Acts Series #42
Back to the Beginning: When Church was Church
Our Hope – The Resurrection
We talk a lot about hope …
Def. – 1. to cherish a desire with anticipation; to desire with expectation of obtainment; 2 to expect with confidence
The Jewish faith was all about HOPE …
They hoped for the coming of the Messiah and deliverance from the oppression of Man, of Rome … yet Jesus never preached of HOPE of a coming Messiah. He never preached of the coming of one who would fulfill the law
He preached in Mt 11:28 “come to me … and I will give you rest”
Peter spoke of Hope but he called it a LIVING HOPE … that is something present, current, active, though we might not be living or operating fully in it yet.
1 Pe 1:3 – “… he gives us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” 21 “through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God”
We have hope through Christ Jesus.
But what are we hoping for?
Let’s Pick up our story of Paul on trial. He has been moved to the Governor Felix’s headquarters in Caesarea
Read Chapter 24
Is this world all there is? Are we just hoping for the Blessing of God in this life?
Is the hope we have for some sort of disembodied spiritual exists in some place called Heaven that will be foreign to everything we’ve ever known?
As Paul stood before the Pharisees and Sadducees he proclaimed that he hoped in The Resurrection.
Now YES, Paul believed in the EVENT of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the 3rd day, following his crucifixion.
But look back at verse 15 and 16 Paul says he has the SAME hope as the Pharisees. They did not believe in or cling to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but they DID believe that the scriptures taught that all who died would see a resurrection.
Paul said “I have that hope TOO.”
The hope that Paul speaks of is that this world, this life, this way of existing as we have known it, is NOT the end.
I am NOT talking about reincarnation
I am NOT talking about karma.
I AM talking about the Biblical Doctrine of the Resurrection
It is our HOPE … it is a promise we can hold on to, because of Christ Jesus, who is the FIRSTBORN of the resurrection
If we know Christ and he lives IN us … Col 1:27 says “Christ IN you is the Hope of Glory”
But if we do NOT know Christ, choose a different WAY … then Eph 2:12 says “… you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.”
HOPE causes us to be able to live differently, die differently, and grieve differently 1 Thes. 4:13 says that we do NOT “… grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope”
The word here el-pis – HOPE – is a desire for future good, accompanied by faith in its realization. Elpis (noun) and Elpizo (verb) are always used for a favorable expectation
The belief in the resurrection is central to the news of Christ being GOOD NEWS or GOSPEL
Reincarnation isn’t good news. Randomly being regenerated into a new body, a new form, over and again until hopefully you reach some unknown state, in an unknown place, of consciousness. That’s not HOPE that’s uncertainty. That is Not elpis.
Annihilation, a belief that this life is all there is, that once we die, we are destroyed and nothing, in no way continues, is NOT good news. It is just NEWS, not good news.
But The Resurrection of the dead, to life promised by God, available in Christ Jesus IS good news, it IS central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, Paul said, I Have HOPE. He said, My hope IS the Resurrection.
People opposed to Christ will malign and ridicule the Doctrine of the Resurrection
Remember Paul in Athens. He was speaking of Jesus and the Resurrection in Acts 17. Now if you read it in the Greek JESUS and RESURRECTION would make an interesting pair for the Greek Philosopher. Iesous and anastasis, Jesus and Resurrection. Of course Jesus is masculine and Resurrection, anastasis would be feminine so it would sound like a pair of gods. Like Jupiter and Juno, Venus and Adonis, Isis and Osiris. So they wanted to hear more from Paul. But as he explained the Resurrection of the dead, Those philosophers laughed and mocked him.
So here Paul speaks of it again. In chapter 26:8, before Agrippa, and Festus, Paul says “why do you think it is strange that I preach a resurrection of the dead.”
And Festus tells Paul he is CRAZY in 26:24
1. Does the Bible Teach a Resurrection?
Well … if the question is “can I go to one place in Scripture and get a full understanding and explanation of the resurrection?”
NO there isn’t ONE place that lays it all but plenty of scripture that reveals piece by piece
David believed 2 Sam 12:23 he cannot come to me but I will go to him
Job 14:14 if a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service, I will wait for my renewal to come
Job 19:25,26 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth 26 and after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God
Dan 12:2 – Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life others to everlasting contempt
Isa 26:19 But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead
John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live
1 Cor 15:12 if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised
1 cor 15:21 for as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead
Yes the Bible Teaches us of a Resurrection Hope
2. Who or What will be resurrected?
In a sentence … Man will be resurrected and God’s creation will be resurrected.
1. Let’s take the resurrection of man first.
2. As to men being resurrected there is a FIRST or Primary Resurrection and a Second or Secondary Resurrection, but ALL are resurrected
Dan. 12:2 multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt
3. I would not try today to teach all we know about the resurrection because we couldn’t get through it.
But we can still trust and hope in the certainty of the resurrection.
