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The Gospel: It’s Unalterable Hope

Notes & Transcripts

The Gospel: It’s Unalterable Hope

1Corinthians 15:35-58           July 20, 2003

 

Scripture Reading:

(Hebrews 2:5-9)

Romans 8:18-30

Compare church age with post-modern age:

Rev. 3:11-12 {compare Philadelphia with Laodicea}

Introduction:

Life After Death

"Do you believe in life after death?" the boss asked one of his employees. 
"Yes, Sir," the new employee replied. 

"Well then, that makes everything just fine," the boss went on.  "After you left early yesterday to go to your grandmother's funeral, she stopped in to see you."

How dear do you hold to the hope of the resurrection? OK, you listened to last week’s message on the arguments Paul makes for the gospel and you are convinced Jesus rose from the dead. But what does that mean for you personally?

How will you be raised and with what kind of body will you come? Paul asks these questions in our text today (1Cor. 15:35-58, page 1790, pew Bible) in order to answer them for us.

Much depends on what we believe about the resurrection. Regrettably, many people today (even some who call themselves Christians like we saw last week) believe that when you’re dead, you’re dead.

Every Christian truth is up for grabs if there is no resurrection – Christ’s death as a saving event, forgiveness of sins, hope for the future, Christian ethics, the character of God himself.

In a way, the Corinthian church was like the Laodicean church – they thought they had all they needed in this life.

Whatever the Corinthians thought about their present spirituality, it was not the heavenly existence that is to be.

They were convinced that by the gift of the Spirit, and especially the manifestation of tongues, that they already entered into the spiritual heavenly existence to come.

Since they denied the body in the present because of their heightened spirituality, they had no use for it in the future. At stake was the biblical doctrine of creation and what God is doing with it.

It is crucial that Paul address this issue to the Corinthian church because the real concern behind their denial of the resurrection was that it had to do with the reanimation of dead bodies, the resuscitation of corpses. This was distasteful to them as it probably is to some of us.

But for Paul, this was not at the crux of the resurrection. It was rather the transformation of the physical body into a glorified body adapted to heavenly existence – in other words, re-creation. He supports this with several arguments.

Big Question:

What are some arguments that support our hope of resurrection?

          From the Nature of God as Seen in Physical Creation

The nature of God as seen in his physical creation of plant life supports the resurrection.

The nature of God as seen in his physical creation of animal life supports the resurrection.

The nature of God as seen in his physical creation of the universe supports the resurrection.

So God’s diversity in physical creation points to his ability to re-create spiritually.

          From the Spiritual Nature of God Himself

The spiritual nature of God’s re-creation of man in Christ demands the resurrection.

The spiritual nature of God’s heavenly existence demands the resurrection.

The spiritual nature of God’s victory over sin and death through Christ demands the resurrection.

So God’s plan for the resurrection of man in the image of Christ gives us an earthly advance on heavenly invincibility, and that, my friends, is hope.

From the Nature of God as Seen in Physical Creation

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (vv. 35-38)

          B.      Implication

The nature of God as seen in his physical creation of plant life supports the resurrection.

          C.      Illustration

The “bean seed” experiment we all did in grade school.

Our experience at the Chicago Botanical Center with the amazing variety – from seed.

          D.      Application

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (v. 39)

          B.      Implication

The nature of God as seen in his physical creation of animal life supports the resurrection.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Likewise the ‘seed’ of animals changes form.

III.    Cycle Three

          A.      Narrative (vv. 40-41)

          B.      Implication

The nature of God as seen in his physical creation of the universe supports the resurrection.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Paul moves us in a progression from the simple to the complex.

IV.    Cycle Four

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 42-44)

          B.      Implication

So God’s diversity in physical creation points to his ability to re-create spiritually.

          C.      Illustration

BROKEN TO BECOME BEAUTIFUL

Sample of Daily Encounter by Dick Innes

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed

me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to

proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for

the blind, to release the oppressed ..." (Luke 4:18, NIV).

At the Royal Palace of Tehran in Iran, you can see one of the

most beautiful mosaics in the world. The ceilings and the walls

flash like diamonds in multifaceted reflections.

Originally, when the palace was designed, the artist specified

huge sheets of mirrors on the walls. When the first shipment

arrived from Paris, they found to their horror that the mirrors

were shattered. The contractor threw them in the trash and

brought the sad news to the architect. Amazingly, the

architect ordered all the broken pieces collected, then

smashed into tiny pieces and glued into the walls to become

a mosaic of silvery, shimmering, and mirrored bits of glass.

