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BEYOND DEATHS DOOR - Part 3 (1 Corinthians 15:20-28 March 5, 1995)

I have a question for you. A very important question. The last time you shared the gospel with someone - a friend, a neighbour, a relative - why did you do it? What was your motivation behind sharing the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ? Was it because you are commanded to be ambassadors of the truth? Jesus commanded you to go and make disciples and you were fulfilling that divine command? Was it because of your love for that person? They are lost, hopeless, ignorant of the fact that they are destined for a Christless eternity. Like a man drowning in the river your motivation was to rescue them from the perils ahead. Were these the reasons you shared the gospel? I have to confess to you that almost without exception these have been my motivations in the past. DUTY - a sense of fulfilling a divine fiat placed on my soul or PITY - a desire to see that person escape the reality of hell. The truth is that Scripture never presents either of these reasons as primary motivations to share the gospel. These are man-centred motivations. To relieve an obligation we feel. To snatch another man from the pit. Both are reasonable - we ARE under compulsion to share the gospel and lost men ARE headed for the pit. But, these are not presented as primary reasons why we are to share the truth of the Scriptures with lost men. Listen to what the Word says is to be our motivation: Psalm 67:3 Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise Thee. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy. Psalm 96:3 Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. Isaiah 12:4 Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted. Romans 1:5 We have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His names sake.

God has a plan for this world. The plan ultimately results in His glory. Men and women were created to worship God, to reflect His glory and to magnify His name forever. Evangelism is NOT primarily a duty, it is not done primarily out of pity - we should do it OUT OF A DEEP AND ABIDING DESIRE TO SEE GOD GLORIFIED. To see rebellious men and women repent and give the honour and glory due to our God. To see them bow before Him and worship His name. This is to be our motivation for evangelism. I dont know if you realise it, but that same motivation is at the heart of everything that you are to do in this world. Your work is to be done as for the Lord. It is to be done to His glory. Others must see the motivation behind the excellence of your performance and praise God. Husbands, your role in the marriage is to present your wife sanctified, cleansed by the Word, without spot or wrinkle, holy and blameless. Basically you are to strive to encourage her to be the godliest women she can be. WHY? So that her life gives glory to God and she will enter eternity glorifying her Creator. Mums and Dads. You must train up your children in the way they should go. Your role is to persevere in discipline, love, education, training and nurturing so that each bundle of blessing stands in the waters of baptism honouring God and later enters the next life worshipping the Almighty. Right here in the church - you have a God given task. To use your spiritual gifts so that this church can be a beacon to the glory of God. So that every believer can reach their full potential as Christlike redeemed saints. Let me say it again - EVERYTHING you do in this life MUST have as its end goal the glory of God. We must love to see Gods name magnified in all we do. This means that the primary motivation behind you sharing your faith is because you want to see that unbeliever give God the glory and honour that is rightfully His. If you understand this concept it will revolutionise your evangelism. It is not a duty. It is not pity that drives you. It is love for God. Your evangelism is a direct measure of your love for God and your desire to see the nations magnify His name. This concept of everything we do resulting in the praise and worship of God helps us to understand many things. Because God is totally holy, He MUST direct all praise and adoration to a being who is worthy of that glory. In other words Gods holiness forces Him to give all the glory, honour and praise TO HIMSELF. Do you understand the implications of this? God didnt create angels and men just to show off how creative He is. He didnt create them because He was lonely? He created them so that they might give HIM glory throughout the eternal ages. THAT is the ONLY reason you were created and continue to exist. You exist AND angels exist for no other reason than the fact that God chose to draw to Himself a redeemed people who will glorify God BY enjoying Him forever. If you doubt that then look at Revelation.

Revelation 4:8-11: And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come. And when the living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honour and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created. Revelation 5:11-14: And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing. And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honour and glory and dominion forever and ever. And the four living creatures kept saying, Amen. And the elders fell down and worshiped. Revelation 7:9-12: After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen. Revelation 15:3-4: And they sang the song of Moses the bond-servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are Thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Thy ways, Thou King of the nations. Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou alone art holy;

