David Jeremiah - The Ultimate Extreme Makeover
Benjamin Franklin, in his epitaph, wrote of this present body which he said "lies in the grave like the cover of an old book, with its contents torn out, stripped of its lettering, but which will appear once again in a new and more eloquent edition, revised and corrected by the author". What a great way to describe what is gonna happen to us someday when our bodies receive the ultimate extreme make-over.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, and verse 35, Paul puts before us a question which is really the question for today's message. Here is the question: "But someone will say, 'How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?'" "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come"? And in the next several verses, Paul gives us some contrasts between our current bodies and the body that we're going to have someday and, in doing so, he literally outlines for us all of the various aspects of the ultimate extreme make-over.
Now, you have your Bibles open and I want you to notice that, first of all, the requirement for a resurrected body, the requirement for being resurrected from the dead, is you have to be dead, right? The requirement for resurrection is the death of the body. There's no resurrection if there's no death. In fact, Paul, I think, is having a little fun with the Corinthians when he writes in verse 36, "Foolish one," he says. "Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies". I think Paul's kind of chiding them a little bit and saying, "You know, don't be silly. You can't have a resurrection if you don't die".
The first observation is so obvious that he makes a little rebuke for his readers for not understanding it. In essence, he's saying, "Don't be ignorant or foolish about this. There isn't really anything that you can do about resurrection until first of all you die". John 12:24 says this: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain". Paul's just laying the foundation here for all of us who have such a hard time even talking about death. I mean, it's such a terrible word, we call it the "D" word. He says you shouldn't be afraid of death. You should embrace it because if you don't have death you can't have a resurrected body.
If it were somehow possible for anyone in this room to live forever without dying, they would have to live forever in the body they now possess. What a horrible thought that would be. A man that I have greatly appreciated for his writings on the spiritual disciplines is a guy named Dallas Willard. He tells the story of a woman who refused to talk about life beyond death. She absolutely refused to talk about it, because she said she didn't want her children to be disappointed if it turned out there was no afterlife. Now, as Willard points out, "If there is no afterlife, no one will have any consciousness with which to feel disappointment". Think about that for a moment. "On the other hand," he said, "if there is an afterlife, whoever enters that next life unprepared may experience far more than mere disappointment".
So as much as we don't like to talk about death, Paul helps us to get a little bit of a positive attitude about it right up front and he says, "Look, I wanna tell you about this new body that God's gonna give you but you have to understand the way to get that new body is you have to walk through the doorway of death to get it". Unless you happen to be alive when Jesus returns, and we'll talk about that a little bit later. So much as we dislike talking about death, Paul reminds us that without it, there is no resurrection. Now the second thing he's gonna teach us in this passage is that the result of resurrection is a different kind of body.
Notice in verses 37 and 38 as you look down at your Bibles here in 1 Corinthians 15. He says, "What you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain, perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, to each seed its own body". Now, he is saying that the body that comes out of the grave is different from the body that went into the grave. He's saying, using this illustration, if you put a kernel of corn into the ground in order for it to grow, what comes out of the ground is not the kernel. It's a green stalk that looks very different. It's a part of the kernel, it represents the kernel, but it's not the same.
And Paul is saying to us, men and women, that when we die and our bodies are buried and they go into the ground, on the day of Resurrection they're gonna come out of the ground different than when they went in. We're not gonna have the same kind of body that was buried. That's the whole purpose of his discussion here with the Corinthians. The body that emerges from the seed that dies is different from the body that was planted. Now, we're all pretty well acquainted with the kind of bodies that we now occupy. One of the most depressing thoughts that's communicated to me routinely when I go to work out every day is the constant reminder from everybody there that the older you get, you have to work twice as hard to maintain the same level of fitness as you used to get earlier in life.
Does that depress anybody else but me? I mean, here it is when your life is so busy and you need more and more time, you've gotta take more and more of that time just to stay even, just so you don't fall behind. And you know, we're all into that to some degree. And relatively, we should be, because this is the temple which God has given us and we're supposed to take care of it. But how many will agree that taking care of this temple's getting to be a full-time job? Can I get a witness? Well, the apostle is gonna give us some encouragement here in a broad outline in 1 Corinthians that answers the very question that he poses: What kind of body shall we have? He describes four different qualities of our resurrection body and he contrasts it with the body we currently have.
