Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Project 4:4--Day Three Hundred Thirty-Seven

Day Three Hundred Thirty-Seven, I Corinthians 15-16, Acts 19

The last portion of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians teaches them about the resurrection. Apparently there are some that are teaching that there is no actual resurrection of the dead. Paul reminds the Corinthians of the gospel that he preached to them, and he explains to them that "if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."

Thanks be to God that Paul's message doesn't have to end there! He further affirms his gospel with these words: "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." Christ's resurrection from the dead, as the firstfruits, guarantees our own resurrection from the dead!

In explaining how this will happen, and how our bodies will be changed, Paul further teaches, "Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will nto all sleep, but we will all be changed--in a flash, int eh twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, adn we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Paul ends this letter by explaining to them what his plans are. He instructs them to gather a collection of funds to give to the church in Jerusalem. He plans to go through Macedonia, then to Corinth and pick up the collection from them, but before he does, he will remain in Ephesus for awhile because he is accomplishing some effective work there. He mentions to them that in the meantime, they may receive a visit from either Timothy or Apollos, and he asks them to receive them as brothers.

As the Acts narrative picks back up, we have an account of the riot that is started in Ephesus. As Paul is preaching of worshiping the One True God, rather than idols, some of the craftsmen of this idolatry-centered city, which houses the temple of the goddess Artemis, are afraid of what is going to happen to their businesses and income. One man, Demetrius, a silversmith, explains what Paul is doing, and soon all the people are in an uproar, shouting, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" The entire town is gathered in the theater, most of them not even really knowing why they are there at this point.

Gotta love Paul's zeal he wants to go into the theater to speak to the people! But Paul's friends begged him not to go in, knowing that the crowd would absolutely destroy him. Rather, a city official goes in, reminds the people that they are in danger of being accused of a riot, and he sends them home.

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