Saturday, April 27, 2013

Raised and Seated With Him 130428

Ephesians 2:4-7, But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Today is the fifth Sunday of Easter and we should continue to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and its consequences for us. Paul begins this chapter with a reminder that we were dead in trespasses and sins. And then in verse four are those wonderful words, "But God ", and they are absolutely wonderful! God, mighty and merciful, loving and compassionate made us alive together with Christ. This is an amazing truth that gives us hope. I would like to remind you that in first Corinthians chapter 15 Paul tells us that if Christ is not raised from the dead then our faith is empty and we have no hope. Yet there are people who say, "What difference does it make?". Well let's see what difference it makes.
Christianity is unique among the world's religions. In the case of all the major world religions the founder of the religion is dead! Only Christianity has the empty tomb. Apart from the crucifixion of Christ and his resurrection from the dead there is no salvation. Jesus was crucified for our trespasses, or sins, and raised again for our justification. You see, Jesus took us to the cross with him. Scripture is very clear that we died with Christ and are now…
Raised up with him! Present tense! Even though…
We were dead spiritually. Look at Ephesians 2 verse 1-2a, And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked… And, compare Romans 5:6, For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Dead in trespasses and sins! Death is ultimate weakness! There is nothing weaker than that! That's the condition we are born in, spiritually. Most people, upon learning of this, react to it as being unfair. We have a good illustration of how it works in the national debt of the United States. The Outstanding Public Debt as of April 26, 2013 at 01:52:01 PM GMT was: $16,800,707,962,452.57. The estimated population of the United States is 314,848,646 so each citizen's share of this debt is $53,361.21. Talk about unfair! This is not political this is financial! Yes, it is unfair.
In a similar manner we inherit the human sin debt. And, having come to the age of choice we quickly chose to follow our ancestors in selfishness and sin. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God and remember, the wages sin is death. We were dead spiritually and…
Living in the dark. Listen while I read, Ephesians 4:17-18, Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
John in his little letter refers to darkness as the normal atmosphere of the unbelievers. While in God there is no darkness at all! Paul, in writing to the Colossians, tells us that we are to be thankful to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. The believer in Jesus Christ was born...
In sin but now alive! Listen to what Paul told the Colossians in Colossians 2:12-15, …having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Jesus forgave all our trespasses and canceled the record of debt that stood against us. Not only, in the eyes of God, were we crucified with him, we were also buried with him. We symbolize that burial in baptism. Going into the baptismal waters a person confesses their faith in Jesus Christ, is buried in the water and raised up to walk a new life. In the eyes of God we have died, were buried and raised again. And now we are…
Seated with him in the heavenlies! Remember, this is the word of God telling us that…
He has blessed us in heavenly places. It is God's desire that we be blessed and that we glorify him. Listen while I read, Ephesians 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
Notice, "who has blessed us", is past tense. Not some day by-and-by but now! In the eyes of God it has already happened! Friends, many people will tell you about the blessings you will receive in heaven. I want you to know that the blessings of God are ours now in Christ Jesus. You won't need the blessings in heaven! We sure do need them now! Not only are we blessed in the heavenly places but we also are blessed…
Along with Abraham. There are people who will tell you that the Old Testament blessings have nothing to do with us. Nothing could be further from the truth. The God we serve is consistent. He does deal with people in accordance with the age they live in. God's blessings have always been the same. Let's see what Paul said in Galatians 3:13-14, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
Jesus became a curse for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. In doing that he redeemed us from the curse of the law! The gifted hymn writer, Philip P. Bliss, wrote these words nearly 150 years ago: hymn number 285 in our hymnbook.
Free from the law, O happy condition, Jesus hath bled, and there is remission; cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, grace hath redeemed us once for all.
Once for all, O sinner, receive it; once for all, O brother, believe it, cling to the cross, the burden will fall. Christ hath redeemed us once for all.
Now we are free, there's no condemnation, Jesus provides a perfect salvation; "Come unto Me," O hear his sweet call, come, and he saves us once for all.
Once for all, O sinner, receive it; once for all, O brother, believe it, cling to the cross, the burden will fall. Christ hath redeemed us once for all.
Children of God, O glorious calling, surely his grace will keep us from falling; passing from death to life at his call, blessed salvation once for all.
Once for all, O sinner, receive it; once for all, O brother, believe it, cling to the cross, the burden will fall. Christ hath redeemed us once for all.
