Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11


What happens when we die remains a fuzzy unknown for many people. A recent Arizona Christian University study found that slightly over half of Americans believe that God will accept them into heaven based on their actions in life. Or in other words, salvation can be earned. Twenty percent believe God will let simply let everyone into heaven. Only one third believe the Gospel according to the Bible, God’s Word. In today’s sermon, the apostle Paul says, this is what is most important.

The church in Corinth was located in a major city in Greece. And as we have seen, the church was greatly influenced by Greek culture, religion, and philosophy. The Greeks did not believe in the resurrection of the dead or a physical after-life. When Paul first preached about the resurrection in Athens people mocked him. Most of their philosophers considered the human body like a prisoner of the soul and welcomed death as the deliverance of the soul from the bondage of the body. While they accepted the eternal nature of the soul, they could not believe the body could be resurrected or have eternal life. Paul takes time in chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians to remind and encourage the believers about this important topic – resurrection. First, as he clearly states the Gospel message, he verifies the primary importance and truth of Christ’s resurrection, and then he teaches about the believers’ resurrection and our place in heaven.


We are continuing our series in 1 Corinthians called Living in Light of Eternity. We have heard the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Corinth about some very serious problems they were dealing with like divisions, fighting, sexual morality, marriage, and singleness. Then he taught about using their spiritual gifts humbly and properly, and the need for everything to be done in love. Paul ends his letter by giving the church encouragement about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our future resurrection as believers.
That’s where the series title “Living in Light of Eternity” comes from. With our view of eternity, knowing that our souls will go on forever and ever, knowing that God will judge our behavior, and knowing that His Son Jesus died so that we can spend eternity with God – how should we think, live, and act today?

The Focus of chapter 15 is the resurrection.

First Importance

The Gospel is so much more than that. Paul says it is of first importance. The primary thing. And he spells out the Gospel clearly in verses 3-5.

Christ died for our sins. Christ means means Messiah. Jesus is the Son of God. The Good News of Salvation has bad news first. Our sins separate us from God.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” We fall short. We cannot have peace with God and the payment for our sins is eternal death or separation from God.

“For the wages of sin is death,. And here is where the good news begins! The verse goes on to say “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus Christ, the Son of God died for our sins.

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” This big word propitiation means atoning sacrifice. God wrath or judgement on sin was paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice of himself on the cross. Paul adds the phrase, “in accordance with the Scriptures.”

Isaiah 53, Daniel 9, and Zechariah 13 all prophecy that the Messiah, the chosen one would carry our sins, be pierced and would die.

He was buried. Jesus actually died. He didn’t faint from pain or blood loss. He died and was buried.

says, the Roman soldiers pierced his side with a spear and blood and water poured out. This not only fulfilled the prophecy that the Messiah would be pierced, but that his bones would not be broken which is what happened to the two criminals crucified with Jesus. It also showed that Jesus was already dead.

He was raised on the third day. Jesus told his disciples on numerous occasions that he must die but he would rise again in three days. This proves that he was speaking on God’s behalf – remember the test of a prophet of God was that His prophecies would actually happen. But it also proves he was God, because no one could come back to life on their own. The phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures” is used again.

Psalm 16, and Isaiah 53 speak out the Messiah not experiencing decay and living again.

Jesus Appeared

After coming back to life, Jesus lived on earth for forty days, and was seen by the women who came and found the empty tomb, the disciples, five hundred more, and Paul. He walked with them, talked with them, even cooked and ate with some of them. This was further evidence that all he said and did during his ministry on earth was true. He proved that he was a prophet of God because his prediction of his death and resurrection in three days was true. His miracles proved he had power from God over sickness, blindness, physical elements, and even over death. The angels sang at his birth for the shepherds to hear and proclaim as witnesses. He said himself he was the Messiah, the Son of God. And the Father at his baptism and his glorification announced for all there to hear, “this is my beloved Son.” And now over five hundred eye witnesses saw him alive again.

Least of the Apostles

The last eye-witness to see Jesus on earth was Paul. In verse 9 Paul humbly calls himself the least of the apostles. This is another indication that this letter to the Corinthians from Paul is authentic. If the early Christians wanted to get a bigger audience, they would have made themselves out to be heroes. Peter clearly denied Jesus and John was not willing to cover that up, by leaving it out of the Gospel accounts. Paul calls himself unworthy of being called an apostle. Not only are these books of the Bible authentic, but their authors and the people they wrote about were real, flesh and blood, humans with good days and bad days. They made mistakes, they committed sins, but they also followed Jesus and through the Holy Spirit, were able to write true accounts of Jesus’ life, and real messages from God.

Take Aways

Do you believe the Gospel according to God’s Son, Jesus Christ? What’s more important, is “have you confessed your sins and accepted Jesus as your Savior?” This may sound too good to be true, but Jesus himself, said, the way to hell is wide and most are headed that way. The pathway to heaven is narrow. There is only one way. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to God the Father except through me.” This narrow way to heaven is traveled by fewer people. People who are willing to humble themselves and admit they are sinners in need of a Savior. Are you one of those few?

Can you explain the Gospel, the good news?

  1. Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins.
  2. He was buried.
  3. He came back to life after three days – offering forgiveness and eternal life to all who believe.
Have you ever told someone else the good news? One of the surveys of Christians uncovered that only one in ten believers had told even one person about their faith in Jesus. Why are you hiding the Good News?

Each believer should have their own story of a changed life because of Jesus. That is your story to tell. If you’ve never thought about that, I would encourage you to write it out.

Here is an outline for sharing your story.

Before: My life before Jesus.

Gospel: How I heard the Gospel and how I was saved.

After: What my life has been like since then. How has it changed and how is it still changing?