Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Preparing for Sunday . . . I Believe in Jesus Christ . . .on the thrid day rose from the dead

This week we have passed the half way mark in our study of the Apostle’s creed and we find ourselves at the claim that is at the center of our faith: We believe in Jesus Christ . . . [who] on the third day rose from the dead. Resurrection—it is the lens through which we see the entire gospel. Without resurrection, the cross would have been the end of the story and thus we could not properly say that we proclaim the gospel—GOOD NEWS!
With that in mind, here is our scripture for Sunday:
1 Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
• The cross most often displayed in Protestant churches is empty. Unlike a crucifix which reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us, the empty cross reminds us that the cross was not the end of the story. What does the fact that Jesus was resurrected on the third day mean to you? Is it the central focus of your faith? Why? Or why not?
• A bit later in this chapter, Paul reminded the Corinthians: “. . . if Christ is not raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:16-19)
o What does this say about the role of resurrection in our salvation?
o What does Paul mean when he says in verses 1 and 2 that the good news (of resurrection) has been proclaimed, received and now it is that through which they are being saved?
• This passage is found in the middle of Paul’s discussion with the Corinthians about spiritual gifts. We often think of resurrection in terms of the life beyond this one, but what does the placement of this passage say to us about the meaning of resurrection to our daily lives?

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