The Three Resurrections
Text: Luke 24:1-12, Romans 6:1-14, I Corinthians 15:50-58
MS Doc Link
Many today even in churches named for Jesus Christ don’t believe in a literal resurrection. Don’t believe he is still alive. Here is a letter written to a local advice column along with the response:
Dear Eutychus: Our preacher said, on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered
Dear Bewildered: Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear through his heart; embalm him; put him in an airless tomb for 3 days and see what happens. Sincerely, Eutychus
Many others come to church on Easter Sunday expecting to hear a message about a 2000-year-old myth. Now, they don’t call it a myth but to them, it is just a myth, a story, with no more reality than, the stories about the Greek gods or the Lord of the Rings. It is a myth to them because the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes no difference in their lives today. They may say they believe in Jesus, but it is a belief without any heart, without any commitment, without any change of life or most terribly without any hope for eternity.
Look at our key verse in Luke 24:5. "And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? "
That’s what many today are doing when it comes to the reality of the resurrection. They are just, "Looking for the living among the dead." It’s no wonder Christianity doesn’t work for them, they are looking for a dead teacher, instead of a living Savior. But Jesus is very definitely, very actively, very transcendentally alive today. That is reality and that reality must change us.
This morning I’m here to tell you that I certainly believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the grave, but I also believe in 2 other resurrections, just as I believe in His resurrection and if you are a follower of Jesus, then you also must believe in these 3 resurrections. They are all just as real and though you can’t have any of them without the first one, they are all important to us in this life and in eternity.
The three resurrection of Christian faith are 1st the resurrection of Jesus our Lord, without this resurrection there would be nothing for us, nothing. The second resurrection is our spiritual resurrection that took place with we believed in Jesus as our Savior and the third resurrection yet awaits, the resurrection of our bodies from the grave when Jesus returns.
The first resurrection of Jesus saves us from the judgment and condemnation of sin, the second resurrection, saves us from the power of dominating sin in our lives today and the final resurrection saves us from the corruption of sin over our physical bodies when Jesus returns. Three resurrections and we need to believe in all three. Lets start with the most important one, the resurrection of our Savior without which none of the others are possible.
1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words, 9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. 12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.
Jesus’ Historical Resurrection is Foundational
The resurrection is foundational to all that is Christianity. And it is that foundation of the veracity of returning from the dead that marks the biggest difference between all other religions and Christianity, only Christianity claims a risen, still living founder.
Abraham, the founder of the Jewish Faith is in a tomb in Israel.
Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, didn't believe in any resurrection. He said, "with that utter passing away in which nothing remains"
Mohammad, the founder of Islam, is in a tomb in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
Track down all the great religion leaders and founder in all of the world’s history and you’ll find that without exception death has claimed them all, all except one, the One. He gave himself to death but death could not hold him. He even foretold His death and also that it would be defeat in just 3 days.
The Facts Of the Historical Resurrection
Occurred in a definite time and place. Ten accounts of Jesus being seen after the resurrection.
It was witnessed by men and women followers I Cor.15:3-8.
The Jewish leaders did not refute the witnesses. They only had to produce the body but could not. Matthew 28:11-15
The Jews at Pentecost could deny the assertion of Peter, but they dared not. Acts 2:22-24
The eye-witnesses all died for Christ. Would they be willing to die for what they knew was a lie?
"Yet even the most skeptical Biblical scholars concede that something extraordinary happened in Jerusalem after good Friday to account for the radical change in the behavior of the disciples, who at Jesus' arrest had fled to their own homes in fear. Could Jesus' resurrection account for the fact that within a few weeks they were boldly preaching their message to the very people who had sought to crush them?" U.S. News and World Report Apr.16, 1990 pg.53.
There are around 20 accounts outside the Bible that were written within 100 years of Jesus’s life and make directly to Him or to his followers or family.