So notice letter A: "Our new bodies will be indestructible". Our new bodies will be indestructible. Verse 42 says it this way: "So is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown," and when you see the word "sown" here, it means buried. "The body is buried in corruption, it is raised in incorruption". The body is buried in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. Now, friends, there's only been one body in the history of the universe and the history of time as we know it, there's only been one body that has not been subject to corruption and that was the body of the Lord Jesus. The Psalmist in Psalm 16:10 said, "You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption". There's only been one body that did not see corruption. Jesus was buried but on the third day he came out of the grave. His body had not seen corruption.
The first thing that Paul teaches us about our new bodies, and this ought to really encourage us all. The first thing he teaches us is that it is not like our old body. Our present bodies wear out. We get old. We begin to notice that things don't work as they once did. We discover that no matter what we try, we can't stop the aging process. I don't care what the infomercials say, it doesn't work. Because there's nothing you can do to stop the body from the process which we all understand. And it's the process of aging. We can do our best to slow it down. We can do our best to camouflage it. But we can't stop it. "Our present bodies are buried in corruption, but our resurrection bodies are incorruptible". They are not capable of deterioration or decay.
When you get your new body, it's body for life. It's body for eternity. They will never get old. They will never get tired. What shall be then shall be forever. We shall be what we will be forever and ever. Our resurrection body will not be subject to accident or disease or age. It will be free from pain and decay and death. It will never wear out. It will never die. It will outlive the stars. Are you ready for a body like that? Wow. My knees won't let me do the pounding I used to give 'em, so I ride a bike which is pretty good exercise. I have a trail I love to ride. And I've learned something now since I've done this for the first time in the winter. It's a hard lesson to learn.
The other day, I got on my bike and I went at that thing, man. I tell you what, I wasn't even hardly pedaling. I was flying. I was flying to the end. And then I had to turn around and come back. The reason I was flying is 'cause I had the wind at my back, but when I came back, I had a 110 mile headwind. I'm telling you what. And I prayed my way all the way back. When I got home, I collapsed. I mean, it was unbelievable. And I learned a lesson. Don't go so far with the wind when you gotta drive back through it on the way home. But I got to thinking about that this week. When I get to heaven, coming back will be just as easy as going out, 'cause I'm gonna have a perfect, indestructible, non-wear-outable body, amen? That's the first thing. The body we get when we get our extreme make-over is indestructible.
Can I get a witness? Amen. I notice the older voices are louder than the younger ones. Okay, number two. Verse 43: "Our new bodies will be identifiable". Now watch this. A careful argument here. Paul says in verse 43: "Our present bodies will be sown or buried in dishonor, but our new bodies will be raised in glory". Paul says that our new bodies will be raised in glory. The word, really, is the word "brilliance". Some people even think in our new bodies may have a little glow to them. I don't know if that's true or not, but that's maybe from this word. It is a glorious body like the glorious body of the risen Savior.
Now, I want you to notice the key passage in what our bodies are going to be like in all of the New Testament. It's Philippians chapter 3. I want us to read this out loud together. Maybe we'll just read it from the screen, so we'll all be in the same translation, all right? Here we go. "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself". Now, what does that verse say to us about the kind of body that we're gonna have? Our body is going to be transformed so that it is like the glorious body of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, go back to 1 Corinthians 15 and notice it says, "Our body is sown in dishonor but it is raised in," what, class? "It's raised in glory". The glory that the Lord Jesus had in his glorious body is the glory we're going to have in our bodies when we are resurrected from the grave.
Now, when the apostle tells us that we are raised in glory, we don't have to doubt what he means. Glory is the description of the body of Jesus. Our new bodies will be just like, just like, the resurrected body of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what John is talking about when he writes to us in his first Epistle. He says, "Beloved, now are we the children of God; and it is not yet revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed," what does it say? "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is". And Paul comes back to this powerful thought at the end of his teaching in 1 Corinthians. Notice verse 49 of 1 Corinthians 15: "As we have borne the image of the man of dust," that's our current body, "we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man," that's Jesus. Just like we now bear the image of our current body, the old Adam, one day we're gonna bear the image of Jesus. We're gonna have a body like Jesus.
