07 Aug 2022

Death Is Swallowed Up In Victory [1Corinthians 15:50-58]


"Why do we need the new resurrected bodies in the new heavens and the new earth? " "Will those who are alive when Jesus returns still get resurrected? " "What's the process of resurrection like? " "Is this a new teaching from Paul? " "And how should this doctrine impact my life today? " These questions and more are answered by Paul in these last verses of 1st Corinthians 15. Come and find out from this sermon. May God help you to live with a crystal clear vision of the resurrection!



Sermon Transcript

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We are now into the second last sermon in the book of 1st Corinthians, a journey of more than a year. Glad you could stick around and join us all this while.

In about two weeks time, our younger preachers will take the pulpit and they will be preaching through the book of Malachi. And I'm excited about that, I hope you'll be praying for them as well about that series.

Back to 1st Corinthians chapter 15, someone said that there are seven stages of life. They say, "The first stage is when you have spills, the second stage is when you go through drills, third stage is where you have your thrills, and then fourth stage is where you realize you have to pay your bills. And then number five, you have your ills, you'll require your pills, and just before you die, you better make your wills."

So, these are the seven stages from birth to death, but for the Christian, death is not the final word. It's not the end of our existence. It is I think accurate to say in Christ, death is not a full stop, but a comma that leads to the resurrection life.

So we speak about the resurrection today. There are some however, in the church at ancient Corinth who disputed the reality of the resurrection. We see that raised in verse 12, when they said, Paul says that, "How come some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?"

And so, in chapter 15 he sets out to explain and to give us the details with regard to the resurrection. In Verses 1 to 11, Paul first goes to show the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He elevates this issue to be a very important issue because he says, "If you say that there is no resurrection of the dead at all, then Jesus did not resurrect. And if Jesus was not resurrected, then there is no Savior for your sin. You would still be in your sin!"

But the fact is, Jesus was risen from the dead, because there were at least six groups of people who witnessed the post-resurrected Christ, including himself, including a group of 500 other people, many of whom are still alive. So Paul says, "Jesus is resurrected from the dead."

He presses the argument further in verses 12 to 34 saying, "If Jesus is risen, then so will you!" Because Christ is our King, He will lead us to follow Him, He is the firstfruits and if He is risen, then there is a promise of more to come.

At that point of time, Paul anticipates a question from amongst the Corinthians, they would ask, "How are the dead raised and with what kind of body do they come?" [1 Cor 15:35] So last week, we looked at the resurrection body, the details that are with regard to this new outfit that God will give us.

So Paul contrasts the current body we have with the resurrection body that is given to the Christian. He says that the current body is perishable, there are marks of dishonor, it is weak, and it is made of natural elements like that of dust. But the resurrection body is dramatically different, in that it is imperishable, it is glorious, it's beautiful, it's splendid. It's one that is powerful, it will not tire, it will not fatigue, and it is made off 'heavenium' if you remember that point.

So with that, Paul says, "Just as right now, in our life now, we bear the image of the man of dust, we bear the image of Adam. In that resurrection day, we will bear the image of the Man of heaven." [1 Cor 15:49] We will bear the image of the second Adam, we will bear the image of Jesus Christ. So, that is what we have understood thus far in ... in a nutshell.

So we come to the remaining verses 50 to 58, and Paul is going to give us some more details about the resurrection. And we are going to see in end of with an exclamation that "Death Is Swallowed Up In Victory". That is to say, death is no more the final victor, but it will be conquered itself by Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Victor, with Him we have victory even over death.

[1] Purpose
So, four things I'd like us to notice in these 9 verses. First of all, let's see the purpose of the resurrection body.

We have already noted in verse 49, that one of the purposes is so that we may be evidenced, we may be marked out as bearing the image of the Man of heaven. But Paul, now gives another reason why it is important for you to have the resurrection body. He says, "I tell you this, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable." [1 Cor 15:50]

Now, the simple point here is that the imperishable body is required to inherit the imperishable kingdom. That's the logic! Flesh and blood refers to this current body made of flesh, made of blood, which is powerless, perishable, filled with dishonor, and made of natural elements. This perishable body cannot inherit the imperishable kingdom, and you need an imperishable body to be able to do so.

I was having Bible Study with my kids, and we somehow led into ... were led into a discussion about the new heaven and new earth. And my sons asked, "When we get to that, not when we, they are not quite believers yet, but when people go to the new heavens and new earth, will there be another new creation from there, will there be Bible version 2.0, will there be new creation 2.0?"

