Easter 2016

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD

INTRODUCTION:

 

Is there life after death? Is there such a thing as a resurrection from the dead?

 

Some people do not believe in any resurrection from the dead. I have heard them say things like when you’re dead, you’re dead. They say that heaven and hell are here on earth. Are they right? No, they are wrong.

 

What does the Bible have to say about this?

 

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

 

This verse shows that human opinion regarding spiritual matters cannot be trusted.

 

So, what does the Bible have to say about the resurrection from the dead? In this message I wish to share with you three different resurrections from the dead which are discussed in the Bible.

 

I am not speaking about those people like Lazarus who were raised from the dead but who would eventually experience physical death a second time. Rather, I am speaking of three resurrections where those raised from the dead would never again die physically.

 

The first resurrection discussed in the Bible is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Bible clearly teaches that –

    I.     CHRIST WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD

 

Three things are found in the Bible which indicate that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. The first thing is –

            1.   The statements of the angels at the tomb

 

Matthew 28:1-61 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers [i.e. the guards] did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

 

Mark 16:1-61 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James [i.e. she was the mother of James the Less, also known as Alphaeus], and Salome [she was the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee], had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. [The idea of anointing Jesus’ dead body was to cover up the odor of a decaying body. It shows that they thought He was dead.] 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted [i.e. alarmed]. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted [i.e. stop being alarmed]: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

 

Luke 24:1-81 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them [i.e. the angels said unto the women], Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words.

 

A second thing which indicates that Jesus was raised from the dead is –

            2.   The resurrection appearances of Jesus

 

                        (1) Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene

 

John 20:11-1811 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence [i.e. carried Him away], tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. [She was looking for Jesus’ dead body.] 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not [i.e. stop clinging to me]; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

 

                        (2) Jesus appeared to the women

 

Matthew 28:9-109 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them [i.e. Jesus met Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less, and Salome, the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee], saying, All hail [i.e. Greetings!, Rejoice!]. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid [i.e. stop being afraid]: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

 

                        (3) Jesus appeared to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus

 

Luke 24:13-3213 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs [i.e. about sixty furlongs or seven miles]. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16 But their eyes were holden [i.e. were restrained] that they should not know him [i.e. so that they did not know Him]. 17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these [i.e. what kind of conversation is this] that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which [i.e. Who] was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel [i.e. that He was the Messiah]: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 And they drew nigh [i.e. drew near] unto the village, whither [i.e. where] they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry [i.e. to stay] with them. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat [i.e. sat at the table] with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

 

Additional eyewitnesses of Christ’s resurrection from the dead are listed in I Corinthians 15:1-8 –

I Corinthians 15:1-81 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 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 [i.e. by Peter], then of [i.e. by] the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of [i.e. by] above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep [i.e. some have died]. 7 After that, he was seen of [i.e. by] James; then of [i.e. by] all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of [i.e. by] me also, as of one born out of due time.

 

                        (4) Jesus was seen by Cephas (i.e. Peter)

 

There is no other reference to this in the New Testament.

 

                        (5) Jesus was seen by the Twelve - On the night of the resurrection and again a week later.

 

John 20:19-2519 Then 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, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

 

John 20:26-3126 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither [i.e. here] thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither [i.e. here] thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

 

Back to I Corinthians 15:1-8

                        (6) Jesus was seen by above 500 brethren at once

 

This is not reported elsewhere in Scripture.

 

                        (7) Jesus was seen by James

 

The actual appearance to James is not found in a particular passage in the Bible, but James is seen with the believers on the day of Christ’s ascension

 

1.                                       Acts 1:9-149 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. 13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew [also known as Nathanael], and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren [i.e. His brothers].

 

                        (8) Jesus was seen by all the apostles

 

It has already been stated that He was seen by the twelve; so, why this is stated is not clear.

 

Finally –

                        (9) Jesus was seen by Paul

 

This occurred on the Road to Damascus

 

Acts 9:1-61 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way [i.e. any who believed that Jesus was the Messiah], whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks [i.e. the goads]. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

 

A third thing which indicates that Jesus was raised from the dead is –

            3.   The willingness of the eyewitnesses to die for what they saw

 

Clearly, Jesus was raised from the dead. The statements of the angels that He was raised from the dead, the resurrection appearances, and the fact that the eyewitnesses were willing to die for what they saw all indicate that Jesus was raised from the dead.

 

The second resurrection discussed in the Bible which I wish to share with you is the resurrection of believers from the dead. Not only does the Bible teach that Christ was raised from the dead, the Bible also teaches that all –

  II.     BELIEVERS WILL BE RAISED FROM THE DEAD

 

In order to go to heaven you must believe, not only that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for your sins, but you must also believe in the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

 

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

 

Those who are saved will someday be raised from the dead and taken to heaven.

 

I Thessalonians 4:13-1813 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [i.e. those believers who are dead], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep [i.e. who have died] in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [i.e. will not precede] them [i.e. will have no advantage over them] which are asleep [i.e. over those believers who have died]. 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.

 

The third resurrection discussed in the Bible which I wish to share with you is the resurrection of unbelievers from the dead. Not only does the Bible teach that Christ was raised from the dead and that believers will be raised from the dead, the Bible also teaches that all –

 III.     UNBELIEVERS WILL BE RAISED FROM THE DEAD

 

There is another resurrection mentioned in the Bible. It is the resurrection of the unsaved dead. No one should desire to be part of this resurrection.

 

Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:11-1511 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [i.e. hades] delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell [i.e. hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

CONCLUSION:

 

The Bible teaches that everyone will eventually be resurrected from the dead. Whether you believe in the resurrection from the dead or whether you don’t makes no difference. It is going to happen. Saved people will be raised and will experience eternal bliss in heaven. Unsaved people will be raised and will experience eternal hell in the lake of fire.

 

Everyone will live forever, including those who don’t believe in the resurrection. They will either be resurrected in what is described as the first resurrection and spend eternity in heaven, or they will be resurrected at the Great White Throne Judgment and spend eternity in hell where they will suffer for their sins because of their refusal to accept Jesus Christ as their own personal Savior.

 

When is it that you are going to be resurrected? With the believers? or, with the unbelievers?

 

In order to go to hell, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t even have to believe in hell to go there. If you don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose again from the dead, you will go to hell after you die. It’s automatic.

 

Be certain you are genuinely saved by receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and that you will, therefore, participate in the first resurrection.

 

What does the way you are living say about the resurrection you will be participating in? If you are not really living for the Lord but only put on this appearance when you are in church, are you really certain that you have been genuinely saved?