Summary: Victory, Hope, Endurance, Death
THE RESURRECTION QUESTION - The Mystery of Easter
1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (p. 802) Easter Sunday - April 16, 2017
It's just a normal Tuesday…you get up, take your shower…trying to be a little quiet as you get dressed so your wife can sleep a little longer. You head downstairs and put the coffee on…after your second cup you head for the car…all the stuff you need to get done for the day is dancing around in your head and as you stick the key into the car door…
There is a thundering trumpet blast…not like anything you've heard in band practice, but a glorious sound that vibrates through every fiber of your body…you are driven to your knees by its shear power, as an angelic voice announces… “The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords"…you look to the sky as it opens…it sounds like the ripping of a million bed sheets all being torn at once…it’s blinding, its glorious in it’s heavenly splendor, as Jesus appears…and at just that moment your body is transformed…in the blink of an eye…everything changes within you…in that blinding flash of glory, your body has gone from temporary to eternal…from mortal to immortal…its beyond anything you could have ever imagined, and could have hoped for….
And you know without a doubt this is no normal Tuesday…nor will there ever be a normal Tuesday again.
"I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…"
The story of Easter has all the trappings of a great Mystery: intrigue, shady characters, betrayal, murder, an ending that leaves things unfinished…and you wanting more.
The Pharisees and Jewish leadership have developed a plot in order to kill Jesus…Judas, an insider is bought off, and agrees to deliver Jesus into their hands…there is a Kangaroo’s court…in fact 2 of them who were witnesses are persuaded into lying. Government officials are used for this nefarious plot…both Herod and Pilate.
Jesus is handed over…beaten, crucified and buried…but then the twist…the resurrection. He comes back…for 40 days he walks the earth…he's touched by his disciples, he prepares them for the future…hundreds are witnesses of this event…and then as hundreds watch….including his disciples:
"He was taken up before their very eyes and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently into the sky as he was going when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them…"Men of Galilee,” they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
So when the Apostle Paul writes in our text "Listen, I tell you a mystery,” He's giving us a glimpse into the conclusion of CSI Jerusalem…and the conclusion is "out of this world.”
For those who belong to Christ:
I. IT’S INHERITANCE DAY
Our salvation isn’t earned…it’s not a reward…it’s a gift…a gift from God Himself that not one of us deserve.
EPHESIANS 2:4-9 (p. 814)
Eternity isn’t something we work to earn. Eternity is purchased for us by the work of another…Jesus. We are purchased by His shed blood. You see, God who is rich in mercy wrote a check to pay for the sins of all mankind…Dead in our sins, bankrupt spiritually, homeless and hopeless. “God demonstrated His own love for us in this that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Faith is when we accept the gift. Faith is experiencing the conviction of our sin and turning toward God. Faith is uniting yourself with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection at baptism. And faith is God’s Holy Spirit signing your adoption papers to become His child so you live a new life.
Faith isn’t working your way to heaven. Faith is showing that heaven is at work in you.
As we’ve learned, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God…the perishable cannot inherit the imperishable. So on the day Jesus returns for His bride, when the trumpet sound and the archangel shouts, “The dead will be raised imperishable and we shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye.”
How will we be changed? Paul’s already used the example of a seed being planted in the ground bursting forth into beautiful new life…you’d never look at a tomato seed and a tomato plant and think they were anything alike.
[Cemeteries aren’t black holes where bodies disappear…They are gardens where seeds are planted.]
The body that is sown is perishable. It is raised imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness. It is raised in power.” (1 Cor. 14:42-43)