I almost called this message, "Body by Jesus". I see all these books out there, "Body by" this person. One day, we're gonna have bodies by Jesus. And I'll tell you what. Every program you're on, you can just give it up, 'cause that's the one. That's the one. Now, you say, "Well, Pastor Jeremiah, that's a great theological thought, but what is 'Body by Jesus'? What is the 'Body by Jesus'"? Well, let me tell you how you find that out. The only time that we can observe as humans the body by Jesus is during the 40-day period, between the Resurrection of Jesus and when he went back to heaven. And you remember, toward the end of the Gospels, we have a number of situations where Jesus expressed himself in his Resurrection body after he was resurrected, before he went back to heaven. And so when we look at those passages, we can learn some things about Jesus' body, and if our body's gonna be like his body, then we'll know what our body's gonna be like. Are you with me?
So let me just give you 3 or 4 things that I've observed about the body of Jesus during the 40 days between his Resurrection and his Ascension. Number one, Jesus said that his body was real. He had a real body. This is really important. Jesus said he had a real body. In Luke 24:39, we read these words: "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have". What I want you to know right now is you're not gonna have some spirit body that floats around forever. Jesus said you're gonna have a real body. Did you hear what he said? He said, "Handle me. My body is real".
And a spirit body is an oxymoron. There isn't such a thing. If you have a body, it's not spirit. And if you're in the spirit, you're not in the body. Jesus' body was real. And when we get to heaven, we're gonna have real bodies, real transformed bodies, like the body of the Lord Jesus when he was resurrected from the grave. Jesus said his body was real. Notice, number two. This will greatly encourage many of you. Jesus ate on two occasions. I don't know if any questions have been asked me more is, "Are we gonna eat in heaven"? And so the thought when you get to heaven, "Well, we won't eat". Eating is not just to keep your body alive but it's a pleasurable experience. Can I get a witness?
And some of you are already, your mouths are starting to salivate, thinking about what you're gonna have for dinner. I mean, I know. But I want you to notice some things. Here again, this is Jesus in his Resurrection body. Luke chapter 24, verses 42 and 43: "So they gave Jesus a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and He ate it in their presence". John 21:12-13, "Jesus said to them, 'Come and eat breakfast.' Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, 'Who are You?', knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish". And the assumption is that he ate breakfast with his disciples. More than a few have suggested that in heaven we will be able to eat without any of the negative effects. No acid reflux. We'll eat without gaining weight. Oh my!
And listen, I thought about this, this week. We will be able to taste foods like we never have before because, in our resurrected body, there will be nothing to take away from the perfection of our tastebuds. You think that steak was good. Oh, my. Chocolate will have no greater effect on one's waistline than fruit. Whoa! We're gonna be able to eat but you see, what seems to be apparent as you study this is that you'll be able to eat but you won't have to eat. You will eat for pleasure but not in order to sustain, because you won't need to be sustained. You'll be sustained by the power of God that's resident within you. So eating will truly be a pleasure that you will enjoy. And by the way, in the Garden, we had a picture of the beauty of uninterrupted cuisine and I believe we'll have a recreation of that whole scenario when we get to heaven someday.
All right, so we're gonna have a real body. We're gonna be able to eat. Notice the third thing. Jesus told Thomas to touch his body. Notice verse 27 of John 20: "Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it in My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.'" Once again, I want to remind you that our bodies, after the extreme make-over, are going to be real bodies like our current bodies, only totally renovated, resurrected, made-over. We'll be able to eat. We will have the sense of touch. We know that from this experience. Jesus told Mary not to hold on to him. Do you remember that experience? That happened in that period of time, John 20, verse 17: "Jesus said to her, 'Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father.'" You can't cling to something that's not touchable. Jesus told Mary, "Don't hold on to my body 'cause I haven't yet ascended to the Father".
So people are always asking me, "In my new body, will people know me and will I know others"? Jesus, in his Resurrection body, was real. His disciples knew who he was. Listen to this. They knew that this Jesus who was with them after his death and Resurrection was the very same Jesus they had known before his death. They knew this so deeply in their hearts that they all went to their death proclaiming the reality of his Resurrection and that he came out of the grave the same Jesus who had gone into the grave but in his Resurrection body. He was the real Jesus, the same Jesus, who they knew before and they knew now. And that's the way it'll be for you. When you get to heaven, you're gonna know all the people that you met down here. And they're going to know you. It is unthinkable to me that in heaven we will know less than we do here.
1 Corinthians 13:12 says this: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I am known". We will have a greater sense of recognition in heaven than we've ever had here on this earth. When Moses and Elijah appeared out of heaven to stand with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, the disciples with Christ recognized Moses and Elijah as real people. When Jesus describes heaven in Matthew chapter 8, he speaks of it as being a real place with real identifiable people present there.
