Summary: In this passage we see 2 different kinds of life, 2 different kinds of death, and 2 different kinds of resurrection.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. This is Easter, & today many churches are experiencing their biggest crowd of the year. I wonder why? Why do some people go to church on Easter when for the most part they never go to church at any other time of the year?
ILL. A friend told me about his childhood. His family didn’t go to church much, but they always went on Easter Sunday. His father didn’t usually go, but mom & the children always made it a point to go on Easter.
Every year the mother would buy the children new Easter outfits, & that was an expensive adventure for them because they didn’t wear their Easter clothes to school. And if you went to church only once a year, by the time next Easter rolled around they were too big to wear last year’s outfits again.
My friend always wondered why his mom & dad went to the expense of buying them new clothes & taking them to church on Easter Sunday when it wasn’t all that important to go the rest of the year.
Well, after analyzing that question, I have come up with an answer. Some people come to church on Easter Sunday morning because everybody, with a very few exceptions, wants to go to heaven.
Now, we don’t necessarily want to live forever in an imperfect environment, but almost everybody would like to live forever in a perfect environment. And that is the hope of Easter.
B. The message of Easter is that Jesus Christ conquered sin. Jesus Christ conquered death. And because He has conquered death we have the promise of eternal life in a perfect environment.
Now the reason that is so important to us is because it is our heritage. We are descendants of Adam & Eve. They were created in the image of God to live forever. If Adam & Eve had never sinned they would still be alive on earth today. And they would still be living in the perfect environment of the Garden of Eden.
But when they sinned, all of that changed. Adam & Eve started growing old & they started wondering, "What happens after I die?"
C. Job is the oldest book in the Bible, & maybe Job was the first one to verbalize that question. In Job 14:14, he asks this question, "If a man dies, will he live again?"
Then he continues, "All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come." You see, Job’s hope, 2000 years before Jesus, was that "If I die, then I will be renewed."
In Job 19:25-29, Job expands on that when he said, "I know that my Redeemer lives, & that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes - I, & not another. How my heart yearns within me!"
Long before the life & death & resurrection of Jesus Christ, Job said, "If I die, I will live because I know that my Redeemer lives. And even though my skin is destroyed, in my new body, I will see God!"
D. In Daniel 12:2, Daniel tells us a little more. He says, "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake."
What is Daniel talking about? He is talking about the resurrection. We fall asleep in death & are buried in the dust. But he says, "We will awake." Daniel was confident of that long before the resurrection of Christ.
But then Daniel continues with these words, "Some will rise to everlasting life, others to shame & everlasting contempt."
In John 5:28, Jesus says, "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice & come out." That is resurrection. Then He adds, "those who have done good will rise to live, & those who have done evil will rise to be condemned."
SUM. My father used to say that there are two sides to every question. There are two sides to every argument. There is the good side & the bad side. There is the right side & the wrong side. And folks, there are two sides to the resurrection.
One of those sides we seldom mention on Easter. We often ignore it. But this morning I want to emphasize both sides of the resurrection, & I intend to do it by retelling a story that Jesus told in the 16th chapter of Luke.
It is a story that you have heard many times. It is the story about the rich man & Lazarus. As I read this story to you, you need to be looking for 3 things. First of all, I want you to look at 2 different kinds of life. Secondly, I want you to see 2 different kinds of death. And thirdly, I want you to see 2 different kinds of resurrection.