Getting a New Body

When Dealing With Grief, We Must Lean On The Eternal Promises Of God

Dan Franklin
Aug 7, 2022    41m
Are you dealing with grief? This message reminds us that the eternal promises of God are better than our earthly reality. We are in a physical, fallen body, but one day we will be in a resurrected body, and God will raise us from the grave and put us on a new earth to live with him forever. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] All right, can I just level with you all for a minute? I think I have all the parts of a really good sermon, but I'm not sure what order they're all going to come out. This doesn't always happen, I usually have a pretty clear plan of where I'm going, I've practiced this twice today and it keeps coming out differently. So I just thought I'd take a minute to say that there are things, thank God we are not determinate on me doing well up here for us to hear from God. So we're going to go through this passage, it's an important passage of Scripture, I've got a lot to say on it. But I just thought to start off by saying, you know, I don't know exactly how this is going to go, except I believe that God is at work. And if we're doing this whole series called Glory and Frailty, the whole idea that God shows the world His glory through the frailty of the servants, maybe it's good that sometimes I'm getting up here and I'm like, I don't know how this is going to go, but we have a strong God who's going to speak to us and is going to be at work.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:13] And actually, I wanted to start by reading a passage, every time I have the privilege of doing a funeral or a memorial service of some kind, pretty much every time there's a passage in the Old Testament that I read, and I wanted to read it in starting off this morning. It's Ecclesiastes chapter 7 verses 2 through 4, and it says this, It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. 3Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. 4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure." And part of the reason why I always read that when I'm doing a memorial service is because we have the opportunity to say, according to the Bible here, we get more wisdom from going to a funeral than we do from going to a party. We get more wisdom from frustration than we do from laughter. And it's weird because you read a passage like this and you're like, so am I doing something wrong if I'm happy sometimes? And the answer is no. In fact, the same book of Ecclesiastes four chapters earlier says, there's a time to weep and there's a time to laugh, there are different seasons, and we embrace all those different seasons. But what it is saying here is that if we really want to be wise, we're going to learn more wisdom from frustration than from joy, and we're going to learn more wisdom from morning than from laughing.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:58] And one of the reasons why this is important is because and I think to a degree, this is true of all cultures, but in our culture, we are very, very uncomfortable talking about death. But guess what we're going to do this morning? We're going to talk about death. We're going to try to break the silence, because the passage that we're going to go through is going to give us a grid of how to deal with death, and we need to be able to talk about death.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:22] Now, I want to do something, and again, I'm not, some of you because of things that you're going through right now, you might not even want to participate in this and so I'll understand if you don't. But I feel like I frequently am aware of a percentage of just the pain going on in our church congregation, but I know I'm not in on all of it. So let me start with this question. If you're willing to go ahead and raise your hand if right now you are in the midst of grieving a death, and you're still in mourning over it? All right, a chunk of you are. Some of us might even be thinking of Knox Wasley, who will be having his service this next Saturday and grieving over this. But let me ask this, how many of you, and Jeff talked about this a little bit last week, how many of you are in the midst of dealing with something in your physical body that feels like the pangs of death and frustration, and you're dealing with the grief over feeling like my health may never be what it once was? All right, a bunch more of us. And it's not all just those of you who are a little bit older, we reach points, Jeff talked about being in, and Jeff and I are about the same age, getting into the forties and experiencing the different difficulties of this. We experience times in our lives where this really hits home, where we really recognize the reality of death. So some of us here, and the whole idea of talking about death, we're looking at this and we recognize according to Ecclesiastes and according to our lives, we know we are all staring down the barrel of death. Unless Jesus comes first, all of us will face death. And some of you in here might be thinking, yeah, soon. Like honestly, you may be thinking, like, I don't think it's going to be that much longer for me. And some of you might be thinking like, yeah, but probably decades and decades and decades from now. And I'm just going to say, God willing, you're right. God willing, for some of you it's decades and decades and decades from now, but decades and decades and decades from now, you know what's still going to happen. You're still going to die. And you don't know if it's decades and decades and decades from now, but even if it is 50, 60 years from now, you're going to deal with death in your life in all kinds of different ways, even if it's not your own.