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Warm Hearted Church with a Heart Warming Message
Sermon notes prepared by Steve Felker, Pastor of Swift Creek Baptist Church Preached 03/30/97; (c) 1997
"The Coming Resurrection of All Men"
Intro. As you well know, on this great day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sins, and then God raised Him from the dead the third day. On other Easter Sundays, I have preached about the great and convincing evidence of His bodily resurrection. I am totally convinced that Jesus did rise from the dead, never to die again. He is alive today as the living Lord & Savior. But this Easter, I want to preach about our own resurrection. According to the promise of Jesus Christ, we too can and will rise from the dead. His own resurrection guarantees that we, too, will rise from the dead, just as He says in this text of Scripture. And not only is there a bodily resurrection in the future, but there is also a spiritual resurrection that we can and must experience now in this life. And not only that, but our Lord teaches here that everyone will rise from death, both Christians and the non-Christians. So this morning, let's consider the subject of the resurrection of men, in light of the fact of the resurrection of Christ.
I. THE PRESENT SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION OF BELIEVERS
Especially in vv. 24-25, Jesus speaks of a spiritual resurrection that He wants to bring to pass in our lives. So notice: A. The Fact of Spiritual Death in Physical Life (v. 24b; v.25a) - Jesus indicated in these verses that many of His listeners were spiritually dead, but that if they would hear and believe His life-giving words, they would rise to spiritual life. Until you are born again, you are dead to holiness and dead to faith; dead to God and dead in sin. Later, the apostle Paul would teach the same truth. In Eph. 2:1 he wrote, "And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins." We need life, but who can give it to us? Who promises to deliver us from spiritual death and give us eternal life? Who can deliver us from the judgment to come? In answer to those questions, consider with me: B. The Promise of Spiritual Resurrection & Eternal Life 1. What is Promised a) The Present Reality of Eternal Life (v. 24) - Note the present tense of "hath." We are not to be "at last saved in heaven"; we have eternal life now. We get to start enjoying some of the blessings of heaven now. The life of heaven can be yours right now. The exceedingly great joy of heaven can be yours now. The peace of heaven can be yours. Heaven is not different in kind from the Christian life on earth, but differs mainly
in degree and in circumstances. b) The Promise of Exemption from Eternal Judgment (v.24b) - Our Lord clearly indicates here that the believer will not enter into the judgment mentioned in v.29b. Rom. 8:1 says, "[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." We will not enter into judgment because our substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, bore our condemnation for us on the cross. He was judged in our place. My sin as a believer has already been judged. I will never stand before God to determine if I will go to heaven or to hell. That issue was settled the moment I believed in Jesus as my Savior. As the Lord says in the last of v.24, we believers have already come out of the condemnation of death into the realm of eternal life. And note the perfect tense. 2. The Source of Eternal Life (v.26) - In v.26 Jesus makes a claim that none of us could make. He claimed that life was an essential aspect of His being. Life was not something He derived from another; He has life in Himself. In our case, the life we have is derived and received from God. That is true of our physical life, and that is true of our spiritual life. You cannot create life. When you stand beside the bed of a dying loved one, you will wish that you could give life, but you are powerless to do so. Only Jesus can give life to others. I Jn. 5:11 says, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life...." And so it takes a resurrection miracle for a soul to be saved. In the saving of a dead soul, the elements of death within are potent, so that regeneration is a victory as well as a creation, a complicated miracle, a glorious display both of grace and power. And we look at such and such an individual, and we think, "He is so ungodly, he will never be saved. Talking to him about Christ is like talking to a dead man. He just won't listen." But why consider it impossible, for Christ can raise the dead. He can do the impossible. Oh, we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but do we fully realize and believe what that means? (v.25). He is God Almighty. He is the source of life! Let's remember what a great God we serve, and let's exercise great faith, because He is a great God. 3. How We Receive this Eternal Life (v.24a,25b) - How can I receive what He offers? The first step in receiving resurrection life is to hear the word of Christ. John 6:63 says, "...the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life." In every case where Jesus raised someone physically from the dead; He did so by speaking His words. And so it is with spiritual resurrection. First, you must hear the words and the promises of Christ. Are you listening to the words of Jesus? That is the first step. Secondly, we must have faith, for Jesus goes on to add, "...and believes on Him that sent me hath everlasting life...." Rom. 10:17 says, "So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." As you hear these promises that Jesus has given, then you can have eternal life. To "believe on Him that sent me" is to believe with your heart that God the Father loves you and that He sent His Son Jesus to die for you. 4. The fulfillment of the Promise - Is the promise of Christ true? Yes, for during the teaching ministry of Jesus, some were saved and received spiritual life. Many others were raised to new life on the Day of Pentecost. And since then, millions have been raised to walk in newness of life in Jesus Christ.
