1 Corinthians 15-16 Gospel of Resurrection

­1 Corinthians 15-16 Gospel of Resurrection

Psalm 138:1-8 God's Word and Ways
Ps 138:1 Of David “I will give you thanks with my whole heart. Before the gods, I will sing praises to you. 2 I will bow down toward your holy temple, and give thanks to your Name for your hesed/loyal covenantal love and for your faithfulness; for you have exalted your Name and your Word above all. 3 In the day that I called, you answered me. You encouraged me with strength in my soul. 4 All the kings of the earth will give you thanks, Yahweh, for they have heard the words of your mouth. 5 Yes, they will sing of the ways of Yahweh; for great is Yahweh’s glory.
6 For though Yahweh is high, yet he looks after the lowly; but the proud, he knows from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me. You will stretch forth your hand against the wrath of my enemies. Your right hand will save me. 8 Yahweh will fulfill that which concerns me; your hesed/loyal covenantal love, Yahweh, endures forever. Don’t forsake the works of your own hands."

Observations: 138:1-8 In the midst of trouble, David praises God for exalting His word and ways/name. “Name” is put for the character, reputation and authority or power of God. He reveals His name in rescuing His humble servants and answering their prayers, in accord with His hesed and faithfulness to His promises. God is exalted on high, but looks after the humble (Isa 57:10); the proud don't have a close relationship with Him. God displays His glory by revealing His name, ie, encouraging, strengthening and delivering or saving those loyal to Him. David trusts in God's enduring loyalty/hesed to save him, and fulfill the promises God made to him.
Application: Since God has exalted His word and ways above all, it makes sense to devote the best of our efforts to knowing and following them.
Prayer: God, thanks for being the God who communicates, and remains ever true to His promises; may I know and trust You more and more intimately each passing day. Amen.

TMS Philippians 4:6-7 Get the Peace of God and God of Peace
Phil 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything
by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God;
7 and the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy --- meditate on these things.
9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Observations: Phil 4:6-7 These verses are a great encouragement to pray about whatever concerns you. Prayer is conversation in a relationship (See studies on Prayer on Truthbase.net, including the Survey of Biblical Teaching on Prayer that encompasses all the instructions on prayer in the Bible). If you're just doing what comes naturally, you're not praying in the Spirit, nor Biblically. As a child of God, you have the privilege to talk with Your heavenly Father about everything in your life, getting guidance, encouragement, admonishment, strength and perspective, as well as answers. Prayer is expressing dependence upon God, which is why proud people have lousy prayer lives, and rarely pray for their daily bread and needs. Prayer is for getting things (“Ask and it shall be given to you” said Jesus -Mt 7:7; “You have not because you ask not” -Js 4:2). We might not get the exact thing we asked for, because God won't give His faithful children what isn't best for them. So rest in His peace, because you know He knows what's best. Fortifying yourself with prayer (more praise focus in God's ability and sufficiency, like Jesus in the Garden acknowledging that God could do anything) and supplication (more of a petition, asking), with thanksgiving (that He knows what's going on, what you need, and what's best), is the way to guard your mind from anxiety, and your heart from bad, panic decisions. The peace of God will guard you.
Own this verse by studying it (see 7PASSAGES in the sidebar) and then pass it on to others.
4:8-9 But wait! There's more! Getting anxious, praying, getting peace...getting anxious, praying, getting peace, is an oft-repeated cycle, that misses out on something far better. Would you rather have the peace of God, or the God of peace? To get God Himself, follow the steps in verses 8-9. Focus on the right things, and obey what you know is right, and God will be with you (John 14:21).
Application: Develop the habit of automatically praying when encountering whatever causes anxiety and experience the peace of God. Even better, practice the skills in 4:8-9 to experience the God of Peace.
Prayer: God of peace, thanks that I can pray to You about anything that causes me concern, and thanks that I can know You and Your ways to the extent that I need not be concerned about anything except pleasing You. Amen.

1Corinthians 15-16 Chapter 15 serves as the climax of the book, explaining the implications of the gospel and the resurrection. The fact of Christ's resurrection is used to prove that we will be resurrected. And if that is the case, it makes a huge difference in how we live, because our behavior in this life determines our glory in the next. Don't be deceived about this, your labor will be rewarded, your laziness won't.

