1 Corinthians | Unified in Christ
This morning we conclude our study in 1 Corinthians. We’ve spent the past 8 months examining God’s instructions and corrections to this quite dysfunctional church in Corinth. And as we wrap up, we're reminded of some of the themes of the letter. The main theme and big picture of the letter is God calling his people, his church, to unity. Unity around the gospel of Jesus Christ, unity in our pursuit of holiness and righteous character, unity in our doctrine- which comes from God’s Word not the culture or our experiences, unity in our worship- everything we do should be edifying for everyone, not done according to personal preference or style- and we should be a people united in the sure hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul is teaching us what will happen to us when Jesus returns. Everyone in Christ receives the benefits of Jesus' victory over sin and death. Regardless of if we are alive when Jesus returns or have passed away, we all shall be fitted with a new body, a heavenly body that is fit for our new eternal dwelling. Our mortal bodies as they are now, are not fit for Heaven. But God shall give us new bodies that are perfectly suited for our eternal future. And with our future secure, we are freed to live radically for Christ and His Kingdom knowing that none of our work or efforts for His Kingdom are in vain but shall all be rewarded.
At this very moment, Jesus exists in bodily form. He is not a floating spirit. He has a heavenly, glorified body and one day, we shall too. When we talk about growing in Christlikeness and the effects of Jesus' resurrection, we are not only talking about God transforming our attitude, character, hearts and minds. We are also talking about our bodies becoming like his glorious, resurrected body. The triumph of Christ secures not only the salvation of our souls but the redemption of our bodies. And in our text today the Apostle Paul is going to build this idea out for us.
Summary: This week we are delighted to welcome Pastor Randy Loveless as our preacher. Pastor Randy is the Executive Pastor of Damascus Road Church in Marysville. This week, Pastor Randy continues to expound the glories of the resurrection of Christ as revealed in 1 Corinthians 15.
The resurrection of Jesus is the sustaining, stabilizing, supporting block that holds all of Christianity together. If you take out, if you deny the resurrection of Jesus, all of Christianity comes crashing down. Some in the Corinthian church were actually arguing that there was no such thing as the resurrection from the dead. So beginning in chapter 15, Paul testifies to the surety, validity and truthfulness of the resurrection. In verses 1-11 which we look at last week, he puts forth evidence and eye witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus. And now, in our text this morning, he begins to refute those who deny the resurrection. After all, if Jesus is not resurrected, what are they believers in? Paul shows them the absurdity of their position and the splendor and glory of the truth.
The cross and the empty tomb stand at the center of the Christian faith and therefore, Christ’s resurrection is central to everything in the Christian life. By raising Jesus from the dead, God set in motion the final overthrow of death itself. The resurrection of Jesus is the promise of the resurrection from the dead for every one who trusts in His Name. Because He lives, we shall also live.
As we’ve read and studied for the past few weeks, the Corinthian church was dysfunctional when it gathered together. The Corinthian worship services were chaotic and random, disordered and formless. They were messy and noisy as everyone was talking at once, drowning each other out, talking over one another. Paul’s antidote is to offer guidelines that create orderliness, promote self-control and keep in mind a concern for others. Paul has previously said the goal of the gathered assembly is to worship the Lord in an edifying and intelligible way. Therefore, Paul gives guidelines for 3 types of speech as it relates to promoting order and edification.
Last week we saw that love is like a diamond. Every diamond has dozens of facets. Facets are the windows through which you observe the exquisite beauty of a diamond. Through every facet you’ll see a different beautiful mosaic of light and color. Similarly, love is multifaceted and possesses an unsurpassing beauty making it supreme above all. Last week, we examined 1 Corinthians 13 and studied various facets or characteristics of love. And because this text and topic is worthy of more attention than what we could give it in one week, we will focus on it again. Our focus this morning is on the supremacy of love over all other works and giftings of the Spirit in us. In our text this morning we will see 3 reasons love is supreme.
And after affirming the value and necessity of all spiritual gifts, Paul turns his attention to instructing the Corinthians on how to use their spiritual gifts. Paul does not question the legitimacy of speaking in tongues. He believes it is a legitimate activity of the Spirit. But he stresses that this activity is useless, indeed worthless if love is missing. If our spiritual gifts are not carried on by, motivated by love and the common good of the body of Christ, Paul says then your speaking in tongues is just meaningless noise.