It’s been many years ago now, but I will always remember the day of my ordination exam for the ministry.
I was nervous.
I had heard rumors of the difficult kinds of questions I would be asked. As I sat before the 40 or so elders, my hands were sweaty, my stomach was even a little upset.
I had prepared for this exam for months. How would it begin?
"Joshua, why don’t we start with you sharing the gospel with us?"
What a relief!
First of all, I love that question. And then honestly I was just so happy they weren’t asking me to name all the kings of Israel right away.
I launched into full on young preacher mode. When I finally finished, I thought I had done pretty well, until one of the elders said, “That was great, thank you. But what about the resurrection?”
Now, that is a pretty big miss!
Obviously I believed in the resurrection and I was thankful for the resurrection and yet somehow, (I am going to go with nerves) I had left out the resurrection in my presentation of the gospel.
You can’t do that.
In fact, let me say it one more time, “for the people in the back.” You absolutely can’t do that!
When Paul talked about the gospel he preached to the Corinthians he summarized it like this:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
The resurrection of Jesus is an issue of first importance, for so many reasons.
This Sunday we are going to look at 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 and consider one of them.
Jesus rising from the dead means you will too.
And I really want you to feel the significance of that because I am afraid sometimes we don’t.
At some point most likely, you are going to die. And then your body is going to go into the grave and then if you are a Christian you are going to go to heaven.
But look, that’s not the end. That’s not all there is to the good news.
We can’t leave the resurrection of Jesus out of our gospel presentations, and we can’t leave the resurrection of the dead out of the way we think about the implications of Christ’s work on our behalf.
What’s our hope as Christians? The Heidelberg Catechism puts it like this:
Not only shall my soul after this life immediately be taken up to Christ, my Head, but also this my flesh, raised by the power of Christ, shall be reunited with my soul and made like Christ's glorious body.
Underline, made like Christ’s glorious body. We’re going to have a resurrection body like Jesus. That’s huge! And yet, it brings up all sorts of questions like:
How’s that possible? What’s it going to be like?
This Sunday we are going to look at Paul’s answers to those questions as he reveals the “future you.”
Come ready! Come expectant! Come praying!
It’s around the time of year when we have Spring Break and many of our children will be excited to have time off of school.
And that’s great of course, but I would encourage you to take some time with them this weekend to talk about why as believers we are even more excited about Good Friday and Easter than we are about getting a break from class.
Jesus died for our sins! Jesus rose from the dead!
Think about some of the implications of that, and in age appropriate ways, see if you can share with your children why those realities mean so much to you.
You can prepare them for Sunday generally by:
And then more specifically you can get them ready by letting them know we are going to be talking about the resurrection of the dead. Resurrection is a big word. So see if they know what it means. Maybe you can ask them questions like this:
And then during the sermon I think you can guess the word for them to listen for. It is “resurrection.” They can mark down how many times they think I said that and then come up and see my wife Marda for a treat.
After the sermon as you sit around the lunch table or at another time you might ask questions like this:
Now obviously, they are not always going to have great answers to these questions. But let them try, and when they struggle, don’t give them a hard time necessarily, but instead, try to share how the gospel has impacted you as an example for them to consider.
There will be no children’s ministry meeting this Sunday.