Share This Episode
The Voice of Sovereign Grace Doug Agnew Logo

Resurrection Hope

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
May 1, 2023 2:00 am

Resurrection Hope

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 409 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

May 1, 2023 2:00 am

Welcome to the livestream feed of Grace Church in Harrisburg, North Carolina. For more information about us, visit


Thank you for listening. Thank you.

Thank you. Good evening. Good to see everyone here tonight. I want to welcome you to our evening worship service here at Grace Church.

Just a couple of brief reminders from this morning's announcements. First of all, this is our first Wednesday coming up, so we've got a six o'clock covered dish meal up in the fellowship hall this Wednesday night at six, followed by our ladies and men's discipleship time. Men, we've been going through Truths We Confess, Westminster Confession Study there in the media room, and then ladies, you're in the fellowship hall.

Is it baskets time or are you all still doing your study? Okay, Angie Weekly will be teaching this Wednesday night, and of course the youth and kids are going to be down here. Youth, we're going to be starting a new study on prayer led by Jay Crestar, so make sure you get in on the ground floor of that study.

It'll be about a 10-week study starting this Wednesday night. Then also this coming Saturday is our annual church picnic. We've done this for years. Of course, we used to meet over at Frank List near the barn. That burned down, and so last year we shifted to Harrisburg Park. We're going to stay at Harrisburg Park, so this Saturday Harrisburg Park. What time are we supposed to show up? Three o'clock? Okay, 3 p.m. Bring some side dishes. Bring some food.

I think the deacons will... Okay. If you want to watch the deacons work or help... So four o'clock? What are we shooting for, Bob? All right, four o'clock is a little more reasonable if you want to just come and starve for a little while, although I think there is some possible entertainment provided.

Doug, you got... All right. If you want to watch some soccer, our own Sophia Williams will be playing at 1 p.m. at the same park. What field are you on? Do you know? Adjacent to where the picnic shelter is? Okay, very cool.

The second field. Okay, at 1 p.m. Very cool. Then food at 4 p.m. Any other announcements we need to share? All right. Well, let's go to the Lord in prayer as we prepare our hearts tonight for worship. Father, you are good and gracious. You love us with an everlasting love, that we deserve judgment. We deserve separation from you. You have embraced us and accepted us. You have credited us with the righteousness of your son Jesus. You have adopted us into your family and treat us as your own.

You give us all the rights and privileges that go with that adoption. Lord, we are amazed tonight as we are gathered here in this room, a bunch of sinners who love our sin and simultaneously hate our sin. Lord, sinners who are caught in the warfare of this fallen world, who look inward at our own hearts and minds and we find there a law that wages war against our spirits.

We discover in our own beings a desire to not sin and yet we sin. But Lord, we thank you that above and beyond all of that turmoil, intention and fallenness and sin is the hope of the gospel, that we have the promise that there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Lord, may that flood our hearts and minds tonight as we worship. May it flood our hearts with gratitude. May it fill our lungs with song as we sing your praise. May it fill our minds with attentiveness to your word. May it soften our wills that we would submit ourselves wholly unreservedly to your word. God, you are good and gracious and we thank you. Father, we invite your presence here tonight. We ask that your spirit would make our triune God manifest, that you would open our eyes to see you and know you and hear from you and be equipped through the means of grace that you've given to us, be equipped to go back out into the world and bear your name, bear the light of the gospel. Lord, we love you. We thank you for your love to us and it is in Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Well, the psalm we were supposed to sing tonight was Psalm 23 and I didn't notice till I got up here that I didn't even print the words in the bulletin.

So I'm just going to read it tonight rather than sing it. If you would stand with me though in honor of God's word as we reflect on this sweet, sweet psalm that is a favorite of so many, Psalm 23. David says, the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil.

My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. God is our hope. He is our shepherd.

He is the one who provides us with everything we need and we can rest in him. Let's reflect on that hope as we sing, All My Hope on God is Founded. All my hope on God is founded.

He does still my trust renew. Me through change and chance he guideth only good and only true. God unknown, he alone calls my heart to be his own. Pride of mad and earthly glory, sword and crown betray his trust. But with care and toil he buildeth, tower and temple fall to dust. But God's power out by hour is my temple and my town. God's great goodness endureth, deep his wisdom passing forth, splendor light and life attend him, beauty springeth out of naught.

