“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:” (Romans 6:5)
When you plant something, you expect a future harvest.
The Apostles who witnessed and fellowship with the risen Christ, among their main teachings to the church was the resurrection of Christ, in support and in supplement to what Jesus said and taught to them.
For the Early Christians, the kingdom of God had been an important subject and they knew their future resurrection had everything to do with it. Compare that to modern day Christianity, people talk much about church growth, membership, buildings projects, and all else but the least attention on the kingdom of God and our future resurrection with Christ.
Are we missing something important and fundamental to our Christian faith?
Remember that moment just before Jesus ascended back to heaven, the disciples asked about the restoration of the kingdom, and what was Jesus’ reply?
Back in the days of Acts, the resurrection of Christ was such an important issue that Peter and his team cast lots to appoint another witness in replacement of Judas –
“Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1:21-22)
On the day of Pentecost, when Peter preached he preached in the context of the resurrection of Christ. And the Apostle Paul who was noted for his contribution “… and the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch…” he preached about the resurrection of Christ as well.
If Jesus’ suffering has everything to do with His resurrection, then as disciples of Jesus and followers of His way, this is something we need to consider as very important to our Christian faith because we have a future resurrection to be prepared for.
Our resurrection with Jesus is necessary for us to serve Him in His kingdom and we need to make our own well-informed choices. What we do here on earth is a preparation for our future resurrection.
The Apostle Paul delivered a shocking message to the Corinthians church that awaken them to reality –
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:50-52)
Paul was dealing with a church that was considered “naughty”, “worldly”, “baby Christians”, “immature” and had no clues what kinds of trouble they were heading for.
Paul was trying to warn the Corinthians church not to missed out on their own resurrection and lose their inheritance in the kingdom of God!
When Jesus returns, which is His second coming to Earth, it will be a time of glory and power and full manifestation of the kingdom of God, we need a resurrected body to be able to be part of it.
Paul was the kind of preacher who risked his life and imprisonment for these kinds of messages …
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:8-13)
Paul preached against sin not for show of religious piety. Paul recon the Corinthians church back then was taken captive by the devil and they strayed from their plan and purpose in Christ.
We can learn our lesson from the teachings and writings of Paul, our own future resurrection is at stake.
We are living in times and circumstance less and less pastors and church leaders are teaching and preaching about righteous living the way the Apostles would have taught us.
Paul was in fact teaching us to be prepared for our future with Jesus.
We are sinners saved by grace through faith, but our good Lord and Savior will not want to leave us where He found us.
“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:10-11)
Renewal and transformations, imparting Christ-likeness in us, making us mature sons and daughters of God; these are part of the works of the Holy Spirit in us.
Now that can be difficult painful process, but we need to be trained and be prepared because we have a better and brighter eternal future with Jesus.
It is a form of suffering for eternal glory with Jesus, amen.
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6)
Yes we are called to serve together with Jesus in His kingdom and we need to be ready to perform our duty.
The suffering and resurrection of Christ is an important message for us and is an important reminder for our generation to be ready for the return of our King.
Are we ready for the return of Jesus?