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Epistle Sermons Vol Ii by Martin Luther

Third Sunday After Easter Second Sermon.

Text: First Corinthians 15, 20-28.

20 But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep.21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ's, at his coming.24 Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power.25 For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet.26 The last enemy that shall be abolished is death.27 For, He put all things in subjection under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put in subjection, it is evident that he is excepted who did subject all things unto him.28 And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all.

We have no desire to reject the Sunday epistle readings in common use up to this time, particularly as some of them are excellent and profitable; nevertheless, a different order and selection might well have been made. For portions have been taken from James for the two Sundays following, the intent of the compilers having been to choose something from each of the apostles, among whom they regarded James one of the chief. These selections, however, seem not to have been written by an apostle; they do not at all compare with the selections from the other apostles. It were better for the instruction and comfort of the people, and as befitting this season, to handle the article of the resurrection -- concerning the resurrection of both Christ and ourselves, or of all the dead -- between Easter and Pentecost. It seems appropriate so to do, making selections from the preaching of the apostles; for instance, the entire fifteenth chapter of Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, which treats throughout of the resurrection of the dead. Therefore, we shall arrange this chapter to the present and following Sundays. It is our intent to so use it hereafter, and they who feel disposed may adopt it likewise. But it is not our purpose in so doing to restrict those who prefer the old arrangement. The entire fifteenth chapter, however, being amply explained in special sermons, we would advise everyone to read those expositions.

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