1 Corinthians 15 The Full Gospel of Glory
15:1 Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 that he was buried,
that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers at once, most of whom remain until now, but some have also fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all, as to the child born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who is not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the assembly of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain, but I worked more than all of them; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Whether then it is I or they, so we preach, and so you believed.
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? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither has Christ been raised. 14 If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith also is in vain. 15 Yes, we are found false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that he raised up Christ, whom he didn’t raise up, if it is so that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead aren’t raised, neither has Christ been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. 18 Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable.
20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits, then those who are Christ’s, at his coming. 24 Then the end comes, when he will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For, "He put all things in subjection under his feet." But when he says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that he is excepted who subjected all things to him. 28 When all things have been subjected to him, then the Son will also himself be subjected to him who subjected all things to him, that God may be all in all.
29 Or else what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead aren’t raised at all, why then are they baptized for the dead? 30 Why do we also stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If I fought with animals at Ephesus for human purposes, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, then "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." 33 Don’t be deceived! "Evil companionships corrupt good morals." 34 Wake up to righteousness, and stop sinning, for some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
35 But someone will say, "How are the dead raised?" and, "With what kind of body do they come?" 36 You foolish one, that which you yourself sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37 That which you sow, you don’t sow the body that will be, but a bare grain, maybe of wheat, or of some other kind. 38 But God gives it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial differs from that of the terrestrial. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However that which is spiritual isn’t first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 As we have borne the image of those made of dust, let’s also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood can’t inherit the Kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this corruptible will have put on incorruption, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 "Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Observations: 15:1-2 Paul recaps what he preached to the Corinthians, as a motivation for Christ honoring, other-centered lifestyles. Everyone knows verses 3 and 4, which “define” the gospel, but most are clueless about the surrounding context, which put the facts of the gospel in its applicational context. Take this two question quiz: Is salvation conditional? Do all get the same thing in heaven? If you read the text above, it should be obvious that the correct answers are yes, and no. See comments on the introduction to Matthew for the different aspects/meanings of “salvation.” Once justified, always justified by faith is always true. But sanctification and glorification are different stories. Paul writes to those who received the gospel, and believed it, and stand in/on it, as the basis of their future hope. But, if they don't hold firmly the word that Paul preached, they will have believed in vain. In Acts Paul summarizes what he taught all over, including to the Corinthians:
Acts 24:15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. 16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.
Acts 26:6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. 7 To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews. 8 Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?
Those who don't hold firmly to the message will lose out on the hope that Christ's resurrection offers. They can believe, but their belief will be in vain. People can also receive God's grace in vain (2Cor 6:1). Paul elaborates what he means about “in vain” in verse 10. Grace is supposed to produce fruitful labor for the kingdom. It's not about getting sins forgiven but about receiving one's hope, or reward. What is your belief producing for you?
15:3-11 The message, gospel or good news, preached by Paul and the other apostles had two parts. First, the Messiah died for our sins, according to the first part of Isaiah 53, and was buried, as proof. This is good, because it pays the eternal death penalty for our sins, so we don't have to. This is only part one. The news part of the good news, which at first glance isn't news to most people is that Christ was resurrected, according to the very last part of Isaiah 53. The last verse in Isaiah 53 talks about the Messiah dividing the spoil of His victory (rulership/glory over the earth) with others (as does the rest of Isaiah, and other passages). That's the part which is news to many. It's not just about getting our sins forgiven, but about getting glory, which the rest of chapter 15 will demonstrate. Paul first provides additional proof of Christ's resurrection so it can't be denied when he starts applying it. He tells us about Christ's appearance to Peter and James which we wouldn't know about otherwise, and the 500. Then Paul refers to Christ's appearance to him. He confesses his unworthiness to be an apostle because of his past persecution of the church, but then writes the words that have given hope to all who truly understand their sin: “But, by the grace of God I am what I am.” The past gets wiped out by the grace of God and all things become new to those who believe. Those who hold firmly to that message, go on to use the grace/power of God according to His purposes, the gaining of glory. When God pours out glory on His faithful saints, He is seen as having it, and thus is glorified. That's the message the apostles preached (cf 1Pt 1 and James) and what NT believers believed.