I love the old hymns! I am sure we will sing them in heaven with a far better voice and on key. We are blessed far more than we realize. We are blessed in heavenly places. We are blessed along with Abraham the father of faith and…
Like Stephen, the martyr. We will be blessed. While Saul of Tarsus stood by holding the coats of those who would stone him to death Stephen had a vision that they could not see. Listen while I read from Acts 7:55-56, But he, (Stephen) full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Most references to Jesus after his ascension speak of him seated at the right hand of God. Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. What made the difference? I don't know for sure but, I believe that Jesus stood to welcome his martyr into heaven. What a blessing! One day we will be blessed along with Stephen just as we are, right now, being blessed in heavenly places and receiving all the blessings God has poured out on those who have come to him by grace through faith throughout the ages. He has blessed us...
So that God could show his kindness toward us! It is not wrath leading to fear that bring people to repentance instead it is the goodness of God that is…
Intended to bring us to repentance. Listen while I read 2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Thank God that he is patient with us and is not slow to fulfill his promise. His patience, goodness and kindness give us hope. We do not just have hope for ourselves but for our friends and loved ones as well. God's patience allows everyone time to turn from their sin and reach repentance. That's his stated desire. His kindness toward us is intended to bring us to repentance...
Leading to salvation. A tremendous contrast in life comes about when God's goodness is released. Listen while I read Titus 3:3-7, For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
The work of salvation is done by God. He saved us not because we were good and acceptable but in spite of the fact that we were ungodly. Are you surprised that I say that? Remember what Romans 5:6 said, "… At the right time Christ died for the ungodly." If you're going to appropriate the salvation offered by the Lord Jesus Christ you start by recognizing that you are ungodly without him. And when we recognize that we are ungodly then we should come to the place where we are sincerely sorry for the life we've lived without him and ask him to grant us the grace to repent of our sin and come to salvation. God sincerely desires to show his kindness toward us. Because his kindness is intended to bring us to repentance that leads to salvation and will lead one day to our glorification with him. Remember our text from Ephesians? He made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Repentance leading to salvation…
And glorification. Listen while I read Romans 8:15-17, For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
A little further down we find the confidence of God expressed in these words, "… those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified." (Romans 8:30)
Notice please that God is not speaking about future justification and glorification he says that God has called those he predestined; and not only has he called them he has justified them; and not only has he justified them he has glorified them! In agreement with Ephesians 2 Paul speaks of our future glorification as having already happened.
God has raised us up and seated us with Christ in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters that is glorification! If we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus then our resurrection body is awaiting us. We currently live in an earthsuit that is adapted by God to the world we live in. Our physical body is an absolute miracle of efficiency and ability. At least it was until we overfed it, underworked it, and otherwise abused it! Well, our heavensuit is equally designed for the world awaiting us. Jesus received his glorified body when he was raised from the dead. We receive our glorified body when our Earth body dies. Or at least I believe that is what Scripture teaches.
Every person on earth is born separated from God. We are separated by the inherited sin of Adam and Eve. So, spiritually, we are born dead and quickly prove it by the self-centered, sin controlled, life that we live from infancy on. "But God" (What a wonderful pair of words.) had a different plan for those who would believe. Those who receive Christ Jesus as Lord believing that God raised him from the dead are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Not only that but we who have placed our faith in him are raised up with him already. In fact, we are already seated with him in heaven! It does not feel like it but it is a fact to be received and believed. We have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" And when he returns in glory he will bring us with him or we will meet him in the air! If you have not believed on him do so today!
All scripture quotes from:The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

130421 How Much Do You Love Jesus?

John 21:15-19, When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16. He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17. He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19. (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
This passage recounts one of several instances when Jesus met with his disciples between the time of his resurrection and his ascension into heaven. The exchange between Jesus and Peter is what we want to focus on today. There is a subtle difference that is not reflected in the the English language. In the Greek language there are five words for "love". They are: agape, eros, storgy, philo and mania. Two of these words are used in our passage: agape and philo. They have two distinct meanings but they both mean "love". This exchange leads us to ask, "How much do I love Jesus?".
