“We’d Better Start Packing!”

images1A mother was answering her young daughter’s questions about her daddy’s death. “God sent for him,” she explains. “And someday He will send for you and me. Nobody knows just when.” Thinking about that for a moment, the child said, “Momma, if we don’t know for sure when God is going to send for us, we might not be ready. We’d better start packing!” (Carr, Jesus: the Resurrection and the Life, http://www.sermonnotebook.org/new%20testament/John%2011_18-27.htm. Accessed April 20, 2009)

Christ is the Sample of the Resurrection. He is the Firstfruits of the coming harvest of resurrected bodies.  In Adam, all will die.  But in Christ, all who trust in Him, will live forever.  That is why we are sure that the dead in Christ will rise from the dead someday soon.

Because Christ is risen, live for Him today.  Your life and livelihood belong to the LORD.  He owns it.  Therefore, offer it to Him as your firstfruits offering.

Who are you related today—Adam or Christ?  Are you in Adam or in Christ?  To be in Adam is to die eternally.  To be in Christ is to live forever.

To be in Christ, you must turn from your sin and trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior. Do it today.  And when you die, you will rise from the dead also.

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In Christ

In Adam

In Christ

Sphere/World of Adam

Sphere/World of Christ

Dead in Sin

Made Alive From Sin

Sinful Relationship

Salvation Relationship

Unsaved

Saved, Sanctified, Sealed

Will Die

Will Be Resurrected

Unforgiven

Forgiven

“In Adam” here means the sphere or world of Adam. “In Christ” refers to the sphere or world of Christ. “In Adam” you are dead in sin. “In Christ,” you are made alive from sin. “In Adam” means your sinfulness in relationship to Adam. “In Christ” refers to your salvation in relationship to Christ.

When Paul uses the phrase, “in Christ,” he talks about believers who are sanctified in Christ, saved in Christ, and sealed in Christ (Eph. 1:1-2, 13-14). Eph. 2:5-6 says,

Even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus  (ESV).

All sinners who sin through the first man, Adam, will die with the first man, Adam. But all sinners who are saved in the last man, Christ, shall live with the last man, Christ.

If you are in Adam, you will die in Adam. If you are in Christ, you will be resurrected in Christ. And so all who die in Adam, are all unsaved and unforgiven in Adam. All who live in Christ, are all saved and forgiven in Christ.

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Resurrection Only In Christ

images12“For even as in Adam all die, so also in the Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22, NKJV). The verb, “made alive” here is zoopoeio, “to revitalize; give life” (Strong s. v. ζωοποιηο); “to restore to life” (Robertson); “to cause to live” (Greek-English Lexicon, s. v. ζωοποιηο). A. T. Robertson wrote, “All who die die in Adam, all who will be made alive will be made alive (restored to life) in Christ.

Paul is talking here about the resurrection, not resuscitation. Resuscitation is revival or recovery from death. Resurrection is receiving new life in a resurrected body.

Adam

Christ

First Adam

Second Man

Death

Resurrection

All Die

All Made Alive

Unlimited Death

Limited Resurrection

“Bruce Larson in his book, Living Beyond Our Fears, tells a great story about a judge in Yugoslavia. He was electrocuted when he reached up to turn on the light while standing in the bathtub. He was pronounced dead and, as was the custom in that particular town, he was placed in a room under a crypt in the town cemetery for 24 hours before burial.

In the middle of the night, the judge came to, realized where he was, and rushed over to alert the guard, who promptly ran off terrified. Fortunately, he returned with a friend, and they released the newly revived judge, whose first thought was to phone his wife and reassure her. He got no farther than, ‘Darling, it’s me–‘ when she screamed and fainted.

Next he went to the houses of several friends, who were sure he was a ghost. In a last desperate measure, he called a friend in a distant city, who had not heard of his death, and who interceded for him with his family and friends.” Carr, Jesus: the Resurrection and the Life, http://www.sermonnotebook.org/new%20testament/John%2011_18-27.htm. Accessed April 20, 2009)

Resuscitation is not resurrection. In resurrection, everyone in Christ shall “be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22, NKJV). This does not mean all will be saved. It means that all who are in a saving relationship with Christ will be made alive. All who are in Adam, who are not saved in Christ, will die. Paul is not teaching universal salvation here. He is teaching a limited resurrectiononly those in Christ!

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Christ, the Second Man

images11There are 2 Pictures of This Sample of the Resurrection. The 1st picture is Christ as the firstfruits of the harvest. Now, the 2nd picture is Christ as the second man. “For since through man is the death, also through man is a rising again of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:21, Young’s Literal Translation).