Evermore from his store newborn worlds rise and adore. Daily doth the almighty giver pounce his gifts on us bestow. His desire our soul delighteth, pleasure leads us where we go. Love doth stand at his hand, joy doth wait on his command. Still from man to God eternal sacrifice of praise be done.

High above all praises praising for the gift of Christ his son. Christ of koan and all, he who follow shall not fall. Have your bibles with you, turn with me if you would to the gospel of John chapter 10.

I'm going to be reading down through verse 10. Truly, truly I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he is brought out all his own he goes before them and the sheep follow him for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow but they will flee from him for they do not know the voice of strangers.

This figure of speech Jesus used with them but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them truly, truly I say to you I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it abundantly. God had his blessings to his precious word. God is a gracious shepherd to his sheep. Let's stand again as we reflect on that grace. What grace is mine, that he who dwells in me is mine. What grace is mine, that he who dwells in endless light called through the night to find my distant soul.

And from his scars pulled mercy that would plead for me that I might live and in his name be known. So I will go wherever he is calling me. I lose my life to find my life in him. I give my all to gain the hope that never dies. I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow him. What grace is mine to know his breath alive in me. Beneath his wings my awakened soul may soar.

All fear can flee for death's dark night is overcome. My savior lives and reigns forevermore. So I will go wherever he is calling me. I lose my life to find my life in him.

I give my all to gain the hope that never dies. I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow him. I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow him.

Amen. I invite you to remain standing in honor of God's word as we read it together tonight. If you would please turn with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 15 as we resume our consideration of the doctrine of resurrection. We'll take a look tonight at verses 12 through 34.

1 Corinthians 15 verses 12 through 34. Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God because we testified about God that he raised Christ whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.

The first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 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. But each in his own order, then comes Christ the first fruits, then in his coming those who belong to Christ, then comes the end when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For God has put all things in subjection under his feet. But when it says all things are put in subjection, it is plain that he did who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him that God may be all in all. Otherwise what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

Why are we in danger every hour? I protest, brothers, by my pride in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord. I die every day.

What do I gain if humanly speaking I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die. Do not be deceived.

Bad company ruins good morals. Wake up from your drunken stupor as is right and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. This is the word of the Lord. Let's pray together. Father our hope is in you and that hope makes it all the way to the finish line. On the last day you will resurrect those whom you have redeemed even as you resurrected your son Jesus Christ. But Lord we are also prone to forget the hope you've given us and it causes us to grow weary in well-doing to forget where we're headed.

We grow faint and in growing faint we become apathetic towards the the things you called us to be doing. And so I asked it tonight you would use our time and your word thinking and learning about the reality of the resurrection and how you would use this to renew our zeal. Our zeal for obedience and faith. Lord use it to make us steadfast, immovable, always abounding in your work Lord knowing that in you our labor is not in vain. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

You can have a seat. Two Sundays ago we looked at the first 11 verses in chapter 15 and we learned that Paul was an apostolic reminder of the gospel. That reminder was necessary because we as sinners are prone to forget important things.

We are prone to forget true things, eternal things and we need reminding. Well in the verses that follow Paul gets even more specific with his reminder and even more pointed in his tone. As it turns out there were those in the church at Corinth who were questioning and doubting the Christian doctrine of the resurrection.

Not the resurrection of Jesus Christ per se but the resurrection of believers, followers of Christ at the second coming. And so in verses 12 through 34 we find an apostolic rebuke to go with the previous apostolic reminder. A rebuke to the Corinthians and to any believer who would doubt that there is coming a day when all the dead in Christ shall rise and all the dead in Christ will experience an eternity with a glorified body and soul united forever never to die again. I pointed out previously that Paul's purpose in addressing this doctrine in his letter to Corinth was to exhort them to not grow weary in well doing.

That's the culmination of chapter 15. You look at the very last verse, verse 58 of the chapter and it highlights this purpose by saying therefore in light of everything that I've said about resurrection be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. You see when we doubt or question certain realities that are foundational to our faith as Christians those doubts begin to produce profound moral and even eternal implications. Doubting the truthfulness of the gospel at any point begins to erode our perseverance, our zeal, our stamina in the faith and this will eventually begin to produce some very destructive results in our morality and in our character and so Paul takes this rebuke very seriously.

