Friday, February 24, 2012


Mark 12:18, “And some Sadducees (who say that there is no resurrection) came to Him…”

1 Corinthians 15:12, “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?”

Philippians 3:18-19, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ…who set their minds on earthly things.”

The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. That was why they were sad, you see. Sorry, I know, you’ve heard that one before. But it is the truth. It is a sad religion indeed that has no heavenward bent to it.

The Sadducees were made up of aristocrats. They held power in the Sanhedrin. Their wealth and power contributed to their primary concern to keep their nation peaceable and thereby avoid trouble with the Romans. The denied the resurrection. D. A. Hagner commented on this: “It is immediately obvious how this denial intensified an already this-worldly perspective which the Sadducees had by virtue of their position. If a man must be content with the present life alone, he is bound to capitalize on any present advantages he may enjoy. And this appears, in fact, to have been the practical philosophy of the Sadducees. It may be added that the Messianic hope played no role in the Sadducean perspective.”

Much of what is peddled as Christianity today is of the same nature. There is a lot of earth-bound preaching that goes on. Religious liberalism focuses on improving society. The health, wealth, and prosperity gospel is concerned with how to improve one’s lot in this life. Self-help messages speak about “how to be a better you.” The Reconstructionist movement emphasizes the need to restore our country. Much religious effort is expended, in the name of Christianity, which is “this-worldly” in focus. While many in these movements would not deny a future resurrection, they show little concern for it. The visible church is too often “earth-bound” in its preaching and teaching. The gospel is a heaven-sent message that speaks of a heaven-sent Savior who saves sinners from hell to heaven. There is no question that Jesus works to improve the earthly estate of the born-again. They are indeed transformed by Him that they might be both salt and light-- a blessing both to themselves and others. But the ultimate focus of His saving work is heavenward.

It was earthly concerns that contributed to the Sadducean antagonism towards the Lord Jesus. He was a threat. So they asked Him a question. An unlikely scenario was suggested. A wife had seven consecutive husbands. Whose wife then, in the resurrection, would she be? (Mark 12:23). Jesus answer: “You do not understand the Scriptures, or the power of God…For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mark 12:25). The Scriptures declare the resurrection. God’s power is demonstrated in the resurrection. We are raised to a radically transformed environment.

J. C. Ryle commented on Jesus’ response: “It would be foolish to deny that there are many difficulties connected with the doctrine of the life to come. It must needs be so. The world beyond the grave is a world unseen by mortal eye, and therefore unknown. The conditions of existence there, are necessarily hidden from us, and if more were told, we would probably not understand it. Let it suffice us to know that the bodies of the saints shall be raised, and, though glorified, shall be like their bodies on earth--so like, that those who knew them once shall know them again. But though raised with a real body, the risen saint will be completely freed from everything which is now an evidence of weakness and infirmity. There shall be nothing like Mahomet's gross and sensual Paradise in the Christian's future existence. Hunger and thirst being no more--there shall be no need of food. Weariness and fatigue being no more--there shall be no need of sleep. Death being no more--there shall be no need of births to supply the place of those who are removed. Enjoying the full presence of God and His Christ--men and women shall no more need the marriage union, in order to help one another. Able to serve God without weariness, and attend on Him without distraction--doing His will perfectly, and seeing His face continually--clothed in a glorious body--they shall be "as the angels which are in heaven." There is comfort in all this for the true Christian. In the body that he now has he often "groans, being burdened," from a daily sense of weakness and imperfection. (2 Cor. 5:4.) He is now tried by many cares about this world--what to eat, and what to drink, and what to put on--how to manage his affairs, where to live, and what company to choose. In the world to come, all shall be changed. Nothing shall be lacking to make his happiness complete.”

The believer in Christ is to be a heavenly minded person. The church in Corinth was confronted with false teachers who likewise denied the resurrection, but Paul said: “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain…and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:15-19).

Christ has been raised! We, as believers, shall be too (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). False teachers “set their minds on earthly things,” but “our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:2-21).

Colossians 3:2-4, “Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

Happy indeed is the believer in Christ who has his sights set on “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13)! No journey will meet with a finer end, than the heavenward one (2 Timothy 4:18). No home will be better furnished, that the one that God has prepared (2 Corinthians 5:1). No sight will be more glorious (1 John 3:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:10), no reunion more joyous (2 Thessalonians 4:17), no occupation more rewarding (Revelation 5:13-14)—than what we will experience in His presence. Happy, you see, is the believer who has his mind set on such things!

Pastor Jerry

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