Thursday, October 23, 2008

Preparing for Sunday, Oct. 26th

We are quickly approaching the end of the series on the Apostle’s Creed. This week we will explore some of the many implications of believing in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting and then next week, we’ll pick up the line we skipped over—belief in the communion of saints. In order to explore the meaning of the resurrection of the body, we turn to the Apostle Paul, who had the most to say about the matter:
12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. 21For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is plain that this does not include the one who put all things in subjection under him. 28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all. I Corinthians 15:12-28
Paul states that if we do not believe in the resurrection of the death then our faith is futile. How does the belief in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting influence your faith? What difference does it make in how you live your life daily?
• This is just a short portion out of an entire chapter where Paul insists that it is vital that we not only believe that Christ was resurrected but that our bodies too will also be resurrected. This is clearly not a belief in just an immortal soul but of a resurrected (spiritual) body. Why do you think Paul insisted that we believe in the resurrection of the body? If our bodies are to be resurrected, what difference does that make in how we treat our bodies? What difference would it make in how we treat the bodies of others?
• Read through the entirety of 1 Corinthians 15. We most often hear these verses at funerals. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57 are the words that I recite at the beginning of a graveside committal service. What hope do we find there? What difference does that hope make in our daily lives?
• The creed ends with the words “Amen” which is Hebrew for “so be it.” What does it mean to end the creed as we end our prayers?
Just a few thoughts to ponder this week as we prepare for worship.

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