1 Corinthians 15:1-23
Verse 20: But now is Christ risen from the dead...
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the corner stone of Christianity. If Christ did not rise from the dead, all we have is religion. Because without a living Christ, there is no Biblical Christianity.
Notice the resurrection explanation by the Apostle Paul in that great resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15.
I. The Salvation of the Resurrection. (vv.1-4)
In these verses we see the clear definition and presentation of the Gospel. This is the only way one is saved. It is the formula for salvation. Notice:
1. "Christ died."
A lot of people hung on a cross as a means of execution during those days, but only one was the Son of God. It's not just what he did, but who he was that makes a difference.
2. "For our sins."
He was our substitute. He paid the penalty for our sins.
3. "According to the Scriptures."
This was the fulfillment of God's Word and promise to send a Savior. This was ordained by God from the foundations of the world. This is God's plan of salvation...not man's, not religion's.
4. "He was buried and...rose again."
He died, He was buried, He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. Oh yes, this is what makes His death different from all the rest. He didn't stay in the grave. God brought Him forth from the tomb to prove that He was who He said He was...the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the living Christ.
II. The Substantiation of the Resurrection. (vv.5-11)
In these verse we see the verification of His resurrection.
1. "Seen of Cephas."
2. "Seen of the Twelve."
3. "Seen of over 500 brethren."
4. "Seen of James."
5. "Seen of all the Apostles."
6. "Seen of Paul."
There are ample witnesses to the resurrection of Christ, though it is still a matter of trusting Him with your heart for salvation. The fact is, he rose from the dead whether we believe it or not. He said He did. Do you believe Him?
Paul says that it doesn't matter who saw Christ, what matters is that we did and we now preach the truth of a resurrected Savior.
III. The Subtraction of the Resurrection. (vv.12-19)
What if we subtracted the resurrection from the Gospel...from the plan of salvation? Would it matter?
According to these verses, it would matter greatly. In fact, Paul says that if Christ did not rise from the dead all is vain.
1. "Our preaching is vain."
Why would we even waste our time preaching if Christ did not rise from the dead? That's the proof and verification of the Gospel...the plan of salvation. We have nothing to preach if Christ lied about the resurrection. He is not our Savior.
2. "Your faith is also vain."
Who is there to trust in if Christ did not rise from the dead? God said he would rise, Jesus said he would rise, the Bible said he would rise. We have no one and nothing to put our faith in if Jesus did not rise from the dead.
3. "We are found false witnesses of God."
Those of us who have been preaching the resurrection of Christ, are false witnesses if, in fact, he did not rise from the dead. God is a liar, Jesus is a liar, the prophets are liars, the Apostles are liars and all preachers from the beginning are liars. How sad.
4. "Ye are yet in your sins."
If Christ did not rise from the dead, then our sins are not forgiven like we thought. The guilt is still there and the penalty must still be paid by you. You have not been forgiven of your sins and you still have them.
5. "They which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."
Those we put in the grave and pronounced that they now resided in heaven with Christ, are not in heaven with Christ, if He did not rise from the dead. To perish is to perish and the grave is our final resting place. How cold.
6. "We are of all men most miserable."
Folks, if Christ did not rise from the tomb, there is no hope for us or anyone else. How miserable to know that what we believed is not true and what we hoped for is false. If there is no resurrection, then there is no savior and there is no salvation and there is no heaven.
IV. The Supposition of the Resurrection. (vv.20-23)
Boy, I'm glad Paul didn't stop there! He gave a pretty sad dissertation about what is would be like if Christ had not risen from the dead, but then he concludes with the fact that "Christ is risen" indeed.
1. "But now is Christ risen from the dead.”
Here is the great hope. Christ indeed rose from the dead and is at the right hand of the throne of God, and He is the firstfruit of the resurrection. In other words, we who know Christ as our personal savior by faith, will rise as well at His second coming.
2. "For as in Adam all die."
We were born sinners, but when we put our faith in Christ and His resurrection, we were saved and forgiven of our sin and given a home in heaven.
3. "In Christ shall all be made alive."
Those in Christ will rise just like Christ did at the resurrection. This is our blessed hope. We have life now and we look forward to everlasting life with Christ at death or His second coming.
Our salvation is in the resurrected Christ for if we do not have a living savior, we do not have a savior. Do not subtract the resurrection from the gospel, the plan of salvation, or you do not have a plan of salvation and you have a false gospel. If Christ is not risen what we do is in vain and we might as well shut the doors of the churches and quit preaching for what we preach in not worth preaching. But alas, Christ is Risen and we shall rise with Him when He comes back for us. Praise the Lord, He is risen!
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