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Speaking Sense About the Resurrection

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
August 9, 2021 8:00 am

Speaking Sense About the Resurrection

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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August 9, 2021 8:00 am

A church struggles to come to terms with what it means to serve the Lord. But it's not easy. All around are greedy and debauched people. Inevitably some of sinfulness has begun to infiltrate the church. Sound familiar? This scenario is not just our own; the early church of Corinth faced many of the same problems! Dr. Boice's study 1 Corinthians reveals a striking similarity between own battles and the struggles the early church.

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Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet Ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free 1-800-488-1888 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically. We've been studying first Corinthians together on Sunday nights now for a number of months and are study is taken us into the 15th chapter which, as you well know, is a great chapter in the New Testament on the resurrection I would look to the first 11 verses of this chapter. Last Sunday evening. We saw that Paul was dealing with the situation in Corinth on the subject, not on like the problems he had. On the other subjects that is mentioned earlier in the letter simply were people here who apparently didn't believe in the resurrection, we can tell exactly from these verses, whether they discounted the resurrection of Christ as well, probably not. From the way he argues, they were certainly willing to discount the resurrection of believers, we don't know, again exactly who these people were either creating the problem but it's not too difficult to figure out the nature of the objection, the Greek had an idea in philosophy that everything that was of the spirit of the mind was good and everything that was material or of the flesh was bad and that salvation for the Greek was essentially a philosophical thing you escaped the ties of the flesh which are evil by means of your mind, so salvation became an intellectual thing. This apparently had carried over into the Corinthian church and would probably have expressed itself. In this way, people who were formed by this great philosophical tradition would've said well you have to understand that that gospel is being preached by Paul and people like him is just something that has come out of Jewish environment.

The Jewish people think that way, but that really isn't the way things are. Matter is evil and that matter is evil.

You can't really have hope and genuine bodily resurrection.

Why that would be the equivalent of saying that we are going to take our sinful nature in heaven with its select can't be and what we have to look for is not a bodily resurrection but a spiritual one.

We have to look to the freeing of our minds and spirits through Christianity balls begun to deal with that. We already saw in the first 11 verses how we did began by reminding them what they been taught is really saying, in effect, this Christianity that's been presented to you is not something which you are to filter through your philosophical system and say well this part of Christianity works because it agrees with our philosophy in this part of Christianity doesn't work because it doesn't agree with our philosophy.

This is the gospel that God himself is made known and known from the beginning so that even though I am an apostle Paul speaking Valley below. I am an apostle and have the right to claim the God is spoken to me directly and that what I say is the direct revelation from him.

Even though I'm an apostle and could say that I want to remind you of the fact that what I preach was not something I made up or something.

I got on my own. Rather the gospel I preached was only that which I had. First of all received from others is what was preached from the very beginning so you're not being asked to believe something novel or even something which is Jewish, as opposed to being Greek you are simply being asked to believe that which is the truth.

How that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins according to the Scriptures how we was very how he was raised again on the third day according to the Scriptures how this was witnessed by many people from his own time and even up to 500 of the brothers at one time and most of those are still living so you have any question you simply have to go and talk to those who were eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ and moreover his sadness. He develops that this is not only the gospel which I received and passed on, but this is also the gospel which you receive this I suppose is something that he was emphasizing because he has it at the beginning of this section, and he has it at the end of verse one.

He says I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you receive by what you have taken your stand to come to the end of the second verse 11 so whether then it was on fire.

They this is what we preach and this is what you will believe the very first thing he does in this chapter in dealing with this problem is to remind them of what the gospel is looking at verse 12 and following tonight and here's a section in which she were talking about it in terms of the emotional flow of the chapter, we would have to say this is the downside of the problem is already talk positively about the Christian gospel. He says it concerns Christ death for our sins's burial in his resurrection, all according to the Scriptures, all substantiated by witnesses now is going to treat the other side and he's going to say well what are the consequences going to be. If you deny the resurrection and so is going to talk about that in the fall of this chapter goes back and forth in that way.

