CG Discussion Guide (For April 12, 2020)

“Christ’s Victory is the Christian’s Victory”  Easter Sunday

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

Sermon Summary

Now more than ever we are confronted with death all around us.  We cannot escape the reality of its presence in our lives and in our world.  What is a Christian supposed to do?  Where is our hope?  When death seems to loom so large over us, Easter reminds us that Christ is still bigger and stronger.  1 Corinthians 15 assures believers that Christ’s victory over death is the Christian’s victory over death. 

#1: The Trumpet (15:50-53)

Death is referred to as sleep because death is not final for the Christian.  Because Christ resurrected from the dead, he defeated death.  One day he will sound forth the last trumpet signaling his final victory over death and when he returns he will raise the dead to resurrection life.  At the sound of that trumpet, all those united to Jesus by faith will undergo a change where their perishable bodies will become imperishable and their mortal bodies will become immortal.  When this happens, we will share in Christ’s resurrection life for eternity in God’s kingdom.  There, we will dance in the king’s banquet hall, dine at his table, and when it’s over we’ll retire to our own room in the castle because his kingdom will be ours. 

#2: The Taunt (15:54-55)

Paul teaches Christians this saying which is kind of a taunt against death.  He strings together two verses from the Old Testament (Is. 25:8 and Hos. 13:14): “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  When death tries to bully us and corners us into fear and anxiety, we remember we can taunt him because Christ’s victory over death gives us power to stand up to it.  Death has no victory or sting because Christ defeated it and rendered it powerless.  This is why death is likened to sleep for the Christian.  When we close our eyes for the last time here on earth in the midst of pain and suffering, we will open our eyes for the first time in heaven and it’ll be eternal glory and life. 

#3: The Thanks (15:56-57)

Our lives then should be marked with gratitude and thanksgiving in praise to God because Christ has given us this victory over death.  Jesus entered the ring to fight death on Good Friday and he left the ring victorious on Easter Sunday.  But Jesus wasn’t fighting for earthly riches or glory.  He fought for you as his prize.  But in order to win you and defeat death, he had to “lose” as he took death’s sting in your place on the cross.  But in his ultimate triumph, Christ was raised the third day in declaration that even death could not hold him down.  We give God thanks for Christ’s and now our victory. 

#4: The Therefore (15:58)

If we believe that every Christian shares in Christ’s victory, this hope isn’t reserved for heaven but affects us now.  We become steadfast and immovable.  The coronavirus pandemic is shaking the foundation of the world and so many idolatries and false hopes are being exposed.  But Christians have their sure footing in Christ.  This means when the world shakes, we don’t shift with it.  Our hope allows us to grieve and lament without being destroyed by the hopelessness that arrests the world.  We refuse to be discouraged because we believe that Christ’s victory over death is our victory over death. 

Group Discussion Questions

  1. Share something you found either interesting, memorable, convicting, confusing or challenging about the passage/sermon. 
  2. How have you been handling the statistics about all the coronavirus related deaths?  How do you tend to respond (overwhelmed, shut it out, numb, etc)?  What about death in general?  How do you tend to respond to it? 
  3. What changes when you begin to view death for the Christian as nothing but “sleep”?  Is that an insensitive view of death?  Why or why not?  What hope does that stir or what comfort does that bring?
  4. Make the connection: how does Christ’s resurrection in the past and the promise of our resurrection in the future affect us in the present?  How is this different than a worldly perspective on handling pain and suffering?
  5. The Christian life should be marked with thanksgiving.  This Easter season, share with one other a very specific reason you are thankful to God. t

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