Friday, April 03, 2015

The Resurrection of Christ and Our Resurrection: When and How

20-28, The order of resurrection 20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Away with all the theorizing, the "if's". In fact, Jesus Christ IS risen! We state it as a fact, based on the evidence and the eyewitnesses and the Spirit that bears witness within us. He is risen. And we do not celebrate it once a year. Jesus never said to do that. We celebrate it every day of our life. His resurrected life IS our life. Without His resurrection we have nothing and are nothing. There is no church no salvation no eternal life without this resurrection. It's a fact, and we build upon it. Jesus is not only raised, but He is the first of many others who shall raise. But wait. Lazarus was raised from the dead. Jesus and Elijah and Elisha raised people from the dead. How is it that Jesus is the "firstfruits"? With Jesus we enter a new era. Everyone who came back to life before Jesus, simply came back to life. Their human spirit re-entered their non-decayed body, and they woke up on earth again, to continue their normal existence. Not so with Jesus. And not so with those who go to the grave, even when their bodies totally disintegrate. The resurrections that follow such events will be filled with the glory of God. Jesus was the same when He arose. But very different. You will be the same. We will recognize each other. But we will be very different. Paul explains this later in the chapter. Jesus was the first fruit of the new tree that has been planted in the earth. Every piece of fruit that is produced on that tree is a God-breathed entity, a new creation. We will have bodies like His, minds of a genius, spirits that connect to the very heart of God. That process may have begun already when we were born again, but it will be perfected in our resurrection. Skip 21-22 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Forgetting all those resurrections that only meant the continuance of life here, we start a new era with Jesus. A new world order. Not like the world is defining that, which will just be rearranging men's little kingdoms into one big anti-God kingdom of men. We've seen all that before. The new world order of men is nothing more than the old world order with more sin. The new order of Christ begins with Christ. Resurrected. Glorified. Empowered. We got to see a little of that in the Scripture. Jesus appearing here and there, his body materializing and then scrambling and then rematerializing elsewhere. Walking through walls. Ascending into Heaven. An all-powerful Jesus able to send His very Spirit into His church even in this sinful day in which we live. Miracle-working. So powerful he can empower humans before their great resurrection. Imagine what it will be like when all of God's people undergo this transformation. When their bodies are raised from death, not just filled with the Spirit now, but glorified by the Spirit then. Yes, there is a Kingdom of God now, but it is literally nothing compared to what it shall be, even on its greatest day. John says we have not even received the full revelation of what we shall be, only that when He appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is. Only the apostles got to see that glorified Jesus, on the mount of transfiguration and at the resurrection. And no one has yet seen a glorified believer. But it is in your future. If we suffer with Him, we will reign with Him in glory. The whole earth is right now waiting for the revelation of these sons of God. These are believers whose bodies have been transformed. This world is in chaos. It needs a new order of men. Paul says and John says that that new order is coming. Christ started it out. We will follow at the resurrection of God's people all over the world. Then... 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. When Jesus comes, He gathers all His people, His true people, together, and presents them to God. At that moment the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ. And us. How does He know who are kingdom people and who are not? Easy. the ones with whom He had intimate friendship. Everyone knows who his friends are, right? You know who is with you, and who is not? Who serves you and who is only interested in himself? Who cares about you? Jesus does too. He explained all that in Matthew 7.(verses 21-23) Not those who said He was Lord, but actually came under his lordship. Did what he said. Not those who did miracles but were barren in their spiritual lives. Not those who could speak truth but couldn't live it, not those who cast out devils then lived like devils. None of them were His friends. He didn't even know them. Can you imagine a more horrible fate in all the world than to hear Jesus on that day say to you, I do not know you! Leave me forever. Some of us, perhaps in this very room, need to repent of a life of disobedience and careless living, and ask God through Christ to forgive you and be your friend. For on that day you will need a friend, and all the folks you hung out with in this day won't be there to receive you into Heaven. Only Christ can do that. What happens next? 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. Jesus will reign on earth, with his lovely bride the church at His side. 1000 years is the number given as the extent of this reign. According to the prophets who saw this reign of Messiah, the Kingdom People will rule over those people of earth who are alive at his coming. We will get to see what it will be like for Jesus' will to be done on the planet. Abortion clinics will be closed. Bankers will not be allowed to hurt people. Bars will shut down. A world with a perfect government. But even during this time death will occur among the non-Kingdom people. How do I know? For one thing, the next verse... (in a minute) Unfortunately the Jehovah's Witnesses and other cult groups have gotten hold of this truth, and they proclaim it as though it were theirs. And not too many Christians have understood it and embraced it and delighted in it, so we have surrendered a huge portion of our Bible to them. Then there are the "Kingdom Now" people who keep talking about how the Kingdom of God is among us now, and it is, but nothing like it will be on that wonderful day! 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. Revelation tells us that at the end of the 1000 years death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire. After that, no more dying for anyone. The enemy is soundly and eternally defeated! You say, this is Easter, let's just talk about the resurrection of Jesus. That's what I am talking about. The resurrection of Jesus means new life now, new life forever, Jesus reigning in and among us now, Jesus reigning in and among us forever. The resurrection of Jesus is our story. Skip 29-34 34-50, How resurrection happens 35 But someone will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?" This is a question of unbelief. How in the world can dead things be raised up, some ask? We know that when bodies are put in the ground they deteriorate, so how can they come back up in that same body? 36 Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. He is mocking unbelief here, not so much ignorance. The Corinthians are making fun of the whole idea of resurrection, so he makes fun of them. They are saying, sure, sure, you die, you decay, you turn into dust, and then suddenly there you are again! Right! But Paul says, not so fast with your mockery and criticism. Think about other living things. Look at the whole plant kingdom. You take a seed. There is a life force inside that seed that is nothing short of fantastic. Powerful. But you can put it on the table or hold it in your hand for 5 years and nothing is going to change. But put it in the ground. Let it decay. Let it die. Then watch it! Life! 37 And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain--perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. But wait. The seed you put in the ground, does not come back to life as a seed. You are not expecting a seed to come up through the soil, you are expecting the life that was inside that seed, a totally different body, but originating from the body that you planted. You are foolish to mock resurrection, when resurrection is taking place around you constantly. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. These three verses are meant to prove another point. Namely, that there can be differences in life forms, or even heavenly bodies, without taking away their identity. We are not going to be raised with the same flesh body that we have now, but we will still have a body of some kind. The seed and the flower are 2 different kinds of bodies but they originate from the same plant form. Resurrection is not simply a corpse rising up out of the ground to have air pumped back into it. Through God's own processes we shall actually be changed into a totally different body, yet a body nonetheless. Somehow, we shall be like him. That much we know. Those who do not die, we are told, will be changed in an instant when Jesus returns. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 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. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. Our bodies are decaying as we sit here. That process began when we first contacted this tainted atmosphere. The planet is under a curse. There is evil everywhere and we must walk so closely to Jesus to fight all the things the enemy would try to put on us. Corrupt is our middle name. But when we are planted in the ground and rise again, we receive bodies that never corrupt. When we have to bury a man or woman or child it is because that being has succumbed to death. Oh we strut around, some of us proudly, showing our wonderful bodies to everyone, or trying to keep them in perfect shape, or painting them different colors to make them honorable. But in fact death teaches all of us that there is no honor except what comes from heaven. Not until we are sown in the ground with Christ and raised with Him on that day will we have an honorable body, worthy of glory because recreated in His very image. Some of us can do amazing things with these bodies, but when all is said and done they are all so limited. So many things we cannot do. We cannot fly with the birds. We cannot swim underwater very long. Not as long as some creatures on top of the water. We cannot climb mountains like the goats or dig into the earth without some device, like other creatures do. We're very weak now. But oh, wait until we receive those new bodies. Power unimaginable. This is the promise of God. Now we are governed by natural laws. Gravity. Inertia. Some day we will have bodies governed by spiritual laws. Laws we have yet to even know about. SKIP 45-49 51-58, The final moment described 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. You cannot go to Heaven as you are. You must be changed. Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again before he could even see the Kingdom. You do not understand spiritual things at all until the Holy Spirit makes you alive. You watch Christians excited about Jesus and you don't understand why. You read Scripture after Scripture and finally give up because it makes no sense to you at all. Some of it even turns you off. You can't understand why some of your friends don't watch TV or at least some of the shows you think are so cool. If you pray at all, it is before meals, and then never in public. You must be born again. From above. But when you are born again on the inside, your exterior remains the same. And you still can't get to heaven until you have been changed again. And the same Jesus that changed you on the inside will change you on the outside on that day. But remember. If you have not been born again here, you will not be going there. Paul says your corruptible decaying body will not be able to climb through the atmosphere and unite with Jesus on His return. You must be changed. So next he tells us some of the details of that change. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. When Jesus comes, He comes immediately. The Scripture that says "I am coming quickly has been interpreted by many as I am coming soon. The Greek word can mean either quickly or soon. 2 different ideas. Then he mentions the Eagle or Vulture as an example of how He will come and we know exactly what He means. When he finally comes, it will be as swift as an Eagle swooping down on a prey, and even more quickly. In that same instant, the dead in Christ rise. Within seconds after that the ones who are alive still will be changed in their bodies. You will hear a trumpet. You will see angels. You will see the blinding flash of light that is Jesus. And suddenly it's a new world. That is the new world order I live for and work for. Not the one that humans, especially powerful politicians talk about. They envision a new world with themselves on top, and everyone cooperating with their vision of how the world should operate. That is the antichrist vision. We look for a world headed up by the resurrected Christ. It is His vision that will be followed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. Ever been stung by a bee? Not a pleasant experience. There is pain, swelling, sometimes worse. The final sting we will have to experience, unless Jesus comes first, is the sting of death. There may be pain. There will be tears. But instantly the revelation of the glory of Jesus Christ, the resurrected Christ, will be near us, and the little bee sting will be forgotten. But even if there is no physical pain in death, there's a sting, says Paul. The sting is sin. Sin is the bee. If it were not for the bee sting, there would be no death. We've all been stung. We're all doomed to die from this sting. And what makes sin so strong and so deadly is the law of God. We know what God wants us to do, but we do not do it. Some try. But fail. Some try with great desire. And they fail too. No one can keep the law. The law makes sin come to life. And sin's life is the sting that poisons us with death. This is where the human race is headed. To a mass grave. And over that grave a grave marker that reads, Killed by Poisoning. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. But today especially we remember. Death is no longer a destination. It's simply a stop along the way. Jesus rose from the dead. He defeated sin. Healed us from the poison wound. Conquered death. Filled us with his resurrected life. Will receive us to Himself, ourselves also resurrected from death. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. This is the message that year-round is to be our motivator. keep working for the Lord. It gets difficult. It seems in vain. Nothing happening. But everything we do in Jesus has eternity in it, because He is risen.

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