This chapter is numbered amongst the classic chapters of the Bible, with such chapters as Ps 23, or 1 Corinthians chapter 13. It is the classic scriptural authority on the resurrection. For those not blessed with a good memory concerning bible references, then to help you remember that it is chapter FIFTEEN, we will use the letter “F” to fashion the form of this literary forum, on the fundamental formula upon which our faith concerning the future is founded. The FACT of the Resurrection. (Verses 1- thirty Four) Key Verse: Fifteen The FEASIBILITY (or Form) of the Resurrection. (Verses thirty Five to Fifty.) Key Verse: Forty Five. The FULFILMENT of the Resurrection. (Verses Fifty one to the Finish) Key Verse: Fifty Five.
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If in Fact there is no such thing as Resurrection, then our whole faith is unfounded. The scripture declares that the truth of the gospel is founded upon many infallible proofs. Acts ch 1. v 3. “ To the apostles he showed Himself alive after His passion, with many infallible proofs, being seen of them Forty days. He was seen by individual Followers, and by a crowd of Five hundred folk at one time. There is no doubt more evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, than that Napoleon lived. Recommended reading, would include “Who moved the stone? “ If ever you travel to the great shrines of the world which revere the memory of some great spiritual leader, such as Mohammed, and then take a journey to Jerusalem to see the great “shrine”, (if in this context I may call it that ) of Christianity, you will see an empty space. An empty space, in an empty tomb. It is the empty space that makes all the difference, we can boast of no bones, no mementoes even, of our great leader, except an empty space. It is therefore literally true that we have “nothing” to boast about. For it is this ““nothing” that makes Christianity so superior to other religions. Millions of Christians throughout the ages have spent large amounts of their hard earned cash visiting Israel on holiday, but they all go there expecting to see “nothing” Jesus was not just a great man, as were perhaps the other leaders, He was our God. He left us his grave clothes, where his bones would have laid had He been a mere mortal. “He is not here”, said the angel, “for he is Risen”. Soon after the disciples declared, “Christ is Risen indeed”. We do not venerate dry bones, we serve a Risen Saviour, who is in the world today. If there is no resurrection then not only is our Faith utter Folly, but we are False witnesses on God’s behalf. To make such false representation on behalf of God would be too perilous an escapade to even consider venturing upon. Our Faith is built upon facts, we are able to give a reason for the faith we have, says the apostle Paul, we do not believe in the resurrection because we think it is a good idea, but because not only does God’s word state the fact, but that History and science support the fact that there is such a thing as Resurrection, i.e. life after death. The basis of our faith in our own resurrection is based upon the fact that Christ was resurrected. We see more of that later in section two concerning the feasibility of the resurrection. Feet. - Footstool: Christ must reign till all enemies are under His Feet. This signifies that death, the greatest enemy must be destroyed. Christ’s resurrection, endorses the fact that he has power over it, even now. Then Paul says that Christ the Son will surrender all that he has subdued unto Himself, back unto the Father, so that all things will finish in God, and God in all. This reference is somewhat of a puzzle to those who have a strict belief in the trinity. It would seem that the equality. So much a characteristic of the trinity, comes to an end. It never has been an easy concept to grasp, that God is “three in one and one in three”. In spite of the countless illustrations that people bandy about, it is still a puzzle to the finite mind. But we ourselves are a trinity, of body soul and spirit. We are three distinct parts but exist as one in perfect unity. In the godhead, the father is the spirit, the Holy Spirit is the soul, and the Lord Jesus is the body. They are three yet have a single consciousness. I believe that for the purpose of revelation only, the father and son concept, incorporating love and obedience to counteract the fall, was made known to men. When this age is complete and God has fulfilled the purpose for this age, and the revelation of himself to man has come to its fullness, then the concept of the son will not be necessary. Then shall we appreciate, those words of Jesus, “He that hath seen me hath seen the father.” Such a statement must beg the question, is the son the father, or is the father the son. I told you it was a puzzle, but it is only a puzzle to us and not to God, and furthermore, it is only a temporary puzzle, for in “that day, said Jesus “you will ask me no questions.” The Resurrection is basically Victory over death. If Christ is to reign over all His enemies then death must be conquered. If there is no resurrection then there is no victory, no triumph, no message, no hope. (No point in anything.) Apart from the message being in vain, all the effort is in vain, that Paul had put in for the sake of spreading the gospel of the resurrection. The Fight. Fighting wild beasts while in Ephesus. is open to much interpretation. The in-joke amongst Pastors is that the wild beasts were the deacons of the church there, but as Paul maintained that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, we must surmise that he is referring to the spiritual forces which tried to prevent his ministry. He was there for three years, and encountered many dangers and difficulties while seeking to spread the gospel. Also there is linked with this statement a reference to being “baptised for the dead”. As no such practice occurs generally today, some regard this also as open to interpretation, for today we can see no relevance or validity in being baptised for someone else. Personally I think that something has been lost in the translation, because after this remark he says, “I die daily”, which surely is an inference to baptism. To be baptised signifies ones death to self, so that Christ might live his life through you. Surely the implication in Paul’s statement is a reference to some kind of resurrection. If there is no such thing as resurrection then what is the point of baptism. No point in dying and being baptised, if there is no life afterwards. Even though it is a spiritual resurrection at least it means that resurrection exists. From there on he implies that all the dying to self and the enduring of hardship in the battle, are all in vain if there is no resurrection. In Phil. ch 3. he says he had only one ambition, that was to know the resurrection, even though it meant sharing in the suffering and death of Christ also. He ended his life with the wonderful testimony, “ I have Fought a good Fight, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness that Fades not away.” This eternal hope of resurrection is the power that enables us to die daily for the sake of the Lord. “These are they who ... have not loved their lives unto death,” is a reference to the blood washed throng in heaven. Any soldier who is not ready to die in the battle is not worthy of the title of soldier. You either win or die. The resurrection means victory, guaranteed for those who lay down their lives for the gospel. If there is no resurrection says Paul, then all is in vain and we are the most miserable people in the world, and therefore to be pitied. But if there is a resurrection then we are of all men most joyous and the envy of all men.
