First Corinthians 15.29-34
1. I have said from this pulpit many
times in the past that Biblical Christianity is the most practical
lifestyle that exists in the world today, or that has ever existed. And
after reading about most of the religions and philosophies that are
found on this planet, I believe that more and more.
2. You see, Biblical Christianity, that is,
the Christianity which is found in the Word of God (not necessarily on
Main Street U.S.A.), is not some air-headed philosophy dreamed up by
some cross-legged fat man with a ruby in his navel, or some wild-eyed
fanatic looking for a way to marry as many women as he could manage.
3. The same God Who spoke the worlds into
existence, Who devised the laws of nature, Who placed the galaxies and
the solar systems in the pitch blackness of the universe, also gave us
this Christian faith. And as practical as are the laws of nature for
mankind to use to achieve his goals, likewise the faith once delivered
to the saints is also practical.
4. Now, if the entire body of truth which
we call Christianity is practical, it stands to reason that the
individual parts and portions of Christianity are also practical. That
is, God has revealed to us certain truths for a reason . . . as
practical tools to either enable us or to motivate us to live up to the
purpose for which we have been created.
5. All of what Iíve just said brings me
to the subject we have been studying for the last couple of weeks . . .
the Bible teaching concerning resurrection. Resurrection being the
raising up of a dead Christian at some time in the future, as Christ was
raised up, with a glorified body especially outfitted and suited for
existence in heaven.
6. Now, we know that Jesus Christ was
raised on the third day, literally and bodily. But beyond the fact that
He arose from the dead, there is a practical end that God wants to
accomplish by that resurrection. There is something He wants to motivate
the child of God to do by the promise of a future resurrection.
7. First Corinthians 15.29-34 bears out the
fact that the resurrection influences the way a believer lives his or
her life. Once you find that passage, please stand for the reading of
this eveningís text:
29 Else what shall they do
which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are
they then baptized for the dead?
30 And why stand we in
jeopardy every hour?
31 I protest by your rejoicing
which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
32 If after the manner of men
I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the
dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
33 Be not deceived: evil
communications corrupt good manners.
34 Awake to righteousness, and
sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this
to your shame.
8. Three statements made by the
apostle Paul show how the resurrection influences a Christianís life.
1A. In verses 29-32 Paul
states his argument about the resurrectionís effect on behavior
1B. Verse 29
29 Else what shall
they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at
all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
1C. The argument was made by
some in the Corinthian Church that Christ had not risen from the
dead on the third day.
2C. Oh, they probably
didnít come right out and say that Christ didnít rise up from
the dead. They were probably more subtle than that. They might have
phrased it this way: "The spirit of Jesus rose up. Therefore
the spirit of love toward all mankind is still in the world
3C. Now folks, that may sound
nice, but itís just a religious way of saying that Christ did not
rise from the third day, bodily, like the Word of God says He did.
4C. And as Paul points out in
verse 29, why in the world should someone get baptized for the dead?
Baptism is supposed to symbolize the death and resurrection from the
dead of our Savior. Now, if He didnít really rise from the dead,
why get dunked under the water and be lifted up again? Why not just
get sprinkled instead?
5C. Baptism, for the
believer, is meaningless if Christ rose not. But if He has risen
from the dead, baptism is a powerful symbol and is a behavior
pattern by believers. Resurrection, then, affects behavior.
2B. Verses 30-32
30 And why stand
we in jeopardy every hour?
31 I protest by
your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
32 If after the
manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth
it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we
1C. Baptism is one kind of
behavior which is peculiar to Christians of the Biblical persuasion.
But thereís another behavior typical of the Bible kind of
Christian . . . witnessing.
2C. In verse 30, Paul asks
why in the world would he and other Christians place themselves in
harms way if there were no resurrection? Would that man risk his
neck at every turn if he thought that the resurrection of Christ and
the future resurrection of Christians was a hoax? Of course not.
3C. In verses 31 and 32 he
goes so far as to remind the Corinthians that he had fought with
beasts in Ephesus. That is to say, in all likelihood (since we have
no Scriptural evidence of Paul fighting literal beasts in Ephesus),
after the way the man in the streets talked, the folks who opposed
him in Ephesus were as vicious and as savage as beasts.
