Salvation and the Resurrection of the Dead – Jesus filtered graves down to two resurrections, or the hour that is coming. The reason, the purpose for hearing, believing, and salvation is to be in the resurrection of life and avoid the resurrection of damnation. The resurrection is going to happen. We do not decide that. What we do decide is in which resurrection we participate.
DEAL OR NO DEAL?
By Delbert Young
Salvation and the Resurrection of the Dead
Salvation and the Resurrection of the Dead
Job 17:1, John 5:24-29, 1 Corinthians 15:17-22, Acts 4:2-4, Acts 26:8, Revelation 20:11-15, Matthew 10:28, 1 Corinthians 15:42-45, John 11:24-26
Job 17:1 My spirit is crushed, and I am near death. The grave is ready to receive me.
There is a word and a thought used in the above scripture with which we are all familiar. It causes dread, and even fear. From some of our youngest to our oldest, we know what the word “grave” means and insinuates. A grave is a place we leave a dead person. Every continent, nation, city, village, and community has graves. Graves are everywhere. A grave takes many forms. It can be a vase of ashes, a vault, or a hole in the ground. In every grave is a dead person – a dead baby, dead child, dead boy, dead girl, dead teenager, dead young woman, dead old woman, dead young man, or dead old man. No matter the form, or location, a grave remains a place we leave a dead person.
Nearly all of us have stood at a grave as they lowered someone we cherished into it, or placed them in a vault, or sent them to a crematory. You wept. You mourned. You felt broken. You probably felt you would never see that person again and said a final goodbye.
The truth is each of us is on a journey pointed to a grave. Every one of us will one day say as Job, The grave is ready to receive me. I remember my dad saying, “I am about ready to leave here too.” I never thought I would hear that, but I did. Not long after he said that, I put him in his grave. I remember my wife’s dad saying, “I can’t keep going on like this.” A few days later, we put him in his grave.
What I am going to tell you today is when you watched that loved one go to their grave, it was not the last time someone will see that person in their body. When you go to your grave, it will not be the last time someone will see you in your body. The grave is not the end of the body. Do you remember how you loved that loved one? You hated the suffering their body experienced, but you loved their touch, look, voice, smell, etc. That body you loved will be seen again. In fact, every body will be seen again.
Jesus healed a crippled man at a pool called Bethesda. From that event, Jesus spoke about salvation and what I previously said concerning the dead being seen again. He gives us hisDEAL OR NO DEAL. The Jews were upset with Jesus because he healed the crippled man on the Sabbath day (Jn 5:16). Jesus took this opportunity to explain SALVATION and why we need it. Jesus said (my paraphrase) You think healing this cripple was amazing? You think that upset you? You have not seen anything yet (v20). Jesus said…
John 5:24 I tell you the truth, whoever HEARS my word and BELIEVES him who sent me HAS ETERNAL LIFE and will not be condemned; HE HAS CROSSED OVER from death to life.
To cross over from death to life, we much hear and believe. There is a place where, and time when, we cross over a line from death to life. For me, it was 1978. I did some “religious” things as a child in Sunday school and as a teen. All those were meaningful, but there was a day and a time that I crossed over the line and believed that Jesus was the Son of God. When did you cross over the line? You know if you have and you know if you have not.
Crossing over was a new thought to the Jew. They thought they were Jews and already had eternal life. No, even a Jew must hear what Jesus says and believe that Jesus is the Son of God to cross over the line. No matter your race, age, gender, social status, or heritage, you too must cross over the line to move from death to life. Jesus went on to make an even more upsetting and amazing declaration. Let’s read it.
John 5:25-29 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour IS COMING, AND NOW IS, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour IS COMING, in the which ALL THAT ARE IN THE GRAVES SHALL HEAR HIS VOICE, AND SHALL COME FORTH; THEY THAT HAVE DONE GOOD, UNTO THE RESURRECTION OF LIFE; AND THEY THAT HAVE DONE EVIL, UNTO THE RESURRECTION OF DAMNATION.
The Lord said not to marvel at his healing the cripple or at what he had said, for he would do something more amazing than anything ever past or future. A day IS COMING when he would open all graves and raise all the dead. At that, they could marvel.
The Lord places ALL people into two categories: those who cross over the line and those who do not cross. It is those who do “good” (the open book display of a life that crossed overthe line) and those who do evil. Jesus referenced this to sheep – those who crossed over – and goats – those who refused to cross over (Mat 25:33). The hour that NOW IS meanscrossing over the line now. Jesus funneled all he said concerning hearing and not hearing, believing and not believing, and crossing over or not crossing over, down to graves. Then finally, Jesus filtered graves down to two resurrections, or the hour that IS COMING. The reason, the purpose for hearing, believing, and crossing over is to be in the resurrection of life and avoid the resurrection of damnation. It is going to happen. We do not decide that. What we do decide is in which resurrection we participate.
Though this specific doctrine is one of the primary doctrines taught by Jesus and the apostles and a primary doctrine that separates Christianity for other religions, we seldom hear about it. Here is why. There is such confusion between the resurrection of the dead and something called the rapture. Think about it. When was the last time you heard a sermon about the resurrection of the dead? It will happen.
Theologian, Thomas Watson said, “The body shall rise again. We are not so sure to rise out of our beds as we are to rise out of our graves.” There is no guarantee you will wake tomorrow. However, you can be positive you will rise out of your grave. Jesus said you would. THE GRAVE IS NOT THE END.