In the English language we use the word "love" for many different feelings and different situations. Someone might say, "I love chocolate." Or, on the other hand, a man might say, "I love my wife." Both statements would be said using the same word and probably with the same amount of feeling. One would hope that, "I love my wife" has a much deeper meaning than, "I love chocolate". Let's set the scene for the exchange between Peter and Jesus. After his resurrection and before his ascension into heaven…
Jesus revealed himself at different times for different reasons. First…
At the tomb. Listen while I read John's account. John 20:11-17, But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14. Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
We have read, and or heard, these verses several times during the Easter season. They never lose their poignancy. Mary patiently waited out the passing of the Sabbath before going to the tomb to finish the preparation of Jesus' body only to find that his body wasn't there. She saw the empty tomb. She saw the angels sitting where the body of Jesus had lain. Turning away from them she saw Jesus! His perfect resurrection body may have been so different that she did not recognize him. But for whatever reason she thought he was the gardener. When he spoke her name she knew who he was and fell at his feet. She hurried to where the disciples were gathered…
In the upper room. Let's return to John's account. John 20:19-21, On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” As the Sabbath passed into Sunday the disciples were together in fear, except for Thomas. He was so skeptical of the resurrection that he left the group and missed the first meeting of the disciples with the living Lord Jesus. However, he would have his chance. Let's read on verses, 26-29, Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28. Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29. Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The disciples' level of fear must have been reduced greatly with the passing of a week. The second Sunday of the Christian age began with the disciples gathered in the upper room. This time Thomas was with them. We are not told what his attitude was but perhaps his doubts were lessened by the reports of the previous week. So far as we know, Thomas was the first to say the significant words, "My Lord and my God" to Jesus. Not only did he believe that Jesus had been raised from the dead he believed that Jesus is the Lord of lords and King of kings. Just before this Jesus met with two disciples…
On the Emmaus Road. It was important that he head them off so they can come back to the upper room. Let's read Luke's account. Luke 24:13-27, That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14. and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19. And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20. And how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23. And when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25. And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26. Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27. And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
How wonderful it would have been to be with Cleopas and his friend that afternoon. To have the Lord Jesus share the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures beginning with Moses and all the Prophets. After 2000 years of combined study, we may have unearthed most of those references to the Christ but possibly not all. What we do know is sufficient to cause us to turn to him as Lord and God. The third time Jesus met with his disciples…
Jesus revealed himself by the seashore. It would've been very natural for these men, who were mostly fishermen, that they should return to the sea.
The disciples went fishing. Let's return to John for this story. John 21:1-3, After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Many people have criticized Peter for going fishing. They say that as though there was something else do! After all, so far as we know the only instructions they had had was to go to Galilee. Peter and the others had done that. They had not yet heard the words, "Go into all the world", so they were in a holding pattern waiting for the next instructions. Why not go fishing? It would be a very natural thing.
These were experienced fishermen they had made a living netting fish and knew where to look and how to gather them. So it must've been pretty frustrating for them to fish all night and catch nothing. For me to fish all night and catch nothing would not be unusual! But for them? The Big Fisherman — Simon Peter himself — to catch nothing all night! That would be really surprising. However, I'm pretty sure the Lord Jesus had a hand in their situation. The empty net was by way of…
A special way of introduction. Let's read on. John 21:4-8, Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6. He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
Just think of the scene. The day is breaking. They are probably on the Eastern shore of the Lake of Galilee. So they see the sun coming over the hills to the East. And someone standing there with the light of the rising sun all around him.
All night long they have been dragging their nets to no avail. Now they see someone on the shore. Someone who knows what's been going on. Someone who says, "Children, do you have any fish?". Do you think he didn't know their nets were empty? I believe he had spent the night moving the fish away from their nets. Or perhaps he simply had his angels taking care of that task for him. Now he knew where the fish were. And they were right beside the boat the disciples were in. So he simply said, "Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." Some? They were about to fill their net! Of course they wouldn't know that's where he had the fish. With Jesus involved it would be very easy to have…
Success in fishing. Let's continue reading. John 21:9-14, When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11. So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
They had fished all night and got nothing! Jesus was waiting on the shore for them with a fire and fish broiling away. Oh, he also had some bread to go with his fish. Peter had hurried ashore when John announced that it was the Lord. But these guys were real fishermen and now their nets were full! Even Peter went back and helped them pull the net ashore. Not only did they bring the net in they brought out their baskets and counted the fish. 153 large fish were the result of a few minutes fishing under Jesus' direction.
So they cleaned some of their catch to add to what Jesus had caught and had a great breakfast with the Lord of lords and King of kings. But there was a lot more to this than providing breakfast for them. You see, Peter had a special purpose. He had served as a teaching tool for Jesus more than once. Now it was time to reveal…
Peter's special purpose.
