Paul said, “Moreover, bretheren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you” (I Cor. 15:1). What is the gospel? Paul said, “I delivered unto you . . . how 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” (I Cor. 15:3-4).
The gospel concerns the death, burial and resurrection of Christ according to the Scriptures. It fulfilled Bible prophecy and has affected every generation, every nation, and every race on the face of this earth for almost two thousand years. It has caused millions to repent of their sins, change their life, and join the Church, sacrifice and share.
But let’s face facts. Millions more have rejected the gospel. And some have rejected it because they don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. That’s not new. It happened during Paul’s lifetime too. The Epicureans, the Sadducees and the Stoics didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead.
This unbelief prompted Paul to ask the Church at Corinth, “If Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead” (I Cor. 15:12). It’s an amazing thing, but some Church members don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. Paul addressed this unbelief (I Cor. 15:13-19).
First, “If there is no resurrection of the dead . . . then is Christ not risen.” If the dead can’t be raised, Christ wasn’t raised. A person can’t doubt the resurrection of the dead and believe in the resurrection of Christ. They are linked together.
Second, “If Christ is not risen . . . then is our preaching vain.” If Christ wasn’t raised, preaching is a waste of time. There’s no need to hear a sermon. Preachers won’t say anything that will do us any good.
Third, “If Christ is not risen . . . your faith is also vain.” Christians are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). But where does faith come from? The answer: Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). And what is the Word of God about? Among other things, the Word of God is about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. So if Christ wasn’t raised, the Word of God is wrong.If the Word of God is wrong, our faith is faulty. If our faith is faulty, our salvation is faulty.
Fourth, “If the dead rise not . . . we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He raised not up.” If Christ wasn’t raised, the disciples lied. They said Christ was raised. But if it didn’t happen, they deceived us.
Fifth, “If Christ is not raised . . . we are yet in our sins.” If Christ wasn’t raised, He wasn’t the Lamb of God. If He wasn’t the Lamb of God, we’re still under the condemnation of our sins.
Sixth, “If Christ is not raised . . . they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” If Christ wasn’t raised, those who died trusting in Him to raise them have perished. They wrongly believed He was raised. And they wrongly believed He will raise them.
Seventh, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ . . . we are all men most miserable.” If we don’t have hope beyond the grave, we don’t have anything to look forward to. Death will be the end of us.
This is a terrible picture. But don’t overlook the fact that Paul was saying “if”—“if”—“if there is no resurrection of the dead.” He even went on to say, “But Christ IS risen from the dead.” Christ IS risen. Preaching IS worthwhile. Faith IS worthwhile. The disciples DID tell the truth. Our sins HAVE been forgiven. Our loved ones WILL be raised. And we HAVE the hope of being raised from the dead too.
That’s one of the main aspects of the Rapture of the Church. Paul said, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first . . .” (I Thess. 4:16). Hey! Be sure you are ready because some think that trumpet is about to sound. Wow!
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck