Because we all Need a little Encouragement – 1 Corinthians chapter 15 vs 35 to 39

Just added to our series on 1 Corinthians, a new message preached from chapter 15 by Dr J Stewart Gillespie:


1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 35 to 39 – Because we all Need a little Encouragement – JS Gillespie – 18102016


Dieing Today Living for Ever – Suffering in the light of Eternity – 1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 30 to 34

Just added, a new message preached by J Stewart Gillespie, in our series on 1 Corinthians:


1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 30 to 34 – Dieing Today Living for Ever – Suffering in the light of Eternity – JS Gillespie – 27092016


The King, The Crook and the Conman – When I Know Tomorrow I Die – 1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 32

Just added, a new message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie :




Grace to Open Doors Love to Open Hearts – 1 Corinthians chp 16 – J Stewart Gillespie

Just added, a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 16 by J Stewart Gillespie:




Dead Presumed Drowned – 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verse 29 – J Stewart Gillespie

Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians:


1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 29 – Dead Presumed Drowned – J Stewart Gillespie – 20092016


Outline notes are available from this message:

We have already noted in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 the arguments and evidence for bodily resurrection:

•of Christ
•of Believers

All of chapter 15 has been about the resurrection
The resurrection is under attack, and so Paul not only states the facts but presents the proof for the resurrection, important for a generation increasingly removed from the truth of the Word of God.
Not only the FAITH but the FACTS behind that FAITH!

1.The Proof of Resurrection (15:1-10)

Text of scripture
Triumph of Resurrection
Testimony of Eye witnesses
Transformed life of the Apostle Paul

2.The Problem if there is no Resurrection (15:11-19)

We need a Living Saviour for:

Justification by Faith (Isaiah 53; Romans 4)
Relationship with God (Romans 5)
Salvation (Romans 5)
Reconciliation (Romans 5)
Redemption (Romans 8)
High Priestly ministry (Hebrews 2,4,7)
Resurrection (John 11)
Home in Heaven (John 14)

3.Pictures of Resurrection (15:20-23)

Christ the firstfruits – Leviticus 23

4.Purpose of God in human Politics (15:24-28)

5.Promise of Victory over Death (15:26-27)

6.Practical Christian Living (15:29-34)

What were the Christians at Corinth rejecting?
Some verses in 1 Co 15 seem to suggest that they rejected anything after death: 15:12, 18, 19?
Did they teach that death was the end, that faith failed at the coffin?
There’s seems to have been a negative doctrine, focused on what they reject, what they do not believe, what they actually believed is a little vague!
Probably not life after death per se! It would be difficult to envisage any meaningful faith without life after death.

More probably what they really rejected was the doctrine of literal bodily resurrection of the believers, this seems explicit by the time we reach 1 Co15:35ff, as Paul defends precisely this. They struggle with the MECHANISM and the MEANS of resurrection.

What exactly did they believe?
That is not so clear!
Did they spiritualise the resurrection away?
Perhaps like Hymenaeus and Philetus who claimed that the resurrection had already happened, perhaps at conversion?

“And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”(2Ti 2:17-18)

It is not so clear exactly what the Corinthians did believe, perhaps because:

1. 1 Corinthians is a precise record of the truth and not of error. It is not essential to preserve the details of the error, only the details of the truth.
2. It would seem fairly clear that the Corinthians themselves were a bit hazy on exactly what they did believe! In fact the bulk of 1 Corinthians 15 is aimed at bringing these Corinthians on a journey, so that they can see precisely where this error is leading them; 1 Co 15:12; 15:29ff. It seems quite clear that they had not properly thought out where their believes were leading them.

Error comes in at least 3 flavours:

  1. Failure – failure to hit the target, when we have tried to hit the target – the meaning of the Greek word for sin; ‘ἁμαρτάνω’
  2. Fraud – a sometimes carefully, and cunningly constructed alternative to the truth, a complex system of deception which can be difficult to crack; systems such as the Babylonian religious system, or the Egyptian occult system.
  3. Folly – Human folly, rejecting the truth not because we have a realistic or plausible alternative but because ultimately we react in unbelief to God and His Word and we have knee jerk in our human prejudice and reject the testimony of God. ‘The fool has said in his heart there is no God.’ This is a knee jerk reaction on the basis of ignorance, unbelief, feeling and an inability to grasp the truth.

We see in this section, the impact of the resurrection on:

1.Sacrament (v29)- The death that we die, The life that we live.
2.Service (v30-32) – The Risks that we take.
3.Sanctification (v33-34) – The Holiness we Pursue, Sin we Reject.

It is the resurrection which gives meaning to:

1.Sacrament (v29) – What about the POWER? – The Life that we Live and the Death that we Die

Gordon D Fee notes 40 different interpretations of this verse!
Another writer suggests close to 200 different suggestions!
There are a number of possible translations / interpretations here:

post mortem vicarious baptisms

On first reading of this verse this may seem to be the ‘natural’ way to take this verse, the most obvious meaning.
There are a number of problems with this however:

a) It is heretical – difficult to think of Paul using it as an example outwit making it clear that it is wrong. ‘It is more likely that Paul would not have mentioned a practice he though to be in error withou condemning it’ (CK Barrett p363).

b) No biblical record of this practice

c) Apparently no historical record of such a practice

baptisms over graves

Metaphorical baptism or non water baptism – spiritual baptism, ie in the sense of Matthew 20:22,23; Mark 1:8; 10:38,39. One big problem here lies in the implication of verse 29 that we ought not only to die but be raised in newness of life (v29) in our baptism. When baptism is used spiritually however often the idea of coming up out of or through the other side of that baptism is absent. The emphasis is invariably on the immersive, overwhelming experience of the baptism as a picture of immersion in the experience, of depth, of deep, dark, trials and tribulations rather than coming out the other side.

believers taking the place of those who have died

a) Seems quite a benign / harmless idea
b) The problem is, it’s not true! Never are Christians baptised to replace other believers! We are baptised in our identification with Christ!
c) No one is ever baptised to replace anyone else!

baptism and salvation with a view to being reunited with loved ones

Some uncertainties over the exposition of the verse but one thing is clear; the connection between baptism and death (cf. Romans 6).

Baptism speaks of our new life in Christ, but there is a catch; God has never been able to and cannot ever, not since the garden of Eden give eternal life to a fallen human nature. With the fall in Eden came the barring of the way to the tree of life.
To receive the new life in Christ I must let go of the old life in Adam.
In my baptism I not only claim new life in Christ, I also denounce death in Adam.
Calvary is not only the judgement of God poured out upon Christ for sin but it is also, consequentially the end, the finality and futility of all who pursue sin and live in rebellion against God.
The whole birth, life, sin and death has been stamped for demolition at Calvary as God has begun again in Christ – the last Adam and a new creation.

Our baptism only makes sense if there is a resurrection

WE Vine notes that the Greek text does not include punctuation and suggests the following translation:

“Else what shall they do which are baptised? It is for the dead, if the dead are not raised at all. Why are they baptised for them?”

If there is no risen Christ then baptism is not ‘into Christ’ we are not being buried with Him in baptism unto death and raised again in newness of life!
Death and the dead are the victors, it is a baptism for the dead / death.

If there is no resurrection then only 1/2 of our baptism means anything!
We go down, but we never come up!
That may be the way some live the Christian life, it ought not to be!

Down but never up.
Down trodden and never up looking!

In verse 29 a connection is made which goes beyond the point previously made in chapter 15; the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is not only the foundation of our future resurrection, but in baptism we see the truth that Christ’s resurrection is also the foundation of our present life in Christ.

In baptism we see pictured not only the promise of future resurrection (Rom 6:5,8) in Christ but of our present new life in Christ (Rom 6:4).
When we are baptised we are re-enacting the death burial and resurrection of Christ, so that all I have is due to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
His death and burial and resurrection have become mine.
Not only a:

Future Expectation
but also a:
Present Experience of a living relationship with Christ

It is this present new life which only makes sense, which is empowered by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; His life sustains us.
If Christ had never been raised from the dead would this make any difference to my Christian life???

Reality of that Christian life
Relationship with Christ and communication through Him
Awareness of His presence
Boldness in testimony
Evidence and proof of the Gospel – content of my preaching

Good News Worth Believing

Feeling down, lost and hopeless? Listen to a  new message preached by J Stewart Gillespie from 1 Corinthians chapter 15:


1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 1 to 5 – Good News worth Believing – JS Gillespie – 18092016


The Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Who Stole the Doctrine – 1 Corinthians chapter 15 vs 1 to 26

Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians chapter 15:


1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 1 to 26 – The Resurrection of Jesus Christ – Who Stole the Doctrine – JS Gillespie – 04092016


When Death Dies – 1 Corinthians chapter 15 vs 26 – J Stewart Gillespie

Just added to our series on 1 Corinthians, a new message preached from chapter 15 by J Stewart Gillespie:


1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 26 – When Death Dies – J Stewart Gillespie – 30082016


Destroying the Destroyer – 1 Corinthians chapter 15 vs 1 to 26

Just added, a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 15 by J Stewart Gillespie:


1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 1 to 26 – Destroying the Destroyer – J Stewart Gillespie – 28082016


He Must Reign – The Eternal Kingdom of the Son of Man – 1 Corinthians chp 15 vs 25

Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians:


1 Corinthians Chp 15 vs 25 – He Must Reign – The Eternal Kingdom of the Son of Man – JS Gillespie – 23082016


Outline notes for the above message:


We saw last week that Christ’s ultimate rule and dominion over this world and beyond is the 4th in a series of reasons arguing for the necessity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

  1. Proof of the Gospel (v1-11)
  • Text of Scripture (v3-4)
  • Triumph of Resurrection (v4)
  • Testimony of Eye Witnesses (v5-8)
  • Transformed Life of Paul (v9-11)


  1. Problem of Denying the Resurrection (v12-19)

We need a living Saviour for:

  • Justification by Faith (Isa 53; Roms 4)
  • Relationship with God (Roms 5)
  • Atonement / Reconciliation (Rroms 5)
  • Redemption (Roms 8)
  • High Priestly ministry of Christ (Hebs 2,4,7)
  • Eternal Security (Heb 7:25)
  • Resurrection (John 11)
  • Home in Heaven (John 14)


  1. Picture of Resurrection (v20-23)


Not only a Feast of Jehovah and part of Gods redemptive plan but following on after the passover and in fact on the morrow after the Sabbath – that is the Sunday, the 1st Day of the week.


  1. Purpose of God in Human Politics (v24-28)

An unusual / unexpected angle on resurrection

The resurrection and victory of Jesus Christ over the grave and over death was an essential part of the fulfilment of Gods Purpose for the universe.

He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet” (1 Co 15:25)

If Christ is to subdue all enemies under His feet, He cannot reign over a world which still remains affected by death.

If Christ is to possess all rule and all authority and power (15:24) then there can be no rebellion against Him.

No rebellion against Him, means no rebellion against God.

No rebellion against God means no sin

No sin means no death!

A victory over all for Christ necessitates a victory over sin and death.

Christ could not truly be described as so ruling if the world remains in:

  • Rejection
  • Rebellion


Not only is Christ’s victory over this world, sin and death an essential part of Gods purpose for His Son but Christ’s Victory over this World, Sin and Death is an essential part of God Purpose for me personally!

As we see and become convinced that Gods purpose in Christ has been and will be fulfilled in every detail, as we become convinced that God is indeed driving, steering, breaking and accelerating all of human history, this revelation has a purpose. On this foundation of assurance I base my every day decisions, plans and purposes for the future. Decisions such as:

  • Lordship Spiritual realm – in my consecration and spiritual life (v29), only makes sense if Christ is victorious and sovereign. I am hardly going to enter into baptism, leaving my old life behind me to back a loser. I will surely only take such a step of declaring myself dead to the old life and alive to Christ if I am convinced He is the winner! If I am convinced of His Lordship over all, it is empty lip service and hollow praise indeed indeed unless I acknowledge His Lordship over my little life too! If I do truly appreciate and believe that He is sovereign over all things then my life will reflect that. I don’t truly believe in a sovereign Christ over all if I cannot bow in obedience to His demands upon my life, my time, talents and treasures. Empty praise indeed that acknowledges Him as Lord of all but I have something more important at the moment, too busy today to obey Christ.
  • Lordship in Service (v30-32)
  • Lordship in Speech (v33)
  • Lordship in Sanctification (v34)


But the question is then, is Christ Lord of all?

‘Must He Reign’ (v25) ?

We looked back at one of the great foundational prophecies in Daniel chp 2:

  • Head of fine Gold (v32)
  • Breast and arms of Silver (v32)
  • Belly and thighs of brass (v32)
  • Legs of Iron (v32)
  • Feet of Iron and clay (v33)

all replaced with the Stone cut without hands (v34).

In Daniel chapters 2 & 7 God sets out His plan and purpose for the whole of human history.

We note 4 great world empires running from the time of Nebuchadnezzar:

  1. Babylonian Empire
  • Egypt, Arabia, Cyprus, Persia, Iraq, Turkey, Syria
  1. MedoPersian Empire
  2. Greek Empire
  3. Roman Empire

Something strange happens to the final Kingdom – the Roman Empire, it passes through a further stage of development; Clay and Iron.

The might of the 4th Kingdom would appear yet in some way compromised, pictured in feet and 10 toes, an unstable union of 10kings in a quai-democratic re-emergence.