More than these. Let's read all John 21:15, When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus now asked a question, "do you love me more than these?". These? What did Jesus mean? Simon do you love me more than fishing? Or, do you love me more than these friends of yours? Or, do you love me more than this lake and these mountains — this beautiful scenery? Or, it may simply have meant all of the above. I tend to think that Jesus was challenging Peter to break away from the love of the world. Now, we need to ask ourselves…
What kind of love? Let's read on. John 21:15-17, When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16. He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17. He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Three times Jesus asked what appears to be the same question but it's not! The first time Jesus asked, "Simon, son of John, do you agape me?" And Peter responded with, "Yes, Lord; you know that I philo you." Jesus responded with, "Feed my lambs."
Then Jesus immediately asked again the same question the same way and Peter responded to the same question the same way. Jesus said, "Do you love me with the highest kind of love?" And Peter responded with, "I love you like a brother." Peter could not have missed Jesus use of "agape" rather than "philo" and yet he persisted in using the word for lesser love that Jesus asked for.
The third time Jesus changed words. Instead of, "Do you agape me?" Jesus asked, "Do you philo me?" He brought the question down to the level of Peter's answer. It grieved Peter that Jesus asked the question a third time, and perhaps because Jesus changed word usage, and yet, Peter could not say, "agape"! He still asserted that he loved Jesus with a brotherly love. Perhaps he had no idea how to love Jesus with the highest kind of love.
That's Interesting, how does it apply to us?
Do you love me? This question only appears here. In relation to Jesus' life this question is only asked at this point and only to Peter!
What is love? We have God's own definition and direction related to love in …
1 Corinthians 13, let's read verses 4-8a Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5. or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8. Love never ends.
Time will not allow us to go into all that is revealed about love in this chapter. Suffice it to say that 1 Corinthians 13 does NOT say, "Love is a feeling of warmth and passion toward another person." Instead, we are told that, Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
Or, in the words of Don Francisco, "Love is not a feeling it's an act of your will." Love is not how we feel. Love is what we do. You don't have to even like a person in order to love them. It helps a great deal but is not necessary. However, if you act lovingly towards a person long enough you will like them! Of that I'm sure! Now…
How much must we love? Jesus touched on the question in John 13:34-35, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
His command is to love one another. How much? As much as he loved us. At the time Jesus said this his disciples could not fully grasp how he loved them but they would in a few days learn. He went to the cross as evidence of his love. God loved the world so much that he gave his only son. Gave his only son? Not just sent him to earth but also sent him to become sin for us and to die the death that we deserve. If we are to love as much as Jesus loves us and we have to be willing not only to die for our faith but to give up, or die to, anything that hinders our spiritual growth and our ministry. We need to be able to answer Jesus' question, "Do you love me more than these?" with, "Lord, you know that I love you!" And then, we need to life it out!
In the words of William Ralph Featherstone: My Jesus I love Thee, I know Thou art mine; for Thee, all the follies of sin I resign; my gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou; if ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.
I love Thee because Thou hast first lov-ed me, and purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree; I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow; if ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.
Perhaps the most famous passage of Scripture goes like this, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." That son was Jesus! Born of Mary, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. That son, Jesus, gave us the command to love one another as much as he loved us. Love that goes beyond feeling into action. He loved us enough to give his life that we might have life. Won't you receive him today?
All scripture quotes from:The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

130414 Evidence for the Resurrection

1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2. and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4. That he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5. And that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
It is interesting to me that in the first century questions were raised and answered about the validity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I have often said that if Jesus were not raised then the Romans would have produced the body. The Romans ran a very tight government and controlled everything around them for hundreds of years. They had no regard for civil rights or human rights and would have crushed this new religion if there was no resurrection. Paul now tells us of the eyewitnesses he knew about. So far as we know, Paul was not in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. I believe he would've made mention of it if he had been there. Now, he lists for us several eyewitnesses.
