1 Corinthians 15:35-58
The Nature of the Resurrected Body
Date: 13-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 motivate today’s action based upon tomorrow’s promises

Theme (What central idea does this passage communicate?)
The nature of the resurrected body

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)
   2. Resurrection of the Body (v12-34)
Ü 3. The Nature of the resurrected body (v35-58)
  • Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-38 and complete a page in your study booklet
  • Bring a picture of yourself at a very early age

WHITEBOARD: words randomly spirit, body, soul
¿: Name a phrase that uses these 3 words.
Note: that we tend to order as “body, soul, spirit”  Scripture orders differently.
1 Thes. 5:23 – spirit, soul , body
Deut. 6:5 – heart, soul, strength
Ps. 84:2 – soul, heart, flesh
Matt. 22:37 – heart, soul, mind
Luke 10:27 – heart, soul strength

¿: What happened to our body at The Fall? [something visibly changed]
Ü Read Genesis 2:4-9; 15-25 (Man and woman created – no shame)
Ü Read Genesis 3:6-7 (a visible change?)

In the text a few key questions are anticipated:
How are the dead raised, (their bodies are decomposed and/or scattered)?
What kind of body will they have?
What about a body for those not dead when Christ comes?

¿: What age will your resurrected body be?

The Text
1 Corinthians 15:35-41
What kind of body will I have?

35 But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?
36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.
38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.

With what kind of body will they come?” – this is a foolish question which is beyond our understanding.  We can’t even fully comprehend how a seed can produce a plant so unlike the seed itself.  Even with our understanding of DNA leaves us wondering at the mystery of a change from one thing into another.  The seed and the plant are directly related but vastly different.

How foolish!” – Paul pulls no punches for those asking this question.  He is likely addressing the Greek dualists who in an effort to scorn an eternal resurrected body are derisively saying, “So you believe in a resurrected body – well what’s it going to be like?

God produces a body according to the seed that was sown.  Each seed has it’s own type of plant.  The specific characteristics of the plant are within the seed.

What will be the “seed” of our body?
Ü It will not be necessary for God to use every part of this body when he raises it from the grave. Such a thought is not taught in Scripture. In fact, it is scientifically true that the component parts of our bodies undergo periodic changes. We receive new bodies every seven years. We have not the same body today that we had seven years ago.
Ü Yet, there is an identity that we maintain all our lifetime, and yet there is not one cell in our bodies that was there seven years ago.
Ü In the resurrection the bodies of the saints will bear their individual identities. Ü The fact that after death our physical substance disintegrates and scatters, creates no difficulties for God

There will be glorious differences between our current body and our resurrected body but in all this we will be distinct.

¿: Will people recognize us in heaven?
ÜWhen David’s infant son died, David declared, “I will go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:23). David assumed that he would be able to recognize his son in heaven, despite the fact that he died as a baby.
ÜIn Luke 16:19-31, Abraham, Lazarus, and the rich man were all recognizable after death.
ÜAt the transfiguration, Moses and Elijah were recognizable (Matthew 17:3-4). In these examples, the Bible does seem to indicate that we will be recognizable after death.

ÜMany people recognized Jesus after His resurrection (John 20:16, 20; 21:12; 1 Corinthians 15:4-7). If Jesus was recognizable in His glorified body, we also will be recognizable in our glorified bodies.

39 All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.
40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.
41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

Notice how a series of contrasts are used to explain the unexplainable.

God is infinitely more creative than we can even comprehend.

Paul is saying, “There are obviously differences in what is created, don’t expect the resurrected body to be like the physical
Ü Addresses the scoffers as well as answers the curious
1 Corinthians 15:42-49
The nature of the resurrected body

42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;
43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;

The “seed” of our future body is this corruptible shell we carry now.  This will die and be raised to produce a glorious new body.

44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.

it is raised a spiritual body” – this is not to say it is made out of spirit, rather that the future body will be adapted for a different kind of existence.
Ü Luke 24:38-40 Christ’s resurrected body was flesh and bones
Ü Phil. 3:20 – our bodies will be transformed
Ü 2 Cor. 5:1-5 – we are naked without a body
¿: Will our bodies be like Adam & Eve’s before the fall? [they had not eaten the tree of life]
Ü Gen. 2:7 – man made of dust of ground
Ü Gen. 2:9 – two trees ¿: Why?
Ü Gen. 2:25 – naked, no shame
Ü Gen. 3:7-8 – eyes were opened ¿: Why shame?
  • It must have been more than an awareness of nakedness.  Shouldn’t a husband and wife with perfect bodies be comfortable in their nakedness with each other?
  • Could they have lost something more? A glory, perhaps?  Something to physically be ashamed of.

Ü Gen 3:22 – eat and live forever (even in fallen state!)
Adam and Eve had perfect bodies, however there was something more the tree of life would have given them, the resurrection will bring us to that state.

The spiritual body is required to accommodate spiritual things.  But since it is also physical it will have physical qualities.

46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.
47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.
48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.
49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

we bear the likeness of the man from heaven” – Christ’s resurrected body is the prototype for ours
If Christ’s was prototype will we also have these characteristics?
Ü Luke 24:36 – Jesus “appeared and startled them”
Ü John 20:19 – Jesus appeared in a locked room
1 Corinthians 15:50-57
The victory of a transformed body

50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed
52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

A short message about our bodies:
“There is a preacher of the old school, but he speaks as boldly as ever. He is not popular though the world is his parish, and he travels every part of the globe and speaks in every language. He visits the poor, calls upon the rich, preaches to people of every religion and no religion, and the subject of his sermon is always the same. He is an eloquent preacher, often stirring feelings which no other preacher could in bringing tears to eyes that never weep. His arguments none are able to refute, nor is there any heart that has remained unmoved by the force of his appeals. He shatters life with his message. Most people hate him; everyone fears him. His name? Death. Every tombstone is his pulpit. Every newspaper prints his text, and someday every one of you will be his sermon.” – David Cawston “Ready to Face the Music”

I tell you a mystery” – a mystery is something that has not been previously revealed.  The fact of the resurrection had been revealed in OT times…
¿: What is the mystery?

We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed” – After all this talk of an incorruptible body for the dead, what about those living?

perishable must clothe itself…” = could possibly refer to the dead whereas “the mortal…” could refer to the living.
1 Corinthians 15:58
So what?

58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

The consequence of this discussion is the command to stand firm in the faith.

We will live forever in a new, resurrected body.  Our works will be tested through fire.  There are eternal rewards for what is lasting.  What we do in the flesh has eternal consequences.

This word is alive for countless Christians who work and pray and give and suffer as little as they can!  How can we be satisfied with the trivial, insignificant, short-lived things of the world!  Our society today worships the idols of leisure and relaxation.

Personal Application:
¿: Does it matter what I do with thins body since I’ll get a new one anyway?

  • Read 1 Corinthians 16
  • Review the general outline of the letter and sum up Paul’s message to the church
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