UNMOVED BECAUSE OF RESURRECTION
A. Introduction: As Christians we are instructed to be unmovable in the face of life`s challenges. We have been talking about how we reach the point where nothing moves us.
1. I Cor timeMinute58Hour1515:58--The great apostle Paul, who himself was unmoved by life's hardships (Acts timeMinute22Hour2020:22-24), exhorted believers to be steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
a. Paul made this statement at the conclusion of a lengthy passage on resurrection of the dead. Some in the church at Corinth were teaching that there is no resurrection of the dead and Paul wrote to correct them. I Cor 15:12-15
b. Being unmoved by the hardships of life is directly related to knowing and understanding resurrection of the dead. Therefore, in this lesson, we're going to talk about resurrection of the dead and how it relates to becoming unmovable.
2. Resurrection of the dead begins with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christianity stands apart from every other religion in that it is not based on its founder's dreams and visions nor on His ideology and belief system. It is based on a historical event, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
a. Christianity stands or falls on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. If Jesus did not rise from the grave then Christianity is nothing more than a fable spread by His confused followers. Can it be proven that the resurrection of Jesus actually occurred? Yes it can.
b. There are two ways to prove an event took place, the scientific method and the legal method. To prove scientifically that something happened we must be able to replicate the event.
1. Many happenings cannot be proved scientifically, but that doesn't mean they didn't happen. We can't scientifically prove that you were born because we can't reproduce your birth.
2. But we can prove it legally. We can talk to eyewitnesses who were present at your birth. We can compare your footprint with the one taken when you say you were born. In other words, we can gather evidence.
3. The commission of a crime cannot be proved scientifically in a court of law. Instead the court relies on eyewitness testimony and circumstantial evidence to prove its case. Historical events are also verified through this method.
a. The resurrection of Jesus can be examined with the same criteria that is applied to any other historical event. When we do so, we find that there is more evidence for the resurrection of Jesus than for many events recorded in history textbooks used throughout our schools and universities.
b. There are numerous accounts of skeptics and unbelievers through the centuries who set out to disprove the resurrection of Jesus through the legal method. But they came away as believers when they realized the evidence overwhelmingly confirms that Jesus did rise from the dead.
1. Josh McDowell is one example. He wrote about what persuaded him to become a follower of Jesus Christ in several books: EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, MORE THAN A CARPENTER, and THE RESURRECTION FACTER.
2. Lee Strobel is another example. He wrote about what happened to him when he set out to disprove the basis of Christianity in THE CASE FOR CHRIST.
c. We could do lessons on this topic, but consider just a few examples of the evidence that exists.
1. An empty tomb. No one disputes that the tomb was empty. The argument is over what happened to the body of Jesus. That's why the Jewish authorities paid the Roman guards to say that Jesus' disciples stole His body. Matt 28:11-15
2. No one was able to produce a body and no one came forward with testimony saying that they saw the disciples move and dispose of the body. This silence is deafening since it would have been in interest of the authorities to produce a body and stop this silly heresy before it began.
3. Women were the first to see the empty tomb and the risen Lord. Women were not highly regarded in that culture. If you were making up a story you would not select a woman to be the source of your story. Matt 28:1-8; John 20:11-16
4. John 20:4-8--Peter and John both saw something in the tomb that made them immediate believers¾undisturbed grave clothes. Jesus' body had been wrapped like a cocoon, according to Jewish custom, with strips of linen and more than 100 pounds of spices (John 19:39,40). Anyone who looked in the tomb saw it. A body couldn't have been removed without destroying the cocoon.
5. Jesus made numerous post-resurrection appearances to a variety of people, including 500 at once, and hostile witnesses like Saul and Jesus' half-brother James (who were convinced of the resurrection by what they saw). I Cor 15:5-8
4. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central fact of Christianity. The resurrection authenticate everything Jesus said.
a. Before Jesus died He told His followers that He would rise from the dead. If He did not rise from the dead then we can't trust anything else He said. Matt 16:21; Matt 20:17-19
b. The resurrection is proof that Jesus is who He said He is, the Christ, the Son of God. Rom 1:4
c. I Cor 15:20-23--Jesus' resurrection is proof that all who put faith in Him will be raised from the dead as well. In that culture, firstfruits referred to the first portion of various crops that were offered to the Lord as a promise that the rest will come in.
