Pentecost 24/11.15.09/Fort Q & IH/Daniel 12:1-3
· Two weeks ago today was All Saints’ Day
o The day the Church as for centuries set apart to remember those who have gone before us and died in the Christian Faith
§ We give thanks to God for the gift they were in our lives and most especially we give thanks to God for the salvation He has provided them in Jesus Christ
· We take comfort in the promise of Jesus when He said: “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19).
o We trust that those who have died in the faith are with the Lord
§ But what then?
· For too many Christians it stops there.
o Many of us have an incomplete understanding of what our Lord Jesus has promised us when it comes to eternal life.
§ Many of us picture eternal life as some “floaty” thing – like the Philadelphia cream cheese commercials - floating around on clouds eating bagels
· Many people think that eternal life is all spirit and no substance
o That when you die your soul goes to be with God your physical body is tossed aside, and that is the end of it.
§ Yes, many people believe that, but that is not Christian
· This is nothing new
o The early Christian Church wrestled with this also
§ There was a group of people who were called Gnostics who denied that Jesus had become a true man, they argued that He only appeared like a man
· They believed that the physical, material things of this life were evil, things to be shed, and that only the spirit was important
o So they viewed the body almost as a cage or prison for the soul and when a person died their soul was set free.
§ Does that sound familiar?
· Have you heard something like that in your time? Maybe even thought it or said something like that?
o I bet you have.
§ And it is completely unchristian.
· In our culture we have become essentially Gnostic, even if we had never heard that term before
o We tend to think that the spirit is good and the material is bad, or at least not as good
§ But this is not how the Bible presents this to us
· As someone once said: “God likes matter, He created it!”
o The material, the physical, is as much a creation of God as is the spiritual
§ The spiritual and the physical are both fallen and sinful
· But Jesus came to redeem not only the spiritual but also the physical parts of creation
o And so Christians for thousands of years have joined in saying: “I believe in… the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
· “the resurrection of the body”
o Jesus did not just rise as a spirit – in fact the Gospel writers go to great pains to point out that His resurrection was a physical resurrection
§ Remember when Jesus appeared to His disciples after the resurrection?
· From Luke 24: 36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,  43 and he took it and ate before them.
o It is clear, Jesus did not rise a spirit, he rose physically
§ “Touch me and see!” He instructs the disciples
· And just to drive the point home he takes some fish and eats it
o No spirit here! No, a real body, a physical Jesus stands resurrected before the disciples
§ It is this physical resurrection to eternal life that our Lord Jesus has promised to those who trust in Him.
· In the Old Testament reading for this morning we read:
o “Those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake”
§ The Christian Faith is not a “floaty” faith
· It is a down to earth, real life, flesh and bones, kind of Faith
o Our Lord Jesus came down and got His holy hands dirty by living a perfect life for you
§ He sweat blood in the garden of Gethsemane
· He bled real blood and felt real pain on the cross
o He cried out in desertion
§ He died a real death
§ But He rose to a real resurrection!
· When we Christians say that Jesus has conquered death for us – we mean He has conquered death for us!
o Not in some “floaty” spiritual way
§ But in a real physical way!
· You see when God created us He made us soul and body, together
o Death is the separation of soul and body, death is the tearing apart of the way you are meant to be – that is the wages of sin – death, the rending of body and soul
§ Yes, by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, when you die your soul will go to be with the Lord
· But that is not the end, that is not all there is to it
o Because that is not the defeat of death that is promised – the defeat of death that Jesus has promised is a true defeat of death – your soul and body will be reunited again – in a glorified physical body that has no sin
§ This is the promise your Lord Jesus has made to you.
· When people die in the Faith their soul goes go to be with the Lord
o We can’t say too much here – it is a little bit foggy for us as Scripture does not give us a clear picture of what this entails
§ But we can take comfort in knowing that those who have gone before us and died in the Faith are with the Lord – and that is a very good place to be
· But we can look forward to the Last Day, the Day when our Lord and Saviour Jesus returns
o And upon that day we are promised: “Those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake”
§ Body and soul will be reunited and we will live in the new heavens and the new earth forever in the physical presence of Jesus
· “I believe in… the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting” we say.
· The physical body which God has created for you is not a cage or a prison for your soul
o It is you
§ God created you body and soul together
· When you die and we are standing at your grave the pastor will speak this ancient blessing over your body laying in the casket about to be lowered in the grave:
o “May God the Father, who created this body; may God the Son who by His blood redeemed this body; may God the Holy Spirit who by Holy Baptism sanctified this body to be His temple, keep these remains to the day of the resurrection of all flesh.”
§ Does that sound like Christians view the body as something to be discarded?
· Does that sound like Christians view the body as something unimportant?
o No, because God has created your body
o Jesus came to redeem that body by His life, death, and resurrection
o And that body has been washed clean and made holy by the Holy Spirit through Holy Baptism
§ Your body is not some disposable container like a Big Mac box because Jesus has promised us and told us to look forward to “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
· “Those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake”
o The resurrection of the body was what made the Greeks laugh and sneer at St. Paul when he preached and taught them
§ It was utter nonsense to them
· In our day and age – it may very well cause many around us to laugh and sneer also
o Many people will allow for some sort of spiritual afterlife
§ But a physical resurrection? Come on – that’s crazy they will say.
· I fear that many in the Christian Church have also bought into this Gnostic way of thinking – and perhaps the thought of the resurrection of the body is something that causes you to laugh and sneer
o But I urge you to not think as the world does – but think as God does – be informed by the Word of God
· God created everything – body and soul
o Jesus loved you so much that He came to save you – body and soul
§ And He has – His physical resurrection assures us that He has conquered sin, death, and the devil
· And Jesus promises that as He lives so shall you live
o That He has defeated death, and that on the last day you will be raised – body and soul to new life
· “Those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake”
o We live in the peace and comfort of knowing that by grace through faith in Jesus we are promised this eternal life
§ And until the last day we are strengthened in this Faith and trust through God’s Holy Word and Sacraments in the Church
· And together with the brothers and sisters around us and with the saints who have gone before us and who now await in peace in heaven the Last Day, we look forward to “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”