For all the nations will come and worship before Thee, For Thy righteous acts have been revealed. FOR ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE THEE. That is your eternal destiny brethren. Glorifying the supreme One, the One who will not share His glory with another. From every tribe and nation He chose some to worship Him forever. If you are in Christ - then you are most blessed. You are one of those chosen before the foundation of the world for this glorious task. You ask, why did God chose me and not my friend? There is no answer except that God chose some from among the rebellious masses to worship Him forever. Blessed be God. You dont deserve it. You cant earn it. It is Gods grace. Blessed be God. Glorifying God, enjoying Him forever - that is the highest goal man can strive to achieve. It is what we were created for. True happiness is only to be found in enjoying our blessed sovereign. That is why Paul could write - TO LIVE IS CHRIST. Nothing else is real living. Nothing else fulfils the reason for your creation. But, note one thing. IF God created mankind for the express purpose of choosing some to worship Him forever, to extol the only One worthy of praise throughout all eternity - THEN this life cannot be all there is. The resurrection of the body MUST follow so that the symphony of praise we began here can be perfected and continue forever in eternity. Today we will look at a passage that looks at the end of time as we know it. Where mortality meets immortality. Where the very reason God created man and redeemed him is displayed. If this passage doesnt blow your mind about what it means to be IN CHRIST then my friends you are not saved. This passage declares all that you were ever meant to be. Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 15 verse 20 (Read vv. 20-28). This unbelievable passage is found in the midst of Pauls rebuttal of the Gnostic belief that there is no resurrection. The resurrection is not peripheral to Christianity, it lies right at the heart of all we believe and hold dear. When word reached Paul that men had risen in the Corinthian assembly claiming a Word from the Lord that Jesus was not God and that neither Christ nor believers will rise from the dead Paul HAD to respond. His beloved children were being poisoned - choked of spiritual vitality. In verses 1-11, Paul outlined the truth that the resurrection of Christ is central to the gospel proclaimed by the whole church. Now, in verses 12-34, Paul outlines the consequences of denying the resurrection. Last week we looked at the first consequence in verses 12-19 - to reject the concept of resurrection of the dead denies the gospel and the possibility of atonement for sin. Now, in verses 20-28 we find the second consequence - it denies the future resurrection of believers. Before I comment on these verses, let me be clear about one point. Scripture tells us that there will be a resurrection of the righteous AND a resurrection of the wicked. Acts 24:15 says:

There shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. However, in this whole chapter, Paul ONLY has the resurrection of the righteous in view. His argument has NOTHING to do with the resurrection of the wicked. The resurrection spoken of here refers ONLY to the saved. They are the ONLY ones Paul is commenting on. Furthermore, to understand this passage, you need to grasp Pauls concept that the resurrection of Christ is an ironclad guarantee that the events which culminate the end of time WILL take place. The resurrection of Christ sets in motion these events - the raising of believers. The annihilation of all of the forces opposed to God including death. The end of history as we know it. And the handing over of the Kingdom to God the Father. Have you ever seen on TV those domino setups with hundreds of thousands of dominos? Tip over one domino and a train of events takes place. Dominos falling uphill, across gaps, in spirals until many minutes later the very last domino falls. BUT, the fall of the first domino made it CERTAIN that the last domino WOULD fall. That is Pauls argument here. The resurrection of Christ has made CERTAIN that the events which will end human history have already been set in motion and will take place. These events are part of a divine plan. Whenever the resurrection of Christ is spoken of, a passive verb is used. What this means is that Christ did not raise Himself from the dead someone else did. That someone is God the Father - the architect of history. This shows that the One within the Trinity who has the final absolute authority over all things is God the Father. He is the One with a plan for this world and He will work out that plan in the pages of human history. He begins these events with the resurrection of Christ and they culminate in the kingdom being handed to Him. The work of the Son in salvation was simply a part of a divine plan to ensure that the sovereignty and glory of God are recognised and adored by a redeemed mankind for all eternity. Lets see how Paul makes this case. Verse 20 (Read v. 20). This verse picks up on verses 16 to 19 (Read vv. 16-19). If there is no resurrection, then there is no hope of future salvation. BUT, because Christ DID rise from the dead, your future resurrection is assured. Paul can say this with assurance, because Christ is the first fruits of those who have already died. This concept of the first fruits is common in Scripture. The idea is this. When Spring comes, the farmer anxiously watches his field. Were the rains enough? Did pests devastate the crop? Will there be a harvest? Finally, the first fruits, the first part of the crop appears. This is a sign that there will indeed be a full harvest. The first fruits are a type of down payment, a guarantee that a much larger crop will follow. In chapter 16 verse 15, Paul refers to the household of Stephanas as the first fruits of Achaia. Not only were this household the first converts, but they served notice that there would be a full harvest of believers in that mission field.