II. THE CERTAINTY OF A BODILY RESURRECTION
(Read vv.28-29a) - Do you realize that you will rise from the dead in a new body, whether you are a Christian or a non-Christian? That's what Jesus teaches here. A. Assurance of Believers - In I Cor. 15:12-19, Paul argues that our hope of forgiveness of sin, and our hope of eternal life and the bodily resurrection, are based upon the fact of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Jesus said in Jn. 14:19, "Because I live, ye shall live also." B. Fact of it for Unbelievers ("all" -v.28, cf. with v.29b) - It may seem strange to you that even unbelievers will rise from the dead some day, but that is what Christ teaches. He teaches that all unbelievers will rise. And that is what the Old Testament taught (Dan. 12:2). Think of the multitude of all the people that have ever lived, being raised together; a multitude too great to number. Not one individual will be omitted or forgotten. Don't suppose that somehow you will be overlooked when the Lord of the universe summons the dead to rise. You, my hearer, shall rise again. You will not be permitted to rot away into annihilation, to be left in the darkness of obscurity; you must, you shall rise, each and every one of us without a solitary exception. How do we know this? 1) The Word of Christ Guarantees It - Note His words of certainty and truth. Two times in this text we read the words, "Verily, verily" which means truly, truly. When Jesus began a statement with those words, He was declaring a solemn truth. Furthermore, in v.28, He says literally, "the hour comes." It's what is called a prophetic present tense. Jesus' statement about the future is so certain, he puts it in the present tense, as if the future event is already present upon us. Christ means for us to think of the coming resurrection as if it were coming soon. Suppose it should come now while we are assembled here. Suppose that even now the dead should rise. Are you prepared for the coming resurrection and the judgment that follows? Even minute, every second brings it nearer, and how much nearer we are now to that great day. We are drifting along the river of time, and we will soon enter into the ocean of eternity. But many in that day doubted this great claim of Christ. As we see in v.31, Christ does not expect us to believe Him blindly. So in vv. 33-47, He appeals to 4 witnesses of His truthfulness. John the Baptist bore witness, as we see in vv.33-35. Beginning in v.36 we see that the miraculous works of Christ bore witness to Him. The blind were made to see, the lame walked. God the Father was a witness to His Son on more than one occasion. And finally, the Scriptures bore witness to Jesus. So you can have absolute confidence that when Jesus says that you will rise from the dead, you will indeed rise from the dead. 2) The Deity of Christ Makes it Possible (cf. v.25 and v.28a, "don't marvel") - The crowd should not have marveled at what He was saying. He had already proven His life-giving power. He raised the widow's son at the gates of Nain. He had raised the daughter of Jairus from the sleep of death. Later He would give a greater demonstration of His power over death by raising the rotting body of Lazarus back to life. Yes, Christ Himself shall bring to pass this great resurrection. As he says in v.28, all the dead shall hear His great voice. The voice of the Son of God is the same voice that spoke the world into being (John 1:3). His voice can surely recreate bodies for the great Resurrection Day. The ear, decayed in death shall come to life to hear the blessed or dreaded voice of the Son of God. If you will not hear and believe His voice now, you will hear His powerful voice on that resurrection day.
You may thrust those fingers into your ears today, but there will be no doing that in that day; you must hear then.
