He Rose Again the Third Day

He Rose Again the Third Day

He Rose Again the Third Day sermon teaches us that because Jesus Christ is risen, so shall all those who believe in Him. We will be like Him with resurrected bodies.

Key Verses:

I Corinthians 15:1-58

The apostle Paul was writing to the church of Corinth about the resurrection:

I Corinthians 15:1: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;”

I Corinthians 15:2: “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.”

I Corinthians 15:3: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;”

I Corinthians 15:4: “And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

I love the Bible. There are those in the ministry who do not love the Bible. It is not one of their main points of affection, but there are many who do. I love the Bible and love all the Bible. I love to read the Bible. I love to study the Bible. I love to listen to the Bible being taught and preached. And I love to preach and teach the Bible myself. There is not one part of the Bible I do not love, but even with that all true, I am still only human and so I have my favorites. My favorite book of the Bible is the gospel of John. My favorite chapter of the Bible is I Corinthians chapter 15. Now, why is that? Because it is all about the resurrection. The entire chapter is about the resurrection. It is about Jesus’ resurrection and it is about our resurrection. Some might think that they are not going to have one, but hopefully, you will have one before we are finished here today.

Easter Sunday is the day we celebrate and set aside on the calendar, to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord by meeting together and worshipping Him. We do that each Sunday, but on this day each year, we put very special emphasis on the resurrection. There is a definite relation between the Easter celebration, Good Friday, and Passover. Today happens to be the end of Passover at sundown. It does not always coincide like that on the calendar, but this year it does.

The True Gospel

So, let’s take a look at I Corinthians 15 and learn about the facts of Jesus’ resurrection and the fact that He will resurrect us. Our theme for today is “He Rose Again the Third Day. Let’s go back and look at the passage we just read beginning at verse one. Paul says:

I Corinthians 15:1: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;”

The word “moreover” means “on top of everything else.” Paul is saying on top of everything he has written so far. We are not going to go through all of that. He says: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel…” If you read I Corinthians from the beginning, you would see in chapter one, there had been a little bit of controversy in the church at Corinth. It was about who was preaching the true Gospel, what was and was not included in it. This controversy caused division in the church and Paul is going to set the record straight. He is going to tell them precisely what the Gospel is.

Paul says, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you…” He had preached to the people there the same as he did before, and it had not changed since then. He then says, “which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;” He tells them that they had already received the Gospel and that this is the Gospel that makes them eternally secure. In the next verse, Paul says:

I Corinthians 15:2: “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.”

You are saved by the Gospel. We are not saved by going to church or being members of a church, or going through a religious ritual, or doing the best we can do, and trying to do enough good to outweigh any bad we may have done. None of that has anything to do with it. The truth of the matter is, we are saved by the grace of God and it is the Gospel that saves.

Defining the Gospel

The same writer, Paul, writing to a different church, the church in Rome, said this:

Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

The word “power” in that verse comes from the Greek word “dunamis” from where we get our word dynamite. So, when we are talking about power, it is that kind of power. Paul is saying he’s not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, it is the dynamite of God. Does that mean God is blowing things up? No, it means the magnificent energy and force that is there. He said salvation is for everyone that believes, the Jew first because that is where it started, and then to the Greek, which is a euphemistic term meaning everyone else who is not Jewish. Romans 1:16 is the Gospel that Paul wrote about.

But he is about to define that Gospel for us. Paul preached the Gospel and received the Gospel, and here it is:

I Corinthians 15:3: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;”

Paul is saying, “I gave you what was given to me.” So are you ready? This is the Gospel; it is the definition of the Gospel: “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;” This is the first part of it. “Christ died for our sins…”  the same writer Paul wrote in Romans:

Romans 5:8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

God commended or commissioned His love toward us, that while we were sinners, not when we were good people, not when we were His friends, but while we were sinners, Christ died for us.

