Thinking about the Resurrection
You like to think about nice things don’t you? Well, this morning, I’d like us to think about the resurrection, unto eternal life. It’s a lovely thought, and it’s a pure thought, and it’s a true thought. Those who die in Christ, will indeed be resurrected unto eternal life. 1 Thessalonians 4, verse 14 says; “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them that have fallen asleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him.”
1 Corinthians 15, verse 20 says; “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of them that are asleep.” And verse 23 says; “..Christ, the first fruits, then they that are Christ’s at His coming.” What a wonderful thought. Those of us, who are Christ’s at His coming, being resurrected to eternal life.
Listen to what we’re told, in Philippians 4, verse 8; “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
That’s a lovely verse, and you know what? Everything spoken of in that verse, that we’re encouraged to think about, can be appropriately applied to the thought, of the resurrection unto eternal life.
The resurrection.. It’s true, it’s honorable, it’s pure, it’s lovely, it’s certainly of good report. And it’s surely virtuous, and what could possible be worthy of more praise. Nothing could be more lovely, nor, more worthy of praise. Romans 6, verse 4 says; “..that like as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father..” Praise God!
So that’s what I want us all to think about this morning.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus
In John chapter 11, Jesus taught something about the resurrection. In that chapter, we’re told about Mary and Martha, and Lazarus, who lived in the village of Bethany, but Lazarus had died. Jesus was a close friend of that family. As a matter of fact, the bible says in verse 5; “Now Jesus loved, Martha, and her sister, (Mary) and Lazarus.” He loved them. The bible tells us in verse 3, that when Lazarus had become sick, Martha had sent for Jesus. But he didn’t come to them right away. He waited; And the reason that He waited, was because he was going to teach a lesson about the resurrection.
And when the time was right, Jesus did go, to the home of Mary and Martha, and Lazarus. But of course, Lazarus had already died. And here’s what the bible tells us, beginning in verse 20; “Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary still sat in the house. Martha therefore said to Jesus; If Thou had been here, my brother would not have died. And even now, I know that whatsoever Thou shall ask of God, God will give you.”
Martha had a lot of faith, didn’t she? “I know”, she said, “that whatsoever you shall ask of God, God will give it to you.” We all should have that kind of faith. Faith that whatever God has said, he can, and will do it. God said, in Isaiah 46, verse 11; “I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass. I have purposed, and I will also do it.”
So Martha said to Jesus; “And even now.. (even now that Lazarus has already died) ..Even now I know, that whatsoever Thou shall ask of God, God will give Thee.”
“Jesus said to her; Your brother shall rise again. And Martha said to Him; I know that he shall rise again, in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her; I AM the resurrection, and the life. He that believeth on Me, though he die, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth, and believeth on Me, shall never die! Do you believe this?”
What about you? Do you believe that whoever lives physically, and believes on Jesus Christ, will never die spiritually? Do you believe that? It’s true, and it’s just, and it’s about the loveliest thought that we could ever have. To never die, but to live eternally with God.
The Resurrection at the Last Day
Martha said; “I know that he shall rise again, in the resurrection at the last day.” I wonder what that will be like? And I imagine that you’ve wondered about it too. What WILL the resurrection be like? The bible tells us a little bit about it. For example, Job said, in Job 14, verse 15; “Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee. Thou shall desire the work of Thy hands.”
We as Christians, are, “the work of God’s hands”. Ephesians 2, verse 10 says; “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus..” A Christian doesn’t happen by accident, it’s the work of God. A Christian is the product of God, created through obedience to Christ Jesus.
God created the perfect sacrifice for the sins of man; And of course that sacrifice was Christ Jesus, the very “Lamb of God”. And how was that perfect sacrifice created? It was created through the obedience of Jesus, to the will of God. And so it is with the Christian; The Christian is created, by God, through our obedience to the will of God, through the Lamb of God.
And God wants us there, with Him, in heaven, in eternity. “Thou shall desire the work of Thy hands.” And I want to be there, and I’m sure that you do too.
And so God is going to call, and we’re going to hear Him call, and we’re going to answer that call.
Called From a Peaceful Sleep
I can remember lots of times when I was called, but I didn’t want to answer very badly. When I was in grade school, my mother used to call me from the other room, to wake me up for school. I’d be sound asleep, and she’d call, and she’d say.. “Time to get up and get ready for school.” I’d hear her, and it would wake me up, but I didn’t want to answer very badly. I’m sure that sometimes I’d just roll over and try to go back to sleep. But it won’t be that way when the Lord calls us. He’ll call, and we’ll answer, because we’ll WANT to answer. We’ll “go to sleep”, as the scripture says, waiting for that call. God desires the work of His hands, and we desire to BE in the hands, of Him that created us.
When God calls, it will be the best sound that we’ll ever hear, because He’ll be calling us unto eternal life. God will wake us, out of our sleep, and into eternity with Him.
Remember when Job was lamenting even being alive, when he had suffered the loss of just about everything, except his life. And Job said, in Job 3, verses 11 thru 16; “Why did I not die from the womb? Why did I not give up the spirit, when my mother bare me? Why did the knees receive me, or why the breast, that I should suck? For now.. (if I would have died) I would have lain down and been quiet. I would have slept; Then, would I have been at rest.”
“With kings and counselors of the earth, who built ruins for themselves.” Nothing man can build will ever last, will it? “Or with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver. Or like a still-born child, why was I not hidden; Like infants who never saw light?”
