“Are you dissatisfied with the current situation but you don’t know if there can be more? Let me say that Christians believe that there is more. And more can be achieved when our sins are forgiven. And it is possible for our sins to be forgiven. Christians live in hope. In hope that the best is yet to come.” We believe in the life everlasting.
Christians live in hope – that the best is yet to come.
Hardship Will End
“Christians endure hardship in the present world because they know hardship will end one day. And then they will have a life where there’s no hardship. They endure sickness in this world because they know that sickness will end and there will be a world where there will be no more sickness. They endure, they’re working hard to make this world just. But sometime they have to suffer injustice. And they know that there is a world where there won’t be any injustice. They have hope. Do you have hope?
Christians believe in the forgiveness of sin. They believe in the bodily resurrection. And they believe in the life everlasting. So, what do you believe?”
I Believe in The Life Everlasting
Nic Kyalangalilwa delivers his eighth in a nine week sermon series unpacking the foundations of the Christian faith – working through the Apostles’ Creed, a statement of belief penned in the 4th Century AD.
The Apostles’ Creed is really the foundation of what a Christian believes.
“It’s really the foundation of what a Christian believes. This is what makes the difference between what we would call a Christian faith, and a non-Christian faith.”
This sermon looks at the eighth section which refers to the hope that Christians have. The hope in forgiveness of sins, the bodily and spiritual resurrection of believers, and the life everlasting.
Understanding The Apostles’ Creed
Find the other sermons in this series here:
- I Believe… In God, The Father Almighty
- I Believe… In God The Creator
- I Believe… In Jesus’ Incarnation
- I Believe… In Jesus’ Death & Resurrection
- I Believe… In Jesus’ Ascension & Return
- I Believe… In The Holy Spirit
- I Believe… In The Church
- I Believe… In The Life Everlasting
Text: 1 Corinthians 15
Date preached: 25 May 2016
Location: Le Phare Church, Bukhavu, DRC-Congo
If it is your first time here a warm welcome again. For most of you I know you know what we’ve been doing for the past eight Sundays. And I think there’s one more Sunday left. So, I think you should be doing like “Ouff, finally we’re done!” Right? So, we have this Sunday and one more Sunday in the Apostles’ creed. And the series of teaching is called, ‘I believe the foundation of the faith.’
I Believe… In Life Everlasting
And today we’re looking at I believe in the resurrection. That’s what you have in your bulletin. Let me just say in brackets you should also have ‘I believe in the forgiveness of sin. I believe in the life everlasting’. So, we’ll be looking at three things from the Apostles’ creed tonight.
We believe in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Now, before I do that let us together – and I think they will be ready with the Apostles’ creed at the back – let us together read the Apostles’ creed and be aware of what we are trying to study.
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the place of the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father,
I believe he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy universal Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
It’s About Belief
Good. As you might be able to see from the creed we are almost there. Now, we are there but we’re not there yet. Because there’s still one more thing that you’ll see in the bulletin that we will be looking at this whole concept of “I believe”, this whole concept of faith.
Now, when we started, I never dealt with it and there’s a reason for it. I think it’s very important to say “Well, this is what Christians believe”, and then explain later why is it that it’s actually a matter of belief and not just a matter of head knowledge. And that will be our last point and our last one will be “I believe”, and the reason why we go about through this again and again.
What Sets Christianity Apart?
Now, let me ask a question dear friend. If you were to describe the Christian faith compared to other faiths like Islam, and Buddhism, and Animism, what would be the key word that you would use? What is the main word that you could even use to say, “This I think is what Christianity brings that nobody else gives”?
Christianity brings hope
What will that be? Now I’ll tell you what it is for me. I think Christianity brings hope. Christianity brings hope compared to many other religions and many other faith systems or belief systems. Now the word hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. That’s how me and you use the word hope.
What Does ‘Hope’ Mean?