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:31] I was 12 years old when I first lost a grandparent and just death first came close to me, and many of you probably can remember sort of the first time death hit you in a big way. And then about a month after Karina and I got married, one of the groomsmen in our wedding died in a car accident. Actually, our oldest son, Matt, is named after him, and we dealt with the grief over that just very untimely death. About four months ago, we dealt with the death of Karina's mom, and just the grief over that hitting close to home again. While it wasn't a death, when I was nine years old, my dad became suddenly paralyzed from the neck down and has been in a wheelchair since, he didn't die, but those are the pangs of death, those are the things that we experience.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:18] So when we're talking about this, we can say this is uncomfortable, this feels kind of like a downer. You know, we need to talk about this, we need a grid for death that leads us in a way that we're not so afraid of it, that we're pretending it's not real, but that also keeps us from going into despair over death. And the thing that's going to keep us from going into despair over death is a promise. And we're going to go through this passage that you heard Lori read a few minutes ago, we're going to go through this passage in Second Corinthians chapter 5 verses 1 through 5. If you're not there or if you're using your phone or a Bible, go ahead and turn there now. What we're going to see is that we have a promise from God that takes the sting out of death. It does not mean we will not die, but it means death has lost its power for us.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:11] Before looking at the passage, what I'm going to say is some of you are going to think you know exactly where this is going, but for many of you, this is actually going to be a little bit different than what you're expecting. So I want to invite you to prepare for the idea that sometimes what the Bible actually says is a little bit different than the truisms that we get used to. So here's what we're going to go through. if you want some pegs to kind of hang this on for these five verses we're going to go through, here's the three things that we're going to see. We are going to see the glory of this promise that we get from God. Then we're going to see our longing for that promise that we get from God. And then finally, we're going to see why we have confidence in this promise that we get from God.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:58] Now we're going to start in verse 1 which is the promise itself, the glory of this promise. But I want to do a little bit of exercise before going into this, because when we think about death and when we think about what happens after death, all of us have lots of baggage. We have 2000 years of Christian art; we have cartoons that we watch growing up that show us things about heaven and hell and angels and demons and all that kind of stuff. So we have all kinds of baggage and we're kind of assuming, yeah, I know what this is going to say. Here's what I want us to try to do, let's try to get into first-century Corinth, let's try to think we're one of those early believers in Jesus. And here's what we know, what we know is that Jesus died for our sins, we know he rose from the dead, and we know one day he's going to come back and fix everything. And we're excited about him coming back and fixing everything, but while we're waiting for him to come back and fix everything, people are dying. We are going to funerals for Christians, and we're trying to figure out what do we say at these funerals? How do we give comfort to the to the loved ones? How do we think about this ourselves?

Dan Franklin: [00:08:59] It's that context, and Paul is going to answer that question in verse 1 for what we say when we experience the death of believers. Here's what he says, "For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." So let's just go through this part by part because this is really important. He starts by saying, "For we know that if the earthly tent we live in." What is the earthly tent we live in? Yeah, it's our bodies, our flesh, and blood, mortal bodies. And I love he uses the illustration of a tent; it seems very fitting because a tent is temporary. How many of you like camping? Yeah. Probably for like two days, and then you're like, I'm back home. A tent is very temporary, and a tent is very vulnerable, so it feels like, yeah, yeah, this fits, this earthly tent that we live in. He says if this earthly tent that we live in is destroyed, this is a gimme, what event is he talking about? He's talking about death. If this physical body that we live in is destroyed, here's the promise. If this physical body that we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:20] Now, here's the deal, if we just saw the second half of verse 1, what we would automatically assume is, we would assume, oh, Paul is talking about a place that we go to. He's talking about a destination, a building from God, an eternal home in heaven, not built by human hands. But what I want you to see is he is not talking about a place we go to; he's talking about a place that we inhabit. We are in this earthly tent, that is our body, but he says, but one day we're going to have a building from God. We're going to move from tent to building, something more permanent, something more safe, something stronger, we're going to move from temporary in the tent to an eternal home in the heavens. We're going to move from a body that, even though none of us made our bodies, our bodies are largely the result of decisions that we've made, we even have people in our culture that are called bodybuilders. We move from the bodies that are sort of the result of our actions, to a body not built by human hands, which implies that it's built by God. Paul is not saying, hey, right now we're in a physical body, but one day we're going to go somewhere to be with God. He is saying right now we are in a physical, fallen body, but one day we are going to be in an eternal, resurrected body. He's not talking about a place that we go, he's talking about the hope of a new body that we get. And this is hard for us to get because we don't talk about this a lot in our churches, but it's all over the Bible.