Summary: My purpose is to examine what we can know for certain while we live on this side of the veil through which we pass to whatever lies beyond it, hidden from our view, and learn what it tells pertaining to life on this side of the grave.
Note: I developed a simple set of slides on PowerPoint which I used in delivering this sermon. The prompts are included in the text below as reminders to me to advance the slides when I delivered the address. The slides are not professional quality, but If you are interested I will send the PowerPoint fie by email. Send a request to me at firstname.lastname@example.org specifying the name of this sermon and be sure to include the word "slides" in the subject line (I get a lot of Email and may miss your request if the word "slides" isn't in the subject line). Allow several days for response.
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The Resurrection of the Dead
*Advance to title slide
What I am not here to do:
• I am not here to prove the resurrection of Jesus, but to call upon you to believe it. For you to believe in it is more important than for me to try to prove it to be factually true.
• Neither am I here to elaborate on the truth – though true it is - that resurrection is an essential pillar of our faith. My assumption is that all of us already believe that if the resurrection of Jesus (and our own resurrection) are not true, our faith lies in ruins.
• Nor is it my purpose to contend for or against various schedules proposed in attempts to account for the prophecies concerning the end times.
My purpose is to examine what we can know for certain while we live on this side of the veil through which we pass to whatever lies beyond it, hidden from our view, and learn what it tells pertaining to life on this side of the grave.
As we examine the resurrection, I want us to especially keep in mind that this is part of what the writer of Hebrews says we are to “leave behind.”
We are not to cocoon ourselves in the simple, easily understood things, but once having learned and understood them, to move beyond the first things to the deeper things.
*Advance to “Leave things list”
Hebrews 6:1-2 gives a list of the things we are to leave behind
Read Hebrews 6:1-2
The Bible says to “let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of:
• repentance from dead works and of
• faith toward God…
• instruction about washings,
• the laying on of hands,
• the resurrection of the dead, and
• eternal judgment.
This is an impressive list of important things!
Aren’t these the very things that deserve our attention most?
*Advance to drop all but “Resurrection of the dead”
Leave the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead?!
Then why are we talking about it today? Why do we talk about any of these things?
The writer of Hebrews doesn’t mean these doctrines are discredited and to be ignored.
We’re talking about it today because I don’t believe we are yet ready to move beyond it. There are many conceptions and misconceptions about the resurrection—many of them more indefinite than they need to be.
Some of us may have difficulty finding the line between what we know and what we wonder.
*Advance to Job 14:14
I. Job: “If a man dies, will he live again?” Job 14:14
Life after death has been a subject of great interest to every person in every generation:
“If I die, will I live again?”
The philosophers in Athens, who worshiped the “unknown God” were split over the resurrection. When Paul spoke on Mars Hill about the resurrection, some scoffed, but others said,
“We will hear more from you about this.” Acts 17:22-32 (do not read)
In our experience, it is not normal for those who die to emerge from their graves alive. I have never seen that happen.
To all physical appearances, death, being the concluding event of a human life, is final.
From this side, death appears to defeat life.
I’m not talking about those who have clinically “died” on the operating table and were revived by heroic medical procedures.
I’m talking about the separation of the body and spirit. We cannot know the precise instant that occurs—when breathing ceases and the body stills, or the heartbeat stops—things that do not occur simultaneously, or at some other point. We’re not trying to define that point today.
So Job asks, “If a man dies, shall he live again?”
*Advance to Job 14:15-17
If the answer to Job’s question is “yes, a man who dies will live again,” Job perceived what resurrected life would be like. (Read Job 14:15-17)