The New You - Pt. 1
Topic: Sunday Sermons Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:35-49
Transcript of our Sermon Audio:
Take your Bible, I'm going to base my remarks on 1 Corinthians 15:35-49.
If you're joining with us this morning, just visiting, we're in a series on heaven called Life After Life. I think sometimes we forget that real life begins at the end of this life, and we've been trying to think that through. We've looked at several subjects already. And this morning, I want to begin a two-part sermon, we'll finish next Sunday morning, on the new you, because we're promised a new body, a new life in the world to come. We're going to kind of look at that from 1 Corinthians 15:35-49.
Stand in honor of God's word. I'm reading from the New King James translation of holy scripture. 1 Corinthians 15:35, this is the great chapter on the resurrection.
"But someone will say, 'How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?' Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive until it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain, perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.
"All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 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. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
"However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man."
So reads God's word, you may be seated.
We know Spurgeon as a great pastor and preacher, but I would remind you this morning that he was also a great sufferer. His life was marked by physical affliction and mental depression. In fact, my studies have led me to discover this week that he was plagued with gout, which is a sickness that inflames your joints and just makes movement painful. He also was troubled by Bright's disease, which was kidney inflammation similar to lupus. On top of that, he had trouble with sciatica, he had bouts of lingering depression.
And in the light of all that sickness, in the light of all that suffering, I think his comment here is very insightful. I quote him, "In the matter of faith healing, health is set before us as if it were the great thing to be desired above other things. Is it so? I venture to say that the greatest earthly blessing that God can give any of us is health, with the exception of sickness. Sickness has frequently been of more use to the saints of God than health has. A sick wife, a newly made grave, poverty, slander, sinking of spirit might teach us lessons nowhere else to be learned so well. Trials drive us to the realities of religion."
That's a great insight. It's helpful. He's right. Pain, suffering, loss, bereavement, dark moods, mental anguish, they're good in that they drive us to the reality of our religion. And as we have been studying, ours is a religion with the hope of heaven. Physical pain, emotional darkness, spiritual battles, they cause us to long for heaven. The thought of a new body not subject to depravity, disease, depression, and death is at the heart of Gospel hope.
Sickness is beneficial. Now I know that's kind of antithetical to our instincts. I know that cuts across the grain of our body culture, but sickness is beneficial. Health may be the greatest blessing, except for sickness. Because one of the by products of sickness is that we are homesick for heaven.
In fact, as I was preparing this sermon on 1 Corinthians 15, I also came across the writings of another British minister, a man by the name of Jeremy Taylor. He was a 17th century clergyman in the Church of England. And in a message on holy dying, he says something that's really astute. Listen to these words, "In sickness, the soul begins to dress herself for immortality." Listen to those words again, "In sickness, the soul begins to dress herself for immortality." You see, sickness reminds us of our mortality. Reminds us often of life's futility, causes us to think about the possibility of life beyond this life. Sickness amplifies heaven. Sickness downgrades things, promotes humility, exalts Christ.
To that end, sickness, although bad in itself, can be applied to good ends. In a world of broken dreams, broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts, is Spurgeon not right? Is it not a wonderful thing to turn to the realities of religion? To the hope that the Christian faith presents to us of a bodily resurrection to new life through faith in Jesus Christ.
I would remind you, that's at the heart of Christianity. Christianity is a supernatural religion. Christianity is a resurrection religion. It holds out the hope of eternal life. It holds out the hope of a body not subject to disease or depression or death. Listen to John Stott, "Authentic Christianity, the Christianity of Christ and the Apostles, is supernatural Christianity. It is not a tame and harmless ethic consisting of a few moral platitudes, spiced with a dash of religion. It is a resurrection religion, a life lived by the power of God."
And you know what? Sickness brings us to consider that reality. Belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is a cornerstone conviction of Christianity. The passage we're looking at begins in verse 3, "For I delivered to you first of all," this is of first importance, "that Jesus died for our sins and was buried, and rose again the third day." That's at the heart of the Christian faith. The Christian faith's not about do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The Christian faith's not about loving your neighbor. The Christian faith is about believing in an act within history when God came in Jesus Christ to bear our sin and conquer the grave and promise us eternal life. That's what Christianity is about. That's the reality of this religion and it's a wonderful thing.