He knows what's at stake. It's interesting that Paul doesn't approach this section of his letter to Corinth as just a light-hearted game of apologetics. He doesn't spend his time offering the best intellectual arguments and counter arguments for the reliability of the resurrection. Sure there's a time and a place for that but notice Paul goes right to the point. He cuts to the chase and declares the futility of Corinth's doubts and the moral corruption to which those doubts will lead if they do not repent.

He doesn't waste time being nuanced and sophisticated rather he makes rather blunt statements like this. If Christ is not raised from the dead then we are of all people most to be pitied and wake up and stop sinning and I say this to your shame. Corinth was toying with unbelief and so Paul in his rebuke makes the point that unbelief is a sin that leads to other sins.

Therefore Corinth, therefore Grace Church, we need to stop listening to faithless doubts and heed the irrefutable and eternally true promises of God. Well Paul begins then by bringing up several implications that follow if there is no such thing as a resurrection from the dead for believers. Verse 12, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

And we've heard this denial before, right? You remember the Sadducees back in the Gospels and in the book of Acts? They were those spiritually elite leaders who denied the resurrection. Now we don't know where Corinth was getting their information from.

Maybe it was the Sadducees. Maybe it was from some other source but wherever it came from it was that same false teaching that asserted there is no afterlife. There is no resurrection. Once you're dead you're dead.

End of story. Paul challenges this unbelief by exposing the futility of faith in a resurrection-less Gospel. He hypothesizes about what it would be like if there were no resurrection of believers after physical death and he mentions several implications. First of all, if there is no resurrection of the dead then verse 13, not even Christ is raised from the dead and from that denial flow all sorts of undesirable implications. If Christ is not risen then the apostles' preaching is vain. It's pointless.

It's empty. And if the apostles' preaching is pointless and empty then anyone who has believed that preaching and staked their eternal souls on that preaching have set their hope in a futile faith, built their life on sinking the sand. Your faith, Paul says, is vain. Now understand the Corinthians were not denying the existence of God.

They weren't atheists. They were simply denying one small slice of the Gospel. But their denial of that one slice implied that the Christian faith as it was delivered from the apostles was a lie, a misrepresentation of God, verse 15.

And if God can lie about one thing, what's to say he hasn't lied about other things? How can the Gospel be trustworthy at any point if it is false in a single point? So if the resurrection is untrue then the preaching of the Gospel is vain. One's faith in that Gospel is vain and God is a liar. This means verse 17 that anyone who thinks this vain Gospel from a lying God can save their souls from sin is self-deceived.

What kind of a hope would that be? Paul essentially says the resurrection of Jesus is the very proof that Christ's redeeming work was successful and acceptable to God the Father. If that didn't happen, you are still in your sins. Nothing has been forgiven.

Nothing has been credited to you by way of righteousness. We're all right back where we started standing outside of the Garden of Eden at odds with our Creator and facing the threat of an eternal judgment after death. We are still in our sins. Not only are we in that sinful, sad condition, but all believers, verse 18, all believers who have gone before us, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter, James, John, Augustine, Spurgeon and Grandma have all perished in their sins and are eternally separated from God in hell forever if Christ is not alive. Church, if we deny this doctrine, we have forfeited everything. Our faith, our forgiveness, the trustworthiness of God, hope, peace, joy, eternal life, what's left? Nothing but the temporary fleeting pleasures of this temporal world.

We might as well be hedonists, people who live for the joy of the moment. But we can't even enjoy hedonism if we insist on holding on to a partial gospel. The Christian gospel without the resurrection is like laboring for an employer without ever getting paid. It's like dieting without ever losing any weight.

It's like driving the speed limit with cars flying past you and still going to jail because your tags are expired. And so Paul's conclusion, verse 19, is that if the resurrection isn't a reality, then we, we who are trying to live by the moral code of the gospel without any of the hope of the gospel are of all people most to be pitied. Now, just because bad news is unpleasant doesn't mean it's untrue, right? Just because I want something to be true doesn't mean it is true.

I wish banana splits were healthy, but that wish doesn't make them healthy. And so just because a Christianity without a resurrection is, is futile and pitiful doesn't prove that the resurrection of the saints is real. It certainly provides a strong motivation to believe in the resurrection, but it doesn't prove anything or assure us of the reality of our hope. And so Paul in verses 20 through 32 then begins to lay out several assurances of the reality of the resurrection. In fact, he mentions three principles that highlight the fact that our hope in a resurrection after death is not a futile hope.

