“A Bodily Resurrection?”

Posted: September 1, 2012 in 1 Corinthians, Death, Resurrection, Salvation, Security, Spiritual Gifts

I want to challenge you to do something that you may have never done before.  Ask a few of your friends, one at a time, a bold question, “What do you think and really believe about life after death?”  Wait for their answer and then ask, “Why do you believe the way you do?  What if you’re wrong?  How has your belief in life after death affected your daily life?”  I know, you probably won’t enter into such a dialogue with others, but a few of you might have given some serious thought to the question, “What happens to me when I die?”

    Dialogue.  When the Apostle Paul went to the city of Athens in Greece he got into a conversation with some of the philosophers and thinkers who lived there.  When he talked about the resurrection of the body, some people began to mock him but others wanted to know more on this matter (Acts 17:32).  According to their way of thinking, the body was nothing more than the prison of the soul, and the sooner the soul was set free at the time of death, the better off a person would be.  But some other Greeks living in Corinth accepted the message of Christ’s death for their sins…and His bodily resurrection from the dead but they had a problem with their own resurrection from the dead.

     Hope.  To give them some hope for the future, and to correct their thinking, the Apostle Paul brought up some hypothetical questions concerning Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  Before we consider some of the questions he posed, let’s ask some of our own.  Who rolled away the stone from Christ’s tomb?  Why were the guards bribed?  Why wasn’t Christ’s dead body ever found?  Why would anyone doubt the testimonies of over 500 eye witnesses who said that they saw Him over a forty day period of time?

    Empty.  If Jesus Christ didn’t really rise from the dead with a resurrected, glorified body consisting of flesh and bones (but one without blood – 1 Corinthians 15: 50; Luke 24:33-43), then the preaching of the Apostles would be nothing more than empty words and there would be no foundation for the Christian faith.  If someone could disprove the resurrection, he could destroy Christianity.  Many have tried and failed.

    Futile.  Without the resurrection, those who had put their faith in Christ would still be helpless (Romans 5:6), hopeless (Ephesians 2:12), and hell bound (Romans 6:23).  Instead of foregoing the pleasures of this life for greater pleasures in heaven, they should eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow they will die and that will be the end of their existence.  This is what the rich farmer thought but God called him a fool (Luke 12:19).

    Liars.  It’s hard to imagine that over 500 eye witnesses of Christ’s bodily resurrection would deliberately lie and be willing to die for their belief if it weren‘t true.  It’s true that some men will die for a lie but they believe it’s the truth.  Hitler convinced many Germans with his lies.  The blackness of darkness forever in hell is reserved for false teachers (Jude 1:13).

    Lost.  Without Christ’s resurrection we would have no way of knowing if God the Father accepted His payment for our sins.  That is why He raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 4:25).  Instead of a secret ascension into heaven, Jesus ascended back into heaven in the presence of His disciples (Acts 1:1-11).

     Perished.  All those believers whom we thought were going to heaven when they died won’t be there if there is no resurrection of Christ.  Some believe in the annihilation of the wicked or perhaps in reincarnation.  I’d rather stick with the words of Jesus concerning heaven and hell (John 14:1-3; Matthew 25:30, 41, 46) than believe the lies of false teachers.

    Pitiable.  If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christians are wasting a lot of time going to church each week.  Instead they should be looking out for themselves and living for the moment.

    Grim Reaper.  He’s coming for all of us and he might come in such a time when you least expected him.  “…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrew 9:27).  Once you’re dead your eternal destiny is set.  There are no second chances or back doors into heaven.

     Rapture.  The exception to the rule above will affect a generation of true Christians (1 Corinthians 15:51ff).  Do you know what you need to believe in order to gain eternal life and a place in heaven? It’s so simple that most people won’t avail themselves of “God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation.”  We have it in 24 languages on our web site: www.kelseypeach.com.

    Help.  We also have other material to help believers grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).  We want you to know about your spiritual gift (See “Bible Basics” section), and use it with love.  If you’re a Christian, your greatest joy in life will come by leading another person to Christ for salvation and helping that person grow (3 John 4).

These articles usually correspond to our talks on Sundays and can be heard on the Internet.

Portions adapted from “Calm Answers For A Confused Church” by C. R. Swindoll

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