Resurrection LifeJuly 16, 2023 | Meritt Raup
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Well, good morning. It’s great to be with you for today again, like Kyle said, Would you please turn to First Corinthians 15, we’re gonna be looking at verses 12 through 34 today. And if you don’t have a physical Bible with you, you can use one from the seat back in front of you. And you can find our passage on page 933. Well, we’re continuing our series. It’s called This changes everything. First Corinthians 15 is all about the resurrection of Jesus, it’s mentioned 23 times. So because Jesus rose from the dead, this changes everything for us. Last week, we saw that by God’s grace, we can share in the victory of Jesus’s resurrection, as the resurrection has been declared to us. It’s been proved for us. And it’s been shared with us. So this week, we are focusing on how the resurrection impacts our lives today. It’s not just something that happened a long time ago, in the past, but it radically transforms the kind of lives that we live in the present. It’s, it’s common to hear people complain about how schools failed to prepare them for the real world. Why did we learn this in school? I’ve never used it since then. You know, a common activity taught in school or done in school that seems to have little value in the real world is learning how to drop an egg from the second floor of a building, without it breaking. I don’t know about you. But I’ve never had to use that skill before or since then. It’s usually a competition to see who can protect their egg the best was given supplies that you need to use. And, you know, yes, I know, there’s something to learn from it. There’s gravity and air resistance and all that stuff. But here’s the thing. We never throw eggs off the second floor of a building. And in order to consume an egg, you actually have to break it on purpose.The experiment doesn’t really have much use in real life.The reality is, we should never treat the resurrection of Jesus like this. It’s not something that we were taught when you were younger. And except for maybe a few exceptions, it doesn’t really have much value for us today. Or it’s something we talked about once during Easter, and then we’re good for the year, and we can forget about it. The resurrection has huge impact on our lives today. So the question that I hope we can answer after today is this. What does the resurrection have to do with my life? Why does it matter? What difference does it make? So to help us answer this question, Paul starts by framing the conversation in negative terms. We learned that without the resurrection of Jesus, we live a pitiful life. We live a pitiful life. Look with me, verses 12 through 19 says but if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, the not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless. And so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we’ve testified about about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact, the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile. You’re still in your sins, then those who also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life, we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
There’s a strong passage, we find in verse 12, the specific issue that Paul is addressing in the Corinthian church, some of them were denying the resurrection. But not just Jesus’s resurrection, resurrection in general at all. There’s there’s none of it. They were acting like this life is all we got. And so Paul meets them at their level. He’s like, all right. If you want to say there’s no resurrection, like let’s play this out, let’s, let’s go with that for a second. He does this by talking in the negative to emphasize his point. We do this all the time. Now, imagine you’re at the dinner table. You say to your kids, If you eat your vegetables, you can have dessert.
That’s one thing. But what if instead, you said, if you don’t eat your vegetables, you can’t have dessert. Even though you’re saying the same thing, one is stated positively and the other negatively, hearing something put negatively makes it feel a little more significant. There’s almost a danger or a threat to it. That’s what Paul’s doing here because he wants the Corinthians to feel the significance of the resurrection of Jesus.
So we too, should feel this same significance of Christ has not been raised from the dead. And here are five things in this passage that are true of us. Number one, if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless. What we’re doing right now has no purpose. You might as well get up, walk out and leave. Don’t do it right now. Just wait a second. But think about it. If Christ hasn’t been raised from the dead, why would we preach him? Why would we preach that he is? Why do we spend so much time each week opening this book if it weren’t true? There’s no value to our preaching if the resurrection never happened. Even more than this, if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless. The fact that you believe in Jesus has no value.
You might as well believe in whatever else you want to believe in. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. Christ hasn’t been raised from the dead, why would you believe in him? He couldn’t save himself from death. So why would you think that he could save you? More than this, If Christ has not been raised, we’re misleading you about God. What we teach every Sunday is wrong. What you learn in Journey groups and community groups is wrong. What you learn from kids city or explore our is wrong. Where your parents teach you about God at home is wrong.
It’s not just wrong, but it’s misleading, could lead to actual harm. But even more than this, If Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins. What would Jesus did on the cross was not effective. There’s still punishment that needs to be paid.
We have no confidence that the wrong that we have done will be set right? You have no confidence that the wrongs done to us will be set, right? No confidence that the wrong in our world will be set, right. But even more than this, Christ has not been raised, those who have died are lost forever. We all have loved ones that we hope to see again, we want to have hope that we’ll see them again. But if Christ has not been raised, we can’t honestly have confidence that we’ll see them again. This life is all that we have. So verse 19, summarizes all this. If only for this life, we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. There’s no resurrection, following Jesus is worthless. You feel this significance of this. It’s that important for us to deny the resurrection of Jesus. It’s like cutting off the tree branch that you’re sitting on.
