READ: 1 Corinthians 15:1-34
THINK: It’s one thing to believe in Christ with your mind, but it’s another thing to believe with your heart that He’s alive and at work in and through you. An intellectual faith will never be enough to keep you true to Christ. Only an active faith–demonstrated by unreserved trust and obedience to God–will keep you courageous when pressure and opposition mount. When others question the reality of God, the truth of Christ and the validity of your faith, how will you respond? When they try to influence you to compromise your values and to abandon your devotion to God, will you depend on the power of the living Christ to help you stand strong? And will you trust the promise of His Word that this earthly life is only a preface to eternity with Christ?
RESPOND: How would you summarize the “gospel”–the “good news”–that Paul and other faithful ministers preached? (See 15:3-4 note.) How can you “hold firmly” to the message of Christ, and why is that crucial to your spiritual salvation? (See 15:2 note.) How would you describe a true believer in Christ? Who are the “apostles” and what was their role in delivering Jesus’ message? (See 15:8 note.) How would you describe God’s grace, and how does it change people like Paul–or anyone who turns to Christ for forgiveness? (See 15:10 note.) Why is Jesus’ literal physical resurrection crucial to the gospel message and the Christian faith? (See 15:17 note.) What kind of picture do you get from verses 20-27 of Christ’s power and authority? What’s the likely implication of those “who are baptized for the dead,” and why does Paul indicate that this would be meaningless? (See 15:29 note.) How did Paul’s own ministry and experience demonstrate a firm conviction that Jesus had risen from the dead (v. 30-32)? Judging from verses 33-34, where were people getting distorted views about Jesus and the resurrection? In what ways does bad company corrupt good character, and what can you do to prevent this in your life?
PRAY: Thank Jesus for His grace–His unearned, undeserved love and favor–and for the hope of resurrection and eternity with Him. Also ask Him to help you make wise decisions about the company you keep.
ACT: Briefly review the 15:3-4 note, which summarizes the gospel message. Then go to the front of the Fire Bible and review in more depth the “How to Know God” outline on p. 7. Practice explaining the basic elements of the plan of salvation and how to receive Christ. Do this with a partner if possible. This can be a valuable exercise in developing the confidence to step out and talk about Jesus to others. Also, examine your relationships to see if you’re keeping company with people who are having a negative influence on you. If so, either break off those relationships, or demonstrate the boldness and discipline to be a positive influence on others.