Perhaps the most famous was by the historian Josephus who fought during the Jewish revolt that result in the destruction of the Temple by Titus. In Josephus’ account written for the Roman Emperors Vespasian and Titus at end of 1st century and within 50 years of Jesus life, we read,
"Now there was about this time Jesus a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for He was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him many Jews and also many Greeks. This man was the Christ. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross, upon his impeachment by the principal men among us. Those who loved Him from the first did not forsake him, for he Appeared to them alive on the third day, the Divine prophets having spoken these and thousands Of wonderful things about him. And even now the race of Christians so named from him, has not died out." (Disputed)
“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” (newly discovered 10th Century Arabic Text)
Atheists who became believers.
Albert Henry Ross who wrote under the pseudonym Frank Morison, was critical of the resurrection of Jesus, and set out to analyze the sources and to write a paper debunking he supernatural aspects of Jesus life. Ross firmly believed in the maxim of the famous atheist Aldous Huxley, that, “Miracles do not happen.” After researching the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the wrote the book, "Who Moved the Stone?" putting in the title the question he could not answer as an atheist and became a believer.
Journalist Lee Strobel trying to disprove his wife’s new found faith in Jesus researched and interviewed scores of people, experts in their fields of history, theology and science. As he interviewed both believers and non-believers, he found questions he could not answers and proof that he could not deny. He would up believing in Jesus and then writing his book, “The Case for Christ”
Civil War General and US Ambassador, Author Lew Wallace, after being challenged during a train ride by the famous atheist Robert Ingersoll researched and then wrote “Ben Hur, a Tale of the Christ.” Which become the best-selling novel of the 19th century and has never gone out of print. Now think about that for a moment. This novel outsold the novels of Charles Dickens, Sir Author Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Jane Austin and all the other 1800s novelists.
Homicide and Cold Case Detective, J. Warner Wallace – "Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels"
The Christian worldview does not require “blind faith.” In fact, Jesus repeatedly presented evidence to support His claims of Deity and when John the Baptist expressed doubt, Jesus responded with yet another evidential display of His power. Christians are not asked to believe without evidence (or worse yet, in spite of the evidence), but to instead place their trust in the most reasonable inference from the evidence, even though there may still be several unanswered questions. Christianity is evidentially reasonable, even if we are unable to examine every possible alternative. —J Warner Wallace
Abuse survivor and pre-law student Josh McDowell was challenged by some Christian friends in college to really examine and research the person of Jesus Christ.
So intense was his research that he dropped out of college went to Europe to follow the evidence. In the end he was so convinced that he became a believer, wrote the book, “Evidence that Demands A Verdict” and for over 50 years has been one of the foremost defenders of the Bible and the historical facts of the life of Christ.
He spends dozens of pages in Evidence That Demands a Verdict knocking down false theories, like the one suggesting Christ didn’t really die but woke up and escaped from the tomb.
“There were a hundred and some pounds of encasement of aromatic spices and gumming of cement consistency around His body, wrapped tightly in three separate linen cloths weighing about 117 pounds,” McDowell told CBN News.
He continued, “Christ was encased in that, and it becomes
hardened. Second, how would He be able to move in such a state like that a
one-and-a-half to two-ton stone away from the entrance?”
Oxford College Professor and author C. S. Lewis who after years of intense denial of God and Christ accepted Christ as his savior, through his reading and caring friends, especially JRR Tolkien. Once converted he became one of the one of the most influential intellectual defender of the Christian faith in all the 20th century.
In “Mere Christianity,” he wrote, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. – Mere Christianity, pages 40-41.
Facing Our Own Facts.
If it is true then that Jesus really lived upon this earth and around 30 AD was crucified and then 3 days later rose from the borrowed tomb they buried Him in, showed Himself to hundreds of people and proved He truly was Jesus of Nazareth who had died and now was alive, what does is mean to me. If accept the Gospel accounts as true, as history as so many billions and billions of people have, what difference does it make to me and you personally?
Just this, if Jesus died then He died as a substitute for me. He died to pay for my sin debt. He died to save me from the wrath of God’s judgment an through grace I can experience salvation.
Isaiah 53:6 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
2 Corinthians 5:2121 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
His death by crucifixion paid the price for my sin, His resurrection proved His power over sin and the death that always follows sin. Without both the cross and the empty tomb there could be no salvation. His death was proof of God's judgement and love. His resurrection was proof of his power over sin and death.
