Practical Objections to Resurrection Swept Away (1 Corinthians Sermon 63)
January 03, 2021 | Andy Davis
1 Corinthians 15:35-41
Resurrection of Christ
Pastor Andy Davis preaches a verse-by-verse expository sermon on 1 Corinthians 15:35-41. The main subject of the sermon is dealing with the objections people raise to the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
Turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians chapter 15, which you just heard Bill read, and what a fantastic text, what an incredible opportunity we have as we resume the study that we've been doing in 1 Corinthians 15, as we look again at the doctrine of the bodily resurrection from the dead, not merely Christ's resurrection, but the resurrection of all who believe in him, that we ourselves will receive resurrection bodies.
Now, for most people, I would say the concept of bodily resurrection from the dead, of people coming up out of their graves in glorious bodies makes no sense whatsoever to their logical minds. Our present aging bodies are liable to corruption, they are constantly decaying, they are even now filled with the instruments of our own final demise physically, and then when we die, our corpses will accelerate greatly in their decay, they will rot or they will be consumed by fire, they'll be eaten by creatures or dissolved by sea water, and the Christian doctrine that teaches that after all of that has occurred, we will be raised up physically from the dead in eternally, radiant, glorious bodies, this might seem to make no sense at all. Does not this seem at first glance like the most absurd article of faith ever? And does it not stretch the mind to the breaking point? Does this doctrine not cause some people, many people even to mock our Christian faith and to try to poke holes in it, and to use it to prove how childish and mythological Christianity really is, but amazingly, in this section, the apostle Paul turns this whole thing around, and says, because of the power of Almighty God, the power he displayed in creation, and then again in raising his Son from the dead, this powerful God, does it not prove that he can do anything, and that is actually absurd not to believe in the resurrection, that it's actually foolish not to believe in the resurrection? As Paul uses this sharp rebuke, this epithet: “You fool,” he says to the unbelieving accuser or even, perhaps, the church going Corinthian who is questioning the bodily resurrection from the dead, who's saying that resurrection from the dead is impossible, that the God who made the universe would actually be unable to raise us up from the dead. Paul would say, "Now that is absurd. Now, that is foolish."
I. Foolish Unbelief Raises Objections to Resurrection
So we're looking at another aspect of this marvelous chapter on bodily resurrection from the dead, and here Paul is wading right in to addressing practical problems that people have with the resurrection, objections that people have based on practicality and it sweeps them away. Look at verse 35, he said, “Someone may ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?’” So this is just part of the larger objection that some Corinthians, it seemed, had to the bodily resurrection. Look back again at verse 12, the key verse that shows us the problem that Paul's addressing, verse 12, “If it is preached that Christ has been raised in the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” So some people that were attending church there that maybe were claiming in some sense to be Christians, were saying that bodily resurrection itself is impossible, cannot happen, and probably going beyond that to say undesirable, it actually ought not happen, they like to move ahead into a pure spirit realm where we're done with these bodies, these mortal bodies that we lugged around that were susceptible to weariness and hunger, and susceptible to pain and disease, and then finally death, why would you wanna spend forever in a body like that? And I think that was part of the problem. They assumed that resurrection was really nothing different than resuscitation, some of the Jewish rabbis taught that when we're talking about resurrection, we're talking about coming back in the same bodies that we've been in before, and in one sense, that makes sense, because that's what we saw in the Old Testament, the two resurrection accounts in the Old Testament, in the time of Elijah and then in Elisha, the dead were raised back into essentially the same condition that they were in before, before they got sick or before they got the illness that brought about their death, there was not a radical transformation of existence, they just were resuscitated back into the same life they had before. We see the same in the New Testament resurrections that Jesus did. For example, Jairus is a little 12-year-old daughter, when he raised her from the dead, when he said, "She is not dead but asleep." And they mocked him. Jesus took her by the hand and said, "Talitha koum." And the little girl got up and walked around. She was still a 12-year-old little girl, she was just freed from the sickness that had brought about death, and we see the same thing also in Lazarus, dead for four days, and he raises Lazarus up into the same physical experience he had before the illness that brought about the emergency in his case, so they're thinking, perhaps, that resurrection is merely resuscitation back into the same body that we've had all along, and why would you want that?
