Dulin's Grove Church

Resurrection Firstfruits | 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

August 12, 2018
Dulin's Grove Church
Resurrection Firstfruits | 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
Chapters
Dulin's Grove Church
Resurrection Firstfruits | 1 Corinthians 15:20-23
Aug 12, 2018
Dulin's Grove Church
Show Notes Transcript
1 Corinthians 15:20-23

Speaker 1:
0:01
The children are dismissed for children's church and as they go, I'll invite everyone else to find first Corinthians in your bibles. First Corinthians Chapter Fifteen,
Speaker 1:
0:18
first Corinthians chapter 15. I'll give you a little caveat about the sermon this Sunday. It's going to be awful. Now. I'm just kidding. Uh, I planned to preach verses 20 through 28 and actually this morning I realized that it had become a massive sermon just way too much. And so I decided to split it into two, so I have to May perhaps small sermons rather than one giant sermon. So there's a chance that we could actually get out early this Sunday theoretically, but I never know until I get into the preaching of it, what's going to happen. But we'll really just look at verses 20 through 23 instead of all the way down through 28. Like it says in your bulletin. We're continuing to think about the resurrection as a subject we opened last week. It's not something that we talk about a lot and the church, unless it's Easter or a funeral service, it's not something that the youngest in our church probably think about a whole lot.
Speaker 1:
1:28
What I suspect is that the older you get, the more relevant this subject of resurrection becomes for two reasons. One, the older you get, the more people you end up losing in your life to death, and so the hope of life after death of resurrection becomes more precious, and the second reason is we get closer to our own death and that's a difficult thing to reckon with, but it's an important truth for us to keep in mind. I read a story not too long ago of a. It was a make believe world in which people knew the exact date and time of their death. That was just how life worked. Every person knew the day and the time that they would die, and it was interesting how that changed the way they went about their lives, and just think about that for a minute. If you knew the date and time of your own death, how that might change the way you structure your life now, but of course we don't know that that knowledge is for God alone, but we do know that it is going to happen unless Jesus Christ returns in our lifetime, which is possible.
Speaker 1:
2:37
We are going to die now. I know that's not the positive, encouraging message that perhaps you wanted me to lead with in this sermon, but it's so important if we don't remind each other of that fact. Who will we live in? A culture that is bound and determined to entertain itself beyond any with suffering whatsoever, and we need to remember our mortality. It asks for the Lord to teach us to number our days so it will have a heart of wisdom. So we don't know the day and the time, but we do know the reality. Our lives will come to a close as we know it, and what we also know is that as Christians, we have hope in life beyond that in the resurrection. So last week Paul was confronting the doubts that the Corinthians had. The corinthian church had doubts about the resurrection of the dead.
Speaker 1:
3:33
That alone is a bit comforting to know that doubting these things is not new. These ancient people were not gullible fools. They also were rational people and they were thinking through this and for whatever reason they thought, I don't buy it in. Paul is saying, no, it is true. Last week he confronts their doubts. They points out to them that if you deny the resurrection of the dead, then you necessarily also must be denying the resurrection of Jesus Christ and we know he was raised from the dead. We know it because witnesses have seen it, and that's what Christianity is based on this week. He's building on the fact that we're certain of the resurrection in the verses we're going to read. So the first thing we're going to see Paul pointed out in verse 20, is that Jesus's resurrection was the first fruits of many more. First fruits is a term that we'll understand a little bit better in a minute, but the first thing he points out is that Jesus's resurrection was the first fruits of many more resurrections.
Speaker 1:
4:40
Let's read verse 20 together, but in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, so that term first fruits would have been understandable to these Christians as they've read it. It's an agricultural idea of the first of the crops, the first ripening of the crops as the representative first one. That is also the promise of the full harvest that is coming after it. So we had our house. We have this very small little garden in the backyard that we built, a little raised bed, garden size built out of Pallet Wood and if we've planted various things in there and we've had various degrees of success with them. None of us in our family really has a green thumb, but the most recent thing that we planted in there, the kids planted carrots in there and it was something new to us.
Speaker 1:
5:37
We've never done that before and so they would go out and check and they would water it and sure enough we'd see the little green sprigs coming up. Those must be the carrots we think they are, but all we see is the green sprays. We don't see the orange carrot yet and then one day I think it was lily and one of the kids came running in all excited and they plucked up one of those green sprigs and sure enough there was this tiny, tiny little carrot and they were so excited, not because this big juicy carrot was the full harvest, but this was the first fruits. This proves that there's more to come. The carrots are growing, so what we can't see beneath the soil we take on faith must be there because we have the first fruits. We have the first carrot. That's what Jesus's resurrection is.
Speaker 1:
6:24
It's the first carrot. His resurrection was the first of many that would follow. It was the first fruits of a harvest to come. Now we're rational people. We live in a world where we can see and understand things by our senses. We have, unless I'm mistaken and you haven't told me about it, none of us have seen a resurrection take place. Now we've heard about Jesus is in the past, but we haven't seen it and we really can't prove it rationally by our senses in our experience, so it's hard for us to believe it was hard for them to believe. Now, I think it's good for us to just acknowledge that fact that this is something that we have to take on. Faith is doubtable is understandable in a sense. The CRI, the Corinthian Christians weren't sure about this and it'd be understanding for us to take pause and think, is this true? Could this be true? Now, toward that end, I just want to remind you that really everything is doubtable.
Speaker 1:
7:31
Everything is doubtable. When you come at it from your rational minds, you may be familiar with descartes, a philosopher, French philosopher. He's famous for the phrase. I think therefore I am now. When I was growing up, I always thought that meant whenever I can think I can be. If I think I can be an astronaut, therefore one day I will be an astronaut. I think therefore I am. I think I just made that up. That's not what he meant at all. He was doing a rational thought experiment and just trying to determine what can we really know with all certainty, only based on our rational abilities, just me alone in a room thinking what can I know for sure, and so in this doubt experiment, he worked his way down and realize that there's hardly anything we can know for sure. Just based on our rational thinking. You can't know for sure that you're not dreaming this right now. How can you know for sure that I am even real and I'm not a figment of your perhaps misfiring synapses of your mind and you're not in a hospital bed in a coma somewhere or plugged into the Matrix if anybody remembers the nineties,
Speaker 1:
8:40
so he got all the way down and realize the only thing I can really be sure of this not doubtable is that I exist. I know that because I'm thinking something is thinking right now. I think therefore I am the only thing he could know for rationally. So I say all that to say we live in an Omni doubtable world. You know the Omnis God is omnipresent everywhere, present, omnipotent, all powerful, omniscient, all knowing reality is Omni doubtable. Everything can be called to question rationally. We have to find something secure to build knowledge on, and we as Christians have found it and the rock of Jesus Christ, we build our understanding on Jesus and what he taught Jesus, the one who lived perfectly, the one who died for our sins and one who raised from the gray. He is the beginning of the source of knowledge. And he talked the resurrection of the dead. It is true. So what does this mean for you? Well, I have one application for you. This, it means you can go ahead and fasten resurrection as part of your expectations of life. If you're a Christian, if you're in Jesus Christ, if you have entrusted yourself to him,
Speaker 1:
10:01
giving yourself over to him and faith for the forgiveness of your sins and allegiance to him as Lord. If you're a Christian, you can go ahead and on the imaginary calendar that you have in your mind of what your life experiences will include. You can put resurrection own there. So as a kid you have this imaginary calendar and you you anticipate one day I'm going to go to school. Mom tells the story of when I was a little boy before I was school age, I was so excited to start going to school like my brother who's five years older than I would pretend I was going to school and one day I said mom off to school and I had my book bag on and she thought, well he's just playing around and then about half an hour later she realized I was standing in the middle of the road waiting for the school bus and I'm actually my uncle who was a neighbor ran and snatched me up.
