INTERNET BIBLE STUDIES I Corinthians Lesson 15

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I Cor. Chapter 15:1-58

Memory verses for this week:   James 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.. 

Introduction:     Last week in Chapter 14, we found that of the three special spiritual gifts given to those in the early church, that the greatest of those was the ability to prophesy.   Speaking in tongues and interpreting those languages were special gifts, but prophecy built up the whole church.

I.                    The Fact of Christís Resurrection 

1 Cor 15:1  Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

1 Cor 15:2  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

1 Cor 15:3  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

1 Cor 15:4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 

The first four verses of this chapter declare the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.   And the definition of the gospel is clearly given in verses 3 and 4.  The Gospel is how Christ died for our sins, how he was buried, and after three days and three nights, he arose victorious out of the grave.  And the death, burial, and resurrection were all done according to the Old Testament Scriptures.  Verse 2 teaches that if we believe in any other thing besides the true Gospel, we are believing in vain.  It is Christ and Christ alone who saves us from our sins, and it is all of grace.   Our works, no matter how great they might be, will never come into play in regards to our salvation. 

1 Cor 15:5  And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

1 Cor 15:6  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

1 Cor 15:7  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

1 Cor 15:8  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 

Paul mentions a number of people who saw Jesus after His resurrection.  It is not like we have to believe just Mary and the apostles.  There were more than 500 brethren that witnessed Christ after His resurrection.  Paul mentions that he was one born out of due time.   He means that during this time, the Jews had been cut off and did not see things accurately concerning Jesus Christ.  Even today, we still live in the age of the Gentiles.  But like Paul, there are still some Jews who believe in Christ and have obtained salvation.  We know that God has promised that the Jewish nation will be born again when He returns to earth at the close of the great tribulation.  

Isa 66:6  A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompense to his enemies.

Isa 66:7  Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.

Isa 66:8  Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

Isa 66:9  Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

Isa 66:10  Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: 

II.                  The Importance of Christís Resurrection 

1 Cor 15:9  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

1 Cor 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

1 Cor 15:11  Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

1 Cor 15:12  Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

As great a man as Paul was, he had a very humble opinion of himself.  It seemed that although God had forgiven him for persecuting the church, Paul could not forgive himself.  He said he was not meet to be called an apostle.  But  as he goes on to say, it is the grace of God that makes us what we are.  Without Jesus, we are nothing.  Some during Paulís day denied the resurrection of the dead and did not believe that Jesus rose from the grave.  But man can deny, but the Holy Spirit has witnessed with my spirit that Jesus did come out of the grave and is sitting at the right hand of the Father always making intercession for me.

Rom 8:34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 

1 Cor 15:13  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

1 Cor 15:14  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

1 Cor 15:15  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

1 Cor 15:16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

1 Cor 15:17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

1 Cor 15:18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

1 Cor 15:19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

There are so many things that would be vain if Christ was not risen from the dead.  Our presence in church services would be of no value if we worship a god that is dead.   Many worship false gods like Buda and Mohammed, but our God is different.  Jesus is the only one who has died and come back to life.  If Christ was not real, we would be false witnesses, and all of our efforts to preach would be in vain.  But we are not still in our sins, because Jesus did rise up out of the tomb after three days and three nights.

 

III.                The Order of the Resurrection 

1 Cor 15:20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1 Cor 15:21  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

1 Cor 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 

Christ became the first fruits of the dead.  Some teach that Moses was raised from the dead, but if that is true, it had to be after Christ was resurrected because verse 20 says Jesus became the firstfruits of them that slept.  Because Adam and Eve sinned, we all have inherited the sin nature.   We are all fallen and have no ability to have fellowship with God without first coming to Christ for salvation.   As by the one man Adam came death, by the one man, Jesus Christ, who was God incarnate, we are made alive when we come to Him for salvation. 

1 Cor 15:23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

1 Cor 15:24  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

1 Cor 15:25  For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 

There is an order to those who will be resurrected:

1.      Christ is the firstfruits

2.      They that are His (the saved) at His coming (I Thes. 4:13)

3.      The lost at the close of the 1,000 year Millennial reign of Christ

 

At the close of the one thousand year reign of Christ, He will deliver up the kingdom to the Father and then Christ shall reign forever in the new earth. 

