SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 13/02

Resurrection from the Dead

1. Introduction

There is nothing more certain in life than death. No sooner is an object made when it begins to fade, wear away, decay and die. This trend of decay and death is seen throughout the present universe: in manufactured goods, metals, buildings, plants and all living creatures. They all deteriorate and die. The only unchanging and immortal Beings are Yahweh the Creator and His Son Yeshua the Messiah: and those who were resurrected when Jesus rose from the grave. All others are subject to death. They are mortal. Were it not for the Almighty's creative activity in upholding the universe and renewing its life forms on a regular basis, this downward trend of death would reduce the entire universe to a barren desert. Let me quote from one of the most interesting books I have read entitled The Origin of the Universe, page 7 (ISBN 1-877775-01-0)
"The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics describes basic principles familiar in everyday life. It is partially a universal law of decay; the ultimate cause of why everything ultimately falls apart and disintegrates over time. Everything appears to change eventually, and chaos increases. Nothing stays fresh as the day one buys it; clothing becomes faded, threadbare and ultimately returns to dust. Everything ages and wears out. Even death is a manifestation of this law. The effects of the 2nd Law are all around, touching everything in the universe. Each year, vast sums are spent to counteract the relentless effects of this law (maintenance, painting, medical bills, etc.). Ultimately, everything in nature is obedient to its unchanging laws."
That is a proven scientific law. "All natural systems degenerate when left to themselves."

Over nineteen hundred years ago the writer of the book of Hebrews wrote the same thing:
Hebrews 1: 10: And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.
11: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment.
12: And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

2. Question / Answers

The moment sin entered the system, the moment man turned away from God, the source of life: at that very moment decay, deterioration, degeneration and death began. "Dying thou shalt die" said God: not just in the mind and body, but in every natural system over which man was put in charge. The earth, the rivers, the oceans, the air and millions of living creatures, fell under the curse! All began to deteriorate, degenerate and die. Like some malicious computer virus that slowly but sure destroys all the programs and files on a computer disk, the virus of sin began to take its toll. The plants grew thorns. Many, many species of animals, insects and birds became predators. A blight settled on the whole world: and sin, the moral stand against God, triggered that 2nd law of thermodynamics, the law of decay and death!
Genesis 3: 17: And unto Adam he (God) said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18: Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19: In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

In the New Testament the apostle Paul writes the same thing. He says:
Roman 5: 12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

The death sentence, when it began to take its toll on the human race, was the devastating outcome of sin. Comparatively few people realise this: that decay, disease and death - in all nature - is the direct result of sin. Multiplied millions of humans and their cattle died. The 'sleep from which you never woke' swept the globe. Oh what a tragic thing is death. Few can understand it and fewer still bear it.

2. What happens at death?

Man is made of the elements of the earth and the Spirit of God. At death those elements return to the earth or to ashes and the spirit returns to God who gave it. It's not a case of some persons going to hell, others to heaven and still others to purgatory or some other place. All spirits return to God. As the scripture says:
Genesis 2: 7: And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Genesis 7: 22: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
Ecclesiastes 12: 6: Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
7: Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

But that is not the end of the story by any means.

3. Yahweh's Plan of Salvation

Yahweh was not taken by surprise when sin and death entered the universe. He had an emergency plan on hand should man misuse his freedom of choice. The plan, very broadly speaking, can be seen in two stages. We refer to this plan as the Plan of Salvation. The first part of the Plan of Salvation was demonstrated or illustrated in certain rituals involving animal sacrifices. It worked like this: These ceremonies depicted the first part of Yahweh's plan to reverse the process of death. They symbolised the death of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) the sinless Lamb of God who was to give his life in order to atone for the sins of the world. Repentant sinners, however sinful they may happen to be, can now find forgiveness by putting their faith in Jesus. When they take that first step the process of death for that person is eternally reversed. This fact is outlined in these verses:
John 1: 29: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
John 3: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

As Jesus said:
John 11: 26: I am the resurrection, and the life ... whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

What did Jesus mean when he said everlasting life? Believers are still dying, are they not? Where is the evidence of everlasting life? All things continue as they did since the creation! Believers get old, they become ill, they fade away and die: some too early by any standards.

So what did Jesus mean when he said: "whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." Where then is the promise of everlasting life?

The answer is: When a true believer dies, God looks upon him/her as being Not dead and gone forever: but asleep awaiting the resurrection. The word resurrection means 'to rise from the dead.'

4. When Does the Resurrection Take Place?

The resurrection will take place at the second coming of Jesus Christ: an event which is very near.
John 6: 40: And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
1 Corinthians 15: 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.
Matthew 24: 29: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31: And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

1 Thessalonians 4: 13: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope ...
16: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18: Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

5. The Resurrection, an Old Testament Teaching

The idea of being "raised from the dead" and living for ever is not new. It was held in Old Testament times by the children of Abraham and other nations. Life after death in one form or the other is taught by many of the world's popular religions. This article contains a record of what the Bible teaches about the resurrection - and living for all time! Here are some Old Testament verses concerning the resurrection.
The Patriarch Job believed in the resurrection
Job 19: 23: Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
24: That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
25: For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Ezekiel prophesied the resurrection
Ezekiel 37: 1: The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
2: And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
3: And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
4: Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
5: Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
6: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

7: So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
8: And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
9: Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
10: So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army
11: Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
12: Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13: And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14: And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

Isaiah prophesied the resurrection
Isaiah 26: 19: Thy dead men (and women) shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20: Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21: For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

6. The Saviour's Power to Raise the Dead

However, hoping in, believing in or even prophesying about the resurrection are quite different from being able to demonstrate a resurrection. The Lord Jesus Christ did just that. He has the power to demonstrate a resurrection. Here is the record of one such demonstration.
Lazarus is raised from the dead
John 11: 1: Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2: (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
3: Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
4: When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
5: Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
6: When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
7: Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
8: His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
9: Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
10: But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
11: These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
12: Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13: Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14: Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
15: And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
16: Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
17: Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
18: Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:
19: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20: Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21: Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22: But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23: Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24: Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25: Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

27: She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
28: And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.
29: As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.
30: Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.
31: The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.
32: Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33: When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,
34: And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35: Jesus wept.
36: Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
37: And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?
38: Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
39: Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40: Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41: Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42: And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43: And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44: And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin.
Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
45: Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

Note Jesus' words
I am the resurrection and the life:
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this?

Jairus' Daughter
Luke 8: 41: And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:
42: For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.
43: And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
44: Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
45: And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46: And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
47: And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
48: And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
49: While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.
50: But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
51: And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.
52: And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.
53: And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.
54: And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.
55: And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.
56: And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

I am the resurrection, and the life:
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this?

7. Christ was Raised Incorruptible

When the Saviour demonstrated the power to raise the dead, the people he raised later died. They were not raised immortal beings. They grew old and died. His own resurrection, however, which His Father performed (Acts 2:24) was quite different. Jesus was raised, never to die again! He was raised incorruptible, immortal. He was the first person ever to be raised to immortal life: the first born from the dead. Carefully note these passages.
John 3: 13: And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
Acts 26: 23: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
1 Corinthians 15: 20: But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
Colossians 1: 18: And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.

Seen by hundreds

When the Saviour was raised from the dead he was seen at the same time by hundreds of people. So there was no hallucination or deception involved. It really happened. He rose from the grave and hundreds of people saw him. What's more he is alive at this very moment.
1 Corinthians 15: 3: For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4: And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7: After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8: And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

I am the resurrection and the life:
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this?

8. All Power is Given Unto Me

When the Saviour was raised from the grave and ascended to heaven, His Father handed all authority and power over to him - all power! This means power to raise people from death, never to die again!
Matthew 28: 18: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

I am the resurrection and the life:
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this?

Revelation 1: 19: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen and have the keys of hell and of death.

9. He that Believeth hath Everlasting Life

When a person decides to becomes a believer, his/her name is entered in a heavenly register called the Book of Life. From that moment onwards, that person has everlasting life. Let me repeat that thought. Once a person decides to become a believer, from that moment onward - he/she has everlasting life. And when they die, Yahweh looks upon them as being asleep. Death as we know it, in God's sight, is just a sleep. Of Jairus' daughter Jesus said: "She is not dead, but sleepeth." Those words are on my mother's grave.
John 3: 16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3: 36: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
John 5: 24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

I am the resurrection and the life:
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this?

10. Summary

"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen and have the keys of hell and of death"
I am the resurrection and the life:
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this?

SBS     Sermon Notes

Author: David B Loughran
Stewartob Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
March 1996 ... Reformatted: April 2000