B. Before we go further, let's consider resurrection of the dead in the context of the overall plan of God.
1. In eternity past, Almighty God devised a plan to have a family of sons and daughters with whom He can dwell forever. He created human beings to become His sons and daughters through faith in Christ and He made the earth to be home for His family. Eph 1:4,5; Isa 45:18
a. God made man in His image, with the capacity to receive eternal life, the uncreated life in God Himself, and become more than His creation. Men can become literal sons of God. Gen 1:26
b. The first man, Adam, chose independence from God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In doing so he united himself and the race resident in him to death. Gen 2:9; 17
1. Rom 5:12--When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned. (TLB)
2. When Adam sinned the entire creation (mankind and the earth) was infused with death.
A. We weren't there but what happened there affected us as though we were there. This is the principle of identification.
B. Rom 5:19; Eph 2:1:3-We're born into a race which is severely flawed because of Adam's sin. We've been made sinners by nature. Our bodies are mortal and corruptible (subject to sickness, old age, and death). When we are old enough to know right from wrong, we commit our own sin and become guilty before God
c. God did not create men for death. He did not make us to die. Human beings die because of the actions of the first man, Adam, the head of the human race.
1. God, Who is All-Knowing or Omniscient, was not taken by surprise by man's sin. He planned to undo the damage done and regain His family through Jesus.
A. Jesus is God become man without ceasing to be God. The Lord Jesus Christ took on flesh (a full human nature) in the womb of Mary so that He could die. Heb 2:14,15
B. Jesus came to earth to abolish (break the power, annul) death and bring eternal life to all who put faith in Him through the gospel. II Tim 1:9,10
2. At the Cross He joined us in death and then brought us out of death through the resurrection.
2. Almighty God cannot overlook sin. To be true to His own nature a a holy, righteous God, He must condemn evil and punish sin. Before God can give men and women eternal life, He must deal with our sin. He must punish it.
a. But the only punishment we can pay that will satisfy Divine Justice for our sin is eternal separation from God. If that punishment were carried out, God would not have sons.
b. The Lord devised a plan to deal with sin and make us as though we had never sinned. God became man, took our place at the Cross, and was punished for us as us.
1. Remember the principle of identification: We weren't there in Eden, but what happened there affects us as though we were there. We weren't there when Jesus was crucified but what happened there affects us as though we were.
2. The Bible reveals that we were crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20), we died with Christ (Rom 6:5), we were buried with Christ (Rom 6:4), we were made alive with Christ (Eph 2:5), and we were raised up with Christ (Eph 2:6).
3. Jesus went to the Cross for us as us. At the Cross He got the punishment that should have come to us so that in the resurrection we could have what came to Him, eternal life and access to God our Father.
c. The resurrection is proof that our sins have been paid for and Divine Justice has been satisfied in regard to our sin. Rom 4:25--Who raised Jesus our Lord out from among the dead, who was delivered up because of our transgressions and was raised because of our justification (Wuest)
1. Justified means to be acquitted. To be acquitted means that all charges are dropped because there is no evidence of wrong doing. Col 2:14--He has utterly wiped out the written evidence of broken commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it to the cross. (Phillips)
A. Jesus took our sins on Himself at the Cross (Isa 53:5; II Cor 5:21; I Pet 2:24; etc.) and went under the dominion of death (Rom 6:9) Our sin cut Him off from His Father (Matt 27:46).
B. Yet when He rose from the dead He was so free from our sin (because His sacrifice paid the price for our sin) that He was able to go straight into the presence of His Father. John
20:15-17; Heb 9:12
2. I Cor 15: 17-19--If Jesus did not rise from the dead then we are still in our sins (under the power and penalty of them) and all who have died are lost as are we when we die. If in this life only we have hope in Christ we are indeed miserable men.