Think for a moment about what sin is. Imagine something that would be sin. Take it a step further and imagine something in your life that would be a sin. If you have something in mind, go a step farther and Jesus Christ died on the cross for that thing you just thought about. Whatever that is, that is what He died for. He died to pay for that. Perhaps it was not that big of a deal, but was it sin? Then He died to pay for that. Or maybe you are on the other end of that scale and think there is no payment for what you did. There is. Whatever comes to mind that is sin in your life, that is what Jesus paid for when He died on the cross. That’s it, no limitations. Nothing too small, nothing too great. That is what Paul is saying again here when he says, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” Then in verse four, he goes farther in the second part:

I Corinthians 15:4: “And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

According to the scriptures, meaning, according to the word of God. Jesus not only died but He rose again the third day.

Romans 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If we believe on Him, we will not die but have everlasting life – that is what He is asking us to do.

Romans 3:17: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

This is what it is all about. Why did Jesus come into the world?

Luke 19:10: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

I Timothy 1:15: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”

That is the very reason He came. It is what Christmas is all about, it is what Easter is all about. It is what everything in between Christmas and Easter is all about. Jesus came to this world to be our Savior.

The Resurrected Christ

Now, that brings up a question. Paul is telling us that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day. Paul was not there when Jesus was crucified. He was not there when Jesus rose from the grave. As far as we can tell, as far as any historical account goes, Paul was not even in Jerusalem when that happened. Jerusalem was not his hometown. We find him there later, but in all likelihood, he was not there when the events occurred. How does he know? He will tell us in a moment how he knows, but first, he’s going to tell us about people who were eyewitnesses to the resurrection.

I Corinthians 15:5: “And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:”

Another name for Cephas is Peter who saw Him, and then the rest of the apostles.

I Corinthians 15:6: “After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”

Think about being seen by 500 brethren at once. First, He is seen by Peter, then the other apostles, and then on an entirely separate occasion, more than 500 people saw Him. It has been some years since the resurrection, about 30 years pass when Paul writes this book. He writes that 30 years later, most of those 500 people are still alive. There are at least 251 people still alive that one could go and talk to who were eyewitnesses of Christ. They saw Him and one could get their testimony in person at the time that he wrote this. But Paul was not finished:

I Corinthians 15:7: “After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.”

James saw Him and then the apostles see Him again on a separate occasion. Luke tells us in the first chapter of the book of Acts, that after the resurrection, Jesus made appearances here on Earth for forty days. A lot of people get the impression that Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, rises on Sunday, says hello to a few people, and shot up to Heaven. That is not how it really happened. You had the crucifixion, you had the resurrection, and then you have a month and ten days in which He is appearing to, talking to, and teaching to people before He ascends into Heaven. Luke calls that a period of time when Jesus showed Himself with many infallible proofs. It was not a hallucination that a few people had or some story that a few made up. There were numerous occurrences and large numbers of people who saw the resurrected Christ. Then Paul says in verse eight:

I Corinthians 15:8: “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

He says “born out of due time,” meaning, he did not see Jesus when the others did, he saw Him later. Last of all he says:

I Corinthians 15:9: “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.”

Paul did persecute the church of God. His name was Saul, and he was from Tarsus. Back in the ‘80s, we used the term “yuppy” which meant a young-up-and-comer, someone who was young and really moving up. That was what Saul of Tarsus was, he was a yuppy in his day. He was a young man, who was up and coming in the religious community. He already obtained as a young man a reputation as a scholar. People saw him as becoming one of the great religious leaders of Israel. He was very zealous for his religion, so he says in verse nine that he persecuted the church. He would go out and find believers who were Jewish and say, “You believe in Jesus Christ. You believe He is the Messiah?” If you answered, “Yes,” he would arrest you and take you in.

Saul was there at the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr. We read the account in the book of Acts and Saul did not throw a stone, but he held the coats of those who did. And then later he carries out these arrests himself. Then he was on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus, Syria. He has to cross the mountains at some point. While on his way he is stopped on the road by the resurrected Christ. He falls to his face on the ground and is literally blinded by the light. He calls out, “Who art though, Lord?” and the surprising answer to him was, “I am Jesus who thou persecutest.” Jesus asks him why he is kicking against everything He does. Saul’s response is, “Lord, what would you have me to do?” He calls Him “Lord” and accepts and understands Jesus is Lord of his life. He understands He is the Messiah and asks what Jesus would have him to do. We can imagine that he probably said that with a little fear and trembling.