Now, in the old time, and this is where I’ll be going, the word ‘hope’ also meant trust, reliance, desire accompanied by expectation or belief in fulfilment. So, I would rather choose the second definition and say, “This is what I think the Christian faith does. It gives somebody who might be going through a difficult time, who might be dissatisfied with the present world, something to rely on, something to expect, something to believe on – or to believe in – about something great that is going to happen”.
Surely, this world is not all there is. There’s something else.
I think hope is a key word that defines the Christian faith. I think when you become a Christian you are hoping for something better. You are relying upon something better that is gonna happen. You are trusting that this is not all, there’s something to happen, there’s something else. There’s more than what I am getting. Surely, this world is not all there is. There’s something else.
Why Do Christians Hope?
Why do Christians hope? Well, the Christians have this great hope partly because of what happened in the past. And what happened in the past? Well, there’s a man who died on the cross and he rose again on the third day. That man is called Jesus. And that man said so many great things about his death. And what his death achieved in terms of the present world but also in terms of the future reality.
And so, Christian hope is based on past events but on future realities – on the things that are going to come. And that’s what we will be talking about. Because the Christian faith looks not only at what Jesus has achieved and so we talk of “We believe in the forgiveness of sins”, what he achieved on the cross, but also, on the things that are to come; on the things that he promised. The resurrection, physical, bodily resurrection and the life everlasting – a new life as we’ve never known it as before.
This World Is Hard
Now let me say that it doesn’t take much to be disappointed with the present world. Now, many people argue… why do small kids cry when they are born? Now, some people say it’s because, you know, if you’re a doctor you say they want to free out their lungs and it’s good for their lungs so as their lungs can bring in some air. And people like me – a little bit sceptical – say, “Well they cry because they know that they are coming into a tough world and a very difficult world”.
I did this study once and I wanna encourage you to ask yourself this question. Now, if you were you draw, now I don’t know if you’re familiar with what they call the curves, right? Graphs and curves? Most of you are students, right? You know curves. Now, if you were to do, you know, let’s say five and ten, ten is the highest level of happiness and joy. Right. Now, your whole life, if you were to put a curve on a moment where you were very happy, right? How many curves would you have? What would the curve look like?
My Happiness Chart
Let me tell you about my curve. Now, I’ve already told you my theory about a child that is born. So, when you’re born it’s a curve for your parent it’s not a curve for you, right? It’s like down like this you’re crying. And then what other moment did I really have a good time? Yeah, maybe once, you know like at school when you finish with great marks and you know like everybody, they are calling all the students who’ve done so well. And there you’re walking in front of all these people. And your dad is happy, and your mum is happy. And for five seconds, ten seconds, thirty seconds, one minute maybe, you’re very high up until you come back home again, and things go here, right?
What else? Maybe at the end of every year, now if you were pretty good at school that’s okay. But if you’re not good at school, that’s not even a curve. It’s not even going up. It just doesn’t peak it just stays like this right maybe goes down a little bit. And then maybe one day you meet somebody that you really like, and you spend some great time talking to them. And then maybe it just goes whoosh. Right, I see Madelaine looking at me, she knows.
You actually start realising that you cry a lot more than you rejoice.
So then, you go like this. And then again maybe you get married, maybe. Now most of you are not there but some of us have been there. And then you get married maybe for what, I don’t know, if I look at my own wedding, maybe just the wedding day because sometimes you’re so taken up in preparing things that it’s actually down it’s not up. And then you have a peak. And then what else? You know maybe my boy is born. What else?
And then what you realise my dear friend, what you start realising is that life is not always a sum up of happiness. There’s actually more pain and more suffering. You actually start realising that you cry a lot more than you rejoice.
Is This Really All There Is?
Now I know my point is not trying to make you sad. But my point is trying to say that if you do that analysis you start asking yourself sometimes whether is this all there is? Is there nothing more to this?
I had a very sad moment, I worked very hard for three years. Three years I was studying like crazy and I was doing my best. And sometimes I had money to pay, sometimes I didn’t have money to pay. Sometimes I had food, sometimes I didn’t have food. But it was such a stressful moment. And then on our graduation day, the day we’re going to receive our certificates, I remember standing there and looking at what this guy does.