The empty tomb is one evidence of the resurrection but it is not proof of the resurrection. There are ways it could be explained. Over the centuries the empty tomb has been explained in many ways beginning with the religious leaders saying that Jesus' disciples stole the body. Everybody knows that crowd was not even brave enough to stand up for him much less overcome a troop of guards and hide his body and then "pretend" that he had been raised from the dead. No one person, much less a group of people, would be able to act with boldness and courage even to death to defend a lie! Paul's arguments were based on Scripture and eyewitnesses. Eyewitness testimony is the best testimony in any questionable situation. The more witnesses the better. Now Paul said that certain things happened…
According to the Scriptures. Paul patterned his life after the teaching of Scripture and we must also. If your faith is simply a matter of your own opinion it is empty and useless. If your faith is based on the living Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible will come alive to you as the written Word of God. According to the Scriptures…
Christ died for our sins. Listen while I read from the prophet Zechariah 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,” declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones. (see also Isaiah 53)
About five hundred years before the birth of Christ (in the case of Isaiah 700 years) a very clear prophecy was put forth about the servant of the Lord, or the shepherd. In both cases God's servant (Jesus) would suffer and die. Isaiah goes into more detail by clearly presenting what happened to Jesus. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and according to the Scriptures…
He was raised on the third day. Listen while I read from Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:22-32, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23. this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25. For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26. Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29. “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31. he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
Peter clearly understood the words of David as predicting that Jesus would be raised up. And they stood before the crowd as eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ. Jesus himself saw the symbolism of Jonah being three days in the belly of the fish as picturing, or foreshadowing, his own descent into the grave and resurrection on the third day.
The evidence is overwhelming that…
Jesus appeared alive after his crucifixion.
To Cephas (Peter). The various eyewitness accounts give a different sequence of appearances. Paul wasn't trying to accurately list in chronological order the appearances of Jesus but simply to provide proof of the evidence for his resurrection. Listen while I read from Luke's account. Luke 24:33-35, And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34. Saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35. Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Here we find the gospel historian, Luke, recording what he had been told of the eyewitnesses. The people in this story were the two men on their way to Emmaus who were intercepted by Jesus. Jesus had told them, from all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself. He began by saying that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and enter into his glory. They had heard the women say that Jesus was raised from the dead but left town without any further proof. When Jesus broke bread with them they suddenly understood who he was and rushed back into town to tell the others of their experience only to find that they had missed seeing him in the upper room. However, I'm sure their walk and talk on the road to Emmaus would burn in their hearts until they stood before the throne in heaven. And then, as they recounting this Jesus appeared…
To all the twelve. Listen while I read further, Luke 24:36-43, As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37. But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39. See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40. And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42. They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43. And he took it and ate before them.
Oh, how wonderful it would have been to be in that room when the living Lord Jesus stood in their midst and proved that he wasn't a ghost. He encouraged them to look at his feet and his hands. Though he now lived in his resurrection body he still has the scars that he earned atoning for our sin. I suspect that part of our being like him when he returns will include scars earned in service to him. His heavenly body, or resurrection body, still has flesh and bones but they are perfect flesh and bones! Yes, Jesus appeared to the twelve after he had appeared to Simon Peter and the women and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Paul goes on to say that at one point Jesus appeared to above five hundred brothers at one time and that most of them were still alive at the time of Paul's writing to the Corinthians. During the next 40 days Jesus would appear…
To many more. Luke wrote the gospel that bears his name and he also wrote the Book of Acts. Listen while I read from the beginning of that book. Acts 1:1-3, In the first book, (The Gospel of Luke) O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2. Until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
Jesus' disciples saw him many times during the 40 days he walked on earth after his resurrection. He did this to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that he was alive. You see, many of them had seen him being beaten and abused in the courtyard and through the streets of Jerusalem. Many of them had seen him hanging on the cross and saw the soldier push the spear into his side. They had seen him die! They had seen Nicodemus and Joseph take him down off the cross and take him away to Joseph's tomb. And, by the way, that too was according to the Scriptures. Isaiah had said, "…they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death," All of this had happened in the presence of the eyewitnesses who later became the eyewitnesses of his life in victory over death!
All of this became a large part of…
Paul's gospel. Paul did not speak of "the gospel". Instead, he spoke of "my gospel" and he considered it to be unique. It was the gospel…
That he preached. Listen to what Paul wrote to the Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 1:20-25, Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21. For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23. But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24. But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
God, in his wisdom, had turned away from human wisdom and instead had turned to what the world thinks of as foolishness. The world demands some kind of demonstration of God's power to convince them. Like the crowd by the seashore whom Jesus fed with the lad's lunch. They would follow him if he gave them some demonstration of power. Paul preached Christ crucified, buried and raised again. And he wanted us to understand that this risen Lord is alive.
