Dying to Live | Resurrection Life from Death
- Summary: For centuries explorers have searched the world for the legendary fountain of youth. But God has something much better for you — not just youthfulness, but eternal life! To get it, though, you’ll have to “die” first!
Revelation 1:18a I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!
- • Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again to live forever. And He promised the same to us who believe in Him — John 14:19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
- • Notice the order (for Jesus and for us) — death first, then resurrection life. That is the truth with eternal consequences that we will look at today.
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”
- • We all face death. At the time Jesus spoke this, His friend Lazarus had been in the grave for four days. But Jesus, the author and giver of life, raised dead Lazarus from the grave. By doing this, Jesus gave visible assurance that He has the power to raise all who believe in Him at the day of His second coming.
1 Corinthians 15:19-23 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
- • This passage describes the bodily resurrection of the “dead in Christ” at Jesus’ second coming.
- • Having born our sins on the cross, Jesus was buried. On the third day He rose from death to everlasting life. He is “the firstfruits” of the resurrection, the first to rise from death to life everlasting. At some time yet future from today, “when He comes [He will raise from the dead] those who belong to Him.”
So there is a natural dying of the Christian believer. And that death will be overcome by endless resurrection life granted at the Lord’s second coming. There is also a spiritual life from death, which begins now, in our earthly walk of faith, before the second coming and the bodily resurrection of the dead, and continues uninterrupted for all eternity. Let’s look at some of the facets of that spiritual life from death.
Ephesians 2:1, 4-5 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins …  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.
- • Although biologically alive, all of us were dead in our sins. Spiritually dead while living in the body. And while still in the body, God through Jesus Christ saves us and makes us spiritually alive. Life from death, and clearly in context, spiritual life from spiritual death.
Galatians 2:20, NASB I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
- • This, too, clearly speaks on the spiritual level. The biologically living Paul says that he had been “crucified with Christ.” This happens to each of us when we come to Jesus in faith and repentance. Our sins are forgiven, they are effectively left at Jesus’ cross, where He paid the price for our sinfulness.
- • Now followers of Jesus, we go on living in the body for whatever time we have left on earth. But now things have changed! It is “no longer I” — no longer the old, unforgiven sinner — who lives, but rather Jesus Christ lives in us and gives us eternal spiritual life.
- • And how did this happen? Through repentance (Acts 2:38) and “faith in the Son of God.”
Romans 6:3-6, KJV Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
- • Water baptism has profound death-life significance. Our old, sinful self having by faith been crucified with Christ (vs. 6), in baptism we are “buried with him” (vs. 4). Then we, like Jesus, are raised to walk in newness of life (vs. 4).
- • Recall what Jesus did: (1) He went to the cross, taking our sins; (2) He was buried; (3) He rose from the grave to newness of life.
- • What do we do? (1) We bring our sins in faith and repentance to His cross and are “crucified with Christ”; (2) we are buried in the waters of baptism; from which (3) like Jesus, we rise to “walk in newness of life” (vs. 4, KJV). Spiritual life from spiritual death!
Colossians 3:1, 5 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God…  Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
- • We were once dead in sins. And now, through Jesus Christ, we are saved, “raised with Christ,” and spiritually alive and looking forward to eternity with Him.
- • In light of that holy privilege, there’s some more dying to do, a dying to self. It is a conscious, daily, deliberate “putting to death” of the sinful urges of our earthly nature. God doesn’t just want us just to “be” saved, but to live as people saved from sin. To do that, we face a daily need to “crucify” the sinful leanings of our carnal natures.
1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
- • Put another way, God wants us to “die” some more, to “die to sins.” Jesus died taking the punishment due to our sins upon Himself. How then can we treat sin as a light thing! It cost the Son of God His life.
1 Timothy 1:9-11, KJV Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher…
- • In 1975 I had the blessing and privilege of being ordained and entering into 31 years of full-time ministry. Those years were spent in bible college teaching and pastoring local churches. But there was nothing of greater importance than preaching and teaching “the gospel [of the] life and immortality” that our Savior Jesus Christ has given us through His death, burial, and resurrection.
- • This earth has billions of people living in hopelessness. You have for them a message of life-from-death, in the Person of the Lord and Savior Jesus!
1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
- • Lest we ever lose sight of the main road, “this life is in his Son.” Having or not having the Son of God personally in your life is what determines whether or not you will experience blessed eternal life with Him or spend eternity in the fires of hell.
- • Eternal life doesn’t just “happen” to us. No! Jesus did His part in redeeming us from the guilt of our sins. But we have a part to do — repentance for our sins and faith in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.
John 5:24, NASB “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
- • Hear the word … believe in God … believe in Jesus the Son of God — the result is spectacular. Even now the one who does this “has passed out of death into life.”
- • Will we die biologically? Certainly, unless we happen to be in that generation that is still alive at Jesus’ second coming. So, yes, we will die bodily. But at the moment of physical death, the saved believer will pass from earth into the presence of our Lord. Why? Because we have already “passed out of” spiritual death and are born-again children of God. Our soul, our spirit, will leave the body behind and will enter into the Lord’s presence.
- • As Jesus said, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:26, KJV). Jesus was not speaking of not dying physically. Remember our earlier Galatians 2:20 (KJV): I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Once we come to Jesus in faith and repentance and are born again, His life is within us and will continue uninterrupted, even when the body slows down and dies.
Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
- • Just a quick reminder: this eternal life is not granted to those who just passively consent to its truth. No, rather it requires “repentance that leads to life.”
- • There must be a godly sorrow for sin (2 Corin. 7:10), coupled with a personal faith in Jesus as the heaven-sent Remedy for our sin. This godly sorrow will lead us to acknowledge our sins to God and, with His grace, make every effort to turn from our sins. The result? Life!
Romans 8:5-6, KJV For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
- • Now saved and forgiven, the believer needs to be ever aware of another “death trap” that lies in wait for all of us. And that is carnal mindedness. This new life of ours is centered upon Jesus, not upon the allurements of the world and our flesh. We must be careful not to “mind the things of the flesh.” They will drag us down and kill our holiness and our passion for God.
- • Take control of your thoughts, of your focus. What is the result of “carnal minded”-ness? Death! But by contrast, “to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Romans 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed — a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
- • Where is this life found? “In the gospel” of Jesus Christ. The word “gospel” means good news. And there is no news better than the certain fact that Jesus loves you … that He died for your sins … that He wants you to come to Him and to love and follow Him … and that He will give you life with Him throughout all eternity.
- • It says, “The righteous will live by faith.” Believe in Him. Turn your life fully over to Him. And begin right now, in this life, to walk in the eternal life that Jesus has promised those who follow Him.
- • “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:26, KJV).
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by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.