The Preacher Says....  
  Alive in Christ  
  Cor 15. 1 - 23

Paul’s account of the resurrection of the dead (1Cor 15) brings us face to face with a most interesting concept. Interesting, mainly because it is a matter that concerns each of us–our coming death and our future life after death. Paul explains by asking how the dead are raised, and with what body do they come? (V.35) His answer lies in the resurrection of the dead; when a body sown in corruption is raised incorruptible. (V.42). When Jesus ascended into heaven he told the puzzled disciples that he would return again. At his ascension from the Mount of Olives two men in white apparel appeared saying, this same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go (Acts 1. 11). God’s promise to us is sealed by Christ’s resurrection and assures us of God’s gift of immortality to us ‘at his coming’ (v.23). If we say as did the Saducees there is no resurrection of the dead, it follows that this must include Jesus Christ. But think, if Christ isn’t raised our faith is vain, because the proof of God’s promise to us doesn’t exist–the promise is nullified. What’s to hope for if Christ is not resurrected? I am the resurrection and the life (Jn 11. 25), he said, meaning that in him lies the prospect of receiving God’s great gift. In this chapter we’re told of Cephas, and over 500 more people who actually saw the risen Christ. How can we say that it didn’t happen? Because if not, then we remain in our sins and live on without hope in the world– verse 22 is key: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, changed, in the twinkling of an eye into an immortal state, all further expounded in the same chapter (1Cor 15. 25 - 57) So what does ‘in Christ’ mean?

Well, what does it mean to be ‘in the army’? You take an oath of allegiance, or to be a democrat or republican, you believe in and support their principles. But there is always some wiggle room. You can resign from the army and you can switch parties. But there is no tolerance in the words ‘in Christ’; he is the only way to life eternal. We need to believe this truth, recognizing that he is the son of God sent to save sinners. God is not mocked--I am the door, said Christ, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, (Jn 10. 9) In John we read words we can’t ignore, that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, (Jn 3. 16)

We know that those who do God’s will surely will be saved.(Mt 7. 21) The rite of baptism is analogous to an oath of allegiance–an indication of your faith. Jesus said that if you love me, keep my commandments. When you don’t obey orders, you don’t get promoted– a crude analogy which I hope you’ll forgive. Jesus testified that those who are related to him, i.,e., brothers, sisters, mothers, are those who do his will. And how to discern his will? This is the easy part, that–Thou shalt love the Lord the God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy mind. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. It’s His will, we read, that everyone–that all come to a saving knowledge of the truth. (1Tim 2. 4)

Now for the hard part: to discipline ourselves to endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ:

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and
having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod
with the preparation of the gospel of peace:
above all, taking the shield of faith,
wherewith you shall be able to quench
all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God:

praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching there with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. (Eph 6. 14 - 18)

Though we want to repent and have a new mind, we’re only human; it’s possible, even probable for us to slip sometimes. We can’t deny we’re almost caught up in the world we live in, monster that it is. It’s like a great ocean liner with a big hole in it; it’s a place where the basest emotions are glorified , and may I remind, for which no reward awaits. We need to get off this boat, an impossibility to be sure, but it’s within our power to free ourselves from the entanglements of the world. We can do it, if we have the will. And we’ll fulfill God’s will if we bring along others in an effort to save. As a lowly fellow of this world’s great light we commit ourselves to let our light shine, always alert to the clarion call and watchword of the true Christian:

" in Christ" we shall be made alive.