You know how it is right? And I thought for a while, and I said to them, "Probably not." The reason is because the new kingdom, the new heavens and earth is an imperishable one, it will not fade away. Now, the world we know it today will perish, the Bible tells us so, but the new one, God has already said is imperishable.

In fact, the Bible tells us that we will be in that new heavens and new earth, in that new city, "And we will reign forever and ever." [Rev 22:5] So I don't think this will change, at least this is what God said in Revelation. Now, then you may ask, "Wah, if we are stuck ..." Okay, the language is, "If we are stuck in this new heavens and new earth forever and ever, isn't it very boring?"

Because I think in conjured up in people's minds, when they think about the new heavens and new earth, is that we will be floating on pillows of clouds, strumming our harps, singing and that's all we do the whole day. Now, I ... I must say, if that is all we do, it is going to be very boring. I can't imagine myself if that is all there is to life there, but thankfully we have some glimpses that perhaps life in the new heavens and new earth is not quite like that.

Now, God did not give us every detail, but as far as we can, let's piece some evidences together to kind of have a glimpse about this imperishable kingdom. The Bible tells us that, "We will be described to be like the bride, the lamb, er, the wife of the Lamb." [Rev 21:9] So, this describes a kind of intimacy, kind of joy that we will have delighting in our Groom, and the Lamb delighting in His people.

The Bible also says that, "This bride, this people of God is also like a holy city, Jerusalem." [Rev 21:10] Now, I hope that you will not go home, look at your wife and say, "Dear wife, you look like a city." That ... that will be like quite bizarre! Now, the Bible uses such word pictures to describe different facets, different characteristics of the people of God and life of the people of God with God.

We are told that we are to be like the bride, we will be like the holy city, Jerusalem, having the glory of God, we will ... we are told that, "There is no temple in that city," [Rev 21:22] because God is in the midst. Now, temple imagery in the Bible speaks of, kind of God's presence with men, but at the same time also speaks about God's distance from men. It's a ... it's a paradox! That God is with us, but on the other hand, there are barriers to God.

Because the ordinary man or woman on the street cannot come into the Holy of Holies, where the specific presence of God is said to be. So, there are barriers to God, but in the new heavens and new earth, no more barriers, no more walls, no temples. God is right in the midst of His people! And this life there is vibrant, is active. There are people coming to this city where, "The nations will walk and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it." [Rev 21:24] So, there is an attribution of glory, of activity of splendor in this new community life.

So, we may not know exactly all that happens, but clearly there is more to just floating around in pillows of clouds and strumming the harp. Now John, the writer of Revelation, then goes on to tell us a bit more about this new Jerusalem. He says that, "The angel showed me the river of the water of life, and you see that they are on either side of the river, the tree of life." [Rev 22:1-2]

So, commentators are very quick to say that this is what we read about at the beginning of the Bible - the tree of life in the garden of Eden. Now, after all that has happened, sin has taken place, Jesus has died, He has returned for His people, judged the world, now this new heaven and new earth is where the tree of life re-emerges. So, they say this is a garden metaphor, this is a garden picture. Just as Adam and Eve were given the garden, but lost the garden, the new heavens and new earth gives us the new garden again. And probably in a much better form, much more beautiful form.

And the beauty about this new garden, by the way, you see that this is a city in a garden and a garden in the city. A bit like Singapore, or at least, that's what we've try to be. In this new garden city, city garden, the unique thing is that God is in the midst of His people. And that is the delight and that is the joy that is communicated.

So, some of you are very excited about COVID being over and traveling the world. Your goal in life is to see everything in this world, I say, "No use lah!" Oh got some use, but it's not as exciting as the new heavens and the new earth, I guarantee you it will be far better in that day.

So the Bible gives us enough glimpses to say that this is not quite what we have imagined it to be, just floating around, doing nothing. But there is great flourishing of activity, there is a tribute to the King, to God, there is serving. I believe God and serving one another, it's a beautiful picture of one society, one humanity, united truly in love.

And it is in such a kingdom that, "We will reign forever and ever." [Rev 22:5] So I think it's real fun, huh! Again, I say we don't quite understand all, just like we can't exactly understand the new resurrection body right now. There are details in the new heavens and earth that we can't quite understand right now.

