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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - The Resurrection Of The Dead - Part 2

Allen Jackson - The Resurrection Of The Dead - Part 2

Allen Jackson - The Resurrection Of The Dead - Part 2
TOPICS: Resurrection

It's an honor to be with you today. We're working on some foundational doctrines, teachings of the Christian church that have been with us for as long as there's been a church, to help us make our faith stable in the middle of seasons of turmoil. Hey, we're in one of those seasons. We're going to continue our study on the resurrection of the dead. It's not irrelevant. It's a very important part of the motivation we have for choosing to live holy lives, and upright lives, and godly lives in this present age. It's not a popular topic, but it's a powerful topic. Grab your Bible, get a notepad, but most of all open your heart.

The resurrection of Jesus is our guarantee of our resurrection. Colossians chapter 1 and verse 18 says "He's the head of the body, the church; he's the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy". Jesus is the head of the church. You know that, right? Not pastor, not the board, not the presbytery, not the denominational executives, not the bishops. I mean, all of those offices are fine with me. I'm not saying they're wrong or evil, but ultimately Jesus is the head of the church. In Matthew 16, Jesus said, "I will build my church". He's coming back to the earth for his church.

You want to be an advocate for the church, not perfect 'cause it's filled with people. The only way to have a perfect church is to get rid of all the people. But Jesus is the head of the church. And then it says to us he's the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. You know, my father was a veterinarian. Most of you know that at this point, but I got to participate in the birth of a lot of things. And do you know that the first part of the body to present at the birth, if it's a healthy delivery? The head. And the head is the promise that the rest of the body's coming. And I assure you that when the head was raised to life again, it's the assurance that our bodies are going to be raised to life again. We don't think about it very much. We don't talk about it very often, but it's a very important point.

Look in Philippians 3. "Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform or lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body". We're gonna get a new earth suit. And literally, if we translate that last phrase, where it says "our lowly bodies," it literally says our body of humiliation. Now, there comes a point somewhere along your journey through time, you turn that calendar enough, your body is a humbling thing. You haven't gotten there yet. Just trust me. And the truth is no matter what your age is, it's the truth, and you can eat the most lavish meals, perfect, prepared by a team of Iron Chefs. Or you can fry Spam and eat it on a saltine cracker, wrapped in Wonder Bread, and you body's gonna process those two meals the same way.

There's something in that that should humble us, no matter our sophistication, or our educational advancement, or how delicate our palate may be. No matter articulate you are or what your IQ is, if you are engaged in much activity in the Tennessee summertime, you will perspire. And if you move very fast, you're gonna sweat. You're not gonna glow. You're not gonna glisten. You're gonna sweat. And if you stay with it, you're gonna smell. There's something about our bodies that are intended to remind us of our creatureliness. But there's a point ahead of us when we're going to get a transformed body. Post resurrection, Jesus was not bound by the things that bind us. He still ate, but he could step into a room when the door was locked. He did some remarkable things. He's going to transform our body of humiliation, because it's been humiliated by sin.

Do you know how messed up we are? We dabble with sin, we entertain sin. We think sin will make us fulfilled. It'll make us content so we're rebellious. How much can I incorporate and not forfeit too much. How far is too far? How much is too much? Folks, sin is humiliating. Stay as far away from it as you can. If you have given into temptation, succumbed to it, if you've given it a foothold, repent in humility. Step away from it. Change your thoughts and your behaviors. It will not lead you to a good place. Look at 1 John 3. "Dear friends, now as we are children of God, what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, when Jesus appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure".

If you are truly hoping for the resurrection, John says to us that we will be purifying ourselves. We'll be doing everything we can to diminish the influence of this present world order in our thoughts and our benefits. So, I'm gonna ask you a question. Do you have that mark in your life? See, we've lived so presumptively. The focus of our faith has been on reciting a prayer, and getting a dip in the pool, and then sitting around church from time to time when it's convenient, but we really weren't thinking about our life beyond time, because everything was about what we could get our hands on, or enjoy, or experience, or do.

So, we really haven't had any motivation or very small motivation to live with eternity in mind. Not to live out of time. We've got an assignment here. But while we're here, our goal is to on a daily basis choose to purify ourselves, less of the world in me. And if you imagine that you will participate in the resurrection, and you don't intend to purify yourself, you're deceived. I don't care what prayer you prayed. I'm not done. I think I can support it biblically. What will our body be like? This is a fun question. 1 Corinthians 15, "Someone may ask, 'How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body will they come?' How foolish! What you sow doesn't come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you don't plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body".