So, Jesus said to him that He had a wonderful plan for him and to change his name from Saul to Paul, that he would write thirteen books which would become half of the New Testament, that he would travel all over Asia Minor and start many churches, and that he would even preach to Caesar in Rome. Jesus did not tell him any of that. All Jesus said was to go into town and then he would be told what to do next. That is it. That is the way the Lord works with you and me. You do what He tells you to do now, and He will show you the next step.

What Jesus Would Have You Do

You may say that you do not know what He wants you to do now. That is fair. Let me give you a good clue where to start. Right here, in this book, the Bible, you will find many times where the Lord tells you straight out what He wants you to do. You will find what the Lord wants you to do in the Bible. There are several places you can find it, wherever the Bible says, “this is the will of God” which means this is what you are supposed to do. Isn’t that simple. Other times, the Bible says, “thou shalt” which means you should, you ought to do this. You will know what to do.

Does it tell you everything you ought to do, every second of every day of your life? Certainly not. But it is a starting point and here is the amazing thing, if you take your Bible and read it. Understand what thou shalt do and what the will of God is for you and do those things, you will not have to search and seek the will of God because you will already be living in it. Isn’t that simple?

I am not saying, and anyone living a Christian life is not saying the Christian life is easy. There is no promise that it is an easy life – just sit back and everything is going to fall into place, and you do nothing at all. No, that is not reality. But, while it is not easy, it can be simple. Simple is not the same as easy.

Sometimes it is like this, General Schwarzkopf wrote in his biography wrote it this way, “You always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” So, it can be simple and still not be easy. That is what we are saying, and more importantly, it is what God is saying. So, Paul is saying that he meets the Lord on the road to Damascus, and in the next verse:

I Corinthians 15:10: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Paul writes extensively about grace. He writes to Titus about grace, he writes to the churches of Galatia and Ephesians about grace. He writes extensively about grace. But what is grace? In the book of Titus, he gives us a definition of grace. He says:

Titus 3:4: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared.”

And here it is, in the next verses:

I Corinthians 15:10: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

I Corinthians 15:11: “Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.”

What does it mean? You have heard the Gospel from me, the apostles, or somebody else, it is the same Gospel. There is only one. They all preached the same Gospel. Peter, Paul, and all the other apostles preached the same Gospel. And Paul just gave it to us. Christ died according to the scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day.

What If It Is Not True?

In verse twelve he takes on a different question. Now, hang on, this is important. What if it is not true? What if what Paul, Peter, and all the apostles said was not true? Then what? Let’s take a look, Paul is going to discuss this with us:

I Corinthians 15:12: “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?”

If it is preached that Jesus rose on the third day, how do some among you at the church in Corinth say that there is no resurrection of the dead? There is a predominant sect in the Jewish religion in those days that were the Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection. They really did not believe in anything other than life here on Earth. This is it: you are born here, you live your life, you die, and that is all that is to it, nothing else.

As far as I know, there is not a group around today that calls themselves the Sadducees. But there are plenty of people today that believe as the Sadducees – you are born, live your life, you die, and it is over. They say you will find it in scripture, “As a dog dies, so a man dies.” Some people say it is true. Paul is saying that if it is true, then Jesus did not rise from the dead.

I Corinthians 15:13: “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:”

I Corinthians 15:14: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”

The word “vain” means “empty.” If Jesus did not rise from the dead, everything I am telling you right now is empty. And everything you have believed is empty. The New Testament word written in Greek for the word “vanity” or “vain” is interesting. The Greek word is not vastly different. Let’s go back to the original Hebrew and the word literally means “soap bubbles.” It is something that appears and is pretty but there is nothing much to it. If you like the look of it, there is nothing really inside and if you touch it, it is gone. There is no substance to it. It is empty, without substance, nothing to it. So, what he is saying is, if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then everything we are preaching here is soap bubbles and your faith is also.

I Corinthians 15:15: “Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.”

I Corinthians 15:16: “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:”

What Paul is saying is this – if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then the testimonies of the apostles, the testimony of a preacher who is talking to you right now, and every other preacher who proclaims this Gospel, makes us all liars. And this is a lie, that surely is bad. It is probably worse than you think, and preachers ought not to be liars. How can it be any worse? Here’s how:

Revelation 21:8: “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.”

