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Jesus Rose From The Dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-11)

Chatswood Baptist Church https://www.chatswoodbaptist.com.au


In January this year Larissa, Ruby and I spent a whole day having the question of how to do first aid answered for us. And how was this question answered, we were taught the first aid course. For you see to do first aid you need to understand the fundamentals. There is CPR, bites, choking, using a defibrillator and much more. To answer how to do first aid really means being taught. And with first aid you aren’t taught just once. You need to do yearly refreshers for CPR and the whole course every three years. In a similar way Chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians is Paul’s answer to some in the church who are now questioning the resurrection. He reminds them of what he has taught them and then teaches them again. In fact, as we see from verse 12 of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says that some of the church was now saying that there was no resurrection from the dead.

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? 

So very helpfully for the Corinthians and ourselves, Paul now gives a masterclass on the good news of Jesus Christ. And what better time could there possibly be to remind ourselves through these verses of what we believe and celebrate this easter.

On Easter Sunday we celebrate the greatest day in history. After being dead for three days Jesus is raised from the dead. And scripture is clear that because Jesus was raised from the dead we too will be raised. We have only just concluded our series from 1 Thessalonians and Paul was crystal clear in 1 Thess 4:16. 

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

And today we are filled with an incredible heart-warming Joy as we remember Jesus risen from the dead. Yet for some in the Corinthian church 2000 years ago they had decided to listen to the world around them, they were probably swayed by the Greek philosophical thinking which postured that the soul was stuck in the body until you died and then the soul was free to be in the spiritual realm, so Paul writes chapter 15 to remind and to correct.

Receiving and believing the Gospel saves (v1-2)

Read with me verses 1-2

1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

As Paul begins this section he addresses his fellow Christians, the brothers and sisters in Christ. Now Paul is not teaching something new here, for he says he is reminding them of what he has previously taught them which was the Gospel which means the ‘Good News’. Now of course the good news could be anything in a sense, but Paul is talking about the good news that he taught them while he was with them. Paul spent 18 months with the Corinthians and daily preached the good news. They knew what Paul was saying when he talked about the Gospel. He reminds them that not only did he preach this Gospel, but that they had received it from him, and that on this news they had taken their stand. We don’t necessarily use the language of receiving something and taking a stand today, but we do see it around.

Hearing the Gospel

Paul reminds them that he was the one who had publicly taught them. Just like first aid you can’t know something without being taught. You can’t receive the Gospel message without hearing it. Paul makes this absolutely clear in one of his other letters.

Romans 10:14 makes this absolutely clear

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

So first of all, the disciples of Christ in Corinth heard the gospel from Paul. 

Receiving the message

We don’t accept everything that we hear as truth. When someone tells you any news we have choices about whether to believe that message or not. There are some basic parameters as to whether we will accept something as true. Three basic things that we often automatically think are:

  • Who said it?
  • What is the evidence?
  • Do I want to believe it?

Now there are many things that we hear or see that we reject out of hand. Well, most of us do. Have a look at this picture on the screen. This picture was widely believed and widely circulated. But it is fake. I think that most people wanted it to be true, however the evidence showed that it was fake. It was actually two photos put together. What is even more interesting is that the rock is in Thailand and the castle is in Germany. Some people choose to believe this, and the photo has been shared all around the world. A fact check though shows that this is fake. But as we will see in a little while the Gospel is not fake. So, the Corinthians have accepted the Gospel as true. Have a look at what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 that we have been studying this term.

13 “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.”

So, the Corinthians had heard the good news, accepted the good news and they were also standing in, agreeing with and living in the good news as followers of Jesus. 

Standing in the Gospel

It is one thing to hear and accept news. But it is quite another to let that news then change your life. Many people hear the news about about how we need to be better at recycling, and not creating such large tips and areas of landfill. I think most of us would agree that recycling of our plastics, metals and putting food scraps into compost are all great ideas. You could say that we have heard the recycling message, accepted the recycling message, however if this information doesn’t then have an effect on your actions then you would definitely not have taken a stand on recycling, you have just heard the news. Paul here says to the Corinthians that they heard it, believed it and lived it. And because of this they are saved.  

Not changing the message

His final message in these first two verses is that they are saved by holding firmly to the word. That means believing what was said, not what you want to believe. Believing the Gospel as preached by Paul and received and not adding or subtracting. For where some want to argue that people are not raised from the dead, Paul is saying that that is not holding firmly to the word he preached to the Gospel.

The Gospel explained (3-5)

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.

Paul reminds the Corinthians that the first thing he taught them was the most important. That first thing was the Gospel, and it is the most important thing. Paul is wonderfully clear here and again reminds them that they have heard the good news from Paul himself. In fact, Paul spent 18 months with the Corinthians and this was his constant message. 

