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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every outline posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

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SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 15:20-27, 35-44


KEY VERSES: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept…. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.--

 1 Corinthians 15:20, 22


INTRODUCTION: The glory of our Christianity is that it never views life as being complete in this world. It always has its eyes lifted to the morning, and gazes out upon the eternities, recognizing that we belong to eternity as well as to time. So now the apostle deals with that great subject of the resurrection.


I. CHRIST’S RESURRECTION AND OURS. (1 Corinthians 15:20-27)


A. Christ is the firstfruits. (15:20-23a)


Verse 20: Christ literally rose from the dead [“slept” means died]. It was a resurrection of His body. Jesus Christ died, was buried, and then rose from the dead. He walked bodily out of the tomb.


Verse 21: Adam sinned and the curse of death was put on the whole human race. The Second Adam overcame death and was resurrected from the dead. Jesus Christ has become our blessed hope!


Verse 22: We will all die if Jesus delays. If this life is all we have, we are of all men most miserable. But we, as believers in Jesus Christ, shall be resurrected just like our Savior. We have God’s Word on that.


Verse 23a: That Christ is the “firstfruits” of the Resurrection means that the resurrection of Christ is the down payment, or guarantee, that Christians will also be raised from the dead. The Lord’s bodily resurrection is the prototype of the future resurrection of all those who trust in Him for salvation.


B. The harvest will come at the rapture. (15:23-26)


Verse 23: How wonderful that is! “Christ is risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” -- meaning the sleep of death. “For since by man came death [that man is Adam], by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” “In Adam all die” -- the proof that you are in the family of Adam is that you are going to die unless the Lord comes to take you in the Rapture. “Even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.


Jesus Christ is the firstfruits, and then “afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” What is He coming for? He is coming for His church.


Verse 24: “Then cometh the end” -- the end of what? The end of the age. How will the age end? There, will come the (1) Great Tribulation, and then there is going to be the (2) millennial kingdom here on the earth. (3) Satan will be released again for a little while, then he will be (4) cast forever into the lake of fire, and the (5) Lord Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom forever.


That will be the eternal kingdom. Actually, the eternal kingdom is a further projection of the millennial kingdom, only the millennial kingdom will be a time of trial. “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God.” When will this take place? At the end of the millennial kingdom, Christ will put down all rule and all authority and power.


Verses 25-26: Jesus will finally put all things under His feet, including death. In other words, to deny the resurrection of the dead is to deny the future kingdom of Christ. If believers are “dead and gone,” then God’s promise for the future is null and void.


Satan, the author of death, will be destroyed by our great God. All things will be put under our Savior’s feet. I’ll be glad when we get rid our old enemy, Satan. Hell was prepared for Satan and his angels!


C. Christ will deliver all things unto the Father. (15:27)


Christ sealed death’s destruction with His own death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. But complete victory over death will come when Jesus Christ returns to defeat Satan, the one who introduced sin into the world and brought the judgment of death upon the whole human race.


Fact, Not Fable


The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Without it we have no hope for this life nor the life to come. That's why it is important to recognize that our belief in Christ's resurrection is not based on a religious feeling or unfounded rumor, but on historical fact with solid evidence to support it.


A century ago, a group of lawyers met in England to discuss the biblical accounts of Jesus' resurrection. They wanted to see if enough information was available to make a case that would hold up in a court of law. They concluded that Christ's resurrection was one of the most well-established facts of history.


In his book Countdown, G. B. Hardy offers some thought-provoking questions about the resurrection: "There are but two essential requirements: (1) Has anyone cheated death and proved it? (2) Is it available to me?" Hardy goes on to declare that only the tomb of Jesus is empty. And because Jesus conquered sin and death, we who put our faith in Him will share in His resurrection.


"If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile," Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:17. Historical evidence and countless changed lives testify that the resurrection of Jesus is a fact. Have you put your hope in the risen Christ? David C. Egner, Our Daily Bread, March 27, 2005


II. THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY. (1 Corinthians 15:35-44)


A. The resurrection body is fashioned by God. (15:35-38)


Verse 35: Paul has answered those who denied the resurrection of the body by the resurrection of Christ whose body was raised up.


Now the question is, “How can a body that dies be raised up again and be the same?” Paul says that we learn from nature that the bodies are not identical -- they are the same but not identical.