Now, it seems to me there's two things being presented in that passage. It's an agricultural image, metaphor, comparing a physical resurrection of our body with what happens when you plant a seed and something grows. Two ideas are being presented: one of continuity and one of change. This isn't complex. Continuity is if you plant an apple seed, you're not going to get a lime tree, that the seed indicates the kind of life that is going to emerge from that seed. The change is that there's a tremendous change in what the seed looks like and what is planted and the life that comes after it, something spectacular beyond the seed. You with me? I like watermelon.

And I know with a little scientific help, there's fewer seeds. But you remember those black seeds in the watermelon? I mean, you're better than me. I'm sure you never spit them at anybody else. But you have to admit it's pretty spectacular that you can take that little black seed and put it in the Tennessee clay and get something as colorful as a green rind, red watermelon. Who would look at that little seed and go, "Oh, I know what that'll be"? Not unless you've had some experience, you don't. Well, that's the imagery Paul is using about the resurrection. He said, "Our body is sown one way, but we're going to be raised to a whole new kind of life, a whole new set of parameters".

Why would we purify ourselves? Why would we long for his appearing? Why would we try to separate ourselves from this present order? Because there is something so much better ahead of us that we want to be invested in. Now why is this necessary as the foundation? Because in the midst of turmoil and confusion and stress, it's easy to be filled with despair, and hopelessness, and grief, and anxiety, because you see the things that you thought would fulfill you moving further and further away. The systems are less stable, and we want to be very aware that our hope is anchored beyond time. Now you've got a message for people that are walking through difficult places. Now you've got a voice of hope. You can sit there. You may cry with them. You may weep with them. You don't have to have a solution to every problem. You can say there is a hope beyond the suffering of time.

I'm very difficult to engage in a theological argument. You can disagree with me. I'm happy for you. We're all entitled to an opinion. God's given you the ability. If someone has a sincere question, I will sometimes have that discussion. But I'm truly just not interested in a lot of debate. But I'm telling you what you believe about the resurrection will determine your destiny. Romans chapter 4, verse 25, says, "He," Jesus, "was delivered over to death for our sins". I usually like to take the pronouns and make them personal. "He was delivered over to death for my sins, and he was raised to life for my justification".

So, if he wasn't raised to life again, I have no justification in God's sight. Big religious word. To be justified means to be just as if I'd never sinned. How do you stand before God without guilt, shame, or fear? Only through faith in a resurrected Christ. There is no other way. There is no Plan B. It's why the uniqueness of Jesus is essential to our story. All faiths don't lead to the same place. All beliefs aren't the same in outcome. There's a tremendous reluctance in the American Christendom to talk about the uniqueness of Jesus. Look at Romans 10, familiar verses. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved". His resurrection matters. "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it's with your mouth that you confess and are saved".

Jesus' resurrection is the basis of our justification. Let me add one more idea to that. His resurrection is the completion of our salvation. It closes the circle for us. Philippians chapter 3, this is the Apostle Paul. "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings". Now most of us, you can get a big amen in "I want to know him in the power of his resurrection". We all want the resurrection power of Christ coursing through our veins. "The fellowship of sharing in his sufferings," you pray that for your neighbors. "Becoming like him in his death," I don't believe it's calling us to be martyrs. In his death, he was fully yielded to the will of God. It's the next phrase that intrigues me. "And so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead".

This is the Apostle Paul with this extraordinary revelation he's been giving of Jesus and his redemptive work. And he's well into his life and his ministry. He's not just an angry young man at this point. And he's writing to the church of Philippi, which he has shepherded into existence, and coaching long in the midst of some predatory attitudes towards him. And he said, "I want to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering, become like him in his death, so that somehow, in whatever means possible, I might attain to the resurrection of the dead".

We have not lived with that attitude. That's not been the overwhelming attitude in American Christianity. We've lived far more presumptively. Do you believe it? Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Certainly, no question. Piece of cake. Well, how do you know? Well, I walked the aisle, I did that. I worked at two hoedowns. I worshiped outside for a year during that pandemic thing. Have you ever seen how long Pastor's outlines are? I've sat through hundreds of those. The font type is microfiche. Somehow, he said, but he's not done. He said, "Not that I've already obtained all of his". This is the Apostle Paul, "Not that I've already, it's not like a done deal for me," or I've already made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Now, if we take that larger passage, somehow to attain to the resurrection of the dead. This one thing I do, he said. I'm gonna forget what's behind. I'm gonna press on. I'm going to strain towards that objective. Seems to me we've been a little passive. A little smug, maybe a little self-righteous, maybe a little critical of others or condemning of others. Thank God, we're not like that. And Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, who prayed in public.