Eventually, you’re going to fall. But just as verse 19 ends, verse 20, begins. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. Aren’t you glad for that? Was one of the big butts of the Bible. I don’t want to live a beautiful life. You don’t want to live a beautiful life. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. We saw last week that Jesus’s resurrection is a historical reality. It’s been proved to us happened according to Scripture, just like God planned it. And there’s so much evidence that points to Jesus actually being raised from the dead on the third day. We can have confidence that Christ has been raised. So let’s flip it back to the positive then. What does this mean for us? Well, it means our preaching is useful. What we’re doing right now is important. Second, Timothy 316 17. All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work, your faith is useful. The fact that you believe in Jesus Matters has tremendous value. We’re telling the truth about God. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we can trust Him and we can trust that His Word is true. Your sin has been taken care of Romans eight one, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Those who have died in Christ are alive forever. We have hoped that to be absent from the bodies to be present with the Lord will one day be reunited with our loved ones who have had faith in Jesus. Because Christ has been raised following Him is worthwhile. We don’t live pitiful lives, our lives ought to be actually attractive and desirable, valuable to others. So this is this is our main idea, the resurrection of Jesus gives significance to our lives today give significance to our lives today. So this is just the first part of our passes, we’re not done yet. It’s not simply enough to say our lives are significant. What is this significance look like for our lives? How are our lives significant? Well, the next thing we see in this passage is that we live a powerful life, we live a powerful life. Look with me, verses 20 through 28. He says, But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through man, For as in Adam all die. So in Christ, all will be made alive. But each in turn, Christ the first fruits, then when he comes those who belong to Him, then the end will come when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death, for he has put everything under his feet. Now, when it says that everything has been put under him, it’s clear that this does not include God Himself, who put everything under Christ. But when he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. You know, the saying goes in life, there are two things that are certain death and taxes. The Bible doesn’t talk about taxes here. But it does talk about death, says that in Adam, every person dies, we will all face death at some point. Unless Christ returns. It’s natural because we are humans.
But just as in Adam, all die, all who are in Christ will be made alive. Death had no power to hold Jesus in the grave. We have confidence that death is not the end of the story for us, either. We have this confidence because Jesus is called the first fruits. The first fruits, it’s, it’s twice that we see him describe this way in this section. You know, we don’t really live in a agricultural society anymore. So we are not really familiar with first fruits that much. So what are first fruits? Well, first fruits is an Old Testament concept where God’s people would bring the first in the best portion of the harvest and give it to God. This was a sacrifice that showed thanksgiving to God for the harvest. And it was a guarantee that the rest of the harvest was coming as well. The ceremony of the first fruit said to God, basically, all this is yours. And here’s the first and the best of it as a pledge. You know, it’s similar to earnest money when you buy a house. When you accept an offer and sign the papers and you give the seller an initial amount of money to show your commitment says that you’re serious about the deal. And the rest of the money is going to come when you close on the house. So Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection. He was the first to be raised, and his resurrection gives us confidence that we will be raised to this is an incredible hope for the future that we have. But our resurrection is not only a future reality, we get to experience a spiritual resurrection today. Ephesians chapter 113 And 14 says this and you also were included in Christ, when you heard the message of truth of the gospel of your salvation. When you believed you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.
And a part of what it means that Christ is the first fruits that he gives us the Holy Spirit as a pledge. When you first believed in Jesus, he raised you from the dead spiritually, he marked you with his stamp of approval of Holy Spirit. And the life that you live now is empowered by the Holy Spirit. It’s a powerful life, not power in the sense of physical strength or social or political power, the power in the sense of the fruit of the Spirit, from Galatians chapter five, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. This is a truly powerful life that we can live. When the world is full of hatred, we can love. And the world is full of discontent and disappointment. We can have joy. When the world is anxious in divided, we can have peace. When the world is quickly dissatisfied, we can have patience. When the world is mean and harsh, we can be kind. And the world is full of evil. We can experience goodness, when the world is false and untrustworthy. We can be faithful. When the world is out of control, we can have self control.
And all of this to God’s glory because of Jesus Christ. This is a powerful life that we can live. Someone who’s empowered by the Holy Spirit to live this way is a powerful person, not a lot is gonna move them. It’s not powerful, according to the world standards, but in the ways that it truly matters for eternity. But this isn’t the only way that we have power in our lives. We also have power because Christ is on the throne reigning as king. Today, we sang it earlier. This passage talks about what will happen when Jesus returns for a second time to Earth. And next week, we’re going to dig deeper into that so so come back again, and listen to that if you want to know more. But today, we focus on what it means that Jesus is raining here and now. Because the resurrection showed that he is far above any other power in the world. And one day he will finally defeat death and deliver his kingdom over to God the Father. Right now Jesus is on His throne in heaven, ruling over everything.