Alan Carr wrote, “I don’t know if you have noticed it or not, but death is getting steadily closer to you every minute of every day. One day, your time will run out.

“Someone has mathematically calculated a schedule that compares the average lifetime with a single day, beginning at 7 a.m. If your age is: 15, the time is 10:25 a.m. 25, the time is 12:42 p.m. 35, the time is 3:00 p.m. 45, the time is 5:16 p.m. 55, the time is 7:34 p.m. 65, the time is 9:55 p.m. 70, the time is 11:00 p.m. Please notice that it is always later than you think it is!” (Alan Carr, Jesus: the Resurrection and the Life, http://www.sermonnotebook.org/new%20testament/John%2011_18-27.htm. Accessed April 20, 2009).

Death came through the first man, Adam. In the Greek, there is the preposition, dia, which means, “through” or “by” as in di anthropon, “through man.” Literally, “Through man is the death.” Through Adam came death. This means that through Adam came sin; and through sin, came death. Rom. 5:8 says, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (ESV).

Death came through the first man. But resurrection came also through the second man. And this man is Jesus, the Son of God who became man.

The second man is the reverse of the first man. Through the first man, Adam, came sin and death to all who are in Adam. Through the second man, Christ, came life and resurrection for all who are in Christ.

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Christ, the First of the Coming Harvest

images10According to the context of 1 Cor. 15, “firstfruits” does not only mean, giving the best and the choicest of crops. It also means, “the first of a set” (Greek-English Lexicon, s. v. απαρχη). It means that Christ is the first of a coming harvest! The resurrection of Christ is the first of a resurrection of those who believed in Christ! This means, there is more to come!

In other words, Christ’s resurrection is the Best Sample of the rest! He was raised with a new resurrection body, and we will be raised in new resurrection bodies also!

Recently, I was showing a picture of Jesus in a Bible story book to Jan Marie. He was showing his nail-pierced hand to Thomas. Thomas had said that he won’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead, unless he sees Christ with his own 2 eyes. Then Jesus came one day to show Thomas His nail-pierced hands.

Jan Marie was looking at the picture and asked, “Why is there no blood in his hands?” She’s right. If the nails pierced His hands, then there should be blood. I told her that there’s no more blood, because the body of Jesus is a resurrected body. It will be the same body that you and I will receive when Jesus comes again!

1 Cor. 15:51-52 says,

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 (ESV).

When Christ comes again, we shall see Him as He is, and we shall be like Him, with resurrected bodies, as He is.

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Christ, the Sheaf of the Firstfruits

k0768924The LORD commanded the Israelites to go over their crops, before they harvest it. They are to cut the choice crops away, and then carry it to the Levite priest. Then the Levite priest shall “wave the sheaf before the LORD” (Lev. 23:11, NKJV, emphasis added).

When will they do this? They are to do it the day after the Passover. The LORD commanded that the lamb would be slain at Passover, symbolizing the atonement—that’s Friday. The next day is Sabbath—that’s Saturday. The following day is the Firstfruits Offering—that’s Sunday. On that Sunday, the Levite priest will wave the sheaf of the firstfruits before the LORD.

Now that is exactly what happened to Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Lamb of God, was slain on the Passover—that’s Friday. Then the Sabbath followed—that’s Saturday. The following day—that’s Sunday—on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day, God raised Him from the dead. On resurrection morning, God “declared Him to be the Son of God with power unto our justification, and waved Him before the world – a living Saviour to show that His work was finished, and harvest was coming.” (Legge, God’s Resurrection Programme,” http://www.preachtheword.com/sermon/1cor39.shtml. Accessed April 18, 2009) Thus Paul said, “He became the firstfruits of those who are asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20, WEB).

Holy OT Events

Day

Christ

Passover

Friday

Died on Friday

Sabbath

Saturday

Buried

Firtfruits Offering

Sunday

Raised on Sunday

Firstfruits Offering

k1677831In the firstfruits offering (Lev. 23:10), the Israelites were to pick the re’shiyth of their harvest—the “first, beginning, best, chief, choice part.” (BDB) “The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God” (Ex. 23:19, emphasis added). Jehovah wanted the FIRST and BEST of their crops. The first and best of their crops means that ALL of their harvest belonged to the LORD. The firstfruits offering signified that they owe their freedom from Egyptian bondage, their new land, and their livelihood to the LORD (Deut. 26:1-19).

