1 Corinthians 15:12-19
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?…
1. Our religion is not based upon opinions, but upon facts. Whatever your "views" may be, is a small matter; what are the facts of the case?
2. When those outside the Church deny the gospel facts, we are not at all astonished; they are unbelievers, and they are acting out their own profession. But when men inside the Church deny the resurrection, then is our soul stirred within us. Paul's argument begins, If there be no resurrection —
I. CHRIST IS NOT RISEN. Now —
1. The apostles bore witness that Christ had risen.
2. "But," says one, "Christ might rise, and yet not His people." Not so, for Christ is one with His people. When Adam sinned, the whole human race fell in him, for they were one with him. In Adam all died. Now, Christ is the second Adam, and all believers are one with Him; and because He rose again, they must rise again; He lives and they shall live also.
II. APOSTOLIC PREACHING FALLS (vers. 14, 15). For —
1. The apostles were false witnesses. When a man bears false witness, he usually has a motive for doing so. What motive had these men? Surely they were the most extraordinary false witnesses who ever lived. What were their morals?
2. If we suppose that they were mistaken about this matter, we must suspect their witness about everything else; and the only logical result is to give up the New Testament altogether.
III. FAITH BECOMES DELUSION.
1. It is the belief of a lie. Take this home to yourselves: if He did not literally rise, this faith of yours, that gives you comfort, which has renewed you in heart and life, which you believe is leading you home to heaven, must be abandoned; it is fixed on a falsehood.
2. The trial will be too great for faith to endure, since it has for the very keystone of the arch the resurrection of Christ from the dead. If He did not rise, your faith rests on what never happened; and certainly your faith will not bear that trial. When you are sure that "the Lord is risen indeed," then you feel that there is something beneath your foot that does not stir.
IV. YE ARE YET IN YOUR SINS. For then —
1. There is no atonement made. Christ died, and by His death obtained the full discharge of all our obligations. But His rising again was the token that He had discharged the whole of the dread liabilities.
2. There is no life for those who are in Christ. If He were still slumbering in the grave, where would have been the life that now makes us joyful, and now makes us aspire after heavenly things?
V. ALL THE PIOUS DEAD HAVE PERISHED.
1. One phrase must be explained by the previous one; if Christ is not risen, they are yet in their sins. They died, and they told us that they were blood-washed and forgiven; but if Christ rose not from the dead, there is no saint who ever died, who has had any real hope; he has died under a delusion, and he has perished.
2. If Christ be not raised, the godly dead are yet in their sins, and they can never rise; for, if Christ did not rise they cannot.
VI. OUR SOURCE OF JOY IS GONE (ver. 19).
1. Believers have given up sensuous joys. If we consider the mirth of the worldling to be no better than the husks of swine, and there be no bread for us, in the fact that Christ rose from the dead, then we .are hungry indeed.
2. We have now learned superior things — holiness, communion with God. Now if, after having tasted these superior joys, they all turn out to be nothing, then we are indeed of all men the most miserable.
3. We have had high hopes that have made our hearts leap for joy. We have been transported with the full conviction that our eyes "shall see the King in His beauty," etc., and if that be not sure, then are we of all men the most miserable.Conclusion: Everything hinges upon a fact, and if that is not a fact, it is all up with us.
1. Our eternal hopes do not depend upon our moral condition; for these men in Corinth would not have been better or worse if Christ had not risen from the dead. The reason of your being safe is not the result of what you are, but of what He did.
2. The great hope you have does not hinge even upon your spiritual state. You must be born again; but still, your ultimate hope is not in what you are spiritually, but in what He is.
3. Your being forgiven and saved depends not upon your sincerity and your earnestness. You may be very sincere, and very earnest, and yet be wrong all the while.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?