Sermon Beyond Resurrection

There was a technical fault on Sunday so the recording did not work. However, for those who have been following the series here are the notes that Graham used for his preaching.

Reflections on 1 Corinthians 15


A poem I do not like! Supposedly by Mary Frye, though authorship is disputed:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

Quoted on P16 of Tom Wright’s “Surprised by Hope”.

That poem by Frye is pagan, pantheistic and certainly not Christian. I will not have this poem at Christian funerals that I have been asked to conduct. I have given my life to serve Jesus and carry his gospel. Why would I switch my brain off at such an important time and have any old rubbish included?

I can see why people who do not have the assurance that we have in Christ will want to cling on to things like this. However, I fail to see any real comfort in those words. It seems to be saying that life ends, has no purpose, and is just a big recycling event.

We die, and worms (or fire) will consume our body. As Job said, (Job 19:26 )
“And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”

Reading Tom Wright’s “Surprised by Hope” it seems there is a loss of confidence in some circles over the resurrection promised to us in the Bible. He suggests the loss of confidence is not merely outside the church but within the community of faith in Jesus.

These are the words I use when I am conducting a funeral:

General Readings in funeral service
Romans 8:35-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jude 1:24,25 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and for evermore! Amen.

At Grave
1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 50
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in imperfection; it is raised in perfection: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does the imperfect inherit the perfect.

1 Corinthians 15:51-53
Behold, I tell you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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.

Cemetery – for a Christian
For as much as it has pleased Almighty God in His great mercy to take to Himself the soul of our dear brother/sister here departed, we therefore commit his/her body to the ground, earth to earth ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is He who is able to transform those who trust in Him. So that our lowly bodies will be like His glorious body. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen

Cemetery – for someone who may not have trusted in Jesus
And now, trusting in the great mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, we commit the bodily remains of ……………… to the ground, earth to earth ashes to ashes, dust to dust; until that great and final day when all will appear before His throne to receive their reward and death will be no more

1) What of our journey?
We use general terms like “heaven”. I am comfortable with the lack of precision but we can understand more than that.

To the thief Jesus promised paradise that same day. A good place, but not the final destination. More of that later.

Our journey goes by the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 1
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

Ephesians 2
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

In some way we are already citizens of that new land, though living here for the now.

See Philippians 3:20
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Ephesians 2:19
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,

Where did John go to (see Rev 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet..)?

By faith we are there too, see Hebrews 12:18-24. That is where we are on the Lord’s day.

2) Where will we be when we arrive there?
1 Thessalonians 4
13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.

He is coming:
Rev 22:7 “Behold I am coming.”
v12 “Behold I am coming soon.”
v20 “Yes I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

We will be in our bodies.
See 1 Corinthians 15

We don’t stay in that place of greeting, we arrive with him to rule on earth.

Rev 21
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. 5 He who was seated on the throne said, I am making everything new! Then he said, Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. 6 He said to me: It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

To the church in Philadelphia – Rev 3:11
11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no-one will take your crown. 12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

3) What should we being doing until we arrive home?

Luke 11:2-4
And he said unto them, When you pray, say,
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins;
for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Because I pray “Thy kingdom come” I can go on to pray “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven”
When I pray “Thy kingdom come” I am inviting his rule to be expressed.

By praying “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven” I am pronouncing that I am asking that not the will of flesh nor the will of the enemy, but the will of the Almighty God be seen.

Q: In what way can the prayer of “Thy kingdom come” and “Thy will be done” be used in your encounters?

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