It is a guaranteed and real hope. The first principle is a principle of federal headship. We see this in verses 21 and 22.

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. The principle of federal headship means that God has ordered humanity such that every person is represented spiritually and morally by someone who has gone before. The decisions and the consequences of those decisions from the representative for good or for bad are passed along to those who are represented. Now we as Americans have a very clear cultural example of federal headship in our own government. The government of the United States of America is a representative republic. That means among other things that we who are the represented are affected for good or for bad by those who represent us. The congressmen who have been sent by the state of North Carolina to Washington DC represent every citizen in the state of North Carolina. If you're a North Carolinian, your voice, your opinions, your needs are conveyed by the one who represents this state in the federal government and the consequences of that representation for good or for bad are passed on to the many by representation of the few.

So this is federal headship. In the spiritual realm, this principle of representation is embodied in two individuals, Adam and Jesus Christ. The first Adam, the second Adam. Every human being stands before the creator and is represented either by Adam or Jesus Christ. If Adam is your representative, then the decisions and morality and character and nature of Adam are your decisions and morality and character and nature. Romans 512 explains it like this.

Adam sinned and through his sin, death came into the world. So death spread to all men because in Adam's single act as our representative, all sinned. On the other hand, if Jesus Christ is your representative, then his decisions and morality and character and nature are your decisions and morality and character and nature. And so Romans five also says the reverse of Adam's representative work is possible through the representative work of Christ.

If because of one man's trespass, death reign through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through that one man, Jesus Christ. If Jesus is your representative, all the virtue and righteousness and purity and resurrection power that belong to Christ are yours. One theologian summarize the principle of federal headship like this. What the representative has done comes into the possession of the represented.

What the representative has done comes into the possession of the represented. And we have to look no further than the depravity of man all around us to realize that this principle is true. There are no exceptions to depravity, which means in Adam's fall we all fall. Federal headship then is a real thing and if it's real with regard to sin, it's real with regard to righteousness.

Do you doubt the resurrection? Then Paul says look at the depravity of man and believe the resurrection because the same principle that made us all sinners in Adam resurrects everyone who is in Christ. It's the principle of federal headship, a principle that's built into the very fabric of the human race.

It's how things work. As goes the head, so goes the body and just as sure and certain as the effect of Adam's fall is on all who belong to his race, so will be the effect of Christ's resurrection on all who belong to his race. But Paul also brings up another principle that assures us of the reality of the resurrection. It is the principle of first fruits, the principle of first fruits. If the principle of federal headship says look at Adam and be assured of the resurrection, the principle of first fruit says look at Christ and be assured of the resurrection. Paul refers to Christ in verse 20 as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, those who have already died in Christ. In other words, Jesus by virtue of his death and resurrection is the first of many who will die and be resurrected. Now there's a whole lot that we could unpack with regard to this concept of first fruits and its connotation in scripture and that would be certainly a fascinating study, but Paul's use of the concept of first fruits here is simply to emphasize the fact that where there are first fruits, there is surely more to come. The first fruits are just the beginning and what follows will be similar in kind to the first fruits. So if Jesus, the first fruits, died and rose again, others will die and be raised again. And if Jesus now eternally lives, those who follow will be made eternally alive.

As goes the fruit, so goes the latter fruit. The reality of Christ's resurrection then should have been an undeniable assurance to the Corinthians that they too would be raised to life on the last day. Why wasn't it having that effect on them? Why were they questioning the doctrine of the resurrection of believers? Well, the Bible doesn't tell us, but from Paul's answer to them in verses 23 through 28, I think we can deduce that the Corinthians were getting tired of waiting for the day of resurrection and their impatience was possibly at the root of their doubts. They're thinking maybe we've already missed the resurrection, maybe Christ didn't mean what we thought he meant when he promised to return and raise all who are his to eternal life.

These must have been the sort of thoughts the Corinthians were having and if they were having these thoughts, one generation removed from Christ's earthly ministry, I suspect it's a far more common source of doubt for our generation. Some 2,000 years removed from Christ's earthly ministry. Where is he? Why hasn't he returned?

Has he forgotten about his bride? Is this resurrection doctrine really going to prove true? Well, Christian, I can assure you it is true and I think our questions about why the delay find an answer in this principle of first fruits.