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:58] In fact, for the first century Christians, they would have been talking a lot about the hope of resurrection, and a resurrection body and not be talking very much about going to heaven when we die. Which we'll talk more about later, because that is a reality, but that's not the main thing they would have banked on. And by the way, if you think right now, like, well, maybe we're misunderstanding, Paul, or maybe this is just one place that he talks about this. This is not just one place that he talks about this, this is the consistent teaching of the Bible.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:29] Two weeks ago, if you have an open Bible, it will probably be on the same page. Second Corinthian, chapter 4 verse 14, Paul says this, "We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself." Paul says Jesus is raised, and the same God who raised Him is one day going to raise us. In the first letter that Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he has a whole chapter that's about this, chapter 15. I want to just, oh, I should have put that up when I read that verse, I didn't remember that I had that in my slides. Like I said, God's going to work regardless. First Corinthians chapter 15, I want us to read verses 20-23 where Paul zeroes in on this. He says, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." So firstfruits is the idea of he's the first, and there's more to come. He then goes on to say, "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then when he comes, those who belong to him." Do you know what Paul's picturing here? He's picturing, you're at the Christian funeral, and somebody's got to get up and say something, and what is that person going to get up and say to give comfort to the family and all of the people who are grieving over this believer in Jesus who has died? And what that person would probably say is something like this. He's in the grave right now, but he's not staying in the grave forever. Remember how Jesus was in the tomb and then he got back up out of the tomb? One day our beloved friend is going to be raised to new life, fitted with a resurrection body that Paul, later on in First Corinthians 15, says it's going to be something that never gets old, never fades away, never gets wounded, never gets tired, never dies. Are some of you feeling excited about this right now? Like, wow, that sounds really great, one day he is going to get up out of his grave when Jesus returns because he belonged to Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:44] And by the way, this isn't just Paul who thinks this, Paul thinks this because Jesus said this. John, chapter 5 verses 28 and 29, the Lord Jesus says, “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice..." Meaning his own voice, "Will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned." Jesus says there's going to be a final judgment at the end, there's going to be a final resurrection. He's going to return, everybody's going to get up out of his graves, those who rejected Jesus will be judged, those who received Jesus will be raised to new life. And here's one of the reasons, just so that we get this, some of you might be thinking, all right, here's the deal. How important is this really? If the story is we die and we go to heaven where the story ends, or we die and we get raised from the dead, either way, it seems like it's a good story. Either way, it seems like a positive thing. So why is there the need to clarify that our ultimate Christian hope is not that we go to heaven when we die, our ultimate Christian hope is resurrection? And I want to tell you why this is important. The reason this is important is because this is the difference between escape and victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:01] Are any Star Wars fans in here? All right, a bunch of you. Even if you're not a big Star Wars fan, you may have seen the movies. The Empire Strikes Back, the best Star Wars movie ever, is not even controversial. You can ask me afterwards if you have controversy over this. The best Star Wars movie ever, it ends with a really happy ending. But if you remember how it ends, it ends with an escape. The battle is not really won, the good guys just kind of escaped the clutches of the enemy and they will live to fight another day. It's a good ending, but it's not ultimate victory, it's just escape. You get to Return Of The Jedi, and you get to the end of Return of the Jedi and there are Ewoks singing, and everybody's, safe, there's a big celebration because it wasn't just escape, it was a victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:48] I want you to think about Jesus for a second. Jesus was killed and put into the ground, and what happened next wasn't that he called down from far away in heaven and said, don't worry, I'm all right. What he did is he showed up again in that same body, and said, they may have put me in the ground, but they don't get the final word. You will one day be put in the ground, but that's not the final word, and your victory is not that you escaped to somewhere else. Your victory is that God will raise that same body up from the grave, fit it with a new resurrected body, and put you on a new redeemed planet to live with him forever. This is the Christian hope that the Apostle Paul gives, and he wants us to know that the thing that we're banking on is not just that we escape, the thing that we're banking on is that just as Jesus was victorious, we will be victorious. Paul says, when we have a Christian funeral, we have a pretty great promise. We have a promise that gives us comfort for death, and that gives us courage for life. Because even though we're all staring down the barrel of death, death doesn't get the final word.