And the Pharisee said, "I thank you that I'm not like all these sinners and the tax collector wouldn't even lift his eyes to heaven". Remember the story? And said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner". Jesus said that the tax collector went home forgiven, and the Pharisee didn't. Again, in a season of shaking, we don't want to be the group of people, saying, "Thank God, we're the good ones". I don't want you to live in fear of your salvation. I do want you to live with the humility and the determination to give God your best. There is something ahead of us that is better than anything offered to us in time.

Now, what are you living for? What are you dreaming about? What are your ambitions linked to? And I know we're in church, and the answer is Jesus, but I mean in the quiet places of your life, in the prayers that you're offering. I'll tell you how you unpack that and get to the root of it. What are the things that cause you to be agitated, aggravated, frustrated, if they look like they're being delayed? That'll help you find the things that are the most valued in your priorities. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. That's the best solution for our world. It's the best promise for you, for me, that somehow we might attain to the resurrection of the dead. We're gonna get an upgrade, folks. It's not a burden being a Christ follower.

People say, you know, "What do you have to give up to serve Jesus"? Nothing. There's a joy in our faith, an anticipation in our faith. There's a promise in our faith. If you'll meditate on the resurrection of Jesus as the firstfruits of what is ahead for you and me, and it doesn't bring a new purpose, and a new joy, and a new hope to your heart, don't stop thinking about it until it does. It'll make it much easier to say no to ungodliness. It'll make it easier to make the determination to begin to purify yourself in places where you haven't been willing to. We've tolerated rebellion. We've tolerated too much. We've been a little passive, but God is awakening us.

God is awakening us, and we're not gonna stop. I made it. You watched a miracle. I want you to stand with me. I want to give you an invitation. Our numbers are such tonight that in this session, we can do this. It'll take a little humility. But if you would be willing to say to the Lord, or if it's true of you. You don't need to say it, if it's not, that I'm one of those who's been a bit indifferent. I've had a certainty about my faith, and I haven't been overly concerned about the rest. I've been a little passive. I've been a little casual. Purifying myself has not been nearly as much my focus as accumulating, or achieving, or accomplishing whatever the dream of the week was. If that's you, and as we have walked through this, that you have felt the Holy Spirit inviting you to a different response, I want to give you an opportunity just to signify that before the Lord.

Doesn't have anything to do with those of us in the room, but I think those public acknowledgements of the Lord and our willingness to give him our best matter a great deal in our lives. We can't always do that because of circumstances, but we can in this session. So, whichever room you happen to be in on campus, I'm just gonna invite you forward. If you're in 3 Crosses with me, you can come forward right now really quickly. If you're joining us digitally, you can just type it in. Say, "I need to respond to that". I'm not gonna wait long.

If that's you, come quickly. And there's nothing unique about the front of the room, but there's something significant in saying to the Lord, "I'm willing to be different". We're gonna kneel when you get here, so if you want to go ahead and kneel, you can start there. You can start to tell the Lord. It's between you and him. It's not about me. I'm going to lead us in a prayer. And again, if you're in New Harvest or All Nations, you can come forward in there and kneel. And if you're joining us someplace else, you can kneel right where you are. God's people are the ones he's calling. He'll use your life and our lives to reach other people. I believe that. I believe we'll see a moving of the Spirit of God, but it'll be birthed out of the renewal in our hearts, in our lives. Amen. Hallelujah. Let's all pray:

Heavenly Father, I thank you for your Word, and its truth, and its power. I thank you that you love us, and you have called us out of darkness into the kingdom of your Son. And, Lord, we have responded this evening to acknowledge the inconsistencies of our own hearts. Lord, we have been tempted, distracted, and influenced by the opportunities of this present world order, and we come tonight to humble ourselves and to ask for your mercy and your forgiveness as we repent. Give us your thoughts. Father, open the path before us that you've called us to and created us for. Give us a joy in serving you. I thank you for it. I thank you that you're a God who delights in showing mercy.

Lord Jesus, you have loved us. You gave yourself for us. You offered yourself as a sacrifice. You didn't defend yourself or retaliate. You took the punishment that we deserved, that we might have the blessing that you deserved, and we come tonight to say that we want to honor you with our lives. We don't want to hold anything back, no thought, no behavior, no attitude, no habit. There's no resource. There's nothing in our possession that we want to withhold from you. Jesus, be Lord of who we are, all that we have, and all that you've created us to be. May you be pleased with us. Holy Spirit, help us to forget what is behind and to press forward for that which is ahead, that we, too, might attain to the resurrection of the dead. In Jesus' name, amen.

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