Summary: how we are to think and talk about the resurrection
Sermon Series on the End Times: The Resurrection of the Dead
It seems that in life we are always looking forward to something. When you’re single, you look forward to getting married. When you get married, you look forward to having children. When you have children, you look forward to sending them off to school. Then you look forward to retiring. It goes on and on.
Where are you in life? Do you have something that you are specifically looking forward to in the near future? Is it a birthday party, renovation, vacation, a pay raise, a new job, getting married, or graduating from school? How about. . . the resurrection? “Ah, that wasn’t on the top of my list, pastor.”
When the only thing we plan for is how to pay off our houses or take a vacation - something is wrong. The brother of Christ put it this way - Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Could it be that we have gotten too wrapped up in the things of this world, that we are not keeping focused on what we should? Instead, God wants us to -
Remember the Resurrection
When Adam and Eve decided that life would be better if they could be their own gods instead of living UNDER God - a terrible thing happened. The threat of the Lord became a reality - as they SURELY DIED on the spot. Instead of looking at the beautiful world that God had created, they became consumed with how THEY looked. Instead of living to be with God - they ran from God. As time goes on, this death is prominent in the world. It isn’t just like living with a dead body that just sits there. This kind of death is an infectious kind - like gangrene - it is interconnected with the world. It’s more like living with a night of the living dead - in a dead world that wants us to join them. If you don’t agree with me, just turn on the news or your computer. Just yesterday I saw an interview with a father of a ten year old boy who had been abducted and murdered - one of about fifty this year. Why did the culprit do it? A part of the reason was because his evil lusts were fueled by a web sight called the man boy love association - or something like that. In Norfolk, NE, three men entered a bank, killed five workers and a customer in cold blood and left. These are sick and deadly people. The danger is real. We probably walk by these kinds of people every time we walk through Wal-Mart. We live in a deadly world.
This isn’t the only kind of death we have to live with. Walk through a nursing home or a hospital - or maybe your own home or life - and you are also faced with death. Heart problems, cancer, wrinkly skin, bad backs and sore legs are all reminders that death is on the doorstep. Yet how do we continually respond? We look forward to the next remedy. We plan to purchase a security system. We buy more comfortable beds. We are bred and groomed to look for physical answers to the surrounding death - to lessen the curse. And we’ve done a pretty good job of it in some ways, and a pretty bad job of it in others. We’ve got pain killers, mercy killers, air conditioned and heated homes, luxury mattresses and electric massages. It is not wrong for us to use the physical blessings that God has given us. But God didn’t just curse the world so we would try to find remedies to the curse. There was a higher purpose.
How did Paul respond to the death he encountered in the world and in his body? Did he say, “I want to find a good chiropractor, join a good health club, and try to live without pain? No. He said, I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3) In the midst of a sinful world - Paul looked forward - not to a time of peace on this earth - not to a time when people would stop persecuting him - but to a time when he would rise from the dead. Only then would he be free from his sinful body. Only then would he be free from persecution. Only then would he really be able to LIVE.