Having done that, he speaks positively then again of how the resurrection fits into the whole scope of God's activity in history when he finishes that goes back to the negative again and he brings in this unusual thing, at least unusual for us about the baptism of the dead minutes plus and minus ± someone which is a credible argument that the apostle Paul uses other places as well as most characteristic that is going to say here are people in your midst, you are saying that there is no resurrection, that is, bodies don't rise and on the basis of their philosophy. Now you going to ask what the consequences of that here.

Your tempted to go along with that kind of thinking because it seems to fit in with your philosophical thinking your background, the kind of thing your scholars and said to you in the past but I want you to do is think clearly about because it is true that the dead do not rise that a number of very unfortunate consequences follow.

As I read these verses.

Verses 12 through 19.

I find it every verse except for 16 as a consequence in it and verse 16 is simply a repetition of a consequence, a game earlier.

So every single verse talks about something that is bad. If you deny the resurrection. Let's look at the first starting with verse 13. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised where it starts because first great problem if you're going to deny the resurrection in general is that in order to be consistent.

You have to deny the resurrection of Jesus as well.

It may well be that in the church of Corinth. Those who are denying the resurrection hadn't quite come to the point of saying that said a moment ago that this week read this, we sense that probably that wasn't the case because if it was public to make this particular point, you wouldn't of had to say look, if you deny the resurrection.

In general, it means that you're going to have to deny the resurrection of Jesus in particular because if they were already denying the resurrection of Jesus.

In particular, he would've passed on to another consequences.

Not to mention that one will probably have a situation in the charger they wanted to cite.

We mustn't think of all Christians being raised from the dead doesn't mean that there wasn't something special that was involved in the case of Jesus Christ I say they probably hadn't quite come logically to that point, but I hadn't come to that point.

By the moment in history at which the apostle Paul writes as they would certainly have come to it later. In point of fact, many did, because the kind of thing Paul is saying is inescapable. If there aren't resurrection was then dries. What you say Jesus was God. He was exceptional yes but usually were not talking about the resurrection of his Godhead were talking about the resurrection of his body. That's the issue. New bodies rise in deny resurrection of the spirit. It's bodies rise and Zoe saying if you deny one you have to deny the other second consequences in verse 14 and this is the emptiness or meaninglessness of the Christian proclamation. If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith a little later on is going to talk about their faith being futile and some translations say use. Was there also. But it's two different words in Greek word that he uses here that a new international version translated as useless as the word Canaday and people who know Greek and know something of the importance of some of these terms, and another that is the word that has been used for what is called the commotion's theory of the incarnation, the means and emptying and it's based on Philippians 2, where it said that Jesus emptied himself, counting equality with God nothing to be retained at all costs. But he emptied himself and became like awesome man of God in the cross and sought debate and theology about what that emptying consists of the point here of course is that Paul is using that in precisely the same way saying see if there aren't any resurrections and Jesus is in raising the Jesus of the raised just empties our faith.

A lot of substance we can go around preaching different things we can preach morality.

We can preach about God. We can preach about meaning in the flow of history, but if you take the resurrection out of it just vitiates all because in Christianity were dealing chiefly with a philosophy amendment taught in Greece before Paul K had philosophies says what I'm talking about that were talking about God's intervention in history in a supernatural way, which has an impact on each one of us and there's no resurrection, Jesus is raising of Jesus doesn't raise in this preaching that we're going about doing is emptied of all its content in all its real meaning. I wish liberal man who go around preaching though they don't believe in the supernatural. Listen to Paul at this point, because Paul's consistent in their not. We have a lot amenable but Sue don't believe in anything supernatural, and certainly not believe in the resurrection they go right on preaching. Of course, that's one reason why their churches are so bad why nothing happens.

Why people want converted all they become clubs where people of the same socioeconomic level can order part one another on the back and look askance of anybody that doesn't quite fit comes in, but nothing of any real spiritual notice happening no longer because the vicarious atonement. Christ death on the cross for our sins and his resurrection would follow up on it are the heart of the gospel you take one of that out normally take out the other as well.

There's 1/3 consequence not only if there's no resurrection is price not raised in as our preaching empty.