If Job had died at birth, his spirit would have been asleep, along with all the kings and princes who had died, and even with the still-born children, who were never born to see the day. The great and the small, all who have died, their spirits are in the same state of sleep, as the bible puts it, until the resurrection day. And once again, as Job said; “Thou shall call, and I will answer Thee. Thou will long for the work of Thy hands.”
I like the words of Psalm 42, verses 1 & 2; “As the deer pants for the water of the brook, so panteth my soul for thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?” When shall we appear before God? We long for god, just as much as he longs for us. And that’s why His call, will be the sweetest, most lovely sound, that we’ve ever heard.
But picture it if you would. You’re spirit is asleep in Jesus. And then you hear His voice; “It’s time to get up, it’s time to be resurrected”. And the most wonderful feeling that you have ever felt, comes upon you. And a smile comes across your soul. And the eyes of your spirit begin to open, and the realization takes hold of you, and that smile widens, and the joy that you’ve read about in the bible, well, it’s a reality, and it’s happening now. God is calling you, and your spirit rises, with a spiritual body just as glorious as Christ’s.
Here’s what the bible says in Revelation 21, verse 4; “And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying, nor pain, because the former things have passed away.” Think about it, and imagine it if you can.
The Resurrection Described
Here’s how the resurrection is described, in 1 Thessalonians 4:14 thru 18; “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, they also who are fallen asleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him. For this we say, unto you, by the word of the Lord; That we who are alive and remain, unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no way, precede, them that are fallen asleep. For, the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” No wonder everyone will hear Him.
I’m going to stop this reading here for a minute or two. Christ will descend from heaven with ” a shout”. That’s the only time that word is used in the bible. Strong’s concordance of new testament words, say that the word “shout” means.. “an arousing outcry”. Thayer’s Greek lexicon calls it.. “a stimulating cry”. Christ is going to call our spirits, out of their sleep, with a stimulating, and arousing cry”, and everyone will hear it, and we will all “answer Him”, by being resurrected out of our sleep.
Jesus Himself said, in John 5, verses 28 & 29; “Do not marvel at this; For an hour is coming.. I heard someone say, that the resurrection will take an hour. But that’s not what the bible is saying. The word “hour” simply means.. “a time”. So then; “Do not marvel at this; For a time is coming, when all who are in the graves, shall hear his voice, and shall come forth..”
And the phrase, “all who are in the graves” is a figure of speech, which means.. “all who have died”. It does NOT refer to our physical body, which gets buried in a grave. There’s a lot of people who have died, but have never been buried in a grave. But they’ll still hear His call. Like all those who have been lost at sea, and perished. I suppose in that case, the sea is their “grave”. And there’s a lot of people who’s bodies have never been recovered from fires, and explosions, and I suppose that the ashes that remain from all of that, become their grave. But the point is, that the scripture is saying, that the spirit, of everyone who has ever lived and died, will hear the voice of Jesus call, and those spirits swill answer God’s call, by being resurrected, at the last day.
“The Lord Himself, will descend from heaven, with a stimulating and arousing cry, and with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God..” Do you know who’s voice, is “the voice of the archangel”? It’s the voice of Christ. Jesus Christ IS, the “archangel” referred to in this verse. The word Archangel” is used twice in the new testament. Once, in Jude, verse 9, it refers to Michael, the archangel, the highest of all the created angels, and once, here in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, where it refers to Jesus Christ, the absolute highest messenger of God. An angel is a messenger, and Jesus Christ is the absolute highest messenger, of God
The reason that we can know, that the Archangel in this verse is Christ, is because back in John 5, verse 25, Jesus says; “Behold, the time cometh, and now is, when the dead.. (now this is talking about the spiritually dead) ..when the spiritually dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God! And they that hear it shall live!”
Not everyone who is spiritually dead will “hear” the voice of Christ, will they? No, very few will “hear” His voice, commanding them to believe, and to confess, and to repent of their sins, and to be baptized for the forgiveness of those sins. But everyone is going to “hear His voice” the next time, aren’t they? Verse 28 says; “Marvel not at this; For a time is coming, when the spirits of all who have died physically, shall hear His voice.. (Hear who’s voice? Hear the voice of the Son of God, just like it says in verse 25) ..And they shall come forth; They that did the good, to a resurrection of life..” and I’ll stop right there, because we’re only thinking “good thoughts” this morning. We don’t even want to think about those who didn’t, do the “good” so to speak.
Now we’re going to conclude, by going back to 1 Thessalonians 4, verses 16 thru 18; “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout ( with an arousing cry) with the voice of the archangel, (Jesus Christ) and with the trump of God.”
Do you know what “the trump of God” is? The “trump” is short for the “trumpet of God”. And the “trumpet of God”, is another figurative phrase. It comes from a word that refers to a “war trumpet” that boldly announces, God’s victory. We’re talking about the resurrection, and the “trumpet of God”, is boldly announcing God’s victory, through the resurrection of the dead!
The bible says, in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 54; “But when this corruptible shall have put on the incorruptible, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass, the saying that is written; Death is swallowed up in victory! O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?”
After the trumpet of God, boldly announces God’s victory, then; “The dead in Christ shall rise first. Then, we who are alive, and remain, shall be caught up together in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.”
More comforting words could not be spoken, and the thought of the resurrection of the faithful, unto eternal life, is the most comforting thought, that we could think.
The invitation is yours this morning, to think about just how glorious the resurrection will be. And to do absolutely all that you can, to remain faithful, even unto death. And if you’ve never been baptized, for the forgiveness of your sins, then you are especially invited, to believe, and to confess, and to repent, and to BE baptized, and to HAVE your sins forgiven, and to have the promise, of the resurrection unto eternal life.
Do these things, as we stand and sing our closing song.