Why would you wanna spend eternity in the same body? And so he's addressing that and he's going even to a deeper level to address their root concern, how can it even happen? How could this even occur? How is it even possible? And I think some people raise up those objections, I think in sharing the gospel with people, I've had some come back on this very issue, how could it even happen? I mean, people's bodies get disintegrated, what about people that die in fiery plane crashes and there's no discernible body left in the wreckage, or even those that die at sea after enough time the body is completely disintegrated, there's nothing left. Or you think about perhaps someone that might be a ground zero of a nuclear blast, it's quite possible there were as many as 10,000 Japanese Christians at Nagasaki with the atomic blast that ended World War II. It was a strongly Christianized center. There weren't a lot of Christians in Japan, but that was a center of Christianity, there might have been as many as 10,000 of our brothers and sisters that you couldn't find anything left of their physical bodies after the atomic blast, so how could it even happen?
Now, when you think about those extreme cases we think they are unusual, but honestly, this happens to every corpse, not counting the skeleton, it disintegrates, it's gone. It's the very thing that God said to Adam would happen: “From the dust you were taken and to the dust you will return.” And so, Genesis 3:19, this is what's going to happen to every physical corps, not counting the skeleton, as we look at that, the biggest misconception in all of this, the biggest attack and our faith is that God cannot do this. This is something God doesn't have the power to do, and so he springboards from those practical questions: how are the dead raised? How can it even happen, to a sharp rebuke. Look at verse 36, he says, not just in one translation, “How foolish,” that's actually putting it gently. It's very direct, “You fool,” “You fool.” He goes after the individual, him or herself. “You fool.” verse 36. Now, why this sharp rebuke? Well, the basic concept is, “I don't believe that God can do this. I don't actually think that God can track down all of our atoms and assemble them back together into molecules and all that,” and the more you think about it, it's like, “I'm sure I share some atoms that have been on other people's bodies,” don't think too much about that but there it is. And all of this, it's a little weird, how could God even do that? But this is the very issue that the Sadducees had with the resurrection, and Jesus goes right after them. When he addresses the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection, he said to them, "You are in error because you don't know the Scriptures or the power of God.” That's the essence of the foolishness. “You don't know the Scriptures or the power of God.” And dear friends, there is nothing that our God cannot do.
With God, all things are possible. As it says in Jeremiah 32:27, “I am the Lord, the God of mankind, is anything too hard for me?” And I would have to say, not just in general about the resurrection, that's vital, but the central kind of takeaway meditation for you, my dear Christian brothers and sisters, is the omnipotence of God this morning. There is nothing that our God cannot do. He is omnipotent. And so for us, I think it's right for us in humility to stand under the scathing rebuke and let it rest on us. Let's not think, "Well, thankfully, I'm not one of those foolish people, I believe in the resurrection." That's true, but I think all of us to some degree, can stand under what Jesus said to the Sadducees and hear him say, “You are in error because you don't know the Scriptures or the power of God,” or I could say you underestimate the perfect truth of the Scriptures and you are ignorant about some aspects of the interconnected truth of the Scriptures, and you underestimate the power of God. Now, is there anyone here today that would say, "But I don't... I don't actually underestimate the power of God." You do, and so do I. And so at that point, we turn around and say, "Okay, I'm a fool." When it comes to resurrection, when it comes to all of these things, I tend to underestimate what God can do. Increase my faith, Oh Lord. Expand my sense of the omnipotence of God. Let me walk out of this place this morning with a greater sense of the power of God in my life and in the world, the God who created the universe out of nothing. Can do anything that his wisdom decrees. God created vast universe by the simple word of his power, Genesis 1:3, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” and throughout Genesis, “Let there be, and there was, let there be, and there was,” effortless power. Anything his wisdom decreed, he could do. And he spoke the universe out of nothing, and everything that God has done in the physical and spiritual universe since that time is less than what creation Ex-nihilo, out of nothing, was. If God can do that, he can do anything within it, and so if God says to the dust that once made up our bodies be assembled again into a resuscitated body, he could do that if he wanted to go beyond that and be assembling us together into a resurrection body, he can do that as well, God can do anything. And so we're gonna see as we continue, not just this week, but next week and beyond that Paul is gonna argue for an essential continuity when it comes to the body of the resurrection and the practicalities of it, continuity, but difference. So these two words you have to keep in mind when it comes to the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Christians from the dead, continuity, there's a connection between our present bodies and what will come, but there's also significant transformation, significant difference, continuity and difference.
