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The Mystery of the Resurrection

Easter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  38:03
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Many years ago my family took a vacation out to Colorado. And my favorite part about Colorado was the mountains! It was fun to just get in the car and drive. It was mesmerizing. My wife and I are sitting in the front seat of the car just awestruck by the beauty and the majesty and the shear enormity of God’s creation. It was great. Meanwhile, the kids are in the back of the car- and they are having a entirely different experience. My wife and I had almost forgotten about our kids by this time, until we hear a little voice squeak from the back seat, “Mommy, I got a problem.” So, my wife turns around and she finds one of our boys sitting there- and guess what he is doing? Was he staring at the mountains or the trees or wildlife that he can only see here in Colorado and only for this one moment while on vacation? No, he decided to spend the time playing with the gum he was chewing. And he hand managed to virtually glue his two hands together with chewing gum, because obviously chewing gum is far more interesting than the mountains of Colorado. You just want to face palm in those moments. How do you get through to them, “Your’e missing it!” Look outside your window you are missing the best part! Don’t get sidetracked with useless things like chewing gum- look at the mountains!
I am afraid a lot of times Easter comes and goes and we miss it! We get sidetracked with things like bunnies and eggs and baby chickens and flowers, when the real symbol we should be focusing our minds on is an empty tomb. Easter is all about the empty tomb, it is all about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is all about the gospel. But if you can focus your mind on the full hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ that is centered on His resurrection from the dead, its like seeing mountains for the first time. The hope of the resurrection is beautiful, it is majestic, it is enormous, it is mesmerizing.
This is our goal this morning- to be awed by the hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This truth is central to gospel. In fact the entire chapter of I Corinthians 15 centers on the full hope of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:1–2 KJV 1900
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
This first part of chapter 15 was our text last week (vv. 1-34), and we contemplated the full hope of the gospel:
And we said this- The full hope of the gospel is bound up in:
The death burial and resurrection of Christ (vv. 1-11)
The bodily resurrection of the believer (vv. 12-19)
The future certainly of the kingdom (vv. 20-34)
Paul spends the remainder of chapter 15 talking about the importance of the resurrection body of the believer. And he answer one very important question: Why is the resurrection body of the believer so important?
The resurrection body of the believer is so important that it is a fundamental truth to the gospel itself. If you don’t believe in the resurrection of believers then you are left with no true gospel at all. Why is that? Why is the resurrection of believers and the bodies that God has promised to them in Christ, so important to the integrity of the gospel?

I. The resurrection body of the believer is part of the eternal plan of God (vv. 35-38)

1 Corinthians 15:35 KJV 1900
35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
Here Paul is either addressing an argument raised by one of the member in the church at Corinth, or he is anticipating the arguments of his opponents. In either case the arguments are-
1). How exactly are the dead raised up?
2). What kind of bodies to they get raised up with?
Paul deals with the arguments in order- Firstly, who exactly are the dead raise up?
This may be referring back to situations like v. 32
1 Corinthians 15:32 KJV 1900
32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
If a believer enters into the Colosseum and is torn to bits by wild beasts and consumed, how would it be possible for anyone to resurrect that body?
This is similar to a believe that it is wrong to cremate a body, because if you turn a body into ash how can anyone raise that body up again?
Paul’s rather blunt answer begins in v. 36
1 Corinthians 15:36 KJV 1900
36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
“You fool, that which you sow / or plant in the ground does not come to life / it does not grow, unless it first dies.”
First off, Paul calls his opponents fools! This is a foolish way to think about the resurrection.
To help us understand the resurrection Paul uses the illustration of planting a seed. When you want to plant a seed, you will never be able to get the fully grown plant, unless first you put the seed in the ground- this idea of putting the seed in the ground Paul compares to death. Unless the seed first dies it cannot grow into the plant it is meant to become.
1 Corinthians 15:37 KJV 1900
37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
When you sow, when you go to plant you do not sow the fully grown plant. No, you put the bare seed in the ground. And depending on what kind of seed you put into the ground it will transform into beautiful stalk of wheat or barley or corn or some other kind of grain. And who determines what kind of body/what kind of plant the seed will turn into and what exactly the plant will look like and be made of and what kind of harvest it will produce?
1 Corinthians 15:38 KJV 1900
38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
God gives to every seed a body exactly how He wished it to be, and to every seed God sovereignly ordained exactly the kind of body that seed would produce. So, it is with the resurrection. It is foolish to ask, and by asking to doubt how in the world can anyone every raise up the dead. It is foolish because that is exactly what God wishes to happen. It is according to the sovereign eternal plan of God for bodies of believers to be resurrected. If God can take a seed and from the death of that seed produce a body, a fully formed plant that looked nothing like the seed it came from. If God can do that with every seed, every time it dies, if that happens because God wills it, then why cannot God will the resurrection of believer’s bodies? Why can’t an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly wise, perfectly loving, perfectly gracious God resurrect the bodies of believers in the exact way He wants, in the exact way He planned before the foundation of the world? The answer is, it is foolish to think other wise.
Why is the resurrection of believers and the bodies that God has promised to them in Christ, so important to the integrity of the gospel?
It is part of the eternal plan of God.

