Baptism for the Dead

1 Corinthians 15:29-30, “29 Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? 30 Why are we also in danger every hour?”

In verse 29 we see the Apostle Paul reference “baptism for the dead” and at first glance it could sound like the Apostle Paul is introducing something crazy.  But, it is important to remember the Apostle Paul is referencing a religious ceremony like “baptism for the dead” as an example to expose an inconsistency in the beliefs of the Corinthian church.

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Death Isn’t the End

1 Corinthians 15:23-24, “23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.”

In 1 Corinthians 15 the Apostle Paul is speaking to the Corinthian church to remind them of the importance of our physical bodies and remembering what we do with our lives matter.

If you notice in verse 23 the Apostle Paul reminds us of the life, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus, and it is upon the return of Jesus the Apostle Paul writes, “Then comes the end.”

Which means when you are in Christ your physical body might be put in the ground, but death isn’t the end. When you are in Christ you might experience horrible loss, but that horrible loss isn’t the end.

When you are in Christ you might struggle and suffer the whole of your life, but struggling and suffering isn’t the end. One day Jesus is going to return. One day there will be a trumpet call of God, Jesus will return, and then comes the end.

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Our Physical Bodies Matter to God

1 Corinthians 15:12, “12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?”

1 Corinthians is written by the Apostle Paul and Paul’s life has been radically changed through faith in Jesus, and the resurrected Jesus has sent Paul from city to city proclaiming the name of Jesus around the world.

One of those cities is Corinth, and in verse 12 there are some men and women in the Corinthian Church who are saying, “There is no resurrection of the dead.”  Now, it is important to remember the people in the Corinthian church believe Jesus resurrected from the dead, but the people in the Corinthian Church are not sure if there is a future resurrection of the dead for those who are followers of Jesus.

This can be confusing, but the common belief in the Corinthian culture was the physical was inferior to the spiritual, therefore, the physical body didn’t really hold any lasting value in the Corinthian culture.  The Greeks influenced the Corinthian culture to place more emphasis on the spiritual, or philosophical being of a person, and less emphasis on the physical being of a person, so that the Corinthian church had little value for the physical body.

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Eyewitness Evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus

1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”

The phrase, “He was raised on the third day” speaks to authority of Jesus offering eternal life to all who trust in Him. The resurrection is the validation. The resurrection is the proof.

I remember when I was in college I was returning a DVD I had purchased at Wal-Mart, and I tried to return the DVD directly to the entertainment part of the store. Rookie mistake!

The person behind the counter says, “You can’t return that DVD here. You need to go to the front of the store.” So I walked to the front of the store to return my previously purchased DVD, and from behind me I hear this man yelling, “Stop, thief, stop thief” and pointing in my direction.

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Life In Jesus

1 Corinthians 15:1-2, “1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.”

The good news of Jesus is received, the good news of Jesus is where we stand, and the good news of Jesus is where we find life. In verse 2 the Apostle Paul writes the phrase, “by which you are saved.”

Listen to me, Jesus not only saves us from sin, but we are also saved to life. Yes, Jesus conquers our sin through His life, death, and resurrection. Yes, Jesus brings eternal life in heaven. But, Jesus also brings life today.

The Corinthian church was believing this lie that this physical life of pleasure, power, and purpose is all there is, so while we are here we need to try to get as much as we can out of life.

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Celebration Stewardship

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— 2 A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

When you read Ecclesiastes it is considered a part of wisdom literature. It is written by Solomon, who is one of the wisest people in the world, and in Ecclesiastes 3 Solomon in all his wisdom is looking at the pattern of life over and over and he draws these conclusions.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-11, “9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. 11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”

In verse 9 Solomon asks, “What’s the profit?” Solomon is making an observation on the repetitive cycle of life never making any progress, so that in verse 9 Solomon asks, “What’s the point of life?”

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Relational Stewardship

Galatians 6:1, “1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Galatians is written by the Apostle Paul to a region of churches in Galatia, modern day Turkey, and in verse 1 you see the phrase, “Restore one another in a spirit of gentleness.”  The word, “restore” in the original language means to “equip, mend together, expose rips and tears, and build up in truth,” because even though we profess to be followers of Jesus, we still wonder into sin. Did you see that in verse 1?

We are a people who get caught up in sin. The word “caught” used in verse 1 means to be “overtaken by sin” or “ensnared by sin,” so that the Apostle Paul is describing biblical relationships as people who get caught up in sin, and then rally around one another to restore, expose, and build up in truth.

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