The question we must all face is do I believe that? Not just the history or facts of Jesus life, but do I believe that His death and resurrection can affect me now? Can change me today? Can save me from my sin and when I die take me home to heaven? That’s what I really must believe. If its not personal and real to you then all the history is just a collect of worthless facts.
So, that is the first resurrection, the most important resurrection, but Biblically speaking and spiritually speaking it is not the only resurrection we must believe in and that can change our lives. Let’s go to Romans 6 as we move from the First Resurrection to the Faith Resurrection.
Faith Resurrection - Romans 6:1-14
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
The Believers Spiritual Resurrection is Fundamental
In Romans 6 we learn the importance of our own spiritual resurrection In Christ.
Paul's Thesis Vs 1-4. Our relationship with Christ and his death and resurrection enables us to overcome the power and domination of sin in our present life.
His 1st Proof is in vss 5-7. Paul states that we are united in his death, our old man crucified with Christ thus removing the overpowering desire for sin.
His 2nd Proof is in vss 8-10. The desire of sin is replaced by power of a new life that is empowered through the shared resurrection of Jesus.
Result of Our Resurrection With Christ is in vs. 11 Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to god in Christ Jesus. Reckon was a accounting term from the Greek word, logizomai. It means to see it as true because the proof has been weighed, the books have been balanced, the outgo and the inflow have been seen and the conclusion can't be doubted. Because of our being united spiritually in Jesus’ death and resurrection we can have power over our old sin nature.
Facing our Own Failure
People are dominated by sin and will be dominated until it kills them physically and spiritually. Call it by any other name; bad habits, character flaws, weakness, addiction, undisciplined, no will power, its still sin and it dominates your and controls your life.
For the lost this may mean very little or it may mean a deadly addiction, broken lives, destroyed families. But for the Christian it is intolerable. As Paul said, Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
In order to fully overcome sin in our lives we must believe in our own resurrection with Jesus and then "reckon." Reckon, that you were with Christ when he was nailed to the cross. Reckon, that you were with him in the tomb and reckon that you were spiritually with Him when he arose from the grave and defeated sin's power.
Romans 6:12–14 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Don’t you reckon that you should reckon yourself to be dead to sin, but alive to God? The ability to do this is as real and true in you as was Jesus resurrection from the tomb that first resurrection morning.
Easter Bell Routs Enemies
In 1799, when the armies of Napoleon were sweeping over the Continent, his Marshal Massena suddenly appeared on the heights above the town of Feldkirch at the head of 18,000 men. It was Easter Sunday, and the rays of the rising sun glittered on the weapons of the French, as they appeared drawn up on the hills to the west of the town. The town council were hastily called together to consult what was to be done. To defend the town was out of the question. What, then, were they to do?
After much discussion, the old Dean of the Church rose and said, "My brothers, it is Easter Day! We have been reckoning our own strength, and that fails. Let us turn to God. Ring the bells and have services as usual and leave the matter in God’s hands." They agreed to do as he said. Then from the church towers in Feldkirch there rang out joyous peals in honor of the Resurrection, whilst the streets were full of worshipers hastening to the house of God.
The French army heard the sudden noise of the bells ringing out the joy of the risen Lord. They listened with surprise and alarm, and since they were no longer celebrated Easter, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived to relieve the town. Marshal Massena broke up his camp, gave the order to march, and before the bells had ceased ringing not a single French soldier was left. - Walter Baxendale
What a great illustration of Romans 6 and our resurrection with Christ. Let the joy of the power of the resurrection ring, leave sin and the enemy in God’s control and just let the praises ring.
There is one more resurrection that still awaits us. It is the resurrection of our bodies from the grave one day. God created us as body and soul and we will spend eternity as God created us but now in a perfect body resurrected in the power of Jesus return.
Future Resurrection - I Corinthians 15:50-58
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
The Believers Bodily Resurrection.
What can I add to those words to make them more powerful, more beautiful or more hopeful? Nothing, nothing at all. Better to read them again and again and again, for they only grow more wonderful each time we hear them. This is why we read 1 Corinthians 15 so often at the graveside of our loved ones. In these words, is hope, hope that overcomes time, pain, sorrow and even death. Hope for us, hope for our loved ones, hope of all eternity.