Maybe another illustration may help you, kind of a get over this awkwardness, how come I can't get to know it so well. Imagine today you can travel through time, and you go back a 1000 years. And you meet a man who lived 1000 years ago and you try, you try to describe to him life in modern day Singapore. I think you will have a very hard time trying to explain what life is like in modern day Singapore.

You may be able to succeed in describing a little bit about the cars but you tell him, "Oh, you have cows that move very fast."
"Cows that move very fast, huh! Cows move very slow. But okay, you have cows that ..." You see you have a hard time because they have no idea of what is a car. Try explaining to them what's a phone! Try explaining to them what's a TV! What's the internet, you will have a hard time! So, I suppose it is not easy for us to conceptualize heaven today, because it's something that is beyond our capacity to.

But my whole point here is to say that I think the New Kingdom is not a boring place, but it will be a place of great activity, great purpose, great joy, great beauty, great togetherness. And if I may even suggest to you, there will be a lot more things we will do that than right now. We will be responsible for creation care like in a way we do ... do not have right now.

The stewardship we will exercise over God's new creation will be tremendous. I get a hint of that, for example, in Matthew 25:23. Jesus spoke about a parable to encourage people to serve today, in a sense. And He says that, "Those who have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much." So, whatever we have to do here is little! Be faithful over the little here and God will set you over much in the life that is to come.

So far from "zho bo" [in Hokkien], far from sitting back and chilling and doing nothing, our joy would that ... would be that we will be able to serve in great capacities, great areas, higher level, and therefore, we would need that new body, I suppose to be able to do so. The imperishable body is required to inherit and then to steward, and to care, and to see to the flourishing of the imperishable kingdom.

So I think that's exciting, you'll be fitted for that purpose. So you're not just given the ... the imperishable, glorious body to strut your stuff as it were, but there is great purpose behind it.

[2] Process
So we see, number one, the purpose of this new body, I hope you're excited as to what we will be doing in the future. But number two, let's talk about the process.

Paul says, "Behold, I tell you a mystery." [1 Cor 15:51] A mystery is something that was previously not revealed, but now is revealed. So he says, "Look here, behold, I tell you something you never knew. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." [1 Cor 15:51]

Now, the word, "sleep" here is not literally "fun gao" [in Cantonese], not sleeping, not ... not 睡觉 [shuì jiào]. But the, "sleep" here is a euphemism, it's a ... it's a nice way of saying die, we shall not all die, but we shall all be changed. That is to say, whilst there will be people who are alive when Jesus returns, whether you're dead or alive, as long as you are in Christ, you will receive this resurrection body.

So you don't have to say Jesus is coming, stab yourself. Jesus is coming, you will also be resurrected with the new body, if you believe in Him. We have that more explicitly stated in 1st Thessalonians 4:16-16, describing the Second Coming of Jesus, "When the Lord will come again, He will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the sound of the trumpet of God." [1 Thess 4:16]

The ... the trumpet, an instrument to ... to herald the arrival of the king or in the time of war. "And when Jesus descends, the dead in Christ will rise first." [1 Thess 4:16] So, this is a contrast to those who are alive, so the interesting thing is that the dead in Christ will rise first. "And then after that those who are alive, who are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." [1 Thess 4:17]

So, the dead goes join Jesus and then after a while, second wave of those who are alive will also join Him in the air. And this transformation is really fast, we are told, "In a moment ..." [1 Coir 15:52] That's the Greek word for the shortest duration of time, "In a moment, in the twinkling, or in a blink of an eye, at the last trumpet, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." [1 Cor 15:51-52]

Some of you have cataracts, some of you have bad knees, you're going for TKR - Total Knee Replacement. And you ... you fear that process, because it's going to take a long time to recover and heal and so on. Let me tell you the resurrection, no downtime, immediate change. Your eyes become perfect, don't need glasses, hair grow back, okay, I don't know, I think hair should grow back. But hair .... vroop, "Why, hey, I got my hair!" All your spots and pimples all gone, no more constipation, knee works perfectly, all changed in that instant.

Wow, in the twinkling of an eye, that's all going to happen. And the only ... only thing is I hope when you see the first wave go up and then the second wave go up, I hope you are not still staying here around here, that will be disastrous. Those who believe in Jesus will join Him in the air. So this body will then be totally changed in that way, that's the process that Paul gives us. [1 Cor 15:53]

[3] Prophecy
The third thing I'd like us to note is that all this is simply a fulfillment of prophecy.