4C. What advantage, then, was
there for Paul to stand against an entire mob if there werenít a
real and genuine resurrection? I mean, if Paul were here this
evening and there was no resurrection, he would be the first to say,
"Letís all go down to the bar and get smashed."
5C. But remember, this little
Jewish fellow, who had once been Christís fiercest foe, had seen
the resurrected Christ. This same little dynamo for the cause of
Christ had been caught up into the third heaven, and probably also
saw both his own and our future resurrections.
6C. So Paulís argument
boils down to this: If you really believe in the resurrection from
the dead of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of believers in the Lord
Jesus Christ, it will affect the way you live.
2A. Next, a statement about
33 Be not deceived:
evil communications corrupt good manners.
Paulís statement is really in
two parts. First, there is a warning, and then thereís a tidbit of
1B. First, the warning:
"Be not deceived"
1C. Paulís warning here is
much more than just a little "watch out, fellas." The word
"deceived" comes from a Greek word referring to a
wandering star, or a planet which has fallen out of its orbit and is
headed for catastrophe.
2C. Though Paul is not
talking about losing your salvation, Jude does use the same word to
describe the trouble the unsaved are headed for in, Jude 13.
3C. So, this bit of wisdom
Paul is about to share with us is very important for us to listen
to. If you want to stay on track youíll pay attention.
2B. Now, letís read the
wisdom: "Evil communications corrupt good manners."
1C. This means that hanging
around the wrong person or the wrong kind of people will eventually
ruin your conduct as a Christian. The word "manners" comes
from the Greek word for ethics. You will no longer behave in an
ethical way if you hang around the wrong people.
2C. This is the passage that
should cause parents to pay a great deal of attention to who their
children play with and associate with. This is also the verse that
should influence who unconverted people who say they are concerned
about their souls hang around with.
3C. Let me give you a true
example of how one man, by hanging around the wrong person, became
unethical in his behavior. Iíll not give any names, but the
example Iím giving you really did occur.
4C. Mike and George used to
spend a great deal of time together. George was kind of a leader and
Mike usually followed. Both were fairly spiritual young men in the
Church, but George had learned a great deal and he was somewhat
puffed up with his knowledge and became rather critical of his
pastor along with his already negative kind of personality.
5C. Well, any conversation
usually drops down to the lowest common denominator and, sure
enough, after a while George just about took away all of Mikeís
joy with his negative remarks and critical questioning of everything
the pastor did and said. I mean, it was as if he kept the pastor
under a magnifying glass.
6D. Not only did Georgeís
relationship with the pastor deteriorate, but Mikeís did as well.
Thank God for Mike that George moved away and began attending
another Church. Without the evil influence of George, Mike has real
joy again and gets along wonderfully with his pastor.
7C. A pastor shared that true
story with me 18 years ago and I never forgot it. In Corinth it
happened to Christians who believed right, but who consorted with
folks who didnít believe right. If affected them as it affects you
8C. Do you have an attitude
problem? Youíre hanging around the wrong kind of person. Get away
from them. If you have a bad attitude when youíre alone, then
9C. These Corinthians were
affected with a bad attitude because someone was tearing down their
beliefs concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Possibly
causing them to doubt and wonder about one of the most
well-documented events in human history, the resurrection of Christ.
3A. Paulís last statement is
an accusation (34)
34 Awake to
righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I
speak this to your shame.
Before we delve into this
verse, notice that Paulís accusation does not try to hurt those
people, but to help them. Oftentimes accusations come from anger or
from a heart that seeks revenge. Paul didnít do that. Neither should
we. His comments were written for the benefit of the Corinthians.
1B. First, notice that there is
confrontation: "Awake to righteousness and sin not."
1C. Obviously, not everyone
in that Church taught or believed false doctrine, yet Paul is led of
the Holy Spirit to confront the entire congregation. Why?
2C. Toleration. They
tolerated sin in their Church which was causing great harm to other
3C. When supposedly mature
believers heard these false teachers influencing the newer
Christians they should have approached them and said, "You
shouldnít teach those things to him. What you are saying is
contrary to the Bible."