"There is nothing that our God cannot do. He is omnipotent. "
II. God’s Power is Sufficient: Look at the Seeds!
Second point, God's power is sufficient. Just look at the seeds. Look at seeds... Look at verses 36-38, he says, “You fool, what you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or something else, but God gives it a body as he has determined and to each kind of seed, he gives its own body.” so he's using an illustration, this is an illustration from agriculture, from sowing and planting. Paul argues that all farmers and people aware of the basic act of farming, the taking of a seed and putting it in the ground should observe the power of God in that as an illustration for resurrection, an illustration for resurrection. The seed that the farmer plants or sows in the moist soil has to, in some sense, die to bring forth the new life. This is the very thing Jesus said in John 12:24, speaking of his own death, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the Earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.” it's the exact same teaching here, the seed has to fall into the ground and die, the seed itself looks dead. You ever held a handful of seeds, you look at them and you wonder, "How could anything come of this? This little round, hard thing, you look at it and that seemingly lifeless, there's nothing there, it doesn't move, you put it on the table, come back an hour later, it's still there, it's not doing anything, it just seems dead. And this can even go on for a long time, it can go on actually for centuries, in the year 2005, some archaeologists found, in a dig at Masada in Israel, they found an ancient date palm seed. Now, I think it's fascinating what they did after that, they planted it, they took this date palm seed and put it in the moist soil, and it produced a date palm tree 3 feet tall, and they did some carbon 14 testing, radiocarbon dating on the shell, the husk that was remaining, by those techniques, they proved that it was around the time of the fall of Masada, when the Romans destroyed it, AD 73. It's almost 2000-year-old seed. Boggles the mind. Now, the seed itself was not actually dead, biologists tell us, it was in a kind of a state of suspended animation. But there’s very little cellular activity going on, it doesn't need anything, it just sits there until it's mixed with moisture and the nutrients of the soil, and then it produces whatever it's genetic recipe has ordained that it produce, and when you take that seed in the ground, it has to die, it has to cease being a seed, and it shucks off the outer hard shell and produces the plant. So Paul is saying here that seemingly dead seeds, cold, hard and dry produce beautiful green stalks, shiny, moist stalks coming up out of the soil, then they produce the heads, and they prove the harvest, whatever it is, weed or fruit or something like that, a beautiful flower, all of that marvelous life coming from a dead seed.
But it's not just that, it's a matter of transformation, of change, verse 37, “When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or something else,” remember those two keywords, continuity, but difference. Difference being transformation, you don't plant what comes up, you plant something different, there's a direct connection between the kind of seed that you sow and the plant that comes from it, but the plant that comes up out of that seed looks nothing like the seed. Paul says, “You do not plant the body that will be, but just the seed.” Now, he's gonna make this very plain later, there's a strong contrast between our present mortal bodies and the resurrection bodies that are coming. Look at verses 42-44, “The body that's sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” Now we're gonna walk through those four couplets next week. They are so glorious and give us such a clear description of the body that we're going to get, that they're worth a whole sermon and, God willing, we'll do that next week. My only point is the agricultural analogy that Paul is making, the seed looks radically different from the plant that comes from the seed, so what that means is you can't look at a corpse that you plant in the ground and discern from that the glory that's going to come, it doesn't look like what it will be. That's Paul's point. Appearances can be deceiving, and which is more spectacular anyway? The fully formed stock of wheat that's just about ready for harvest, you know how beautiful a wheat field is blowing in the wind, or the seed from which it came? Which is more beautiful, a radiant Magnolia tree in full bloom, with all of that beautiful smell that comes from it, or the seed from which that Magnolia tree sprang? So obviously the plant that comes is gonna be much more glorious than the seed that is sown. This is transformation, radical change, it does not look like what comes out of the ground, and so it will be with the resurrection from the dead.