When you're sick and depressed, when you've had enough of this old world, Christianity comes riding into your rescue and offers you eternal life. Offers you new life, a new body, and a new future. Because without it Christianity is a hollow promise, it's a proverbial house of cards.
In fact, we don't have time to develop this, but in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, Paul plays hypothetically with the idea, imagine that Jesus was buried but didn't rise. Just hold that thought for a moment, what would that do to Christianity? Here's what he says, read it, "Our preaching of the Gospel would be empty. Faith in Christ would be futile. Evangelism would be a lie because we would be bearing false witness in God's name. Forgiveness would be a fantasy because Jesus Christ would not have overcome death. Declaring himself to be the Son of God and proving that his atonement was enough."
Hope in the face of suffering would be a pipe dream and Christians would be people to be pitied. Christianity without the resurrection is equivalent to a sunrise without the sun. It's an impossibility. Let's just put it out there. You know what? As Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ here at Kindred Community Church, we have put all our eggs in the Easter basket. And if it's not true, then what we present is a hoax.
But you know it is true. Paul only thought about that. He thought about the unthinkable. But then he comes back to tell us no, he did rise and he was seen by Peter and the 12 and 500 others. His resurrection is attested, the grave is empty. He has appeared physically to his followers, the risen Christ has transformed their fear into faith.
This is such a reality in the Christian community that their day of worship is the day that Jesus rose from the grave. And the beauty of this is because he lives, that means we shall live also, John 14:19. Think about that, this is where we're going this morning and next Sunday morning in our series on heaven. The old you, the sinful you, the sick and struggling you will give way to a new you, immortal, powerful, spiritual and radiant, reflecting the glory of God.
The Gospel allows us to become prisoners to hope. And I want us to come to 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 to consider what the new you and me will look like. What will that resurrected body look like? In fact, Paul sets out to answer that question, look at verse 35, "But someone will say, 'How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?'" Now I'm going to answer that question. I'm only going to begin to answer it this morning.
There are several things about our new body that we're going to cover in this sermon. We're going to see that our new body will be physical, it'll be personal, it'll be permanent, perfect, powerful, pure. And if time allows me, I'm just going to cover the first one of those this morning. Our new body will be physical. We will not be little Christian Caspers flying all around heaven. No, no, the Christian faith is material. It's the most material of all the religions of the world. The Christian faith promises a new physical body that you and I will live in on a new material earth.
But hold that thought, because as I looked at this passage, this great resurrection passage, I couldn't miss the fact that there are three resurrections mentioned to some degree in this passage, and I want to talk about them briefly before looking at that first feature of the new body.
Let's look first of all, what I call the past resurrection. That would be 1 Corinthians 15:20-28. "But now Christ is risen from the dead," that's a past event, that's an historic fact. That has actually happened. Now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end."
Before we get to our resurrection, we have got to think of his resurrection because his resurrection is the basis of our resurrection. It is his resurrection that makes new life in the future life possible. Christ's triumph over death, hell, and the grave means that he is, according to Paul, listen to this language, "the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep." Now Paul's taking language out of the book of Leviticus. You can look that up in your own time.
But around the harvest time in Israel, when the harvest was about to be brought in they'd cut a little bit of the harvest, a slice, a sample of the harvest, and they would take the sheaves of grain and they would give them to the priest and he would wave them before the Lord. The first fruits, as a thank you, as an acknowledgement that God has caused the sun to shine on and the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
And the harvest is coming and God has been good. And that first cut is evidence of the harvest that will come soon enough. And Paul takes that image and he waves the resurrection of Jesus Christ in our face to tell us we can celebrate because his resurrection, three days after he was buried, is the promise of our resurrection. What has happened to him will happen to us. Christ is the first installment of a series of resurrections.
You see, when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it's not one and done. It's not one and done, he's the first installment, the first fruits. I like what Michael Rogers says in his book, What Happens After Death, "The miracle of Jesus raised by God's power was not once and done, it was more like the first crashing chord opening a grand Beethoven symphony." Beautiful.