Verse 36: The answer to the first question: the how. He says in effect, “If you only had sense enough to see it, you would see that in a seed which is planted, there is dissolution and continuity -- a seed that is planted will produce seeds which are essentially the same as that seed. But the seed itself has died and disintegrated, so that the seed it produces is not the very seed that died. It is like that seed, but it is not the same seed. In the seed that is planted there is disintegration and yet there is continuity. It is a mystery, but it is not impossibility.”


What is death? Death is a separation. It is not the ending of the spirit or of the personality. These do not die. The real “you” goes on to be with the Lord if you are a child of God. It is the body that disintegrates. Death is a separation of the body from the individual, from the person. The body disintegrates, decays, decomposes. Dust to dust and ashes to ashes applies only to the body.


Verse 37: Paul now answers the second question: What body is raised up? The sowing of grain is the illustration. Christ is the firstfruits, then we’ll be coming along later. We are waiting for the rapture of the church when Christ takes the believers out of the world. If at the time of the Rapture we are already dead, we will be raised up. If we are still alive at the time of the Rapture, we’ll be caught up and changed. Notice that the seed does not provide itself with a new body, neither does the sower, but God provides it!


Verse 38: Paul then moves into another area. All of this is the mystery of life. Actually the mystery of life is greater than the mystery of death. When you sow wheat, wheat comes up -- not barley or corn. That little grain that forms on the stalk is like the one you sowed -- not identical, but certainly very similar.


Raised from the Dead


Resurrection means to be raised from the dead (John 5:28,29). The word is used in different contexts in the Bible. Lazarus was raised from the dead (John 11:43). This is a resurrection, but it is not part of the resurrection that occurs when we receive our new bodies when Christ returns (1 Thess. 4:13-18), on the last day (John 6:39-44) when the last trumpet is blown (1 Cor. 15:51-55). Lazarus died again.


The resurrection of Jesus is promissory in that as we know He was raised, so we will be raised also. In that context, Jesus is the only one who has received a resurrected body. That is why He is called the first-fruit from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20-23). We will receive our bodies either at the rapture or when Jesus returns to earth.


The resurrected body is not subject to death or sin. We know very little about it except what was manifested by Jesus after His resurrection; namely, that He was able to move about as He desired—in and out of rooms without the use of doors. Other than that, the rest is conjecture. (See 1 Cor. 15).  -- Source unknown


B. The resurrection body is a glorified body. (15:39-44)


Verse 39: Now Paul moves from the area of botany to zoology. The difference between a dead body and the resurrection body is greater than the difference between men and beasts, fish and birds. Paul says that all flesh is not the same flesh.


Verses 40-41: Paul now moves into the realm of astronomy and says that all the bodies of the solar system are not the same. The sun is not the same material as the moon, neither is it the same as the stars. The stars differ from each other. There is a solar system, a stellar system, planets, and suns.


Verse 42: The body that was given Adam was always subject to death. Although he would not have died if he had not sinned, his body would have been subject to death. However, by resurrection we get a body that is incorruptible.


Verses 43-44: We will get glory and color and beauty and power -- all of these things -- with the new body.


The Resurrection of Jesus Christ


For centuries many of the world's distinguished philosophers have assaulted Christianity as being irrational, superstitious and absurd. Many have chosen simply to ignore the central issue of the resurrection. Others have tried to explain it away through various theories. But the historical evidence just can't be discounted.


A student at the University of Uruguay said to me. "Professor McDowell, why can't you refute Christianity?"


"For a very simple reason," I answered. "I am not able to explain away an event in history -- the resurrection of Jesus Christ."


How can we explain the empty tomb? Can it possibly be accounted for by any natural cause? -- Josh McDowell, Evidence for the Resurrection


CONCLUSION: The Bible promises the resurrection of the believer and “God is not slack concerning His promises.” The age in which we live is filled with people seeking spiritual truth. Paul assured the Corinthians that their faith was founded on the fact of Christ’s resurrection. Our obligation is to receive the risen Christ as our Saviour and dedicate our lives to sharing with unbelievers the fact of Christ’s resurrection and the promise of eternal life with Him.


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Christ's resurrection is more than a fact of history -- it's the proof of our salvation.”


REFERENCES: References used in this Bible study are from the Believer’s Bible Commentary, David C. Cook Publishers Bible-in-Life, Dr. Cliff Robinson Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, KJV Bible Commentary, Our Daily Bread, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament Ed. 4, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, and selected illustrations.



E-Mail: Ronald Purkey


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