The Second Mystery: Blink! 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Preached UBC 11.20.11 AM service
Intro: Paul calls this a mystery. By that He means that he is going to reveal something that God has not revealed before: the rapture of all Christians from the Earth.
Verse 50 You can’t get there from here!
Suppose we were trying to tell a young child what it is like to be married! Could you really explain to a three-year-old what it is like to be married to your spouse, to have children, to raise children in the world we now live in? Of course not! A young child does not have the mental capacity to understand what it is like to be married. To anyone who tried to do that I would have to say, “You can’t get there from here!” That child has to grow and mature emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically to even begin to understand!
In fact, I would suggest to you that it is impossible to fully explain to someone who has never been married what it is like to be married! You can’t get there from here! Some things have to be experienced to really be understood! A single person can get an idea, but to completely understand all the ups and downs, all the joys and sorrows, a person has to be married! You can’t get there from here! What about living together? Nope, that won’t do it either. LIving together doesn’t have the commitment that marriage does. There is a completely different dynamic to being fully married than just living together. It is not the same thing at all! You can’t get there from here! When you live together, you know that if you want, you can just take a hike, and separate from each other. Marriage is a full commitment that can only be broken by divorce.
Try to explain to a person blind from birth what the color blue is like, what the color red is like, what the color green is like. Try to explain to a person deaf from birth what the music of Bach or Beethoven is like, or the music of Lynnerd Skynnerd is like. You can’t get there from here!
Now try to explain to a human being what it will be like to live in heaven, or in the new world that God is going to create after He destroys this heavens and earth. You can’t get there from here! In fact, no human being will be able to survive the atmos-phere of that new heaven and earth. It will be completely different! That’s why only saved people, people who have been born again with the new spiritual DNA, will be able to exist there at all! You can’t get there from here! You have to have a new kind of body entirely!
“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (v. 50)
Verse 51-52 Why a twinkling? Because God hates sin and death! My illustration of Jesus waiting for the last person to repent before the rapture takes place in a twinkling of an eye.
God will not allow sin to exist for a single milli-second longer that He has to! God will not allow death to exist for a single milli-second longer than He has to! God hates both of them, and He will destroy them as quickly as possible!
Verse 53 New clothes!
I once watched a TV program where a group of women were waiting and talking together. All of the women were dressed in causal clothes--blue jeans, print blouses, shorts, simple dresses. A couple of them had holes in the jeans. Their hair styles were causal; in fact, one of them had her hair in a pony tail, just pulled back with a rubber band around it. They were sitting in a type of lounge area on couches and chairs, talking and joking about their day, and what they had been doing that day. They looked like they had just come from work or home, from wherever they had spent the day.
Then another woman came out to meet them, slowly. They had been waiting for her. The women who were sitting all stopped talking, and they just stared at her. They gaped. A couple of them moaned, and went, “Ooohh!” Another woman said, “Oh, my!” Another woman said, “That’s it! That’s the one!” And they all began to applaud the new woman, and cheered her.
What were they looking at? One of the most beautiful wedding dresses I have ever seen! It was simply gorgeous, and it make the woman look absolutely gorgeous, too! Everything about it was beautiful! The contrast between what the group of women were wearing, and what the woman in the wedding dress was wearing was completely different. It is like they were from two different planets, two different worlds!
That is what it will be like when this perishable nature of our takes on the imperishable! The Greek word for perishable can also be translated ‘corruptible.” The Greek word for imperishable can also be translated ‘incorruptible.” The bodies that we Christians will be given will be changed from perishable to imperishable, from corruptible to incorruptible! The DNA will be completely changed! Our bodies there will be nothing like our bodies here! Everything will be changed, will be different, and the difference will be complete!
Verses 54-57 The impossible promise
Kirk Cameron tells the following true story: “I once met a man whose son was murdered by a 17 year old boy. This pastor demonstrated unbelievable Christlikeness in his response to the cruelty and wickedness of the young criminal--he loved him and adopted him as his own son. Yes, that’s right . . . he actually adopted the boy who murdered his son, and raised him as his very own. That that pastor would truly forgive is amazing, but what was unfathomable to me was that he literally welcomed him into his own family, trained him to become a man that would image his new father’s heart, and would be proud to call him his own son! This father brought God’s amazing grace into clearer focus for me and gave me a fresh appreciation for the undeserved kindness I have received.”
This is a true story: that pastor really adopted the murderer of his own son, and raised him as his own son. It sounds impossible, but it is true!
In verse 54 we have a promise that sounds impossible, but it is true: Death is swallowed up in victory!
How can death be swallowed up in victory? Because of the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ! Sin is what brought the sting of death. “For the wages of sin is death,” the Bible says in Romans 6:23. The power of sin is the law. Why? Because the law brought the awareness of what sin is, and sin took advantage of the law by causing us to desire sin when the law told us what sin is.
But Jesus lived a sinless, perfect life. Death had no right to take Him. But He deliberately died anyway, deliberately laid His life down on the cross. And He did so for all the sins of all the world. He deliberately died for us! That means that God the Father can accept His death on the cross as payment for our sins, and we are given the righteousness of Jesus! The Bible says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor 5:21).
Verse 58 Therefore!
Therefore we can know that our work for the Kingdom of God will never be useless! It will never be in vain! Everything we do for the Kingdom of God will have a tremendous effect, a wonderful result, a ripple effect on the lives of everyone who will be in that Kingdom!
Therefore, we can be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord!
Conclusion: All of this will happen in the twinkling of an eye! All of this will happen in a blink! How long is a blink? How long is a twinkling? Faster than you can clap your hands! Faster than turning on a lightbulb! A twinkling is just the flash of light off the eyeball of a person, that’s all! In a blink, in the twinkling of an eye, all Christians will be gone. All Christians will be transformed from perishable to imperishable, from corruptible to incorruptible. Our DNA, our bodies, our very nature will be completely changed, completely different! BLINK!
When Marian and I were younger, we used to sing duets. One of the songs we sang you may know: I Wish We'd All Been Ready. The last chorus we would sing like this:
You've been left behind;
You've been left behind;
You've been left----
Don't be left. Be ready!