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What Do We Know About the Resurrection?

Reading: 1 COR 15:20-28


You probably remember that my family suffered a unique trauma last year. My
daughter Chris was gravely ill, and the medicine to make her well did not exist.
Her lungs were worn out from years of disease, and her best hope was a transplant.
Yet, even after going into surgery twice, the lungs she needed were not available.
As she got weaker and weaker, it wasn't hard to imagine that her young life would
soon come to an end.
But just when we thought it couldn't get much worse, they called us a third time.
They found new lungs for Chris! And so she went in for some serious surgery. As
you sit in the waiting room, you picture what's going on in the other room. You
start to wonder if she will survive the surgery, wonder whether you talked her into
a bad idea, and wonder if it would all come to an end on the operating table.
Chris did more than survive, and she's started to thrive. She has more strength
and energy than she's had for years. It's like she was raised from the dead and
given back to us. Now she is a transplant patient, so we know every day is a gift,
but she has changed for the better so fast, it's a struggle for us to make enough
room for this young lady.
That must be what it was like when the dead were raised in Jesus time. What was it
like when they went home? How were they received by their friends and family? For
now, we can only imagine what it was like, but down the road we will know how it
is, because we will have seen the resurrection of the dead with our own eyes.
But who will be raised from the dead? Those whom God has chosen, that is, those
who belong to Christ. The Bible makes a clear distinction between those who belong
to Christ and those who are in the world.
2COR 2:15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being
saved and those who are perishing.
In the simplest terms, there are those who are perishing and those who are being
saved. Two groups, and we identify with one or the other.
GAL 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its
passions and desires.
Part of the difference is the attitude toward sin. Those who understand we need to
withstand the assault of our passions and desires, are those who stand with Jesus.
GAL 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with
Christ.
Here is the positive step made by the believer. It is a public confession that
Jesus is right, and we were wrong. There is no hidden unspoken desire, and
intentions never realized. We made a public declaration of our intent when we
stepped into the water.
Baptism is how we are associated with Christ, and Christ is the difference between
those who are being saved and those who are perishing. And this salvation is
realized when we are extracted from this life of sin and death, and we receive
eternal life at the time of the resurrection of the dead.

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What Do We Know About the Resurrection?


The Bible tells us quite a bit about what will happen at the second coming of
Lord. The judgment of God will fall upon the Earth, the Kingdom of Israel will be
established, the dead in Christ will be raised, and a new heavens and a new Earth
will be established.
This will be a new order of things, according to God's will. This is something
that has not been seen in human history, and it certainly is a new thing under the
sun.
This morning, we will focus on just one of these things: the resurrection of the
dead. There has always been a good deal of speculation, but how much do we really
know? As it turns out, when you put it together, we actually know quite a bit.
The scriptures clearly reveal enough to fill out our hope with more than vague
promises. And in these facts, our faith finds assurance.
I. THE "FACT" OF THE RESURRECTION
A. JESUS TAUGHT THERE WILL BE A RESURRECTION.
Jesus taught about a time in which those who have died will be called out of their
graves.
JOH 5:28 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in
the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good
deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a
resurrection of judgment.
Could He be any plainer? The event He describes is similar to what He showed the
world when He called Lazarus out of the tomb. Jesus said, Lazarus, come forth!,
and Lazarus walked out into the daylight.
If we turn the page to John chapter 6, He says it again:
JOH 6:39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I
lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My
Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal
life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.
Jesus gives us His personal assurance that those who believe in Him will be raised
again on the last day, and they will receive eternal life. They died and we buried
them, but Jesus raises them up again and gives them new life.
B. HIS APOSTLES PROCLAIMED A RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD.
This same teaching was carried across the known world by the apostles.
ACT 4:1 As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the
temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 2 being greatly disturbed because
they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the
dead.
The Saducees were at the center of earthly religious power, and they did not

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What Do We Know About the Resurrection?