Speaker 1:
10:49
That was anticipating going to school one day and then that milestone came and pass another milestone. I anticipated leaving elementary school going into middle school, something Elias is doing right now, that milestone Kane and passed and then anticipating high school got to high school, another milestone getting my license, another future anticipated event. It happened, got my license. I got to drive a Ford Aerostar minivan as a senior in high school. So I was super cool, anticipated graduation happened, anticipating going to college. That has sort of happened over the course of about 20 years of my life, met Meredith. We began to dissipate getting married. Another wife, milestone happened. You know, once you get past that phase, your anticipatory milestones get further apart, but you know eventually you're anticipating things related to your career, children, their milestones, maybe retirement, and then we get to those anticipations that seemed so remote that it's hard to believe they're true, but it's my job to remind you they are, but they're back to back.
Speaker 1:
11:57
Death is going to be an important milestone in your life and then right behind it, the next thing you'll know, resurrection. As Christians, we should fasten these own to the timeline of our anticipation of our life. These things are going to happen now. The world lives as though they aren't lives as though we're an immortal now and list for the day and the pleasures of today, but we know these are coming and we can face it without fear because of the hope of the resurrection. We can expect it because of the second thing Paul points out. So the first thing he points out, Jesus's resurrection was the first fruits of many more. The second thing, resurrection is the Christian's inheritance. Resurrection is the Christian's inheritance. Let's look at verses 21 and 22. For as by a man came, death by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead, for as in Adam, all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
Speaker 1:
13:08
Now here's some theological thinking for us to process everybody born under Adam, which is every human being that ever existed will inherit the death that Adam achieved for them with his sin, and then every human being who was born again under Jesus Christ will inherit the new life that Jesus achieved for them on the cross. So you can sort of picture it like two family trees. And if anybody's into genealogy, I have an aunt that's really into genealogy. She has these massive charts and she can chart it back as far as she can imagine that you could chart back genealogies all the way to Adam. So everybody born under Adam and you have the breakdown of the family line. It'd be a massive chart. Every person born under adam is going to inherit what he achieved for them, that when he sinned and he ate of the truth that he was not supposed to eat, God said one of the consequences is going to be death and I didn't. Didn't drop dead right then immediately, but he would die and every descendant of Adam will die, and that includes all of us and everybody that we've ever known. When Jesus came, he started a new lineage and everybody born again under Jesus has a new inheritance. So whenever someone becomes a Christian, it's almost as if Jesus has family adopted that person and put them on the new genealogy. That inheritance no longer applies. The new inheritance applies. Not Death, but life. Not Perishing and destruction, but eternal life in resurrection
Speaker 1:
14:53
am. I think it doesn't really seem fair for us just to be implicated in what somebody long ago did. Does it seem fair to be implicated and what Adam did, does it seem fair to be born into this inheritance that we never asked for? Well, that's a very American way of thinking. We're used to autonomy and individualism where what I do affects me and that's it. I'll live my life, but that's not how reality works.
Speaker 1:
15:21
Reality worse with God relating to his people in what's known as covenants. Covenants have a head and that head is the representative of everybody else involved in the covenant. So Adam was the the head of the covenant with humanity, and he as the head representative affected the the future of everybody born under him. Jesus is the head of a new covenant, so a silly way to think about this is to picture it like family feud and you watch family feud on TV and there are two individuals up at the Buzzer, but they have a whole team of people back behind the whatever it's called, back behind their counters there. Team counters. Now the person at the Buzzer is the representative of the entire team. Whatever that person achieves at the buzzer implicates everybody on their team. That's kind of what this is like. So we're all born on Adam's team and he's the one who stood at the buzzer back in Eden and we were all implicated in what he did there. He sinned and brought about death and Christianity. We get brought over to Jesus his team, and we're behind his counter. Jesus is the one at the buzzer and therefore were implicated in what he achieved on the cross. We gained perfection and forgiveness and new life. Now this is theological thinking, is doctrinal, thanking that man. It's beautiful and awesome.
