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April 4, 2021 1:00 am
As much as we try to avoid it, death is inevitable. All of us—whether young or old, rich or poor—must pass through this gateway into the life to come. Death has been called the last enemy, and only one man has ever conquered this fearful foe. Easter is a celebration of the triumph of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.Click here to listen (Duration 54:30)
As much as we try to avoid it.
Death is inevitable. All of us from the greatest to the least must pass through this gateway into the life to come. Death has been called the last enemy and only one man ever conquered this fearful foe today a celebration of the triumph of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Stay with us from Chicago.
This is a very special Moody Church. Our weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin lutes are on this resurrection Sunday.
Join us for the glorious music of Easter and an inspiring message on winning against death. Pastor Lutzer comes now to open our service. He is risen and a lot of the passage of Scripture were the angel says come and see the place where the Lord lay we are here today friends to affirm that we are backing a winner. The Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of lords won a victory over Satan and death and we follow in his triumph were so glad that you are here today and you know the risen Christ is among us, and we want to invite you to open your heart, take him to recognize his presence to allow him through his word and through the beautiful music that is been prepared to speak to your heart where here today for one purpose only, and that is to exalt the man who is now in glory the Lord Jesus Christ God and King would you stand with me for the invocation the reading of the Scripture and then we shall sing together. Let's all stand together as we affirm the strength and power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ father. Today we come to you in triumph because of Jesus, we thank you for his death. And we thank you for his resurrection. We thank you father for his eternal triumph. We thank you for his invitation in our lives to not only give thanks to him, but to receive him, so that we shall be with him for ever direct our thoughts. Lord, we pray to that day so many years ago when you were raised from the dead and the message was sent to the whole world that Christ is Lord we pray in his name on now we listen to the Scripture.
Our first Scripture reading from Matthew chapter 28 in John chapter 20. Would you please follow along in your bulletin. As I read now after the Sabbath, for the time if the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the town, and behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord to send it from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone and flat on its his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing right now and for fear of him. The guards trembles and became like dead men.
But the angel said to the women. Do not be afraid, for I know that you think Jesus was crucified.
He is not here, for he has arisen, see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him see I have told you so, they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples and behold teeth is nothing inside. Greetings and they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence after the disciples, which are not written in this book.
But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. 10. I invite you to join me on the bold print. This is the word of the Lord, and you were did the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind, but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were did in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saying, through faith and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in and in a will and in winning against death until that in Indiana there is a cemetery and there is a tombstone with this: pause stranger as you pass me by. As you are now so once was I as I am now shall be so prepare for death and follow me beneath it was scrolled by a bypass or follow you and not content until I know which way you and which way we are going to go after death is extremely all of us know that death does not end at all. If we are honest with ourselves because we know that intuitively, there is eternity in our hearts.
God has put something within us that let us know that death does not ended. Even many atheists face death with trepidation.
Even there are those who would say that scientifically, there is some evidence of lease that the soul is separable from the body and that the soul does not need the brain in order to exist. Some of the scientists have shown that, but the most blessed and the most a clear revelation regarding life after death is, of course, found in the Scriptures.
There, the curtain is pushed back. And though we do not see completely. We do see what life is like on the other side and in the midst of this, of course, we have the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his incredible trial. Now you're listening to this message and you have some doubts about the resurrection, let me say that you are invited to bring all of your doubts to the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Bring your doubt.
Now if you are an honest doubter.
You will find that the evidence for the resurrection is compelling if you're a dishonest doubter simply looking for excuses to not believe that's another story.
But let me give you just one little piece of evidence that, indeed, a Jesus Christ of rose bodily and historically our text today is found in the 15th chapter of first Corinthians 1st Corinthians, and you'll notice that the apostle Paul has devoted this entire chapter to the doctrine of the resurrection and notice what he says there in verse three, for I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received the Christ died persons in accordance with the script that he was buried. He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas. That's to Peter and then the 12 then he appeared to more than 500 brothers at a time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep and that of course falling asleep as a metaphor for death would clearly the apostle Paul is saying is this, if you don't believe in the resurrection. There are some people who saw him course still living. Go ask them and to see whether or not this can be verified.
