Know WHO You Believe


In the final part of I Corinthians 15, Paul continues his defense of the Resurrection by challenging his listeners to make sure they don’t miss out. Paul wants to make sure people understand the necessity of the Resurrection and refute those who deny it by urging that it is an absolute necessity if there is to be any Christian faith at all.  If there is no resurrection, everything is up for grabs — Christ’s death as a saving event, forgiveness of sins, hope for the future, Christian ethics, the very character of God himself.

Because Jesus rose, we too will rise if we put our faith in Him. And here is where Paul drives home three powerful and awesome personal applications of the Resurrection.

1: You’re Going to Like the Way You Look (vs. 35-49)

  • What will you look like in Heaven? I’ve put in my order for 6’4” and 220 lbs of chiseled muscle (HA!). But seriously, what does the Bible say about the kind of body we’re going to have in Heaven? Paul gives us some clues in this passage as he goes to task with those who were denying the bodily resurrection of Christ. Notice his responses to the critics.
    • Vs. 35 “But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?’”
      • The critics are asking two questions here:
        • How are the dead raised?
        • What kind of body will they come back in?
      • Paul knows that because they couldn’t handle the how, they gave up on the what. They had concluded the dead could not be raised.
    • Vs. 36 “How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
      • The Bible says that a fool is the person who has failed to take God into account. For many people, having Easter on April Fool’s Day is perfect because they believe only a fool would believe in the resurrection of the dead.
      • However, Scripture teaches that we are all in one of two camps: the fool camp or the wisdom camp. And here is what determines which camp we are in: Psalm 14:1 — “A fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’”  Proverbs 9:10 — “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” Which camp are you in?
      • God is a big God and He can do whatever He wants. That includes not only rising from the dead but also raising you from the dead and giving you a new body.
    • Vs. 37-38 “When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.”
      • The seed is a great example of continuity and transformation. The seed is simple; it doesn’t look like a flower or tree. The seed is planted, but essentially dies to itself and rises as something new – the same seed essence but it sprouts as something new.  Continuity and transformation — both are seen in a seed sprouting as a flower or tree or crop of wheat.
      • It’s similar for us. We will be the same, but different.  Same person and spirit but a brand new body in heaven. There is transformation – but also continuity.
      • Our heavenly bodies will be much better than the ones we have now. The Bible uses this comparison: If our bodies now are like a tent, in Heaven they will be like a house (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).
    • Vs. 39-41 “Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.”
      • There are lots of examples from creation here. The earthly bodies are important, but our heavenly bodies will be special.
    • Vs. 42-44 “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”
      • Notice the continuity and transformation principle here again.
      • Mankind has searched for the secret of immortality down through history, thinking “If I can but find the Holy Grail and drink from the ‘cup of Christ’ I will live forever.” Paul lets his listeners know that we can all live forever, but it is not by drinking from the cup of Christ.  It is by trusting in the Person and work of Christ who came to die – and then rise – so we can one day rise from the dead and live forever in Heaven with our Risen Savior.
      • We don’t know everything there is to know about Heaven, but Paul gives us a peek at what our new bodies will look and be like.
        • From perishable to immortal (they won’t wear out).
        • From dishonor to glorious (we will finally like how we look).
        • From weakness to powerful (we won’t get tired).
        • From natural to spiritual (No more physical limitations).
    • Vs. 45-49 “So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.’ The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.”
      • Paul is comparing and contrasting Adam and Christ, the natural man and the spiritual man, the carnal and the spiritual.
      • Paul’s point throughout is this: “As with Christ, the same yet not the same; this body, but adapted to the new conditions of heavenly existence: sown one way, it is raised another, but the same body is sown and raised.”

2: It Will Be the Trip of a Lifetime (Vs. 50-55)

  • If you could travel anywhere in the world for a trip of a lifetime, where would you like to go? Hawaii, Disney World, Paris, Egypt to see the pyramids, climb Mt. Everest?
  • Think about your trip and then think about all the preparation that goes into making that trip a real success: plane tickets, visa, passport, land travel, accommodations, packing perfectly, etc.
  • There is no greater trip you could ever take or imagine than Heaven! It will be perfect in every way – but it too requires preparation. You must make peace with God through faith in Christ. Jesus is the only ticket to Heaven. Have you received Him and His forgiveness and committed your life to follow Him and His teachings?
  • I love what Revelation 21:3-4 says about Heaven: “God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” What does this say? Heaven will be trouble free, tear free, and time free. There are lots of troubles in this life – but not in Heaven. We cry lots of tears in this life – but not in Heaven. And of course there are lots of pressure in this life – but not in Heaven. Heaven will be trouble free, tear free, and time free.
  • “There will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain.” Why is that? Because the things that cause those won’t exist in Heaven. Kids won’t rebel, cars won’t break down, people won’t lose their jobs or houses; they won’t lose their loved ones, their spouses, their families. Children will never be abused. There will be no financial problems in Heaven. There is no cancer in Heaven. There are no relational problems in Heaven. You get my point: Heaven will be the trip of a lifetime – and it will be perfect.

3: It Will Never, Ever End (Vs. 56-58)

  • Have you ever gone on a vacation or spent time with your loved ones and it ends way too soon and you have to go back to the real world? Well Heaven will be the real world and every day you wake up it will be only the beginning of forever. The first day of forever!
  • It will feel like home, because it will be home – and it will be perfect in every way.
  • Paul says The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
    • We know from Scripture that sin and law condemns but the Bible also says in Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” In other words, “He who the Son sets free is free indeed.”
  • Paul closes this epic chapter of I Corinthians 15 with these words “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
    • This is one of the greatest verses in all of the Bible for you and me.
    • He ends where he starts, encouraging us to stand firm, to let nothing move us. It’s a reminder to anchor deep in truth and realize the truth of the message of Jesus and the first Apostles.
  • Now is the time to labor for Jesus, to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ every day and in every way we can. The time is short and it’s time to get ready for the trip of a lifetime – and to take as many with us as we can.

Take a moment and think about Heaven with me. Can you imagine what it will be like? Everything will be new and perfect, and we will be with Christ! No more tears, only joy. No more trials, only happiness. No more fear, only Christ. Can you imagine?