Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What Is Arguably The New Testament's Most Potent Chapter - 1 Corinthians 15

Image result for 1 Corinthians 15
1 Corinthians 15:1  "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand."


Since we are in Easter-week, I thought it apropos to consider the contents of what could arguably be the New Testament's most-potent chapter: 1 Corinthians 15. Below we will do a fly-over of this chapter to see its significance in understanding Christ's resurrection and why this truth is central to understanding Christianity and the power needed for living for God today.

The Living Gospel shines hope into a troubled church

The letter of 1 Corinthians represents a letter written by the Apostle Paul to a troubled church. After reading through the first 14 chapters of 1 Corinthians, judgment and God's discipline seem imminent.  The thunderclouds of God's Fatherly-discipline hung over this church.  Yet, the rays of mercy and hope shoot through the cloud-tops to break up the gloom in 1 Corinthians 15.  The sunshine of God's Living Gospel pours into the otherwise bleak future for this church.  No chapter in God's word spells out the implications of Christ's resurrection any clearer than 1 Corinthians 15.

The main point of 1 Corinthians 15 - Unfolding the Living Gospel

Every major Bible doctrine, every conceivable means of persuasion is used by the Holy Spirit to convince the reader of the power of the living Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15.  Below is a thumbnail sketch of this remarkable chapter:

1. The Gospel's Living Message. 
1 Corinthians 15:1-11

2. The Gospel's Living Christ.       
1 Corinthians 15:12-20

3. The Gospel's Living Doctrine    
1 Corinthians 15:21-28

4. The Gospel's Living Power       
1 Corinthians 15:29-49

5. The Gospel's Living Encouragements 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

As was noted already, 1 Corinthians 15 is arguably the New Testament's most potent chapter.  Those five major divisions are like the five smooth stones that David had ready His sling to defeat the Goliath of unbelief. It only requires one stone from this mighty brook to topple any giant you might be facing.  The Living Gospel is not only revealed in its power - but in it's robust splendor. 

The Living Gospel is the remedy for every spiritual ailment

The Apostle Paul is like a pharmacist issuing a bottle that, when taken in full measure, heals the heart and revives the Christian. The resurrection power of Jesus Christ is brought to the sinner by the Holy Spirit to bring about a transformed heart in saving faith (see 1 Peter 1:3-5). 

A quick overview of the New Testament will reveal the priority of Christ's resurrection to Christianity:

1. All Four Gospels record the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His post-mortem appearances to His disciples.

2. The Book of Acts, the record of the early church, features roughly 20 sermons preached in the early church. The Apostles Peter and Paul preached all of the sermons in the Book of Acts except one. Among those roughly 20 sermons, we find reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ to be the central emphasis of their preaching.  Most if not all of Paul's letters, Peter Letters and most of the other New testament books make reference to Christ's resurrection. Dr. Gary Habermas, a premier expert on the historical case for Christ's resurrection, estimates there are roughly 300 verses referencing the resurrection in the New Testament.

3. The Book of Revelation presents the Post-resurrected Christ as ruling and reigning, worthy of all worship. Christ's vindication of His identity as God-incarnate is due to the fact that He has overcome death. Truly, without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christian faith itself would be lifeless.  

Closing thoughts:

As we direct our thoughts towards this coming Easter weekend, may we read through 1 Corinthians 15. May this post aid the reader in considering more closely why this chapter in the New Testament is so potent for understanding Christ's resurrection and how there is power available for Godly-living today.