Why does this principle exist? Paul tells us in verses 23 through 28, the short answer is this verse 28 that God may be all in all, that God may be all in all. The delay is not really a delay at all in God's economy but is simply God's way of maximizing the glory he will receive.

Even so, Paul gives us a much fuller explanation. I want you to notice the meticulous order in these verses of eschatological events, end times events that Paul lays out for us in these verses. He begins by insisting that there is an order in which end times events must take place. Verse 23, each in his own order, Christ the first fruits is raised from the dead, then at his coming those who belong to Christ will be raised from the dead. Then and only then comes the end when he, Christ, delivers the kingdom to God the father after destroying every rule and every authority and power that has resisted Christ's rule. Verse 25, for Christ must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. In other words, that great day of resurrection will not happen until all the other enemies of Christ have been visibly and soundly subdued. Skipping down to verse 28, when all things are subjected to Christ, then the son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subject and under him. In other words, God the son will be subjected, subordinate to God the father, and then here's the million dollar point, that God may be all in all. There's coming a day when every enemy of God will be subdued visibly and permanently and since death will be the last of those enemies to be subdued, the saints will not be resurrected until that day has come.

Anything otherwise would be like crowning the victor before the end of the race. Paul's point in sharing this order, this sequence, is to encourage the saints lest they grow impatient waiting for the resurrection or somehow think they've missed it. If there are still enemies of Christ in the world, then logically it means that the resurrection of the saints hasn't happened yet. We haven't missed it. But perhaps this raises a question in our minds if Christ has been raised from the dead, hasn't death, that last enemy, already been defeated?

Well, yes and no. The chain reaction that will lead ultimately to the resurrection of every person who is in Christ has certainly begun, but we haven't died yet, have we? We're still in here breathing. So death is ultimately defeated, but that ultimate defeat has yet to be fully and permanently demonstrated for all to see. John Calvin compares it to our fight with sin as believers. On the one hand, sin has been defeated, right? Our old man is crucified with Christ, Romans 6. But on the other hand, I'm still fighting this indwelling sin that I have yet to get rid of, Romans 7. And so Calvin says this, the sword of death which could penetrate into our very hearts has been blunted, but it nevertheless still wounds us, although without any danger. For we die, but by dying we enter into life. What Paul teaches in Romans 6 regarding sin is also true of death.

It dwells indeed in us, but it does not reign. God has ordained a sequence, a process, a timetable in which one by one his enemies will be subdued in visible fashion for all to see. Furthermore, this process involves some interesting interchanges between the persons of the Trinity. Paul speaks of God the Father giving all authority to Christ, and then later after all of Christ's enemies are subdued, Christ gives that authority back to God the Father. And if we're not careful, we could draw some very wrong conclusions about the nature of God here. Is God not already sovereign over his enemies? Why does he have to subdue anyone if he's God? Are the three persons of the Godhead not co-equal?

Why then is Paul suggesting that the Son is somehow subordinate to the Father? Lastly, is God not already by definition all in all? Are we waiting for him to become all in all? Isn't he already that? Why do all of these things have to happen in order for God who is already supposed to be sovereignly supreme to become all in all?

What is going on here? Well, I want to give you a theological framework that I think will help make sense of this and other passages like this, and this is going to get maybe philosophical for just a minute, but hang with me because I think this is going to be immensely helpful for us to grasp. There are two terms that theologians use when speaking about the nature of God. The first term is the term ontological or ontology. Ontology is the study of being, the study of existence, of essence. To speak about God ontologically is to speak about who he is in himself without any reference to his relationship with creation or man. It's who God is in essence. But here's the dilemma.

If God in his essence, in his being, is infinite and invisible and unlimited, then that would mean he is unknowable by creatures like us who are finite and visible and limited to time and space. So this is where the second term comes in. It's the term economical.

Economical. This term refers to God not in himself but to God in relation to creation, in relation to man. This is God revealing himself in knowable, visible, finite ways to finite people. It is God condescending to our level to make himself known. Scripture presents God as he is ontologically, but it also presents him as he is in relation to man economically. And so we can affirm with Scripture that the Father and the Son are one, equal in power and glory, while at the same time affirm that the Son emptied himself by taking on human form and became a bondservant who was in subjection to the very law he had written and to the creation he had created and to the Heavenly Father who is ontologically his equal.

