What Happens Next

Dr. Jon Morrissette - 5/30/2021

Memorial Day is such a special day. We celebrate those beloved men and women who died while serving our country. Our soldiers embody the sacrificial
Spirit of Christ who laid down His life for others.

One thought I had, is that Memorial Day shatters the cultural narratives that demonize our nation’s past. So many brave men and women have died
confronting tyranny, protecting our homeland, freeing millions from slavery at home and abroad, confronting and driving out evil on every continent. When given the
call, millions readily surrendered their “privilege” to the extent of laying down their life. We owe respect, not contempt.

The other thought I had is that Memorial Day is a direct affront to our culture’s obsession with personal health, wealth, and affluence. Is this life, and the
present order of things, all there is to live for? Is there any “one” over and above us? Is there any “thing” after and beyond this life? Its on this point that the Bible has so
much to say—and especially the apostle Paul. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied above all people! If only for this life we have hope, let
us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!

But a major theme of both 1 & 2 Corinthians is HOPE. Yes God gives us comfort, strength, even deliverance in this life. But our ultimate trajectory is that
we are learning “to not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9b). Though we may suffer. Though affliction may come and go. Though
we may feel completely overwhelmed. Though we may spend all our strength. Though we may receive a death sentence—we have put our hope in God for
salvation, for resurrection.

2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in Christ. Therefore through Jesus we say ‘Amen’ to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:22 says,
“God has put his seal on us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.” No matter what sad or tragic or unexpected thing happens in this life God is not going
to abandon his promise to us. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul says, “We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being
transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is Spirit.” Again, whatever good or bad turn we take in this life, if you are in Christ, you go on
from glory to glory. We’re talking about here about a Christian mindset of hope!

In 2 Corinthians 4:7 Paul writes, “Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are afflicted in every
way, but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.”

Dr. Silas McCormick couldn’t have said it better when he spoke last Sunday! Clay jars were the first century paper sack… Walmart sack… target bag… amazon
box. But what is Paul talking about? He is talking about our bodies! 2 Corinthians 4:16b, “… even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being
renewed day by day.” If our bodies are jars, then what is the treasure inside us? The treasure inside is the Spirit of the Living God, with whom we’ve been sealed! The
Ministry of the Spirit (see chapter 3) is that He is renewing us inwardly even as outwardly we’re wasting away!

In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 Paul says, “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable weight of glory. So we do not focus on
what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” For those of us in Christ HOPE transcends what’s temporary, and seen.
This life isn’t a zero-sum game. Even if we lose here, in this life, all is not lost! All is not lost for those who have gone before us.

In 2 Corinthians 5:1-15 Paul explains delves into our HOPE. First, Our Hope is in a Transformed Body. In 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 Paul says, “For we know that if our
earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands.”

Notice the contrast. In Chapter 4 our bodies were clay jars, paper bags. Here our bodies are like earthly tents. You don’t live in a tent. A tent is temporary, its
for transients, its passing away. In contrast a building is fixed and permanent. God is preparing for us an eternal dwelling (a home) that is going to be infinitely
superior to these bodies we inhabit now.

Paul continues, “2 Indeed, we groan in this tent, desiring to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 since, when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 Indeed, we groan
while we are in this tent, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who
prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.” Again, notice the contrast between being found naked and being clothed. Adam
and Eve in their sin, under the curse of death, couldn’t cope with their nakedness. They longed to be clothed… but only God could properly clothe them. Our mortal
bodies are going to be “clothed” with immorality. God has been preparing us for this purpose from the beginning.

If you want to read a fuller treatment jump over to 1 Corinthians 15:42-44. Paul uses the analogy of a seed. When you sow a seed it germinates, it casts off its
body (its shell). . . and God gives that seed a whole other more glorious body, “So it is with the resurrection of the dead: [what is…] Sown in corruption, raised in
incorruption; 43 sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; 44 sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a
spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, “Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the
last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and
this mortal body must be clothed with immortality.”

Second, our Hope is Immediate Union with Christ. When Paul talks about resurrection, its always framed in the future, at the “Last Trumpet” when Christ
returns. From a human time and space perspective, some will “sleep” in the grave until that glorious day. On that day, God will not redeem just our bodies, but all
heaven and earth. So what happens then, as our bodies sleep in the grave? In 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 Paul explains it this way. “6 So we are always confident
and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 In fact, we are confident, and we would prefer to be away
from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to him. 10 For we must all appear before the
judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

The Christian’s reality in life and death is always one of union with Christ. To be in these tents, is to be away from the Lord. But to be away from these bodies (in
death) is to be at home with the Lord. In life and death we're always with Christ! In Romans 8:20-25 Paul describes how all creation groans, and our bodies groan, for
future redemption. He says, “For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of him who subjected it—in the hope 21 that the creation itself will also be
set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now.
23 Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 Now in
this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? 25 Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with
patience.” But as we wait, what is our experience of reality upon death?

Romans 8:37-39 is our experience! “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor
life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love
of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Or consider Philippians 1:21-24, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one
I should choose. 23 I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.”
Dying is gain! To die is to depart and be with Christ! Paul gives full voice to both (A) Receiving a transformed body at the last trumpet, and (B) Experiencing
immediate union with Christ in death. Both are mysterious, and exciting.

Third, our Hope Compels Obedience to Jesus’ Mission Now. In 2 Corinthians 5:11-15 Paul says, “11 Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to
persuade people. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your consciences. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an
opportunity to be proud of us, so that you may have a reply for those who take pride in outward appearance rather than in the heart. 13 For if we are out of our mind, it is for
God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion, that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he
died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.”

We experience affliction, that we not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may
be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Christ died that we should no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who died and was raised.

The Cross of Jesus is a memorial. Jesus did not live for Himself, but surrendered his privileges, and laid down his life for us. But his life was not spent
in vain, because on the third day God raised his broken body, and clothed him with power. Jesus rose and ascended to the right hand of God. We too shall not die, but
be raised. We too shall not stay alone in some grave, but appear before God. God will reward us on the basis of this one question… how has hope compelled us?
How has God’s love in Christ compelled us? Hope doesn’t cause us to evacuate this life, or discard this life like trash bag. It causes us to live more deeply and
powerfully…. No longer living for ourselves but God who raises the dead.

Scripture Verses

2 Corinthians 5:1-15; 4:7,16-18; 1:20-22; 3:18; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-53Romans 8:20-25; Philippians 1:21-24

Worship Playlist

This Is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham

Holy Holy Holy (We Bow Before Thee) by Shane & Shane

King of Kings by Hillsong

Study Questions

  1. How does God's Spirit in us give us confidence while we are in this in-between stage existence?
  2. Are you prepared to appear before the judgment seat of Christ? Will your faith in Him be found genuine?
  3. Why does hope in Jesus change our priorities and obedience today?

Apply It!