What he taught them was the same gospel that has been taught around the world in thousands of different cultures and languages for the past 2000 years. It doesn't matter where you turn for evidence everyone is saved by grace through faith in the living Lord Jesus Christ and not by works of righteousness.
The gospel Paul preached is the same as…
That which we received. The simplest presentation of the gospel is found in what we call the "Roman Road" look at the simple power for salvation found in the gospel we received. Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God All includes everybody! The standard is set too high for a human to reach. Because the standard of perfection is the glory of God. Without a doubt all fall short of that standard. We are all in the same boat and faced with the same justice! Look at Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. As Jerry Clower would say, "If that's the case we are in a heap of trouble." All have sinned and the wages of sin is death. We are all in a hopeless mess. It's good news that the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus but how do we get there? Look at, Romans 5:8, but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. What a great demonstration of love. Without waiting for mankind to become good (which would be a hopeless wait) in fact, while we were still sinners Christ died for us. He took our sins into his own body and nailed them to the cross. In so doing he put them as far away from us as the east is from the west or, in another example, he put them in the bottom of the sea. Both of those are Old Testament prophecies. The wages sin is death. All have sinned. If we pay the price for our sin we are dead! Jesus paid the debt he did not owe and we could not pay. So that, we find in Romans 10:9-10, … if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Never say, about salvation, "You simply have to…". There is nothing simple about the perfect Son of God paying the price for our sin. There's nothing simple about speaking the words, "Jesus is Lord". There needs to be a sense of God's call, or drawing, of a person to salvation and a change in their heart that causes them to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. And with such belief they can proclaim that Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This was the gospel…
That Paul had received. Paul wrote to the Galatians the following words. Galatians 1:11-12, For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. 12. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
"… Not man's gospel." There are lots of human teachers who present a false gospel usually based on giving them wealth and power. Paul would have none of that! He did not receive his gospel at Bible school or seminary. He was an opponent of the gospel to the point of bringing people to trial and execution for simply believing in Jesus Christ. On the road to Damascus Paul was struck down by Jesus himself and called to salvation. He spent three years preaching "his Gospel" before he went up to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles. When he did they did not correct anything he had been teaching. He left Jerusalem and spent another 12 years preaching without any apostolic direction before he was brought into prominence as an elder of the church in Antioch.
Everywhere Paul went he preached Jesus and the resurrection. It didn't matter whether he was talking to workers on the street or speaking to the philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens he preached the same thing because only in that message is there power to change the heart and mind of fallen mankind. The resurrection is absolutely essential!
If Christ was not raised then Christianity is an empty shell and our faith is empty as well. Religion has some value in that it provides spiritual discipline for its followers. However, a religion that is not focused on the living Lord Jesus Christ is ultimately empty. This is not a human opinion it is based on the word of God. Peter stood before the ruling Council and said, "… there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Only in Christ Jesus is salvation. The greatest evidence for the resurrection is a life that has been changed by faith in Jesus Christ. Turn to him in faith and he will receive you and save you.

All scripture quotes from:The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Resurrection Life 130407

1 Peter 1:3-5, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Our new birth is directly connected to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. When Jesus rose from the dead he had a new quality of life, a "resurrection life" in a human body and human spirit that were perfectly tuned to fellowship with and obedience to God forever. In his resurrection, Jesus earned for us a new life just like his. The aged Apostle John tells us that, though what we will be has not yet appeared we know that when he appears we shall be like him. Jesus, being raised from the dead, has a resurrection body that is no longer subject to weakness, aging and death. When God raised Christ from the dead he thought of us as somehow being raised "with Christ" and seated "with him" in heavenly places.
Our identification with the risen Lord gives us the promise of a resurrection like his. God has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Peter clearly identifies our new birth, our living hope and resurrection life as being tied to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Paul told the Corinthians, "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you're still in your sins." People have tried to brush off the miraculous throughout the Bible because they live according to human philosophies. There is a very strong anti-Christian movement in secular higher education in America. It is bearing its results in skepticism raised on the part of American youth. We need to encourage our young people to think for themselves. There is a vast body of evidence that Jesus was raised from the dead. Not just from his friends but also from his enemies. For me, the simplest evidence is this — if Jesus was not raised from the dead the Romans would have produced his body and Christianity would have died before it was born. Since the authorities could not produce a body Peter could write, some 40 years after the first Easter, that our spiritual life depends on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Remember, a part of the "Roman Road" plan of salvation is found in Romans 10:9-10, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Not just a belief in Jesus, even as the son of God, but a belief in and acceptance of his resurrection from the dead is an essential part of our salvation.