I feel like there should be more. But there’s not more.
Now, I don’t know how they do it here, but where I studied you go and this guy makes you stand like this, and he is standing right next to you, and he has this thing, and he hits you on the head and then you go. And I said to my friend, “Is this all? Like you mean we’ve worked so hard for two seconds you stand there, there’s a picture”, actually you stand longer because there’s supposed to be a picture and then he just hits on the head and then that’s it. I’m like, I can’t believe this. I feel like there should be more. But there’s not more, that’s it. And then you move on to something else.
Many a time we find in life that life is not all that we’re looking for. Things that satisfied us sometime are not satisfying us today again. We long for more. We know that there’s supposed to be more. But we’re not getting more.
3 Reasons Why Christians Believe There Is More
Well Christians say that there’s hope. Christians say that the reason you long for more is because there is more. Christians say that you can actually trust that there will be more. And Christians live with this vision that there’s more to come. There’s better to come.
So, let us study this thing in three points, right. So, we’ll look like the creed says it, we’ll look at the forgiveness of sin, then we’ll look at the resurrection of the body, and then we’ll look at the life everlasting.
1. The Forgiveness of Sin
So, our first point is the forgiveness of sin. Now I want to say that this concept, this doctrine, this teaching of the Christian faith is important. Why? Because it’s the key to breach between the present world and the future world. In some instance it’s actually the thing that allows you to hope for more. What tells you that you can actually get more? Well, it’s because the thing that was stopping you from getting more is taken away. And that the Bible calls sin.
If sins can be forgiven, then surely man can have access to something more.
Sins are defined as the breaking of God’s law. Sin is the cause of the disruption in relationship between God and man. Sin the reason why man is destined to die. Sin is the reason why man is unhappy in this world, in this present time. And so, if sins can be dealt with, if sins can be forgiven, then surely man can have access to something more. Man can have access to something better.
Now, I want us to go to Luke 24 and you will see this concept of the reality of forgiveness is taught in the Bible.
How Sins Are Forgiven
Now, here again you’ll see in Luke 24 if you’re any familiar with the biblical narrative, you know that Jesus here is actually risen, and he is walking with two of the people who were you know rooming around his friends. Two of his disciples you can call them. And it says that this is the road to Emmaus, the disciple of Emmaus. And so, he’s explaining to them the meaning of his death and his resurrection and its impact.
Now Luke 24:47. What did I say again? No, I’m not on… sorry. Yeah. I guess I’ve missed it. Jesus… Jesus has spoken to his disciples on the road to Emmaus and now he’s appearing to his disciple, right. So, this is not the Emmaus story. Sorry about that. Now, in Luke 24:46 he says, “And he said to them,” Now who is speaking? Jesus is speaking. “Thus, it is written, that Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
Jesus sees that once he’s risen from the dead, two things would be proclaimed in his name. Two things would be preached in his name.
Redemption In Christ’s Blood
Now the first thing is repentance. People need to change. The second thing is what? Forgiveness. That now it is possible for men to be right with God. That now man can enjoy a relationship with God. That now man can actually be free to be, to be to have access to God. Why? Because his sins have been forgiven. His sins have been taken away.
I see the same thought in Ephesians 1:7, I’m gonna read that. Paul is rejoicing and he’s going through this wonderful moment of rejoicing and blessing God about what God has done and in verse 7 he says, “In him…” He means in Jesus, in Christ. “…we have redemption through his blood”, so we’ve been bought back through his blood. We have “The forgiveness of our trespasses”, (our sins), “according to the riches of his grace”.
So, what is Paul saying? Paul is saying that it is possible for sinners to be right with God. It is possible for those who have done wrong to actually be counted right with God. And that is only possible through the blood of Jesus. That is only possible through what he’s done. That’s why – now we go back to our text of tonight which is 1 Corinthians 15 – and you’ll see that’s why Paul in what he calls the gospel, this wonderful news, he includes this reality.