A. I Pet 1:3--Because the resurrection of Jesus is proof that our sins are paid for, all who acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord can become sons of God.
B. When we believe on Jesus, our sins are remitted because the debt we owed has been paid. God justifies or acquits us of all charges, making us as though we never sinned. He can then indwell us by His life and Spirit through the new birth, making us literal sons.
3. Rom 8:11--Once we are born again, we now have in us the same Spirit Who raised Christ from the dead. He is in us to give life to our mortal or death doomed body. This includes strength for service along with physical healing. However, our bodies are still death doomed or bound to die (Rom 8:10).
a. II Cor 4:16--All human beings have an inward portion (soul and spirit) and an outward portion (physical body) man. At death, the two separate. The inward man passes into another dimension (either Heaven or Hell, depending on your response to Jesus in this life) and the outward man goes into the grave.
b. Because for a Christian, to be absent from the body means to be present with the Lord (II Cor 5:8), It's often said of someone who died that they have won the victory. But that's not fully correct.
1. God did not intend that we should be disembodied spirits (separated from our physical body). This condition is a consequence of Adam's sin.
2. Separation from the body is a temporary condition that will be rectified through resurrection of the dead which is the reuniting of the inward and outward man that were separated at death.
c. In connection with His Second Coming the bodies of all those who are His will be raised from the grave and glorified or made alive with eternal life to live on earth again once it is made new. Isa 65:17; II Pet 3:13 (lessons for another day).
1. Paul was given a several revelations about the nature of our resurrected bodies. They will be incorruptible and immortal or beyond the touch of corruption and death. I Cor 15:51-53
2. Phil 3:20,21--They will be like Jesus' resurrected body. The same body that died was restored
to life. He could be seen and touched. He ate and drank with His followers. Luke 24:36-43
d. Rom 8:18-22--Paul writes about how the entire material creation is groaning to be set free from the curse of corruption and death that infused it when Adam sinned (lessons for another day).
1. But in that context Paul makes it clear that the presence of God's Spirit in us (made possible because of the Cross of Christ) is a foretaste of our body's complete deliverance from corruption and death at the resurrection of the dead.
2. Rom 8:23--Not only so, but even we, to whom the Spirit is given as first fruits of the harvest to come, are groaning inwardly while we wait for God to make us his sons and set our whole body free (NEB). Rom 8:24--For we were saved with this hope (Moffatt).
C. Conclusion: We haven't said all we need to say about this. But consider these thoughts as we close. 1. Death is an irreversible condition common to all. Everyone dies. It's only a matter of when and how.
a. Every known culture has had to come to terms with this universal condition. Many cultures believe in continuation of the soul after death in a spirit world. Others teach reincarnation or a return in a different physical form.
b. We can say there is a spirit world where the souls of men go when they leave their body at death. We can say that Uncle Ralph is actually Aunt Hilda come back to us. However, those are subjective and unverifiable statements.
1. Until the resurrection of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago, no one taught resurrection of the dead. You can't teach that if you don't have the proof to back it up.
2. That's why the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so significant. The same Man that was place in the tomb came out three days later. In doing so, He authenticated every claim He made about Himself, His Father, and the nature of reality (lessons for other days).
2. Not only is there life after death (Heaven for those who know the Lord and Hell for those who reject Jesus Christ), but death has been and will be completely conquered through recovery and restoration of the physical body or resurrection of the death. I Cor 15:54-57
a. v58--That is the context in which Paul made the statement to Christians: Be ye steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for you know that your labor is not in vain.
b. This why Paul was unmoved even in the face of death. He knew that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and he knew that separation from his body was a temporary condition. What he lost in service to the Lord (his body when he died a martyr's death) will be restored to him. He knew death is the last enemy to be put underfoot and this knowledge affected the way he lived his life. I Cor 15:26; 29-33
3. Lots more next week!