"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" The Mystery Of The Resurrection (15:50-53) INTRODUCTION 1. In his epistle to the Corinthians, Paul argued strongly for the resurrection of the dead... a. He wondered how some could say there is no resurrection of the dead - 1Co 15:12 b. Indeed, if there is no resurrection, then even Christ is not risen! - 1Co 15:13 2. Paul proceeded to reveal much about the resurrection of the dead... a. When and how it would happen b. What kind of resurrected body there would be 3. Toward the end of his discourse on the resurrection (1Co 15:50-53), he called it a "mystery"... a. Not that it was hidden or unintelligible b. But that what was revealed was previously unknown c. Which is how the term "mystery" is often used in the NT
- cf. Ro 16:25-26; Ep 3:3-4 [What is "The Mystery Of The Resurrection"? What has been revealed by Christ and His apostles about the resurrection, though it may have been hidden in times past? They certainly asserted...] I. THE FACT OF THE RESURRECTION A. JESUS TAUGHT THERE WILL BE A RESURRECTION... 1. In which both those good and evil will come forth from the grave - Jn 5:28-29 2. Jesus promised that those who believe in Him will be raised - Jn 6:39-40,44,54 B. HIS APOSTLES PROCLAIMED A RESURRECTION... 1. Peter and John "preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead" - Ac 4:1-2 2. Paul confessed his hope in the resurrection - Ac 23:6; 24:15 3. Paul asserted the necessity of the resurrection - 1Co 15:12-23 4. He taught the doctrine of the resurrection as a source of comfort - 1Th 4:16-18 [While there was a hope for the resurrection among the Jews (cf. Ac 23:8), that hope was made stronger by the teaching of Christ and His apostles. They also made clear...] II. THE AGENT OF THE RESURRECTION A. JESUS ATTRIBUTED IT TO "THE POWER OF GOD"... 1. As He reminded the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection
- Mt 22:29 2. For of course, "with God nothing will be impossible"
- cf. Lk 1:37 B. PAUL ALSO EMPHASIZED "THE POWER OF GOD"... 1. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead - 1Co 6:14 2. He who raised Jesus from the dead can certainly raise us up - 2Co 4:14 [It may be difficult for us to comprehend how the dead can be raised, but it is not difficult for God to do it (unless your God is too small!). Also taught by Christ and his apostles is...] III. THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE RESURRECTION A. AS TAUGHT BY JESUS... 1. "All who are in the graves will...come forth" - Jn 5:28-29 2. Both "those who have done good" and "those who have done evil" - ibid. a. One to experience "a resurrection of life" b. The other "a resurrection of condemnation" B. PAUL TAUGHT ALL WOULD BE RAISED... 1. "both of the just and the unjust" - Ac 24:15 2. "for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" - 1Co 15:21-22 [The fact, agent, and universality of the resurrection had been taught in some measure by prophets of God prior to Christ and His apostles (cf. Job 19:25-26; Dan 12:1-3). But what had been a mystery and now more clearly revealed included...] IV. THE TIME OF THE RESURRECTION A. AT THE LAST DAY, WHEN THE LORD COMES AGAIN... 1. Jesus spoke again and again of raising the dead at "the last day" - Jn 6:39-40,44,54 2. Paul wrote of it occurring when Jesus comes again, to deliver the kingdom to the Father, having destroyed the last enemy, death itself - 1Co 15:22-26 3. He later says that it will occur at "the last trumpet"
- 1Co 15:52 B. WHAT ABOUT THE DOCTRINE OF SEPARATE RESURRECTIONS...? 1. Premillennialists (and perhaps others) teach there will be more than just one resurrection a. All premillennialists teach at least two resurrections: 1) The resurrection of believers at the beginning of the millennium 2) The resurrection of unbelievers at the end of the millennium b. Dispensational premillennialists add two more: 1) The resurrection of tribulation saints at the end of the seven-year tribulation 2) The resurrection of millennial saints at the end of the millennium 2. Yet the doctrine of several resurrections is found wanting for several reasons a. The Bible presents the resurrection of believers and unbelievers as occurring together - Dan 12:2; Jn 5:28-29; Ac 24:14-15; Re 20:11-15 b. The Bible teaches that believers will be raised at "the last day", not several times (and therefore several days, years, or a millennium) before the last day! - Jn 6:39-40,44,54 c. Passages offered in support of several resurrections do not necessarily teach what premillennialists say they do 1) E.g., 1Th 4:13-16 concerns itself with the resurrection of the righteous, but that does not demand that the wicked are not being raised at the same time 2) E.g., Re 20:4-6 describes a resurrection of souls, not bodies, and the reigning with Christ is likely occurring in heaven, not on earth - cf. Re 2:26-27; 3:21 [Finally, what was truly a mystery concerning the resurrection but made clearer by Paul in our text is...] V. THE BODY OF THE RESURRECTION A. OUR BODY, GLORIOUSLY CHANGED AND DIFFERENT...! 1. Our physical body will serve as the "kernel" from which comes an incorruptible and immortal body in which to house the soul - 1Co 15:35-37 2. Our physical body... a. Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption! - 1Co 15:42 b. Sown in dishonor, raised in glory! - 1Co 15:43a c. Sown in weakness, raised in power! - 1Co 15:43b d. Sown as a natural body, raised as a spiritual body!
- 1Co 15:44-49 3. Those alive at Christ's coming will undergo this change instantly a. For flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God
- 1Co 15:50 b. So a change will take place in one instantaneous moment - 1Co 15:51-52 c. In which that which is corruptible and mortal will put on incorruption and immortality - 1Co 15:53-54 B. OUR BODY, GLORIOUSLY TRANSFORMED AND CONFORMED...! 1. That which is lowly (the body) will be transformed - Php 3:20-21 2. It (the body) will be conformed to His glorious body (His resurrected body) - ibid. 3. How is possible? a. "according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself" b. In other words, by the power of God! - cf. Mt 22:29 CONCLUSION 1. There is probably much more about the resurrection that we would like to know... 2. But enough of "The Mystery Of The Resurrection" has been revealed... a. To take away the sting of death, and the victory of Hades b. To give us a victorious hope for the future c. To motivate us to serve the Lord until He comes at the last day "'O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?' The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1Co 15:55-57 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." - 1Co 15:58 Are you making it your aim to be ready for the glorious resurrection to come...?