April 11, 1993
This morning I would like to direct our attention to the resurrection of Christ. His resurrection from the dead is the most basic and important of all events of our faith. 1 Cor 15:15, tells us that our hope is based in the resurrection of Christ.
The health care industry is becoming a monster that is eating up vast amounts of the gross national product, because society has become lost in a sea of hopelessness. The only answer the world has for hopelessness is a pill. I am going to get a message together on the true health-care, but we see here that as the doctrine of the resurrected Christ has been removed from society, so has hope.
The Lord tells us that there is only one of two things available: hope in the resurrected Christ, or misery. Society today is characterized by utter misery.
As I was looking over v. 19, I went back and read the context. Paul, in1 Cor 15, is preaching the resurrection of Christ to the people at Corinth. Notice vs. 3 & 4... I thought it interesting where Paul was preaching Christ's resurrection from: the scriptures.
What scriptures? Well, the OT of course. The OT is filled with passages referring to the resurrection, but we will look at only a few.
Ps 2:7 Ps 16:10, 11 Isa 53:10-12 Ho 6:2
Now, I would like to give 5 simple things which are based in the resurrection of Christ.
1) The Biblical order of reward and punishment.
One of my favorite passages is found in Eph 1:18 - 2:8. His resurrection assures us
A) that He is in sovereign control of all history. Christ rules all creation from His throne in Heaven.
B) that both the saved and the unsaved will face a final judgment; both the wicked and the just will be judged. Ro 14:12; 2 Cor 5:10
1Pe 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
2) The resurrection is our assurance that the current efforts of evil men to stamp out Christianity will not succeed.
Notice what Eph 1:21 says. As we saw in Ps 2, all the efforts againstthe Lord and his Christ of feeble man are useless.
3) The resurrection proclaims the doctrine of creation.
The resurrection militates against two revived pagan ideas:
1) reincarnation. The body of man will be raised as a man, not as a cow, horse, pig, or ant.
2) evolution. Ps 100.
Man was created by an act of a sovereign God, in the image of God. Creation makes man totally responsible to his Creator. Redeemed man will be resurrected as he was created, in the image of God, by the One who created him. Unredeemed man will be resurrected to death and hell.
Sinful man will believe anything about the after-life, even reincarnation as an ant, rather than admit to the resurrection as described in God's word?
4) The resurrection proclaims the doctrine of redemption. There can be no redemption if the resurrection of the literal body of Christ is denied. In the doctrine of the resurrection, we see that it is the individual who is the sinner and not the flesh. Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
The flesh itself is not condemned, but the sin that is in the flesh. In other words, there is nothing inherently evil about this body of flesh in which we live. Evil is what the sinner does with their body of flesh. Scripture condemns the works of the flesh, not the flesh itself. Even our glorified body will be a body of flesh.
Man was made of the dust or clay of the earth. When God breathed upon that clay, it became another substance, flesh. To speak of the body as dirt, and therefore contemptible, is to dishonor what God made. It must be viewed in terms of what God made it in creation, and what it will be made in the resurrection.
The body as it was first created was destined to be a vehicle for the God manifested in the flesh, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. If there were anything sinful about our body of flesh, He would not have taken on its likeness.
Ro 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that [there is] nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him [it is] unclean. Thus it is to what use we put something that makes it unclean.
God created both the spirit and the body holy and good. He created both to be used for His glory. It is not higher and holier to deny the body, although the body must be kept under subjection to the Spirit of God. History records many movements which sought to renounce the body, and such moves are Anti-Christian. The monks and monasteries have been part of such a movement.
It goes without saying that the sinful pleasures of the flesh must be denied.
5) finally, the resurrection speaks of the fact of change, decay and death. Sinful man seeks to have a world without change; all efforts to stop history and death are anti-Christian.
Sinful man still searches for the fountain of youth.
Christianity recognizes change, and works to bring about Godly change through science, medicine, industry & technology. Pagan cultures did not develop these areas, but they were developed by Christians in their quest to learn more about the Lord, and how they might better seek first His kingdom here upon this earth.
The Western Christian Culture developed modern technology to learn more about the Lord and how to better serve Him; Eastern Pagan Cultures copied it and sold it back to the West. (Yes, Pagan China developed silk, but China tried to keep it a secret. The secret had to be smuggled out. And China is typical of all pagan cultures.)
I am most impressed with the newly developed technology as applied indesk-top publishing. Desk-top publishing places Christian publishing within easy reach of any Christian group who desires to advance the kingdom of God.
Yes, the resurrection speaks of change, decay and death, but to the Christian faith, change, decay and death are not the problem. Our hope is in the resurrection of the body; we know that sin is the problem, and death is the result of that problem. We know that change and death will continue until sin is put away forever by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor 15:24-28.
On the other hand, change, decay and death presents a real problem to the anti-Christians, 1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. Change, decay and death leaves the non-Christians in a very hopeless situation.
Notice what Isaiah saw, 40:6-8. (Read all Isa 40)
In the midst of change, decay and death, Isaiah rejoiced in the sovereignty and protection of the everlasting God, vs. 9-31. In fact, inv. 10, he rejoices in the literal coming of Christ.
Isaiah saw the change going on throughout the earth as necessary to bring about God's righteousness and justice in the earth.
Vs. 21-24, Isaiah saw the changes taking place around him as needed to bring nations and princes to nothing. All the plans of men are as the small dust of the balance in God's order of history.
Thus as we see vast changes in every area of society taking place, we know that the Lord is working all history for His sovereign purpose. The resurrection of Christ reminds us that He today sits upon His throne at the right hand of the Father in the place of all power and authority.
Isaiah indeed saw change, corruption and death. When the change is seen apart from faith in the resurrected Christ, there is only hopelessness and misery.
I believe one of the greatest statements in scripture is made by Job 19:25-27. Job did not make this statement on the mountain top with all his family, friends and wealth around him. He made this statement when he had nothing and was on the ash heap.
Isaiah spoke of the change, decay and death all around him. But he knew that His Saviour lived and controlled everything for His own purpose. Notice that as Isaiah speaks of the bleakness around him, typical of God's word, Isaiah inserts a couple of tremendous statements: vs. 9-11, & vs. 28-31. Isaiah knew that change was working God's purpose, so he faithfully waits upon the Lord to accomplish His will.
One of my pet peeves are songs which sing of the miseries of life here on this earth, and of the wonderful day when we will no longer be able to live and serve the Lord here on this earth. These songs are a denial of the great commission given by our Lord. We are to sing songs which glory in the opportunity to serve Him here in this life; we are to sing songs of the glories of being set aside for His service here and now.
The Christian faith is wrapped up in the resurrection of Christ. Pagan cultures hold to the belief in an immortal soul, but to them that soul exists in whatever form they imagine; ant, bug, cow, dog. The unsaved do not have an immortal soul, but an everlasting soul which will suffer the torments of hell for ever and forever.
For the Christian, body and soul are alike created by God. The body and soul are fallen, depraved, and reprobate in Adam. They must be redeemed in Christ, and this redemption and immortality is regarded as God's gifts and destiny for man.
Both body and soul are alike to put on immortality and enjoy the glories of the resurrection. Both body and soul are therefore to be treated with respect as God's creation and blessing, wonderful now, and glorious in the world to come.
We are required to serve the Lord with both body and soul, and all the strength we can muster.
This morning we are reminded that we are not in a hopeless situation and misery. Our hope rests, not in man and the things of this world, but in the resurrected Christ.