The Resurrection of the Dead: 1 Corinthians 15 by Pastor Don
I am so happy to have Pastor Don back from vacation, but he did deserve the time away, for he works very hard as a Pastor.
We began Bible study by reviewing the proof text we have been studying in great detail:
Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.
Pastor Don reminded us these are ELEMENTARY principles, and that includes the resurrection of the dead.
He told us the Church hasn’t done an effective enough job of teaching about life after death. So for Christians, many are affected by death. Death is inevitable. Many who attend funerals are miserable, for they see death as a loss. But for a believer, we know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Pastor Don suggested going to see the movie The Bucket List. He also suggested we read books from a Christian perspective about death and life – for example 90 minutes in Heaven. Not the new age stuff.
We need to become rooted and grounded in our faith and in the basic doctrines of our faith. If Jesus tarries, we will all face our end somehow. And when that happens our view about it has to be biblically based. Yes, we will have sorrow for the person who died for we will miss them, but we know that beyond this life there is something better.
Pastor Don asked us, how come more people die and DON’T come back? They don’t want to come back. What Piper’s book (90 Minutes in Heaven) suggests is the memory of earth is diminished. God does it so the transition is easier for us. We are so earthbound. But what those who have died and gone to Heaven realize is, in a short time, their saved friends and family will be here (in Heaven).
Paul talked a lot about it in the Epistles. He told the believers if he wasn’t needed here on earth to seal the Gospels, he would be out of here. There is a timelessness in God’s realm. Our time on earth is but a moment in eternity. Piper told his readers he was met at the moment of his death at the gates of Heaven by friends, family, and many who had input in getting him saved.
1 Corinthians 15:3-6 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
He (Jesus) was seen by Cephas (Peter), then the 12, then by over 500 at once. Notice, at the time of the writing of this Epistle, that many were still alive. The falling asleep refers to physical death (not soul sleep). So at the time this letter went out, people were on earth that could have said what Paul wrote was untrue. That did not happen. Jesus walked around for 40 days on this planet and was seen by many. When a person dies, their body is resting in the earth, but their spirit is with the Lord. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. There have been DNA and genome studies that show us the essence of the body is still present in the DNA, no matter what condition the body is – whole, ashes, decayed, or in the dust in the coffin. The spiritual body is present with the Lord.
The fact that Jesus walked around the earth and was seen by so many is why the Gospel could not be silenced. Even Josephus commented on this by saying many claim that He (Jesus) rose from the dead, and that they have seen Him. It is also why those who saw Him were so willing to die for the truth of the Gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:7-8 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Pastor Don asked what these verses meant. And we remembered Paul saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, and it was well after Jesus ascended to Heaven. Paul (called Saul at the time) was out to murder Christians thinking it was God’s desire. Then Paul met Jesus, and realized his error – so he was not in Jesus’ physical presence like the other apostles and people who knew Jesus in the flesh.
1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
The Pharisees and Scribes were divided on this issue. In the book of Acts, Paul uses that to his advantage, to divide and conquer.
Pastor Don told us if we are ever in a place of spiritual warfare in any situation we should “PRAY FOR CONFUSION IN THE ENEMY’S CAMP.” The enemy is not a cooperative enemy. There is no central rule in satan’s camp.
In God’s camp Gabriel brings order, and all in God’s camp love God. Satan’s demons fear satan and obey orders under the power of fear. If they can get away with something, they will. The demonic battle within a person has the demons locked in a power struggle for demonic control.
When you become sold out to the Lord, the soul, mind, body and Spirit want to do right. Pastor Don said the most sweet phrase of today’s time is, “What would Jesus do?” If you just seek to obey the simple answer from that question, you would line up with God’s will. You would choose the kind and appropriate thing.
In satan’s kingdom there are a myriad of opportunities for total confusion. Demons want to come back in the flesh. That is why, when a demon is cast out of a person and their house (body) is clean from that, it is important to make sure that space is filled with God’s Word, for demons will come back and try to invade that space, bringing more demons – making it seven times worse. They need the cooperation of the demonic forces to have power.
All we need is the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit of God that binds the demonic forces. Pastor Don told us it takes a, “Stronger man to bind the strong man.” God is far stronger than any demonic spirit. All we need to do is get people into the presence of God and into a prayer mode. God can heal deeper than many of our earthly therapies can. When a person confesses the Lord Jesus, their eternity is solved. We don’t want to fall into culture. We can’t go back and we can be sure of the resurrection of death because Jesus conquered Sin and death.
1 Corinthians 15:13-17 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
The reason we can trust this foundational belief is faith operates in us. If Jesus just died for our sins that would not be sufficient. He had to rise from the dead, He had to conquer death. Since Jesus was not guilty of any sin, He could rise. Jesus drops sins in hell and satan thought he had conquered Jesus. But, because Jesus had no personal sin, he said, “See you later.”
The law states that those with sin must die, but since Jesus had no sin, satan had no legal right to hold Jesus. And because Jesus died for our sins, satan has no legal right to hold me or anyone else who has sinned and looks to Jesus for salvation. the only exception being the blaspheme of the Holy Spirit.
A lot of questions were raised about the blaspheme of the Holy Spirit, and we spent a long time on that. I will share that in total with you tomorrow, for I think it is important to fully understand what that means.
Have a blessed day,
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