He is Risen Indeed

Icebreakers

Use one of the following questions to open up discussion. (If you have first-time guests, be sure to have people give their names as they answer the icebreaker question.)

  1. What did you think of the sermon on Sunday? What did you agree with? What did you disagree with?
  2. What does it mean to you that Christ is risen?

Our Study: He is Risen Indeed

“The communist lecturer paused before summing up. His large audience listened fearfully. ‘Therefore,’ he said, ‘there is no God; Jesus Christ never existed’ there is no such thing as a Holy Spirit. The Church is an oppressive institution, and anyways it’s out of date. The future belongs to the State; and the State is in the hands of the Party.’

He was about to sit down when an old priest near the front stood up. ‘May I say two words?’ he asked. (It’s three in English, but he was of course speaking Russian.) The lecturer, disdainfully, gave him permission. He turned, looked out over the crowd, and shouted: ‘Christ is risen!’ Back came the roar of the people: ‘He is risen indeed!’ They’d been saying it every Easter for a thousand years; why should they stop now?”

– N. T. Wright “Following Jesus”

Objectives

Small group members and guests will:

  1. Know nothing but Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:2)
  2. Consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus (Phil 3:8)
  3. Experience Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead (Phil 3:10-11)

Study

Read 1 Corinthians 15

Briefly read the chapter and note the thought-flow: the resurrection of Christ implies the resurrection of the dead and a bodily resurrection. Just a few highlights from the chapter:

  • Paul did not fabricate the resurrection and it is the most important reality of Christianity (v. 3)
  • The resurrection is a historical reality and was witnessed by a number of people (vv. 5-8)
  • Apostolic preaching has the death and resurrection of Christ at its core (v. 11)
  • If Christ has not been raised our faith is useless (v. 14)
  • No one is sure of what the practice of baptizing the dead entails in v. 29 – according to one commentator “There are over 300 interpretations to this passage.” Apparently the Corinthians had some type of practice of baptizing a living believer for the dead which Paul neither affirms nor denies – his thought is why practice this if the dead are not raised?
  • In vv. 12 – 34 Paul tries to show that Christianity without the resurrection is absurd.
  • Whatever the nature of the physical resurrection, it is both somewhat discontinuous and differentiated – the image that Paul uses is that of seed and the fruit that comes from it. It is discontinuous in the sense that there is major qualitative difference between the seed and the fruit and differentiated in the sense that they are not all identical.
  • Compare v. 50 with John 3:5-6 “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.'”
  • Paul uses the word “mystery” to refer to several different things – the salvation of all of Israel (Rom 11:25; Eph 3:2-6), the revelation of Christ (Rom 16:25; Col 2:2; 1 Tim 3:16), the resurrection at the second coming (v. 51), Christ’s rule at the end times (Eph 1:9; Eph 3:9), Christ’s headship over the church (Eph 5:32), the Gospel (Eph 6:19; Gal 1:26-27; Col 4:3).

Application

Paul himself gives us the application – starting in v. 58 with “therefore”. In light of all of this – the resurrection of Jesus, the general resurrection, the physicality of that resurrection – do the following:

“Stand firm” – both the sense of being rooted in sound doctrine and in the objective reality of the crucifixion and resurrection. We are in Christ and are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and we must constantly stand in that objective truth. We must abide in Christ (John 15:1-17).

“Let nothing move you” – the Psalmist says that “Those who trust in the LORD are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.” (Psalm 125:1) We are to trust God without compromise in all affairs, and not just those in which we deem difficult. Remember the dual injunctions to “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) We do this by fleeing temptation (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). Again, we do not flee the devil and resist temptation and thus submit to God, but submit to God by fleeing temptation and resisting the Devil.

“Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord” because we know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Gal 6:9-10) Jesus told us that as the end draws nearer many people’s “love will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matt 24:12-13) We must persevere in continuing our good work, being confident that He who started a good work in us will carrying it through to completion (Phil 1:6)

Prayer

  1. Confess that we have not loved God with all of our minds, all of our hearts, all of our souls, and all of our strength. Ask God to forgive us these failures.
  2. Thank God for sending His son to die in our place. Ask God that He might live in our place so we may echo with Paul “No longer I, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)
  3. Ask God to reveal to us the extent of Christ’s all-sufficient death that we may reckon ourselves dead to sin but alive to God.
  4. Thank God that we live in a time and place where we may worship God without persecution. Ask God to protect and guide those who do not enjoy such benefits.
  5. Ask God to reveal any areas that we have not submitted to Him. Ask Him for the grace, courage, and strength to turn those over to His judgement.
  6. Thank God for the work done on the cross and the future blessedness we will receive because of it.
  7. Pray Hebrews 10:19-25

    Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

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