He says in verse 15, we who are apostles are found to be false witnesses. I want a false witness. False witness is a liar and Paul is saying in slightly nicer language. That's what we are. If there's no such thing as a resurrection.

Why is that, well, he's not talking just about Christians at this point witnessing to their faith in the resurrection. He very intentionally brings in the word apostle because the qualifications for an apostle were to number one that he had seen the risen Lord and number two that the risen Lord had commissioned him to be an apostle now in the case of the early disciples of course I had been with the Lord during the three years of his public ministry, and then he appeared to them afterwards.

In Paul's case you not been among that band of disciples. But Jesus had appeared to him on the road to Damascus, where people who said, well, Paul's neutral apostle because he wasn't there.

Among that original group upon the defendant's apostleship and that's how we know what the qualifications are because when Paul defends his apostleship. He said I might not apostle have I not seen the Lord is he not called me to be an apostle. Easy spells that sort of thing out 20 talks about apostles here he saying we apostles are found to be liars because we are the chosen witnesses to the factual out of the price resurrection. We're the ones who are going around the Roman world say Jesus is risen and we have seen them says these people whom he had preach and who would respondent was preaching, who he said he believed what we taught.

He says to them understand what you're saying now you follow the philosophical mood of your day and by the resurrection. Just understand that you're saying that those of us who are apostles and came to you with his gospel were lying because of there is no resurrection. Jesus is not raised and we did not see him in his resurrected for.

So when we come saying that we did were lying to you.

You really want to go but I conclusion the talks in the next verse, verse 17 about the futility of their faith… Something else is not talking here about the emptiness of their faith. The use that word what he was talking about his preaching and faith earlier here is talking about the futility. Is it doesn't work and it's clear what he has in mind because when he talks about it, saying, if Christ is not been raised, your faith is futile, he adds the little phrase and you are still in your said that's what he has in mind. At that point. He says if Jesus isn't raised, then your sin is not been forgiven. I would say how so over this reason Jesus Christ when he lived here in the days of his flesh prophesied that he was going to die for our sin as the sin bearer, the innocent Lamb of God and that God in evidence of that. Three days later would raise him from the dead. This is why Paul can say is he goes toward the end of the fourth chapter of Romans that Jesus was crucified for our sin and raised again for our justification. The resurrection was put God accepted his atonement. See, they can claim that but if you died never come back because said well we don't know. Maybe he did, maybe did.

Furthermore, if you think through that carefully Jesus had said that God was going to raise him from the dead after three days. Father is going to raise him from the dead. Now if he said that it didn't happen.

He was mistaken. That means that he was not the perfect sacrifice.

So when he died on the cross he wasn't dying for our sin, because he was a sinner. He had to die for his own sin.

That means that he was dying for his own sin was not dying for our sin and our sin is still on us about polished in Christ and we are still in our sins.

See how Paul is building that she sang.

Sometimes Christians think in a muddled way they say well you know we want to hold the big central core of the thing that doesn't make any difference whether you hold such things as miracles over here a literal resurrection off of the future somewhere. What matters is whether we get on with things well of the present.

Paul says it does not work that way in Christianity. Furthermore is what you would expect if God is perfect, expected salvation to be perfect each part fits together nicely.

We don't always understand how does so, he says, you're in great danger when you begin to weed one thing out even one little thing that you think well it just isn't necessary to believe on that in our time. Well, he said you do that and look what happens. Pretty soon you don't even have an atonement in 11 atonement is obvious that you don't have any Christianity says something else. In verse 18 he says, then those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost that I've been talking about you now being lost in sin. How about those who died in this faith already got on the other world, whatever it may be if they were believing in something that wasn't true, and there is no literal resurrection in Christ didn't rise and therefore Christ promised that he rose didn't actually pay the price for our sin, he didn't pay the price for their sin. Either all those who have gone before perished many comes to his last point and he says yes and we also are miserable even in this life because this path that we are called upon to tread is not always a pleasant one because were following Christ. We set our value and things to come about on this earth instead of piling up treasures here we say what would rather pilot treasures in heaven, but there's no resurrection, there is no heaven.