And the thing is, we get to be a part of it, we get to be a part of his rule his kingdom
Ephesians one again, this time verses 20. And 23 helps us with this says he raised Christ from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age, but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet, and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. Did you catch that? The church benefits from Christ’s reign were included in his kingdom, we get the benefits of being a citizen. Now imagine you’re sitting at home one day, and someone knocks on your door. So you answered the door and a random guy you’ve never met standing there. And he says to you, you owe me some money. I accept cash, credit or check. You’ve never met this guy before. You have no idea what he’s talking about. What are you going to do in that situation? Probably gonna close the door and go back to what you were doing. Now picture the same scenario. You’re sitting at home and someone knocks on your door. You answer the door. So this time, it’s a guy from the IRS. And he says to you, you owe me some money. I accept cash credit or check. The fact that the second guys from the IRS changes things a little bit, doesn’t it? Maybe not in this example because I don’t I don’t know if the IRS does that anymore. but you get the idea. He’s from the IRS. So he comes in the authority of the government, he has a certain power because of that. So in a similar way, our citizenship in Christ’s kingdom grants us a spiritual power. Because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we don’t need to fear our spiritual enemies, the penalty for sin has already been paid for. And the power of sin decreases in us, as the power of Christ increases in us. Were identified with Jesus, like gives us a power and the, the enemy can only do so much to us because of that. Now, this helps us as we as we fight sin, and we shouldn’t have a defeatist attitude towards fighting our sin. It’s been going on for so long, I don’t think I could ever change just who I am at this point. I’ve tried a few things here and there, but Oh, well. Well, everyone does it. So must not be that bad, right? Instead, let’s have a confident attitude towards fighting our sin. When we realize the power that we have, under Christ’s reign, we can repent from our sin. We have the power to believe in the promises of Jesus that are far greater than the sin. We have the power to walk in obedience, free from that sin.
Power that’s at work in us is far greater than the power that’s at work in the world.
And Paul had this overarching desire for his life. In Philippians, three that we read earlier in the service, he says, I want to know Christ. Yes, to know the power of his resurrection, in participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. And so somehow attaining to the resurrection from the dead. The major goal of Paul’s life was to know the power of Christ, power of his resurrection. Can you say that to for your life? We want to live significant lives that are marked by the resurrection power of Jesus. The resurrection gives significance to our lives. But it’s not only power that makes our lives significant. Finally, we see that the resurrection gives us a purposeful life gives us a purposeful life. Look with me the final section of our passage, verses 29 through 34. Now, if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? Now as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?
I face death every day? Yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought with wild beasts in Ephesus, with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised? Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.
Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character. Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning. For there are some who are ignorant of God. I say this to your shame. Well, I enjoy giving unique gifts to my family members at Christmas time. In one year, I got someone in my family a pretty awesome gift. I think it was an apparatus that you stick your phone into, or like a car mount holder type thing. But it goes over your neck, and it holds your phone right in front of your face for you. So you don’t need to use your hands. I think it was pretty cool. But in actuality, it serves no real purpose in life. And the things we do in our lives are not be that way. The resurrection of Jesus assures us that the things that we do, are not purposeless, meaningless they matter. Paul here now applies everything he’s discussed so far, to the specific situation of the church and core. While the resurrection ought to give purpose to everything in our lives, apologists has three areas here that have direct application for us today. The first is that the resurrection gives purpose to our faith practices, to put it that way our faith practices, meaning what we do as part of the regular life of our church. Verse 29 is perhaps one of the most puzzling verses in the Bible. It’s one of those verses that you wish had a little parentheses or a little footnote sort of explaining what it actually means, because it’s so strange, says If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?
I don’t know. Paul, could you explain that a little bit more for us? I don’t know why people are baptized for the dead. What do you mean by that? Well, this is all we have. And so without speculating the most, we can confidently say that this is that something was going on in the church. Or the there were baptisms that were done in some way on behalf of the dead. Whether that was believers who are baptized for someone else who had died before they got the chance to see be baptized, or if someone was baptized in this life that was supposedly supposed to help someone who had died in the next life in some way. We don’t know. Other than that, we don’t really know for sure what is going on here. But even without knowing all the details, we can still be confident about what this means for us today. Our faith practices, find their purpose in the resurrection of Jesus. The things that we do on Sunday mornings, and community groups and journey groups, at youth group, you name it, all these things have a purpose. That purpose comes from the resurrection. Now, we’ve already talked about this a little bit, but it’s worth repeating. Our preaching has a purpose. Your faith has a purpose. And someone has baptize, it has a purpose.
When we sing together on Sunday morning, it has a purpose behind it. When we pray together at all church prayer meetings tonight, it has a purpose. We do all these things because Jesus rose from the dead. But it’s not only important that we do these things, but that we do them rightly. This is the problem that the Corinthians had. They were baptizing people, which is a good thing. If we had more baptisms, that would be a good thing. The problem was, they weren’t doing it the right way.
