15:11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
At church right now we are studying through the two letters that Peter wrote. In one of them he says "Paul wrote many things difficult to understand which unstable men twist to their own destruction." It's true. He had a unique way of writing that takes some tenacity to follow and decipher sometimes and almost all false teachings in the Christian Church are based on twisting what Paul said.
However today is not a complicated Paul day. Today it's easy. :)
The largest sect of the Jewish religion were the Sadducees. Today we would label them the liberals. They did not have a high regard for the sacred text. One doctrine they held that makes that obvious is that there is no resurrection from the dead. Once dead it's all over. Much like evolutionists and atheists today they held that we have one life to live and then nothing.
That is logical for evolutionists and atheists but not for Jews. The reason being the Old Testament has several accounts of the dead becoming undead. To deny any possibility of returning from the grave was to deny their own prophets and sacred writings. In addition Jesus himself raised several people from the dead including Lazarus who had been dead for four days and sealed in a tomb.
It appears some of these "dead forever" believing Jews had an influence on some in Corinth. It is interesting to note that Paul doesn't point out any of the facts I just did. He goes right to one very simple point. Jesus is alive. Witnesses saw Him die, it was confirmed by the unbiased Romans, and then more witnesses saw Him alive after. Then Paul takes the point further. If Jesus is dead, what hope do we have? If Jesus is dead who are we following? Who are we believing in? Who are we trusting? If Jesus is still dead God can't be trusted either because He promised to raise Him up. If there is nothing after death, Jesus is dead and if Jesus is dead roll up the carpets and pull down the steeple because we have nothing left. No risen Lord equals no forgiveness, no heaven, and worst of all no hope of ever seeing the Man we killed ever again.
But He is alive. :)
See it matters what we believe because the ripple effects of one false belief can have serious implications we never even considered. Never fall for the idea truth does not matter because Jesus is the Truth and every error we believe followed to it's conclusion is an attack on the Truth as it is in Jesus. Any denial of His plain teachings means you are following a god of your own making.
He's alive. Very much alive. I talked to Him this morning and sooner than we think the promise He made in John 14 will be a reality.
"Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to Myself that where I Am there you may be also."
That's why Paul talked about himself and he wasn't just talking to Corinth. He was talking to us too.