All that is worthless we are to be pitied were following such a ridiculous superstition. Now we come to verse 20 and he says with a smile on his face, but is not good.

That is the way it really is to see the learning resurrection. All these terrible things follow what says Paul.

Christ really is raised from the dead. The very fact that he is raised from the dead is proof we ourselves will be raised because we are joint to him in saving faith. This is a section of the chapter in which Paul puts this thing in a cosmic perspective is talking about Christ's resurrection in our resurrection and as we look at that within the framework of history, at least from the perspective in which he was writing these talking about a relatively small span of years.

There's Lord Jesus Christ to die rose again. What I believe was 8030 hears Paul writing somewhat later in the 50s to these Christians in Corinth.

Just a small span of years and would be a tendency, I suppose on the part of some people to say well this is nice, but is it just a little incidental phenomena of history bosses don't know that this is fits into the scope of it all because he takes us on the one hand back down in the fact that we fell in Adam and were united data in the fall, God counting our sin along with Adam sin in many comes to the president, he says, just as God judged us sinners in the fall of Adam letting him be the corporate representative of the right. So is God on the same thing in Christ.

For those who are united to him by saving faith and then he goes ahead to the future and he says all yes and that isn't even the end of it because the time is coming when Christ was going to be Victor. Overall do that last enemy which is death. Death will write no more. And then Christ the very end. As the sun will submit everything to the father and God the father will be all in all is if it's not some small thing they were talking about it. It's not something that's irrelevant. The officer the flow of history just because within our immediate timeframe were born, we believe we die we don't see resurrection on all says all the essence of it is the resurrection because we are united to Jesus without being body soul and spirit, one that even death itself is going to be destroyed were going to be part of the victory as we stand with Christ in our resurrection bodies talks about a particular problem in verse 29.

This is this thing of the baptism for the dead.

All sorts of peculiar interpretations of this, some of them are on some of them or possibly write we just suggest a few of them. The problem of this phrase, of course, is that it doesn't occur anywhere else. And Paul is probably referring to something that they did. But he doesn't explain what it is they know Paul know but we don't know and some of said well it whatever it was a must been wrong and Paul is an endorsement he just says why are you doing it. If there's no point to it. There's no resurrection. I think that is perhaps most inadequate approach of all let me suggest a few of them.

Some of taken this in a very literal way. They said being baptized for the dead means being baptized for people who have died in order that they might be saved by your being baptized for them back in the ancient church were people who said this parentheses one Marcy and well-known heretic was another in our own time have a whole Colts that doesn't it's the Mormons. Mormons baptized for the dead and some people who were very pious Mormons are baptized for a lot of that. I read an example of that.

Some time ago all the woman who had gone out to Salt Lake city to the temple and there had been baptized for 30,000 dead people. The problem with accuracy is that it imparts a mystical property. The baptism saying that salvation is by the performance of our rights go through the right and do the thing you're safe. Faith evaporates doesn't make any difference at all but the last. This is what the Mormons of Don and there are some were some in the church who took it in this way.

Fortunately in Christianity is been repudiated. We have lots of heresies today, but praise the Lord. This is not one of them.

There's a second explanation, and it goes like this has nothing to do with salvation but rather when a new believer is baptized, which is to say, he makes public identification of himself with Jesus Christ and thereby takes place or fills up the ranks of Christians taking the place of somebody was died before hand. This is the way Harry Ironside understood the passage and had an interesting story that he used explain how it happened. There had been a much venerated saint in their congregation in Chicago who had died. He had lived an exemplary life had been a great blessing to the church. He had witnessed to his family, but there were some would not come to Christ.

Yet when the funeral was held. Most of these relatives, including some of the children when believed were there. They had the service and they came to the end of the service when as they practice the funeral service they were about to close the casket.

