What did you learn from last week’s sermon?
Q1: Who is the “first fruit” that gets resurrected first?
Q2: Do believers actually die, or are we just asleep?
Q3: Where do people who live and die “in Adam” end up in eternity?
Q4: Who gets resurrected after Christ (end times)?
Q5: The resurrection order fulfills what purpose?
Q6: In Romans 9-11, we see Paul informing his grief with God’s promises over what?
Q7: Is every descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob considered part of God’s chosen race/people?
Q8: Is it unfair or just that God condemned the whole human race for Adam’s sin and that He hated Esau before he was ever born?
Q9: God used Israel’s rejection of Him and their jealousy of the Gentiles to do what?
Sermon Summary & Answers
The sermon before last left many parishioners wanting to know more about the order of resurrection spoken about in 1 Cor. 15:23. So, Pastor Wilson has begun a two-part sermon to break it down for us. First, we have to know that Christ is the “first fruit” (verse 20), and His resurrection had to occur first, and it has. Secondly, we believers are the ones spoken about that are merely “asleep,” at our death, not dead forever. Believers will never actually die. Once we are absent from our bodies, our soul/spirit will be present with the Lord until we receive our glorified bodies.
Verses 21-22 give contrast to two potential life scenarios we live while on earth. You either live and die “in Adam” or “in Christ,” according to scripture. Adam’s life (behavior) ushered in sin and physical death for all of humanity because of disobedience toward God. A charge levied against every human (Romans 5:12), and no one escapes punishment on judgment day unless Christ steps forward and says, “Hey, I paid the penalty already for that one, free them immediately to live forever in glory with Me.” If this happens to you, you can say that you lived and died “in Christ.” However, if you can only say that you lived and died “in Adam,” (worldly unbeliever), then you are basically the walking-dead (eternally). Adam is considered the human race’s representative head up until an individual can declare Christ as the head of them – Lord of their whole life……. that’s a big deal and can’t be faked!
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one [Adam], much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
So, now that we firmly have that prerequisite knowledge, the Pastor moved us back to focus on the order…
1 Corinthians 15:23–24
But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the Kingdom to the God and Father when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
There are two main parts to the resurrection order: Christ resurrected first, and then Christ’s faithful followers resurrected next. Christ’s followers are broken down into three groups.
- The Church – currently alive
- The Saints of Old (like Abraham and your Grandma) & the Tribulation Saints (living during the devil’s reign, after Christ comes)
- The resurrection of the Damned
None of these three groups have been resurrected just yet. Why so many groups and a specific order? Because it is how God designed His final complete Kingdom. Everything God does has always had a particular order. Just read the creation story. Resurrection order fulfills His purpose for Israel and the Church. We are not Israel, but thank the Lord on high that we non-Israelites were grafted into that holy family, adopted as full children, entitled to an entire inheritance.
Pastor Wilson rarely takes us through such a large portion of scripture at one time, but he blazed through Romans 9-11 to show us how aggrieved Paul is that the people (Israel, his relatives) God created turned away from the gift of being God’s people and the salvation He sent (Christ). Paul can’t compute this insanity and says that he’d give up his salvation for theirs if it were possible. God did all of this people-making for His glory and the future glory in Heaven with His chosen. He made covenant promises with these people that helped them govern themselves rightly and worship God. He knew they’d mess it all up and even preemptively promised a Messiah to save them from sin (which would separate them from Him). These Israelites just couldn’t see beyond their momentary problems (slavery, Roman subjection, etc.) to focus on doing what God told them to do.
Paul points out that those Jews who didn’t listen and follow God/Christ are not “true” Israel. True Israel – God’s chosen will and do listen to Him and follow Him. That includes us Gentile believers (past, present, and future). We are children of God’s promise.
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.” [Gen. 21:12] That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.
Paul refers to the Abrahamic Covenant, where he takes a pagan, gentile man and sets him apart to be the first man of a new tribe Israel, the “Jews.” God said that he’d make him and his descendants a great nation. God’s plan didn’t fail; no matter how small Israel looks on a map or how many times in history, their population gets nearly wiped out. God says you have to look closer at Israel. Real Israel doesn’t necessarily have Jewish heritage, and those with that heritage aren’t necessarily Israel.
God made another promise to Abraham. He told him that he and Sarah would have a promised child to which all of Israel would come. Abraham didn’t believe this, so he went and had a kid with a slave (Ishmael – father of all Arabs/Palestine – Jew-haters). Again, this didn’t thwart God’s plan. Isaac was born to Sarah, and then he had twins (Jacob and Esau). God determined before the twins were born that he would bless Jacob and hate Esau (Rom. 9:13). We wrestle with this. How can God hate an unborn baby or condemn a whole human race for the sin of one man? It’s God’s sovereign choice made for his future eternal Kingdom.
What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”
“Is it fair for God to choose who will benefit from His promises and who will not? Is it fair for God to choose who will be true Israel and who will not? Ask Him – – He doesn’t mind – – as long as you can accept His answer.”Pastor Steve Wilson
Is this just? Is this fair? If God is the author of every particle, He alone is the definer of justice and the ultimate judge. So, man’s actions or thoughts don’t get to measure or change anything. Only God’s mercy (kindness that no one has earned) can move time, space, or matter away from His design. If we could do that outside of His plan, we would have a level of equality with God. God never promised that to us. He said that He would be our God, not co-God. So, whatever God decides is just, and you want God to be just, not fair to you. Fairness would mean giving you precisely what you deserve, judgment, and wrath (Hell) with no out. You had best check the box that says “Justice and Mercy” instead of “Fairness” and be okay with not understanding God’s behavior for now. Remember, if He saved you, He exercised mercy because you know you didn’t deserve it.
Romans 9-11 is all about Paul trying to inform his grief over his kinsmen rejecting Christ. He’s trying to remember and affirm the mystery of God, choosing some to believe and some (Israelites) not to. He knows this will give him peace. They simply lacked faith. They sought to attain righteousness on their own. Paul knew that God alone gave our measure of faith (Rom. 12:3) for His purposes. There will always be a remnant of true Israelites by God’s grace, like Paul (Romans 11:1-6) and not by works.
“The thing is – – the purpose [of the promise] wasn’t just Israel – – God wanted to save the Gentiles too – – the nations also – – and He used Israel’s rejection [and jealousy] to do it. Their rejection is our salvation.”Pastor Steve Wilson
For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
God’s plan (order of resurrection) fulfills his purpose for His Church and Israel. No covenant promises are broken or altered by man. He didn’t intend to be fair. He intended to design our world with mysteries we don’t yet understand and move every molecule with His gracious, merciful, omnipotent hand until His Kingdom is complete. Are we satisfied with that? Can we inform our minds of that and find peace in that?
Did you find this quiz and sermon summary helpful? Log on to gccbg.com/blog each week for the latest sermon study guide. Jessica will send the link out in the Midweek church emails. I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Believers: The Church, The Saints of Old & Tribulation Saints, and lastly, the Damned
- Resurrection order fulfills God’s purpose for Israel and the Church
- Israel not having faith in Christ so that they would have salvation
- It is just
- Save the Gentiles