Paul Delivered the Gospel he had received from the Lord

Paul didn’t make up the Gospel. No Paul first received the Gospel and then he passed it on. And Paul didn’t receive it from man, but from Jesus himself. As we read in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

Galatians 1:11-12

11 “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

Paul received the good news straight from the Lord Jesus. This is of first importance.

The Gospel in 4 Facts

Paul then tables the four facts of the Gospel

  • That Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures.

Isaiah 53:5 that Pastor Philip spoke about on Friday is one example of the Old Testament pointing to what the Messiah would suffer and why.

Isaiah 53:5

“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.”

Further in verse 11 we read:

Isaiah 53:11

After he has suffered,
    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and he will bear their iniquities.

Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins was always God’s plan. The entire Old Testament pointed to Jesus. We read that wonderful passage in Luke’s Gospel after Jesus had been raised from the dead and appeared to two of his disciples who were on the road to Emmaus and Jesus explained from all scripture why he had to die on the cross. 

Luke 24:25-27

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Our rebellion against God had to be paid for and only Jesus could pay the price. Only the perfect and holy Son of God could die for the sins of the whole world.

Almost all modern scholars accept Jesus dying on the cross as a historical fact. After Jesus died he was buried.

  • That Christ was buried. 

You are only buried if you die. Now Jesus had to die in order to take away our sins on the cross. Jesus also had to die so that he could be raised from the dead and in so doing defeat death once and for all.

It fulfilled the scripture of Isaiah 53:9

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Jesus’ death perfectly fulfilled this prophecy from Isaiah. Matthew 27:57-58 records that Jesus was dead, and that the Governor Pilate handed over the body of Jesus for burial to Joseph rich man.

57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 

His death breaks the power of death for us. As Hebrews 2:14 says

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—

  • That he was raised

We are here today celebrating Easter together. Celebrating Resurrection Sunday together because Jesus was raised from the dead. He was killed, he was buried, and friends God raised him from the dead. Scripture not only said that the Messiah would be buried as we read in Isaiah. Scripture also attests that the Messiah wouldn’t be buried for long. Psalm 16 is fulfilled.

Psalm 16:10

“because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.”

Hosea 6:2 is also a further allusion to the resurrection

After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will restore us,
    that we may live in his presence.

Jesus being raised from the dead had also been prophesied by Jesus himself three times as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel.

Matthew 16:21, 17:23 & 20:19

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

  • That he was seen

The fourth point of the Gospel is that the risen Jesus was seen. Now let me be clear, no one saw the actual incredible supernatural moment of Jesus being raised. However, God did raise Jesus from the dead and the resurrected, living Jesus was seen by many, many people. 

The Gospel proof (5-8)

and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

First the Lord appeared to Peter, then to the twelve and then to over 500. Remember some of the Corinthians were trying to essentially change the Gospel message, by questioning the resurrection. But Paul is clear. We believe because of the facts. Jesus has been raised from the dead. Now we know that the list is not exhaustive because the Gospel tell us that Mary was the first to see the risen Christ. We start with that Peter who denied Jesus three times but was also the Apostle that Jesus said he would build his church on. Yet if it was just Peter who was a witness to Christ’s resurrection. Well, I understand that this would not probably be enough to persuade. Paul now comes to the twelve, which is a shorthand way of saying the Apostles. Now we are starting to get a group of men who all say that have seen Jesus risen. Not just that but history and, in some instances, tradition also tell us that most of the disciples died horrific deaths for proclaiming that Jesus rose from the dead. They never wavered in their trust in Jesus once they had seen him. Before they saw him, they were hiding in an upstairs room. However, once they had encountered the risen Jesus, they would spread the Gospel far and wide. Paul then goes in to give further proof of Jesus resurrection. Jesus was seen by over 500 people at the same time. Paul also says that the majority of them are still alive. There can only be one reason why he mentions that they are still alive. He is saying, if you doubt, if you’re not sure, you have the ability to go and speak to them. Go and speak to others who have encountered the risen Jesus.

The Gospel is not based on people’s feelings or clever ideas, but on concrete facts that actually happened. Charles Spurgeon wrote the following: 

 “Our religion is not based upon opinions, but upon facts. We hear persons sometimes saying, ‘Those are your views, and these are ours.’ Whatever your ‘views’ may be, is a small matter; what are the facts of the case?” (Spurgeon)

All of this then brings us to a decision. If Jesus rose from the dead, what will you do?

George and Josie have made their decisions. They have put their trust in Jesus. And shortly they will be baptised as a sign of their faith in Jesus, in the good news of his death on the cross for their sins and his being raised to life for their justification. 

If you are a follower of Jesus, then this Easter like me you can shout hallelujah Jesus is risen from the dead. If you don’t yet follow Jesus, then I pray that this Easter you would keep investigating Jesus. For friends he is the answer to every question.

Let’s Pray