1 Corinthians 15:1-20, Jesus – The Resurrection

Our services have temporarily been put on hold, but we will continue to encourage you with God’s Word. The following sermon was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz this week for your edification and uplifting.

Click here: 1 Corinthians 15:1-20, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: 1 Corinthians 15:1-20, for the video recording, and follow the notes below. May the Lord speak into your hearts as you worship.

Please enjoy.

1 Corinthians 15:1-20, Jesus – The Resurrection:

  • Historically, what we observe today is known as the greatest day in history. The angels announce Christ is risen! With Mary weeping, the disciples confused and hurt, the crowds dispersed, and the empty grave, we find ourselves experiencing the greatest event in human history.
  • For without the resurrection, we wouldn’t have any hope or comfort. All that Christ would’ve done would be in vain. Therefore, it is fitting for us to look at the Resurrection of Jesus and then to be aware of the consequences of denying the Resurrection.
  1. The Resurrection of Jesus:
  • Text – 15:1-11
  • Explanation – Paul reminds us that Jesus died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, as Jesus came to serve through giving His life as a ransom for many! Then in verse 4, Paul adds that Jesus was buried.
  • This is to emphasize the weight of Jesus truly dying. He wasn’t left on the cross, and He didn’t take Himself down either. No, He tasted death! Having died, He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave, only to rise up again.

 

  • Illustration – Literally, Paul says, “He has been raised!” It is written in the perfect tense, describing a past event having continued results into the present. More so, there are witnesses to this reality!
  • Jesus appeared to Peter, and then to the twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

 

  • Application – But why is it so important? For one, the resurrection of Jesus points to His true power! Not only did He create life, but He resurrect it after death, and only He can remove the sting and gain the victory over the grave! It reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death.
  • Next, the resurrection is the sign from heaven that proved He is who He says He is, namely, the Son of God – Messiah. And the fact that there are so many witnesses, we have convincing proof that Jesus is the Saviour of the world.

 

  • Thirdly, it points to Jesus’ sinless character and divine nature. See, because Jesus never sinned, Acts 13:39 says, “Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin.” So if Jesus Christ is not resurrected, then we have no hope that we will be either.
  • Meaning, apart from Christ’s resurrection, we have no Saviour, no salvation, and no hope of eternal life. In our text, verses 14-19 says our faith would be useless, and the gospel would be powerless, and our sins would remain unforgiven.

 

  • Conclusion – Instead, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Therefore, all who believe in Jesus Christ, personally, will experience the resurrection because in Jesus, we have overcome death.
  • That’s the reference Paul makes in verse 20, Jesus is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”, meaning He led the way in life after death.
  • And finally, the importance of the resurrection of Jesus, impacts the way we serve Him now. It also demonstrates that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. It shows that God has the power to raise us from the dead.

 

  • Bridge – Does this encourage you? Comfort you? I pray it does, because

 

  1. Consequences without the Resurrection:
  • Text – 5:12-20
  • Explanation – The first consequence is that there will be no legitimate gospel. Verse 14 says, “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” So if Christ wasn’t raised, the gospel would be a worthless message!
  • There would be no basis for our faith. Yet, the foundation of our faith has the resurrection of Jesus at the centre. And in application, if we deny the resurrection, then there is no message to preach!

 

  • Illustration – Secondly, look at it this way, if there is no resurrection then we would have no rational faith, practical faith! Your faith would be vain, empty, worthless! If there is no resurrection, even if you did believe, it wouldn’t have value.
  • And here’s the picture; a few years ago in Mexico, children with cancer were given fake chemo. Yet, the families of those children truly believed that the chemo was real and helping their children. This is the idea that no amount of faith will help you, if the object of your faith isn’t real.
  • But in application, if your faith truly is in the Lord Jesus, and He is truly risen, you have rational faith, practical faith – because the resurrection is true.

 

  • Application – Thirdly, in verse 15, Paul says; “We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.” See, in Corinth, many had the idea that there is no resurrection. So if any taught about a resurrection, they should be deemed false witnesses of God.
  • Under the Old Covenant of Israel, anyone who bore a false witness toward God, was to be stoned. So, this is serious! However, in verses 5-8, we have witnesses to this event. In verse 4, Paul even says that Jesus rose in accordance with the Scriptures!

 

  • Therefore, if there is no resurrection, then the Old Testament is false – as Paul would be point back to Isaiah 53. Furthermore, the New Testament would be false too, as Peter (Cephas), Paul, James, Matthew, and John claim to be witnesses of Jesus post resurrection.
  • And ultimately, if Jesus wasn’t risen, He Himself would be a lair, as he said; “destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” So in application, if there were no resurrection; the Bible wouldn’t be reliable or of any value. But because the resurrection is true, all of Scripture is inspired and therefore relevant (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

 

  • Conclusion – Now lastly, the fourth horrifying consequence of there not being a resurrection, is that there will not be any forgiveness! Look at verse 16-17.
  • Again, here’s the word futile – meaning useless! Being in yours sins means never receiving forgiveness. Jesus would have died for nothing. There would be no justification before God, as we wouldn’t be given the righteousness of God.
  • So in application, no resurrection = no forgiveness! But thanks be to God, in Romans 4:25, Pauls writes that Jesus “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” Because in the resurrection, Jesus secures our justification, as we’re justified by Jesus’ blood!

 

  • Bridge – Therefore, if Jesus wasn’t raised, there would be no forgiveness. There would be no true Gospel, no practical faith, and no reliable source to turn to.

 

Application:

  • Dear friends, as Martin Lloyd-Jones beautifully puts it, ‘the resurrection is the proclamation of the fact that God is fully & completely satisfied with the work His Son did upon the cross… in raising Him up, God was proclaiming that His Son had completed the work.’
  • So the resurrection proves that the Father accepted the Son’s sacrifice, and this secures our justification. This enables the transaction of receiving Christ’s righteousness, despite our unworthiness.

 

  • And so we close with verses 18-19. Because Jesus is all in all, and fulfils God’s wrath and buys our freedom, we who believe and trust in Him – will have eternal life!
  • No one in Christ can perish, die eternally. And all who hope in Christ, have no need for pity or shame! For Christ has been raised from the dead, and He is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep – as He led the way in life after death.

 

  • So I’d like to challenge us this Easter, as we’re locked up, and have more time than usual on our hands, do the following with me:
  • Remind yourself that the Gospel always includes the Resurrection!
  • Remind yourself that the Resurrection proves Jesus’ true nature & character – that He is faithful, loving, & steadfast.
  • Remind yourself that the Resurrection secures & guarantees all the blessings Jesus purchased in His death. Hebrews 7:25 is a great reminder of this, Jesus “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

 

  • Remind yourself that all who die in Christ, will be raised from the dead. Therefore, we have no need to fear death! 1 Corinthians 15:54b-55, “…“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
  • And finally, remind yourself that the Resurrection drives us to a life of faithful service and worship! Because Jesus was risen and ascended into heaven, He will return. Serve Him, as Paul says, “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:57). This is to be your attitude.

 

  • Therefore, Paul commends us to do the following: (1 Cor 15:58) “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. This is because He is risen! He is alive dear friend, therefore, live as if you believe it too!