Because of his resurrection we are able…
To be born again. And as such we are…
A new creation. Listen while I read, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, said that he came to Jesus because no one could do the miracles Jesus did unless God was with him. Nicodemus wanted to know what these miracles were all about. Rather than accept the implied compliment, Jesus abruptly said, "unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Jesus then began a discussion about the need to be born of the Spirit not just the flesh. The new birth brings a person to a new creation. The old creation is subject to sin, death and hell. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God — that is our natural condition in the original creation. The consequences of that are serious because the wages of sin is death. What mankind needs is not a new way of thinking but a new nature. We are born in the image of Adam and Eve. We need to be born again in the image of Jesus Christ. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Being born as children of Adam and Eve we need to be born again…
As children of God. Listen while I read, John 1:12-13, But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Two words in this passage sound alike, "receive" and "believe". When Jesus came into the world he was rejected by his own people. They refused to receive him but all who did receive him are given the right and privilege of becoming children of God.
When Jesus went to the cross he took us there with him. Somehow, we died with him to our old way of living. Satan has an indictment against us but it won't hold up. We used to sing a chorus: Satan remindeth me of the crimes that I have done. I know them well and thousands more but Jehovah findeth none. He findeth none, He findeth none, I've been washed in the blood of his Son. Satan's indictment was nailed to the cross, buried in the tomb and left there when Jesus rose from the dead.
We became a new creation as children of God. We were transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. We were taken legally out of the family of Adam and Eve and adopted into the family of God. Since we are now children of God we have been brought…
To a new quality of life. Let's return to first Peter and look at what he said a little further down the page, 1 Peter 1:22-23, Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
Since we have been born again by the power of the resurrection we have a new quality of life. There is a sincere brotherly love born in the heart of each believer. Since that is true, we should keep the commandment of Jesus to love one another as he has loved us. We have this new quality of life and it can never be taken from us because it is born of imperishable seed through the living and abiding word of God.
We have been born again a new creation, children of God with a new quality of life and because of that we come…
To a living hope. This is not "hope" the way it is usually used in day-to-day conversation. I might say, "I hope the weather turns warm and stays that way for a long time." What I mean by that is, I "wish" it would happen. I have no sure knowledge that it will. Biblical hope is quite different from that. Biblical hope reflects "now" and "not yet" at the same time. We have a living relationship with the living Lord Jesus but what we will be is not yet known. Nonetheless what we will be is assured by the power of God.
Our hope is built on Jesus' promises and and all the promises of God find their "Yes" in him. We are born again to a living hope…
Produced in affliction. What does it take to produce hope? Listen while I read, Romans 5:3-5, More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Rejoice? In our sufferings? How is that possible? James said almost the same thing in his little book. Except he began with, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…" and he went on to show that trials produce a character that is lacking in nothing.
Paul says that we should rejoice, not because we're suffering, but because of the results of suffering. Suffering in the life of a Christian produces endurance. Endurance produces character. Character produces hope.
Not the kind of hope that says, "I hope the weather turns warm and stays that way for a long time." with no real knowledge of what might happen. Instead, the kind of hope that is built on the promises of God which cannot be broken. Our hope is not based on our human goodness or abilities. Instead…
The resurrected Christ is our hope. Listen while I read, Colossians 1:27-29, To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
The mystery hidden for long ages is that God had a plan that did not depend upon our ability to produce good works. The mystery is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Without Christ we are without hope! With him we have a hope that is built on a solid foundation. We have been born again to a living hope. This new birth is not based on our works of righteousness or any human works! Paul goes on to say that he proclaimed Christ — warning and teaching with all wisdom in order to present everyone mature in Christ.
Paul was a highly trained theologian before he became a Christian. He had lots of talent and training but he didn't do his work for Christ based on his ability or training. He didn't work hard in his own strength. He toiled and struggled with all the energy of Christ not the energy of Paul. It was Christ that worked in him to will and do his own good pleasure. Christ powerfully worked in Paul to bring about the results he wanted. The resurrected Christ works in the life of the believer to produce results that are…
Securely protected. Our security is not based on our abilities, our goodness, or our family heritage. We are able to hold fast to hope because of the work of Christ. Listen while I read, Hebrews 6:18-20, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
A sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that has entered into the holy place — anchored in heaven.
