Michael Youssef - Healthy Living in a Sick World - Part 20
1 Corinthians chapter 15 is a vitally important chapter and is written for the believers. Now, if you're visiting with us, this is the second from the last in a long series from 1 Corinthians, "Healthy Living," Healthy Spiritual Living in a Dying and Sick World. Here in this long chapter, one of the longest chapters in the Bible, the Apostle Paul gives us six things that every believer in Jesus needs to know 1 second after you die. He gives us six things that everyone must know. Even if you're not a believer, you need to know what the believers are going to experience, and I pray to God that this may be an incentive for you to become a believer in Jesus today.
The first thing Paul tells us in verses 1 to 11, that Christ's resurrection from the dead is the only true resurrection; verses 1 to 11. Secondly, he tells us that only the believers in Jesus Christ will be resurrected like Jesus; verses 12 to 19. Thirdly, he says all true believers live between two Easters, and I'm going to explain that in a minute; verses 20 to 28. Fourthly, this life is a dress rehearsal for the real life that is to come. This is a dress rehearsal. What you practice in this life is what you experience in the real life. Five, in verses 35 to 49, there will be a body exchange. Six, verses 50 to 58, you can live the resurrected life here and now in this life.
Christ's resurrection is the first true resurrection. What does that mean? The resurrection of Jesus Christ after 3 days in the grave is the absolute foundation of the Christian faith. Hear me out, please. No one, no one, no one can claim to be saved through the blood of Jesus Christ and would deny the bodily physical resurrection of Jesus. And, beloved, that is why the Apostle Paul making absolute sure that we understand of the evidence of the resurrection; that these evidence are indisputable, that there were 500 eyewitnesses that lives even of his disciples and of others totally, completely transformed, that these disciples and these followers and those eyewitnesses were very happy and glad to die for Jesus. After that, it's due to the fact that they saw him risen from the dead.
Now, here's what I need you to focus with me on because the Corinthians were really not doubting the resurrection of Jesus. I'm going to explain to you why he said these things in chapter 15. They were not doubting the resurrection of Jesus, they were doubting their own resurrection. And I'm going to show you why their culture has influenced their thinking, and that is why the Apostle Paul ties the resurrection of Jesus with our own resurrection. You see, they say, "Oh yeah, he's a divine son of God. He rose from the dead, but we're not sure about our own". And Paul said, "The two go together". Why? Because if they get the resurrection of Jesus right, they will get their own resurrection right.
If they comprehended our own resurrection to be inexorably linked with the resurrection of Jesus, if they understood that the resurrection of Jesus and our own resurrection strongly and irrevocably linked, if they understand that Jesus is the first one to rise from the dead and never, never, never to die again, then they will understand their own resurrection. Make no mistake about it. Even when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, few years later Lazarus died. When Jesus raised the son of the widow of Nain from the dead, that young boy grew up and died. But only Jesus had a true resurrection because he rose never to die again.
Secondly, only believers in Jesus will be resurrected like Jesus. Look at verses 12 to 19. God is saying to us that because Jesus rose from the dead, everyone who placed his or her faith and hope in Jesus alone will be raised from the dead too just like Jesus. Jesus's resurrection and the believers' resurrection should stand together or fall together. You cannot have one without the other. Something else that you need to know that the Apostle Paul is dealing with here; in 1 Corinthians 15, he's dealing with the impact of culture upon the church and, beloved, we see it today. The culture is impacting the church instead of the church impacting the culture. In the 1st century Greek culture, the Greeks refused to believe in the resurrection of the body. Why? Because they saw the body as evil. Only the soul is good, and therefore they did not want the soul or spirit to be enclosed in another body.
And so they impacted the thinking of the church. The culture of that day believed that the body is a prison cell, and the soul is imprisoned by that body and the soul is longing to be set free from that evil body and from that prison cell. And so Paul is teaching that the believers will have a new body, resurrected body, and this was unthinkable to the Greek culture that impacted the Corinthian church. The Corinthian believers were willing to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. They say because he is divine son of God, but not the Christian believer.
And Paul, literally, in this section here he's saying, "If we do not rise from the dead, Jesus was not raised from the dead. And if Jesus was not raised from the dead, the gospel is preached to you in vain and your faith in Christ is worthless. And all of those hundreds of people who were eyewitnesses of the resurrection, they were all liars". Not only that, but it means that sin is not defeated, that death is not conquered, that victory over sin is impossible, that all the dead believers have believed in vain.