II. God’s eternal plan is more glorious than you can possibly imagine (vv. 39-49)

2). What kind of bodies to they get raised up with?
One of the main problems in the Corinthian church was a misunderstanding of what it meant to be “spiritual.” They were a spiritually gifted church and they most likely measured their spirituality by the spiritual gifts they were given.
1 Corinthians 13:1 KJV 1900
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
They thought that they could speak with the tongues of angels, they thought they had reached the height of spirituality when in reality they were proud, selfish, and divisive believers.
One of the other problems caused by their misunderstanding of spirituality was that they cared little about the physical body. Even though they had physical bodies they considered themselves to be primarily spiritual- they considered themselves already as the angels. Out of this bad theology came a teaching that the physical body was eschatologically insignificant.
This paragraph is Paul’s argument to show these Corinthians just how wrong they were.
1 Corinthians 15:39 KJV 1900
39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
Paul’s whole point in these next few verses is to get us to understand that there are differing levels of glory to different things.
Here he compares the bodies of mankind to the bodies of beasts and fish and birds. There is glory in the makeup of the bodies of the animals and the fish and the birds in this earth.
If you ever get the chance to see some of the new nature shows in full 4K do so. It is incredible to see all of the creatures that God has made and to see them in glorious UHD definition! The other day I watched a nature show about sea birds and they showed a colony of sea birds over a million strong. And you could see every detail, every feather, and it was glorious. There was a certain degree of beauty to the birds.
There is a greater degree of beauty in humans than there is in the animals. It is not that the animal bodies have no glory, they are glorious. But you and I, created in the very image of God, are more glorious. And that is Paul’s point- there are degrees of glory.
1 Corinthians 15:40–41 KJV 1900
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
There are celestial/heavenly bodies and terrestrial/earthly bodies and each has its own degree of glory.
Take for instance the the glory of the sun. It is more glorious than the moon. The moon still has glory, but to a different degree than the glory of the sun and the same goes for the stars. Every stars is different in its degree of glory, the one from the other. Have you understood Paul’s illustration? Good because now he drives home the point.
1 Corinthians 15:42 KJV 1900
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
In the exact same way is the resurrection of the dead. Just as the glory of the sun differs in degree from the glory of the moon, or the animals from humanity- so the bodies we currently wear- that of corruption differs in degree from the the resurrection bodies in which we will be raised- that of incorruption.
The Corinthians already thought of themselves as fully spiritual- they were already like unto angels. How wrong they were! Paul says, yes there is glory in your current bodies of corruption, but it is nothing compared to the degree of glory that awaits us in our resurrection bodies.
1 Corinthians 15:43–44 KJV 1900
43 It is sown in dishonour; 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.
The degree of difference from one glory to another is unimaginable! How much better will our resurrection bodies be from our earthly bodies? There is only one comparison that will do this question justice.
1 Corinthians 15:45 KJV 1900
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
What is the comparison here? It is a comparison between the first Adam, the very first man. The one on whom God breathed and gave life. God’s creation of man was glorious, but something happened to distort and corrupt that creation. The curse of sin entered the picture and all we have received from Adam was the curse of sin. But the last Adam, that is Jesus Christ our Risen Lord, He became a life giving spirit. How much greater in degree is the Lord Jesus Christ from Adam? The difference is unimaginable! This is the degree of difference in glory from our current earthly bodies, to the resurrection bodies that await us because of Jesus Christ- This is the full hope of the gospel!
1 Corinthians 15:46–49 KJV 1900
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
V. 49 is such an incredible truth! Just as we have borne the image of the earthly (how throughly have we borne the image of Adam and the curse of sin?), in that same way in our resurrection bodies we will bear the image of the heavenly! We will bear the image of Jesus Christ Himself!
Philippians 3:20–21 KJV 1900
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Illustration:
This past February several of the men of the church got together and we went downhill skiing. Now, we kind of tongue and cheek say that we are going to go ski the mountain. If you are going skiing in Wisconsin you are never going to be able to ski down anything close to a mountain- the best you can do is to ski down a bluff, even that is generous, I call them bumps. Nevertheless, we had a lot of fun.
Now my cousin lives out near Denver Colorado. And I follow some of his activity on an app called Strava. And Strava will GPS track all of the details of your down hill ski adventure. He skied at a place called Winter Park. To put things in perspective Tyrol Basin has a vertical rise in elevation from the bottom of the bump to the highest point of 260ft. Guess how much vertical elevation Winter Park has? 3,060 ft! I can just picture telling my cousin about how much fun we had downhill skiing in Wisconsin. His answer in my head goes something like this, “Jon, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
This is exactly the answer Paul gives the Corinthians believers.
What kind of bodies do they get raised up with? I’m already pretty spiritual, on par with angels.
Paul’s answer- you ain’t seen nothing yet!
Just as we have borne the image of the earthly, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV 1900
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Why is the resurrection of believers and the bodies that God has promised to them in Christ, so important to the integrity of the gospel?
It is part of the eternal plan of God.
God’s eternal plan is more glorious than you can possibly imagine.

