#699. HOW ARE THE DEAD RAISED? (28/11/22)
On Sunday, we continued with our series in 1 Corinthians. This week's devotionals are based upon Paul’s teaching on the resurrection body from 1 Corinthians 15:35-58.
‘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. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendour of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendour of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendour, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendour. 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 15:35-44)
Summary: Creation in its immeasurable beauty and complexity reveals that God is perfectly able to raise us from the dead and give us a new Resurrection Body.
It seems that there was a contingent at Corinth who were teaching against resurrection - that Jesus hasn’t been raised and nor will Christians be raised. There are others who are confused and are asking questions about this subject.
In response to those who are struggling with the ideas of our future resurrection, Paul gives three analogies to help them:
i. DIFFERENT SEEDS
Pauls uses the process of sowing seeds as analogous to what happens to Christians; we die, go into the ground and, like seeds, are raised with a different body.
ii. DIFFERENT ANIMALS
Paul uses the creation of different animals with different bodies to show that God is perfectly capable of raising us and giving us a new body.
iii. DIFFERENT HEAVENLY BODIES (THINGS IN SPACE)
He shows that as God has made different phenomena in space - stars, sun, moon - He is able to give us heavenly bodies like that of Christ.
God’s power is seen all around us. Creation reveals the glory of God. We may ask many questions about how God can raise us, but let’s be full of faith in the power of God. He made the Flora, animals, and heavenly bodies and, most importantly, reveals His power and intent in the resurrection of Christ.
“I thank you Father that creation reveals your great power. When I look at the great, countless variety of things that you have made, I can see that nothing is impossible for you. I thank you that as we approach winter, I know that spring will bring new life; this cycle speaks of the world’s and my life-cycle; the has fallen into a winter of sin but, by your power, it will be renewed. It speaks of my life-cycle; I am ‘outwardly wasting away’ but I know that as You, Lord Jesus, have risen, so I will rise to new, unending and glorious life. Amen.”
YOU MIGHT FIND THIS SONG INSPIRING ON THIS WEEK'S SUBJECT:
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His word recently? How would you like prayer?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
TRUE HOPE LEADS TO WORTHY LIVING
On Sunday, we continued with our series in 1 Corinthians, looking at Paul’s teaching on the resurrection body from 1 Corinthians 15:35-58. In this study, we only have time to consider a few ideas.
Please read the whole of 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
1. THE RESURRECTION BODY
‘So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.’ (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
What will our bodies be like when they are raised? In summary, we can simply say that they will be like Jesus’ body after His resurrection. Paul uses three contrasts here which tell us a great deal:
i. Perishable to imperishable - This, in essence, means that our bodies will become immortal. Our current existents involves birth, ageing and death; in our future existence, we will never decline. (See also 15:53–55).
ii. Dishonour to glory - Our bodies lack honour in that they are fallen. Sin has corrupted them. The glory of God is defiled in us. Our bodies have appetites that are against the Spirit. We were made in God’s image but we now ‘fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23) in our all aspects of our lives including our bodies. When we are raise, we will be glorious. Our whole being, including our bodies, will be restored to the image of God. Our bodies will bring glory to Jesus.
iii. Weakness to power - ‘Weakness’ (astheneia) refers to frailty, illness and suffering. In this age, our bodies are weak and subject to illness. Paul likens our bodies to ‘jars of clay’ that are ‘outwardly wasting away (2 Corinthians 4:7, 16). In that day - When Jesus comes - we will be ‘raised in power’. Our bodies will have new strength and capability. No longer will we be subject to sickness or weakness.
iv. Natural to spiritual - ‘Natural’ means that which is natural to all people. the term ‘natural body’ is a summation of the previous terms; the natural body is fallen and so is perishable, dishonoured and weak. All of us are in this condition by nature. However, when Christ comes and we are raised up, our bodies will be ‘spiritual’. This is not about our being ghostly our lacking substance. Rather, this is a summary of our being perfected by the Spirit at our resurrection (See Romans 8:11).
2. GIVE YOURSELVES FULLY TO THE WORK OF THE LORD
’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 labor in the Lord is not in vain.’ (1 Corinthians 15:58)
The title of Sunday’s message was: ‘TRUE HOPE LEADS TO WORTHY LIVING’. Paul finishes this section with application. A true grasp of our future hope will lead to 'giving ourselves fully to the work of the Lord'. The work of building the local church, sharing the gospel and being ‘salt and light’ in our communities will flow out of true hope. Hope of future resurrection causes us to live for things of eternal worth rather than for the things of this passing era.
i. Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?
ii. What about our future resurrection do you feel most excited about?
iii. Read 1 Corinthians 15:58. Why does true hope lead to worthy living?
iv. What is the ‘work of the Lord’ that we should give ourselves to?
SIV - Let's keep praying and planning for how we can invite people to our carol service on 11th December (4 pm).
SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?
SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?
SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.