1 Corinthians 15:5-8
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:…
I. THE CHARACTER OF THOSE OF WHOM IT MAY BE SAID WHEN THEY DIE,"THEY ARE FALLEN ASLEEP." "Brethren," and not on account of a natural relationship, but of a spiritual union. They were brethren, because they had been united to "the Elder Brother," "the First-born among many brethren"; and their union to Him was the foundation of their union to each other. As brethren, there was a sameness in their principles — in their hopes — in their consolations — in their rejoicing when they beheld a risen Saviour.
II. THE STATE OF SUCH PERSONS AFTER DEATH. Sleep denotes —
1. Their rest. The time of sleep is the time of rest so sweet to the labouring man. The believer's life here is compared to a day; his departure home to a night. Hence the exhortation, "Work while it is called day, for the night cometh when no man can work." Every description of Christian character conveys the idea of labour. He has to run, to fight, to wrestle, etc.; and death is as the commencing of repose when the labour of the day is done.
2. Their safety. We could not go to rest at night if we knew that a robber would invade our dwelling-place, or a fire consume it, or a wind prostrate it, or a murderer attempt our lives. It is when we have barred our houses against intruders, and committed ourselves to the protection of our Creator, that we close our eyes in hope that we shall both lay ourselves down and sleep in peace and safety. The figure illustrates the perfect safety of those who have entered into peace. It is then that the believer enters into regions which will never be ruffled, and into glories which will never be obscured, and upon joys which will never be interrupted. For no enemy can harass there, no care oppress, no affliction try. And it is a precious remembrance, that the body is safe too. The body of the saint in the tomb is a precious deposit. Christ will rescue it from the darkness and the disgrace of the tomb, and will invest it with honour and immortality.
3. Their resurrection. When we sleep at night, it is with a hope of waking again in the morning.Conclusion: Let this subject —
1. Comfort us concerning our departed friends.
2. Comfort us under our present trials.
3. Excite inquiries whether, if we die at this moment, it would be a sleep in Christ Jesus.
Parallel VersesKJV: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: