The death of death

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 11:23 -- James Oakley
Fee on Corinthians

It's been a joy, and at times a challenge, to preach right through the letter of 1 Corinthians. It's healthy to take a long epistle like this, and to tackle it in a single sermon series, so we don't lose the train of Paul's thought by interrupting the series midway through. The challenge, then, is to decide how fast to go. Too fast, and you get such long blocks that the details get lost and the series is bland. Too slow, and the series simply takes too long, and we actually do lose Paul's train of thought because it's so long since we began.

In the end I opted for 25 sermons, which will have taken us from May to December (8 months) with a few breaks for holidays and special occasions. That's an average of 3 sermons per 2 chapters, which is still fairly pacey, but not so much that we lose the distinctive flavour and details of each passage.

So now we near the end. Next Sunday will be a sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:35-58.

To give you a taste of these magnificent verses, here is Gordon Fee summarising what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (from his NICNT commentary):

“With this magnificent crescendo Paul brings to a conclusion the argument that began in verse 35. Having argued both for the reasonableness of a resurrection body (through the analogies of vv. 36-44) and for its certainty (on the basis of Christ’s heavenly body, vv. 45-49), he now emphasises: (1) the absolute necessity of transformation in order to enter the heavenly mode of existence (vv. 50, 53); (2) the fact that both the living and the dead must be so transformed (vv. 51-52); and (3) that the resurrection/transformation, which will take place at the Parousia (v. 52), will signal the final defeat of death (vv. 54-55). Never one to let a theological moment pass without an exhortation, Paul concludes on the high note of Christ’s present victory over sin and the law as well (vv. 56-57), which leads to a concluding exhortation to work in the context of hope (v. 58).” (Page 797)

What wonderful, hope-filled, thrilling verses these are!

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