"RESURRECTION, A FUNDAMENTAL
First Corinthians 15.1-4
1. Folks, it is with great delight that I announce to you this
evening that we are about to begin our study of First Corinthians
chapter 15. Let me tell you one reason I am thrilled at being in this
2. When a preacher stands in the pulpit and preaches the Word of God
he is aware of the fact that there will always be people in the crowd
who will disagree with what he is preaching. This is an inevitable part
of the spiritual conflict that every preacher engages in when preaching
3. Now, if you think about it for a while, you will see that there
are two situations that a person can find himself in who will disagree
with the preacher. He can either be a Christian who has a doctrinal
difference in interpreting a certain portion of the Word of God....or he
can be a lost person who simply does not believe certain cardinal
doctrines of the Bible.
4. For example: Leading up to this chapter in First Corinthians, I
have been preaching through three chapters of Godís Word that bear
directly on what Christians believe about spiritual gifts and the role
of women in worship. As I preached I knew perfectly well that some
Christians are capable of having disagreement on the subject of both the
gift of tongues and the role of women in worship.
5. But note this: Those three chapters are a portion of the Word of
God that Christians can disagree on and still be Christians. You can
believe that women pastors are unscriptural or that women pastors are
scriptural and still be a born again Christian, in the Biblical sense.
6. And though disagreements on such topics are going to occur, it
really saddens me that such things exist in this far less than perfect
world we live in.
7. But chapter 15 of First Corinthians is a different story
altogether. This is Paulís famous resurrection chapter. This is a
chapter that deals with a subject that is so central to Biblical
Christianity, the faith once for all delivered to the saints, that
disagreement over the fact of this subject does not divide Christians.
Disagreement on this point actually identifies the skeptic as being
8. For while it is possible for unsaved people to believe in the
literal resurrection of Christ from the dead, and to believe in the
literal resurrection of the righteous dead at some future time, it is
totally impossible for a person to deny the fact of Christís
resurrection from the dead on the third day and be genuinely born again.
9. Why is this so? This is so because the Biblical doctrine of the
resurrection is one of those so-called cardinal doctrines of
Christianity which make Christianity what it is. Remove from our faith
the resurrection of our Savior and you donít have our faith any
longer. You have something else entirely.
10. Why am I thrilled to preach on the resurrection? Because I know
that brothers and sisters are not divided on this issue. As I stand from
week to week and preach this truth, only those who are lost will deny
the truth of what I say. Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third
11. Think you can deny that and still be a Christian? If you think
that you are unaware of the importance of the resurrection. You are
unaware that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is
critically important to you.
12. We see this in our text for today. Stand and letís read First
Corinthians 15.1-4: "1 Moreover, brethren, I declare
unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have
received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved,
if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed
in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I
also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the
scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again
the third day according to the scriptures."
13. From the four verses that stand before us this evening we
understand that realizing the importance of our Lordís literal,
bodily, resurrection is actually a two step process.
1A. THE FIRST STEP INVOLVED REALIZING THE GOSPELíS ROLE IN YOUR
SALVATION. I PRAY THIS WILL COME AS WE REVIEW THE GOSPELíS
"1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the
gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and
wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep
in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in
Notice that in these two verses Paul reviews the declaration of the
Gospel to the Corinthians with regard to two time frames.
1B. First, With Regard To Their Past
Well, what happened in their past? Simple.
1C. First, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached
1D. Let me tell you something about Gospel preaching that is
often unappreciated, or under appreciated, in our day of
sophisticated and antiseptic Christianity. Something that modern
era "believers" do not realize when it comes to this
subject of Gospel preaching.
2D. But before I get to that, let me tell you exactly what is
meant by the word "preaching" in these two verses. The
word refers to bringing, announcing, or proclaiming good news.
3D. Want to know what we ought to realize regarding the Gospel
that had been preached to the Corinthians? Two things: First,
preaching is normal. Is it not a great tragedy in our day that
Gospel preaching is not normal, but instead is usually an
exception in Churches today? In Paulís day Gospel preaching was
4D. Second, preaching is necessary. Thatís right. Preaching
is necessary. The powerful and energetic declaration of Godís
plan of salvation and Christís provision for manís sin is
necessary. Not an option, as some obviously think it is these
days. Thatís why Paul declared the "preaching of the
cross" and not just "the cross" to be the power of
God for those of us who are saved, First Corinthians 1.18.
5D. In the past of the Corinthians, then, as Paul wrote to
them, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached unto them. Something
which was normal. Something which was necessary.
2C. The next thing that happened in their past was
this: The Gospel was received.
1D. Folks, itís a wonderful thing for the Gospel to be
preached with power and conviction on the part of the preacher.