Christians happily believe that since God raised Jesus to life, that God will raise them to life. We're hitching our wagon to Jesus' resurrection. Let me give you a couple of verses that will just underscore that. Write down Romans 8:11, where Paul makes this explicit, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."
Over in 2 Corinthians, Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, chapter four and verse 14, we have a similar thought, "Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you."
See, it's a Christian conviction that Jesus holds the key to unlocking a future beyond death and without death. Revelation 1:18, he is seen to hold the keys of death and Hades. Revelation 21:4, we are promised a life where there is no dying, no sorrow, no crying. All things made new, including you and me. A new body dwelling on a new earth, that's the Christian hope. It's concrete, it's tangible, it's real. And the reason that you and I can be sure about that today is because we can look back to a moment in history where Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again.
Christian hope is not based on wishful thinking about the future, it's based on an objective understanding about what happened in history. Just get that thought. I'm not hoping for heaven, I'm just not peering into an unknown future and hoping and wishing for the best. I'm looking over my shoulder to what I believe is an historic event of Jesus Christ dying for my sin, being buried, and rising again.
He's the pattern. He's the pattern, he's the first fruits. Listen to this, Philippians 3:20-21, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed," listen, "to His glorious body," what happened to him is going to happen to us. What he looks like we'll look like, because we will see him and we will be like him, 1 John 3:2.
In fact, listen to this verse, write it down, Colossians 1:18, I'll read it for you, very critical. Speaking of the Lord Jesus, "And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence." Did you notice that title? The description of the Lord Jesus? He's the firstborn from among the dead. That's the Greek word that gives us the English word prototype. What's a prototype? It's the first of others.
In fact, when I worked for the aerospace company in Belfast, Short's, I was given a plumb assignment early on in my engineering career to join a team of men who would build the first SD3-30, which was a small commuter, turbo prop aircraft that we built. So I was on the prototype. And so we had to work out all the wrinkles, we had to get this thing right because, you know, all the jigs and all the drawings would be based on it. I worked on the first prototype SD3 aircraft. And every aircraft after it was patterned on the one we built. That's our word.
You know what? Ford can roll out a prototype car, Boeing can roll out a prototype airplane, and others will follow just like them, based on them. And the Bible is saying that's what you've got in the resurrection of Jesus, the prototype, the first. Jesus has changed the experience of death into an experience of life. Think about that, Jesus has changed the experience of death into an experience of life. Our experience of death is momentary and it ushers in a new life experience that's everlasting, perfect, and upgraded. It's wonderful.
So that's the past resurrection. Secondly, what I call the present resurrection. The present resurrection, now this isn't a physical resurrection, this is a resurrection of our resolve to continue to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Because you and I can kind of grow weary in well doing, can't we? Of course, sometimes I'm not sure I want to go to the Bible study tonight. You know what? I've served the Lord here at Kindred for several years now, I think it's time to resign from children's ministry. You know what? I've served there long enough, it's time for someone else to step in. And we think like that.
George Whitefield, the great evangelist, said we get tired in the work but never of it. And we need to be resuscitated and we need to be revived and our spirits need to be resurrected. And that's what is talked about here. Go to chapter 15, verse 57. In the final paragraph, from verse 50 through 58, Paul holds out again this idea of the rapture and the resurrection and the change that will come. Right?
Verse 51, "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." I think I've told you before, I was in a church once that had that verse on the wall of the nursery. "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." That's terrible exegesis. That doesn't belong there. But anyway, that's beside the point.
"We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet." And here's the language similar to the language of verse 42, 44, "The dead will be raised incorruptible, and the mortal will put on immortality, and death will be swallowed up in victory." Verse 57, "So thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain." Past resurrection, Jesus physical, glorious, triumphant resurrection. And that's the prototype for a future resurrection of you and me.
But there's a present resurrection, because you and I have been made alive. We've enjoyed a spiritual resurrection called the new birth, called regeneration, and that work continues in us. And the thought of Jesus' resurrection and our future resurrection should resurrect our resolve to serve the Lord despite detractors, difficulty and discouragement.