We are forgiven because Jesus died.
1 Corinthians 15:1: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word, I preached to you-unless you believed in vain.” Good. “For I delivered unto you first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep”.
What is Paul saying here? Now Paul is saying, how do we get forgiven? Well, we are forgiven because Jesus died. He died for what? For our trespasses; for our sins.
The Simple Biblical Equation
Now the biblical equation is very simple. As simple, to the point, so simple that even a five-year-old kid can understand it. God is here and he creates man. He is in the perfect relationship with man. God says to man, “If you remain under me, we will be friends. If you decide to do things on your own, we won’t be friends, there won’t be any relationship”. Now what does man do? We read Genesis 3. Man says, “I’m gonna try and do my thing and see whether its gonna work”. Guess what? He destroys his relationship with God.
If man can’t be friends with God, he can’t be friends with anybody else.
Now he messes up his relationship with people. That’s why me and you we’re not happy in this world. That’s why we are reading on Facebook that there’s killings in Benue. Because man cannot live with one another. Man is always trying to rule over one another. That’s why we hear stories this morning somebody was telling me or somebody of somebody who stole so much money from them. And it wasn’t even their money. It was someone else’s money. So that’s why we have such a broken world. People are trying to abuse each other because man did not want to live under God, be friends with God. Now if he can’t be friends with God, he can’t be friends with anybody else.
Now the Bible says this leads man to a very dangerous place. Because the last person you want not to be your friend, the last person you want to be your enemy, is God. Because God is also just. He’s not just a good loving God. He is just and he will punish any rebellion. And so, sin becomes the rejection of God. Sin becomes the breaking of God’s law. Sins become man declaring independence from God. And the Bible says God is going to punish. And he’s going to punish now – he lets you do your things, it’s a mess – but one day he’s going to punish in term of death. Physical death, spiritual death.
Our Solution Doesn’t Add Up
That’s the equation. Now man has tried over years to be friends with God to solve the sin problem. And how has man tried to solve the sin problem? By working hard, trying to be good, refraining from doing anything wrong, going to church, praying you know, doing all the wonderful things, waiting for people to say, “You are such a great man, I wish God would have you”. But with God it doesn’t work like that. Right.
So, it doesn’t matter what man does. In the end he’s condemned; in the end he can’t help himself.
But God did something great. God forgave man’s sin. And how did God forgive man’s sin? Well because man had to pay for his sins, God sent his son to die on the cross. So as the son now by dying on the cross will pay for man’s sin. That’s what Paul says. We receive redemption.
What is redemption? It’s somebody who pays what you owed.
Now what is redemption? Well, it’s somebody who pays what you owed. You go to a market and you gave somebody, “Well, here’s my phone. I need twenty dollars”. You give the phone the person gives you twenty dollars. You go. When you come back how do you redeem it? What do you do? You pay twenty dollars. Usually it’s never twenty dollars, it’s more. And they give you back your phone. What have you done? You have redeemed your phone. And Paul says the way Jesus redeems us, the way Jesus buys us back, is what? Ephesians 1:7, “through his blood”.
We Need To Be Redeemed
So, what is Paul saying? Paul is saying for sins to be forgiven, somebody had to die. For me to be forgiven by God for my sins I had to die. And Jesus dies in my place so as I can be forgiven, so as I can now to be friends with God again.
So, you see that’s a simple gospel equation. And as I said simple even for a five-year-old to understand. Man was separated from God, God intervened, and God has forgiven man’s sin. And so, what we do as preachers of the gospel? We’re not preaching to people and saying, “Yeah, you know what? Make sure you are right with God”. We are saying, “God has solved the problem of sin. God has forgiven your sin. Will you now take possession of this?” That’s what we are saying. We are preaching forgiveness of sin. As it is possible for man now to be reconciled with God.
And those who accept this, the reality of Romans 8:1 becomes true to them. In Romans 8:1 Paul says well, there’s now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Why is there no more condemnation? Why is it that somebody who was condemned is no more condemned? Well, because God does not count his sins anymore. God has forgiven his sins.