The evidence is out there. It was not done in a corner. This isn't just for those who already believe it's for skeptics who are willing to look at the evidence as a matter fact, the apostle Paul goes on to say that this resurrection of Jesus in verse 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you're still in your sins than those who have fallen asleep in Jesus Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. Pulses this that if Jesus Christ had not been raised from the dead, the death of Jesus on the cross would not have been insufficient by itself because the resurrection of Jesus is proof that Jesus Christ sacrifice that was made on the cross was except by God the father.
It was God's amen to Jesus Christ.
It is finished.
So Paul is saying in order to prove the ultimate triumph.
Jesus Christ was raised from the dead physically and bodily.
And if he wasn't. We are to be pitied because we are deceived we are mistaken. If it is a myth, we are mistaken.
We are miserable and very mystified. All right now, of course, this raises all kinds of questions will how does God do it and what kind of a body did Jesus have and what kind of a body, therefore, are we going to have another questions regarding what if Jesus Christ returns to earth and there is still some Christians on the earth who are living, what is going to happen to them that I could imagine somebody saying you know there are plenty of people who died and their bodies have been decomposed. Those who are in the oceans have been with by sharks and you can't even put these elements together anymore and you're saying that someday God is going to raise them from the dead, and so we have all of these questions. The apostle Paul takes the time to answer some of these questions. For example, let's look at verse 735 but someone will ask, how are the dead raised with what kind of body do they come. Paul is going to answer here and we say this with a smile on her face, but he's being very directly saying you foolish person what you sow does not come to life unless it dies and he says what you sow is not a body that is to be buddies says a bare kernel. Perhaps if we work some other grain. Then he goes on to say that God gives a body as he has chosen. So what the apostle Paul is saying there is this.
When you ask the question, how are the dead raised he gives the analogy of the seed in the ground and he says this seed if you just looked at it, there would be no way for you to preach how it was going to grow and what was going to come out of the ground.
Maybe a good illustration of that is the tulip you take a tulip bulb and you planted in the ground. But before you planted. You look at it, let's suppose that you had lived in an environment in a desert where you saw nothing grow all of your life and then somebody gave you the bulb of the tulip. Could you possibly look at it, analyze it, dissected, and then predict what kind of a flower was going to come of course not, you know Stephen Hawking, the great physicist and atheist. He says that the brain is like a computer and when a computer dies and is corrupted. There is no resurrection, so Hawking doesn't believe in a resurrection or a future life.
You know that would be look like looking at that bold of the tulip and saying on let's do an autopsy on let's look at it very carefully. Let's take apart every single particle. I don't see you know you're talking about the fact that this thing can die be such a beautiful flower show me the flower. I don't see anything we see things that can be looked at.
They can be waived and they can be cut into, but there is no flower there is no afterlife for this tulip bulb. Oh really God has program that tulip bulb in such a way that when it dies, it produces a flower that those scientists could have ever predicted were not for the fact that simply we've had the experience of seeing what tulip bulbs can do the very same way, the apostle Paul is saying that an Almighty sovereign God can take all the particles of those who have died, he can bring them together. They have been there in the ground or in the sea and they are like a seed and we can hardly imagine what they're going to be like when they're going to be raised from the dead because one of the illustrations of the seed is simply this, that there is continuity course there's continuity isn't there. There is something in that seed that is now also in the flower you take an acorn, you analyze it you can predict what it would look like once it's planted, but there is something in that acorn, which eventually is going to become a huge glorious tree pulses. That's the illustration and there is continuity but there is also discontinuity because when we are raised from the dead. It is going to be a resurrection of glory and honor, and there is no way for us to get her mind around the fact the Bible says that it has not entered into the mind of man. All the things that God has prepared for those that love him. We only have a little glimmer of it here, but we don't understand it all. All that we know is that when we are put into that grave. We shall be raised and there is a very important reason for that.