2D. But until the Gospel message is received by faith in Christ
it does the listener no good whatsoever.
3D. Quite the contrary. A lost person who listens to the Gospel
but who will not entrust the safekeeping of his soul to Christ is
only storing up wrath for the judgment day by his stubborn refusal
to repent of his sins.
2B. Such Was The Corinthianís Past. Paul Next Reviews
The Gospelís Declaration With Respect To Their Present
We know they responded to the Gospel preaching. We know
they trusted Christ to the saving of their souls. But where does
that now leave them, as Paul writes? Where does that now leave us
who are saved by faith in Christ?
1C. Notice their standing
"the Gospel which I preached unto you, which
also ye have received, and wherein ye stand"
1D. When you genuinely respond to the Gospel, when
you really do yield your life to Christ, when you really bend the
knee and bow the head and confess Jesus as Lord, you have what is
called a standing.
2D. That standing, which only the true believer has,
guarantees you a place . . . heaven. Further, that standing, which
only the legitimate child of God has, guarantees you a petition .
. . prayer. That is, it guarantees that God will listen to your
prayers. Thatís a guarantee that lost people do not have, not to
mention the fact that a place in heaven is definitely not awaiting
2C. Now, notice their salvation (2)
"By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in
memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in
1D. What does their salvation guarantee? It
guarantees power for living. It guarantees power over sin in your
daily life? It guarantees that the life you lived after you
responded to the Gospel will not be and cannot be the same kind of
life that you lived before you responded to the Gospel. But notice
the last two phrases in verse 2.
2D. "If ye keep in memory" This is a
condition of the first class. Paul is assuming that his readers
will keep in memory what he preached unto them. And the only
possible reason they would not is "unless ye have believed in
vain," which is a false profession.
3D. Paul is telling us that everything believers have
or hope to have is secured by and through this Gospel message
which Paul preached. And the only way a person would not have the
place and the petition guaranteed by the Christianís standing,
and the only way a person would not have the power guaranteed by
the Christianís salvation, is if he didnít really trust Christ
to the saving of his soul.
4D. The first step, then, of realizing the importance
of the resurrection is to realize that everything you could ever
hope to have, by way of spiritual blessings in your Christian
life, revolves around your personal response to the Gospel.
5D. The Gospelís role in your salvation and mine,
then, is critical.
2A. THE NEXT STEP, STEP #2, INVOLVED REALIZING THAT THE
RESURRECTION IS AN INDISPENSABLE ASPECT OF THE GOSPEL. THIS COMES WITH A
REHEARSAL OF THE DETAILS OF THE GOSPEL (3-4)
"3 For I delivered unto you first of all
that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins
according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and
that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."
You will realize how important the resurrection is when
you realize that the resurrection is critical to the Gospel, which is
critical to your personal salvation, which is as critical as critical
1B. As To The Revelation Of The Gospel
Though he mentions it only in passing in this first
phrase of verse 3, Galatians chapter 1 gives precise detail
regarding the revelation of the Gospel to Paul.
1C. Paulís Gospel was received (Galatians 1.11-12)
"11 But I certify you, brethren, that
the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it,
but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
1D. Folks, these two verses inform us of at least two
profound truths: First, the Gospel message which Paul preached is
a message that is not of human origin. Second, the message was not
taught to Paul, but was communicated to him directly by God
2D. Think about this for a second. Do you realize the
import of this claim? This man claims to have a message which God
uses to save menís souls. Further, he claims that the message is
not of human origin, but divine, and that he did not learn it, but
was given this body of knowledge in a miraculous way by God.
3D. Thatís what I mean when I say that Paulís
Gospel was received.
2C. But Paulís Gospel was also related (Galatians
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach
any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto
you, let him be accursed."
He preached this saving truth to others and did not
keep it to himself. And heíd better not keep it to himself,
because others were preaching a false Gospel which did not save.
2B. As To The Presentation Of The Gospel, It Is Very
1C. First, there is the death of Christ
1D. The purpose? "For our sins." Notice how
Peter describes the purpose of Christís death, in First Peter
3.18: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just
for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death
in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit." Christ died a
substitutionary, a vicarious, death. It was the innocent for the
guilty to satisfy the righteous demands of a holy God for the
crime of sin.
2D. The prediction? Isaiah 53.4-8:
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and
carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of
God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our
transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the
chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his
stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we
have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD
hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was
afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb
to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so
he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from
judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut
off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my
people was he stricken.
Not just the death of Christ, but the death of
Christ as accomplishing the task He set out to accomplish by the
shedding of His blood for the sins of all mankind.
2C. Second, there is the burial of Christ (Mark
42 And now when the even was come, because
it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable
counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and
went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already
dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him
whether he had been any while dead.