III. Eternal life is impossible without resurrection bodies (vv. 50-58)

1 Corinthians 15:50 KJV 1900
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Flesh and blood / your current earthly bodies- CANNOT inherit the kingdom of God! In your present state you are incompatible with the eternal kingdom of God. You, your physical bodies must be changed if you are to inherit eternal life in the kingdom. That includes believers. If the gospel did not provide for you the hope of resurrection bodies in Christ Jesus, you too would be unfit for eternal life in the kingdom. You must be changed or you cannot be in the kingdom of God!
What is Paul’s reasoning? Look at the second part of the verse- neither does corruption inherit incorruption. As you presently exist in your current physical bodies, you are according to Paul “corruption.” Now why does Paul say this?
It is due to our connection with Adam
1 Corinthians 15:45 KJV 1900
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:48 KJV 1900
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
We are all connected to Adam, and as Adam was earthly, so are we all earthly. As Adam sinned and as a result of his sin brought upon himself the curse/corruption of sin, so we because we are connected to Adam have that same corruption- the curse of sin- permeating our earthly bodies. What Paul is arguing is that if a person’s body is in any way corrupted, that is, effected by the curse of sin- that person CANNOT inherit incorruption. Thus, mere flesh and blood CANNOT inherit the kingdom of God- our corruption, our sin cursed bodies make it an impossibility.
Now comes the full hope of the gospel! What is the full hope of the gospel? It is the mystery of the resurrection!
1 Corinthians 15:51 KJV 1900
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
Now you need to understand the biblical concept of a mystery. Don’t think Sherlock Holmes using deduction to solve a crime. That is not what the Bible is talking about when it uses the word “Mystery.” A mystery is a truth that has been previously hidden, but now if fully made known. This truth that Paul is about to share was unknown in the OT. For thousands of years OT saints wondered exactly how the idea of a resurrection would come about. They knew generally about the concept of being resurrected from the dead.
Job 19:25–26 KJV 1900
25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, And that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, Yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Clearly Job believed in a resurrection, but Job had no idea of the full hope of the gospel. Exactly how God was going to do this Job and the rest of the OT believers had no idea. But, this wonderful truth, that for thousands of years was hidden to OT believers is made know to you today in the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:51–53 KJV 1900
51 Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
This is the glorious message of hope of the gospel. For those who have put their faith in Christ, not only do they benefit from his death on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins, but they also benefit from his resurrection life. Because He lives, they will live also. And what will that life look like? It will be beyond anything you can possibly imagine. The only way Paul can begin to describe it is by saying
We will be changed, fully and completely changed, our once corrupted bodies, mired by the curse of sin, will be changed into incorruptible bodies fully clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Our mortal bodies doomed to die because of the fall, will be changed into immortal bodies, as eternal as Jesus Himself is eternal. This is the full hope of the gospel. This is the mystery of the resurrection.
