Doctrine of the Resurrection 1 Cor. 15: 1-34 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Paul devoted all of 1 Cor 15 to the doctrine of the resurrection. First, he showed that the resurrection is essential to the gospel. Then he argued for the resurrection by listing the witnesses to the resurrection, by discussing where we would be if Christ hadn’t risen from the dead, by showing them the fruit of the resurrection, and finally by considering some things they were doing that they wouldn’t be doing if Christ had not risen from the dead.
The gospel and the resurrection – 1 Cor 15:1-4 – he declared the gospel which he had preached, which they had received, wherein they stood, and by which they were saved. “If” is not questioning eternal security. “If ye keep in memory” is like if you’ll remember, that’s what I preached, you received, etc. It’s vain to believe in the death and burial if you don’t believe in the resurrection. The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, according to the scriptures [Is 53, Ps 22, Ps 16]. You don’t have the gospel apart from the resurrection. It’s vain to have been saved by the gospel and now to be arguing about whether the resurrection is even part of the gospel.
Witnesses of the resurrection – 1 Cor 15:5-10 – Cephas, the twelve (not Judas, but the twelve included Matthias, Lk 24:33-36 who was among “them that were with them,” Acts 1:21-22, 26), above 500 brethren at once, most of whom were still alive to validate Paul’s statement, James (Gal 1:19, the Lord’s brother), then of all the apostles (Acts 1:3-4, who witnessed his ascension), last of all Paul (Acts 9:3). He said, “I am the least,” because he persecuted the church, yet he preached by the grace of God.
Arguments for the resurrection – 1 Cor 15:11-19 – 11-12 we’re all preaching the resurrection, so how can some of you say there is no resurrection? 13 if there’s no resurrection, then Christ didn’t rise. 14 and if Christ didn’t rise then our preaching is vain and your faith is vain [v.2], because we have preached and you have believed that he rose. 15 if the dead rise not then we are false witnesses for proclaiming that Christ arose. 16 if there is no resurrection, then Christ didn’t rise; he couldn’t have risen. 17 and if Christ didn’t rise, you are still in your sins (which defeats the whole purpose for his death and burial). 18 that means that all those who are already dead have perished. 19 we are most miserable if our hope is only in this life (consider how much he had suffered for the gospel [2 Cor 11], he deals with this more in v. 30-32).
Fruit of the resurrection – 1 Cor 15:20-28 – 20 Christ is risen and is the first fruits (that is, because of his resurrection, many more are coming up in time). 21-22 by man (Adam) came death [Rom 5:12], by man (Jesus) came the resurrection from the dead. In Adam all die, in Jesus all are made alive (1 Jn 5:12). 23-23 shows the chronology of the resurrection, Christ first, then us who are Christ’s at his coming (rapture, discussed in more detail in v.50-55, and the resurrection of Israel Ezek 37:1-14, Rev 20:4-5), then those at the end Rev 20:11-15, when Christ delivers his kingdom to God. The subjection of all rule authority and power to Christ is complete at the end of the millennium. He reigns till he puts all enemies under his feet [devil, Rev 20:7-10] and the destruction of death [Rev 20:14, 21:4]. 27-28 God is excepted so that God will be all in all.
Considerations favoring the resurrection – 1 Cor 15:29-32 – why baptized for the dead? Baptism by immersion in water shows the resurrection of the dead and walking in newness of life. Why in jeopardy every hour? Paul said, “I die daily.” The fight with beasts is seen in [2 Cor 1:8, like 2 Tim 4:17 and Phil 3:2]. If there is no resurrection why am I enduring this… let’s eat, drink, then die.
Conclusion: 1 Cor 15:33-34 – don’t be deceived by corrupt communication (the lies of those who don’t believe the truth of the resurrection). Start telling others how to be saved. You’re wasting your time talking among yourselves about whether Christ arose. You should be ashamed that there are those who still have not the knowledge of God. Go talk to them.