So even as we do all of our faith activities, we must be careful that we do them the right way. This means that the content of what we do ought to be right. Means the attitude that we bring when we do these things ought to be right means that the motivation for why we do something ought to be right. So rightly do the right things.
Without the resurrection, these things kind of weird, I don’t really have a purpose. But with the resurrection, they have a great purpose. The second area that we get purpose from the resurrection is in danger is in danger. Now there’s purpose whenever we face danger in Christ. You we know the Apostle Paul faced tremendous danger throughout his life. He was willing to take extraordinary risks for the sake of Jesus. And the reason he was willing to do this was because of the resurrection. He faced danger every hour. He faced death every day. He fought with wild beasts, probably not literally but figuratively. People were behaving like wild beasts to him, he had to defend himself. He says that without the resurrection, this is meaningless.
Why would he willingly accept danger? If this life is all that there is? It will be much better to live comfortable and indulgent lives. Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die. But because of the resurrection, he has hope, in the midst of this danger. And he says in Second Corinthians chapter 189. He says, We do not want you to be uninformed brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.
But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. to Paul’s confidence in the midst of severe danger was the reality that God raises the dead He knows that he will experience this resurrection too. So he can take this risk because of this confidence that he has. I think we’re so often tempted to have the mindset of the hedonist. The person whose sole aim in life is temporal pleasure, eat and drink, for tomorrow we die, especially when we have access to everything we could ever want. Trying to soak up as much pleasure as we can from this life, because this is all we got. We looked at people, or relationships to satisfy us, we looked at possessions to satisfy us, nice house, nice car, anything else you could ever want, or we look to status to satisfy us, if only I had that position or that title, then things will be better. As believers, we’re called to much, much more. We seek pleasure in God as the only one who can truly satisfy us. We know that we will face danger in this life, it’s inevitable. We can’t insulate ourselves completely from it.
Whether it’s suffering or persecution, or just the natural effects of living in a fallen world. And so when those moments of danger Come, look to the resurrection,
you might not be able to see clearly what God is doing in the moment. You might not be able to make a direct correlation to the, to the result of the cause and effect.
But you can have purpose in the midst of it, because of what God has done and what we are fully confident that God will do for us. The resurrection gives us purpose in danger. And finally, we can have purpose in community purpose in community. Paul quotes a popular saying from an old poet, to make his point says Bad company corrupts good character. Bad company corrupts good character. No, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have unbelievers over for dinner. This is rather speaking to the voices that we let influence our habits. Now, the Corinthians were sinning by letting the wrong people lead them astray. It’s like they weren’t even thinking, right? They were ignorant, they didn’t realize what was happening. So Paul has to throw a metaphorical glass of cold water in their face to get them to wake up. And the point for us is clear to invest in good community. The more time you spend with people, the more they influence you. You can tell a lot about a person by their friends. So invest in good community. Be sure that your community is based on Jesus. Our community here has a purpose. We’re united around Jesus’s resurrection. So we sang earlier this, I believe. There’s no other community like this in the world.
As believers who have individually experienced the resurrection, we come together and we share in this resurrection life together. We encourage each other, we lift each other up, we push each other forward. Now this is why we open the Word together, while we pray together. While we sing together. Without the resurrection. All we have here is another social club. But with the resurrection, we have tremendous purpose for everything that we do here in community. So let the community that influences you the most the biblical community, the finds its purpose and the resurrection of Jesus. So the resurrection gives significance to our lives today.
Without it, we live a pitiful life. But with it, we live a powerful and a purposeful life. If we all live this way, I think people would notice. I’m sure many of you have experienced this. I know many of you have experienced this, whether from a co worker or a neighbor, and they noticed that you’re different. Why are you like that? You’re, you’re kind of weird, maybe take that as a compliment. When we live in light of the resurrection, it’s going to look different. We’re going to have a distinct power and distinct purpose in our lives, the others are going to want to know about so when that happens in those moments, we have the incredible opportunity to tell people why we’re different We can point them to the fact of Jesus’s resurrection.
Because Jesus rose from the dead, it changes everything for us. Let’s pray together.
Heavenly Father, we just want to thank you this morning, I want to thank you that we don’t have to live a pitiful life. Thank You that we can live with power. We can live with purpose in our lives. Thank you, God raised Jesus from the dead. Without him and what he’s done, we have nothing. So we pray that as we hear Your word today, we go and we go throughout our lives this week, that we would experience this resurrection life. You experience the significance that you give us today. Grant us power as we fight sin, grant us power, as we are citizens of your kingdom. Grant us purpose as we as we are in community as we as we gather for worship each week, as we face danger as we go. So would you be glorified in us today? We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.