That is a pretty bad outlook for liars. What I am trying to get across, is that either Jesus rose from the dead or He did not. If the message is not true, then it is all a lie. But it gets worse still:

I Corinthians 15:17: “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”

So, there is no hope for you. There is no salvation, and you remain in your sin. No hope. If those people who say there is no resurrection are right, that Christ has not risen and you have no salvation, there had better not be an eternity. But it continues to get worse:

I Corinthians 15:18: “Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.”

Do you know what that means? It is not a happy thought. Your friends and your loved ones, you have seen them for the last time ever. They are gone and they are gone for eternity. There is no reunion. There is no “they are in a better place.” They are gone and there is no hope. The same writer, Paul, writes to the church in Thessalonica:

I Thessalonians 4:13: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”

It does not say that you cannot grieve if you lose somebody, it is not saying that. But rather, do not grieve as somebody who has no hope. But if Christ did not rise from the dead, there is no hope.

I Corinthians 15:19: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

Yes, we would be miserable. We believed a lie, we preached a lie, all our life and faith are based on a lie. We are pretty miserable people.

The Firstfruit of the Resurrection

You know the greatest little three-letter word in the Bible and in the English language is the word “but.” Here is a great example of it — “For the wages of sin is death,” meaning because we sin, we have to die, “but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Isn’t that good news? “But God commended His love toward us while we were yet sinners.” And here it is again in verse twenty:

I Corinthians 15:20: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”

He just spent verses twelve to nineteen telling us what if it is not true and then in verse twenty, he says that it is true. It is all true and there is hope. What does he mean by “firstfruits”? It means that Jesus was the first and then others are going to follow. There is more to it, the law of firstfruits comes from the law of offerings in the Old Testament. Three feasts coincide or follow shortly after each other – Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruit. Jesus is crucified on the Feast of Passover. He is buried in the tomb during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and He is resurrected on the Feast of Firstfruits. He became the firstfruit of them that slept.

I Corinthians 15:21: “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.”

I Corinthians 15:22: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

That is the wonderful truth of it. Jesus has risen. He died on the cross but He is not still dead. He rose and your faith is not empty. Your faith is on solid ground. As the songwriter wrote, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.”

Jesus is the firstfruit of the resurrection. He raised up Himself, He will raise up us also. As in Adam, all die, in Christ, all live:

Romans 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

Adrian Rogers, a great preacher and Bible teacher gave a great illustration of what it means that in Adam all die, in Christ all be made alive. There is a famous mountain peak called the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, it sits between Switzerland and Italy. It was first climbed in the 1800s and is one of the more challenging mountains to climb in the world and is very famous for that. Adrian Rogers said there were four men who were climbing the Matterhorn. As climbers do in situations like that, they are tied together and they have their equipment to climb with, be secure, and so forth. They were going up in a vertical line and the last fellow slipped and he fell off the mountain. His bodyweight pulled the second one along with him. The weight of those two pulled the third fellow. The fourth fellow dug in with his pick and other equipment, hung in, and stopped the fall of the others until they were all able to swing in and regain contact with the mountain. Then he pulled up one at a time and they all made it. Adrian Rogers said it was a beautiful picture. The first man fell but the last man saved them. That is exactly what Paul is saying here:

I Corinthians 15:22: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

I Corinthians 15:23: “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”

The Last Enemy

I Corinthians 15:24: “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”

“Then cometh the end…” – the end of what? It tells us:

I Corinthians 15:25: “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”

Paul, the same writer, writes that every knee shall bow, and shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

I Corinthians 15:26: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”

Hell, Satan, and all the things subdued by him — the last enemy is death.

I Corinthians 15:27: “For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

I Corinthians 15:28: “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”

This is talking about God the Father and God the Son. That is what he is talking about.

I Corinthians 15:29: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?”

That verse has thrown a lot of folks off. What does it mean to get “baptized for the dead”? It means be baptized because of the dead. You are not taking the place of someone who died, you get baptized on their behalf. What you are is you are getting baptized to fill in for those who are already gone. But he goes farther in the next verse:

I Corinthians 15:30: “And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?”

What does he mean by that? Persecution. Paul was under tremendous persecution, so were all the believers in that day. How heavy was the persecution? Well, Paul lost his head over it. It was pretty serious.

