#325 – FUTURE RESURRECTION (9/4/21)
During this week after Easter, we are thinking about Paul’s longest section of teaching on the resurrection from 1 Corinthians 15.
Easter, rightly, has a focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus. However, the bible’s authors always want us to see our death and resurrection in the death and resurrection of Christ.
In Matthew, as Jesus dies, we are presented with a prophetic image of the end of history,
‘At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.’ (Matthew 27:51-53)
This is showing us a glimpse of what will happen at the end of history. This was a ‘resuscitation’, however, Christians experience a resurrection in a ‘resurrection body’ to live, eternally, with Christ, in a new heavens and new earth.
We continue our readings from 1 Corinthians 15,
‘For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come…’ (1 Corinthians 15:21-24)
Adam’s sin brought sin and death into the world. Everyone is born ‘in Adam’. Adam’s sinful nature is inherited by all of us; sinful inclinations, rebellion to God, disease and death afflict every human being. However, in Christ - through faith in Christ and subsequent union with Him by the Spirit - the consequences of the ‘Fall’ are in the process of being reversed. Thomas Schreiner has written,
‘Having established the truth of Christ’s bodily resurrection, Paul advances to the next stage of his argument in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. Four times in this paragraph the indissoluble connection between the resurrection of Christ and the bodily resurrection of believers is stated (1 Cor. 15:12, 13, 15, 16). Paul does not argue for the connection between the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of believers. He assumes the correlation between the two, affirming that these two events cannot be detached from one another. Hence, he says, “If there is no resurrection from the dead, neither has Christ been raised from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:13).’
Jesus will complete the work that He has begun in us when, at His return, we will undergo resurrection. Paul writes,
‘But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! 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 of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. ‘ (1 Corinthians 15:35-38)
‘So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, 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.’ (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
This is your hope. Don’t let the busyness and trials of life take this vision from you. This world is passing. Your body is passing, only to be raised a ‘heavenly body’. Let me encourage you,
‘Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.’ (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Stand firm, do not be moved from trust in Jesus’ resurrection; but also do not be moved from hope in your future resurrection. Your ‘labour in the Lord is not in vain’ - at the end of the trials of your life is a glorious hope guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - TAKE HOLD OF THE ROCK
On Sunday we celebrated Easter Sunday - the resurrection of Jesus.
Like those first disciples, there are so many things that stop us from remembering the resurrection as we need to. We may well believe that Jesus is alive but are we taking hold of it as we could? Those first disciples did not listen and so did expect the resurrection as Jesus had promised.
Take a moment to read through Matthew's account of that first Easter Sunday from Matthew 28: 1-15.
There are many things that could be said, but here are three things that Jesus wants us to know as a result of the resurrection:
i) Jesus is alive
Christians don’t follow a dead guru, hero, example, prophet… We don’t just remember Jesus, we meet with Jesus in the Spirit!
ii) He's truthful
Jesus was not mad, bad, psychotic, super-spiritual… He was telling the truth. All of Jesus’ words can be trusted
iii) He gives life
Those who come to Jesus will receive new life now. We also receive the promise of future resurrection.
1. How often do you think about the resurrection?
2. How does the truth of the resurrection affect your daily life?
3. Why do you think that the first disciples failed to expect Jesus' resurrection as He had promised?
4. In what ways could you let God fill your heart and mind with the hope of the resurrection?
Serving, Investing and inviting
Jesus' resurrection gives us a vision for the future that we want others to enjoy. Let's take a moment to share and pray about how we are serving, investing and inviting into our community.
1) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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