12th July 2023
Read - Mark 12:18-27
Message Alan Burke
You may have had your dreams shattered or felt like you wont the lottery on Monday when we thought about the words of Jesus and realised that there will be no marriage in heaven and as we think of this passage once more let’s look to the question of the Sadducees and remember as we do it that they did not believe in the resurrection. Their question is asked in the framework of the levirate law found in Deuteronomy 25:5-6. But they are coming with an assumption, the assumption that they are making is that at the resurrection life will be no different from life as we experience it in the here and now. Ok they might have assumed that it was maybe a little bit different but just a continuation of this life, just better, no sin, no dodgy back. Yes while there will be no sin or dodgy backs in the resurrection it would be wrong to call the resurrection a continuation of this life.
That’s what I’m often confronted with at gravesides, especially among individuals who do not who do not share the hope that we have in Christ Jesus, yet they have some vague hope of something, that is based more on wishful thinking and years of television shows. The sentiments that are often conveyed when people loose loved ones often sound lovely are nothing more than platitudes based on wishful thinking rather than the word of God. For the believer there is one destination and for the unbeliever there is another.
The word of God teaches that when a believer dies that The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, (Heb. 12:23) and do immediately pass into glory; (2 Cor. 5:1,6,8, Phil. 1:23, Luke 23:43) and their bodies, being still united to Christ, (1 Thess. 4:14) do rest in their graves, (Isa. 57:2) till the resurrection. (Job 19:26–27) (WSC37). This is known as the intermediate state, it is called that because it is not the final destiny God has for His people. It’s often what people mean when they speak of heaven, they’ve gone to heaven, and for the believer this happens immediately, that’s why often you have in the New Testament it speak of falling asleep in Christ, you fall asleep here and wake up with Christ.
But that is not the final destination for believers who have died in Christ, it is not the final hope for the believer, for we await the time when Christ will return and consummate his kingdom. Then at the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, (1 Cor. 15:43) shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, (Matt. 25:23, Matt. 10:32) and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God, (1 John 3:2, 1 Cor. 13:12) to all eternity. (1 Thess. 4:17–18).
So the Sadducees who didn’t believe in the resurrection, who believed that this life is it! And the response of Jesus to there question is; “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? But it is true, generally that is where our error comes from, it is why we have lots of little different groups of churches, lots of independent churches in Northern Ireland, there are no shortage of places to go to worship because people don’t always agree on their theology, that’s a bit of an understatement, even in one congregation you can have diverse options, disagreements, some who are polar opposite.
I want you to see here the response of Jesus towards the Sadducees because he is telling them that their theology is wrong, just because they thought they were right, just because they believed there was no resurrection, just because they felt it was true does not mean it was. Jesus doesn’t here say, well that’s true for you, that’s right for you so it’s ok, we can agree to differ, that’s your truth, I have my truth and it’s ok, we can work together for the sake of what we both hold to be true, while those are more often than not our responses, Jesus corrects them. There is truth, we should guard it, but are you willing submitting to the truth, the word of God, even when it confronts our sin and challenges the societal norms around us are you willing to accepts its truth or do we prefer to ignore it or follow a lie?
Q 96 What is the Lord’ s supper?
The Lord’ s supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’ s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace. (1 Cor. 11:23–26)