Twin City church of Christ Blog

Twin City church of Christ Blog

Displaying 1 - 5 of 101

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 19 20 21

May 20, 2024 - A New Body

Sunday, May 19, 2024

A New Body

Reading:  1 Corinthians 15:35-49
    Having established the need for a resurrection, Paul now answers some questions from the skeptics about how precisely the resurrection will work.  “But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised?  With what kind of body do they come?’”(1 Cor 15:35).  First, he explains that resurrection is not outside human experience.  “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.  But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body”(1 Cor 15:36-38).  When we sow seeds, they “die,” yet emerge more impressive, more glorious, and with a different body.  This is a kind of resurrection, along with a God-given body equipped for new life.

    Paul wants us to embrace this contrast in anticipation of the resurrection.  “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.  It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory.  It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body”(1 Cor 15:42-44).  Death is not to be feared; it is the gateway to resurrection and greater glory.  Our present existence is marred by the curse of sin and its accompanying death, dishonor, and weakness.  The resurrection will see us emerge with far more glory in a different type of body.  In another place, Paul explains that Jesus “will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself”(Phil 3:21).  We will be raised and given a new body.

    Of course we long for details about that new body.  Will we look like we do now?  Will we need to eat or sleep?  We only have experience in this body and it is hard to imagine a new body.  While Paul does not answer all of our questions, he gives essential encouragement:  I may die, but I will live again.  And because of Jesus’ resurrection, that new life will far surpass what I now know.  

One Thing to Think About:  Why do we find the idea of a new body appealing?

One Thing to Pray For:  Confidence in Jesus’ power, even though I don’t fully understand

May 17, 2024 - Then Comes the End

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Then Comes the End

Reading:  1 Corinthians 15:20-34
    Paul has been addressing some in Corinth who deny the resurrection of the dead.  He argues that this denial necessarily means denying Jesus’ resurrection also—which creates obvious problems.  “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”(1 Cor 15:20).  Jesus’ resurrection is the “firstfruits," the first part of a crop that promises more to come.  His resurrection promises more resurrections.  “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”(1 Cor 15:21-22).  Jesus’ resurrection means that God is undoing the death and damage Adam began.  It is the beginning of a new hope for all.

     “But each in his own order:  Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.  Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power”(1 Cor 15:23-24).  The timing of the resurrection is laid out for us.  It will happen “at his coming.”  The only other event on Paul’s eschatological map here is “the end,” which is signaled by Jesus delivering the kingdom to the Father, having conquered all other authorities.  “Then comes the end” leaves no room for raptures, literal millennia of Christ’s reign, or intermediate stages.  Jesus returns.  People rise.  Then comes the end.

     We get a glimpse here of the ultimate plan of all things.  God has begun the process of undoing death through Jesus’ resurrection.  He has also begun the process of putting all enemies under the feet of Jesus—which will only be completed when even death is conquered (1 Cor 15:26).  We live between the beginning of this process and its completion—and eagerly await the end, when all enemies are destroyed.

One Thing to Think About:  How does Jesus’ victory over death impact me personally?

One Thing to Pray For:  Jesus to come quickly 

May 16, 2024 - Why Resurrection Matters

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Why Resurrection Matters

Reading:  1 Corinthians 15:12-19
    Having established that the gospel message includes the resurrection of Jesus, Paul comes to his point:  “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?”(1 Cor 15:12).  Some of the Corinthians believe that “there is no resurrection of the dead”—probably referring to a general resurrection of the dead at the end of time.  Jews believed this while Greeks often struggled with it (Acts 17:32).  Yet Paul stresses that arguing against resurrection does more than just describe current humanity; it also guts the gospel of its power because it means that Jesus has not been raised.  “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised”(1 Cor 15:13).  Now we’ve got problems.

    Paul spells it out:  apostolic preaching is worthless, Corinthian faith is worthless, the apostles are liars, all believers are still in their sins, and those who have died in hope of resurrection are simply gone (1 Cor 15:14-18).  In Paul’s logic, we are putting our faith in a dead man and the apostles are encouraging others to believe in this dead man.  Every time Paul affirms that Jesus rose from the dead (as he has just done, v. 4-8), he is bearing false witness about God.  We are not forgiven of our sins because Jesus does not live to make intercession for us.  “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied”(1 Cor 15:19).  Christianity without resurrection is a powerless delusion.