15:12-19 But there are always those doing the Devil's work who deny truth, particularly that about glory (the stuff Satan grasped at and lost). There were some denying that there is a resurrection from the dead (in which the righteous will be rewarded -Daniel 12:2-3; Lk 14:14). Paul says that if there is no resurrection, then Christ wasn't raised, and we're all headed to the lake of fire. Those who died, will miss out on the future kingdom of the Messiah, since they won't get resurrected. If we only have hope of blessing in this life, we're to be most pitied, because those who followed in times of persecution would often be deprived of temporal benefits, and then martyred, and wind up with nothing.
15:20-28 But Christ has been resurrected, and became the first fruits of those who have already died. The first fruits were offered to God as an expression of faith that more would come. So Christ, then those who had died (1Thess 4:14-17), then those who are alive at Christ's coming to set up and rule over the Messianic Kingdom. He will reign until all his enemies are subjected to Him, the last being death. Then He will submit Himself to the Father that He might be all in all.
15:29-34 There apparently was a practice, mentioned only here in the NT, of the Corinthians baptizing people in the place of those who died. The Eleusian mystery religion, in the town next to Corinthian has a such a practice. The cult was built around the annual spring resurrection of Persephone, who had been abducted by Hades. The initiates believed that those who knew the mysteries and practiced them would be resurrected to reward in the future. The baptism probably symbolized identification with the death and resurrection of the goddess. This is parallel to Christian water baptism, usually the first step of discipleship, symbolizing the death to self and resurrection to a new life (Romans 6). Spirit baptism, immersion in the power of the Spirit ,was true of all believers as Paul taught in 1Corinthians 12. So, based on the spiritual immaturity of the Corinthians, they might have assumed everyone needed to be baptized, and might have been baptizing people in the place of those who had believed, but had not gotten a chance to be baptized. This is nowhere commanded and runs contrary to the emphasized importance of individual responsibility and faith on the part of each person. Paul alludes to the custom, to make his point, that there was belief in a resurrection in this practice, not to validate the practice (since much of what he said about justification by faith would invalidate it).
Paul then appeals to the practice of his own life and that of his fellow-laborers. If there is no resurrection, if this life is all there is, then one might as well eat and drink and live for this world, because when we die, it's all over. This was also common in stoicism and epicureanism, one of the few beliefs shared by both philosophies. This is the attitude John the Baptist called people to repent of (Luke 3). If there is no resurrection and reward, then there is no profit in self-sacrificial service. Verse 33 is another of the “Don't be deceived” passages directed at NT believers, and also dealing with consequences and loss of reward for badly behaving believers (cf 1Cor 6; Gal 5). The evil company they were hanging around was corrupting their good moral intentions. Paul reprimands them sharply, telling them to wake up to righteousness (because they're missing it), and to stop sinning (because they are). They, the sinning believers (see 15:1-2), living just for this world, have no knowledge of God. They should be, and will be ashamed. Note the corrective is not to believe that Jesus died for their sins, but to start living in light of that. Those who think that if a person sins they were never a believer have the same knowledge problem the Corinthians did (and don't know the Bible either).
15:35-50 Paul next deals with the objection of those limited by only what they can and have seen, namely, the question of what kind of body would a resurrected worm-eaten person have? Just like a grain of wheat dies and decays to give rise to a new form, so the human body will decay and give rise to a new form. There are differences between kinds of flesh, and between terrestrial (earthly) and celestial (heavenly) bodies. There are also variations in the glory that the heavenly bodies have, and even within the class of stars, each differs in degress of glory or power. Note that this is about believers getting differing degrees of glory. Some will get more or less than others based upon their faithfulness, and suitability for reward. Those who eat, drink and live like this world is all there is will not have the same reward of those who fight the good fight of faith like the apostle Paul. Just like we have borne the earthly image of the first Adam in having a living soul (mind, will, emotions), so we will bear the heavenly image of Jesus, the second Adam, who is a life-giving Spirit. Flesh and blood can't have an inheritance in the Kingdom coming from God (as promised in the OT, the Messiah's Rule), just like corruption inherits incorruption (it's the other way around).
15:51-57 Paul concludes with proclaiming a mystery (previously unrevealed truth) that brings him back to the beginning of the chapter. We will not all remain dead when we die, but will all be changed. When Christ returns at the last trumpet in Revelation 11:15 believers will be resurrected (1Thess 4:16) for reward and rulership in the kingdom, and then they will be given their glory, and rule. Being given glorified bodies (see the important comments on 2Cor 5), swallows up corruption and death. God gives victory over death through the relationship with our Lord Jesus the Messiah.
2Corinthans 5:3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very purpose is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a first installment.
15:58 The conclusion of Paul's explanation of the good news is that believers need to be steadfast and immoveable (in accord with the admonition in verses 1-2; cf Col 1:23 “not moved away from the hope held out in the gospel”), and work (sweat a lot) in the Lord's work, knowing that their labor is not in vain, but that it will be richly rewarded with eternal glory, when they are resurrected (just like Christ). This is the good news!
Application: If you snooze and snack, you lose; if you work and worship, you win. Your choice.
Prayer: Lord God, may I not be deceived about my purpose here on earth, but sow the life you've given me, so that it will yield abundant glory in the future. Thanks for the possibility. Amen.