Have you offered your firstfruits to the LORD? Some Pastors teach that it should be the first salary on your first job. Some teach that your firstfruits should be your biggest income so far. That is all nice to hear. It will certainly increase the monthly offerings!

But that’s not what the firstfruits offering means in the Bible. Firstfuits offering does not mean that you give one month income only, and then keep the rest of your monthly income for the rest of the year. The firstfruits offering means that you owe your FIRST and BEST income and assets to the LORD. What are your first and best assets today? It can be your best jewelry, your best cell phone, your best car, your best house (if you have many houses), or if you don’t have much, the best of what you have.

Perhaps due to a misinterpretation of the firstfruits offering by their pastors, some sincere Christians will give their first month salary as their firstfruits offering but then, keep the best of their assets from the Lord. They will keep their best jewelry, their best car, their best house, or their their best possession from the Lord. They will raise money from other people to give money to their church building campaign, for example, while keeping their best cell phones, cars, and jewelry from going to the church building. Yet the Lord has provided already the money for their church building. It’s in their assets!

In firstfruits giving, the faith premise behind it is that you give your FIRST and BEST to the Lord, believing that ALL your harvest, all your income, or all your productivity belongs to the LORD. If the Lord owns it, then all of it belongs to Him. If all of it belongs to Him, then you have no right to keep it.

What should be your right attitude toward your assets? You stop living as if you own it! Live each day, knowing that the LORD owns your life, your livelihood, your family, and your future. Offer it your firstfruits offering to the Lord–your FIRST and BEST. Don’t keep it. Give it to Him, recognizing that He owns it all, and surrendering your right to it.

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Christ as the Firstfruits

images9

Paul gives 2 pictures here of Christ as the Sample of the Resurrection. The 1st picture is Christ as the firstfruits of the harvest. The 2nd picture is Christ as the last man.

Paul said, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20, NKJV). (In the NA27/UBS4 of the NIV or ESV, the aorist indicative, egeneto, “has become,” is missing. But in the Byzantine Text of the KJV, NKJV, WEB, it is found there.) Literally, “He became the first fruits of those having slept.”

A story is told about a skeptical man during the French Revolution. He said to a bishop one day, “The Christian religion, what is it? It would be easy to start a religion like that.” “Oh, yes, the bishop answered, “but you will have to rise again from the dead first.”


(David Legge, God’s Resurrection Programme,” http://www.preachtheword.com/sermon/1cor39.shtml. Accessed April 18, 2009)

The noun, “firstfruits,” is from aparche, literally, “first off;” or “first portion; first offering” (Greek-English Lexicon, s. v. απαρχη). Now when Paul wrote, “firstfruits,” he was thinking of the firstfruits harvest in Israel. “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits [re’shiyth] of your harvest to the priest” (Lev. 23:10, ESV, emphasis added).

“Firstfruits” is translated from the Hebrew word, re’shiyth, “first, beginning, best, chief, choice part” (BDB). (It is singular in number, not plural.) Jehovah commanded the Israelites to offer their firstfruits to Him. Before they reap their harvest, they were to go into the fields and choose a sample of the crops. This sample must be the best and the choicest of them all. They must not be the bad crops, but the best crops. It must be that crop where it got the most sunlight. It must be the most ripe, the choicest of them all.

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The Sample of the Resurrection

images8We are now into our 2nd series on, “His Resurrection, Our Resurrection.” In our 1st series, we studied the consequences, “If Christ is Not Risen” from the dead. Now, we will look into Christ as “The Sample of the Resurrection.”

The word, “closed,” is one of the most disappointing words in life. Take for example one day when you want to go to the beach. You’re all packed with your shorts, sun tan lotion, and sandals. You travel for 45 minutes to get there. The kids are already talking about what they’re going to do at the beach. Then when you arrive there, you see the sign at the gate, “closed.”

How about when you’ve been preparing many years for that promotion? You worked hard day and night. Your family sees you only in the morning and evening. You try to please your boss. Then one day, somebody else was promoted. There’s a sign staring in front of you, “closed.”

I’ve been preaching in funerals of brethren who’ve passed away. It occurred to me recently, that the day you die is the day you close your eyes and never open it again. Death is but having your eyes “closed” in this life.

Paul wrote in v. 20, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20, ESV). Death is getting your eyes “closed.” But the resurrection of Christ means that someday soon, He will “open” your eyes–literally.k0098755

Death on earth is the “closure” of all things. But the resurrection of Jesus is the “opening” of all things eternal! We can be sure that the dead in Christ will rise soon. This certainty is based on the fact that Christ is the Sample of the Resurrection.

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