Summary: The second in a series adapted from Max Lucado’s When Christ Comes. This sermon explains what our resurrected bodies will be like. It is expository and alliterated.
When Christ Comes: The Hope of Resurrection!
Scott Bayles, pastor
adapted from Max Lucado’s When Christ Comes
First Christian Church, Rosiclare, IL
Suppose you were walking past my farm one day and saw me sitting in the field crying. (I don’t have a farm nor am I prone to sitting in fields, but play along with me.) There I sit, inconsolable at the head of a furrowed row. Concerned, you approach me and ask what’s wrong. I look up from beneath my John Deere tractor hat and extend a palm full of seeds in your direction. “My heart breaks for the seeds,” I weep.
“Excuse me?” you might ask.
Between sobs I explain, “The seeds will be placed in the ground and covered with dirt. They’ll decay, and we will never see them again.”
As I weep, you are stunned. You look around for the turnip truck off which you are confident I tumbled. Finally, you explain to me a basic principle of farming: Out of the decay of the seed comes the birth of a plant.
You put a finger in my face and kindly remind me: “Don’t mourn the burial of the seed. Don’t you know that you will soon witness a mighty miracle of God? Given time and tender care, this tiny kernel will break from its prison of soil and blossom into a plant far beyond its dreams.”
Okay, maybe you aren’t that dramatic, but you get the gist of it. Any farmer who grieves over the burial of a seed needs a reminder—a time of planting is not a time of grief. Any person who anguishes over the burial of a body might need the same reminder. We may need the reminder that Paul gave the Christians in Corinth. He tells them, “When Christ comes again, those who belong to him will be raised to life” (1 Corinthians 15:23 NCV).
The resurrection should be one of the most anticipated events of Christ’s coming and it’s an essential element of the Christian faith. When Jesus returns the first major event will be the resurrection of the dead. In fact, the Bible says, “the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NLT).
Back in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul gives us some wonderful insights into our resurrected bodies and what they will be like. But before we get into that, some of you might be thinking, what happens to us between the time we die and the time that we are resurrected? Well, I’m glad you asked. The Bible says that when you die, your body “...will turn back into the dust of the earth again, but your spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7 NCV). Paul again, says, “Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT). Even Jesus chimed in on the subject when he told the thief on the cross, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43 NCV).
Scripture assures us time and again that even though our body is buried our souls are still living. Upon death, our souls will journey immediately to a spirit realm usually referred to as Hades and there we will be in the presence of God and of Jesus. Keep in mind though that a disembodied spirit is nonmaterial, or incorporeal; so it’s not really a location but a relation—we will experience the presence of God and Christ. But this is just an intermediate state while we await the resurrection of our bodies. You see, a spirit without a body is kind of like helium without a balloon. Human beings are by nature a spirit body unity and even in the presence of God we will be looking forward to the day when Christ comes and our spirits are reunited with our bodies.
Now, I know that probably stirs a whole classroom of questions: What does Paul mean, “those who belong to him will be raised to life”? What will be raised? My body? If so, why this body? I don’t like my body. Why don’t we start over on a new model?
Well, come with me back to the farm, and let’s look for some answers. Paul writes:
But someone may ask, ‘How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have?’ Foolish person! When you sow a seed, it must die in the ground before it can live and grow. And when you sow it, it does not have the same ‘body’ it will have later. What you sow is only a bare seed, maybe wheat or something else. But God gives it a body that he has planned for it (1 Corinthians 15:35–38 NIV).