05172020 The Resurrection Body 1 Cor 15:35-49

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The Resurrection Body  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:06
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9172017 1 Cor 15:35-49 The Resurrection Body


Have you ever been lost for words to describe something?

seeing the front range of the rocky mountains as we travelled to breckinridge for a ski trip
crying out with a loud shout after the birth of our first born son.

Paul here is struggling to describe the indescribable.

“As Ladd says, ‘Who can imagine a body without weakness? or infection? or tiredness? or sickness? or death? This is a body utterly unknown to earthly, historical experience…it is an order of existence in which the “laws of nature”…no longer obtain. In fact, when one puts his mind to it, it is quite unimaginable.” “I believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, pp. 115, 117)
There is Confusion in our culture about what happens to us after we die. Some believe in reincarnation, and so they think that we will come back to earth as a different person or being. Others believe that we simply cease to exist. And yet others believe that we become angels. The apostle Paul, however, clearly teaches what happens to Christians after we die.
One of the errors that some of the Corinthian believers had embraced is that there is no bodily resurrection. Chapter 15 is Paul’s teaching regarding our bodily resurrection.
In verses 1-11 Paul set down the evidence for Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead.
In verses 12-19 Paul shows us that because of Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead, there must follow a bodily resurrection for those who are in Christ.
In verses 20-28 Paul shows us that because of Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead, there must be a bodily resurrection for Christians.
In verses 29-34 Paul points out that it would be meaningless to live as a Christian if there was no bodily resurrection for Christians.
Now here - vs. 25-49, Paul discusses how our bodies are raised and what our resurrection bodies will be like.
1. The Manner (How) of the Resurrection Body (15:35a; 36)
2. The Nature (What) of the Resurrection Body (15:35b; 37-49)

I. The Manner of the Resurrection Body (15:35a; 36)

Paul asks and answers a question regarding the manner of the resurrection body.

The Question (15:35a)

“But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised?’” That is, how can a dead, disorganized, disintegrated body live again?

The Answer (15:36)

Paul begins by rebuking those who questioned a bodily resurrection for Christians. He said, “You foolish person!” (15:36a). Only a foolish person questions the power of a sovereign, almighty God.
Acts 26:8 NASB95PARA
Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?
Then Paul explained that death is not an obstacle to, but rather a means to, a resurrection body. He says in verse 36b: “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” Just as a seed must die to produce a plant, even so our present body must die to produce our resurrected body.
In both cases, death is the means to a new body. Disorganization and disintegration must take place before there can be reorganization and reintegration.
John 12:24 NASB95PARA
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
So, the question is: “How are the dead raised?”
And the answer is: God will raise a resurrection body from a dead body by his own sovereign, almighty power.

II. The Nature of the Resurrection Body (15:35b; 37-49)

The Question (15:35b)

The question Paul asks regarding the nature of the resurrection body is found in verse 35b: “But someone will ask. . . , ‘With what kind of body do they come?’” That is, what kind of resurrection body will Christians possess?

The Answer (15:37-49)

He says our resurrection body will be a continuous body, a different body, and a heavenly body. Let’s examine each part of the answer.

1. The resurrection body will be a continuous body (15:38)

“But God gives it [i.e., the seed] a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.”
There is a continuity between the seed sown and the plant that is produced. The seed changes radically, but it continues to have the same life form. A wheat seed does not become barley, and a grass seed does not become corn. God has given each kind of seed its own body, whose identity continues into the grown plant.
After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, he was not initially recognized until he revealed himself to people. But once he revealed his identity, he was recognizable. The disciples knew his face, and recognized his wounded side and pierced hands and feet.
Similarly, our resurrected bodies as Christians will have a continuity with the bodies we have now. Our present bodies will die and they will change form, but they will still be our bodies.
Surely, it is not hard to believe that the God who has worked this process daily through the centuries in his creation of plants, will be able to do it again with people created in His image when we received resurrected bodies.

2. The resurrection body will be a same body – but a different (15:37; 39-44)

Although our resurrection body will be continuous with our present body, it will nevertheless be a different body.
So Paul says in verse 37, “And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.” God, in accordance with his own power and pleasure, causes the plant produced to be different than the seed sown.
Paul note that there is a difference in the bodies of earthly creatures. He said in verse 39, “For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.” God, in his wisdom, created all creatures differently according to their kind (Genesis 1).
There are some six hundred octodecillion different combinations of amino acids. An octodecillion is 10 to the 108th power, or 1 followed by 108 zeros. Amino acids are the building blocks of all life. Not only does each type of plant and animal life have a distinct pattern of amino acids, but each individual plant, animal, and human being has its own unique grouping of them. No two flowers, snowflakes, seeds, blades of grass, or human beings—even identical twins—are exactly alike. Yet each is completely identified with its own species or kind.
Those two facts make one of the strongest scientific evidences against evolution. No matter what we may eat, no matter how specialized or unbalanced our diet may be, and no matter what our environment may be, we will never change into another life form. We may become healthier or sicker, heavier or lighter, our age grows out of our youth, but we will never be anything but a human being and never any human being but the one we have been created to be. The biological codes are binding and unique. There is no repeatable or demonstrable scientific proof that one form of life has changed or could change into another.
Paul says there are even differences between terrestrial and celestial in verse 40, “There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.”
Not only are the heavenly bodies vastly different from the earthly bodies, they are greatly different from each other. So, Paul said in verse 41, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”
Every star is different, just as every plant is different, every animal is different, and every person is different. God has infinite creative capacity, including the capacity to make infinite variety. Why would anyone think it hard for him to re-create and resurrect human bodies, no matter what form they may be after death?
Now, having given us several illustrations from nature of the differences among various bodies, Paul makes his application of these illustrations to the differences between the present body and the future resurrection body (heavenly body) of Christians.
He said in verse 42a, “So is it with the resurrection of the dead.” In other words, Paul said, “Just as natural bodies differ, so, will the resurrection body differ from the present body.”

