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Honiton Evangelical Congregational Church April

Dear Friends,

  

EASTER – GLORIOUS GOOD NEWS OR A SLIGHT EMBARRASSMENT?


I put the choice for us like this because I think that is a realistic choice. Recently in the house-group which meets on Wednesdays we have been studying through 1 Corinthians 15. I want to set out some of the truths I have re-learnt and then to explain my heading. Using your bible as you read this newsletter will be a big help.


Truth One Verses 1 + 2 - holding fast to the gospel we believed when we were converted is necessary for salvation.


Truth Two Verses 3 + 4 – The gospel message as delivered by Paul and the other apostles includes Christ’s death in which he dealt with our sins and his burial and resurrection – these truths of history were all predicted in the Old Testament.


Truth Three Verses 5 – 11 – Jesus’ physical resurrection is witnessed to by those who met with him after his resurrection and Paul’s dramatic change from persecutor to apostle was brought about through encountering the risen Christ.


There is no doubt that the Corinthian Christians having initially believed in the resurrection then struggled to hold to this belief. The reason was that this truth was not easily accepted in a society and time where physical resurrection was just looked upon as impossible. Like many atheists today the people in Corinth assumed the resurrection was impossible and therefore didn’t listen to the evidence for it.


The Corinthian Christians probably felt that the resurrection of the believer couldn’t happen – they wanted to hold to (perhaps?) some spiritual form of existence after death. Paul points out in verses 12 – 19 that if physical resurrection is impossible then Christ can’t have risen, and if that is so then Christian faith and witness is meaningless!


In verses 20 – 34 Paul spells out God’s programme in which Christ’s resurrection is a vital part. Because Jesus is the last Adam those who were spiritually dead due to the sin of the first Adam can belong to him by faith and receive new life. Christ is the first-fruits from the dead but when he comes back in glory we too will receive resurrection bodies. Death which came in with the first sin is the last enemy to be destroyed.


In verses 35 – 49 Paul moves on to deal with a problem we may have. We cannot imagine the resurrection and what sort of body a resurrected person would have.. Paul points out that actually there are many different ways in which animals, plants, angels and even the sun, moon and stars exist – our way of existence when resurrected would be one God deems appropriate. Logically we will be like Christ who is the prototype for our resurrection.


I have run out of space so read verses 50 – 58 – it is a glorious ending to a glorious chapter. The Lord doesn’t want us embarrassed by the resurrection; he does want us to see it as glorious good news.



Yours in the Lord



Mike