In other words, this resurrection is not something new that God suddenly came up with, or Paul's suddenly came up with. This is something that has been foretold since a long time ago. So Paul here says, this is all fulfilling prophecy, "When the perishable puts on the imperishable and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." [1 Cor 15:54]

So this is interesting, someone said that, "This is the only prophecy quoted by Paul that is yet to be fulfilled, because this is looking forward to the time Jesus returns." But he says that, "When that should happen, all this is just a fulfillment of a prophecy spoken long time ago, even before myself," Paul says.

And he says at that time when Jesus comes, resurrects the dead, gives them a new resurrection body, then we know, "O, death is swallowed up in victory." [1 Cor 15:54] Death is no more the victor. People will not be held in death forever, there will be those who are raised from the dead. Jesus is victorious over death. And this is a quotation from Isaiah, chapter 25:8, it's a loose quotation, mind you.

In other words, it is not exactly word for word, but the idea is there, and it is speaking of a time where God is going to put down all enemies, put down all the pride of people, overcome all His enemies, and therefore death included in this is swallowed up in victory.

He says, "This is fulfillment of Isaiah 25, but at the same time, it's also a fulfillment of Hosea chapter 13." Where it says, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" [Hosea 13:14, 1 Cor 15:55]

Now, there's a personification, in that Hosea describes death like a person - O death, where is your victory? Jesus has resurrected those who you thought, held you held ransom or held captive. But Jesus freed us, gives us the resurrection body, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? Like a scorpion that has lost its tail, death has lost its sting.

So Paul is merely saying, "According to Hosea, death cannot ultimately destroy those in Christ. We might die, but we will live again. We might die, but we have a new glorious resurrection body. We might die, but Jesus our King leads us to victory and to this new life."

How so? How is this victory won? How is this victory given? Well, Paul says in verse 56, "The sting of death is sin ..." Why death is so scary is because of sin. Why is there even death in the first place? Because of sin. But when we die, we will face the fierce wrath of God in judgment, and that's the sting of death, because we are sinful, because we are sinners.

And, "... the power of sin is the law." [1 Cor 15:56] Well, I think Paul does not quite explain this, but what I think Paul is saying is that, "The reason why we are sinful and we are seen to be sinful is because the law shows us up, without excuse. We are inexcusable because of the law." Thou shalt not kill, but we kill and we hate and we curse. Thou shalt not commit adultery, but we commit that not only in bed, but also in our head. And so the ... the power of sin is the law, we are made to look absolutely guilty — inescapable, inexcusable. And therefore, the sting of death is sin, we will face the fierce wrath of God because of our sin.

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." [1 Cor 15:57] Oh yes, we are guilty as charged! We are sinful, as charged! Left to ourselves, we will face the fierce judgment of God, but the difference is Jesus. Thanks be to God for the victory that is found in Jesus Christ, who Paul has already explained, right in the beginning of chapter 15 - who died and who was buried, and who rose again, and who appeared to all, so that we might be forgiven of our sins.

There was a boy, sitting on the lap of his mom, who noticed a bee buzzing around. He became very fearful and scared because he heard about how the bee could sting him and kill him, but the mom was really cool and calm and collected, saying, "Son, don't be worried." "But mom, he's going to sting me and I will die." "No son, don't be worried, look at this!" And she opened her palm and show her — a sting on her palm.

And in a sense, that's what Jesus did for us. We do not need to fear judgment or death anymore, because Jesus took that judgment on himself when He went to the cross suffered, and that He absorbed the judgment that we are due, so that we no more need to fear, death and judgment.

That is the Gospel! That is the Good News! You could see that this is if you, if you say, "What's the Bible about?" The Bible tells you this — that we are sinful, the laws are given not to save you, but to show you up.

You say, "The 10 commandments, I thought that's what I need to obey to be saved!" No, no, no, no, no, you can never obey the 10 commandments in a sufficient way to earn your place in heaven! You can't, because we're all rotten sinners. The law is given to show you up, that you're sinful, so that we may then be forced to turn to Jesus Christ, who died and paid for our sins.

So the Christian message is not that — thanks be to me, I'm so good, I can earn my way to God. The Christian message is - Thanks be to God, who gave us His Son, to save us from our sins.
So, the only way you can be cured of sin, forgiven of sin, delivered from sin is not that God ignores it or pretends nothing's going on and sweeps it all underneath the carpet. He's too righteous to do that.

