I Corinthians 15:21-34
I was on the phone with my wife and said,
“I’m almost home, honey, please put the coffee maker
on.” After a twenty second pause, I asked,
“You still there sweetheart?”
“Yeah…” she replied. “But I don’t think the coffee
maker wants to talk right now…”
Last week we looked at the significance of the
resurrection. Paul said that if there were no resurrection
then even Christ was not raised and our preaching is in
vain and our faith is in vain. He ended with a poignant
statement in verse 20,
“But in fact Christ has been raised
from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen
That is where we are going to pick up our study this
morning. Let’s pray as we begin our study.
I Corinthians 15:21-23
Paul mentions two men in verse 21.
With one came death
With the other came resurrection of the dead.
It’s not difficult to determine who Paul is writing about,
and he also tells us in the following verse.
Adam brought death and Christ, through the resurrection
brings eternal life.
Notice here 2 theological topics
Humanity of Christ – Jesus humbled Himself and put on
flesh and became man. He was fully human, able to feel
pain, sorrow, joy, and even experienced the same
temptations we face, yet He was without sin.
Original Sin – Because of Adam everyone who is born is
born with a sin nature. Adam sinned which brings death.
We are sinners because of Adam’s sin.
When you have some time, please look at Paul’s letter to
the church in Rome. He elaborates on the subject of one
man bringing sin into the world and one man bringing
justification and forgiveness of sin. You can find it in
Adam brought death, but Jesus is the resurrection and
In verse 20 Paul affirmed that Christ was in fact raised
from the dead and called him the first fruits of those who
have fallen asleep.
In verse 22 Paul writes that in Christ all shall be made
We have to be very careful to read this verse correctly.
This verse is not saying God is going to save everyone.
Notice those two key words: “in Christ”.
Only those who trust in Christ and receive His grace will
be made alive.
Remember Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new
creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new
Now in verse 23 he describes the order of the future
Remember from the end of chapter 14,
God is a God of Order.
Things will happen just as God has planned them and in
God’s perfect timing.
Christ was raised first – that happened. Paul has already
described the truth that many saw Him after His
God has promised that Jesus is coming back.
This is called His coming – Parousia in the Greek.
At this point those who have trusted in Christ but have
died will be resurrected from the dead.
Then comes the end.
I Corinthians 15:24-28
The Resurrection of Life
Now, there are various Scriptures that speak to the end,
Revelation and Thessalonians, Daniel and Ezekiel to name
And there are also various interpretations of the order of
the events listed in Scripture.
We aren’t going to get into all of the various end times
views today, but we do know that Jesus is coming back.
We know that Jesus is going to reign on earth for 1000
We know that Christ is going to crush all of His enemies
under His feet.
We know He is going to conquer every authority and
power – remember the spiritual forces of this world that
Paul told the church at Ephesus to put on the armor of
God to stand against?
Jesus is going to take them all out.
In fact, He is going to deliver the kingdom of God to the
Father. And then the earth and heaven we know will be
completely and utterly destroyed. And Christ will defeat
Satan and cast him into the lake of fire and death will be
And believers will be in the new heaven and new earth
that John described in Revelation 21.
Listen to how Jesus describes it to His disciples in
John 5:25-28; “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is
coming and is now here, when the dead will hear
the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear
will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he
has granted the Son also to have life in himself.
And he has given him authority to execute
judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not
marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who
are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out,
those who have done good to the resurrection of
life, and those who have done evil to the
resurrection of judgment.”
Did you notice what Jesus said? That the dead in Christ
heard the voice of Christ. His sheep know His voice and
Those who don’t know His voice will not hear and will not
Believers will enter the Resurrection of Life
Unbelievers will enter the Resurrection of Judgment also
known as the white throne judgment found in Revelation.
Adam brought death into the world.
Christ will remove death through His resurrection.
I Corinthians 15:29-34
3 Truths about the Resurrection
Verse 29 is very difficult to understand and there is much
disagreement among commentators as to its meaning.
Rather than speculate on the various interpretations, let’s
talk about what we know. If the resurrection is not true,
there is no point to baptism.
When a person is baptized they identify with the death of
Christ. That is when you go under the water. Also being
under the water represents His death. Coming up out of
the water represents Christ defeating death and
conquering the grave. The believer identifies with the
resurrection of Christ as he is raised from the water, he is
a new creation.
To put it succinctly:
The Resurrection Inspires Hope
Believers have the hope that Christ is coming back and
we will all be raised with Him in the resurrection.
Paul then goes on to mention some of the sufferings he
endured because of the gospel. If the resurrection were
not true then Paul would have had no reason to endure
the things he endured. He risked his life to proclaim the
death and the resurrection of Christ.
The Resurrection Encourages Sacrificial Service
Paul wraps up this section by reminding the Corinthians
of how they lived before they trusted Christ. They were
prone to drunkenness and eating too much and many
other sinful practices.
If the dead are not raised then it would be fine for them
to keep on living the way they used to live, but the
resurrection is true. Christ has been raised.
Jesus is alive.
The Resurrection Elicits High Morals
In what way does this text apply to our lives?
Paul was clearly impacted by the resurrection of Christ.
He lived his life fully for Christ.
This makes me think of the parable Jesus told of the 10
5 were foolish and 5 were wise.
The foolish didn’t bring any extra oil with them.
When the bridegroom didn’t come right away they ran
out of oil and were gone when he came because they had
to go buy more oil.
Jesus’ point is that we need to,
Live in Expectation of Jesus’ Return
We know He is coming back.
We want Him to find us doing His work when He comes
We don’t know if He will come back while we are still
living or if He will return after He has called us home. But
we do want to be ready.
Are you ready for His return?
What do you need to be doing each day to live for Him?