4. In revelation 20:4 – John sees the end of this age we live in now. The Beast and False prophet have been cast into Hell, the dragon, Satan, has been cast into the Abyss, and verse 4 says “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the Word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years 5 (the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended) This is the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priest of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years
5. Then after the 1000 years verse 11 says “then I saw a great white throne and him who has seated on it … 12 I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened … the dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and the death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done … 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire
That is the SECOND Resurrection or the SECONDARY Resurrection. And being cast into the Lake of fire, IN their bodies, able to withstand eternity, is the Second Death. Not death as we think of it, but death of relationship, death of hope, death of REAL life, but entrance into existence that is eternal judgment.
6. What are we like? As resurrected Saints? In Short, like the Resurrected Body of Christ.
a. Jesus ate, Jesus could be touched, Jesus could be recognized, and yet he was hard to recognize at first glance. Jesus came through a locked door.
Jesus is STILL in his resurrected body … He is at the right hand of the Father … Paul told Timothy that “there is but one mediator between God and man, the MAN, Jesus Christ.” (1 Tim. 2:5) So, his body was like his earthly body and yet perfected and able to survive and thrive for eternity
b. Our bodies will be changed
1 Cor 15:53 the perishable must cloth itself with imperishable and the mortal with immortality
Phil 3:21 the power enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body
Our bodies though will still be the same, identifiable bodies that went into the grave or the sea, or otherwise were perished.
1 Cor 15:42-44 so it will be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable 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.
Our body now can die
Our body then cannot die
Our body now will die dishonored because SIN caused death
Our body then will have glory because of no more sin
Our body now is weak, subject to the struggles of this earth
Our body then will be full of the power of God
Our body now are fully natural but our bodies then will be physical but spiritual
7. Our Resurrection
a. spiritual 1 cor 14:44 – that means it is been changed to be used by our soul in our glorified state of living in eternity of which we can’t even fully begin to understand the wonders that will be
b. glorious, incorruptible, powerful
c. Like the body of Christ Phil 3:21
d. immortal Rev 21:4
1 John 3:1,2 --- we will be LIKE him when we see him … because we will see him as he is
Christ is the firstborn of the dead
The church is the firstfruits of the resurrection
At the rapture, which I believe comes in Revelation 4:1 … it is described in 1 Thes. 4 --- That is just the church. It says the “dead in Christ” will rise first.
That would say that the Bride of Christ receives her new body, then comes the judgment seat of Christ where we receive our crowns, and where our ignoble acts are burned up and our noble acts become fine linen for us to create our wedding garments.
But the Old testament saints then will also be resurrected … Daniel 12 talks about it being AFTER the end of the time of trial and the Tribulation, thus AFTER God purifies his covenant people Israel through the tribulation and through the time in the desert.
And at that same time perhaps … before the millennium begins … as verse 20:4 says, the Tribulation saints are also resurrected … given new bodies.
The saints of God from every age enter the Millennium with new bodies, eternal bodies.
Rom 8:20-22 – 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Don’t think that the Resurrection is ONLY us but ALL of God’s creation. Why? All things were created for God’s pleasure and for our pleasure as his highest creation
Creation waits for US to be restored because that is when THEY will be restored. Creation did NOT sin, man sinned. So creation will (v21) be set free from death and decay, just like we will. It says “into the glorious freedom of the children of God”
This earth LONGS to be restored to it’s original power and strength
Some prophesy says the moon will be like the sun and the sun like 7 days worth of light
The point is we are not getting the slightest bit of what God intended for us to experience in this earth.
In The Millennium Ezekiel 47:8-12 tells us the a river will come out of Jerusalem and it’s Fresh water will even turn the Dead Sea to Fresh and teaming with life
Dr. Criswell recounts this imagination of what that time might be like …
I can imagine in that day a ride through the western deserts of America. You could imagine it through the Sahara, you could imagine it through the Gobi Desert of China. Let’s just imagine it through the western deserts of America. And as we ride, say, on a train, we look out the window and there are beautiful crystal clear streams, beautiful streams of water. And we say, “How could it be in the desert such marvelous streams of water?”
And the reply comes, “The Lord reigns in Zion and waters burst forth in the wilderness.”
And as we ride through the desert there are beautiful verdant and emerald fields, surrounded by hedges of roses. And we say, “How could such a thing be?”
And the answer comes from glory, “The Lord reigns in Zion and the desert shall blossom like the rose.”
And we get off the train and go through one of the cities, and there are treasures open, gold and silver and diamonds. And we say, “How could such a thing be unguarded, out of the bank vault in open view?”
And the answer comes, “The Lord reigns in Zion and every man does justly by his neighbor.”
And as we walk down through the streets of the city, we say, “Where are the asylums for the crippled and the lame?”
