Jentezen Franklin - Life After Life
If you have your Bibles, I'd like for you to open them with me to 1 Corinthians 15. And I wanna zero in on Verse 35, "But someone will say, 'How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come'"? What's the body like, that's resurrected? What is it gonna be like when we are resurrected? What, how can that happen, and what's it going to be like? Paul says in Verse 36, "Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies". He goes on to say in Verse 37 it's like a grain. He compares it to a grain.
Notice that. And then for the sake of time, I wanna go down to Verse 51, "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and the mortal put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory'". Everybody read Verse 55 out loud now, "O Death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory"?
I wanna begin today by reminding you of something that you don't like to think about, and it's simply this: people die. All people die. And sometimes they die in strange ways. For example, I heard and read about a woman by the name of Amelia Lynch. She was standing, true story, on a street in New York City, a flower pot fell from the eighth story of a building because it was struck with lightning and hit her in the head and killed her. She wasn't looking to die that day. She just died. It was a freak accident we would call it.
Then there was a man by the name of Carlos Bumbus. True story. He was fishing in the Philippines, and he opened his mouth to yawn, and I hope if you open yours and yawn at me while I'm preaching, and while the man was fishing, he opened his mouth to yawn, and a small fish jumped out of the water into his mouth, got lodged in his throat, and tragically he choked to death and died. I don't know why we're all smiling. It's a sad story, but it's a true story. You see, with every tick of the clock, every tick of the clock someone dies somewhere. One of those ticks has my name on it. One of those ticks has your name on it. It's already an appointment. You don't make it. God does. It's appointed unto man once to die.
All these young people looking at Tik Tok, tick tock, tick tock. One of those ticks has your name on it. But I have great news this morning. When death does come, it cannot kill you if you're in Jesus Christ. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The moment a Christian dies, their spirit leaves this world and they're instantly in the presence of God Almighty. The body is left behind, but they have gone to another world. Jesus has become the death of death. Death died when Jesus died on Calvary and when He rose on the third day.
I thought about how that this thing is going to take place. He said I show you a mystery that those that are asleep are dead in Christ. 1 Thessalonians said, "They will be raised first, and we who are alive and remain," meaning there will be a generation; I believe we are that generation that will be alive when the trumpet sounds, and too, the dead in Christ shall rise first because they're six feet under, and they will rise first. Their bodies, their spirits will come back with Jesus, and the spirit will connect with the body. The bodies will come alive. They'll be given resurrected bodies because the story of resurrection is not just about Jesus raising from the dead, but He guaranteed every one of us will have a bodily resurrection, and then those who are living will be caught up together with the dead in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
It's really something, and it's like a man in a machine shop, and he works all day and he makes a mess and he sweeps up all the stuff in there, and he's got paper, and he's got wood chips, and he's got all kinds of stuff. And if he's smart, he also has screws and washers and nuts that are valuable, and he doesn't wanna lose them, so he has him a magnet. And so, he'll reach down and instead of digging through all that stuff, all he's gotta do is pull up with a magnet that which has some of what the magnet has will connect with it and gravity loses its hold. Well, I'm telling you, the Bible put it like this. If the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead dwells in you, listen to this, it shall also quicken your mortal bodies.
One of these days morning, night, or noon, I don't know when, but soon and very soon a trumpet is going to sound. Jesus is going to return, and suddenly, those who are living the life that brings glory to Jesus will feel a quickening, and you will receive if you're alive a glorified resurrected body. The dead in Christ, and the Bible put it like this, in the moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Everybody look at me and blink your eyes, boom, and open. That's how quick it's gonna happen. And we shall be changed. What a moment that's going to be when Jesus appears in the clouds.
1 Corinthians 15 tells us that we're going to have resurrected bodies, and somebody asked the apostle Paul how can the body be resurrected. It's a great question. I wanna give you how. You know, I read a little true story about a man in London, England by the name of Solomon Peas. P-E-A-S. Peas. Solomon Peas. And he thought he'd have fun with it. It was his death, and he made sure that he left the wording on his tombstone. Here's what it said, "Beneath this sod and beneath these trees lies the body of Solomon Peas. But this ain't the peas. It's just the pod. The peas shelled out and went to God". I like that.
Well, I just wanna tell you today that this body is just the pod and one of these days we're gonna shed it, and we're gonna go be with God and then He's gonna give us a glorified resurrected body at that moment. The apostle Paul said to King Agrippa, "Why should it be considered an incredible thing to you that God can raise the dead"? I'm gonna tell you something. If you can get past Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," you ought to be able to believe anything. And if God could take nothing and make it into something, He can take what's left of a body and resurrect it and cause it to have life eternal because He's that kind of God. He said it's like a grain and unless a grain falls to the ground, is sown into the ground and then it decays and it rots and it dies, but inside of that grain after it's buried is a source of life that is germinated.