1 Corinthians 16
16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I commanded the assemblies of Galatia, you do likewise. 2 On the first day of the week, let each one of you save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come. 3 When I arrive, I will send whoever you approve with letters to carry your gracious gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it is appropriate for me to go also, they will go with me.
5 But I will come to you when I have passed through Macedonia, for I am passing through Macedonia. 6 But with you it may be that I will stay, or even winter, that you may send me on my journey wherever I go. 7 For I do not wish to see you now in passing, but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 for a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
10 Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without fear, for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 11 Therefore let no one despise him. But set him forward on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I expect him with the brothers.
12 Now concerning Apollos, the brother, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brothers; and it was not at all his desire to come now; but he will come when he has an opportunity.
13 Watch! Stand firm in the faith! Be courageous! Be strong! 14 Let all that you do be done in love. 15 Now I beg you, brothers (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have set themselves to serve the saints), 16 that you also be in subjection to such, and to everyone who helps in the work and labors. 17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus; for that which was lacking on your part, they supplied. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge those who are like that.
19 The assemblies of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you much in the Lord, together with the assembly that is in their house. 20 All the brothers greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. 21 This greeting is by me, Paul, with my own hand. 22 If any man doesn’t love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. Come, Lord! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Observations: 16:1-12 Paul turns his attention to some final details, the collection for the saints, and travel plans, before he ends with some great exhortations. He advocated that they weekly set aside funds, as the Lord prospered them, for the benefit of the saints in Jerusalem (who were often persecuted by losing their jobs when the became believers). In 2Corinthians 9, especially verse 7, Paul will give more instructions on giving. He also details his plans to spend more time with them, but that he doesn't want to abandon the great door of opportunity that God has opened for him in Ephesus (along with great opposition). Just because there are lions lying in front of the door, it doesn't mean that the door is closed. Usually great opportunity lies behind difficulty. He cautions them to be nice to Timothy, and help him on his way financially, and explains that Apollos won't come until the timing is better.
16:13-14 Paul warns them to be on their guard, and stand firm in their belief that the Lord is coming back to reward them (cf Heb 11:6). Courageous and strong echo the instructions given to Joshua on the brink of entering the Promised Land (Josh 1:6,7,9). The inheritance is not gained by sinful sluggards. He reminds them of the primary command regarding their behavior, let all they do be done in love (to the glory of God -10:31). They needed to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others, according to His will, so He looks good in the eyes of all.
16:15-18 Carnal Christians have difficulty in submitting to anyone because they think that doing their own thing is essential for their happiness. They also can't trust God for looking out for them because they are still in rebellion to Him. Paul urges them to submit to those who serve the saints and those who labor in the Lord's field. See the S-word for more on submission, Ephesians 5:21 for submission in the Body (this is the climatic verse of Ephesians for building Body unity), and Hebrews 13:17 for how unsubmissive believers lose their reward.
16:19-24 Paul sends greeting form the churches in Asia, as well as Aquila and Priscilla (order reversed this time) who have a church meeting in their house. He gives another of the the one another passages: “greet one another with a holy kiss” (as opposed to a pagan one). A holy kiss seeks to honor another, while a pagan one seeks to gratify one's desires. There should be an affection among the members of the family of God (unless they're squabbling with each other). Paul actually writes a line with his own hand (someone else wrote the letter -cf Rm 16:22). He ends with a curse and a blessing.” To those who don't love the Lord Jesus Christ (as in remain loyal to Him and obey His commands), let him be accursed (anathema) as in cut off from blessings. But Paul wishes the blessing/grace of God to be upon those under Christ's Lordship, and he loves those who are in union with Christ Jesus.
Application: Don't become a statistic in the Christian life of those who didn't finish well, but be on your guard, standing firm in the faith (believing the promises of God), submitting to Biblical leadership, and doing all in love.
Prayer: God, thanks for the examples of those who have labored for You, both in the Scriptures and in my life; may I imitate their example by Your grace, and please You. Amen.

Digging Deeper

God in a nutshell: God will resurrect faithful believers and give them differential glory.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus will rule as promised with those faithful to Him, subduing all under Himself, and then submitting Himself to the Father.

Us in a nutshell: We should labor wholeheartedly in the service of the Lord (we should also know what that means), knowing that He will reward us for doing so.

Where to Go for More:

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