Paul finishes this letter to the Corinthians reminding them of the gospel he had proclaimed to them. They should be alert, stand Firm in the faith, act courageously, be strong. The work Jesus Christ began to do was not finished, but they now have their part as witnesses to the world around them. They know that Christ was raised from the dead, and so will all those that have fallen asleep in Him. Jesus has been raised, the last Adam, a life giving spirit. so they should stand until tha last enemy of Christ is put under foot.
The Gospel I Proclaimed to You
1 Corinthians 15:1–11
Paul had brought the gospel to these people so he had already given them the gospel. He knows that he is writing to the church, to those that are saved. Even so, he doesn’t close this letter without rehearsing the full gospel to them again here.
1 Corinthians 15:1 Now I make known to you, brothers, the gospel which I proclaimed to you, which you have also received, in which you also stand,
He says, “The gospel I Proclaimed to You”, “in which you also stand”, “by which you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the message”. We have a life to live after accepting Christ, and it requires that we stand and hold on to the message we were given.
One Born At The Wrong Time
There is also another message that follows. Paul is preparing to talk to them about the resurrection because some of their friends and loved ones have fallen asleep, so he prepares them for this by saying in 1 Corinthians 15:4 after he says “that he was raised up on the third day according to the scriptures”. Then Paul interjects his other message, he recounts in 1 Corinthians 15:5-7 Jesus appearance to “Cephas” (Peter), “the twelve”, “more than five hundred”, “James, then to all the apostles”. It was after these appearances that Jesus went up into heaven. This was the end of the what we call the gospels. And, it was the beginning of what we call “the Acts of the Apostles”.
Now Paul separates himself saying in 1 Corinthians 15:8 “and last of all, as it were to one born at the wrong time, he appeared also to me”. Paul is part of a different era, some would say he is part of a different dispensation, this age of grace that we live in. And in 1 Corinthians 15:9 Paul says “I am the least of the apostles, not worthy to be called”.
The message Paul is signaling here, is that Jesus finished His work at the cross, but He didn’t finish His work with the Church. We sometimes look back at Jesus and the lives of the Apostles after him as if that was the end of the work God was doing. But when Jesus prayed before then end of His ministry, He prayed not only for the disciples but also for all who would hear their words. You may feel like Paul did that you are the least, that you are not worthy to be called. You may feel that you are as one born at the wrong time. But God has a plan for today. We have been born for this time, for this generation. The gospel message is not finished and we are the ones that will deliver it in our time.
Take Paul’s words and make them your own, from 1 Corinthians 15:10 “by the grace of God I am what I am”. God knows who you are and he knows what He made you to be. His grace is to you is not in vain. His grace is with you.
Christ Has Been Raised From the Dead
1 Corinthians 15:12–21
And if we have confidence in the gospel, that in 1 Corinthians 15:20 “Christ has been raised from the dead” then we can know that He is “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” and they will also be raised.
In Christ All Will be Made Alive
1 Corinthians 15:22–34
There is a clear promise from God in 1 Corinthians 15:22 that “in Christ all will be made alive”. And it will happen in God’s order in
1 Corinthians 15:23–24 (LEB) But each in his own group: Christ the first fruits, then those who are Christ’s at his coming, 24 then the end, when he hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when he has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
The Last Adam Became a Life-giving Spirit
1 Corinthians 15:35–45
We understand the natural process of planting a seed and we have seen the results, as Paul relates in 1 Corinthians 15:37 “what you sow is not the body which it will become”. We plant a seed that looks like nothing yet out of the ground come a tree or a plant or grain for food. So, we shouldn’t think it strange that our bodies in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 are “sown in corruption” and “raised in incorruption”. Our bodies are “sown in weakness” and “raised in power”. Our body “is sown a natural body” and “raised a spiritual body”. Just as Jesus, “the last Adam became a life-giving spirit”, we have the words of life for all who will hear us.
Flesh and Blood is Not Able to Inherit the Kingdom of God
1 Corinthians 15:46–58
A Great and Effective Door Has Opened
1 Corinthians 16:1–12
Stand Firm in the Faith, Act Courageously, be Strong
1 Corinthians 16:13–24
- 1 Corinthians 15:1–11 The Gospel I Proclaimed to You
- 1 Corinthians 15:22–34 In Christ All Will be Made Alive
- 1 Corinthians 15:35–45 The Last Adam Became a Life-giving Spirit
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-58
- 1 Corinthians 16:1-24