And the answer is, “The Lord reigns in Zion and the lame shall leap like the hart, like the deer.”
And we say, “Where are these that are in institutions and they’re old and they are forgotten?”
And the answer comes, “The Lord reigns in Zion and there’s not any age. We don’t grow old anymore.”
And as we walk through the cities, we say, “Where are the great munitions factories?”
And the answer is, “The Lord reigns in Zion and the nations have beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. They don’t lift sword against nation anymore and we don’t learn war.”
Think of the blessings that accrue to the Gentiles and the nations of the world! The whole creation is made anew. It is Edenic as it was in the purpose of God in the beginning.
The resurrection that we will receive will NOT be out somewhere in some spiritual state on some spiritual, netherworld. It will be HERE in God’s Creation, as Heaven and Earth are restored and united to be the eternal dwelling of those who God foreknew, predestined, called, justified, and glorified.
We can’t begin to talk today about the far reaching ramifications of the Resurrection, but it is our HOPE and our unimaginable JOY.
We cannot dream of what God has in store for us
How do I know?
1 Cor 2:9 … no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him
3. How do I secure my place in Eternity
I secure my destiny
Accepting Christ, receiving Grace, assures Eternal Life
Rejecting Christ assures eternal death, punishment and separation from the goodness of God’s presence
I can secure my rewards
Since I will be resurrected I know I will stand before God and answer for the way I represented him and I can assure that my eternity will be one of reward and blessing
But truthfully the ONLY eternity that I can secure is the eternity separated from God. Because my sin, my nature of sin, has separated me from God.
The only way Resurrection to LIFE can be secured is that a sinless one make provision for the payment of our sin, and then die and defeat death and himself be resurrected.
Jesus Christ defeated our sin at the cross, he satisfied God’s demand for payment for the cost of sin, and he died, was buried …
How can we believe in Rebirth? Regeneration of Life, Resurrection to life, perfect and restored?
Reason #1 … Look around you. This beautiful creation is the handiwork of God. Everything we see … God created ex nihlo … that is OUT OF NOTHING
He SPOKE and there was light, plants, animals, formed man out of dust and breathed life into him
When I see what God did in this earth … do I believe that he can restore and recreate this earth to his original intention? Of course
Look at the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, crucified Roman soldiers who were experts in extermination. He was beaten, then crucified and died on a hill called Golgotha, outside Jerusalem around AD 29. But that was FRIDAY. Come Sunday morning. The Tomb was Empty.
Jesus Christ ROSE from the dead … JUST as HE SAID
He walked this earth
He enjoyed his friends
He ate, he laughed, he lived
He ascended to the Father
And he will return for us
He is the Firstborn, the firstfruits of the resurrection
We who have given our lives to him, will reap the harvest of that seed of faith in sharing with Christ in the resurrection of this earth, of our bodies, to live and known God for eternity in a universe as he created it.
What do you plan to do with eternity?
Do you plan to exist separated from God reaping the harvest of rejection of Grace and in opposition to God, without Christ and without hope?
Or do you plan to LIVE, really live, a life that is real life in God’s presence, as his children, completed and fulfilled to the Glory of God
Our HOPE, Expectation of fulfillment, is in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the promised resurrection of his creation and all who trust in him.
See here’s the point for Paul … He said, I have read and believe the SAME Bible, I have Followed the SAME Law, I believe in the SAME resurrection … what’s the difference?
Not the same Savior …
You know, I could move to New York City
Rent me an office
Buy me some fancy suits (ok I think I’m good there)
Open an account in the same bank as Donald Trump
Act Like Him
Get a wallet like his, a checkbook like his same credit cards …
But I don’t have the same HOPE because I don’t have the same MONEY in the bank!
You can claim the same Bible
You can follow the same way of living
You can pray before every meal … or 5 times a day
You may believe in Heaven and think you have a way to get there
You can even call him Jesus …
But if he is not Eternal,
2nd Person of the Trinity,
Fully God, Fully Man,
the Only way to Life,
Creator of heaven and earth,
if he is not our Redeemer and our Judge
Then you don’t have HOPE … because you don’t have enough in the bank
You can follow a Religion but without Christ STILL the Same STING of Death
Still the Same Power of Death
ILL >> Frank Perretti tells a story I heard on the Radio this week.
A Story about a Father and his little girl riding in the car together when a Bee starts flying around … The Little girl is allergic to bee stings and begins to scream … Cry … “get it daddy …”
… Father catches that bee in his hand and … STING … he lets the bee go … the Little girl is still scared …
“don’t be afraid baby, look at my hand … (there was the stinger) … he can’t hurt you anymore”
Jesus Rose from the grave, stealing it’s power, taking away it’s sting … and he says “look at my hands child!!! he can’t hurt you anymore”
Our Hope … The Resurrection of Jesus Christ promises that We will be Resurrected too