Remember our primary text: "According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,". Our inheritance is not kept in a safe or even a bank vault. Our inheritance is not in an offshore account on Cyprus. Our inheritance is kept in heaven and it is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is kept there because of the work of the resurrected Christ. He has gone before us into the most holy place in heaven, with his own blood, to atone for our sins and give us a secure hope of eternal life. We do not have any of this through our own efforts instead we have this assurance…
Through the resurrection. Jesus' resurrection is different in many ways from all those that came before. There are several examples of people being brought back from the dead scattered throughout the Bible. Most of them are focused in the life of Christ — the Gospels! Jesus' resurrection was…
Not like others who were still subject to weakness.
The widow's son, Jairus' daughter, Lazarus, and any others that were brought back to life, were brought back only to die again. They were still subject to weakness, grief and pain. Those earlier resurrections were not like his at all. You see…
Christ was the first fruit. Listen to the words of Paul in, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
"The first fruits" not a "fruit" in a continuous line of similar "fruits", but instead, he is the first of many millions, or billions, who will experience resurrection life because they belong to Christ. This passage certainly indicates that our resurrection body will be like his. As John wrote, "when he appears we shall be like him," and that should give us great joy and eager anticipation. The resurrection life of Jesus Christ is passed on to those who have believed in him. It is not just "eternal life" it is a higher quality of life. This higher quality is not represented in our present physical condition but awaits the fulfillment of his promises.
In his resurrection from the dead Jesus came forth with a perfect body. I believe his body is like the body of Adam before he sinned while he walked and talked with God in the garden of Eden! Jesus still retains the scars from the nails and spear and perhaps we will retain scars that we earned in his service. There is no question in my mind that we will know each other and we will know him. I recall the beautiful words written by Fannie J. Crosby more than 100 years ago, remember she was blind for all of her memory. She was asked by her composer friend how she would know Jesus when she got to heaven. The next morning she replied in this song, "My Savior First of All": Hymn 554 in our Hymnal.
When my lifework is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand,
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
By the print of the nails in His hand
I am grateful to God that eternal life is not simply an extension of our present physical condition. Instead, eternal life, or resurrection life, will be enjoyed in a perfect body. It will look like our present body enough to be recognizable. But it will look so much better than our present body so as to cause hesitation in identification. Will we know each other in heaven? Yes, I believe so, but we will be surprised at how good we and others look. To be sure…
Resurrection is our victory. Let's continue reading, 1 Corinthians 15:53-58, 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.
Each of us have plenty of evidence that our body is perishable. Before his crucifixion, Jesus' body was perishable but after his resurrection his body was imperishable. Before his crucifixion, Jesus' body was mortal — afterward immortal!
Wayne Grudem, in his Systematic Theology, describes the change this way:
The fact that our new bodies will be “imperishable” means that they will not wear out or grow old or ever be subject to any kind of sickness or disease. They will be completely healthy and strong forever. Moreover, since the gradual process of aging is part of the process by which our bodies now are subject to “corruption,” it is appropriate to think that our resurrection bodies will have no sign of aging, but will have the characteristics of youthful but mature manhood or womanhood forever. There will be no evidence of disease or injury, for all will be made perfect. Our resurrection bodies will show the fulfillment of God’s perfect wisdom in creating us as human beings who are the pinnacle of his creation and the appropriate bearers of his likeness and image. In these resurrection bodies we will clearly see humanity as God intended it to be. p 831
Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! As a result we can rejoice with a steadfast hope. We can know beyond a doubt that the work we do on earth in obedience to him will always be productive.
Jesus was sufficiently changed after his resurrection that people who had known him well did not immediately recognize him. It may be, of course, they were simply prevented from recognizing him until the right time. But it seems to me that the resurrected body of Christ would not be the tired, battered body they had last seen on the cross. He would have been restored to his full youthful appearance of perfect health. He was transformed from a perishable body to an imperishable one. His mortal body put on immortality. If you have recognized your condition as a sinner facing eternal death. If you have repented of your sins and turned to the Lord for salvation. Then there is an assurance that God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Just as he was raised with a heavenly body those who have put their faith in him will be raised also. If you have not accepted him as Lord and Savior please do so now!

All scripture quotes from:The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.