believe in resurrection. They were disturbed by the apostles teaching because they
were declaring far and wide that Jesus was raised from the dead. This was clearly
understood, even among those who did not believe. Peter and John plainly "preached
in Jesus the resurrection from the dead".
Paul confessed his hope in the resurrection in his defenses before the Sanhedrin.
ACT 23:6 But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees,
Paul began crying out in the Council, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of
Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!"
And again, before the governor, Felix...
ACT 24:14 "But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a
sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance
with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; 15 having a hope in God, which
these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both
the righteous and the wicked.
When the apostle Paul explained what he was teaching, even this brief account
includes the resurrection of the dead. This is not just something hinted at; this
was explicitly stated. If someone teaches something else, such as dead people
going to straight to heaven, they are certainly not teaching what the apostle
preached.
And Paul taught the church at Corinth that resurrection was central to the
Christian faith.
1COR 15:12 Now if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how do
some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
v16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;
v19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be
pitied. 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those
who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the
resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be
made alive.
Paul understood that, without the hope of the resurrection, the gospel had no
meaning, and no power. And he taught the same to the Thessalonians.
1THES 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will
bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by
the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the
Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For...the dead in Christ will rise first.
Paul comforted the Thessalonians with the teaching that Jesus will raise the dead,
as surely as Jesus Himself was raised.
It is impossible to deny the resurrection without discarding the scriptures, the
apostles, and the teaching of Jesus Himself. This is a fundamental, first

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What Do We Know About the Resurrection?


principle teaching expressed plainly in writing to anyone able to read it.
But how can such a thing happen? We don't have an explanation for how a body can
be assembled from the dust, let alone reanimated with the breath of life. But the
scriptures are not silent here, either.
II. THE "AGENT" OF THE RESURRECTION
A. JESUS ATTRIBUTED THE RESURRECTION TO "THE POWER OF GOD"
He had to remind the Sadducees (who denied the resurrection) that it was by the
power of God.
MAT 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, You are mistaken, not
understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30For in the resurrection they
neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
B. PAUL ALSO EMPHASIZED THIS AS THE "THE POWER OF GOD"...
1COR 6:14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through
His power.
And He who raised Jesus from the dead can certainly raise us up at the last day
2COR 4:13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I
BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE, we also believe, therefore we also speak, 14 knowing
that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present
us with you.
It was God who raised Jesus from the dead! This was Peter's testimony on the Day
of Pentecost. And this is found in a dozen places in scripture, explicitly
crediting God the Father with raising Jesus from the dead, so there is no reason
for wondering about this point. The Bible is clear about this.
ACT 2:32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.
The clincher is that there were many, many witnesses to Jesus being alive again,
and we have their substantial written testimony in the scriptures.
III. THE RESURRECTION
A. RESURRECTION TAUGHT BY JESUS
JOH 5:28 Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their
graves will hear his voice 29 and come outthose who have done what is good will
rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.
First, "All who are in the graves will...come forth". They may be dead and buried,
but on that last day, they will come walking out into the daylight.
And, Jesus tells us, this will include both "those who have done good" and "those
who have done evil". One will experience a "resurrection of life", and the other,
a "resurrection of condemnation".

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What Do We Know About the Resurrection?


The apostle Paul speaks in similar terms.
ACT 24:15 ...I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there
will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.
So resurrection itself is not a guarantee of God's approval. There will be some
who are called to the judgment, and not to receive the promised reward. Some will
be raised and then condemned.
What about the timing of the resurrection?
IV. THE "TIME" OF THE RESURRECTION
A. AT THE "LAST DAY", WHEN THE LORD COMES BACK...
Jesus spoke again and again of raising the dead at "the last day".
JOH 6:39 "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I
lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 "For this is the will of My
Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal
life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."
v44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will
raise him up on the last day.
v54He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise
him up on the last day.
Jesus clearly tells us there is one, special day at the end of this age when He
will raise people from the dead. It would be enough simply to say it, but Jesus
repeats this point, and then He repeats it again. He wants us to understand, and
He wants us to remember.
Paul also wrote about it happening when Jesus comes back, to deliver the kingdom to
the Father, having destroyed the last enemy, death itself.
1COR 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those
who are Christs at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the
kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority
and power.
In the harvest season, there are the first fruits of the season, and then the
general harvesting of the crop. Jesus is the first fruit of the harvest, and we
are part of the general harvest to follow. And then comes the end of this age, and
the beginning of a new age.
Paul says later that this will occur at "the last trumpet".
1COR 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the
trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be
changed.

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What Do We Know About the Resurrection?


WHAT ABOUT THE SECOND RESURRECTION?
We've already seen that Jesus will raise the dead when He returns.
that there will be another resurrection later on.