I Corinthians 15:31: “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”

Now, he did not mean he had a heart attack every evening and got resurrected every morning. That is not what he means. He means he dies to self. He is not counting himself first. He is giving his life daily.

I Corinthians 15:32: “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.”

Here, he is saying if in Christ only we have hope, we of all men are most miserable. If there was no resurrection and Jesus is not resurrected, why is he going through this persecution? What is the point of it? It is not worth it. But he says that Christ has risen from the dead.

I Corinthians 15:33: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”

I Corinthians 15:34: “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”

The Resurrection Life

In these verses, Paul is saying being born again is a changed life. It is a resurrection life. Do not be the person you were before, be separate from the world, take the Gospel to the world, be that new person in Christ that you were intended to be. Don’t know if you can do that? Let me help you. I know you cannot do it. It is what you ought to do but you cannot do it. What is the sense of that? That is why you need to surrender to Christ and let Him lead His life through you. That is how you do it. On your own, you are not going to make it. The truth of the matter is you are not supposed to. You need to depend upon Him.

So now Paul tells us that the resurrection life, the born-again life, is a changed life here on Earth. But it does not stop there because there is a real resurrection of the body.

I Corinthians 15:35: “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?”

How does it happen? You are dead, buried, and the body decays. We all know that. How is that body raised up? There is nothing grotesque about this. We are not talking about zombies walking around. That is not the idea at all, because the resurrected body is a glorified body. That is the second part of verse 35, where he says, “and with what body do they come?” Paul says:

I Corinthians 15:36: “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:”

Jesus put it this way, the same thing:

John 12:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

You take a grain of wheat and you plant it and that grain in essence dies and begins to transform. It begins to germinate and produces a wheat stalk that bears fruit. I have an interest in archaeology and one of the most significant finds of the twentieth century is the tomb of Tutankhamun. His father did not believe in all those Egyptian gods and decided there was only one god. So, the leaders in his court had him assassinated.

They made Tutankhamun king and he was just a teenager. When he turned 18, he decides that his father was right, so they did him in too. They found his tomb and many treasures were found there. They also found buried with him, thousands of years ago, seeds. They took these seeds and planted them, and they grew. They had laid there open in the tomb for thousands of years and done nothing. But once they were planted, they grew into the wheat and the other plants they were supposed to be. Isn’t that amazing? It is not as amazing as it sounds because that is exactly what seeds are supposed to do – “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

I Corinthians 15:36: “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:”

I Corinthians 15:37: “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:”

I Corinthians 15:38: “But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.”

So, if you are going to plant wheat, you are going to get wheat. If you plant corn, you are going to get corn. Whatever you plant is what you are going to get.

I Corinthians 15:39: “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.”

I Corinthians 15:40: “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.”

He is saying that there is an earthly body and a celestial body. It does not mean that when you die, you are going to look like somebody else. You will still be you. You will just be a better you. That is not such a bad deal when you think about it. Some of us, as we get older, are kind of looking for a better version.

I Corinthians 15:41: “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.”

Do you ever think about that? You go out and look at the stars. They are not all the same. They are stars, but they are not all the same.

I Corinthians 15:42: “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:”

So here is the crux of the matter: It is the same with the resurrection. That which is sown in corruption shall die and that which is sown incorruptible shall not.

I Corinthians 15:43: “It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:”

I Corinthians 15:44: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”

I Corinthians 15:45: “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”

Paul is saying Christ rose from the dead bodily, in a physical body but it was no longer the same as before. In Jesus’ case, He still bears the scars of crucifixion. How do we know? We read about in Revelation and we read about in John when He revealed them on the resurrection evening. Eight days later when He says to Thomas to touch the holes in His hand and to thrust his hand in the wound on His side, “be not faithless, but believe.” But He does bear those marks of the crucifixion so that we will remember the price He paid for our sins. But your resurrection body has no corruption, has no sickness or injury, and has no scars. All that is gone. Your resurrection body is like His glorious one.

We Will Be Like Him

I Corinthians 15:46: “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.”

I Corinthians 15:47: “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.”

I Corinthians 15:48: “As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.”