So let's take stock in what Paul has said so far. He is addressing people who are questioning the resurrection, they're not just asking questions, but they are questioning it, whether it can even happen, and he's addressing their practical concerns and discerning beyond, how could it happen, what kind of body could ever come, he discerns beyond that a heart, a basic heart of unbelief toward God, and he said, “That's foolish. That's foolish. It's foolish to not believe that God can do that.” And then says, pointing to the seeds, “God does this continually, trillions and trillions of times a year, and that actually is an understatement, it's an understatement.” How many seeds on planet Earth fall into the soil and produce something else after that, every year? I think it's straight incalculable. I looked up, I googled, how many seeds grow every year? It didn't know. Google didn't even know that. So, what did I do? I said, “Alright, well, how much wheat do the United States farmers produce?” 2.4 billion bushels. How many seeds go into a bushel? 900,000, close to one million seeds for a bushel of wheat. You do the math if you're a geek like me, and you end up with 2.4 quadrillion seeds for the wheat harvest in the United States, that's just wheat in the US. What about dandelion seeds? What about acorns that become massive trees, on and on, it's just incalculable. So basically, God is doing this all the time, creating life out of death.
III. What Kind of Resurrected Body? Continuity and Difference!
Now, what kind of resurrection... What kind of resurrected body will come? Continuity and difference. Look at verses 38-42, “But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed, he gives its own body. All flesh is not the same. Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another, and fish another. And there are also heavenly bodies, and there are earthly bodies, but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is of one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is of another. The sun has one kind of splendor and the moon another, and the stars another, and star differs from star in splendor.” verse 42, “So will it be with the resurrection from the dead.” We take all of that and sum it up in one kind of simple statement: God arranges an array of order of beings according to his wisdom for his glory. He does that here in the physical world, and he will do that in the world to come. There's gonna be an array of glorious created bodies as he has determined. God's will has worked... His plan has worked all of this out. So it all comes down to God's determination. Verse 38, “God gives it a body as he has determined and to each kind of seed, he gives its own body.” The issue here is not just the mere power of God, but the plan of God, the decree of God, the wisdom of God in all of this. He is a very wise being, he's planned all of this out, and he has the power to bring about his plan, what has he determined. So to doubt the resurrection from the dead is to doubt God himself. “You're in error because you don't know the Scriptures or the power of God.”
"To doubt the resurrection from the dead is to doubt God himself"
So, for us as Christians, we need to immerse ourselves in the Scriptures. And New Year is a time to renew again your commitment to daily Bible intake, to a quiet time every day, to saturating your mind and your heart in the word of God. Get into some reading plan that will bring you through the Bible in a year, there's so many different ones that you can do. Or maybe study 10 books of the Bible more deeply, whatever you wanna do, but just be in God's word every day, so that we're not gonna be an error, because we don't know the scriptures or the power of God. And Paul says here, every resurrected person gets the body that God wills him to have, it all comes down to the purposes and will of God. So keeping with the agricultural analogy, the kernel of wheat produces a wheat plant, not an avocado or a peach, or a daisy, produces wheat, that's what God has ordained genetically, that seed produces a wheat plant. Seed packets carry the picture of the final plant. Thank God they do. Imagine if seed packages had a colored cellophane window and you looked in and that's what you're gonna get. I mean, like that would be very frustrating. Or even worse, imagine if they just mixed seeds together and that it just says seeds on it, and you don't know what you're getting. Am I getting watermelon and avocado? That's a huge seed. Am I also getting some daisy along with some kale? What are we getting? You'll find out, what a big surprise. That would make no sense at all. But within the seed, there is a genetic code for the plant that God has ordained and planned. He wrapped it up into the genetic code of the seed itself, and we see that in Genesis 1:11-12, “Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants, and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it according to their various kinds.’” It's a very important phrase, “according to their various kinds,” “and it was so. The land produced vegetation, plants bearing seed according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds, and God saw that it was good.” And so it will be with the resurrection body. There's a strong continuity between what we are now and what we will be, but there's gonna be that radical transforming difference as well.
