Songs and Praise
   

 
 
 

Less 117 THE RESURRECTION: THE HOPE OF A CHRISTIAN

 
I Corinthians 15:1-58;

Lesson 117 Senior Lessons

MEMORY VERSE:  "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins" (I Corinthians 15:17).

I The Fact of Christ's Bodily Resurrection

Paul had preached the Gospel to the Corinthians, by which they were saved, I Corinthians 15:1, 2; Romans 1:16 According to the Scriptures salvation is dependent upon the death and resurrection of Christ, I Corinthians 15:3, 4; Isaiah 53:5; Job 19:25-27; Luke 24:46, 47 The Apostles and disciples were eyewitnesses of His resurrection, I Corinthians 15:5-11; Luke 24:33-43; Acts 9:3-5

II The Denial of Christ's Resurrection by Some

If Christ be not risen, the preaching of the Gospel and faith in Him is vain, I Corinthians 15:12-14; Romans 4:25 If Christ be not risen, the. Apostles and disciples are found false witnesses, I Corinthians 15:15; Acts 10:3.9-41 If Christ be not risen, believers are yet in their sins and the dead in Christ are perished, I Corinthians 15:16-19; I Thessalonians 4:13,14

III  The Assurance of the Resurrection of Christians

Christ is become the firstfruits of them that slept, I Corinthians 15:20; Leviticus 23:10, 11; Matthew 27:52, 53 Afterward every man is raised in his own order who is Christ's at His coming, I Corinthians 15:23; Philippians 3:10, 11; Revelation 20:6 As by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead, I Corinthians 15:21, 22; Isaiah 26:19; John 5:28, 29

IV The Ultimate Victory of Christ over All Enemies

When Christ shall have put down all rule and authority, the last enemy to be destroyed is death, I Corinthians 15:24-26; Psalm 2:8, 9; Revelation 20:7-15 When all things are put under His feet, Christ Himself is exempt, I Corinthians 15:25; Philippians 2:5-11 Then shall the Son be subject to the Father, that God may be all in all, I Corinthians 15:28; John 14:28

V The Christian's Hope of the Future Life

Water baptism is a type of death, burial, and resurrection with Christ, I Corinthians 15:29; Romans 6:3, Paul died daily that he might be conformed to Christ's death, I Corinthians 15:30-32; Philippians 3:10, 11; Romans 8:1 The hope of the future life awakens the Christian to righteousness, I Corinthians 15:33, 34

VI The Manner of Body with Which the Dead Are Raised

As seed is sown and grows, so to every seed is given his own body, I Corinthians 15:35-38; Luke 24:39 As the glory of the terrestrial is to the celestial, so is the natural to the spiritual body, I Corinthians 15:39-44; 2:9 The first man is of the earth earthy: the second man is the Lord from Heaven, I Corinthians 15:45-49; Genesis 3:19; Philippians 3:20, 21

VII The Transformation Necessary to Inherit the Kingdom of Heaven

Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom, so we must all be changed, I Corinthians 15:50-54; John 18:36 The grave has lost its victory and death has lost its sting which is sin, I Corinthians 15:55, 56 Victory through Jesus Christ prompts a faithful service here below, I Corinthians 15:57, 58

NOTES

The Apostle Paul devotes an entire chapter to the subject of the literal resurrection of the body. The Resurrection, in fact, is one of the great themes appearing in the most of his epistles. In his missionary journeys he preached the resurrection fearlessly to both Jews and Gentiles.


And why did the Apostle put so much stress on this subject? Because, first of all, 'if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins' (I Corinthians 15:17). There is therefore no hope of salvation, no hope of eternal life, no hope of Heaven, unless the fact that Christ came forth from the grave, and thus broke the bands of death and hell, is un¬questionably established in the heart. For upon the fact of Christ's resur¬rection, as well as upon the fact of His death, hangs all the Gospel teachings and the whole Christian Faith. 'If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable' (I Corinthians 15:19).

The Fact of Christ's Resurrection

For this reason the Apostle proceeds to confirm Christ's resurrec-tion: First, on the authority of the Scriptures. Paul wrote this First Epistle to the Corinthians about 57 A. D., and at this time he had access to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, both of which have much to say about Jesus' resurrection. He also had access to the Old Testament which likewise abounds in prophecies concerning Jesus, including His death and resur¬rection.