It's because there is a spiritual invisible world to us that is very real, but it's not the kind of world that you and I see right now it's the world in which God exists.
It's the world in which is Satan exist.
Good angels bad angels.
That's the world of the spirit and in order for us to live permanently and eternally in that world. We can do it with these bodies we must be raised from the dead with an eternal body. Jesus is the best example of this. After the resurrection of Jesus Christ we get an idea of what that body was like it was a body of glory that nobody even recognized him were not for the fact that he took the time to reveal himself to his disciples because if he had shown who he really was unveiled, they scarcely would have been able to take it in and the Bible says we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Imagine it in this body we are unable to do that and now the apostle Paul goes on in verse 42 and following any gives a further description of the resurrection body. You'll notice he says in verse 42, so it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable.
What is raised is imperishable. He says 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 spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
The apostle Paul goes on to say, as he explains this. Imagine the Scripture says that it is sown perishable and you and I are perishable and we were born with an expiration date.
We are perishable, our bodies will not last forever, these bodies won't last forever. But the Scripture says that we are going to be imperishable eat Col. bodies man by the name of Dr. Hansen who was dying of cancer, said the stars shall shine for a million years a million years in a day that I am the Lord shall continue to be when the stars have been wiped away eternal bodies and so it not only is an eternal body. It is a body of glory. Perhaps I would say this, that if your friends were right now in their glorious bodies with all of the fullness that they can muster in that special spiritual realm. If your friends are would be there and if they had that body here today you would be tempted to worship them because it would be such a body of glory, maybe even like onto Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. That's the kind of body that they would have your Sylvester visit.
What about those who died today and they don't have their permanent bodies yet well those who died today because the soul is separable from the body. They go into God's presence and the soul takes on the characteristics of the body. And that's why people in heaven today and communicate.
They can recognize one another. They are with Christ, not they are incomplete in the New Testament the great emphasis is the resurrection of the body. Your eternal glorious indestructible body and the other contrast is there. Also, you'll notice it says it is sown in and the older we get some of us understand that better we are sown in weakness. Come with me to a hospital. As we walked down the aisles and we see this person dying of one disease and we see someone else struggling for their live and that their body is filled with tubes trying to keep them alive. That body is sown in weakness but it is raised in triumph, it is raised with power. Think of Jesus.
How was he able to go from Galilee to Jerusalem. He could just think the thought after the resurrection, he could say to himself, I want to be in Jerusalem right now. I want to go through this closed-door and the thought was the command with no tiredness, no weariness and the new Jerusalem. The Bible says there is no night there known need that we would ever be able to sleep. No need for pills. Thank God known need to work out to try to maintain the rest of your life. That's all pass. We are in the presence of God with a powerful body. The Scripture says and also it is a spiritual body. Now don't misunderstand, that doesn't mean that we are spirits. It doesn't mean that we are going to be angels, like some people believe we are going to have a body but it is a spiritual body in the sense that it exists then for ever in the spirit world, which is a very real world, which is close to us, but we don't recognize it because it is in a different dimension. Sylvester was and how sure are you that all this is really going to happen.
That's a good question, let me ask you another question.
How sure are you that Jesus Christ came was born in Bethlehem and died on the cross and was raised is ill. There's a lot of evidence for that. I'm sure of that. Well, yes, you should be sure remember this, but we can be just as sure that the resurrection will take place at the return of Christ because at one time the coming of Jesus to Bethlehem and dying on the cross and being raised from the dead. At one time that this prophecy handed to God centuries to fulfill it. But believe me fulfilled. It was in no matter how many centuries have gone by, and how many more. It's still go by. Even though some of us think too many.
It does not matter. God has said it and it will happen a day of resurrection is coming now as you continue on this passage the apostle Paul.
He repeats himself. Look at verse 50. I tell you this, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. What he saying is that you have to understand that this cell body that you have full of sin and weakness. It cannot exist in the spiritual realm as a matter fact, not even Jesus could've ascended to heaven in only his earthly body. If he had not been put to death and then raised from the dead. He himself needed to be raised with his new created body re-created body. He had to do that in order for him to be the man in the glory and in the very same way when we exist eternally in the spirit world.