But it appears

REV 20:5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were
completed...
There is one resurrection of believers at the beginning of the millennium, and
another at the end of the age. This may be those who were born and lived during
this time. So the work of Christ to save people from death and redeem people for
God's service continues even after His return.
V. THE "BODY" OF THE RESURRECTION
A. THE RESURRECTION BODY OF THE RIGHTEOUS WILL BE GLORIOUS...
1. Will be our physical bodies, but gloriously changed and
different!
1COR 15:42 It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it
is sown in dishonor, 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.
So the resurrected body is changed to become imperishable; it is glorified; it is
powerful; it is spiritual.
a. By the power of God
MAT 22:28 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be?
For they all had married her. 29 But Jesus answered and said to them, You are
mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the
resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in
heaven.
These bodies are not created to reproduce children, because they will never die.
There is simply no need to create another generation.
Our physical bodies appear to serve as a pattern or kernel from which comes the
incorruptible and immortal bodies which we will inhabit.
1COR 15:35 But someone will say, How are the dead raised? And with what kind of
body do they come? 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless
it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a
bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.
b. Our physical bodies...
1) Though sown in corruption, will be raised in incorruptible! 1COR 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body,
it is raised an imperishable body;
The corruptible flesh is planted in the earth, until it rises again from the ground
like a sprouting seed, but now it is incorruptible.

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2) it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; 1COR 15:43
3) it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 1COR 15:43
4) it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.1COR 15:44
Paul reasons:
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. ...48 As is the
earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are
those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will
also bear the image of the heavenly.
Just as Adam, the natural man, preceded Christ, the spiritual man, so we inhabit
these natural bodies before receiving spiritual bodies.
c. Even those who are alive at Christ's coming will undergo
this "change", in which that which is corruptible and mortal
will "put on" incorruption and immortality
1CO 15:50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the
kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I
tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a
moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will
sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For
this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on
immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and
this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is
written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55 O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O
DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?
2. These new bodies will be conformed to the glorious body of our Lord!
PHI 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a
Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state
into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He
has even to subject all things to Himself.
a. That which is "lowly" will be transformed to be like that
which "glorious". Jesus will transform us to be like He is.
b. How? "...according to the working of His power by which He is able to
subdue all things to Himself"; i.e., by the power of God!
B. THE RESURRECTION BODY OF THE WICKED...
1. Very little is revealed, other than some who are
be raised from the dead
2. Scriptures reserves the terms "incorruption" and
resurrected bodies of the righteous, but not for
3. After resurrection and judgment, the wicked will
(REV 20:14). For them, there is a second death.

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judged to be wicked will


"immortality" for the
the wicked.
die in the lake of fire

What Do We Know About the Resurrection?


CONCLUSION
1. We know quite a bit about the resurrection, but there is even more that we would
still like to know.
2. But there is more than enough revealed to motivate those who desire
what God has prepared to love and obey Him!
Are we making it our aim to be ready for what God has prepared for us?
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal
has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying
that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
"O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
But 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 in the Lord.
- 1Co 15:54-58

What does the resurrection mean to us?


What does the resurrection of Jesus mean to you? What does it mean to me?
First, it assures our future resurrection. Because Jesus both died and rose again, we will be raised like
Him. 1 COR 15:20 says, But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those
who have fallen asleep. The word firstfruits speaks of a sampling, a foretaste, a glimpse. Jesus is the
firstfruit.
Jesus has died and has risen, so we know that our resurrected bodies will resemble His resurrection
body. Jesus is a type of what is to come. But if they were completely like His, it would mean that we
would be clearly recognizable.
Second, the resurrection of Jesus is a proof of future judgment. Now that may not sound all that
exciting, but its something we need to know. We live in a society, and indeed a world, in which justice
is often perverted and neglected. We look at things that happen and say, How can this be? How could
this happen? The Resurrection means, among other things, that Gods justice will ultimately prevail.
Third, the resurrection of Christ gives us power to live the Christian life (ROM 8:11). Certainly the
Bible does not teach that we will be sinless in this physical body we now live in. On the other hand, we
can overcome sin right now, today, not by our own abilities, but by the power of the Spirit.
Christ can make us altogether different kinds of people. We must believe that. Old things have passed
away . . . all things have become new (2 COR 5:17).
God can give us the power to live a new life according to His will.

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