I Corinthians 15:49: “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”

All that is to say that your resurrection body is going to be like Jesus’ resurrection body. I am not sure about all that entails, but here is just a glimpse of it. Jesus is crucified and on the first day of the week He rises again. He appears at the women at the tomb and then He appears to Peter and John. That evening he appears to all the apostles. There were all gathered in that upper room and suddenly, Jesus is there. They heard no knock on the door. The door did not swing open, He is just there. He talks to them a little bit and then He is just gone.

Earlier that afternoon, He talked to two of them who were walking to the little town of Emmaus, not far from Jerusalem. He talked with them and they had a great conversation. They sit down for the evening meal and they suddenly recognize Him. Many of us wish we could disappear. What does that tell us? Jesus is not limited by time and space. Isn’t that great? He tells us something else in the next verse:

I Corinthians 15:50: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”

That which can get sick is not in Heaven. That which can die is not going to Heaven. But notice the first part of verse 50, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Think about that. When Jesus died on the cross, His blood was shed for our sins. How much blood was shed? One pint, two pints? All of it. And then when He is resurrected, and He appears to His disciples on that first Sunday evening, He tells them to touch Him and see. Because they thought He was a spirit. He said:

Luke 24:39: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

He did not say flesh and blood like we always say, He said flesh and bone. What does it say in verse 50? “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” It does not say flesh and bone there. Apparently, the resurrected body does not need blood. Why wouldn’t it? Leviticus 17 tells us the life of the flesh is in the blood. You cannot live without blood, but apparently, with the resurrection body, you do not need it. Why would that be? Because Christ gives you your life.

I Corinthians 15:51: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,”

Paul will show a “mystery” here, meaning not something hard to figure out but a truth that he will reveal for the first time. By “sleep” he means we are all not going to die. Some people will live until Jesus comes again. Is that going to be you and me? No one knows.

He says, most importantly, that we shall all be changed. We would be changed from this natural body to a resurrection body. We will change from that which dies to that which never dies. How long will this change take? Because of time, our body has changed since we were little. You are born as a cute little bundle and turned out the way you are now. Your body is constantly replenishing cells and constantly changing to become what it is now. Your resurrection body is going to be changed but it is not going to take decades to change. How long does it take?

I Corinthians 15:52: “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.”

Many Bible scholars agree that “in the twinkling of an eye” means at the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second. That is how long it takes to change. When does this happen?

Victory in Jesus

I Corinthians 15:53: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

I Corinthians 15:54: “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.”

I Corinthians 15:55: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Paul says, “O death, where is thy sting?” It is gone.

I Corinthians 15:56: “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.”

I Corinthians 15:57: “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

What is Paul saying? Jesus took all that for you – the sting of sin, the sting of death is gone, the strength and power of the grave are gone. We do have victory in Jesus.

Revelation 21:4: “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.”

I Corinthians 15:58: “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.”

To be stedfast means to stand strong. Your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Why is that? Because He rose again the third day. An old hymn says, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase, so bravely run the race ‘til we see Christ.”

Are you assured of Heaven? If you have believed the Gospel and have been saved, then you are assured of Heaven. Remember that Jesus paid for all your sin, what you have done and will do. It is all paid for. Paul wrote to be “kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” and here is the key to forgiveness, “even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” What does that mean? It means when I come to Him and confess my sins, He does not look at me and make any excuses whatsoever, because there are no excuses to be made. He looks at me and says that was paid for at the cross. I forgive you.

If you have trusted the Lord as your Savior, then I encourage you to do this:

  1. Consider your duty. Back in verse 34, Paul says, “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” That is our duty to make sure people know. Make sure people have heard.
  2. And then remember your victory, verse 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.”

So, what do we conclude with this? Is God speaking to your heart? Has He been speaking to your heart? Perhaps it is not just today and happened a long time ago. So, what has He been talking to you about? Is He telling you that you need to be saved? Then respond. Is He calling you to service? Then you respond. Is He speaking to you about some decision you need to make? Then respond. Respond to the Lord who is speaking to your heart. You will be glad you did. He invites you to come to Him.

Get in-depth knowledge by viewing or listening to the sermon: He Rose Again the Third Day

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Dr. Michael L. McClure, our lead pastor, is known for his in-depth knowledge and effective teaching style of biblical truths applicable to every day living.

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