Quarter’s Theme: ORDERLINESS IN THE CHURCH
Unit 4: Our Final Victory And Reward (Lessons 10-12)
LESSON 10 10/5/2015
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST AND BELIEVERS
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 173, 176
Devotional Reading: JOHN 5:24-29
Topic For Adults
A GLORIOUS RESURRECTION
Topic For Youths
HEAVEN IS FULL OF JOY
Topic For Intermediates
BELIEVERS DON’T DIE
1 COR. 15:1-53
Memory Verse: For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Be Partaker Of The First Resurrection
On Monday, we saw that there are two kinds of resurrection – life and condemnation. But we must know that they will both happen. The first resurrection, which is better and glorious consist of only the dead in Christ to partake in the Lord’s Supper and in the millennial reign of Christ. This is resurrection unto life. The second death that is connected with the second resurrection will not have power over those who partake in the first resurrection. This is the reason the Bible calls them blessed. Therefore, you don’t have anything to fear once you sleep in the Lord, for you will partake in the first resurrection and will not be deprived of any of Jesus packages of blessings for His children.
Point of Emphasis: Blessed is he who has part in the first resurrection.
Prayer Point: Lord, if I have gone before Jesus comes back again, help me partake in the first resurrection.
Resurrection of the dead is one of the cardinal doctrines of the Bible. However,
some people, like those in the Corinthian church, could not imagine how possible it would be for the dead to rise back to life at a later period in future. This week’s lesson intends to re-affirm that Jesus rose from the dead and all believers in Him must be confident that they too will rise from the dead if and when they die.
NOTES ON THE LESSON
(1) EVIDENCES OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION (1 COR. 15:1-11)
The Corinthian Christians had heard the gospel and had been told that Jesus died for their sins and rose again. However, having heard about the division among them and the possibility that some had been denying Christ’s resurrection with that of believers, Paul thought it wise to write them and remind them, with some evidences, about the fact of Jesus’ resurrection and to impress it deeply on their memories. Paul reminded them that he was not writing any new thing to them but the same gospel and message which made them believed in Jesus and in which they also stand (vv. 1-2)
Paul restates the core of the gospel proclamation that Christ died for our sins, He was buried and rose again on the third day. He said the first evidence that affirms this central belief in Christianity is the Scriptures. The Scriptures is the collection of God’s word, which cannot be broken. The Scriptures makes it abundantly clear that Jesus died a vicarious death, dying on our behalf for our sins. Though it is not said in express terms anywhere in the Scriptures that Christ should rise on the third day, but it is implied in certain events such as in the case of Jonah who came out of the belly of the fish on the third day and that of Isaac. It is also implied in Matt. 12:40; 16:21 and Lk. 9:22; Ps. 22; Isa. 53; Dan. 9:26; Zech. 12:10 etc. The Scriptures confirm that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day.
As if the records of the Scriptures are not enough, Paul also gave further evidence of Christ’s resurrection. Christ did not go back to heaven secretly after His resurrection, rather He was seen by human beings who served as witnesses. The first set of people who saw Him was Cephas or Peter and the other eleven disciples, afterwards He was seen by another five hundred people, probably in Galilee where he had many disciples, and a greater number of whom were still alive as at the time Paul was writing in case the people wanted further confirmation from those people. He was also seen by James, then by all the apostles and lastly by Paul himself on the way to Damascus. Paul attested to all these witnesses to show that it was not possible that so many witnesses should have been deceived and out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, the truth is established.
(2) DENIAL OF RESURRECTION BY SOME CORINTHIAN BELIEVERS (1 COR. 15:12-34)
The gospel message the Corinthians had received and believed included the basic fact of the resurrection – a fact central to the Christian faith. But apparently some were saying there will be no resurrection of the dead. Such a belief contradicts the entire gospel message. This may have come from the Greek view that the matter was evil and therefore, no physical body would rise. The church at Corinth was in the heart of Greek culture, thus many believers had a difficult time believing in a bodily resurrection. Paul then argued that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Jesus is still in the grave. If Jesus is still in the grave, then the apostles’ preaching is useless because they preached a risen Savior. If Christ had not risen, the believers’ faith would be also useless, for why believe in a dead Savior? Believers also do not have hope of eternal life.