Neither is it that you can work your way to God, because again, He's too righteous to accept our filthy works of so called, righteousness. The only way is by His Son, living that righteous life, and giving His Son to death, that He might credit that righteousness to unworthy people like as we are. "For God, who knew no sin, or He who knew no sin became sin for us, Jesus was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." [2 Cor 5:21]

And this is the great message of the Bible, victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ, so thanks be to God.

[4] Proposition
Finally, we end, I think in a proposition that Paul gives.

In the light of Jesus and His love, God's gift of His Son, in the light of this victory over sin, in the light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he says, "Therefore ..." [1 Cor 15:58] Now, this is a beautiful "therefore", the "therefore" ties up the entire chapter, ties up verse 57 together. And says, "... my Beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that the labor of the Lord, that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain." [1 Cor 15:58]

Now, I think I just want to focus on a few things, and we will wrap up.

First of all, because of God's love in Jesus Christ, because Jesus was risen from the dead, therefore be steadfast, immovable. I used to think that "steadfast and immovable" are linked to the work of the Lord. So I read it like "steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord."

But I've since realized that in the Greek grammatically, they are not quite linked. So it is "steadfast, immovable," and then "abounding in the work of the Lord" is directly linked. The "steadfast and immovable", probably as the commentators will also tell us, refer to their position in the doctrines, in the teachings, in the fact of the resurrection.

So Paul is saying, "Be steadfast, be immovable, do not be shaken from this Gospel, do not be shaken from how Jesus died and rose again to save you from your sin." And in that sense, Paul comes a full circle in this chapter, because we remember in the beginning, he told us or he wrote about the Gospel, "In which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the Word." [1 Cor 15:1-2]

So he says, "In the light of now, having the explanation about the ... the resurrection, all the more my brothers, stand fast, be steadfast, be immovable. Because of how Jesus died for you, be steadfast, be immovable, do not be shaken from this Gospel."

On Friday, I was ... from driving home from church right here, and just at a traffic junction I noticed, to the left of my passenger window was a lizard hanging on right there. The first thing I wanted to determine was whether the lizard was inside or outside. Truth be told, I don't like lizards, I think they're creepy.

So, I looked at it with greater detail and realized it's on the outside. Well, I had to drive on and soon I realized that the poor lizard on the outside was hanging on with all his four limbs, fluttering in or shaking in the air. And then, soon enough I saw it was just two hands, and it was dangling there, it was holding firm for his dear life. Don't ask me what happened to the lizard after that, I ... I ... I ... I just state that as illustration.

But I thought about ourselves, we need to hold tight to the Gospel, not to the window, but to the Word of God, to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If not, you're going to whooooo ... I'm not sure where you're going to end up after that. But the Gospel is the message that we need to believe in, for our eternal salvation and we need to hold fast.

So in the light of the resurrection facts, in the light of the Gospel of what Jesus has done for you, Paul says, "My beloved brothers, be steadfast, be immovable." And then he says, "Be always abounding in the work of the Lord." [1 Cor 15:58]

The word, "abounding" means to be overflowing, to be overdoing. Now, we live in a day and age, where we like to conserve energy, we like to conserve our efforts, we do not want to do too much.
So, there are many people who perhaps in church have this mindset. "Serve one area "gao liao" [enough in Hokkien], don't do too much, don't be siow on" [passionate in Hokkien]. Why you so passionate? Why you do so much?"

And we almost have that thinking that, "Well, I just want to do one ministry so that when people ask me what I'm doing, I can at least answer them, "Just do enough to get by."' But that's not the spirit here of Paul, he says, "You should be always abounding, overdoing."

Let me put it this way. I think actually, Singaporeans are very good at this. Singaporeans are very good at abounding, working hard. Isn't it true? Many of you work very, very hard and nothing wrong with diligence, mind you, I'm not criticizing diligence in work, the Bible is not against that good work ethic. The question, however is why? And the question also is about priority.

Do we work so hard in our careers, to such a degree that really it is not about serving God anymore, but really to build our own kingdoms? The priority here is always abounding in the work of the Lord. And so, it is very encouraging when I realize that there are some brethren in this church, who deliberately take on lesser jobs, limit the scope of their work, not because they're incapable, but because they want to prioritize ministry unto the Lord, as the main thing in life.