In fact, this whole chapter on the resurrection, both past and future, it finishes with an imperative, therefore. Here's what you've got to do with this. While you await the future resurrection, in the meantime, resurrect your commitment to Jesus Christ, knowing that whatever you do for him is not wasted or ever lost. That's the whole point of this, isn't it? You and I are encouraged to keep on keeping on. When your tank is empty, remember the tomb is empty. And whatever you do for Jesus Christ will meet you in the life to come. And whatever you do for Jesus Christ, although weak, and at times the results are slow in coming, it is underwritten by the victory of Jesus Christ at the cross and at the grave.
Jesus' death was not in vain, it atoned for our sin, it conquered the grave, it crippled the kingdom of darkness, it brought about the gift of the Holy Spirit. We're enjoying the light and immortality that comes through the Gospel. If that's all true, that his death was not in vain, then neither is our living. Neither is our living. And neither is our serving. Doesn't Peter say that we have been born again unto a living hope? We serve a living God and a risen Savior, and we are empowered by a living Spirit, despite difficulty and discouragement, to live out a living hope. And we must bring that to our marriages, and bring that to our ministry, and bring that the next time we look into those dirty little faces over in the children's ministry, they make you want to run to the hills. I mean, whatever it is, don't be moved! Don't be moved, abound in the work of the Lord because it's not in vain! That's wonderful.
I like the words of Michael Bird in a book I was reading this week, What Christians Believe, on the Apostles' Creed, speaking of the resurrection of the body he says this, "The future horizon of resurrection gives purpose and drive to Christians living in the present." If you're contemplating missionary service, adding your name to the roster of the church, considering learning to preach, becoming a Sunday school teacher, or wondering what you can do to stop sex trafficking, do it! And here's the reason why, because the resurrection moves us to take risks for God, because the resurrection proves that God is behind us, for us, and with us. Do it. Because the hope of the resurrection lies before you. The power of the resurrection is at work within you. And the future resurrection tells you that nothing dies that you dedicate to Jesus Christ.
Listen, what's the point? When you are assured of an eventual assured victory, that produces steadfastness. When you know the outcome, when you know the end, you can trudge through the mucky middle. That's the point. That's the point. Guys, if this is the end and Jesus Christ's resurrection proves that we will be raised to life in him, then in the in between, in the midst of a world that says God is dead, in the midst of dying dreams yourself, in the midst of a faith that's considered fanciful by the world, let's stay by the stuff.
As J.B. Phillips translates it, "Let nothing move you as you busy yourselves in the work of the Lord. Be sure that nothing you do is ever lost or ever wasted." It's good stuff. The assurance of an assured victory produces perseverance.
You know, my Buckeyes were playing yesterday against Michigan. Yeah, can't miss this. Eight and 0, there's got to be a mercy rule somewhere that Ohio State stops beating Michigan. It's terrible, eight in a row. So I went down to the Spectrum yesterday with a couple of guys in the church and joined some 400 buckeyes there in Irvine Spectrum and we watched the game. Now we're watching it live, 9:00 in the morning. And you know they start out with a touchdown, missed field goal. I'm kind of going hey I'd like to beat them by one point, wouldn't that be fun if they'd just miss the field goal.
But then it starts down, we score and a little bit of tit and tat, and you're not sure, at times it looks like we're going to run away with it, and then one of our best receivers dropped a reception pass five yards from the touchdown. One of our, you know, receivers fumbles the ball and gives them possession on our 30 yard line. You know, and every little mistake, it's the harbinger of disaster.
And you're sitting watching this thing, sweating bullets, and then we begin as is normal, just to pull away. And you know, we loved every minute of it. And I was texting different people in the church while this was unfolding. In fact, one of the families that sent me a picture of their little boy right at the beginning of the game in his Michigan sweatshirt. And I texted them back, I said, "Don't set him up for failure. That's child cruelty and I'm going to report you." You know?
So, we had a lot of fun over it, but we pulled away. Now, I'm going to watch that again tonight, I recorded it. Now, how do you think I'm going to watch it a second time? A little bit more calmly. The fumble's not going to bother me as much. The missed reception that's a no brainer, not going to bother me as much. Why? Because I know the score! In case you don't know it, 56 to 28. Another blowout.
But I'm going to watch that differently because I have an assured outcome. And that's what Paul's saying. He wants you to bring that mindset. I know we're playing live in life, but you've got to imagine, you know the end, you know the score, you know the outcome. Therefore, in the light of the victory that's been assured, in the victory of Jesus Christ, let nothing move you as you busy yourselves in the work of the Lord. Be assured that nothing you do is ever lost or wasted.
Let's move on to the third resurrection. There's a past resurrection, Jesus, the first fruits of a greater harvest. There's the present resurrection where the Spirit of the resurrection of Jesus Christ revives and resurrects our commitment to him in service. But there's the prospective resurrection, that's the one we're going to begin to look at here in the verses we read, verses 35 through 49. It's the future physical resurrection of our body. A body, according to verse 42, that will be sown at death, in burial, in a state of corruption, and raised in incorruption. Sown in dishonor, raised in glory. Sown in weakness, raised in power. Verse 44, sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body.
We're going to have a body that's not subject to death, disease, discouragement, depression. It's going to cooperate with us. You're not going to have to force it out of bed. You're not going to have to discipline it. You're not going to have to fight it because it's got the flesh within that tempts us to sin.
Wasn't it Francis of Assisi who had called his body Brother Ass? I think we can identify with that. I mean, that doesn't ... we don't say that to denigrate the body, but we do remind ourselves, this body, it'll let us down all the time. It will break down. The mind will break, the heart will be broken, life will leave it, and it will be sown, some day, into the ground in burial. But on resurrection day, it's going to come forth glorious, powerful, radiant, like Jesus Christ.
When's this going to happen? This makeover? Well, if you go to chapter 15:50-52, we know that it's going to happen at the rapture, the second coming of Jesus Christ for the church. "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible." Remember what we said in our former study? If a believer dies right now, they leave the body. We bury the body, sow the body. The spirit goes to be with the Lord, awaiting further clothing with a new body that will be raised in the resurrection. Body and soul joined together in perfect harmony, health, and holiness, for all of eternity. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. That's the prospect.
It's what we read in Philippians 3:20, we wait for the Son of God from heaven, who will transform our vile, weak, corruptible body into a body like unto his glorious body. I love that. Can you imagine that change? It's hard for us in our body today to imagine that. And that's why, by the way, sickness helps, because sickness forces you to think more about this than we tend to do.
Remember what we said? Sickness dresses us for immortality and this wonderful transformation, the new you and me that's going to take place at the rapture when Jesus comes and raises our body, joins our body with the spirit if we have passed away, or just translates us living.
I love the story of the two rednecks that were visiting the city, father and son along with the mother. And they went into the hotel ahead of the mum to sign in. And they had never been in a big fancy hotel in the big city before, and they got a little distracted by the silver doors that would open and close. And the son turned to the father and he said, "What is this?" The father says, "I've never seen anything like it." And there they were for the first time standing and looking at an elevator.
And they watched the doors open and the doors close. And as they were standing there this old woman come up, small and fat and gray haired. And she hit the button, the doors opened, she got inside. And they stood there as the doors closed and they watched these buttons light up, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. And then when it got to the top, number ten lit up, it started going in the reverse direction, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Then the doors opened and out of the doors came this tall, blonde, 24 year old beautiful girl.
And they looked at each other and the father said, "Go get your mother."
I love that story, whether it's true or not, I really don't care. It illustrates my point. Man, you go in the elevator one way, and you come out another. It's a transformer. And I want to tell you something, you and I are going to go into the rapture one way and come out another. Transformed with a body like unto his glorious body. I'm telling you, this is the Christian faith. You say this morning that it's pie in the sky. I say history's against you, I say the word of God's against you. I say my transformed life through the living presence of Jesus Christ is against you.
This is Christianity. We're not here to preach platitudes. We're here to tell you this earth shattering reality that you know what? Life in Jesus Christ is everlasting, glorious, and perfect.
