Summary: This sermon inspires the hope of eternal life to all who beleive.

Ten Marks of a Prevailing Church

Mark #6: Uncommon Hope

1 Corinthians 15:35-58

July 29, 2001


A. [Born to Lose, Citation: Norman Vincent Peale in Power of the Plus Factor, in Christianity Today.]

Once walking through the twisted little streets of Kowloon in Hong Kong, I came upon a tattoo studio.

In the window were displayed samples of the tattoos available.

On the chest or arms you could have tattooed an anchor or flag or mermaid or whatever.

But what struck me with force were three words that could be tattooed on one’s flesh, Born to lose.

I entered the shop in astonishment and, pointing to those words, asked the Chinese tattoo artist, "Does anyone really have that terrible phrase, Born to lose, tattooed on his body?"

He replied, "Yes, sometimes."

"But," I said, "I just can’t believe that anyone in his right mind would do that."

The Chinese man simply tapped his forehead and said in broken English, "Before tattoo on body, tattoo on mind."

1. Sadly, there are too many people who really do have this on their minds, if not their bodies.

2. There are far too many people (especially young people) who have given up hope.

3. They have set their eyes on the things of this world and concluded that what they desire is hopeless.

4. There are too many that have reached the depths of hopelessness and have sought escape through drugs, sex, alcohol, materialism, and suicide.

5. There are way too many (even in churches) that have allow themselves to slip into the depths of hopelessness.

B. So today as we continue our series on the marks of a prevailing church, we want to consider the indispensable value of hope.

1. If the church is to prevail against the gates of hell, then it has to have an uncommon kind of hope because Satan will make everything around us appear as hopeless as he can in order to overcome the church.

2. So in order to storm the gates of hell the church must have an uncommon kind of hope that can be found in understanding the truths that the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15.

3. Paul spoke of four different kinds of bodies that should give us hope; the first is…

I. Spiritual Bodies

1 Corinthians 15:35-49, But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?" 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. 42 So will it 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. 45 So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being" ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

A. Paul says in verse 44 that there will be spiritual bodies.

1. The only way I know to explain this is that we are like hermit crabs.

2. We only inhabit this shell for about 80 years.

3. Then we will have a new shell or body that will be eternal. It will be a spiritual body.

B. Farmers know that when they plant a seed that seed doesn’t grow into a plant.

1. That seed dies and new life springs from within the shell.

2. When our bodies die, new life will spring from that shell.

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