And everything is according to God's wisdom, God's wise plan according to the “its kinds.” And he says there are different kinds of bodies. Verse 39, “All flesh is not the same. Men have one kind of flesh, animals another, birds another, and fish another.” So Paul is describing now the difference between our present bodies and the future resurrection bodies by saying, look at biology and the ecosystems, there are lots of different kinds of flesh now, and all of them were made according to the plan of God, God's a very wise God. And so, there are almost limitless varieties of creatures. And the flesh of humans is genetically different from the flesh of beasts, which is genetically different from the flesh of birds, which is genetically different from the flesh of plants. Now, we know a lot more about genetics than Gregor Mendel did in 1865 when he began studying pea plants, chickpea plants in his monastery in Brno, Czech Republic. But the science of genetics has exploded, and we know a lot more now. The human genome project finished its survey of the genetic map or makeup of the human body, and we know about now more things like amino acids, which are the basic building blocks of all living cells, there are 20 of them, the amino acids, and apparently, 600 octodecillion ways that those 20 amino acids can be sequenced, that's a six followed by 108 zeros. For us, mortals, that's basically infinity. So, there are almost infinite ways that those amino acids can be sequenced, but the sequence is what determines what it is. And even if you have 97% same, the last 3% makes a total difference between a maple tree and the frog and a human being. Just like you add a letter to a word and it goes from heat to wheat, and I think there's a big difference between heat and wheat, and we all kind of understand that. As Mark Twain said, “There's a world of difference between lightning and lightning bug.” And so, we understand that, there's this huge difference in the sequencing and the essential difference from flesh to flesh, and it has to do also with reproduction. So, when two animals of the same kind mate, they produce the same kind and on down, there's never been any example or even evidence of species evolving into other species. So from the beginning, there was a kind and reproduced according to the same kind.
Now, Paul's point is none of this, he wasn't having to fight the battle of evolution or any of that, what he's saying is that God in his wisdom, arranged different flesh in a different order and a different arrangement according to his wise purposes. And we will have flesh and bones in our resurrection bodies. Jesus had flesh and bone in his resurrection body, in Luke 24:39-40, he said, “‘Look at my hands and my feet, it is I myself touch me and see. A ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ And when he said this, he showed them his hands and feet.” you could touch him; he could eat broiled fish. He had a resurrection body. Then Paul describes heavenly bodies versus earthy bodies, look at verse 40, “There are also heavenly bodies, and there are earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly bodies is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly bodies is of another kind.” So Paul is setting the table here for the radical change that's gonna happen in our resurrection bodies.
Now, we are presently created in the image of God, and our present physical bodies, mortal bodies are still glorious. The psalmist said in Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” So, our physical bodies, even though they are under a curse, are still glorious and they bring glory to God. Heavenly bodies in this present age, heavenly bodies, such as the sun, the moon and the stars, also display God's glory, but it's a different kind of glory, a way that glorifies God differently than our physical body. So each takes its appointed place in the ordering that God has laid out, but they are different from one another. The present earthly body, even in its decaying state has one kind of glory, but the resurrection body that we will have, that Paul is about to describe, we'll talk about, God willing, next week, has a different kind of glory.
