View from the Pew – Then Comes the End

What did you learn from last week’s sermon?

Q1: What was the first New Testament book accessible to the early church?

Q2: Name three things Paul taught (reminded) the Church at Corinth.

Q3: Should Christians weep over death as the world weeps over death? Why or why not?

Q4: Can you define excursus?

Q5: What is the linchpin of the Gospel that seals the promise that we are going to heaven?

Q6: Are babies born sinners? What is this called?

Q7: Do we become righteous when we are saved (justified), or do we put on Christ’s righteousness?

Q8: What is the study of end-times called?

Q9: Will our glorified bodies in heaven look like our earthly bodies do now?

Q10: What is the order of people resurrected in the First Resurrection?

Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians) was the first power-packed New Testament book accessible to the early church. It taught them:

  • Principles for Church Order
  • How To Conduct Themselves In Relationships
  • How To Avoid Division
  • About Spiritual Gifts
  • Principles for Marriage & Singleness
  • How To Love
  • The Priority of Christian Liberty
  • About The Lord’s Table
  • How To Devote Themselves To The Truth
  • How To Deal With Sin In The Church
  • The Practice of Biblical Restoration (Church Discipline)
  • The Hope of the Believer’s Resurrection

In a divine economy of words, Paul teaches the doctrine of imputation:

1 Corinthians 15:21-22
21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

While Christ’s resurrection is the linchpin of the gospel (He was a “first fruit” or the seal of the promise of the harvest to come; the resurrection of the saints), we learned last week that it is the “believer’s resurrection” that should make us deal with death differently than the world. In 15:20, Paul does an excursus (a detailed description added to a topic to clarify it) on resurrection. Paul offers us a glimpse into the detail of the order in which humans will be resurrected during the second coming of Christ. We call this study of end-times, “eschatology.” The church up until now had not been instructed regarding the end. This second coming will happen when Christ forcefully abolishes the kingdoms, authorities, and powers on the earth.

Towards the end of the chapter, Paul turns back to the topic of our resurrection and does an excurses about how our resurrection-body will look. He tells us that we will not look like we do now. With the sound of the trumpet blast, those living will receive bodies fit for immortality; an instantaneous transformation. Those who have died will be resurrected, their glorified bodies united with their spirit which is already with God. On the flip side, unbelievers’ bodies will be fit for eternal suffering after they are resurrected.

Our generation is most blessed because we have so much more revelation about God and his plans than the early church; the fruit of what is called “progressive revelation.” We also have the benefit of church history; faithful men of God opening up Scripture for our understanding. John’s Revelation is a prime example of this – the believers in Corinth had not yet received his final contribution to the New Testament. Through the book of Revelation, we see greater detail regarding the First Resurrection, as John calls it:

  1. Christ
  2. The Church
  3. The Saints of Old (Israel) & The Tribulation Saints
  4. The Millennial Saints

Finally, there is the resurrection of the dead (those who refuse the grace of God). They are resurrected, judged before the Great White Throne, and then thrown into the lake of fire.

Next week we will take a closer look at all of this.

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Melissa Strautman

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