I think that's so, if I may say refreshing, and actually biblical. Now, I ... again, please don't get me wrong. I ... I don't say that everyone should do that, not all of us have the privilege to say work less and still be able to sustain the family. I ... I understand that! And again, I'm not saying that working in a secular job cannot be a means of serving God too.
But we must examine our hearts, why we do what we do, and how what we do in our jobs can sometimes hinder us from really serving God, and some choices might be needed to be made in our lives.

Always abounding — not serving God only when it's convenient or easy, but serving God even when you have to wake up very early, stay up late, spend a lot of time, when it's highly inconvenient. But that's what it means to serve! In fact, the word, "labor" is to work to the point of exhaustion. That's the Christian mindset! That's the appeal that Paul is saying to the Corinthians!

"If you really believe Jesus died for you, and if you really believe He rose from the dead, and He will bring you in that resurrection, then it only makes sense that you will be faithful, you will be always abounding in the work of the Lord because your labor is never going to be in vain. Whatever you're faithful in, in a little God has given you now, you will be given much in a time that is to come. So labor, my friends."

Real faith in God is not seen in our doctrines only, not what we utter with our mouths only, but also in the way we live our lives. Show me your faith with your works, that's I think the point.

So, I pray that as a church, you today will re-examine your life. I'm not talking about specific ministries here, but just thinking about how are you giving your life for the work of the Lord. Maybe this is a good day for you to contemplate.

There was this missionary to be, his name is John Patton, you may even hear of him, Google him. He felt that God was leading him to preach the Gospel to the tribal people. And some well-meaning Christians, his church members came to him and said, "John, do you know that you're going to cannibalistic people, they will eat you alive." To which John Patton wrote or said, "I confess to you that if I can live and die serving my Lord Jesus Christ, it makes no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms; for in that Great Day of Resurrection, my body will rise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer!"

Oh, he has such a clear vision of the life that is to come! Such faith! Such confidence in 1st Corinthians 15! I pray, we will have that clear vision as well and may that change our lives.

Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

If you're here today, and you've join us, even though you're not a Christian, we want to thank you for being here. Thank you for listening in. Thank you for hearing together with us, the Word of God.

The Bible focuses on one central message, that God has sent His Son to save His people from their sins. And He did it, He succeeded in it, because Jesus not only died, but He rose again. "O death, where is your victory?" we can now cry. And I say to you therefore, now, according to the Word of God, there is a way for lost sinners to be reconciled with a Holy God. Not that God will just sweep all things underneath the carpet, not that we should now try to do good and earn our way there because we will always fail, but that Jesus paid it all.

He died, He shed His blood, He suffered on the cross, because He was made to be that sacrificial Lamb to take away the sin of the world. And the Bible clearly says, "Whosoever believes in Him, in Jesus shall not perish but have ever lasting life." Life eternal, when we can join Jesus and exclaim, "O death, where is your victory?"

Some of you may think, "Why did God allow sin and suffering in the first place, it seems like a game to God?" It's not a game, I know it's not a game when He had to sacrifice His Son, I know it's not a game when Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" I know it's not a game when the Bible declares but, "God demonstrated His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." The Father's heart was broken, so that sinners might be reconciled to Himself.

My friends, there is a way for you to be saved, and I pray you'll hear the Word of God today, and repent in humility, and depend on Jesus alone for salvation and life. "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me," Jesus said.

And to my brothers and sisters in Christ, maybe you are going through hardships and maybe like that lizard, the winds and waves are hitting upon you, and it's so hard to hang on there. But hang in there, because if you hold fast and you stand on the Gospel till the end, you will be saved.

And my friends, it's worth believing because Jesus did rise from the dead, and your faith is not in vain. I pray Gospel Light would be a church that really believes the Gospel and really believes the resurrection in the Gospel. That we will be like John Patton, who have such a clear vision of the life that is to come, that we would say, "I would give myself to be always abounding in the work of the Lord."

Sad to say, too many of us have too clear a vision of the next paycheck, our next bungalow, our next title, that the things of heaven are so faded away, so fuzzy that we tend to do just the minimum for God. May God have mercy to grant us clear sightedness, that we would see clearly our labor will never be in vain in the Lord. Let us serve Him!

So Father, this morning, we thank You for Your Word, bless Your people. Thank You for the glorious hope, that confident expectation of all the good that is promised before us. Oh, we had a glimpse of what that future new heavens and earth would be like and may we will be excited for that day! May we labor for that day, may Your people be wise to be strangers and pilgrims therefore in this world, to live for that country that is to come. Thank You, we pray all this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

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