     Can God raise dead people and give them new life?  It is a question that has both personal and cosmic implications.  Yet Paul argues that God has already proven that he can and will do this.  The proof is in Jesus.  Because Jesus has been raised, apostolic preaching and witness are powerful and life-giving.  Because Jesus is raised, we are saved from our sins.  Because Jesus has been raised, those who have died in Christ will live again.  The resurrection is the key to everything.

One Thing to Think About:  Why might we be tempted to argue that “there is no resurrection of the dead”?

One Thing to Pray For:  A deeper, richer hope in the resurrection—for others and myself

May 15, 2024 - By the Grace of God I Am What I Am

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

By the Grace of God I Am What I Am

Reading:  1 Corinthians 15:1-11
    Paul shifts gears here to address a teaching problem in Corinth regarding the resurrection.  He retreats to their common understanding of the basic facts of the gospel (v. 1-2).  “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:  that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised the third day in accordance with the Scriptures”(1 Cor 15:3-4).  There are certain facts and historical events at the core of the Christian faith:  Jesus’ atoning death (prophesied in Scripture), his burial (proving that he actually died), and his resurrection on the third day (also prophesied).  Denying the resurrection of Jesus means that Christians serve, follow, and hope in a dead man.

    Paul then recounts several witnesses who testify that they saw Jesus resurrected.  He appears to Peter and the other apostles (v. 5) as several gospel writers mention.  “Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep”(1 Cor 15:6).  Paul’s words imply that these people were still living witnesses bearing their testimony, a direct link to the heart of our faith.   Jesus appears to James and the other apostles (v. 7).  And there is one more:  “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.  For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain”(1 Cor 15:8-910).  Paul is given the special gift of witnessing the resurrected Jesus.  He is deeply thankful and humbled.  He knows the tremendous honor of being in this prestigious list—and how disqualified he should be.  It is “by the grace of God.”

    These verses drip with Paul’s gratitude for an undeserved gift.  Sometimes we mistakenly conclude that because God gives grace, there is nothing for us to do but receive it.  Yet Paul says “I worked harder than any of them”(1 Cor 15:10).  And as soon as we start to think that this is about his work, he adds, “though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me”(1 Cor 15:10).  God grants us rich gifts.  He changes how we think, work, and love.  We act in response to him, yet “by the grace of God I am what I am.”

One Thing to Think About:  Do I attribute my spiritual successes to God or myself?

One Thing to Pray For:  The humility to see God’s work in me for what it is

May 14, 2024 - Jesus Orders His Worship

Monday, May 13, 2024

Jesus Orders His Worship

Reading:  1 Corinthians 14:34-40
    Paul has addressed several issues of order in worship by instructing certain people to be silent at certain times in the interest of edification (1 Cor 14:28, 30).  “The women should keep silent in the churches.  For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.  If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home.  For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church”(1 Cor 14:34-35).  Women are taught to be silent as a sign of their submission.  Their questions are to be addressed at another time lest they interrupt the edifying focus of the worship.  While this seems harsh in our time, it is the same principle by which some tongue-speakers and prophets must be silent.  Not everyone is allowed to speak in Christian worship, and not everyone is allowed to speak at the time they would like.  This is not a statement on anyone’s relative worth, but simply an effort at order.

     Almost as if anticipating objections to these teachings, Paul challenges his audience:  “Or was it from you that the word of God came?  Or are you the only ones it has reached?  If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord”(1 Cor 14:36-37).  Jesus is the one behind the ordering of his worship and Paul insists that we acknowledge that.  The word does not originate with us or only involve us.  Jesus orders his worship and we must submit.

     Order is a priority for Jesus because only orderly, understandable worship promotes edification.  “But all things should be done decently and in order”(1 Cor 14:40).  This order is no substitute for passionate, sincere worship—yet passionate, sincere worship that is disorderly violates Jesus’ will here.  Jesus orders his worship and we must submit to his order.

One Thing to Think About:  Do I find orderly worship restrictive and dull?  How might I change that?

One Thing to Pray For:  Worship that honors Jesus by submitting to his wishes

Displaying 1 - 5 of 101

Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 19 20 21