Most religions teach an “afterlife.” Hinduism, Buddhism, and others teach reincarnation or some form of resurrection. For example, Buddhists believe that upon death, the soul leaves the earthly body immediately, but hovers around it for three days. Sometimes within this timeframe, the soul may decide to reunite with the body causing an instance of miraculous resurrection. All that teach reincarnation and some that teach a form of resurrection believe they remain in an endless cycle of death. They believe they go through death again and again. What a wonderful belief and I am being facetious. Actually, how horrible a belief.
Christianity is about Christ’s resurrection and our resurrection. The apostle Paul said that if all we have is Christ in this life we are miserable people.
1 Corinthians 15:17-22 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and becomeTHE FIRSTFRUITS OF THEM THAT SLEPT. For since by man came death, by man came alsoTHE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Our faith depends upon the resurrection of Christ. It is a miserable religion if all we have is Christ now. Jesus is the FIRSTFRUITS meaning the first of a great harvest. The reason we die is heredity that goes back to Adam. However, you have a physical resurrection just as Jesus. There is a resurrection of the dead. This is a major truth and one about which we should talk. Jesus talked about it and the apostles certainly taught it.
Acts 4:2-4 They were greatly disturbed because THE APOSTLES WERE TEACHING THE PEOPLE AND PROCLAIMING IN JESUS THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.
They arrested Peter and John for preaching the resurrection of the dead. It is important for when taught, people cross over the line. When was the last time you talked to someone about the resurrection of the dead?
Acts 26:8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
If God can create the universe, create animals and man, and make your body operate as it does, why would it be difficult for God to raise the dead? One day the Sadducees tried to trick Jesus with a question about the resurrection. A woman had seven husbands. Which husband would be her husband in the resurrection?
Matthew 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor THE POWER OF GOD.
God’s power will make the resurrection of the dead happen. One of the last teachings in the Book of Revelation concerns the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
Revelation 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne… And I saw the dead, small and great, STAND before God and the books were opened …And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were JUDGED EVERY MAN according to their works. …And whosoever was not found written in the book of life wascast into the lake of fire.
It says the sea gave up the dead. There are people who have never had a proper funeral, yet they too will come forth and STAND before God. Every person in every grave will come forth. It says hell delivered up the dead. People who do not cross over the line go directly to hell when they die. At the resurrection of the dead, all are judged and those not written in thebook of life are cast into the lake of fire. Hell is torment, but imagine a lake of fire! If you are not written in the book, Jesus said you have reason to fear your end.
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: BUT RATHER FEAR him which is able to destroy BOTH SOUL AND BODY in hell.
Please notice that it will be the SOUL AND BODY. It is a resurrection unto damnation. If you die without Christ, the tormentors cast you and your body into the lake of fire. Jesus said you should fear this. On the other hand, for those who crossed over the line, there is a resurrection exactly like Jesus experienced.
Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead WILL ALSO GIVE LIFE TO YOUR MORTAL BODIES through his Spirit, who lives in you.
Notice it is your MORTAL BODIES given life. You will experience a resurrection as Christ experienced.
Phillipians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly BODIES so that they WILL BE LIKE HIS GLORIOUS BODY.
It is the BODY transformed to be like Christ’s glorious body. Why will those who heard, believed, and crossed over the line be brought out of the grave? The answer is to reward the body with eternal life. It becomes immortal and incorruptible.
1 Corinthians 15:42-45 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised IMPERISHABLE; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in GLORY; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in POWER; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a SPIRITUALbody…
Your body deserves rewarding also. It too has served Christ. There is no reward for it in the grave. It is raised IMPERISHABLE – no more dying, in GLORY – totally separated for God, in POWER – dunamis, force, miraculous power, and SPIRITUAL – pneumatikos non carnal, i.e. humanly or supernatural. It is a body like the resurrected body of Jesus Christ. It is eternal/ageless, powerful, and supernatural. When they lay you, as one who crossed over the line, or a loved one who crossed over the line, in the grave, it is not “good bye.” It’s “good night.” It is “Sweet dreams.” It is, “I will see you resurrection day.” That is why the Bible refers to the believer going to the grave as sleeping (Mat 9:24; Joh 11:11; Act 13:36; 1Co 11:30; 1Co 15:51, etc). I will see my mother again. I will see my dad again. My grandfather who taught me to play monopoly and how to be a grandfather, I will see again. It’s just sweet dreams, not goodbye.
A day will come when I get to serve God in perfection. I mean I will really be perfect – just like Jesus. I will not only have a perfect soul and spirit. I will have a perfect body! There is the redemption of the body (Rom 8:23).
Why are those who have NOT CROSSED OVER the line brought out of the graves? The reason is final and eternal judgment – cast into the lake of fire.
The only way to avoid the resurrection of damnation and be included in the resurrection of life is to hear, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and cross over the line.
John 11:24-26 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I AM THE RESURRECTION, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. BELIEVEST THOU THIS? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I BELIEVE THAT THOU ART THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD, which should come into the world.
Jesus said he is the resurrection. He controls the resurrection. He controls eternal life. Jesus asked Martha THE QUESTION OF ALL QUESTIONS, BELIEVEST THOU THIS?What about you? Do you BELIEVEST THOU THIS? Martha gave the correct answer. She will be in the resurrection of life. Which resurrection will it be for you? Each of us here will take part in the resurrection of the dead. Each of us, most likely, will be coming out of a grave. You must cross over the line or go to the lake of fire. Are you ready for resurrection day? If not, you can be. You can pass from death to life today. I warn you. If you die far from God, you will be raised evil. You and your body will be cast into the lake of fire. Jesus said you must cross over the line.
Other Related Sermons:
Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity. (Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2002), p. 218.
Funeral Rites of the Hindus and the Buddhists, Uday Lama, http://www.webhealing.com/articles/lama.html