Matthew 8:11 says: "And I say to you that many will come from the east and west, and sit down with," who? "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven". And you'll know who they are. You will be known. Missionary Amy Carmichael wrote these words about recognition in heaven. Listen to what she said: "Shall we know each other in heaven? Shall we love and remember? I don't think anyone need wonder about this or doubt for a single moment. For if we just think, we know. Would you be yourself if you did not remember? We are told that we shall be like our Lord Jesus. And does he not know and love and remember? He would not be himself if he did not, and we should not be ourselves if we did not".
We shall know and we shall remember and we shall be recognized. And we'll learn more about that going forward. Well, our new bodies will be indestructible. Our new bodies will be identifiable. Our new bodies, thirdly, will be incredible. And I mean that, incredible. Verse 43b says: "We will be sown in weakness, we will be raised in power". "We will be buried in weakness". Isn't that true? When a body's buried, it's without any strength, without any power. But when we come out of the grave, it will be in power. In our current bodies, we are limited in our ability to sustain effort for very long. Isn't that true? It gets harder and harder as we get older and older. We work hard for a few hours and we're exhausted. But in our new bodies, we will have capacities and abilities without any limitation. Nothing will be outside the scope of the possibility for us in our new body.
On one occasion, Jesus actually entered a room without going through the door. He just appeared in the midst of his disciples. John 20, verse 19 says: "The same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'" You say, "You mean, Pastor, when I get in my new body, I'll be able to just show up? Be in a place without walking through the door"? It appears that way. It appears that we will not have limitations like we have today. That through perhaps our thought process we'll be able to be places. And heaven is so vast and such a tremendous, you're gonna learn more about this later. Just to be able to think and be where you need to be. In Jesus' Resurrection body, he surmounted the limitations of this life. Earth had no power to stop him, and our bodies are going to be the same.
Finally, our bodies will not only be indestructible and identifiable and incredible, but notice the fourth thing Paul says in verse 44. Our new bodies will be infinite. It is buried a natural body. It is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. Paul goes to great effort to describe the difference between our earthly body and our heavenly body. He points to Adam as the image bearer for this body. He points to Christ as the image bearer for our new body. He says that we are going to have a spiritual body.
Now, let me just talk with you a moment about that because this is a matter of great confusion for a lot of God's people. What is a spiritual body? He's not talking about an immaterial body. We already know that. Jesus was touched, he was handled. Jesus ate. Jesus did not have a quote, unquote, "spirit body". He had a material body and we're gonna have bodies just like him. So we're not gonna have spirit bodies in the sense that we're gonna be kind of spooky, if you know what I mean. We're gonna have real bodies. Paul is talking here about a real body that is no longer controlled by the physical appetites but a real body that is now controlled by the Spirit. Our new bodies will exist on a higher plane and our new bodies, instead of being governed by our appetites, will be governed by the Holy Spirit. That's what a spiritual body is.
The basic difference between a natural body and a spiritual body is that the former body is suited for life on this earth, and our spiritual bodies will be suited for life in heaven for eternity with God. The natural body is soul controlled; the spiritual body will be Spirit controlled. And Paul tells us that in our current bodies we could not live in heaven. Verse 50 of chapter 15 says this: "I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption". He is saying that as we are now in our current bodies, we couldn't function in the realm of heaven. But God is gonna give us new, real bodies like the ones we have, only completely made-over, transformed, and no longer governed by our appetites of the flesh but governed now by the appetites of the Spirit.
Give me just a moment here, would you? Have you ever had 1 hour, or one 30-minute period or maybe even one 10 minutes when you sensed that the Holy Spirit was totally in control of who you were and what you did? It is the most glorious thing if even can have consciousness of that being true when it happens. The Bible says that when we are transformed and our Resurrection bodies come out of the grave, we are going to be totally in the Spirit. And we're gonna do only those things that please the Lord and our physical appetites will be marginalized by the appetite we have for the Lord God in his glory. If you are walking with the Lord today, that wets your appetite. To know what it's like, even for a moment, to live in the Spirit. Well, one day, and I believe it's soon, Jesus Christ is gonna come back and he's gonna take everyone who has trusted with him to heaven and, for those who are alive at that time, who haven't died yet, 1 Corinthians teaches us that they're going to experience the effects of the Resurrection on their way up.