45 And when he knew it of the
centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.
46 And he bought fine linen, and took him
down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre
which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of
1D. I want you to notice that Christ died rather
quickly on the cross. Much more rapidly than men ordinarily died,
who could struggle for days before finally suffocating.
2D. But because of the rapidly approaching dusk and
the sabbath day that would come with darkness, the legs of the
others who were crucified were broken so they, unable to support
themselves, would slump and suffocate.
3D. When they came to Christ, however, He was already
dead, having given up the ghost and having died for the sins of
4D. Pilate, surprised that Christ was already dead,
knowing that men could live for days and probably unaware that the
legs of the others had been broken, checked with a Roman centurion
before allowing the body of Jesus to be taken and buried. Checking
to make sure He was really dead.
5D. Folks, the burial of Christ is important because
it establishes that Christ really did die. Had the Romans not been
absolutely sure He was dead they would not have allowed Him to be
taken for burial.
6D. Jesus was certainly dead, which makes this next
aspect of the Gospel so much more important.
3C. Finally, there is the resurrection of Christ
1D. Were you aware that Christís resurrection is
predicted elsewhere in Godís Word? Psalm 16.8-11:
8 I have set the LORD
always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall
not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my
glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in
hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life:
in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there
are pleasures for evermore.
24 Whom God hath raised up, having
loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he
should be holden of it.
25 For David speaketh concerning him, I
foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right
hand, that I should not be moved:
26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and
my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul
in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see
28 Thou hast made known to me the ways
of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
29 Men and brethren, let me
freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both
dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30 Therefore being a prophet, and
knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the
fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up
Christ to sit on his throne;
31 He seeing this before spake of the
resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell,
neither his flesh did see corruption.
Simon Peter, in his great Pentecostal sermon,
explains that Psalm 16.8-11, written by David, was actually a
prediction of the resurrection of the Messiah, Who is the Son of
2D. That being so, what was the purpose of Christís
resurrection? Two verses will suffice to make three comments.
1E. Acts 2.24: "Whom God hath raised up,
having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible
that he should be holden of it." Christ was raised from the
dead, firstly, because it was not possible for Him to remain
dead. Possible for Him to die, yes, but not possible for Him to
remain bound by death. Therefore, He had to be raised from the
dead by resurrection. How could the Author of life not come back
to life? Amen?
2E. Romans 4.25: "Who was delivered for our
offences, and was raised again for our justification." This
verse is often misunderstood as teaching that the resurrection
of Jesus Christ somehow atoned for our sins or provided for our
forgiveness. That is not what Paul meant here. Realizing that
anyone can die and anyone can be buried, Paul noted that the
resurrection of Christ was our justification with our fellow
1F. I could point to Christís death and talk
about it, but no one need pay attention to me, since anyone
2F. I could point to Christís burial and talk
about it, but no one need pay attention to me, since anyone
can be buried.
3F. But when I make claims concerning Christ and
what He has done for me and what He can do for sinners and tie
that to His resurrection, then men must listen. Why? Because
not anyone can raise up from the dead.
4F. Itís His resurrection which enables me to
shout the works accomplished by His death and burial from the
rooftops. His resurrection proves all of the other things to
be true as well.
3E. Look at Romans 4.25 again: "Who was
delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our
justification." Even more importantly, this verse shows
that Jesus needed to rise from the dead for our justification.
Why? So He could, as our high priest, take His Own blood to
heaven to there satisfy Godís demands that our sins be
1. Before jumping into a long discourse on the general
topic of the resurrection, Paul wanted to grab the attention of his
reading audience. He wanted to prove to them that this subject, the
resurrection of Christ specifically, and the resurrection of all the
righteous generally, in the future, is of practical importance.
2. He wants believers to realize how important to their
daily lives the resurrection of their savior really is. So, he attacks
the problem in two steps.
3. The first step is related to your personal salvation and
mine. We have to understand how critical to our personal relationship
with Christ, how critical to our forgiveness of sins, how critical to
our going to heaven, is the preaching of the Gospel. You simply donít
get saved, you simply donít get to heaven, you simply donít get your
sins forgiven apart from receiving the Gospel message.
4. The Gospel, then, is critical to your salvation. But how
critical to the Gospel is the resurrection? When you understand that the
Gospel revolves around three historical facts, the death, burial and
resurrection of Christ, the answer is simple.
5. The resurrection is critical to the Gospel, which is
critical to your salvation and mine. The resurrection, beyond that, is
the only objective way anyone can evaluate the efficacy of the other two
6. Is the resurrection important to your daily Christian
life? Itís this important: No resurrection, no Gospel. No Gospel, no
7. The resurrection, therefore, is an indispensable
ingredient of the Christian faith