These 10 Kings appear to exist simultaneously (Dan 2:44)

This final one of man’s Kingdoms will give rise to an eternal kingdom (v44) which will ‘stand forever.’

Stone cut without hands:

  1. Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6
  2. Psalm 118:22; Matt 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7
  3. Isaiah 8:14

We want to turn to Daniel chp 7 tonight to put some flesh on the bones of this statement by Paul that; ‘He must reign’:

Dan 7:2 – The great sea – may be the Mediterranean sea – 4 Mediterranean Kingdoms

The troubled sea is used elsewhere of the agitated nations (Isaiah 57:20)

Four creatures in this vision just as we had 4 parts to the image of Daniel 2

  1. Lion with Eagles wings

Lion symbol of royal authority, of ferocious power and strength

Judges 14:18; ‘what is stronger than a lion?’ & Prov 30:3

The ‘fierce lion’ is spoken of in Job 4:10; 10:16; 28:8

Linked with destruction in Jer 2:30; 4:7; Hose 13:8; Nah 2:12; 1 Peter 5:8

This places the lion in a similar position to the head of gold in the statue of Daniel chp 2; ‘thou O King art the head of gold,’ starting with the strongest and most ferocious of all beasts.

The Lion was also used in Babylon as a symbol of Babylonian Imperial power appearing on coins and on the Processional Way leading from the Ishtar Gate of Babylon.

Eagles wings – symbol of speed:

  • Deut 28:49 ‘as swift as the eagle flieth’
  • Job 9:26 ‘as the eagle that hasteth to the prey’
  • Hab 1:8 ‘their horseman shall come from far, they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.’

v4 – ‘wings were plucked’ – the experience of the humbling of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4:10ff)

  1. Bear (Dan 7:5)

Raised on one side – an unbalanced Empire

Medo Persian empire

Daniel 5:31 – Darius the Mede (probably Gubaru a Mede appointed ruler of Babylon by Cyrus the Great), Babylon was taken in 539 BC, Gubaru was born in 601 BC – aged 62, cf Daniel 5:31

The prophecy on the writing on the wall was for the Kingdom to be taken by the Medes and Persians (Dan 5:28)

Medes initially dominated in the empire but eventually giving way to the Persians

Medo Persian Empire runs from 550 BC to 330 BC

3 Ribs: history books, as well as commentaries seem fairly consistently agreed that the MedoPersian Empire was marked by 3 large and significant victories:

  • Conquest of Lydia – 547 BC
  • Conquest of Babylon – 539 BC
  • Conquest of Egypt – 525 BC

Founded by Cyrus the Great and based on a model of centralised bureaucratic administration through Satraps under the King of Kings. Generally the Emperor did not interfere with the local customs or religions.

  1. Leopard

Alexander the Great defeats the Persian armies beginning in 334 BC

Leopard marked by speed

4 wings – speed

Alexander took command of the armies of Greece aged 18 years

Alexander becomes King in 336 age 20 years

Military campaign of 12 years dies aged 32

Alexander takes Persia, Babylon, India, Macedonia, Egypt

All in 12 years! Cf this to the Roman Empire which gradually builds up over about 400 years

Leopard is marked by speed cf. Hab 1:8

4 heads: 4 successors to Alexander:

4 Generals:

  1. Antipater – Greece and Macedonia
  2. Lysimachus – Thrace and Asia Minor
  3. Seleucus – Asia and Palestine
  4. Ptolemy – Egypt
  1. Beast

Iron teeth (v7) – connects to the image of chapter 2 – 4th phase – limbs of iron

Iron first use in the Bible is an instrument of murder (Num 35:16)

  • Iron often speaks of strength (Deut 3:11; 28:48; Josh 17:16; Judges 1:19; 4:3; Job 40:8; Psalm 2:9; Ps 107:10; Jer 28:13; 28:14; Ezek 4:3; Micah 4:13.)
  • Speaks at times of intensity (Deut 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51)
  • Speaks of endurance (Deut 33:25)
  • Used by Goliath (1 Sam 17:7)
  • Used for cruel oppression (2 Sam12:31; 1Kings 8:51; 1 Chron 20:3; Jer 11:4)

Daniel 2:40 “as strong as iron”, “iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things”

10 horns = 10 kings (Dan 7:7,24)

10 Kings yet to emerge (Rev 17:12)

All of this to be subverted under the :

  • ancient of Days” (7:9) cf (Rev1:13ff)
  • Son of Man” (Dan 7:13) cf. (Matt 24:30; 26:64)