The family was invited to take a last look at the face of what it would died. Ironside intervened and said I really feel constrained before we close this casket deposit minute and just say this, we have lost a pillar in the church. I know other people here would not come to Christ. I'm wondering if among this gathering, there is anybody who would like to step forward and make profession of faith in Christ and and so indicate his or her willingness if God would so bless the take the place of this one that we lost here in these days, and he gave a gospel invitation. One of the relatives, a son named forward. Confess Christ and said God, prospering him he would like to try to begin to fill the shoes of his father, who would live in such an exemplary way for God and then at Sunday this man was baptized publicly. This was made known to the congregation. So as I took that story and said well that's that's what it is you say when we baptized we we fill out ranks in the church, taking the place of the honored dead. There's another explanation I mentioned just briefly some of said that it has to do with our being baptized for Christ was God is in honor of Christ was died.

The problem with that is in Christ is singular and the terminology of this particular portion of first Corinthians 15 is plural he's talking about numerous people and that doesn't seem to fit. I think in my own opinion that what Paul is speaking of here is not so much the right of baptism, but that which lies behind baptism as its primary meaning of said before when we talk about baptism was involved isn't so much the mode of baptism whether your you're immersed in water with your sprinkled in water but the fact that by the public right you are identified in the open, public way with Jesus Christ. I think that's the basic meaning of the word did so anyway. Capital means to dip teams of means to identify that's the case what Paul is saying here I think is what is our use of being identified with Christ is dead man. That is, those who have heard his call who have picked up their cross and started on the way to balled up after him because he says that's what we do.

I profess I die daily what it means to be a Christian it means to be a marked man or to be a marked woman.

What's the use of doing that. Why should we stick our neck out and say I want to be Christ's man.

I want to be Christ's woman. If the dead rise not why there's no resurrection that's crazy. But spend life for what we can get out of it. Let's live, drink and be merry because tomorrow were going to die and deadline death last a long, long time. But let's get what we can now because you understand Paul is recommending that Paul is saying no no, there is a resurrection, Christ has been raised in Christ being raised as the firstfruits of those that swept the first, and then all united to him and saving faith will follow.

So we don't look forward to an empty zero the time of our death.

We don't even look forward to a meaningless some kind of vague existence. Some philosophical continuation of the mind and some Urbana state. He said we forward to God's continuing with us as he began with us personality individuality possessing body soul and spirit changed. Of course yes because you're going to be lifted up and made like Jesus Christ including being made like him in his resurrection body.

Nevertheless, that's our destiny as a personal and that's a very glorious thing I wonder is I talk about this.

There are people who listen to these claims of Christianity and of said well you know I I can understand what you're talking about, but it really isn't my faith.

At least it's not my faith yet. I've heard these things, but Christ is not my Savior.

I'm really not united to him in a way which will result in his own time in a resurrection that may well be the case. I hope it is because the church services should be of service were many calm people from all walks of life and all kinds of experience and about your case, I want to say that the gospel invitation is always open and you don't have to wait for a special right, you don't have to be baptized.

You don't have to wait for a special opportunity to join the church.

You don't even have to wait invitation other than that which Jesus himself gives he said, to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, only asses that you acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you're serious about following him find that is your going to heaven. That kind of supernatural belief because it comes from God. You get to that point united to him then that union which God himself makes between you and Jesus Christ is an unbreakable thing God never begins the thing and then changes his mind later unites you the Christ and you may go through a lifetime and not understand things real well though. You should and you may even be in the situation of some of these Corinthians were modeled in their spiritual thinking, but in the final analysis, it doesn't matter, because what matters is not that you know all about God but the God knows all about you and has done what is necessary for your salvation.

So if you haven't done that I give you that invitation.

That opportunity now.

Which of the same time is also the command of God in the command Jesus Christ that you turn from your sin that you turn to him and find these marvelous truths that really are the essence of the meaning of history and the meaning of personal existence.

You might find that these great truths are yours as well. Let us pray our father we ask you to bless these verses that we've studied and what is been said about them to our hearts we know that we can talk about your truth, but only you can implant truth in the heart because you made the hard we would ask that you would do that and do it in a powerful and personal way to many people ran to being united to Christ they might find so many millions before them have found that old things are indeed passed away and they become new creatures in these might be precious moments for many, for Christ sake, we pray in his name you're listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Aiken, God's living word with pastor, the Rev. Richard Phillips and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution.

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