In the other realm. If I can put it that way. More accurately, it will be because we have also a glorious body.
Paul says in Philippians glorious body like onto his well what a future. As Paul concludes the chapter he has several shouts that he wants to give first of all he ineffective. Is there a shout of transformation because one of the questions in the minds of people as well. Now what if Jesus returns and were living in. We haven't died. Will Paul answers that he says in verse 51 behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed me stop there for moment, Paul says that there is a time coming that when Jesus Christ returns to this earth.
A whole generation of believers will be instantly transformed without having to die when Paul says, behold, I show you a mystery. That word mystery means as it is used in the New Testament, something that has always been true but now is being revealed. He saying that not all of us are going to sleep.
Not all of us are going to the grave. But he says we shall be changed in a moment the Greek word is anathema. What does that word sound like Adam. I will actually it's the word from which we get the word Adam because then that means the most indivisible particle now of course in our day. We've split the atom, but that is the most indivisible particle.
Paul is saying it's going to take place so quickly that no matter how we call and measure time it is going to be in and in visible second and to make his point. He says the twinkling of the eye. Now you just wherever you may be listening at this point I just twinkle your eyes close your eyes, flip your eyelids, what is it 1/50 of the second someone told back quickly. We are going to be changed. It's a shout of transformation. But there's also a great proclamation proclamation. Now look at what Paul says. He says in verse 753 and four. He says for this perishable body must put on the imperishable. This mortal immortality. Verse 54 when the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on the immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory over death, where is your victory old death, where is your sting. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Bible says that death is our last enemy and it is indeed a powerful enemy, isn't it we fight against this enemy. All of our lives because this enemy stocks us. It follows us and when our heart begins to hurt and we have some chest pain, we run to the doctor because were fearing we might have a heart attack, and this might be the end. And if it's not bad.
Then the doctor says you know you have a lump and that we need to investigate that lump because it doesn't look very good us death stocks us couple of days ago Rebecca and I were on the expressway.
We came across a horrendous four car accident cars absolutely demolished and it was as if death was just wagging its finger at us and saying that could be the next time that I will get you somehow someplace because I know where you live and I'm following death stocks us. Death mocks us. Oh, you know, when you're gone.
Nobody's gonna remember you all of the things that you have done if you want to know how long you'll be remembered, put your hand in a pail of water, pull it out and ask yourself how long does it take the water to fill the space occupied by your hand, it's all going to be washed away like you know where River would wash away the sin household.
It's all going to be gone.
Death mocks us death not only mocks us in that sense but it diminishes as it humiliates us think for a moment about your casket, your coffin you're there. Everybody knows that your body is dead. And as they go by. They know that it's going to be a big hurry for you to be put in the ground because of not you're going to begin to decay and disintegrate and we know what that's like and Deb says that's the way you're going to end up no matter how much prestige and power and success you've had in the world. Death mocks us so there we are were like gladiators where finding definitely free day of our lives trying to stave it off and then eventually we can stave it off anymore. And death begins to win that victory and one blow after another and people gather in the hospital and they begin to whisper and they begin to say to themselves, we need to pray and we need to ask, but the person is, is slipping away and so and so death comes with all of its triumphant says I got you I got you got shipped just at that moment the principle of life steps into the room and the Prince of life, says I have something to say to you I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believe within the shall never die, the Prince of life, says I'm here to take over death to be banished is the death of death and we go on with the Prince of life.
For now we can turn around and we can then you'll never get me I'm done with you, Jesus went into the valley and thought that giant and overcame. That's why today we as believers say, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil will, for thou art not the bottom line is, of course, the apostle Paul makes this practical time magazine has a cover story on heaven. Very convoluted.
