How do Faith and Reason Work Together?
What it means to be human: Spiritual/Physical
Illustration: Terry referenced a book called “The world, the Flesh, and Father Smith.” In the book Father Smith tells a story of a priest who encounters a seductive woman whose goal is to challenge the priest’s view of reality versus hers. He tells her that the life she prescribes to is a boring substitute for “walking with God in His house as a friend…” Then he follows this up by saying “The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.”
Question: What is the sinful man seeking when he searches for sin? In what way is he really looking for God?
To understand the Gospel so that we can better understand who we are as humans. The Gospel helps us to understand who we are, why we are, and what we are to spend our lives on.
READ: 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
1Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.
Question: Paul tells us in Vs. 1 that this is the gospel he preached. What is that Gospel?
Question: How does the gospel help us understand who we are as humans?
READ: 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead”? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised; 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is in vain, and so is your faith. 15 Moreover, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified wrongly about God that he raised up Christ—whom he did not raise up, if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Those, then, who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19 If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.
Question: According to this passage, why is the resurrection essential?
Note: As terry mentioned in the sermon, the Corinthian church wanted to hold to a bit of the Christian faith, but not look uncool to the culture that surrounded them. It was cool to be spiritual, but it seemed weird to the culture to believe in a bodily resurrection.
Question: What areas of Christianity are valued and appreciated by the broader culture? What ways do we shy away from Biblical truth in order to look cool in the eyes of the world?
Note: If resurrection for us isn’t real, then it wasn’t real for Christ either. And if it wasn’t real for Christ, then we will remain dead in our sins.
READ: 1 Corinthians 15:20-27
20 But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. 22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits; afterward, at his coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be abolished is death. 27 For God has put everything under his feet.
Question: What does Adam’s death guarantee us? In contrast, what does Christ’s resurrection guarantee?
Note: Vs. 23: Christ’s resurrection was the first fruits of the full harvest of resurrection that would follow. The first fruits were an offering given to God at the beginning of the harvest. It was a sign of hope because it was a promise, or a guarantee that the full harvest would follow.
READ: 1 Corinthians 15:29-34
29 Otherwise what will they do who are being baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are people baptized for them? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I face death every day, as surely as I may boast about you, brothers and sisters, in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus as a mere man, what good did that do me? If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 34 Come to your senses and stop sinning; for some people are ignorant about God. I say this to your shame.
Note: It is ok to acknowledge that vs. 29 can be confusing and we may not totally grasp what Paul is referring to. Many commentaries have varying interpretations of what he is saying. The important thing to remember is that vs. 29 is not the point of the passage. The point of the passage is that Christ was resurrected and as a result we will be resurrected too if we believe in him.
Paul here is acknowledging that the Corinthian churches behavior is not aligning with their claims that the resurrection didn’t really happen.
Question: In what ways does our culture act as if resurrection is real while verbally denying its existence?
Question: What is shameful about the Corinthian churches behavior?
READ: 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-49
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come?” 36 You fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And as for what you sow—you are not sowing the body that will be, but only a seed, perhaps of wheat or another grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he wants, and to each of the seeds its own body… 42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; 43 sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; 44 sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written, The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 Like the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; like the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.
Note: When you plant a seed it doesn’t come to life unless it dies… the seed goes into the ground, the husk rots away to a seedling, a new life. In addition, the seed doesn’t look like what it will become… it is different. God is displaying his ability to recreate each time he grows a seed into a plant… resurrection is all around us.
Question: How does Paul compare how we are sown/born with how we will be raised? (Vs. 42-49)
READ: 1 Corinthians 15:50-57
50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. 53 For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality. 54 When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. 55 Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting? 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Note: Unless we experience resurrection we will not see the fullness of our inheritance… life in God’s Kingdom. Christ’s resurrection gives us final victory over death.
READ: 1 Corinthians 15:58
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
- Be steadfast/Immovable… stand firm in the truth of God.
- Always excelling in the work of God.
Question: What is the work of God? What work has the Lord called you to do?
John 6:28-29 says “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered… “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
To believe in Jesus is to orient your entire lift around him. Be shaped by the truth into the image of Christ.
Rest in the truth that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.