God Doesn’t Work Like Us
Now, let me stop here and say something my dear friends. Sometimes I do stuff and I have difficulties forgiving myself. Sometimes I do things and I ask somebody to forgive me and they are like, “I will never forgive you”. And many a time me and you we think God is like that. Many a time me and you think that because you’ve done wrong, God is like this man who’s gonna say, “You’ve hurt me so much that I will never forgive you”. It doesn’t work like that. Rather God is like this guy who is running to you and saying, “I know you’ve done wrong to me but I wanna forgive you. Will you ask me for forgiveness?”
There is forgiveness of sins. If you want it, you can get it.
It is possible for you to be forgiven. No matter what you’ve done, no matter how small or how big your sins. It is possible. And this is what Christians preach. Christians preach that it is possible for man to be forgiven by God. Only if man would want to take that gift of forgiveness.
Sometimes we feel guilty about the things we’ve done in the past. Sometimes we feel guilty about the things that we’re doing now. Well, the Bible says there is forgiveness of sins. If you want it, you can get it.
2. The Resurrection of The Body
Now what happens to those who get their sins forgiven? Those who have their sins forgiven they are restored into a relationship with God and now they have a new hope. And a new hope is someday when their physical body is gone, they will raise, they will be back to life again. And this is the whole concept behind 1 Corinthians 15. Actually in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is really making a defence for the resurrection of the body.
Someday when their physical body is gone, they will raise, they will be back to life again.
When you die, Christians say, you don’t just disappear. Now some people in some Christian circles have been saying, “When you die your soul gets out of your body and your body stays there because the body is useless and only the soul is important. It is not a bodily resurrection. It’s not a physical resurrection that will happen when Jesus comes. No, no, it’s just a spiritual resurrection”. Paul says that’s not true.
Christians Will Rise From The Dead
Come with me to 1 Corinthians 15:12. “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
In Christ shall all be made alive.
What is Paul saying here my dear friend? Well, it’s very clear I think I don’t even need to explain so much. Paul is saying that the idea that one day after this life we will rise physically is so central to the gospel that you cannot teach the one and leave the other.
Because Jesus raised from the dead physically, Christians have hope they will rise from the dead physically.
Now, I wanna ask again, let me go back to my first point, and I said Christianity gives hope. Most religions will tell you there’s life after death. Very few will tell you that you will be raised bodily. Some religions, eastern religions, will tell you that you will disappear somewhere with nature. Christians say no. The life we live now is just part of what is to be. The life we live now is just the starter. There’s something else.
This Life Is The Warmup
You know, yesterday was a big game. You have Real Madrid and Atletico playing. It got me sleeping late at night and I probably didn’t even sleep very well because of that. And when they go to penalties you are like “Oh, who’s gonna win”. But before players get on the field, what do they do? They warm up. Now the warmup is they go running around, and they’re stretching, and they’re doing these things and… you know right? That’s the warmup.
Now Christians think that this life is almost like a warmup. The game hasn’t started. We are just warming up. There’s much better to come. And it’s so close to what we preach that you can’t preach biblically the Christian faith without talking about the life to come. And I will come back later to that, just now.
What Will My New Body Be Like?
Now let’s talk about some practical questions – which is the passage that Sharon so well read to us. Now question. People like to say, “Well okay we’re gonna raise and it’s okay. But how is it gonna be? What is it gonna be like? Will I look like myself? Will I be in white robes? What will it be like?” And Paul answers the question. Come with me particularly to 1 Corinthians 15:42-44.
Now, I wanna insist on one thing. First of all, Paul says it will be a bodily resurrection. Right. Your body will be raised. It will be a different body and that’s what we’ll be looking at. But there will be a bodily resurrection. So, it’s not just the spirit, it’s the physical. And why is the physical going to be raised? Well, the argument is simple. Who made the physical? God. Adam wasn’t a spirit walking around in the Garden of Eden before he sinned. He had a body.