You can't put your finger on it, but even though it looks bad, decayed, and dead, there is a source of life that is germinating, and he used grain because he wanted us to understand when it went into the ground it's coming out of the ground what it was, and that is exactly how our resurrected bodies will be. It's like grain. Let me give you an example. Somebody says, well, how can the body be resurrected? Think about a man who, let's say he was born in Florida many years ago, and he lived his life and then he went to Viet Nam and while he was in Viet Nam serving he stepped on a land mine and blew his leg up and his leg was left in Viet Nam, and he came home and maybe he moved to Georgia and got a job at a lumber mill and somehow he accidentally cut two of his fingers off.
I'm just making this story up, so, and the fingers fell off in Georgia and then let's say he felt the call to preach and went to Africa and preached in Africa until he died, and they buried him under an apple tree, and the roots of that apple tree go down into the dirt, and they draw the nutrients from his decayed body and through the roots it feeds the tree, and suddenly, there's apples on the tree and the apples fall off of the tree and a hog comes along and eats the apples and goes and throws all over the place. How in the world is that man's body who has a leg in Viet Nam and fingers in Georgia and body parts all over Africa, how is God going to raise him up?
The Bible is so astounding that God before scientists ever discovered D.N.A. and stem cell research, God said in Psalms 139:16, "Your eyes did see my substance, yet when I was unformed and in your book all my body parts or members were written and recorded when there were none of them". You know what he's describing? You know, everything that you are comes out of stem cells and comes out of D.N.A. D.N.A. is what tells the length of your fingers, your arms, the color of your hair. Everything comes out of your D.N.A., and God said I had it all in a book, all your body parts. I had it coded in, and I don't care how much you change, you will always be you because you have your D.N.A. code.
Now, what I want you to understand is just like that seed goes into the ground, one day when the trumpet sounds I don't care where you are. I don't care if you've got a leg in Viet Nam and fingers in Africa. I don't care if you've been torn to pieces, and your body is decayed. God's gonna punch your card in up in heaven. He's got a book that's got your D.N.A. and suddenly that body will just like the valley of dry bones, bones will come to bones in the moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and you're gonna get a resurrected body, and it will be powerful and it will be eternal. Hallelujah!
Secondly, and I just got three quick points, but secondly, he talks about the individual uniqueness of the resurrected body, Paul does. God does not make copies. He makes originals. God is not gonna make us all the same when we get glorified, we're all gonna put on white robes and walk before... no. We're gonna be. You will be you. I will be me. We will know one another. The Bible is very clear about that. When Moses and Elijah went on the mountain, you know, they lived 1.500 years before Jesus came on the earth, and when they went on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, the Bible said the disciples instantly knew who Elijah was and who Moses was and who Jesus was, and by the way, that's a beautiful picture of the Rapture because it had Moses up there, and Moses died and the angel had to fight, Michael the angel, had to fight the devil over his body ‘cause Satan wanted his body. He was buried in the Mountain of Nebo.
Now watch this. You've got those who die in Christ on the Mountain of Transfiguration, and then who else was there? Elijah. Elijah never died. He was called up in a fiery chariot. So, you've got the living and the dead and right in the middle you've got Jesus lighting them up. Now, what I want you to understand is in heaven there will be a uniqueness to you, and you will be known even as you know. If you know people here, you will know them there, but you will have supernatural knowledge. Your mind will be so increased. You only use a small percentage of your brain, but you'll know everybody because of the kindred-ship of the fellowship of the Blood and the Body of Jesus Christ. You will just know everybody, and they'll know you.
You know, it's bad when people come up to me and they say, "Do you remember me"? That's my most dreaded question that somebody can ask me. And I'm good with faces, and I try not to lie ‘cause I don't wanna go to hell, so I'll say, "Remind me". I'm giving y'all my secrets. "You look familiar," is my go to. But in heaven, I'll never be embarrassed. I'll know that one and that one, and Paul will know me, and Peter will know me and know you, and we're gonna have a... whoa! Hallelujah! Take a praise break. Just take a praise break. Woo! I feel like shouting. I'm enjoying my own preaching. Hallelujah! God is a god of variety, and He says in this text, "Just as a star's glory one from another," one is brighter than the other, "so will the resurrection of the dead be".