Broken to become beautiful. It's possible to turn your scars

into stars. It is possible to be better because of the

brokenness. Never underestimate God's power to repair

and restore.*

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you are in the

business of healing broken hearts and broken lives. Please

take all the pieces of my life and put them together to make

something beautiful out of my life. Gratefully in Jesus' name.

Amen."

(Php. 2:15 --- ‘so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault is a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life ---)

* Illustration from More Stories for the Heart by

   Robert Schuller.

          D.      Application

From the Spiritual Nature of God Himself

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."” (John 4:24 NIVUS)

“For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.” (John 5:26 NIVUS)

V.      Cycle Five

          A.      Narrative (vv. 45-49)

          B.      Implication

The spiritual nature of God’s re-creation of man in Christ demands the resurrection.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2 NIVUS)

VI.    Cycle Six

          A.      Narrative (vv. 50-53)

          B.      Implication

The spiritual nature of God’s heavenly existence demands the resurrection.

          C.      Illustration

Illustration: “Resurrection”

          D.      Application

VII.   Cycle Seven

          A.      Narrative (vv. 54-57)

          B.      Implication

The spiritual nature of God’s victory over sin and death through Christ demands the resurrection.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

“12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:12-13 NIVUS)

 “3  For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIVUS)

VIII.  Cycle Eight

 

          A.      Narrative (v. 58)

          B.      Implication

So God’s plan for the resurrection of man in the image of Christ gives us an earthly advance on heavenly invincibility, and that, my friends, is hope.

          C.      Illustration

   A few hours before entering heaven Dwight L. Moody caught a glimpse of the glory awaiting him. Awakening from sleep, he said, "Earth recedes, heaven opens before me. If this is death, it is sweet! There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go!"

   His son who was standing by his bedside said, "No, no, father, you are dreaming.

   "No, said Moody, "I am not dreaming. I have been within the gates: I have seen the children's faces."

   A short time elapsed and then, following what seemed to the family to be the death struggle, he spoke again, "This is my triumph; this is my coronation day. It is glorious!"

   -- G.W. Ridout

   Thoreau said that we should not worry about castles built in the air. "That is where they should be built," he said. "Now, put foundations under them." So we must have our dreams, and then we must work to bring them to reality.

   -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

          D.      Application

Big Answer:

What are some arguments that support our hope of resurrection?

          From the Nature of God as Seen in Physical Creation

The nature of God as seen in his physical creation of plant life supports the resurrection.

The nature of God as seen in his physical creation of animal life supports the resurrection.

The nature of God as seen in his physical creation of the universe supports the resurrection.

So God’s diversity in physical creation points to his ability to re-create spiritually.

          From the Spiritual Nature of God Himself

The spiritual nature of God’s re-creation of man in Christ demands the resurrection.

The spiritual nature of God’s heavenly existence demands the resurrection.

The spiritual nature of God’s victory over sin and death through Christ demands the resurrection.

So God’s plan for the resurrection of man in the image of Christ gives us an earthly advance on heavenly invincibility, and that, my friends, is hope.

Timeless Truth:

Hymn # 404, The Solid Rock

Since the irrefutable argument of the gospel is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it follows that the unalterable hope of the gospel is our own resurrection in him.

The Bible tells us that “hope that is seen is no hope at all” (Rom. 8:24) but the nature of God is visible in his works, both physical and spiritual.

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

(1 Corinthians 13:12 NIVUS)

(Quotes from several famous people sequenced together.)

Those who hope for no other life are dead even for this one. Who will not grieve when deprived of hope? Life without Christ is a hopeless end, but with him life is an endless hope. A true Christian is a hope addict. He that lives in hope dances without a fiddle. But as long as matters are really hopeful, hope is a mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength. Hope is faith holding out its hands in the dark. Like all the Christian virtues, it is as unreasonable as it is indispensable. Hope has a thick skin and will endure many a blow; it will put on patience as a vestment, it will wade through a sea of blood, it will endure all things if it be of the right kind, for the joy that is set before it. Hence patience is called "patience of hope," because it is hope that makes the soul exercise patience and long-suffering under the cross, until the time comes to enjoy the crown. Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us. Hope is the physician of every misery. If it were not for hope, the heart would break.

What do you hope for?

Conclusion:

The Key to Personal Peace, Billy Graham, ch. 10, “Heaven, Our Hope”, pp.53-57

Benediction:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NIVUS)

 

 “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:10 NIVUS)

 

 “16  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 5:1 ¶ Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3  because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4  For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:4 NIVUS)

   Sign in the church nursery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.

(1 Corinthians 15:51)

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 43.

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