And secondly, he summons as trustworthy witnesses of Jesus' resur¬rection the eleven Apostles and also above five hundred brethren, all of whom had walked and talked with Jesus, off and on, for forty days after His resurrection. The most of these witnesses were yet alive in Paul's time, although some had fallen asleep. And of these witnesses Peter also spoke in his sermon to Cornelius and his household: 'And we are witnesses of all things which he [Jesus] did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto wit¬nesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead' (Acts 10:39-41).


And last of all, as one born out of due time, Paul himself, on the road to Damascus to arrest the followers of this Man of Nazareth, was himself arrested by Jesus, the risen Christ. And this was more than a vision: he saw Him and talked with Him in Person, shining in glory. And thus Paul, too, became an eyewitness of the resurrected Lord, fully qualified, after his wonderful conversion, for his apostleship among the twelve.

Christ's Resurrection Denied by Some

Even though the resurrection of Jesus Christ is indisputably estab-lished by a great company of witnesses of good character whose tesitimony cannot be questioned, and which would be immediately accepted in a fair-minded civil court of today, yet in Paul's time there were those who in the face of this testimony point-blank denied the resurrection. The Areopagites on Mars' hill in Athens heard the Apostle's address, until he touched upon the resurrection, and then some mocked.


But the unbelief did not end with Paul's day. The modernist of today not only denies the resurrection, but has flatly rejected the supernatural and cast aside all the miracles in the Bible. And as far as that religion is concerned, the whole framework of the Christian Faith has collapsed. This the modernist himself knows, but in defense of his position he has pro¬nounced the great fundamental doctrines of the Bible, which were the bulwark of the early Church, mere superstitions of the past. And these fatal teachings of modernism are rapidly invading the churches which once believed and stood for the early teachings of Christ and His Apostles. The apostate church of the last days is swiftly taking form.

The Assurance of the Resurrection of Christians

The salvation of the Christian begins when he as a sinner, under pungent conviction for sin, repents with godly sorrow and is justified by faith. But his salvation does not end with this experience, nor with the deeper experiences of sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. His salvation continues through his entire Christian walk, until he is perfected and made ready for the heavenly Kingdom. As the Apostle Peter expresses it: 'Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls' (I Peter 1:8, 9).


And this 'so great salvation,' we learned, is sealed by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. But Christ's literal resurrection assures more than our eternal salvation. That miracle of miracles also makes certain the resurrection of the body of him who obeys the Author of our eternal salvation. 'But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. . . . But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming'


(I Corinthians 15:20, 23). This promise of the resurrection of the body has been the hope of Christ's Church down through the ages. The church which has lost this hope is dead. All true Christians are looking forward to that great Day of Redemption: 'For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord' (I Thessalonians 4:16, 17). '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. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure' (I John 3:2, 3).

The Redemption of the Body

A mysterious change takes place in the mortal body of a Christian on the Day of Redemption, even after it has returned to the dust whence it came, undergone corruption, and lain for centuries in the grave. 'As the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself, ... the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth' (John 5:26, 28, 29). 'If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you' (Romans 8:11). And Paul likens this mysterious change to seed that is sown: 'That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 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: but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body' (I Corinthians 15:36-38). Whatever that miraculous change is when the trumpet sounds, we are assured that these mortal bodies shall be changed into the likeness of His glorified body: 'For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself' (Philippians 3:20, 21). And no longer will there be the pain and sorrow and death which has accompanied us while tabernacling in these mortal bodies. 'God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away' (Revelation 21:4).

 

'I'm a pilgrim, and I'm a stranger;
I can tarry, I can tarry but a night;

Do not detain me, for I am going
To where the fountains are ever flowing.


'Of that city, to which I journey,
My Redeemer, My Redeemer is the light;

There is no sorrow, nor any sighing,
Nor any tears there, nor any dying.'

QUESTIONS

1 Why did Paul devote a whole chapter, the longest chapter in the Epistle, to the subject of the resurrection?
2 What vital teachings of the Gospel are dependent upon the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ?
3 What eyewitnesses did Paul summon to prove the literal resurrection of Jesus?
4 What religious sect of today has denied the resurrection? and what effect does this have on the Christian Faith?
5 What assurance does the literal resurrection of Jesus give Christians?

 
   
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