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:01] But here's what Paul is going to get into, and even as I say this, I know that for some of you, there are questions swirling around in your mind right now. You're like, whoa, whoa, whoa, there's a lot more we need to talk about. Did he just say nobody goes to heaven? Did he just say, like, what's going on right now? Well, hold on, because Paul is actually in some ways going to address some of those questions in the next part of the passage. And here's what he does, he lays out the promise in verse 1. He says this is the great, glorious promise that we're given. And then in verses 2 through 4, he says, this is how we long for that promise.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:30] So starting in verse 2, he says, "Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling." So just as an aside, twice in verse 2 and in verse 4, Paul uses the word groan. He says this is what we do, one day everything's going to be fixed, but in the meantime, we groan. And this is not like a happy sigh of relief, this is more like a frustrated longing of why are we not there yet? We are groaning. And he sort of changes the analogy, he does mention the tent again in verse 4, but he changes the analogy from sort of the tent and the building to being clothed. And sort of the following. of he says we're clothed right now, that's our earthly body, we're clothed with this flesh and blood that we have right now. He says< We're longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling. Once again, he's not talking about a place that we go, he's talking about a body that we receive.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:30] And then look at what he says in verse 3. He says, “Because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked." Now, quick pause for anybody who feels like you need to giggle because we just said naked in church, it's okay, we'll just do it now. All right, good, we'll keep going now. But Paul brings this up, and again, he's given the analogy of clothing. So he says, here's what we want, right now we're clothed with this earthly body, this is the clothing that we wear. What we want, is to be clothed with our heavenly body, he says. We want that, we don't want to be found naked.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:02] And he doubles down, he explains more of this in verse 4. He says, "For while we are in this tent." So he returns to the initial while we're clothed, "For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling. Then he closes by saying, "So that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." Once again, the idea of victory, he is saying right now we have what is mortal and we want that mortal to be swallowed up in life. We want to go from the clothing, the mortal clothing that we're wearing right now, to our eternal clothing that we will wear forever. He says, do you know what we don't want? We don't want to be without clothes, this is the in-between state. And here's what Paul is saying, Paul is saying right now we're frustrated because of the limitations and the mortality and the pain of our mortal body. Can I get an amen? Like, if you're over 15 years old, you're like, amen. Dealing with the aches and pains and the frustrations and even beyond that, there's just a sense of even if it's not physical, there's just the sense of where we recognize the world isn't right and we're not right, we're still making decisions that we grieve, that we make. So we're, like, why did I do that? I shouldn't have done that. I'm ready to be done with this mortal body where I'm no longer sinning against God and doing things that are destructive to me and others. So we have all this groaning, and he says, what we want is not just to say, if I could be rid of all physicality, my problems would be fixed. He says, no, that's not what we want, that would be to be found naked, that would be it to be found unclothed. He's saying our goal is not to say one day I get rid of physicality and just become a spirit being floating around with consciousness. He says, no, that's not what we want, God put us in bodies at the very beginning, he made us flesh and blood from the very start, body, and spirit, and he's saying that our ultimate destination is that we will be body and spirit again, just thank God, not a body that's fading and getting injured and getting sick. But he says, what we don't want is to be disembodied.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:15] But what Paul seems to be referring to is a question that we've probably been asking a lot during this message. And that's, all right, what about the gap? If what we've got right now is, right now, we're in a physical body, one day when Jesus returns will be in a physical, redeemed, resurrected body, there's a big gap there. Yeah, and who knows, for some of us, it might be like a 15-year gap, but for some people, it's been a 2000-year gap. What's going on? Are we just sort of asleep on this long hibernation that we're just waiting for that final resurrection? Here's what I want to say, we don't get as much information as we would love about this middle period that sometimes people call the intermediate state, but it's what we're usually referring to when we talk about people going to heaven when they die.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:08] Now, now, we don't always have time to do this in the sermons, but I actually want to do this right now. We're going to take a couple of minutes and we're going to go through every passage in the New Testament that talks about going to heaven when we die. Are you guys ready? All right, we just did it, there is no passage in the Bible that talks about dying and going to heaven. Take a breath, it's going to be all right. Now, with that said, that's not terminology, and so even when we use the terminology, they're in heaven right now, what we mean might end up being accurate, but we're not using biblical terminology. What we do see is a handful of passages that give us some help on this.