So, what does it say about the new body that we’re gonna get? 1 Corinthians 15:42: “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown perishable; what is raised is imperishable. That is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in a weakness: it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body”.
Now he goes on to explain so many things. We don’t have time to go about that. But I see four characteristics of the body that people will get when they rise with Jesus.
Now the first thing is imperishable, right? Now I don’t need to remind you that your body is perishable right. You just have to walk around, and they cut you down and you fall wooooo. And you know, you know the funny thing is there’s a place called Camp Saio. Right? You know Camp Saio, most off you know Camp Saio. Camp Saio is a burial place. And we grew up and they were burying people there. Now where they used to bury people when we were growing up today what do you know, what do you think are there? Somebody is smiling. What are they building over tombs? Houses. Right. So, I always get shocked when I see this, but they are building houses. Why? Because the body is perishable. The moment they put it in the ground it just mixes with dust. And before you know it, twenty years, thirty years down the line, somebody comes and puts up a building. Because there’s nothing left!
I used to remind myself – and that’s the second point – it is sown in weakness; it will be raised in power. Sometimes I used to get very… I would say a bit puffed up. And I would think I’m on top of the world because I am doing great science and great research. And then I would try intentionally to walk – because I was studying next to a hospital – and I would go into the hospital to see how weak and how fragile human’s body can be. And so, you walk around, and you see people with hands that have been cut and legs and whatever. It reminds you again that your body is weak.
But the body we’re gonna get is a body in power. It’s not gonna be weak. It’s never gonna be sick. It’s never gonna be falling sick and feeling the shortness of thirst and hunger and stuff like that. No! It will not be subject to diseases. It will be a body of power! It’s not a fragile body. You can’t break it and destroy it. It’s not gonna be destroyed. It’s also not a weak body because it will be a body in power.
Now look at this. Every morning girls who are here, and I see the boys as well maybe I should also go to the salon, but we all look into the mirror because we want to look beautiful. Because… we buy all these fancy things, and we do this because we think that there’s something that’s missing here and there’s something that’s missing there. And if you don’t know any of those if you are boys then you have sisters. And if you do not have sisters one day you’ll get married and you’ll know more.
But what does that mean? It means that usually we know our body is not all that we want. There’s a sense in which we’re not very honoured with our body. There’s a sense in which we know that sometimes I went to a class where… Now today I’m an average height so I’m happy. But when I was studying, I was always the shortest, right. And it would… I never liked it! But every time we have class pictures, they’d put you at the front. Now I don’t know any of you suffer that. But they would put you at the front because you are short. And then the tall guys at the back. And then it’s just… It was like man!
You know your shortcoming. You know how your body doesn’t work. You know when you’re trying to hide it and you’re not sure. Maybe at school you’re not intelligent and you’re not happy with that. Maybe in life, I don’t know what it is. But what it says here is sown in dishonour what the body we have is the body we’re not happy with. And most of the time we’re not even honoured by it. What will come out of it is the body of glory. It is a beautiful body.
You will not need makeup. You will not need to adjust your height by wearing long heels. It will be perfect!
Now think about this, a perfect body, a body that can’t perish, it can withstand anything. A body that is just so strong that you don’t need anything like mosquito nets to prevent mosquitoes. And then you have a spiritual body. It’s just different from the normal body. It shines in glory like the body of Jesus. That’s what we are promised. That’s what the Bible says is going to happen at the resurrection, when we rise again.
Now my dear friend I don’t know about you, I want this. I want this body. Now I like to read but I can’t read so much because at times I get tired and sometimes my brain plays me. Now I’m just trying to think maybe when I raise from the dead maybe I’ll buy a whole shelf of books and I will be reading forever. I don’t know.
3. Everlasting Life
I used to have – and let me go to the third point – but we used to, when we grew up, we used to have a lady who helped us. And I have issues with what she said. But I think she had a point. She used to say, “When I go to heaven, I will have chicken and chips and fries. I will have frites et poulet”. Now coming to think about it I’m like yeah is that what you want? But there’s a point. And the point is that all the things that we’ve longed for in this life. All the things that we’ve felt short of in this life, well when we raise physically, we’ll have those things. We will have them. So that’s what we are promised.
This perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
Lastly, life everlasting. Look at verse 1 Corinthians 15:51. “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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality”.
What is Paul saying here? That in the new life it will be a life that never ends.
I Don’t Know What Never-Ending Life Looks Like
Now I must confess, now I’m teaching on this, but I have no clue of what a life that never ends looks like. I don’t have any idea. Because I’m used to seeing life that starts and that ends. And I’m used to, I like to say this actually to people that the only thing that is constant in life is change.
Now guess what, he’s saying that the only thing that will never happen in heaven is change. The only thing that me and you are used to is the only thing that will never be in heaven, change. We’ll be immortal. We’ll never taste death anymore.
What we will be we don’t know yet. But this we know; we will be like him.
I must be honest, even in my wildest dream, I don’t know what this means. And it’s scary for a preacher to stand in front of people and say that he doesn’t even know what he’s saying. But that’s really true. And that’s why John says. And you’re gonna come with me to 1 John 3. And I like what he says there. 1 John 3, I don’t know what page number it is but if you come to verse 2 (thank you very much, page 661), 1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is”.
You see John understands that this kind of life, this kind of hope, we can’t grasp it. We have difficulties understanding this thing. That there can be a life that never ends. Why? Because we’re used to seeing a baby born and die. Because we’re used to seeing people in hospital. And what do we say? “That’s how life is”. And he says what we will be we don’t know yet. But this we know; we will be like him. This we know, we will be like him.
My New Life Will Never End
And so, I find much comfort in what I read in the Bible. And I’m gonna read a passage, you don’t have to turn there. When I think of this wonderful truth that we’re talking about – that my sins are forgiven and the forgiveness of my sins gives me the right to know that one day this life is gonna end – Oh, but I’m gonna start a great one and that one will never end.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face; his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for their God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”
You see when I think of these things, I go, and I say I don’t understand this. This is way out from anything that I know. It’s way out from anything that I can imagine. And so, I wanna cherish these things. I wanna cherish these things and I wanna keep them in my mind and know this is what I am promised.
I’m promised a new life, a life with God, and a life that will never end. And a life that will never lack anything. Not in this life, but in the life to come.
The Best Is Yet To Come!
So, when Christians talk of forgiveness of sin, they know that their sins have been forgiven because of what Jesus has done. When Christians look at their future, they agree that there’s great hope. Despite the noise and the trouble that is currently going on. Despite the bad leadership that we see and the death, and the insecurity, and the economical woes, and the uncertainty, and the sickness, and the pain, and the suffering. Christians know there’s more. There’s more! The best is here to come! There will be a life that will never end. There will be a life that will not have the suffering that we see today, the disappointment, and the fear. And guess what? Christians know they will be part of that life. They know they will also be part of it. It’s just a matter of time.
So, my dear friend I don’t know what you believe in – and I’m gonna end here – but I don’t know what you believe in. I don’t know whether you are one of those Christians who think that all that there is in this life, that’s it, there’s nothing more. I don’t know maybe you’re here and you’re exploring the Christian faith and you’re not really sure what Christians believe. You are dissatisfied with the current situation, but you don’t know if there can be more. Let me say that Christians believe that there is more. And more can be achieved when our sins are forgiven. And it is possible for our sins to be forgiven. Christians live in hope. In hope that the best is yet to come.
This Is Why We Endure
They endure hardship in the present world because they know hardship will end one day. And then they will have a life where there’s no hardship. They endure sickness in this world because they know that sickness will end and there will be a world where there will be no more sickness. They endure, they’re working hard to make this world just, but sometimes they have to suffer injustice. And they know that there is a world where there won’t be any injustice. They have hope. Do you have hope?
Christians believe in the forgiveness of sin. They believe in the bodily resurrection. And they believe in the life everlasting.
So, what do you believe?