Does that make sense? We can affirm that the Holy Spirit ontologically is God and thus worthy to be worshipped and at the same time affirm that economically the Holy Spirit does not set out to glorify himself but glorify the Son. Can God die? Ontologically, no. It's impossible. But economically, yes, he can and he did. That's why the statement in that wonderful hymn, Ann Canaby, is so paradoxically beautiful.

It says that thou, my God, shouldst die for me. Ontologically, it's impossible. Economically, it is beautifully and incredibly true. And so Paul's explanation in verses 23 through 28 makes perfect sense economically speaking. God doesn't have to subdue anyone ontologically. He's God. But he has set up an economic process in time and space by which all of his creatures will be subdued in such a way that all of his creatures will know that he is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. You see, it is for the sake of revealing himself to finite mortal man that God condescends to the rules and realities of a finite mortal world. He subjects himself to our limitations so that we can see him and hear him and know him but all without ever becoming less than he is ontologically. Is God not already all in all?

Of course he is ontologically. But he will economically become all in all in the minds of his creatures, creatures who now often suppress and ignore his supremacy. And so all of this waiting and subduing of enemies and conquering of death in seemingly slow motion is simply increasing the visible acknowledged glory of God in the eyes of his creatures. But rest assured church, this delay, if it can even be called a delay, does not threaten the reality of resurrection one bit.

Why? Because we've already seen and tasted the first fruits of that resurrection power in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So hang on. By faith, hang on because Christ is coming. This brings us then to the third and final principle Paul points us to as an assurance of the reality of resurrection. It's a principle that for centuries has been identified by its Latin designation, the principle of imago Dei, the image of God in man. If we have been created in God's image, then one would expect there to be evidences of that image and how we think, how we behave. And indeed there are evidences, traces of God's image in every human being, even atheists who deny the existence of their creator bear the undeniable marks of his image. And so Paul points to the image of God in unbelievers and in believers as yet another principle that reminds Corinth that God is real and judgment day is real and the hope of the gospel is real, therefore resurrection is real.

We see this in verses 29 through 32. First he points out that all people, even unorthodox ones, who think there is value in proxy baptisms for the dead have an innate sense of eternity. They behave as if there is an afterlife.

Why? Because there is an afterlife and God has put that knowledge in us in an undeniable way. Verse 29, otherwise what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead?

If the dead are not raised at all why are people baptized on their behalf? Where did they even get this thought from? Now verse 29 is a strange verse, isn't it? I was eager to read one of my favorite commentators, what he had to say about this, and his scholarly comment on this verse was this. I don't know what Paul means. That's all the help he gave. Another commentary said, cataloged 40 plus interpretations of verse 29.

I'm not going to share them with you tonight. But here's my best attempt at interpreting Paul's point. I don't think he's condoning proxy baptisms for the dead. He's simply using that practice, which must have been common in and around Corinth at the time, he's using it as an example of image bearers doing things that are consistent with the belief in the afterlife. Where does that innate knowledge come from if not from God himself? And so this principle of imago Dei, the image of God, even in people who are not particularly patterning their lives after God's word, offers us yet another assurance of the reality of resurrection.

It's innate. We know there's an afterlife. And then Paul moves into an autobiographical demonstration of God's image in himself. In Paul, he points to the willingness on his part and on the part of other Christians to suffer for the sake of the gospel. People don't die for what they don't truly believe in. The fact that Paul and the apostles were willing to fight with beasts at Ephesus and die every day was just again, another evidence of God's image in them. The sort of image bearing that would not allow them to deny the gospel, even if it meant martyrdom. They knew this life is not the end, and so they gladly suffered for the gospel. You see, if human beings were not encumbered with the image of God, then hedonism, living for mere pleasure, would be the logical worldview, wouldn't it? Eat, drink, and be merry, verse 32, for tomorrow we die.

And I think some sinners get close, but rarely, if ever, are they able to fully throw off that yoke of God's image and give themselves fully to a denial of an eternal judgment. Why is that? Because it's true. Because it's true. This brings us then, lastly, to some pointed admonitions from Paul to those who would doubt the undeniable reality of resurrection. And we read these admonitions, and we feel the sting that those early Corinthian Christians must have felt when they read this letter from Paul, because hopefully we feel the same sting for our own casual unbelief in the incredible promises of the gospel.