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:50] In fact, next week we're going to go through verses 6 through 10 of the same chapter, and Paul says something in verse that does give us some help on this. If you have an open Bible, you can just look ahead to verse 8, he says, "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." So Paul gives us, he says, all right, well, we ultimately want is not this in-between state, what we ultimately want is our final resurrection. But he says when we're away from the body, we're present with the Lord, we are conscious, we are aware, we are with the Lord. In fact, there's one other and I'm not going to have it up on the screen, but there's one other passage that Paul really gives us some help on this, and it's Philippians chapter 1, you can look it up later if you want, but I'll read just a couple of the verses. And the context is that Paul is in prison, and he thinks that there's a chance that he'll be executed, but probably not, and he ends up being right, he ends up being released from prison during that time. But he says, all right, I might be killed, and then he even says, I'm not sure which one I want. It's sort of like there's a part of me that wants to stick around and there's a part of me that that hopes that this is the end. Listen to what he says in Philippians 1 verses 23 and 24, he says, "I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body." We get a pretty clear picture from that, again, we don't know everything that's happening, but Paul is saying this, if I die now, I will depart and be with the Lord, I'll be away from the body, I'll be with the Lord. So he says, I'll be with the Lord, and then He says something else, did you guys catch it? Better by far. He says, I'm going to be with the Lord and it's better by far.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:36] Here's the deal, I know for a lot of us, we want details about what's going on. If we think of beloved believers that we care about who have died and we're like, what are they experiencing right now? I'm not going to be able to give you tons and tons of details, I'm going to be able to tell you three things, they are conscious, they're not in hibernation, they are conscious, they are with the Lord, and they wouldn't come back if they were offered the opportunity because it's better by far. Now, are they just spirits, consciousness without bodies? Are they in some kind of temporary form because they're not in their earthly body, but they're not yet in their heavenly resurrected body? What's going on with that? I've got a great answer for you, I don't know. The Bible doesn't tell us, we can all have theories, here's what we know, they are conscious, they're with the Lord, it is better by far, so we get to celebrate that. And again, I'm not even saying don't use the terminology, go to heaven, I'm just saying that's not how the Bible describes it. What we can say at a funeral of a believer in Jesus is we can say they are with the Lord. But you know what else we can say? We can say they're still waiting for the best yet to come. They're with the Lord, and it's not purgatory, they're not working off sins, they're with the Lord experiencing comfort and joy in His presence, but they all are still groaning, just as we're groaning.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:04] You know the passage that talks about there being no more tears, that passage in Revelation 21, that's not about when we go to heaven when we die, that's about when Jesus returns and ushers in the new earth in this creation. The ultimate Christian hope is not that we go where God is, it's that God comes where we are. That God gives us new resurrected bodies, puts us on a new redeemed planet, and that His dwelling is with us forever. And I just want to take a pause on this, because, again, for some of you, you might feel like, well, this is interesting. I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes. What I want to tell you is that whether or not you realize it, this is what your soul is groaning for. You might be thinking, no, I'm fine, I'm fine if I just get rid of this body and I'm just sort of a spirit being for the rest of eternity. Now, if that's what God was going to do, God would work out a way that would be satisfactory. But that's not what God's going to do, God put us in bodies from the beginning, we will be in bodies for all eternity. And what I want to tell you is that there should be a part of your heart that just comes alive when you hear that, because there is grief that goes along with being in these physical bodies, but there is joy. Think of the greatest joys that you have in life, think of going for a walk or going for a swim, think of going for a hike. I talked a couple of weeks ago about going to see the sunrise at Haleakala on Maui and getting to see the beauty of all of that. Think of giving somebody a hug and the way that your body feels when you get to give somebody a hug. Think of the last great meal that you had. Think of that steak and some potatoes on the side, a little bit of bread, and some wine if you're over 21 and don't have drinking problems. And you are just soaking that in and enjoying just all of the goodness of all of those sensations and taking the idea that that is you enjoying all of that goodness in a broken, fallen body, on a broken, fallen planet. Can you imagine what the meals are going to be like on the new earth? Holy smokes. And again, it's not just that we're in new bodies, it's that we're on a new earth. Think of all the beauty that we get to experience on this planet, if some of you are like me and you love being at the beach, and for some of you, it's the mountains, or you're