Now that's the way I want to be experiencing Resurrection. How many would vote for that? We'd like to be here when Jesus comes back. So watch this. Listen, this is what it says in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52: "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep," what is sleep class? That's dying, for a Christian. But while we're not all gonna sleep, "we're all gonna be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. The trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed".
And so the pattern, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians and again in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 is like this. Jesus is gonna come back. He's not gonna come all the way to the earth and the Rapture is gonna come in the air. The trumpet's going to sound and those who have died in Christ are gonna be raised up and in the process of the Resurrection, they will immediately get their transformed body. And those of us who are Christians and are still alive on this earth, we'll be caught up together with them in the air, says Paul. We'll get our transformation in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, as we're caught up.
And then together, all of us, we'll be ushered into heaven by the Lord himself. All of us having transformed bodies like the Lord Jesus. Wow, I've often said I believe I'm gonna be alive when that happens. I think all of us as Christians ought to have that hope in our heart. It's gonna be something to see. I know that many of you have friends who have bodies that have been injured, perhaps friends who were born into this world and their bodies didn't function properly. Joni Eareckson Tada, she's such a powerful ambassador for the Lord Jesus.
In one of her books, she says this: "I still can hardly believe it. I, with shriveled bent fingers, atrophied muscles, gnarled knees, and no feeling from the shoulders down, will one day have a new body, light, bright, and clothed in righteousness, powerful and dazzling. Can you imagine the hope this gives someone spinal cord injured like me? Or someone who is cerebral palsy brain injured or who has multiple sclerosis? Imagine the hope this gives someone who is manic depressive. No other religion, no other philosophy, promises new bodies, new hearts, and new minds. Only in the Gospel of Christ do hurting people find such incredible hope". End of quote.
No wonder Paul said that "if in this life only we have hope, we are most miserable". But we have hope beyond this life, do we not? And that hope is in Jesus and, one day, all of the pains and the aches and the deformities and the deficiencies that we sense in our earth bodies are gonna all be taken away when we get our heavenly bodies. And we're going to know the joy of full capacity with the Lord forever and ever. Do you understand why I'm so passionate about trying to take people to heaven with me? You know what? I don't want anyone to miss what God has planned for his children.
Jack Welch, for all the businessmen here know, he was an icon as the CEO of General Electric. Wrote a book several years ago with the title on it, tells you a little bit about his ego. The book was titled, "Jack," and it was all about Jack. And it was about Jack's great administrative ability and I didn't buy into a lot that I read in the book but I always learn something from every book that I read, and I learned some lessons from him about administration that were good. Well, you can imagine my surprise as I skimmed through the book and discovered that someone had actually asked Jack Welch this question: "Do you think you will go to heaven when you die"? I couldn't believe that. It was in a business book.
So I have to honestly tell you, I never do this, I skipped to the last chapter. I wanted to hear what this man was gonna say and I'll tell you, here's what I read. After rambling about how he has made some mistakes in his business, how he is discouraged over his two failed marriages, Welch finally gets around to answering the question he was asked about heaven, and here's what he said: "So as far as heaven, who knows? I'm sure not perfect but if there are any points given out for caring about people with every fiber of your being and giving life all you've got every day, then I suppose I might have a shot". End of quote.
But Jack, heaven's not about having a shot. It's not even about caring for people or giving your life everything you've got every day. Heaven is about putting your trust in Jesus Christ and in him alone. And I need to tell you guys something. It's harder for a successful businessman to get to that point than it is for anybody else on this earth because we have gotten where we have gotten through the effort of our own energy and drive and vision. But when it comes to heaven, all those rules are thrown out, and heaven is not something you earn. Heaven's something that's a gift. And God says, "Until you are humbled enough to say, 'I can't earn heaven by my own works,' you will never see the inside of heaven". You will spend eternity in hell without Christ.
The way you get to heaven is you humble yourself as a little child and you acknowledge that you cannot do enough good things to get to heaven, that you could never make it to heaven on your own, and you put your trust in Jesus Christ and in him alone, plus or minus nothing. You literally bet eternity on Jesus. Until you're willing to do that, until Jack Welch is willing to do that, he can never go to heaven. There won't be any, "I think I've got a shot," when he stands before the Lord. He doesn't have a hope unless he puts his trust in Jesus Christ. He doesn't, I don't, and you don't. So I'm gonna ask you today, is there any reason you can think of why you wouldn't wanna put your trust in Jesus Christ, ask him to forgive your sin, and make a reservation in heaven that is absolutely as certain as it can be?