Last time we looked at the commonality of the gospel which Paul and the apostles preached. The mid-Acts position is seriously undermined when 1 Cor. 15 is carefully considered. The mid-Acts assumption that the gospel is "the mystery" and that Paul's gospel of 1Cor. 15 is in some sense hid in God is found wanting.
- According to the scriptures 1 Cor 15:1-4 ("the Mystery" hid in God)
- "Whether it were I or they" 1 Cor. 15:11 ("common salvation", Jude 1:3 - the message was in common with the apostles )
- "So we preach" -- this was the way Paul and the apostles preached (you cannot inject "the mystery" in here
- "so ye believed" -- they found salvation through this common message
KJV 1 Corinthians 15:11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
There was a common faith that was exhibited in the preaching of Paul and the apostles. The Corinthians believed in this way "so ye believed". The idea that the gospel itself is "the mystery" is repudiated by this passage, the idea that Paul was preaching in contradistinction to the apostles is also repudiated here, in short, the mid acts position (the mystery is found in Paul's acts books) is weighed in the balances and found wanting.
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?
Paul now argues from a different supposition - he has already established Christ rose from the dead by using the witnesses of Cephas, the 12, the above 500, James, all the apostles then last and least Paul. He addresses a heresy within the Corinthian church that taught that there was no resurrection of the dead.
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
A clear logical conclusion. Paul uses logic throughout his discourses -- we should also! Paul argues from the general to the particular -- if there is no such thing as "the resurrection of the dead" then Christ could not have been raised.
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Here comes some consequences of this doctrine -- preaching vain, your personal faith is vain. There are consequences to false teaching -- many doctrines dovetail. We should re-investigate all our teachings and let God be true and every man a liar.
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.
"we are found false ..." that includes Paul and the apostles. If the dead rise not -- all collapses.
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.
Here comes some conclusions. "ye are yet in your sins"
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If there is no resurrection then those who are asleep have perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
If no resurrection of the dead then we can only have hope during the time of this life and while that might be better than nothing during this life it has contains no promise of eternal life and hence we would be miserable.
20 ¶ But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1Co 15:11 KJV)
BUT NOW. Things change upon the reality of Christ's resurrection -- because with His resurrection comes ours ultimately -- we have during this life and we have hope for the next! Ours will be a harvest with many others coming up to life everlasting.