This is the full victory of the beleiver
1 Corinthians 15:54–56 KJV 1900
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have 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 thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
The victory that is ours in Jesus Christ is so complete, it is so final, that at the end even death itself will be swallowed up in victory!
Now you need to get this-how will death be swallowed up in victory?
O Death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? (They are gone!) Why?
The sting of death is what? SIN! How does God fully and forever get rid of sin? By getting rid of our earthly bodies that are full of corruption. It’s the only way- God must give us incorruptible bodies- or else the sting of death remains- flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
Revelation 21:1 KJV 1900
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
This is the Kingdom of God! The new heaven and the new earth. What will this kingdom be like?
Revelation 21:4 KJV 1900
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Every effect of sin we be utterly eradicated. Nothing that is effected by the curse of sin will be allowed in the kingdom of God.
Revelation 21:8 KJV 1900
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Revelation 21:27 KJV 1900
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 22:3–5 KJV 1900
3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
If you want to reign with God and with the Lamb for ever and ever you cannot be, in any way, effected by the curse of sin. Why? Because in the kingdom there shall be no more curse! The only way to be forever free of the curse of sin is to be changed! Is for corruption to put on incorruption and for mortality to put on immortality. How is this kind of victory possible?
1 Corinthians 15:57 KJV 1900
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is only possible through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:12 KJV 1900
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Friends, do you have this hope? Will you be changed when the trump of God sounds? Will you put on incorruption and immortality? This hope is available for everyone who believes. Will you be saved today?
This victory that is our in our Lord Jesus Christ is not just something that will effect our lives in the future. The hope of the resurrection is something that must effects our lives every moment of every day.
1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV 1900
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Key idea- NOT IN VAIN. Because of the resurrection your work for the Lord, your labour will not be vanity. By implication that means everything else will be vanity. Everything else will be wasted- only what you do for the eternal kingdom will last. If you believe this, if you have this hope, if you know this to be true- be steadfast, unmoveable, abounding in the work of the Lord. Let the truth of the resurrection effect you today! Because your labor is not in vain.
2 Peter 3:13–14 KJV 1900
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Philippians 3:21–4:1 KJV 1900
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. 1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
Why is the resurrection of believers and the bodies that God has promised to them in Christ, so important to the integrity of the gospel?
The resurrection body of the believer is part of the eternal plan of God
God’s eternal plan is more glorious than you can possibly imagine
Eternal life is impossible without resurrection bodies
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