Summary: “Even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive’” Luke 20:37-38.
Theme: The God of the living not the dead
Text: 2 Thess. 2:16-3:5; Luke 20:27-38
In the presence of death let us hold steadfastly to God’s Word that death is not the end of life. This is one of the great revelations of Scripture and in the words of Paul, “God according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” This joyful message declares that we will one day not only see our Lord Jesus Christ face to face, but will also spend eternity with all the saints, including our loved ones who have passed into eternity before us. There are many people, however, who are not sure or who do not believe in the resurrection from the dead. They find it incredible that God should raise the dead. But if God could take dust and breathe life into it to create a man, why would anyone think it incredible for this same God to raise someone from the dead? As believer’s we have God’s assurance that our beloved --- is with the Lord. We are therefore gathered here this morning not only to remember how different our lives will be without our beloved ---, but also to give thanks to God for how life was when --- was in our midst. We are also here to thank God for His gift of eternal life that assures us that --- and all our loved ones who believed in Him are still alive and in His presence.
Jesus points to the proof of the resurrection in the words God spoke to Moses saying, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. This could only be possible if Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were still alive, because these words were spoken several hundred years after they had died. The resurrection assures us that our beloved --- has only left us to be with Christ in heaven. The problem with many people is that in their ignorance they try to compare the resurrection life to this present life. They cannot understand that the resurrection life belongs to a completely different realm, God’s own realm of existence, the uncreated realm and involves a completely different mode of existence.
A president cannot be a president unless he has people to rule over. Likewise God could not be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob unless they were alive. If someone comes to you and says he or she was your father’s or your mother’s friend, it is either your parent is dead or there has been a change in their relationship. But if one comes to you and says he or she is your father’s or your mother’s friend, it conveys the existence of your parent and an ongoing relationship. God, in this threefold repetition is not only declaring the existence of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but also His ongoing relationship with them. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew that the covenant promises of God transcended earthly life and were eternal. Death did not separate the patriarchs from God and death will not separate the believer from God. Those who have a relationship with God in this life will continue to have a relationship with Him in the age to come. We can only understand the resurrection when we believe in the Word of God and in His power as revealed in nature and in the lives of many men and women who have lived before us. God can do what man cannot do and Ezekiel 37 reveals God’s power to bring people back to life from the dead. If God is capable of doing that, then He is also capable of giving them eternal life in another realm as well. The resurrection is a cornerstone of the Christian faith because on it hangs the three core issues of Christianity - accountability before God, judgement and eternal life. Without the resurrection, death would be the end and our accountability to God would be limited only to this life and judgement and eternal life would be meaningless. The resurrection offers us a new existence where men and women would no longer be subject to suffering and death. Heaven is not a continuation of life, as we now know it since time, death and sin limit our relationships in this life. It will be a different relationship to what we are used to but there will be one thing that will not change and that is worship. Worship will still be central in this new relationship and that should make us place a great value on worship here on earth.