Paul says in verse 33, do not be deceived. Bad company ruins good morals. What kind of bad company is he talking about?

Well, the kind, evidently, that denies foundational Christian doctrine in order to live like hedonists. Bad company leads to bad doctrine. Bad doctrine leads to bad behavior. So stop subjecting yourselves, Paul says, to these deceivers and heed the word of God.

Young people, who are your friends and what do they believe? Because it's just a matter of time before you'll be believing and behaving just like them. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you're immune to this universal principle. Bad company, ungodly friends, leads to ungodly beliefs, which leads to ungodly practices, and it can wreck and ruin your faith. Next, Paul says, wake up from your drunken stupor as is right and do not go on sinning. Isn't it interesting how Paul is addressing a doctrinal error, but he's treating it as a moral problem. Quit sinning, he says. Unbelief, rejecting what God has said in his word, is not an intellectual hang up.

It's not an inconsequential detail that can get sorted out later. It is sin. Unbelief is sin. It is sleepy, drunken stupor level sin, according to Paul, and when we allow ourselves to be influenced by unorthodox people and betray our morals through unbelief, we are foolishly favoring the counsel of ignorant sinners.

Paul says in verse 34, those who have no knowledge of God, we are favoring that over and above the pristine, edifying, true word of God. Wake up and change your course, Paul says, because to continue down the path of unbelief, especially when you have been the recipient of unimaginably gracious gospel promises, is shameful. And so our text ends with a stern rebuke. I say this to your shame. Well, the good news is it doesn't end there.

It doesn't end with shame. Paul has much more to say. And what he's about to say is the sweetest news we could ever hear. He's going to assert the very doctrine the Corinthians were denying and show them that the doctrine they were denying to their shame is the doctrine that can restore them from their shame. The beauty of the gospel is that it even covers the sin of unbelief. And I think that's a wonderful place for us to end tonight dwelling on the fact that, yes, my sinfulness is so shamefully insidious that it would lead me to deny precious truths to my eternal detriment, but also that no matter how sinful and shameful and deceptive my sin is, the gospel prevails over it. Where sin abounds, grace super abounds. God doesn't put up with unbelief, but rather than judging us for it like we deserve, he changes us.

He overcomes our unbelief and our bad morals and our self-deception and even death itself by resurrecting us to walk in newness of life. That is good, good news. So Christian, believe it, obey it, and by faith, rest in it until Christ returns.

Let's pray. Father, you are all in all, whether we acknowledge it or not. But thank you that in your all in allness, in your supremacy and sovereignty over us, you have shown us favor, grace, mercy, love.

Thank you that you were in the process of visibly and undeniably conquering every enemy, including the ones that reside in our own hearts. And that in the end, you will raise us up to eternal life in which we can eat and drink and be merry without sin and without interruption because we will be eating and drinking and being merry with you. Lord, thank you for the reality of the resurrection.

And may we live in full confidence of that reality until the day when death is at last defeated. We pray this for your glory, for our joy. And Lord, we pray it in the name of the second Adam, the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep. In the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen. Would you stand with me as we respond in song to the truth that we've heard tonight? There is a hope that burns within my heart that gives me strength for every passing day. A glimpse of glory now revealed in meagre part yet drives all doubt away. I stand in Christ with sins forgiven and Christ in me, the hope of heaven, my highest calling and my deepest joy to make His will my home. There is a hope that lifts my weary head, a consolation strong against despair that when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit, I find the Savior there. Through heaven's soft rings, future's fear, He whispers courage in my ear, for I am safe in everlasting jars, and they will lead me home. There is a hope that stands the test of time, that lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave to see the matchless beauty of a day divine when I behold His face. When soft rings cease and sorrows die and every hope, then joy unspeakable will flood my soul, for I am truly home. You'll be seated. We have a quick presentation before our benediction tonight.

Doug. Gracious. I believe the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the Son of His King. And He is giving the best things for one thing, the salvation of the cross and the earth. And we now draw from time and only life to the right and holy field, to the indivisible, the Christ of God. And He comes to support the church, and to support it to the world, to the rest of the world.

And we are so grateful for that path that we build. Church, would you stand and receive the Lord's benediction. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, he will surely do it. And all God's people said, Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-02 10:57:50 / 2023-05-02 11:17:53 / 20

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime