Let’s open our Bibles to 1 Corinthians, chapter 15. We have been studying on the subject of resurrection. Today I want to take you through the Glory of the resurrected body and I want to conclude on how we are to live in light of the resurrection.
Jesus promises the resurrection in John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
In this life, for believers, the body is exalted by being made the temple of the Holy Spirit: 1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you? God will not desert the body at the grave, He will raise it up from the dead at the trumpet call.
1 Corinthians 15:35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” It doesn’t take long for the body of the dead to decay. So, the questions began to arise in people, “How can a decayed, rotten body rise? And what about bodies that have been burned in a fire and bodies that have fallen into the sea and been consumed by sharks?
Resurrection, to be in body after death was unbelievable for people. King Agrippa had bought into the philosophy of no resurrection. Paul himself asked King Agrippa: Acts 26:8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?
Here in our text, I want you to notice the immediate response of Apostle Paul to the ones who is denying the resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:36 How foolish! KJV Thou fool.
This is often the case for the people who think they know there is a flaw in Christian doctrine. Thinking themselves to be wise and end up as fools in the end according to the Bible. People laugh at believers, their baptism, service, and holiness. 1 Corinthians 15:32 If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” “Live life to the max, fulfill every lust and every desire; your body goes to the earth and never comes back.” They end up as fools in hell.
So Paul is proving here in the Bible that there is a resurrection and life after death. First of all, Paul is giving us an illustration, then he talks about the form of resurrection, then he talks about the contrasts, and then the prototype of a resurrection body.
Let’s begin with the illustration: 1 Corinthians 15:36-38 36How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.
1. The illustration of a seed.
Any seed is put into the ground and it dies, decomposes in the ground. And out of that decomposed seed comes a resurrection life. A plant rises, and that plant is a very different kind of body than the seed.
In fact, you could never tell by looking at the seed what the body of the plant will look like. There is dissolution, and then there is difference, but at the same time, there is continuity; one dies, and in dying gives life. It is very different than what it produces.
So, it is in our case, our bodies will be buried and as they dissolve and disintegrate into the ground. God will cause us to rise again in a different form in the trumpet call. This will be the same person, changed by death and resurrection, but the same life coming forth in a different form.
Have you noticed? Your body now is different than it used to be, and it’s continuing to become different, very different than the infant that came out of the mother’s womb, very different. You are the same your middle age and the old age as you were in infancy; you are the same person, but you are not the same body.
Our Lord actually used this same analogy in referring to Himself and His own resurrection. John 12:23-24 23Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
Jesus sees that His own death is a kind of seed planting, a kind of dissolution, disintegration that results in a great and glorious and fruitful resurrection. If you say you don’t believe in the resurrection, you might as well say, “I don’t believe in harvest. I don’t believe in plants.”
So the analogy; why is it so hard for you to believe in the resurrection of the body when you see such illustrated in the world of plants?
2. The form of resurrection.
Paul moves from the analogy to the form of resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.
There are more than 600 octodecillion combinations of amino acids, and amino acids see to it, in those combinations, that flesh differs. It is so vast it is incomprehensible that God could have a mind to create so many kinds of flesh, so many kinds of bodies. So why would we think that it was some big task for Him to create bodies for resurrected saints, and even resurrected unbelievers?
There is no end to the reality of earthly organisms. Well, the earthly bodies takes you all the way down to the smallest, most minute microscopic organism all the way up to the creation of man.
Then there are heavenly bodies. 1 Corinthians 15:40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. That means everything that is in space; the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, the galaxies beyond our galaxy. There are differing kinds of bodies on the earth; there are differing kind of bodies in the heavens.
In fact, every single heavenly body is unique, each having its own glory. 1 Corinthians 15:41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. The fundamental meaning of glory is manifestation.
There are differing kinds of bodies on the earth; there are differing kind of bodies in the heavens. Illustrations from the earth, illustrations from space, illustrations from nature, illustrations from astronomy show us there can be bodies that God designs without limit, and that every single body is different than every other one. Every flower is a flower that is unique. Every animal is an animal that is unique. Every star is a star that is unique.
It’s incredible to realize the massive, incomprehensible, creative power of God. No two people are alike, no two plants are alike, no two animals are alike, no two flowers are alike, no two blades of grass are alike; so also is the resurrection of the dead.
In the resurrection we will be unique. 1 Corinthians 15:42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. That is to say your human personality, your personhood will not be wiped out. Just as you differ from everybody else now, you will then be.
We’ve seen the analogy in the seed, we’ve seen the form in looking at all the bodies throughout heaven and earth.
3. Contrast of the earthly body and resurrected body.
1 Corinthians 15:42-43 42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
a. Sown perishable, raised imperishable. The Authorized Version used to say, “Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption.” The whole of life for man from the cradle to the grave is in this fear of corruption. It means that the first breath you take is the beginning of your dying. The moment you’re born you begin to die. Corruption begins to function and operate. It is a property of man’s earthly body.
In the book called “The Emperor of All Maladies.” It’s the biography of cancer, written by a medical doctor, Siddhartha Mukherjee. In this book he describes the entire history of cancer and the history of the battle against cancer. At the end of the book he says, “Maybe we must ultimately accept cancer, to some degree, as the “inherent outer limit of our survival”—an inevitable offshoot of growth and aging that we might learn to hold at bay but can never truly eradicate.”
We can’t get rid of it completely, it is what defines us as human. We are in the process of corruption. He says that as a nonbeliever. We live in this fear of corruption. There is a raising that is incorruptible. There is no more sickness in the resurrected body.
b. Sown in dishonor, raised in glory.
c. Sown in weakness, raised in power.
We are weak when we are alive. We get tired after doing a couple of hours of work. We get weaker as life goes on. Finally in death, we are utterly helpless. Nothing is weaker than a dead body.
We are sown then in weakness. But we are raised in power. When we are raised there will be no weakness. We will live in a sphere of power and triumph and victory. 1 Corinthians 15:44-45 44If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.
Listen, the first is the natural body, then the spiritual body. The first man, Adam is from the earth, earthy; the second man, Jesus Christ is from heaven. Paul loves to make comparisons between Adam and Christ, the heads of two families. Adam, of course, is the head of all those who are earthy. Christ is the head of all those who are heavenly. He contrasts these two. There is Adam, who became a living person and he has given us natural life, life that is from the earth. But then there is Christ who is the last Adam who becomes a life-giving spirit, who gives us spiritual life; this is heavenly life. The last Adam gives us life suited for heaven, as the first Adam gave us life suited for earth.
Jesus Christ is the prototype of man’s spiritual life in a spiritual body. So if you ask the question, “What will your body be like?” It’ll be like the resurrected body of Christ. And they saw Him, they recognized Him, they talked with Him, He ate with them. He walked through walls, He moved Himself from one place to another instantaneously without traversing the space in-between. He had a glory about Him that was transcendent. He moved from earth to heaven. Adam, as originally created, gave us all our natural life; and with it, death. Christ as risen from the dead gives us our spiritual life: incorruptible, glorified, powerful, spiritual life.
Philippians 3:21 By the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
1 John 3:2 But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Acts 1:11 This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven
It’s the same Jesus. That is the prototype for resurrection. Philippians 3:20-21 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
That’s why 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s just an incredible thing to realize; what an astonishing and amazing gift. That’s going to happen. That resurrection is going to happen when our Lord comes. When rapture happens, we are all going up into the air, those who are alive and those who are coming out of the graves.
So what do we live in light of the resurrection? 1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Living in light of the resurrection.
1. Stand firm.
2. Do not be moved.
3. Work for the Lord.
4. Be ready for His coming.