III. THE OPTIONS
What will happen to you when you rise from death? You will rise from the dead. Now what will happen to you? There will be two possible options: A. The Resurrection Unto Judgment (v.29b) 1. Who The Judge Will Be (v.22,27) - Acts 17:30-31 says, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead." You will rise to face Jesus Christ. You know, I would hate to think about being among those who rejected the sacrificial love of Jesus. What will you say? What defense will you offer? And let me share with you a few facts about His judgment: a) His Judgment will be Fair (v.27) - As Son of man He will judge all men because he fully understands men. As Son of man He identified with us. If you ever commit a crime and go to court, you will not be judged by a computer, but by other people. You will be judged by those who personally know what it's like to be human in this world. And if you are judged to determine you eternal destiny, you should know that you will be judged by Jesus, who knew what it was like to be human, and live in this old sinful world. And if and when He says, "Depart from me," you can be sure that His judgment was fair & just. b) His Judgment will be Final - Because His judgment will be totally fair and just, there will be no cause or possibility of appeal. Not a vestige of hope is held out for them. It is not a resurrection of probation, but to be judged and to receive an eternal sentence of condemnation. This truth should cause us to fall at the feet of Jesus in reverence and awe. In fact, in vv.22-23, Christ said that the Father had committed all judgment to the Son, "That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." 2. Who will stand before the Judge? - Christ says that those who have done evil, will rise to the resurrection of judgment. Now there are several details that you need to understand here. The word translated "done" carries with it the idea that such people have practiced evil or bad deeds. And whether we have practiced good or evil will not be determined by human standards, but divine standards. Even though in the sight of men they may have done good, they have not practiced good in the sight of God. What is good in the sight of man may be ill in the sight of God, for it may have been done for a wrong motive. There may be some of you, who with all your excellences and moralities, have never done good as God measures good, for you have never thought of God to honor Him. In fact, you have often been indifferent to Him. 3. The Sentence of the Judge - Actually, we are not told here what kind of punishment will be given out to those who rise to stand before the judgment bar of Jesus Christ. We are told elsewhere that the punishment will be painful and eternal (cf. Rev. 20:11-15). They have sinned in a body, and they will suffer punishment in a body. I do not like to think about it. But you should think about it if you have never been raised to spiritual life. For only those who have eternal life now will have eternal life then. You
have the word of Christ, not just my word, to confirm the truth of what I am saying. Furthermore, until you have the holy nature of God in you, you cannot do good in God's sight. Jesus said there is none that doeth good but God. The good deeds that God accepts are the deeds done by the Spirit of God through us. The only real good that you can do are the things that God does through you. John 15:5 says, "I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." Now there are some very important implications here: a) What you do in this life will determine your eternal destiny. Death makes no change in a man's character. Expect no opportunities for reformation between the time of death and your resurrection. Don't expect some second chance after you die. For Jesus says that those who have done evil in this life, shall rise to the resurrection of judgment in the next life. b) Furthermore, this fact should arouse our minds to the fact that our present actions, and inactions, do have consequences beyond this present life. Men wish to believe that their actions are confined to this present life, and thus they are careless of them. But when they discover that they are far-reaching, and that their actions determine their eternal destinies, then they regard them more seriously. One of the best ways by which to learn what will be our portion in the future, is to inquire what is our portion in the present. Have you life now, I mean spiritual life? If so, then you can look forward to a bodily resurrection unto life. But if not, then you have nothing to look forward to beyond this life other than a bodily resurrection unto judgment, unless God gives you time and opportunity to repent before you die. B. The Resurrection Unto Life 1. The Nature of this Eternal Life - Our new bodies will have none of the weaknesses of our present bodies. There will be no sickness, no weakness, and no pain. Instead, we will have new bodies that will be suitable for an eternal life of complete, uninterrupted happiness, power, activity, privilege, and all that is blessed. And this eternal life will be lived in a glorified body, like unto the glorified body of Christ. His body did not have the kind of limitations that we have. So we find much consolation with regard to that which is "sown in dishonor," but shall be "raised in glory." Weep not as though you have cast your treasure into the sea, where you will never be able to find it. You have only laid the remains of your loved ones in a casket, from where you will receive it again brighter than before. 2. Those Who Enter Into this Blessed, Eternal Life a) Those described in v.24 b) Those described as having done good things (v.29a) - The faith that saves is not a dead faith, but a living faith. Eph. 2:8 says that we are saved by grace through faith. But Eph. 2:10 says that we are created in Christ Jesus "unto good works". So Christ says that "they that have done good" will rise to the resurrection of life. There must be some evidence of your faith. Are you living by the commandment of Jesus? Are you serving God? There shall be no evidence accepted of your faith based on your inward feelings, but the evidence shall be found in your outward actions. Judge yourself now, lest you be judged with the wicked. This does not mean that if you ever sin you will not have eternal life. For if you have trusted in Jesus your sins are washed away. The only thing the Father sees in you are the good works wrought by faith and by the Spirit of God. But how tragic it is that some are deceived into thinking that they are saved when they are not. The issue
of your eternal destiny is too serious a matter to take lightly. Make sure you are saved! If your life lacks the genuine goodness of God, and goodness toward God, you can safely assume that you have never been resurrected unto spiritual life. You have never been born again. Conclusion: Which resurrection will you be in? Do you know for sure that you will rise to eternal life? Or will you rise to stand at the judgment bar of God, to hear your sentence of eternal separation from God because of your sin? You can settle the issue today, by believing in Jesus. Trust in Him as Savior while you may!
b(Sources: Steve Felker; Spurgeon, "12 Sermons on the Resurrection," pp. 42-54; John commentaries by Greene; Pink; Maclaren; Hobbs; and Hendriksen. )
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This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?