And for a couple of minutes, this idea, this image of the seed, it's a wonderful one, to try and help us get our heads around this. And we'll get into this more next week, Paul talks about the body that's died and buried is like a seed. I mean, that's his language, isn't it? He talks about seeds from verse 36 following, and specifically in verse 42, regarding the resurrection of the dead, the body will be sown in one state and raised in another state. And it's a wonderful image. The promised resurrection, the thought of it kind of is put on display in what happens to a seed. Because, you see, the seed is sown in the ground and it dies. But as it dies, life bursts forth and the seed produces something beautiful and more glorious than itself.
Something so different and yet so alike, because in the DNA perhaps of an acorn is the big oak tree. And that's the point that's being made earlier here, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies, and what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain. But God gives a body as he pleases, and to each seed its own body. Paul is talking about that, and says, "Look, you sow the seed, it dies. Life comes forward and God allows that to come forward in a beautiful form, more glorious than the seed you sowed." And he says that's what the resurrection's going to be like. We're going to sow this body of ours in a state of corruption, and it's going to die in that sense, and it's going to come forth in the resurrection in new life. Glorious. And God's going to give it a different look.
So what kind of body? That's the question I set out to answer, got a little distracted, but we're going to pick this up now for a few minutes, and then pick it up next Sunday morning. It's the question of verse 35, "With what body do they come?" What will we look like? As I've said, our new bodies will be physical, personal, permanent, perfect, powerful, pure.
Just a first thought for a brief moment, our new bodies will be physical. Now it's important you understand that because there are some in the Corinthian church who were denying the resurrection of the body. And they were being affected by Greek thought that was built on the thinking of Plato, would later kind of mushroom into the Gnostic religion that the material is evil. The body is a tomb. In fact, Plato said that, the body is a tomb. That's what he thought of the body. It's just, I'm encased in this body, it's a tomb to me, I need to be free from it. And so, their understanding of salvation, and if there was a life to come was, you shed the body and you never pick it up again, and you're glad to say good riddance.
Paul says that's not Christianity, because the human person is made up of spirit and body. God took man from the dust of the earth and he breathed into him, and he became a living spirit. Body and spirit. And when God saves us, by the way, he's going to save us as a whole person. He's not just going to regenerate our spirit, he's going to redeem our bodies. That's why Romans 8, verse, is it 18? Somewhere around there, talks about the redemption of the body. And so our resurrection's going to be physical. God intends for you not to discard your body, but he's going to raise it in a perfect, beautiful form that will serve his purposes and serve you. A body not subject to death, sickness, malfunction.
The next life is not a disembodied ghostly experience. Okay? Paul tells us right here at the beginning, Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and he rose again. The body that was buried stood up in new life. And you know what? Verse 20, if Christ is risen from the dead, then he's the first fruits, to pattern.
You see, just as Jesus possessed a literal body, a tangible body, so you and I will. I'll throw you a couple of verses, you can look them up in your own time. I mean, after his resurrection, when he meets the disciples, they're held up in a room, they're fearful of him, in Luke 24, you know, 39, and he meets them also later on. He tells them, look, "It's me." They're not sure if they're dreaming. They're not sure if it's an apparition. He says, what does he say? "Look at the marks on my hands and my feet." Which gives you the impression Jesus was in a bodily form and the wounds that he endured at the cross were present in his body. In fact, we know that to be the case because in John 20:27, doesn't he invite Doubting Thomas to put his finger in the holes in his hands and in his side?
By the way, someone has just interestingly noted that nail prints in the Savior's hands will be the only manmade things in heaven. Interesting thought.
What about Mary clinging to his body? Mistook him first as the gardener, then realizing it was the Savior. She grabs on to his feet and he says, "You've got to leave me go, I'm going back to the Father." When he meets his disciples on the shore of Galilee, we were there just a few weeks ago on our church trip to Israel, John 21:12-13, he tells him, "Come on, let's have breakfast." And they had bread, and they had fish. Jesus wasn't a phantom. His body was real and tangible.