Rev 20:4  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Rev 20:5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 

1 Cor 15:26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

1 Cor 15:27  For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

1 Cor 15:28  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. 

God the Father has put all things under Christís feet.  That is not to say that Christ is elevated above the Father, but that all things here on earth and above are under Christís rule.  Because of Christ overcoming death, we that know Jesus as Lord will never experience separation from God.  Death has been overcome when Jesus arose victoriously from the grave.  One of the greatest promises we have is at the end of this chapter.

1 Cor 15:55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

1 Cor 15:56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

1 Cor 15:57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 15:29  Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

1 Cor 15:30  And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

1 Cor 15:31  I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

1 Cor 15:32  If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

1 Cor 15:33  Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

1 Cor 15:34  Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. 

Paul asks a good question in verse 29.  If there was no resurrection, why were all of these people being baptized.  Baptism in itself is a picture of the of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.   We see our old man, the man of the flesh being put to death as we go down into the water, and the new man, the spiritually reborn man, rising up to walk in newness of life.   Paul points out that if there is no resurrection, why do people like him jeopardize their lives to preach the gospel.  If Christ is not real, we might as well live like the world and never consider walking a life that is pleasing to God.  But like Paul, we know Christ is true and we gain by living a separated life patterned after Jesus.  We should so believe in our faith that we are willing to tell others.  He tells us to wake unto righteousness.  Paul said some in his day did not have the knowledge of God, and that was to their shame.  It could be said of us today I am afraid.   Every chance we get we should speak of the hope that lies within us.

1 Pet 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

1 Pet 3:16  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

1 Pet 3:17  For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

 

IV.               The Method of Resurrection 

1 Cor 15:35  But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

1 Cor 15:36  Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

1 Cor 15:37  And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

1 Cor 15:38  But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 

Paul asks two questions in verse 35Ö ďHow are the dead raised up?Ē and ďWith what body do they come?Ē  He goes on to explain this by using the sowing of a seed as an example.  To all appearances, when a seed is sown, it dies.  Later, it rises to a larger and more glorious life.  God gives us a body (the seed) as it pleases him. 

1 Cor 15:39  All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

1 Cor 15:40  There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

1 Cor 15:41  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 

Not all flesh is the same as are all bodies.  Paul explains how that there is a kind of flesh of man, whereas there is another flesh of beasts and other types of animals.  And there are different bodies.  In the celestial, we have stars, the moon, and the sun.  Here on earth, we have bodies of men, animals, and plants.  The beauty of the heavenly bodies is unique and different from the earthly bodies.  All things, were created for God, and He deserves to receive glory from His creation. 

1 Cor 15:42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

1 Cor 15:43  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

1 Cor 15:44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

1 Cor 15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

1 Cor 15:46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

1 Cor 15:47  The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

1 Cor 15:48  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

1 Cor 15:49  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

1 Cor 15:50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 

As there is a difference in the glory of the different types of bodies, so is there with the resurrected body.  This body will be changed into a gloried body at the resurrection.

1 Cor 15:51  Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

1 Cor 15:52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1 Cor 15:53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 

The resurrection truly is a mystery.  We donít know the day nor the hour, but it might be even today.  And as quick as the twinkling of an eye, that trumpet will sound and we will all be changed into the glorious body fashioned after the glorified body of Jesus Christ. 

1 John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 

V.                 The Final Victory Over Death 

1 Cor 15:54  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

1 Cor 15:55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

1 Cor 15:56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

1 Cor 15:57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The only way we can have victory over the grave is to know Christ as our Lord and Savior.  When we have Jesus, death has no power over us. 

Rom 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Rom 5:13  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Rom 5:14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Rom 5:15  But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Rom 5:16  And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

Rom 5:17  For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

 

VI.               Challenge to All Who Know the Lord 

1 Cor 15:58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

This is a verse that is both a challenge and a promise.  We are told to do three things.

1.      Be stedfast

2.      Unmoveable

3.      Always abounding in the work of the Lord. 

When we do this, we can trust in the promise that none of our work we do for the Lord is in vain.   We may never receive a thank you or any recognition on this side of glory, but God will not be unfaithful to reward our efforts.  Even a glass of cold water given in Godís name will result in a reward one day.

 

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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.  

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