I Corinthians 15:12-34
“The Believer’s Resurrection”
Date: 6-Feb-11
Required Resources:
Purpose (Why am I teaching this lesson? What effect did the writer expect it to have on the recipients?)
The purpose of this lesson is to challenge to consider how we live out our beliefs

Theme (What central idea does this passage communicate?)
Believers will be resurrected

Review & Homework:
A. Salutations & Reminders (v1:1-1:9)
B. Divisions within the church (v1:10-4:21)
C. …of conduct unbecoming a believer (v5:1-13) {church discipline}
D. Dealing with offenses in The Body (v6:1-11)
E. The bondage of sexual sin (v6:12-20)
 – Now For The Matters You Wrote About —
F. Marriage, Divorce & Singleness (v7:1-40)
G. Christian Liberty (v8:1-11:1)
H. Order in Worship (v11:2-14:40)
I. On Resurrection (v15:1-58)
   1. Resurrection of Christ (v1-11)
Ü 2. Resurrection of the Body (v12-34)
   3. The Nature of the resurrected body (v35-58)
  • Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-34 and complete a page in your study booklet
  • Read Revelation 20.  Make of list (to bring to class) of things you can determine about the resurrection of the dead from this passage.
  • Come to class with a list of beliefs about what happens after death

The first part of chapter 15 built a solid case for the resurrection of Christ.  Paul now takes that proof to the next level by showing that the believer’s life in intermingled with Christ.  Since Christ was resurrected we will be resurrected.

Homework review
Job’s view – Job 19:25-26
¿: What did Job believe about the afterlife? [In my flesh I will see God]
Christ’s promise to us – John 6:44

The Text
1 Corinthians 15:12-19
Consequences of the denial of the bodily Resurrection

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.
16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

¿: Based on this passage, what do you think is the underlying question behind chp. 15?

Ü Most Jews believed in the resurrection of the dead (cf. Daniel 12:1-2)
Ü The Greek culture generally believed the physical world, including the body was inherently evil – therefore to have a resurrected body was unthinkable.  They felt that the soul contained all that was good in their destiny.

Paul had already gained their assent that Christ was raised (v1-11), so he uses that argument as a basis of proof that believers are raised.
To paraphrase Paul: “How can you agree to the resurrection of Christ and yet say there is no bodily resurrection, this argument does not hold water?

The argument is developed with 6 “if’s”

Consequences of no believer’s resurrection:
  1. Christ was not raised (v14)
¿: Why would their faith be useless?
1) because Christ promised He was rise from dead on third day – if He didn’t he was lying or not God

2) proof indeed that His death was of greater value than any persons – only God could raise Himself
  1. The apostles are false witnesses of God (v15)
  2. Christ not raised either (v16)
  3. Faith did not cleanse them of sin (v17)
  4. Loved ones who died did not go to heaven (v18)
  5. The cross was foolishness (v19) (cf. v1:18)

v18-19 touch on the idea of immortality of the soul without a bodily resurrection.  It is obvious that Paul believes that without a bodily resurrection there is no afterlife.

NOTICE: he does not even subscribe to the idea that the soul goes on with no body.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28
Theological implications of the Resurrection

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.

25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.
28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

A believer’s destiny is intermingled with Christ.  Paul spells out the consequences of Christ’s resurrection.

firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” – Christ’s resurrection is our guarantee of resurrection. The firstfruits indicates there is more in store.

death came through a man” see Romans 5:12-19

in Christ all will be made alive
¿: Does this mean that all will eventually be saved? [no, Adam and Christ are listed as the heads of those lines.  One born of Adam will die, one born of Christ will live.  Verse 23 clarifies the “who” of “in Christ all”]

but each in his turn”
¿: When does the resurrection take place? [v23 & Revelation 20 (HOMEWORK)]

¿: What happens to us between the time we die and Christ returns?
Cf. 2 Cor 5:8 – away from body, with the Lord

¿: Do you see time intervals in v23-28?
4 stages – dependant on eschatology
1) Christ,
2) Rapture – those “in Him” up to that point in history (1 Thess. 4:16)
3) 2nd coming to reign – those who died during tribulation (Rev 20:4)
4) Wicked who died – for judgment (cf. Dan. 12:2, John 5:29, Rev 20:5)

When God is all in all the new creation will be consummated and the resurrected Christ and His church will share in that experience.
1 Corinthians 15:29-34
Living life based upon the Resurrection

29 Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?
30 And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?
31 I die every day—I mean that, brothers—just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.
32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
33 Do not be  misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.

v29 – verse are up to 200 explanations of this verse!
Ü This verse may mean that there was a practice of baptizing for the dead by those who denied the resurrection – Paul holds this teaching up as useless.
That someone can be baptized for those that have gone ahead in dead.  This teaching would contradict scripture.
1) Baptism is a sign – it has no redeeming quality
2) Scripture is clear that this life is where our salvation takes place
3) Scripture is clear that our belief in Christ must be personal
Ü This verse may be referring to the baptism that occurred for believers that had since passed away.  The point being “why bother to baptize if the body itself would perish”
Ü This verse may refer to harsh persecution of the church.  When a believer was baptized he was martyred; therefore someone getting baptized was taking the place of one who was dead.
Ü This verse may be simply saying “those who are baptized” (a sign of their faith) “for the dead” (because of those who have gone on before) – meaning “if there is no resurrection, what about those who are saved (baptized) because of the hope they have in being reunited with the friends and family that have gone on ahead of them to be with the Lord (their salvation could have been brought about by the death of these saints)

v30 – Paul holds his own life up in contrast to this indeterminate practice that was being conducted.
Why would Paul subject himself to all the peril he did if this life were all that there was?
fought wild beasts” – we do not know if Paul a Roman citizen was ever physically in the arena. (cf. 2 Cor. 1:8-11)

“bad company…” – Paul very clearly says, ”Don’t associate with these teachings, whoever they come from.”

some who are ignorant of God
¿: Is this speaking of those outside the church? Or to those within the church creating this argument on the resurrection?

Personal Application:
¿: What positive kingdom impact has Christ’s resurrection had on you?
¿: How does your belief about an afterlife and bodily resurrection affect you life?
  • Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
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