Just like bodies are different from one another. Just like snowflakes. There are no two that are the same. No two fingerprints that are the same. A little boy got a gift from his mother for Christmas. It was fingerprint set, and she came to him and said, "How do you like it, son"? And he said, "Well, I like it mom, but the man who wrote the instructions lied". And she said, "Why do you say that, son"? He said, "Because he said that there's only one fingerprint for every person, and that's not true". He said, "I know for a fact that my dad and Santa Claus and whoever keeps breaking into my piggy bank, all three have"...
I'm telling you today that if you know, if you know somebody here, you will know them there. I believe the first people we'll see when we go through the gates of pearl will be the people in our own family that have gone before us. I've got a daddy over there. I've got a brother over there. And because of Jesus and His love for me and my family, one day we're gonna be reunited on streets of gold. The sorrow will be gone. The pain will be gone. God shall wipe every tear from our eyes. We're headed to a mighty, mighty place. We will know each other in heaven. Thirdly, let me give you this, and this is the great news right here now. He said not only will you be like a grain and not only will you be unique, but he said in your resurrected body it will be infused with perfection, that the best that you've ever been, at the tiptop shape that you've ever been in, it's just not that good.
Let me put it like Paul put it. He said we're sown, meaning we go into the ground in corruption, but we're raised in incorruption. The word corruption means decay. He said we're sown in, and listen to these words, dishonor but raised in glory. Sown in weakness but raised in power. Sown in natural body, Paul said, but raised a spiritual body. Your resurrected body will be infused with perfection. You've never known the body you're about to have. You say I'm not sure I want my body in heaven. I get that. I understand that, but you'll want the one that God has for you. You'll like it. Your I.Q. will be unbelievable. Your body will be unbelievable.
He said, God said, I'll take you as your sown in dishonor, but you'll be raised in glory. You know what? God wants us all to have a glorious body. I love that. Who would say today you have a glorious body? Who would say that? Some of you really think you're something, but all I would say to you after all your PX 90 and all your workouts and all your gym, and I'm all for it. I do it myself. I do. That's how I keep my high school figure. Amen. But after it's all said and done, all I'd say to you who are in tiptop shape, I mean, ripped and cut and all of that, all I would say to you is give it time. You're gonna be attacked by the four Bs: baldness, bifocals, bunions, and bulges. It's gonna get you sooner or later. But one of these days God said I'm gonna give you a glorious body. We've never seen.
If God were to cause Adam to step out of God's assembly line like He made him, we've never seen him ourselves not under the curse. If you could have seen the body that Adam had and Eve had before the fall, my Lord, if Adam walked out here, the women would swoon and faint, and the man would need prayer when they saw Eve because you would not believe the glorious bodies God had for them. Boy, that makes me happy because after a year of COVID and after a year of death and breathing machines and funerals and disease and cancer, one of these days we're gonna get a resurrected body that's not susceptible to sickness, to pain, to aches, to hurt.
What a Redeemer we have that He says I don't just want your spirit. I'm gonna redeem your body and give you a body that is glorious. Let me tell you what the Scripture says. It says that, and I just wanna read it right out of the text because it's a good place to end. Listen to what he says. He says, "Now let me show you a mystery in the moment, in the twinkling of an eye the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible". Verse 54, "So, when this corruption has put on incorruption, mortal will put on immortality. Then it will be brought to pass. Death is swallowed up in victory".
And then he makes this powerful statement. Listen. "O Death, where is your sting"? It's two anthems there. One for the living and one for the dead. The first one is for those, that generation that is alive that never sees death because they get raptured, and so that's their part of the song, "O Death, where's your sting"? I never felt your sting, death. What happened? We're gonna get raptured. But then the second anthem is for the dead because they're gonna look back at the plot that they were buried in and say, "O grave, where is your victory"? The tombstone is toppled. The grave has exploded with resurrection. The coffin has been burst wide open. And the living will say, "Death, where is your sting? I never felt your stinger".
There was a little boy and a little girl who were in the garden with their mother, and while they were in the garden, a bumble bee came and it stung the boy and after it stung the boy, the little sister saw it, and it started buzzing all around her, and she got hysterical and started screaming, panicking as it was buzzing thinking that it was gonna land and sting her, and the mother said, "Come here, darling. It's alright". And she took the hand of that boy, and she showed the stinger that was in his hand from that bumble bee, and she said, "Look. It doesn't have a stinger anymore. The bee left the stinger in your brother. All it's got is the buzz".
I have an elder brother by the name of Jesus, and He took the stinger out of death for me. And yeah, it's scary to hear a bad report and know that you're gonna die. Nobody looks forward to it, but all that death has is the buzz. It doesn't have the stinger for me anymore because, death, where is your sting? Grave, where is your victory?