900

      • Luke 24:36–40KJV1900

      • Luke 24:41–43KJV1900

      • 1 Corinthians 15:14KJV1900

      • 1 Corinthians 15:15KJV1900

      • 1 Corinthians 15:16KJV1900

      • 1 Corinthians 15:17KJV1900

      • 1 Corinthians 15:18KJV1900

      • 1 Corinthians 15:19KJV1900

      • 1 Corinthians 15:20KJV1900

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