Speaker 1:
16:47
Our representative, Jesus Christ, one resurrection for his team which transforms our perspective on death. And that's the third point I'll a highlight for you in this passage. The first one, Jesus's resurrection was the first fruits of many more to come. The second one resurrection is the Christian's inheritance. And then the third and last one, the Christian's death is like falling asleep. So we're going to think about death for a minute. And the point Paul makes is that the Christians death is like falling asleep first 23, but each in his own order talking about resurrection Christ, the first fruits then at is coming, those who belong to Christ, Christ was raised as the first fruits. Then when he returns, those who belonged to him, those referred to back in verse 20, as those who have fallen asleep will be raised the term I don't know for sure if it's most often used, but very often used for Christians dying. His sleep in the Bible rather than death are perishing, which can be translated destruction as it is in verse 18, from last week for the Christian dying is like falling asleep. Now, think about your bedtime routine. Whatever rituals you have before you go to bed at night. I'll share mine with you briefly as if you asked
Speaker 1:
18:28
so it involves getting the house straightened up, dishes from dinner done. It involves getting the kids settled and tucked in. It involves often watching some TV, not a part of my bedtime routine I'm real proud about, but it does often involve edging out a little bit. Watching a little television, uh, then it's locking up and shutting down all the lights and then as brushing teeth and it's getting into bed and it's going to sleep. That's generally the mat, Broadway evening routine. Now, at no point in this routine am I stricken with terror about the end of the routine when I'm going to lay down and close my eyes and succumb to unconsciousness. I'm not at all scared Darren, my evening routine. I doubt you guys are now. Why is that? Because I am just completely confident that I'm going to wake up from this unconscious state because it's happened to every morning of my life, so I have complete confidence that I'm going to wake up. This isn't the end when I tell meredith good night, good night. Forever. It's just good night. No terror involved at all. This is the Christian approach to death because for the Christian death is basically like going to sleep.
Speaker 1:
19:53
Yeah, man, that seems too good to be true, doesn't it? I mean death is the great enemy. The Bible even talks about it this way. It's the portal to just the unknown of what is it going to be like on the other side of that. We've not experienced that like we've experienced every morning the we have these promises from Jesus Christ himself and we can be just as confident in our resurrection as Christians, as we can be at night, that we're going to wake up the next morning and so death loses it. Staying when we can really believe this. Now this means for us as Christians, if we are Christians, if we have been transformed by the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. This means that every night that we go to bed is is a rehearsal for what death is going to be like for us. Every night is a rehearsal. I heard a story is disputed as to whether this is true or not, but it illustrates my point pretty well of a man named Joseph Addison. I had never heard of them, but he was an English writer and politician and he was a Christian and is told that on his death bed when he knew his time was coming to a close, he had been ill for quite a while. He had them go and get his young stepson and bring him in. He wanted his young stepson to see him die.
Speaker 1:
21:20
Now, why would he have wanted this? Well in what is recorded to be his last words. He said to his step son, see in what piece a Christian can die. It was his last act of sharing the gospel with his step son. I want you to see I'm now facing death stepson and I am unafraid. I am at peace. That is how secure these promises are that we have in Jesus Christ. He knew that he would wake up. Now what are we going to be waking up to? That is the subject of next Sunday sermon, but in the meantime, be encouraged by these truths. As you think about the loved ones that you have lost who are Christians and as you think about your own destiny and as you think about the trials that you'll face between now and your death and resurrection, let this put everything into perspective. Jesus's resurrection was not the only one. It was the first fruits of many more to come. We do not face death like those who have no hope. Resurrection is the Christian's inheritance. We don't have to fear anything as Christians even death, the ultimate enemy because for Christians, death is just like falling asleep.
Speaker 2:
22:56
Let's pray.
Speaker 1:
22:59
Oh, thank you for your word and giving us this glimpse of eternity and the future it is and our flesh so difficult to truly believe. Even if intellectually we can get there and say, okay, I believe it is difficult emotionally and in our hearts for us to really rest in these things, especially as we face something as as horrible as death, but I pray for that kind of maturity among us as a church that we would hold this tightly to these truths. Yeah, we would walk in light of the resurrection, that one, when we come to that time, when we face our own death, that we would do so in light of the resurrection, and in the meantime, as we face daily life, that we would do so in light of the resurrection. In Jesus name. Amen.
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