Fields of Witness

Studies in First Corinthians – XXVII

1 Corinthians 15: 35-38

The purpose for writing this chapter was to address the question we have in verse twelve: “How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” Paul has answered this question with overwhelming evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the resulting implications. However, there are still some people who are not satisfied. Paul anticipates their questions:

“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” (15:35).

From the outside looking in, it is easy for us to look down on the skeptic, but his question is a natural one. We all have witnessed death and decay. We have witnessed the dramatic change that takes place in a body void of life and personality. How ARE the dead raised up?

Paul’s response doesn’t seem very polite, “Thou fool” (15:36). He has no doubt about this question. He gives a simple illustration of a death as an example (15:36-38).

But if the dead are raised up, if a man must, in the flesh, see God, if there is an appointment with Him awaiting every one of us, then our preparation for that day is important. -Redpath

The illustration Paul gives is that of a simple grain of wheat. He invites us to give it a proper burial in the ground. It is dead. But soon you will see, pushing through the black soil, a green shoot rising, full of life. By some amazing miracle, a new plant has come out of the dead grain that you put into the ground.

“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24).

That is Paul’s answer. The mystery of the resurrection of the body is no greater than that. If you say that because you cannot understand, you will not believe in the resurrection of the body, then logically you have to say that you don’t believe in harvest because you don’t understand the process.

You can only understand the miracle of each if you put God behind them. All the harvest fields of the world are witness to the work of God who takes death, brings it to life, gives it a new body, and produces the harvest. As Paul says, it is no more difficult to believe in the resurrection than it is to believe in the harvest.

If you are looking for hope beyond this life, look to the fields. Observe how He brings life out of death. Notice them, the fields of witness.

The Gospel In A Nutshell

Studies in First Corinthians – XXV

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Paul is quickly coming to an end of his first letter to the church at Corinth. He has revealed the emptiness of their supposed knowledge and philosophy. He has preached the message of the cross. He has corrected the errors in their practices and doctrine. He has proclaimed the triumph of love. And now he draws out the foundation upon which he has leaned heavily: the gospel.

“I declare unto you the gospel” (15:1).

Nothing else matters if they have not truly received the gospel. Have their lives been changed by their response to the implications of the dynamic message of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Paul demonstrates to them that the gospel he has preached is based upon certain facts. Furthermore, there is indisputable evidence, so there is no excuse for failing to believe and accept it. Not only is this gospel based upon facts, but it has immense personal implications for every person. The awful possibility grips Paul’s mind as he thinks that the Corinthians may have only believed in vain. This depends, for them and for us, whether our faith has produced a proper response.

What are the facts? “I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (15:3-4). That is the gospel in a nutshell. It is the simple story of a man who lived in the Middle East about two thousand years ago who was crucified outside Jerusalem. He was buried and He rose again. He wasn’t just any man, He was God manifest in flesh. He died for our sin so that we can live.

These simple facts need each other. If you take anything away, you have no gospel. A cross without a resurrection is no gospel. The death of a sinful man does nothing to impact the eternity of mankind. These things: He died, He was buried, He rose again, are the basic elements of the Christian faith. Twelve simple men, most of them fishermen, could never have turned the world upside down unless all of the facts were true.

Have you believed the gospel of Jesus Christ? It will show.

“Follow Me” Means Everywhere (An Easter Post)

Jesus did not offer any conditions when He told his disciples to follow him.  He didn’t give them any specifics.  He didn’t tell them where they would be going.  He didn’t say follow me, unless I go somewhere that you don’t want to follow.  He simply said, “Follow Me.”  And that meant Everywhere.

And if I may, let me suggest on this Easter week, that there are three very specific places that we must follow Him; we must follow Him to the cross, we must follow Him to the grave; and then (and only then) we will follow Him in resurrection.

1. The Cross

“Take up your cross and follow me,” is what Jesus said.  There is no following Christ without a cross.  There is no following Christ without repentance.  Many imagine that they are following Jesus but they have not turned from their sin and toward Him.  Paul knew it and understood it.  He said, “I die daily,” and “I am crucified with Christ.”  If we are going to follow Him, following Him to the cross will be one of the first steps that we take.

2. The Grave

Just as Jesus was buried, we also must be buried with Him in Baptism.  Baptism is done by immersion (greek: baptizo) and is in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul had more to say about this in his letter to the Romans, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death…”  If we have followed Jesus to the cross, it is only natural that we will follow Him to the Grave.

3. The Resurrection

Finally, if we have followed Jesus to the cross and to the grave, we are promised that we will follow Him in resurrection.  “…that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:”  When we follow Jesus to the cross in repentance and to the grave in baptism, we are promised that we shall follow Him in resurrection as we are gloriously filled with the Holy Ghost!

What do you say friend?  Have you followed Him Everywhere?  If not, this Easter season would be a great time to fall in behind Jesus and let your heart sing, “where He leads me, I will follow.”