Thirdly, verses 20 to 28, the believers in Jesus live between two Easters, two Easters. The first Easter was the day of Jesus's own resurrection; physical resurrection, bodily resurrection out of the grave. The second Easter is the day when we going to be appearing in our resurrected bodies. Question, what does Paul mean by Jesus is the first fruit? What is the first fruit? You got to understand a practice that was practiced throughout the Old Testament to understand what it means, why Jesus is the first fruit of those who rose from the dead; verses 20 to 28. The first Easter was the first fruit. The second Easter is going to be the harvest.
Now, the Jews in the Old Testament, they were agrarian society. So what do they do when they see the harvest is ready to be harvested? They take a sample, almost 10% of what the harvest will be, and they will take that ripened fruit and they'll bring it to the priest in the temple and they present it as the first fruit, as the first fruit. Until that is offered to God, they cannot go back and harvest their crop. The same thing happens with the resurrection. The first fruit is Christ's resurrection. That is the first installment, and therefore our own resurrection is going to be the harvest. Listen to me. There was time when you were not, but there will never be a time when you will not be. Everyone is going to live eternally.
The question is, where will you live it? Where would you live it? It can only... two locations. Verse 22, he said Adam was the first fruit of physical creation. Adam was the first fruit of sin and disobedience. Adam was the first fruit of physical death, and the harvest of that crop is our pain and our sorrow, our sin, our grief, our tears, our death. All humanity participated in that harvest. The first fruit was Adam's death and disobedience, but only those who are in Christ Jesus will participate in the resurrection of the believers.
Now, I need to make this very clear. Listen carefully. All of humanity became infected with Adam's sin, but only those who belong to Jesus Christ will receive the antidote to that infection. All of humanity caught the bug of death when Adam blew it in the garden, but only those who are in Christ Jesus will have the cure from that eternal death. Oh, listen. I understand. It doesn't look like it now. I know that. It doesn't look like it. It doesn't look like it because everybody dies, but listen to me, Verses 24 to 28, God's Word says the day is coming when Jesus visibly before all worlds, before all those who have ever lived is going to put his enemies in subjection to him.
Today, they use Jesus as a swear word; but then, they will bow to him. Today, Jesus's name is forbidden from mention in public; but then, those who have rejected him are going to weep blood and they mourn and wail over what they've done. Today, maybe in polite companies we don't talk about Jesus, but then the day is coming when all of eternity we spent; they will spend it in sorrow, they will spend it in remorse, but to no avail.
Fourthly, this life for the believer is a mere dress rehearsal. Hear me out, please. During Jesus's earthly ministry, there was, a Jewish sect did not believe in the resurrection. Now, most of the Pharisees and all the others believed in the resurrection of the body, but this particular sect called the Sadducees, and if you want to really remember their names, call them they are sad, you see. And here's what Jesus said to them. "You neither understand the Scripture nor the power of God". Why? Because, beloved, listen to me. Right doctrine produces right living. Right belief produces moral behavior.
Biblical knowledge produces power for living. Look at verses 29 to 34. Paul is telling us that if you remove the resurrection, if you deny this fundamental foundational truth of our God's redemption, if you doubt your eternal future, if you fear what is beyond the grave; you will not only live a powerless life, but you will live a messed up life. Why? Because if you see this life as a mere dress rehearsal to the next one, the real one, this one is so short in comparison to eternity.
Then you are going to live on top of the world in this one, if you see it as a dress rehearsal. I'm absolutely convinced that if the believers would openly and freely talk about their assurance of heaven, we will impact our culture. The problem is that so many believers express pessimism and fear and superstition about this just like the non-believers instead of rejoicing every day because we are one day closer to our eternal home. We look like we have been baptized in vinegar. Who wants that? Every day that passes, we are closer to going home. This is not our home. When we do that, then we're not going to fret and worry and live with anxiety.
Don't underestimate the assurance of heaven for the believer, and don't be ashamed of talking about it openly. Beloved, our own resurrection is one of the greatest assurance that God gives us, and he gives it to all of his children who have placed their faith in him. There may be somebody here watching around the world who may believe that Jesus is their Savior, but they fear their physical death. Listen to me. Sir, madam, this fear is directly from Satan. It's not from God. The only reason you would fear is because you're not walking with the Lord. That's the only reason, and you need to shake off that fear today.
Today, you can start seeing this life as a mere dress rehearsal for the one to come. Today, you can begin to look forward to your eternal home. Today, you can begin preparation for that eternal home. Today, you might need to rewrite your earthly will to reflect your anticipation of your heavenly inheritance. Verses 30, 31, and 32, because of that absolute assurance of our own resurrection, the Apostle Paul said he endured hardship, he endured suffering, he endured sacrificing, he endured fighting lions in Ephesus. Listen to me. The one and only thing that makes you willing to suffer abuse, ridicule, insult, hardship is the knowledge that this life is only a what?
Fifthly, verses 35 to 49, there will be, what I call, a great body exchange, a great body exchange. Verse 35, "But some may ask, 'How are the dead bodies raised, and with what kind of body they will come?'" Thank God I don't have to give the answer. The answer is here. Verses 36 all the way on to 49, Paul clearly answered this question. It is like planting of a seed. You put that seed in the ground, it dissolves in the ground and in its place there is a whole lot of grain comes up. The same God who is involved in the process of planting and harvesting of the grain is the same God who is involved in the process of our bodily death and resurrection.
When he spoke of his own body in John chapter 12, verse 24, the Lord Jesus said, "Unless the grain gets into the ground and decomposes, it cannot come again into new life". Hear me out, please. When Jesus was crucified and died on that cross and then he was buried, his physical body ceased to exist. His physical body with which he lived for 33 1/3 of a year ceased to exist, but a new body supernaturally provided to him by the Father, a resurrected body came to its place. Jesus's glorified body was so radically different from his earthly body, so much so that if you remember the disciples from Emmaus did not recognize him first, and they did later. His glorified body was no longer limited by time and space and natural substance. His resurrected body was radically different, and so will be the resurrected body of every single believer.
While the seed may radically be changed, listen carefully, this is important 'cause I know there's a question on the mind of many people. I've been asked many, many, many times. While the seed may radically be changed when it is planted in the ground and when our bodies will disintegrate, but a new plant is going to come. What is that? It's going to be you and you and me. It's not going to be a different person. It's going to be a different body, but not a different person.
And so after his resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ was the same Jesus, but was radically different body. We will only exchange bodies. That's what's going to happen. We're going to exchange bodies, but we're not going to exchange who we are. Who we are still stay the same. We will have a glorified body. We will have a perfect body. We will not cease to be who we are, but we will have a supernatural body just like Jesus after the resurrection. That is, beloved, what I call the great body exchange. Are you ready for it?
Look at verses 42 to 44. We will say goodbye to this body, this diseased body and receive the undefiled body. We will exchange a decaying body for an eternal, enduring body. We will exchange a body that is capable of dishonoring the Lord for a body that will honor him all the time. We will exchange a body that is weak in resisting temptation, that is weak in resisting sin, that is weak in resisting diseases and brokenness for a body that is immune from temptation, sickness, sin disease, and pain. We will exchange the natural bodies for supernatural bodies. Now amen belongs here. And it happens the moment you close your eyes in death. You go from the tent to the mansion. Hello? And that is why the Apostle Paul tells the Thessalonians, he said, "When a believer dies, we do not sorrow like non-believers who have no hope". Why? Because it's only temporary goodbye.
Number six, verses 50 to 58... as a matter of fact, verse 58, one of those verses that are often quote when I'm autographing books. Be immovable, steadfast. 50 to 58; if you really believe in the resurrection of Jesus, you should be able to look at death in the eye and say, "Come on, death. Make my day, for you will give me an opportunity to receive my glorified body. You will give me an opportunity to see my Lord and my loved ones. You will give me an opportunity to show you that you are no longer master over me.
You might think that you have destroyed family relationship, you might think that you have broken family love, you might think that you can bring grief to my loved ones, but, oh death, you cannot torment me anymore because Jesus broke your sting. Jesus destroyed your power. Jesus had rendered you toothless. He declawed you, he defamed you, and he disarmed you and destroyed you. And because of this, I will stand firm. I will be immovable. I will be steadfast. It will always be because I know that my toil and my labor for the Lord is not in vain".