It says that you know rather than think of heaven. We should think about earth will notice how Paul uses heaven to motivate people to think about earth. Verse 58 therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast in movable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor isn't it. Eternity is coming. The bottom line is this, that death in the New Testament is not the end of the road. It is only a bend in the road now in first Corinthians 15.
The apostle Paul talks about all of the victories and the resurrection of believers who die in Christ. But there's another category that shall be raised.
Jesus made it very clear he says there are those that are raised under the resurrection of life and there are those that are raised under the resurrection of damnation to resurrections is animal like that I want I want 1/3 category because I want to receive Jesus as my Savior.
Personally, I want to hold that it a distance, but also I'm not bad, bad person. I want to be in that other resurrection to damnation either. I'm here to tell you today, there is no third category and my friend there is absolutely nothing that you can do to prevent God from raising you from the dead, so that you might stand before him in judgment.
There is nothing that you can do to prevent that's that's out of your hands. There is something that you can do in this life to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior to give up your self-aggrandizement and receiving Christ as Savior does not mean it does not come through baptism and that does not come through rituals. It is a a definite decision to say Jesus. I receive you as my sin bearer I trust in you alone and in none of my goodness so that I might forever live in your presence and if you do not receive Jesus as your Savior from my heart to yours. What you're doing is turning your back on the sunlight in order to bow and to worship the darkness. Jesus is the only Savior nobody else of a nobody else could it be said that he was seen alive after his resurrection, by many infallible proofs, you can't say that about any other religious leader that you made the impressed with Jesus stands alone in the book of Hebrews. There's a lovely illustration of Jesus having gone to heaven ahead of us.
It says that he is the forerunner in the presence of God. He went ahead of us.
The imagery there is that an ancient sailor sailboat would come in and that there would be so many rocks along the shore that a forerunner would hop into the water would then take a rope that was on the ship and got onto a rock that is on the shore and then buying means of an ancient kind of winch bring the ship in my friend, Jesus has run ahead of us and he is asking us not to go through a dark room alone. He's been in the dark room and he is turned on the light.
Meanwhile, meanwhile, let the storm battered our ship with the board's Creek lipid door fall off of its hinges. Let the chandeliers shatter against the floor.
Let everything around us shape Jesus is there waiting for us saying I've been through it for you. Oh death where is your sting old grave, where is your victory Jesus has triumphed on our behalf, and I have to ask you the question. Have you trusted him. If you don't have that assurance. Almost certainly, you haven't.
The assurance comes to his promises. And it is also confirmed by the blessed holy spirit of God, our spirit within us cries up and says we are the children of God. Do you have that in a moment I'm going to pray and even as I pray, no matter where you are. You may be in the balcony. You may be here on the floor or you may be watching by means of the Internet or listening by radio where ever you are, stop what you are doing. Pray a prayer in which you transfer your trust from yourself to him. Eternity is on its way. May we pray together.
Father, we want to thank you today for the confidence that we have the Jesus triumphed over the devil over death.
He took death along one we thank you for the assurance today that the day is coming when we too shall be raised in a glorious body. We thank you that death is not the end but that someday we shall see you face-to-face. Now for those who have never received Christ as Savior. No matter where you are. Would you pray a prayer. Would you say Jesus today I receive you as my Savior, the one who died for my sins, the one who was raised so that I might be declared righteous. You pray that prayer father I ask that you might work in many hearts as we contemplate the glory of the cross and the resurrection. We love you in Jesus name in a with you Corey's we bring to a close.
Today's Moody Church.
Our Dr. Erwin lutes are Easter message on winning against death celebration of the triumph of Jesus resurrection. Today's message can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount Moody Church. Our call 1-800-215-5801. Let us know you'd like to support Dr. Luther's ministry are.
Thank you, will be a CD of the message you just heard along with last week's Palm Sunday message on God in the garden.
Just call 1-800-215-5001 or write to us at The Moody Church 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 mention winning against death, when you write or call online to moodyoffer.com that's moody offer all one word.com join us next week. At the same time for another Moody Church. Our with Dr. Erwin lutes are in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago