Victory in Christ
1 Corinthians 15:35-58
Victory in Christ
I want to start off talking about a few things I know about you. Right now you are worried and you don’t want anyone to know about it. You are worried that you might not make it. You are worried that you might fail. You are worried you won’t get to where you want to be and people are going to abandon you. You are stressed and worried about that.
God wants to do something to help you.
In your goals you are trying to go from here to there. You are worried you may not get there.
But the truth is that God is looking at taking you from here to here
You are concerned about a small dot in eternity. God has much bigger plans. You can be so worried about this dot that you don’t see all the other things that God wants to do, and that he has promised to do.
And the way you connect to eternity is not through the things you fear losing or not getting, it’s not through your job, your work, your looks, fame, followers on instagram, but it is through Jesus Christ.
We are studying a portion of the Bible that speaks of the resurrection of Jesus. This passage shows us the power of the resurrection and the power of God displayed in our lives. It shows us what Christ achieves for us in the resurrection and why we should trust in him, and him alone for our eternity.
This is a powerful passage that shows us how much God does for us in Jesus.
In Christ we have victory over all things
In Christ we have victory. We worry about tests and it’s not just if you passed or failed, it’s I’m never going to get into college. I’m ruined forever. We gain a little weight and it’s not just did I gain weight but will anyone accept me. Will I find approval of others. And the things we crave for are often shadows of greater things promised to us in Jesus. Will I ever overcome these struggles that I have. In Christ the answer is Yes!
This church was questioning the resurrection and here the train of thought begins with “How can you say there is a resurrection when we see people die and their dead bodies lying there? Is there really a plan. Is Christ really able to help me overcome? To this there is an emphatic Yes!
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39
For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:35-58 ESV)
I want to look at three ways the resurrection changes the way we view life:
- Seed to Fullness.
The earthly gives way to the heavenly. It is not just about this life. There is more to come.
This passage shows a process of life. Death is not the end. It is the door to eternity. The things in this life are not the end. Your body now is not what it will be later. It must die and through that process another body is given, a heavenly body.
36does not come to life unless it dies.
37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39
Process of death. The kernel in the ground. We all enter into this. We all feel it. Death is not the end though. Fullness is. Death is the sowing of a seed that gives way to a new life and new reality, A heavenly reality.
What we have in this life is of one kind of glory and what is to come is of another glory. There is a heavenly body and life that is to come that is altogether different.
Logical application is that we pursue now the heavenly that is to come. The way you live now you are sowing seeds. That dot right there on the screen, that is your life, it is a seed. A seed that will be harvested in eternity. What are you sowing with your life and or body?
People work out to make their bodies beautiful, have surgeries, injections, all to keep it alive, pretty, and those can honor God, but it’s also futile. Your body is wearing out. And that is the path to glory.
Some of you who have given yourselves to the world, you are embarrassed and ashamed of what you have done, heartbroken. You hope people don’t find out who you are and what you have done. You fear this being known. You need to know there is healing. But the path to life and healing goes through the grave. You are going to have to die to yourselves. Die to your old dreams. And come alive to Jesus. You have been dead to him. You are living for something other than him.
Turn to him with all you have. Taste.
- Shame to Glory
This passage is full of words of what is first to what is later. Other passages of scripture talk about the transformation of the earth, universe in the new heaven and what it will be like. This talks about our personal transformation.
42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Death to life.
Perishable to imperishable
Dishonor to glory
Weakness to power
Natural body to spiritual body
fthora- corruption, decay; moral and spiritual. like a rotten apple
asthenia, weakness or sickness. inability.
atimia-dishonor, shame. raised in honor and glory.
natural or worldly, this world. raised spiritual
The resurrection, this bringing to new life is not just about our body, but our very selves.
We do shameful things. In a fallen world and with other fallen people shameful things happen to us. You have been hurt by others, God is able to mend.
- Do you ever feel the rottenness of what you have done to other people. Me cringing at things I said and did before I was a believer. How hurtful it was to other people.
Corruption of what others have done to you:
- Over ⅓ of our population has experienced sexual abuse. How will you ever overcome that? You feel broken and unfixable. God is able to fix.
- Millions of kids neglected by their parents.
- Addictions ruin our lives and you get to a place and think you can never get out, you can never find wholeness.
- Broken marriage, relationships,
- Verbal abuse, angry words.
You may feel broken beyond repair.
Those injuries are devastating, they are painful, they hurt, and you may have a limp the rest of your life; but God’s grace is greater. They are not greater than the power of God displayed in the resurrection. This power removes the hurt, the shame, removes the guilt. Tell yourself you will not be defined by the world and what is has done to you. Tell yourself you will be defined by the power of the resurrection in Jesus Christ.
Don’t seek duct tape solutions. We have a natural tendency to want these things. We want glory, and many ways that is a God given desire. We are designed to reflect him. He is glorious and we want to do that. But we do it through him and not our own means.
The corruptible and dishonorable bring corruption and dishonor to others. That is what sin is. We go against God’s purpose and it affects others. How do you reverse this?
Another set of contrats is who we trust in:
Natural to spiritual
Man of dust to man of heaven
Living soul to life giving spirit
5 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
Remember, this is our new head. He is over us. His power at work in us. We are submitted to him. And as we submit to him we submit to the fountain of blessing.
Person who is depressed because of wrongs done to him. Victimized. Life defined by what happened to him there. Look, even if everything was done wrong, even if you messed up, that is not your future. Your future is not determined by what has been done to you. Your future will be determined based on your believing what God has done for you in Jesus and your clinging to him more than what they have done to you.
Are you trusting in the dust of humans. Those of the world. The people who are going to be blown and tossed and disappear without you even knowing it. The things that have no lasting significance, or are you trusting the one and only man of heaven. The one who came down to save us, to lead you to the way of incorruptible. Will you follow him or stay in your ways. Will you give your life living for the dot of this life or for eternity of the life to come.
Some of you have achieved so much success in life because you are driven to not be what others thought you would be. You are achieving but in constant fear of failing, you have no rest, you can’t appreciate what you have, or others in your life. You want it perfect and you will never find rest until you come to rest in Jesus being the only one who can make you right.
This change happens in the twinkling of the eye. A twitch. Think how easy and quick it is.
Don’t look to other Adam’s for life. Think you need to marry this guy or that one. Or a guy who makes $ or looks a certain way. You will never find life in a person. You may find companionship, another soul to relate with, but they cannot fill your soul or make you happy. They are an empty cup that needs filling. You are an empty cup that needs replenishing, empty cups must go to the fountain. Jesus is that fountain. He gives life to our mortal bodies. He gives life to us now.
If you are trusting in the wrong thing you have every reason to doubt and question if you will get there. That is why you lean on Christ.
- Death to Victory.
To sum all this up is to say we have victory over death (and every other enemy that threatens us).
Nikos: the upper hand, the victory in battle. This is not just a battle, this is the battle.
The power of death is gone. Death is swallowed up in victory. Think of it being eaten. It is consumed. The youth swallowed up six pizzas last Sunday.
We do not live in fear of death.
I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. (Luke 12:4 ESV) But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! (Luke 12:5 ESV)
This victory is through Jesus. It does not come any other way. We must trust in him, follow him, honor him, serve him.
Be about the work of the Lord. Your labor is not in vain.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:35-58 ESV)
Martin Luther. We take risks. Seek God’s word for what to do and how to do it. Get advice from people you trust. And go after it.
Let’s talk about doing the work of the Lord. Can you tell me what this is?
This is actually a mask Martin Luther, the famous reformation pastor, wore to minister to people suffering from the black plague in the middle ages. The black plague killed 30-50% of the population in Europe. It was not known what caused it, but people believe it to be airborne. This suit was designed to protect against it. The long nose was stuffed with herbs and others things to kill it before entering someone’s lungs.
Many people fled from the sick. Many Christians moved towards it. Luther did that. There is a boldness of faith, there is a wisdom, he protected himself. And yet Luther was not just there to offer medical advice, he was there to tell people about the resurrection.
In this pandemic, demonstrate boldness and wisdom, it looks different for different people because different people are affected differently, but here is the big thing: are you telling people about the resurrection, or are we offering opinions on how to find health in this life. By all means heal, but don’t stop with the dot. Help people see how now connects to eternity.
Are we living like Jesus can heal all things? Are we stressed, are we depressed? Are we still doing the things he calls us to do?
Let me ask this also, Are you talking about how your work in this life connects to Jesus’s work. Most of our professions offer help for people in the dot, and Christians are to provide that while also helping them see the line of eternity.
Teachers prepare kids for life, then think about connecting to eternity. Health care workers taking care of physical healing, talk about how that connects to Jesus. Writing fiction fantasy books then talk about the greatest story and triumph ever made. If you are helping people overcome addictions and find people, be sure to talk about. Roof is falling apart and you fix those, it is corruptible – point them to something that won’t wear out. Producing plays or movies that entertain and take people’s minds off the stress of life, remember what you are doing is providing a shadow of what God has done for us in the resurrection. You are imaging the man of heaven, in a small way, and that becomes a door to point others to something much greater.
If you don’t heal what hurt you, you will bleed on people who didn’t cut you
You have to push aside the things you are trusting in for your life. It may be your plans. It may be plans around finding fulfillment or healing in people. Don’t look for life in things that don’t produce life.