Feasibility of the Resurrection. Fools. Not to believe in resurrection, in the light of what we know about the propagation of plants and trees and crops, is literally burying ones head in the soil. Different life forms require different bodies to function within the different environments. Each life form in it’s own way has a glory all it’s own. Such has God has given to fish, birds and animals. The caterpillar is made to live on the earth and eat from plant life, while the butterfly is made to live in the freedom of the air above. Totally different bodies for different environments. The caterpillar dies, and from that death comes the butterfly. The whole of nature reveals the truth of the resurrection. Only a fool would deny this. Romans ch 1, tells us that men in their “wisdom, became fools”, by their failure to acknowledge the existence of God through the evidence of nature. If nature was the only revelation of God to man, then sufficient would be the evidence for His existence, his character, and the resurrection. “The Fool has said, in his heart ‘there is no God’ “ Firstfruits Christ is referred to as the “last Adam”. Therefore, when we sometimes sing, “ A second Adam to the flight, and to our rescue came”, this is not strictly scriptural. Adam means “of the earth” and Jesus is “of heaven”. He took the form of an Adam, but that “man” died on the cross. He was the last Adam. He took a new body, a heavenly body, appropriate to his nature, when he was resurrected. Just as Adam was the first in the earthly line, of which we are part, so Christ was the first of a heavenly line, of which we are part, and which will never die. “As in Adam all die”….This is an obvious fact. Adam means “of the earth”. He was made from the dust of the ground, and will return to the dust of the ground. …. “So in Christ all shall be made alive” If the unbeliever thinks it is impossible for such a body to be resurrected, then he is absolutely right. There is no way possible for that which is of the earth, “flesh and blood” to inherit eternal life. The bible does not teach that this is so. The bible teaches that we must be born again. As we have been born of the earth, so we must have a second birth, which is from above. In the first birth we get the life of Adam, who became a living soul, but in the second birth we get the life of Christ who is a quickening spirit. He originates not from the earth, but from heaven. It is the life of Christ in us, which lives on beyond the grave and will take on a new body specially created for eternity. Therefore we conclude that Christ had a nature that was not of the earth. When we are born again we receive His life. Just as surely as our “Adam” bodies will die and perish in the soil, so our “Christ spirit” will inhabit a new body at the resurrection. Flash. v.52 Just as birds can’t live in water, and fish can’t live in the air, and animals walk and live in the earth environment, so there is another dimension called eternity in which we need a specially created body. This we will receive at the resurrection, when at the end of the world Christ will call His people to Himself. Anyone who is alive on the earth at that time will have his body changed instantaneously; in a Flash, in the twinkling of an eye, says the Apostle Paul. Face. We shall feast with him in glory Fountain. We shall drink at the fountain head (Rev. 7 v17). Foursquare. We shall live in a city, built foursquare. (Rev21.16). Fulfilment : v. 54.Then shall death be vanquished once and for all. It will be swallowed up. Finished, Forever.! V.55 The ultimate enemy of sinful man has always been death. Man’s sin brought about death. Just as when the serpents bit the children of Israel in the wilderness, and thereby condemned each one bitten to death. Sin brought about death when the Law came. Before the law there was no transgression When the Law came sin sprang to life and killed us- cut us off from God. Man has sinned, so man must die. Such desperate inevitability plunges man into despair. Having sinful bodies and no power other than that of our flesh, we are without hope. Truly if that is all we knew we would be of all men most miserable. But as in the end of Romans ch 7, where Paul says, almost in despair of his sinful nature, “Who can deliver me from this body of death” The reply is almost the same victory cry as in this chapter, v 57 “Thanks be unto God who gives US the victory.! “ How? Through the Lord Jesus Christ. !! Firm. – steadfast v. 58. The hardest thing about the Christian life is to go on. But as we once yielded our body to serve sin now we obey the Spirit and serve the Lord in righteousness. We have a sure and certain hope for the future. The resurrection puts everything else into perspective. If we lose sight of this certain future event, then we will lose hope. Hope is the power which enables us to go on. Rom. ch 8 tells us we are saved through this kind of hope. It keeps us going on. Surrendering our members to serving Christ means death to self in the serving of man. Earthly rewards are few, appreciation and gratitude is non existent at times, but the resurrection makes such things of little importance. We do not serve men to receive the plaudits of men, but we serve the Lord, and from the Lord we will receive our reward. Fully.- always abounding. V .58 Let us not serve half heartedly. But let us serve Him, Full heartedly. For none of it is in vain. The preaching is not in vain, nor is the serving in vain, for the resurrection makes that sure.
This final chapter has a central message as surely as chapter 13 centralises the whole epistle. It is v 14. “Let everything you do, be done in love” Anything, indeed everything, done without love will come to nought. It will not last. Without any question. this is the prime message of the Lord to His church. Without love we are nothing. Have you ever pondered one of the great mysteries of church life ? Why do Christians who seem to come into “blessing,” or a new spiritual experience sooner or later begin accusing or condemning others, which inevitably leads to splits and divisions?