stargazing, and you're looking at these different, amazing things. Think of the greatest beauty that you've experienced in creation, and once again, think about the fact that that is on a broken, cursed, fallen planet. What is the stargazing going to be like on the new earth? What are the mountaintops and the views going to be like on the new earth? This is what God made us for, and we get a glimpse of the beauty and that all of our groaning... Like you ever have a moment where you have something really good like that, like you have that great meal, but then you're like, oh, it's over. You have that great view, but you're like, ah, my ankle hurts. You see, you have these things and they're great and they're wonderful, but there's always the sting of the curse right there. One day we will have all of the benefits with none of the sting because we won't have escape, we will have victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:26] And once again, if we think of the believers right now and sort of this gap, the intermediate state, a way to think of it might be the way of thinking about sort of like being single, being engaged, and being married. So I don't know if you've ever had a friend that maybe it's a gal who's been dating a guy for like three years and she really wants to get engaged, just like, when is this going to happen? We know that we want to marry each other, we know that we're right for each other, when is he going to propose? When is he going to give me the ring? When are we going to be past this stage? And then let's say he proposes, she gets the ring, and she is engaged. Is she more happy than before she was engaged? All right, I don't know, some of you are ambiguous, do you think it's a trick question? I'm saying yes. I'm saying yeah, she's like, yes, finally, I'm engaged and she's experiencing all the joy of being engaged and a higher level of commitment and greater anticipation for what's going to come. But if you check back in with her three years later and she was still engaged, how would she be feeling? She'd be like, I wanted to be engaged, but not forever, I want it to be engaged because that happens before you get married. The people who are with the Lord right now, they are experiencing something that is more comfortable than we're experiencing right now, but they're sort of engaged right now and they are longing for the wedding, they are longing for the resurrection. We don't have to fear what's going to happen when we die, we will be with the Lord, it's much better by far, but we will still be longing for that day when Jesus returns and makes all things new.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:04] Now here's what I want to do, there's one last verse that we've got to go through, we've got to go through verse 5. In some ways, it's the most important verse in the whole passage because it tells us why we can be confident in these great promises. So here's what Paul says in verse 5, he says, "Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God." If we were to go back in the Greek, another way of saying this would be to say, the one who produces this in us, the one who makes this happen, is God. And we could just stop right there and say, that is really good news. God has not said to you, here's what I've set up, I've set up an opportunity for you one day to have a resurrected body that doesn't get old, that doesn't get sick, that doesn't get tired, that doesn't grow old and die, that doesn't deteriorate, and for you to live on a new resurrected planet where there are no thorns and thistles and no problems and that and there's great beauty. I've created the opportunity for you to do it, now it's up to you to get there. But he doesn't say that, he says, I'm going to be the one who gets you there. The one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, God has not called us to climb Mount Everest or get a perfect score on the test, God is doing this for us. And thank God for the relief that he said, I will make it happen, not you go make it happen.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:31] But there's even something else in the second half of the verse, look at what he says. He says, "The one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." Now it's funny because in the Greek, that whole last clause, deposit, guaranteeing what is to come is all one Greek word, and it's accurately translating the idea here. This is sort of what God has given us to guarantee us that all of the rest of his promises will come true, and what is he giving us? He's given us the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit teaches us and empowers us and reminds us of God's Word and leads us into righteousness and leads us into boldness and gives us spiritual gifts. The Spirit does all of these many things, but what Paul zeroes in on is he says, the Spirit is a deposit, guaranteeing that all of God's promises will come true. How do we know God is going to do this? We've got the Holy Spirit. How do we know we can trust God? We've got the Holy Spirit. If He gave us His Spirit, he's not holding out on anything. In fact, I bring this up just because I already kind of used it as an illustration, that the word, the Greek word, that's that whole final clause, the deposit guaranteeing what's to come, it's just one Greek word. The Greek word arrabon. In ancient Greek or in Koine Greek, which is used for this, this is what it meant, it meant sort of a pledge.