I think our future bodies will be more real, more substantial, and perhaps even more human than our present ones. Here's our closing thought, now although our future body will be physical, we'll build on this next week, in the light of Jesus' post resurrection appearances, and remember we will have a body like unto his glorious body, one patterned after him, he's the prototype, it's interesting that his body wasn't bound by time or by space. Both in John 20:19 and Luke 24:31, he appeared and disappeared into places. Doors were closed, Jesus appears, and then he disappears. He wasn't bound by time or space.
I don't know how that configuration works, but that's the word of God. Where the Bible leaves off teaching, I leave off learning.
What about Acts 1:9-11? The resurrected Christ commissions his disciples. And then it says, "And he was received up into heaven, they saw him go. And they were saying, 'Hey, in the same manner you see him go, you're going to see him come back again.'" And so his body travels through space.
And you know what? That seems to at least maybe infer that, you know what? That's going to be the case with us. John MacArthur in his book on heaven says, "We will no doubt have other worldly abilities in heaven. Remember that the heavenly city is 1500 miles high, don't think you'll have to wait for elevators to take you to the top. You'll have no doubt an ability to take flight if you desire, simply be transported there in an instant. In the same way that Christ's resurrection body could similarly disappear and appear in another place at will."
Just leave it there. You know what? Sounds good to me. Don't know how that's going to work out, what it's going to look like, but I'm up for it. I like that. We're going to have a physical body.
Going to see next week, it's going to be a continuation of this body made perfect. I think we'll resemble each other, I think we'll know each other. We'll just be a better version of that. I mean, I told you before, we were discussing with our girls one day in the car about what kind of guy they wanted to marry. And Beth shouted from the back, "Dad, I want to marry somebody like you, just better looking." Well, there will be a better version of me someday. But you're stuck with what you've got right now.
And we're going to see this next week, this physical body that will take on our personal appearance, perfected, not subject to sin, reflecting the glory of God. It's phenomenal. It's a wonderful thing.
Johnny Carson, actually didn't do many interviews since he was the interviewer. I read a story that he went back to his old school for an alumni ceremony and to receive a prize. And after it, he actually took some questions and somehow it got around to, "Hey, Johnny, what would you like written on your gravestone or on your headstone?" To which he wrote, "I'll be right back."
My friends, we will be right back. When our loved ones bury us, maybe sooner than we think and it's all going to happen in a moment and we'll be changed.
But I want to tell you something as I close and we come to the table, we will all be resurrected. Maybe you're here this morning, or listening, and you're not a Christian. You have not put your faith in Jesus Christ, you have not experienced what Jesus talks about in that you've never been born again. You don't have a spiritual birthday. You have never submitted your life and your hope for heaven to Jesus Christ. Can I tell you, you too are going to be raised. The Bible doesn't tell me much about what you're going to look like, but I'll tell you this, Daniel 12:2 says this, "Some will be raised to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting contempt." I can't go much beyond that, other than whatever body you're given in the life to come, it will reflect the shame and the contempt that comes with rejecting Jesus Christ and spurning the love of God and devaluing his Son, in that you never saw him as the pearl of great price or the true treasure.
And I'd encourage you today to do what we have done, put your faith where God has put your sin, on the body of Jesus Christ, who died for you and for me so that our sins can be forgiven. We won't pay the penalty of that sin, which is physical death and eternal death, and we'll be ushered into God's presence to enjoy life forever.
Father, thank you for this time in the word. We pray indeed over those listening who do not know you, who don't enjoy the pulsating heartbeat of eternal life and the hope of a resurrected body. We pray that today they would bow the knee and accept your offer of mercy, that they would not be raised to shame and contempt, but be raised to everlasting life.
For those that are dying in our congregation, we pray that indeed that they would embrace the hope that is theirs in Jesus Christ, and die gladly, and die triumphantly. Help those of us that are alive to always be abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labor will never die, will never be wasted, and never lost.
And Lord, even help us to embrace the difficulties that come our way, to perhaps rethink Spurgeon's thinking. That have you ever considered that sickness may be a greater blessing than health because it dresses the soul for immortality? It gets us ready for heaven. It causes us to throw away our idols and our temporary pursuits in the light of something greater, glorious, and everlasting.
Lord, we thank you for the new us that will be us in a future day. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. For we pray and ask these things in his name, amen.