Someday Jesus will return, a trumpet shall sound and the dead in Christ shall rise. Paul says we will be changed, from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortal to immortal. Death itself will have been defeated, destroyed, decimated and disintegrated forever.
Facing Our New Face!
No More Corruption. Every day looking in the mirror, seeing a little more corruption. Everyday a little bit of us dies, our hairline our waist, the wrinkles.
I can kid now but it is no joke in nursing home that used to preach in as a Bible college student.
-To watch a man agonizingly die from tuberculosis
-To see 40-year-old women whose mind was blanked by Parkinson's disease.
-To see a 19-year-old boy with a crash helmet on so he would not slam his head into walls.
-To talk with a 30-year-old husband confined to a wheelchair and his room after he was almost killed in a motorcycle wreck.
But when Jesus comes back, all those who believe in him will be new, totally, wonderfully, absolutely new. Every joint, every ligament, every fiber every atom, resurrected and rearranged in a new body without sin!
Quotes about eternal life
As I go into a cemetery I like to think of the time when the dead shall rise from their graves. ... Thank God, our friends are not buried; they are only sown! -- D.L. Moody, Christian History, no. 25.
I feel within me that future life. I am like a forest that has been razed; the new shoots are stronger and brighter. I shall most certainly rise toward the heavens--the nearer my approach to the end, the plainer is the sound of immortal symphonies of worlds which invite me. For half a century I have been translating my thoughts into prose and verse: history, philosophy, drama, romance, tradition, satire, ode, and song; all of these I have tried. But I feel I haven't given utterance to the thousandth part of what lies with me. When I go to the grave I can say, as others have said, "My day's work is done." But I cannot say, "My life is done." My work will recommence the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley; it is a thoroughfare. It closes upon the twilight but opens upon the dawn. -Victor Hugo
There are far, far better think ahead than any we leave behind. – C. S. Lewis
Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like gong back. All my life the God of the Mountain has been wooing me. Oh, look up once at least before the end and wish me joy. I am going to my lover. Do you not see now? C. S. Lewis
End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one tht we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.” – J.R. R. Tolkien.
Death is not punishment to the believer: it is the gate of endless joy.” – Charles Spurgeon.
“When we first glimpse the light of the eternal day, the disease which was our intractable enemy and finally slew us here will become our great friend. The friend who hurried us to this place. This wonderful, unspeakably beautiful place.” – Larry Jones.
D. L. Moody’s Funeral Sermon Research
D. L. Moody when still a young man, was called upon suddenly to preach a funeral sermon. He hunted all throughout the four Gospels trying to find one of Christ's funeral sermons but searched in vain. You know what he found? He found that Christ broke up every funeral he ever attended. Death could not exist where he was. When the dead heard the voice of Jesus they sprang to life. He said, "I am the resurrection, and the life."
To Jesus, Jairus daughter was not dead she was only asleep, and it took no more than his gentle touch to bring her back from the clutches of death.
Jesus walked up to a funeral procession coming from the city of Nain. He saw the tears of a widowed mother who had lost her only son. Jesus broke up the funeral as if he just bringing her lost little boy back home.
Mary and Martha watched their brother Lazarus slowly slip
from sickness to death and then to the grave. They buried him and for four days
he lay in a tomb, four days for his body to decay, four days his flesh to
rotted. But Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life" and he
told them to roll away the stone. Then He called out, "Lazarus, Come
forth" and a decaying body wrapped in grave clothes was remade new and
sprang back from eternity at the sound of His voice.
Is the resurrection real to you today? The resurrection will not be real if Jesus is not real to you. Is He your personal Saviour; is he your lord? Do you believe in the power of His death over sin on your behalf? Will you reckon yourself to be dead to sin but alive unto God? Will you quit letting sin defeat you? God’s word says, sin and death are beaten. We just have to believe it and act in that belief. Isn’t it time to believe in the power of the resurrection? Time to believe in the One who defeated sin, death and the grave. Time to let Jesus prove the power of the resurrection in us and in eternity. It is not a myth, but the most powerful reality any of us can ever experience.