This year, for the first time since 1956, Easter has fallen on April Fool’s Day. I am sure that’s a delight to many atheists, but it’s also what led me to our text:
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
The main question I want to answer today is this: is it foolish? Is the cross really foolishness? Am I a fool for believing in God and in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
The way I want to answer this is to unpack this one verse and see what it has to teach us.
In these final verses of 1 Corinthians, it seems that Paul is in a rush to fire off a final round of instructions and greetings. It’s a challenge for us to find any sort of way to tie everything together. As I studied the passage, the word that kept coming to the top of the kettle was fellowship.
15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) 16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. 17 I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. 18 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.
19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss. 21 The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.
22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha.
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. (1 Corinthians 16:15–24)
Let’s see how this passage helps us answer the question: What are some of the marks of a healthy Christian fellowship?
A Healthy Christian Fellowship will have…
I. BE SOLDIERS IN THE FAITH…
1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
These are words that you would say to soldiers who are about to enter into a battle. Indeed, Christians are to be soldiers in the faith—the Bible says so all over the place. We are told in Ephesians 6, to “be strong in the Lord” and to “put on the whole armour of God.”
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (2 Timothy 2:3–4)
How are soldiers supposed to act? What are they supposed to do? Paul gives us four characteristics that we would normally think of being true of soldiers. Then, he gives us one surprise characteristic that must be true of soldiers of the Christian faith.
We come to the last chapter in 1 Corinthians, where Paul takes up one more issue where he needs to give some practical instruction.
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. 4 And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me. 5 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. 6 And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. 7 For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. 8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries. (1 Corinthians 16:1–9)
The primary point of this passage is to help the Corinthian Christians to be orderly in their giving. The principles laid down here are also important for us today.
Orderly Giving Will Be:
1. Done for a Godly Purpose
2. Done at Weekly Worship
3. Done in Proportion to One’s Income
4. Done in a Manner above Reproach
Unless the Rapture happens before we die, death is one thing that we all have to face. Even children will think about death from time to time.
I still remember the first time I was scared because of death. I woke up screaming in the middle of the night.
My mom came in and asked what was wrong. I told her, “I don’t want Grandpa to die.” Well, Grandpa wasn’t sick or anything like that—he didn’t die until many years later, but I was bothered for some reason.
Chronologically, the events are fuzzy to me, but somewhere around the same time, my cousin, who was the same age as I was, drowned in the reservoir on their farm.
So perhaps that event started me thinking about death and that people die. I had just realized that one day Grandpa would die.
Even as a Christian, death is still a painful thought—and it’s more so as a pastor—I’ve buried many friends and family members.
But, as a Christian, death is defeated for me. Jesus has, through his own death and resurrection, given me and every believer victory over death.
In this passage, we will learn about this victory over death. We begin with…
When you are trying to decide between the different options of something that you want to buy—like a toaster—what do you do? You do a little comparison shopping.
For example, several years ago, when we had a minivan (and only four kids), Tami and I made some comparisons that led us to buy a suburban to replace the minivan.
We looked at gas mileage, and the minivan won. It was better, by far. But we had other requirements.
One of them was cargo space. When we went to Walmart in the minivan, we had bags in the back, in-between the seats, and under the feets! So, yeah, the suburban won that round.
Another thing I wanted to have was four-wheel drive. The minivan had front-wheel drive, which was pretty good in the snow, but I still managed to get it stuck in the alley once.The suburban won the contest, hands down.
I’m sure you’ve made similar comparisons for everything from houses to what dish soap to buy.
In the passage we’re looking at today, there are two Adams that are being compared. That’s right, two Adams—you always thought there was only one Adam in the Bible, but there’s two.
Read More: Comparison Shopping For Adams-1 Corinthians 15.44b-49-Levi Durfey.pdf
Sometimes the opponents of Christianity will attack by trying to show how supposedly our doctrines don’t make sense. The Sadducees, a Jewish sect who did not believe in any resurrection of the dead, attacked the resurrection when they asked Jesus about a woman who had been married seven times.
Each of her husbands had died after marrying her. I don’t know, don’t you think the last few husbands would have been a little concerned about getting married to her?
Which one will be her husband in the resurrection? It wasn’t an honest question, because the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection.
Rather, they were trying to prove that that the resurrection wasn’t real because it would be silly and immoral for a woman to be married to seven husbands at the same time (Matthew 22:23-33).
Jesus answered, saying that there would be no marriage in Heaven and that God was the God of the living, not the dead. He rebuked them for not knowing the scriptures or believing in the power of God.
In Corinth, there were those who attacked the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead with dishonest questions.
1 Corinthians 15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
Read More: Our Wonderful Resurrection Bodies-1 Corinthians 15.35-44a-Levi Durfey.pdf