And then he talks about star differing from star in glory, verse 41, “There is one glory of the sun, there's another glory of the moon, and there's another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory.” So, God created the sun and the moon and the stars up in the heavenly realms, and we can't do anything to them or about them at all, they're just beyond us. But they shine, and he gives two different ones a different task, like he created the sun to rule over the day with greater light, and the moon to rule over the night with lesser light. And then in one of the great understatements of the entire Bible, he also created the stars. That's all it says in Genesis 1, but those stars have a role to play, they give off less light than the moon does, but in their aggregate, in their distance, they glorify God. One naturalist talking about the varied color of different stars said this, “Like flowers, the stars have their own colors. At your first upward glance all glean white as frost crystals. But if you single one out for observation, you will find a subtle spectrum in the stars, the quality of their lights is determined by their temperatures. In the December sky, you'll see Aldebaran as pale rose, Regal as bluish white and Betelgeuse orange or topaz yellow,” so different colors. And beyond the different colors, stars have different sizes. Cosmologists tell us that some single stars, they are as large as our solar system, a single star that big, it's staggering. Polaris, the North Star is noteworthy, because it holds perfectly steady in the northern sky, and people have navigated by it for centuries. Paul's point here is each star has a different role and different glory assigned to it. “Star differs from star in glory according to the purpose of God.” So the resurrection body in which we will spend eternity will have a different glory than the present bodies that we have, a much greater glory.
IV. Varying Levels of Glory in the Resurrection
And the final point I wanna make today is there will be differing levels of glory in heaven, a point I've made often in the last six months, but here's the text that it comes from. Every resurrected saint will be glorious, but not equally glorious. Look again in verses 41-42, “Star differs from star in glory, so it is with the resurrection from the dead.” The glory of the resurrection body is clear, Jesus said in Matthew 13:43, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” We're all going to shine, we'll be radiant and glorious in our resurrection bodies, but there will be varying levels of glory in heaven. We will all be glorious, but we will not be equally glorious. And that glory, I believe, is connected to the events of our earthly lives, and what we chose to do with our time on earth and what God did in and through us. Levels of sacrificial, courageous sacrificial service produced glorious fruit. Paul talks about his crowns, the churches that he planted, his crowns, 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, he says, “What is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes, is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” So the Thessalonian church that he planted under great persecution will be one of Paul's crowns in heaven. He says the same thing to the Philippians, in Philippians 4:1, “Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown.” they are his crown. And so, the sacrificial, courageous actions that Paul took in evangelism and missions to win people to Christ, that God used him for that will shine for all eternity, they will be part of his own crown. Jonathan Edwards in his marvelous little treatise on this, “Heaven is a World of Love” he talks about different glory, but there'll be no pride and no jealousy, no bickering in heaven. This is what Edwards wrote:
In heaven, there shall be no remaining enmity or distaste or coldness or deadness of heart toward God or Christ. Not the least remainder of any principle of envy shall exist to be exercised toward angels or other beings who are superior in glory. Nor shall there be anything like contempt or slighting of those who are inferiors. Those that have a lower station in glory than others, suffer no diminution of their own happiness by seeing others who are greater in glory.
It's a marvelous teaching when we think about it. Now, you say, “Well, what do I do to increase my glory in heaven? What can I do to glorify God more?” Well, I've talked about that many times before, but grow in holiness and grow in service to God. Do the good works that God has prepared for you to do. Be courageous, step forward in faith and do great things for the kingdom of God, expect great things from God and attempt great things for God, and see what crowns God will arrange for you so that you will glorify him. And in the end, all crowns as we know are gonna be cast before the Lord, because he gets the glory for all of it.
Alright, what applications can we take from this study? Well, first and foremost as always, the central appeal in this text is to come to Christ. The glory of the resurrection that we've been describing is for Christians. First and foremost, you have to believe that God raised Christ from the dead in order to be forgiven of your sins; you have to believe this. If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead; you will be saved. So this is not an optional doctrine, you have to believe it, but there's so much evidence in scripture. And the Spirit testifies to the resurrection of Jesus to our hearts. As you read the scripture, you know that Christ has been raised from the dead and by faith in him all your sins will be forgiven.