4C. Too many of us tolerate
sin in the Church. This is forsaking the law, and as Proverbs 28.4
says, is praising the wicked.
5C. To those who donít want
to get involved, Paul says, "Get involved." "To those
whoíve been influenced by this false teaching, Paul says,
2B. After confrontation comes
communication: "For some have not the knowledge of God."
1C. Paul is telling them that
there are some people in that city who have not been told how to be
saved. They may have heard of Christ, but thatís all.
2C. The people in Corinth who
were not saved are probably much like our folks. They thought you
had to be a good person to go to heaven. They thought Christians
thought they were better than everyone else.
3C. They didnít realize
that salvation cannot be obtained by good people doing good things,
for the Bible declares that there are no good people and no one can
do good things.
4C. But who would tell them
the truth if the Corinthians didnít work to bring them in? How
would they be corrected by the truth of Godís Word if not even the
Christians worked to bring them in? Thatís why some had not the
knowledge of God.
3B. Finally, the condemnation:
"I speak this to your shame."
1C. Why should they feel
shame? Why should they feel like somethingís wrong that needs to
2C. Itís because the
Corinthian Christians, kinda forgetting about the resurrection, had
decided to focus on quality family time (as if serving God isnít
quality family time), and acting as casual as you please, almost as
if everybody in town was on their way to heaven.
3C. But Paul, who had not
allowed himself to be influenced by those guys who diluted and
watered down the strong teaching of the Bible, endeavored to become
friends with people and to love people, that he might get them under
4C. And again, Paul didnít
condemn the Church negligent members to make them feel badly. He
just wanted to correct sinful behavior, for their benefit, for the
benefit of the unsaved who would hopefully hear about Christ, and
for the benefit of the cause of Jesus Christ.
1. The practical benefit, the
practical kind of behavior the resurrection produces in the life of a
believer, is a commitment to and an involvement in evangelism.
2. You see, a Corinthian
Christian would be thrilled about the opportunity he had to tell his
Greek neighbor that he didnít have to dread death. The resurrection
meant a man didnít have to hopelessly anticipate crossing the river
Styx and dwelling in Hades in the underworld for all time. There was a
3. On the other hand, the
Corinthian Christian knew that if his neighbor didnít receive Christ
and someday become a participant in the resurrection, he would have a
far worse future to look forward to than the Greek Hades in the
underworld. Reality for his neighbor would be the eternal lake of fire.
Thus, there was also a far worse way.
4. Our situation is somewhat
different today. Our neighbors donít even believe in the fires of
Hell. They either believe that death and the grave ends everything or
they believe that God is too loving to allow anyone to suffer.
5. So, our motivation ought to be
that we can promise lost folks more than rot and decay in the grave. And
we have a Savior Who will save them from the consequences of their
unfounded hope that God will not punish sin and that He will let
everyone into heaven.
6. We have a message motivated by
the reality of Jesus Christís bodily resurrection from the dead on the
third day, a victor over sin, death, Hell and the grave.
7. Is it a message worth getting
excited about? It is unless you think roasting in Hellfire is fun. And
itís a message so simple to understand. Is it a message worth getting
folks to come to Church to hear?
8. If you are here and you have
never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, I want to share with you a
message of love. Itís love because only one who truly loves you will
tell you the truth. The truth about yourself. The truth about God. The
truth about your eternal destiny.
9. It is true that all men are
sinners and are condemned by their sin to Hell. The Bible declares this
truth from beginning to end in countless passages between. I share this
with you so that you will know situation every man and woman is in.
10. Further, it is true that
though God is angry with you He doesnít want you or anyone else to go
to Hell. For that reason Jesus Christ died a sinnerís death for you.
He literally took your place of punishment for sin against God and paid
the penalty for you.
11. Finally, it is true that if
you will place your trust in this Jesus Christ Who died and rose again
for you God will perform a miracle in your heart and life. He will
forgive you of all your sins so that you need not go to Hell. He will
make you all over again so that you might go to heaven.
12. The truth is, itís as
simple as that. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be
saved." Would you like to know how to have you sins forgiven and go
to heaven? Call me sometime and weíll talk about it.