He continued to list the negative implications that denial of Christ’s resurrection will bring on the believers. If Christ had not been raised from the dead, the apostles would all be lying. For believers, to deny Christ’s resurrection is to deny physical resurrection and it is to throw away the entire gospel message. They could not claim to be Christians without believing in the resurrection. Their refusal to believe in resurrection means that Christians are still under condemnation for their sins. The faith of those who have died in Christ believing or hoping for physical resurrection is dashed. Paul pointed out the silliness of denying the facts of resurrection by declaring that if we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world (v. 19)
From verses 20-34, Paul re-affirmed the fact that Christ is risen from the dead and that believers who put their faith in Him will surely rise from dead when they die. Because Christ was raised from the dead, He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again. Christ’s resurrection is the proof to those who believe in Him of their eventual resurrection to eternal life.
(3) THE NATURE OF BELIEVERS’ RESURRECTION (1 COR. 15:35-53)
Paul had already argued for the truth of the resurrection. Those who might still be skeptical may have further questions about this resurrection. So Paul asked two such questions himself in order to answer them (i) How will the dead be raised? (ii) What kind of bodies will they have? To Paul, these were foolish questions. The answers should have been obvious from nature itself. Paul compared the resurrection of believers’ bodies with the growth in a garden. A seed placed into the ground doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. The plant that grows looks very different from the seed because God gives it a new “body”. New or resurrected bodies will not be obtained until the earthly bodies have died. And those new bodies will be different from the present bodies.
Paul also appealed to the heavenly bodies (the sun, moon and stars) that they differ greatly from earthly bodies. They too have their own glorious bodies. Like a seed sown that then grows into glorious new plant, it is the same way for the resurrection of the dead. Believers’ present bodies will be different from their resurrected bodies. First the earthly body dies and decays but resurrected bodies will never die. Physical bodies are weak but resurrected bodies will be full of power. The former is natural but the latter will be spiritual.
For those who might be alive when Jesus shall come the second time, they too will all be changed. They will not have to die before they get their new resurrected bodies. Instead, they will all be transformed immediately at the sound of the trumpet. This is a mystery. This change will happen instantly for all Christians, whether dead or alive. All will be made ready to go with Christ.
If there is any Christian doctrine that gives believers hope of God’s intervention in this world and hope of a glorious future with God in heaven, it is the resurrection of the dead. This is why when our loved ones died we comfort ourselves that they are sleeping in the Lord, for we shall both meet again on the resurrection morning. If this is taken out of Christianity, then Christianity will be vague and vain.
(1) Why is resurrection from the dead central to Christianity?
(2) Mention two facts Paul appealed to while establishing the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
(3) What account for the denial of resurrection by some Corinthian believers?
(4) Mention some of the negative implications on the believers’ faith if Jesus or physical resurrection is denied.
(5) Mention some of the differences that will be between the earthly and resurrected bodies.
AIE PART A LA PREMIERE RESURRECTION
APOCALYPSE 20 :1-6
Le lundi, nous avons vu qu’il y a deux sortes de résurrection: celle de la vie et celle du jugement. Mais nous devons savoir que toutes les deux auront lieu. La première résurrection qui est la meilleure et glorieuse consiste en les morts en Christ à participer au repas du Seigneur et au règne millénaire de Christ. C’est là la résurrection à la vie. La seconde mort qui est liée à la seconde résurrection n’aura pas de pouvoir sur ceux qui ont part à la première résurrection. C’est la raison pour laquelle la Bible les appelle les bénis. Tu n’as donc rien à craindre une fois que tu t’endors dans le Seigneur, car tu prendras part à la première résurrection et tu ne seras pas privé de n’importe quel colis de bénédictions que Jésus a pour ses enfants.
Point essentiel : Heureux celui qui a part à la première résurrection.
Axe de prière : Seigneur, au cas où je pars avant que Jésus ne revienne, aide-moi à participer à la première résurrection.