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:59] In modern Greek, the same word also has a meaning, and a slightly different meaning, it's the word that is used for an engagement ring. Just noodle on that for a second, God has given us an engagement ring saying I'll be back to marry you. The engagement ring is sort of that pledge, I gave you this ring, so I will marry you one day. God has given us a pledge guaranteeing that every promise He made will come about. And so we walk in confidence, we don't say, well, maybe this will happen, or maybe I'll get there if I really work hard, or if I'm really godly enough, or if I'm really strong enough, or if I defeat sin enough, maybe one day I'll make it to the paradise that God has promised. We make it into the family of God because God decides to do something for us, and this goes back to our whole faith. Earlier on, when we read First Corinthians chapter 15, Paul said, the ones who get in on this resurrection are those who belong to Jesus. Which means that Paul is not here teaching, hey, all you got to do is die, and God will raise you up to new life, but what He is saying is all you got to do is belong to Jesus. You don't have to conquer something, you don't have to achieve something, all you have to do is belong to Jesus, and the way that you belong to Jesus is by putting your faith in Him and not in yourself. And if you've put your faith in Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit. And if you have the Holy Spirit, you have the confidence that everything God promised will come to pass. Which means that when you're standing at the funeral of a close friend who believed in Jesus, you get to grieve, but you grieve with hope. That means when you think about your body breaking down and that there are certain things that you've lost and you realize that I'm never going to do these things, I'm never going to go on a hike like that again, I'm never going to be able to run like that again, that we grieve that loss with hope, that we have a future ahead. And it also means when we face down anything in this life that threatens to take our life or our health, we move forward with courage, because even if we lose our lives for Jesus, that's not the period on the end of the sentence. Paul says the sting of death is taken away, and not because God's preparing a place for us, but because God is preparing a body for us, not because we're going to go to God, but because He's going to come to us, and not because we're going to escape, but because we are going to ride Jesus’ coattails to victory.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:39] Now, here's what I want to do now. Again, I recognize for some of you right now, to talk about this, this is so timely that it might be overwhelming for you. That you just feel like, gosh, this is exactly what I'm dealing with, and it feels overwhelming. For some of you, you may be realizing, all right, I've kind of put off thinking about it, I try not to think about this, but when I paused now for half an hour and allowed myself to think about it, I'm feeling how badly I need this and how badly I need to believe this. But I want to throw in one more thing, and that's this, right now, the greatest grief that you're dealing with in your life may not be physical pain and death, it might be something else. It might be that you're looking at your life and you are in deep grief that you can't seem to get out of the pattern of sin that you're in right now. Or it might be that you're in deep grief because there's a relationship that's strained and you're just not sure it's ever going to be the same again. Or it may be that you're dealing with ongoing health issues that aren't threatening your life but are just a deep source of grief and frustration. You might be saying, well, what about these other areas of grief? And here's what I want us to understand, if even when you're in the grave, God is still going to give you a victory, do you think that there's any problem that he's not going to bring life out of? That brokenness that you're feeling right now ends in life because God is a God who raises the dead, and there's no loss that for those of us who believe in Jesus, is a loss forever.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:16] Here's what I want to do, we carved some time into the service to be able to do this. In a couple of minutes, Andy and Laurie are going to come back out, and Laurie is going to just kind of sing a song over us. Just a way for us to try to take in the reality of what Jesus has done for us. But here's what I want us to do first, I want you to go ahead and just bow your heads, and I want us just to take a beat before we sing this song, before we hear this song sung over us, and just bring ourselves to the Lord. There may be something heavy on your heart that you need to take in, and then I also want to say this, in a moment when the band starts playing the song, I'm going to invite you just quietly, you can keep your eyes closed, you can open your eyes, you can take this in. Just take in the reality of the victory of Jesus as the song is sung over us. But I also want to give you an option, if some of you during this song are really feeling like I need to experience the victory of God in a special way in an area of grief, then at any point during the song, I'm going to invite you to just stand where you are. And this is a church family moment, if you see anybody around you standing, church family, we don't have like pastors and elders specializing to make sure this happens, we're going to gather around that person and just pray for them. Because right now there are wounds that need to have the hope of Jesus in us.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:36] So let's bow our heads right now. Father, as we take this moment, we celebrate that through Jesus you have won the victory. We celebrate that through no great act of our own, we are in on the victory. And Father, we pray that you give us hope in the grief and the sorrow that we still experience, groaning for the day when you make all things new. We pray that you bring hope for the tired, we pray that you bring healing for the hurting, and we pray that you bring courage for the timid, as we look to live as men and women who have had the sting of death robbed and who can move forward in the grace you've given in Jesus.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848