It is important that Paul said, in his first point, that Christ died for our sins, because it is quite different from saying merely that Christ died. If he had said merely that Christ died, somebody could very well reply, "Well, so what? Everybody dies." And that’s true. But he says, "He died for our sins." We might die in a heroic fashion or as a martyr for some noble cause. And yet Christ died for our sins. That means in our place, not for his own sins but for ours, and, moreover, that he did that according to the Scriptures.

Paul uses some interesting terminology here that is not apparent in our English translations. Paul says that he delivered to the Christians in Corinth that which he had formally received. Those two terms, deliver and receive are important because they describe what was the essential duty of a disciple toward a master. A disciple of an older rabbi was to receive from him that which was the wisdom of the rabbis, and then without altering it in any respect, to pass it on to those who would become his disciples. Their idea of knowledge was not what we think of.

Our study of 1 Corinthians brings us to chapter 15, the most comprehensive chapter in the New Testament on the Resurrection. The first portion of this chapter, verses 1 through 11, deals with the truth of the Resurrection. The second section, found in verses 12 through 34, deals with the importance of the Resurrection. The third section, verses 35 through 49, deals with the Resurrection body. It answers some questions that the people in Corinth probably had. And then the final section, beginning with verse 50 and going through the end, deals with the victory which is ours through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the last half of this chapter, Paul sums up what he has said and applies it in several ways. His essential point has been that what we do must be done for edification, for the building up of the church. He then gives some rules that should be followed if we really take his words seriously. He does not say that people must never speak in tongues in church. He says that those who do speak in tongues should do so in a certain way. There should be two or three who speak in tongues, not twenty or thirty. They should speak one at a time, not all at once, because if they are to be understood they should speak so that they can be heard. Then when they do speak, someone should be present to interpret because, if what we are concerned about is the edification of the body and the communication of scriptural truth to unbelievers, something that is unintelligible has no message at all.

Paul gives an illustration at this point. He talks about music. He says if everybody starts playing instruments all at once with no attention to an ordered score, it is not beneficial to anybody. In fact, it is horrible. And if, in battle, somebody picks up a trumpet but does not blow a tune that people can interpret, the soldiers will not know whether to charge or retreat. He says it is the same way in the worship service. When you are in church, try to do what is going to be strengthening, encouraging, and comforting to other Christians.