And then, once you become a Christian, then you know, appearances are deceiving. Things aren't what they appear, if you go to a funeral of a Christian and you look down at the corpse, you think, “How can anything come out of this?” The loved one isn't moving. And to think that God can take really when we're physically at our absolute lowest and then move us by his sovereign power of glorification instantaneously to be our most radiantly glorious. God can do that. And so, I think we take the same thing when we look around at the world and things are not what they appear to be. Things maybe it seems to you spinning out of control. They're not. You may think God isn't on his throne, he is. You may think the problems that are facing you in your life, whatever they may be, physical, emotional, relational, financial, whatever they are, are insurmountable, they're not. And God can do anything. He can do all things. And that's a central meditation for us as Christians. Christ has shown God can raise the dead. And meditate; you should meditate daily on your own resurrection. John 6:39, it says, “This is the will of him who sent me that I shall lose none of all that he has given me,” but listen, “raise them up at the last day.” You need to think about that over and over, “The Lord is God, he's not gonna lose me, he's not gonna lose track of me, I'm not gonna slip his fingers, he will raise me up on the last day,” and that will give you strength. Realize that we're not any better than the Corinthians who stumbled over this doctrine. We're not at some higher spiritual level; we need to be rebuked just like they do. We are foolish because we don't know the scriptures or the power of God, just own it. Stand under the rebuke and say, you know, “Lord, I know I don't know the scriptures or the power of God, like I should. Make 2021 a year in which a year from now, I know the scriptures better than I do now, and I know the power of God better than I do now.” And let this knowledge drive you on in the two journeys, the internal journey of holiness. Because you know that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked, like Paul, strive to keep your conscience clear before God and man, Acts 24:15-16. And then in service to the kingdom, the last verse of this chapter, verse 58, he says, “Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” So work hard for him. Find out how can I bless the church this week? What phone calls could I make? What acts of service could I make? What emails or social media communications can I do that might encourage somebody in the faith? A missionary or something like that. What lost person can I venture forth and reach out with the gospel? How can I serve? And don't try to get all the answers. People are always like, wanting to know the details, the physical details, like, alright, so if there's gonna be a resurrection, what age will we be? Like, will we all be like... I don't know, 18? Augustine answered that for us, we'll all be 21, forever. So... But that's his idea. I have no idea. I would say, don't ask, we don't know, there's so many questions we don't know. What if someone dies in infancy? I believe in infant salvation for a lot of reasons. You wanna ask me about it afterwards, I'll tell you, but what would they look like? What would they be like? Will their own mothers recognize them? And even that, if people are gonna be glorious, how will we know it's them? Will they wear signs around their necks? What about the great heroes? I wanna talk to John Calvin. I wanna talk to Martin Luther. Will they have a John Calvin or Martin Luther sign around their neck? How will we know? Stop. All those questions are not helpful; they're all speculative. Just stop and say, “I'm gonna stick with what he has taught me here in 1 Corinthians 15, this is enough for me.” So many of those questions lead down the wrong path, and they will all of them be answered in the future.
"You need to think about that over and over, “The Lord is God, he's not gonna lose me, he's not gonna lose track of me, I'm not gonna slip his fingers, he will raise me up on the last day.”
And then finally, as I've said many times before, prepare your whole Christian life to die well, to die well. So that your loved ones, your children, your grandchildren, your friends, the medical community caring for you in your final hours will see a man or a woman of faith who really believes you're about to go to all of your best things. None of your best things are in the past at that moment, all of your best things are in the future, and that includes resurrection into a glorious body for all eternity. Close with me in prayer.
Lord, we thank you for the study we've had today. We thank you for the way that Paul just rolls up his sleeves and wades right into the practical questions that they had, how could this happen, what kind of body will they have? And Lord, I thank you for the truth that he's given, which is sufficient for us. We don't need to press with curiosity beyond the boundary set up by the word. But Lord, we have so much real estate in our inheritance in the Word, far more than we think we do. And so, I pray that you would teach us to meditate deeply on the future based on these promises of God. And Lord, I pray that all of the people within the sound of my voice right now, if at the beginning of this sermon, they were not as yet saved that they would trust in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and have resurrection glory to look forward to, in Jesus’ name. Amen.