3. The resurrection body will be a body fit for eternity.

There are several ways in which the resurrection body will be different.

First, the body is sown perishable, but it will be raised in imperishable.

Paul said in verse 42b, “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.” The body of a Christian is sown (i.e., that is, it has died and is buried in the grave) perishable, but it will be raised imperishable.

Second, the body is sown in dishonor, but it will be raised in glory.

Paul said in verse 43a, “It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory.” It is sown an unattractive body, but it will be raised in a resplendent body.

Third, the body is sown in weakness, but it will be raised in power.

Paul said in verse 43b, “It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.” It is sown without any strength, but it will be raised with incredible strength.
Power + glory (v. 43) to describe life in the kingdom of God evokes the ascription at the end of the Lord’s Prayer: “Yours is the kingdom, and power and the glory, for ever and ever.”

And fourth, the body is sown a natural body, but it will be raised a spiritual body.

Paul said in verse 44a, “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” It is sown in the flesh, but it will be raised by the Spirit of God. And so Paul concluded in verse 44b, “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”

from “perishable,” “dishonor,” and “weakness,” to “imperishable,” “glory,” and “power.”

The great illustration of the resurrection body that is different is that of Jesus’ resurrection body. Before Jesus’ death he had a human body, just like every body else. It was a natural body. His body was subject to weakness and failure and even death. However, after his resurrection Jesus had a spiritual body. It was a resurrection body. He could be touched, and he could eat. However, he could also appear and disappear at will. He could suddenly appear in a locked room. His body was wonderfully different. And that is the kind of body that all Christians will receive too.

3. The resurrection body will be a heavenly (glorified) body (15:45-49)

Citing Genesis 2:7, Paul said in verse 45: “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Just as Adam gave human life to all people, so Christ gives spiritual life to all his people, that is, to Christians.
That is why Paul said, “But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual” (15:46). All people have a natural, human nature. However, at some point when we are regenerated we receive a spiritual nature. So, the natural nature precedes the spiritual nature.
Then, moving back to Adam and Christ, Paul notes that the first man, that is, Adam, was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man, that is, Christ, is from heaven (15:47). Adam was an ordinary human being, but Christ exceeds Adam’s glory because Christ came from heaven.
Paul then says in verse 48, “As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.” In other words, Adam’s descendants are like him. They inherit his physical nature. Similarly, Christ’s own are like him. They inherit his spiritual nature.
Therefore, Paul says in verse 49, “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”
That is, we shall be like Christ with resurrected, heavenly bodies.

Conclusion - So, what happens when we die?

At the time of our death, our bodies stop functioning. We are buried. Our bodies will decay and decompose, if they are not cremated. And we sleep and await the return of Jesus Christ.
Those who are believers - Even now God’s spirit dwells in our mortal bodies (1 Cor 6:19) but the more the Spirit makes us like Jesus, the more these mortal bodies groan under the strain of anticipating their own demise and the freedom of totally new bodies designed for glory and power.
At the time of our death, our spirits go immediately to heaven. We go into the presence of God where we will enjoy unimaginable joy and bliss and delight for the rest of eternity.
At some point in the future, God the Father is going to send the Son back to earth to wrap up history as we know it. When Jesus returns again our spirits will be reunited with our bodies. It is at that point that we receive our resurrection bodies. God, by his power will raise up our old, earthly bodies and give us our new - made over resurrected, heavenly bodies.
Paul assures us that we will have new resurrection bodies because Jesus was raised from the dead on that first Easter Sunday. He is the ‘first fruit’ of the resurrection from the dead. Jesus was seen by Cephas, the twelve, more than five hundred brothers at one time, James, the apostles, and finally by Paul himself after his resurrection. He is alive, and he has a resurrection body and intercedes as our great high priest for us at the right hand of God the Father.
John 11:25–26 ESV
John 11:25–26 NASB95PARA
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Philippians 3:20–21 ESV
Philippians 3:20–21 NASB95PARA
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
1 Peter 1:3–4 NASB95PARA
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
1 John 3:2 NASB95PARA
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
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