This is Pauls point there. The resurrection of Christ is a guarantee, a pledge by God of the full harvest to come, the resurrection of all believers. The fact that God raised Christ from the dead makes it absolutely certain that all the children of God WILL be raised from the dead. The domino has been toppled. Nothing can stop its momentum. You WILL be raised. We have TWO proofs that one day we will be raised from the dead. The first is the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Ephesians 1:13 says: You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of Gods own possession, to the praise of His glory. The Spirit of God within us is a guarantee that one day God will redeem His own. The other proof is the resurrection of Christ. His rising makes it certain that we will rise. WHY? Verse 21 (Read vv. 21-22). We will rise because we are IN Christ. We are permanently and irrevocably linked to Christ. Because He rose, we who are linked to Him must rise. That is the point Paul is making, but in the process he covers some of the deepest and most profound theology anywhere. To understand Pauls logic here, turn with me to Romans 5 verse 12 (Read v.12). Sin and death entered the world through one man and because of that one action, all sinned. In the Garden of Eden, Adam was the head of mankind. The father of all who would be. He had the headship over Eve. That is why Scripture attributes the blame for sin to him not to Eve, although she ate first. When Adam sinned, when Adam plucked the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, he was representing ALL mankind. It was not JUST Adam who became a sinner at that time - ALL MEN became sinful because Adam sinned. Think of it this way. Paul Keating is the federal head of the Commonwealth of Australia. Right now, he is not on the best of terms with Dr. Mahatir of Malaysia. If Paul Keating declares Australia is at war with Malaysia. Guess what? We are at war! You might not have voted for it. You might not agree with it. But, because he represents all Australians, his actions have affected you. You are at war. In the same way, Adam was the head of mankind, therefore his sin affected us. ALL men became sinners at that moment. That is why Scripture says you are conceived in sin. It is not that you reach a certain age and then rebel against God. At the very moment of conception your little embryonic hearts were hardened against the will of God, all because Grandpa Adam sinned. Some might then cry, But that isnt fair. Adam sinned back then, not me. The truth is MANKIND sinned back then. Yet, if you think that isnt fair, lets read on. Verse 13 (Read vv. 13-19).

Here is unfair. Christ the sinless lamb of God died to pay the penalty for your transgression. Through the one act of righteousness, justification resulted for all who are IN CHRIST. An act that we had no right to partake in. An act we did not merit or warrant. Thats unfair. The righteous dying for the unrighteous. Christs death upon the cross had unbelievable effects for those who are His. Verse 18 - they were justified. Their sins were forgiven. As a result - verse 19, they were pronounced righteous. Their status before God went from guilty - deserving of eternal hell to innocent, ready for eternal life. Notice that the sin of a man led to death which meant that only the righteousness of another man could lead to life. Christ had to be a flesh and blood man to redeem mankind. The Gnostics would have choked at the thought, but only a man could undo the curse. That man was the God-man, Christ. But, what is the point of being justified and righteous if death consumes us? What does it matter if the grave is all there is? That is why there is one further benefit for those who are IN CHRIST. Back to 1 Corinthians 15:22 - ALL shall be made alive. All will be raised to live forever to the glory of God. It is about this point that the wheels begin to tick over and some of you might say, Hang on a minute. Verse 22 says ALL die and ALL shall be made alive. We know that EVERY man woman and child dies because Adam sinned, does this verse mean that ALL mankind, every person ever born will live eternally with Christ? NO! Notice that Paul writes - IN ADAM and IN CHRIST. Every man, woman and child dies eternally because ALL were in Adam. Adam was the head of the race of all mankind. Every person who has ever lived is IN Adam. BUT, Jesus stands at the head of a very different race. Those who are IN Him. Only those chosen by Him to trust in His blood for their redemption are IN CHRIST. Only those particular men and women will be raised to live with Him eternally. Those who were linked to Adam share his sin. Their death is inevitable. Those linked to Christ share His resurrection to everlasting life. Their re-creation is inevitable. This is a key point. There are two races being spoken of here. Adam stood at the beginning of a race - mankind. That race rejected the very reason they were created. They were meant to obey and give glory to God the Creator. Instead they rebelled. There is no greater sin than rebellion against an infinitely Holy being. They deserve and will receive eternal punishment. But, Christ stands at the head of an entirely different race - the redeemed. Men and women who are RE-CREATED. Their sin nature is replaced and they WILL give God the honour and glory due his name. The death of Christ, His resurrection and our redemption are all for one great purpose. To create a new breed of mankind - one which will spend eternity praising the supreme One God.

But just how does this new race of redeemed beings come into place? Verse 23 (Read vv. 2328). Here is perhaps THE most glorious glimpse of the events in which human history ends and eternal existence begins. The heavens, earth, mankind - they exist temporally only for one purpose. We live in a disposable universe made in order that God might create for Himself a worshipping community. When that is done, all of the things belonging to this temporary existence are done away with and God becomes all in all. It is in this that we find our true reason for being. The resurrection of Christ set in train the events which lead to the end of the world as we know it. Here Paul describes the events that finish off this world. The resurrection of the righteous, the end of this world with its powers of evil and death and finally the Son delivering the kingdom up to the Father. In the Garden, God said to Adam, From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die. In Adam, the process of death began. BUT, in the death and resurrection of Christ, the process of death is halted. However, while it is true that Christ has overcome death, the final effects of that overthrow of that last enemy is yet future. Believers still die. If indeed Christ triumphed over death, then the dead believers MUST rise again so that the final enemy, death can be subdued and God can be all in all. This is the line of reasoning Paul gives. In making it he describes the events of the end time in a way that MUST touch the hearts of believers. If you want to know what the future really holds for you, then forget the man centred sensationalism of books like The Late Great Planet Earth. Here is a passage which shows the God-centred purpose for history and the redemption of man. Verse 22. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christs at His coming. Here Paul gives the order of the resurrection. FIRST - Christ who is the first fruits. This has already occurred and is the basis for the next resurrection. BUT, this next resurrection is yet to occur. Here we are told that it takes place at the return of Christ - when all those who belong to Christ will be made alive. The word translated coming is the Greek word parousia. This is the term used to describe the arrival of a ruler in his kingdom or the appearance of a deity to rule his people. So the fact that this word refers to the return of Christ is clear.

CHURCH AGE
7 YEARS

M I LLEN N I UM
1 0 0 0 YEARS

TRI BULATI O N

ETERN ITY

1 = FIRST RESURRECTION 2 = SECOND RESURRECTION


Our church understands the Scriptures to teach a premillennial return of Christ. This chart helps explain our understanding of the events that will occur at the return of Christ. We see the first and second resurrections as mentioned in Revelation 20. In a number of passages, Scripture views these two resurrections together. These passages just speak of the resurrection of the righteous. Other passages view them in isolation. Our passage in 1 Corinthians views them together. Paul is simply saying, the dead IN CHRIST will rise. It is not his intent to give a blow by blow description of all of the events in this period. So when Paul says that those in Christ will rise at His coming, both the first and second resurrections are included. But, we still must answer the question - what is the parousia? Basically, the term parousia refers to ALL of the events from the return of Christ until the end of the age. It does NOT refer to one single event in the end times BUT to the whole end times. That is the understanding of this church in regard to the parousia. But, let me stress this. What I have outlined is the way the elders here understand these final events. However, Scripture NEVER set out to give a minute by minute description of the end times. Scripture is far more concerned with saying - Christ is returning - be prepared. There are far greater battles to wage than arguing over the exact timing and events of the parousia. The point is that Christ DID rise from the dead and that guarantees our future resurrection. But, the resurrection of believers to worship God throughout all eternity signals that the purpose for this world is done. This rising of believers triggers TWO final events. FIRST - the abolition of all rule, authority and power which includes the final enemy - death. Paul uses these terms rule, authority and power to speak of the forces opposed to God which influence the world as we now know it. From Pauls usage elsewhere we know these include the demonic forces, sinful human rule and the final opposition to God - death. These will all be done away with by God as the existence of this world draws to a close. AND SECOND - with world history at an end, Christ the Son, the ruler of this temporal universe hands over all rule to the Father so that God might be all in all. You, brethren,

redeemed men and women, you are the gift that the Son presents to the Father at the end of the ages. The fruit of His labours in redemption. What an amazing thought. Verse 24 outlines these two final events. Then (after the resurrection of all believers) comes the end (the end of history as we know it), when He delivers up the kingdom to the Father AND when He has abolished all rule and authority and power. THEN in verses 25 to 26 Paul describes how all of the anti-God forces of this world including death are abolished. FINALLY in verses 27 to 28, Paul reveals how the kingdom is handed over to God the Father. Look back at verses 25 to 26 as we see the end of the forces opposed to God (Read v. 25). Paul is quoting Psalm 8:6 and Psalm 110:1 which picture the reign of the Messiah and the subjugation by God of His enemies. I dont know about you, but that is a day I can hardly wait for. How many times do you wake up to hear of rapes, murders and wars? How often are you told that to believe in Christ is a crutch for the psychologically maimed? How often do the trials, persecutions, disappointments and sufferings of this life cause your life to ebb away? For now Satan is the prince of this world. If we looked about us we might say that the powers of evil have triumphed. Yet, that is not the way God designed this world to exist. That is an abnormal state of affairs brought about by the rulers, authorities and powers - the enemies of Christ. This is a temporary state of affairs that awaits the return of Christ to rectify the situation. That is why the true believer cries - Come Lord Jesus, Come! But, this verse poses a number of questions for us. Has the reign of Christ over His enemies already begun or is it yet future? Scripture tells us that there is a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of men and the King, Christ, is seated in the position of power at the right hand of the Father. BUT, every reference to the reign of Christ over the kingdom or the reign of Christ over His enemies is spoken of as yet future. Jesus described Himself as a nobleman in a distant country yet to return and claim the right to reign. In 1 Corinthians 4:8, Paul chastises those Corinthians who taught that the reign of Christ had begun and they were sharing in that reign. So Scripture clearly places the reign of Christ as yet future. HOWEVER, passages such as 1 Peter 3:22 and Colossians 2:15 indicate that the basis of that reign is the cross and resurrection. At the cross, Christ triumphed over His enemies, they were subjected to Him.

The resurrection is a declaration of this fact. BUT, His actual literal reign over these enemies is yet future. Our passage indicates it begins at the parousia - the return of Christ. It begins when He returns to raise His saints and reign over the millennial kingdom. Yet, unbelievably, Christ will not reign alone. Passage after passage teaches that the resurrected believers WILL reign with Christ. 2 Tim 2:11 For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; Rev 3:21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Rev 5:10 And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth. I find these promises some of the most mind-blowing words in the Bible. Sinners like us will be re-created to reign over the world with the Lord. We will reign ONLY because we are IN CHRIST. Obviously this reign is yet future. We do not share a throne with Christ now. It occurs during the millennial kingdom when Christ reigns supreme over the earth. Another question we must ask - WHY IS THERE A REIGN OF CHRIST? When Christ returns why isnt the world terminated there and then? Why doesnt eternity begin right then? Why a thousand year reign of the Messiah? The answer is simple - CHRIST IS THE FOCAL POINT OF HUMAN HISTORY. He created this world. He redeemed this world. Yet, from Eden onwards the world has never paid homage to her Creator-Redeemer. A millennium in which mankind and the nations of the world pay homage to the glory of Christ is a necessary capstone to human history. If Christ simply returned and handed the kingdom over to His Father, then there would NEVER have been a time in history where He received the homage of the nations. The glory due to the Redeemer must be paid before He hands the kingdom over to His Father. This time of millennial worship is described in Zechariah 14:16: Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no

rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, HOLY TO THE LORD. And the cooking pots in the LORDS house will be like the bowls before the altar. So Paul is picturing here in 1 Corinthians the return of Christ, the resurrection of believers and the reign of the King. Revelation chapters 5 to 20 describe this time. The Lamb of God who is worthy to take the throne. Satan is bound for a thousand years. The Lamb then reigns with His enemies under His feet. At then end of this reign, Satan and all who are his are cast into the lake of fire. BUT, Paul says in verse 25 that the reign of Christ ends when ALL His enemies are under His feet. We know that during the millennium men and women still die during this time. Isaiah 65:20 says: No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Shall be thought accursed. Death still needs to be placed under the feet of the Messiah. Thus it is that Paul can say that the last enemy which will be abolished is death. The final victory over death HAS ALREADY BEEN ACHIEVED THROUGH THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST. But like a seed planted in the ground it awaits the time when it reaches its fulfilment. That time is at the end of the age. It begins when Christ first returns for His own and they are raised to reign with Him. BUT, the final consummation of this age is ultimately the destruction of death. Look at Revelation 20:13 (Read vv. 13-14). Satan is gone, the unrighteous are gone, Hades is gone and now death is gone. ALL the enemies of Christ are gone. Only now is creation ready to enter the phase for which it was intended from before the foundation of the world. Redeemed mankind will no longer die. Death has lost its sting. The saints of the ages can enter into eternal life to fulfil their destiny - the praise, adoration and glory of their sovereign King. Paul has one final point to make about the chain of events started by the resurrection. His point is this. History is theocentric. It is God-centred. God began the movement toward the end times by raising Christ from the dead. The final result of this act is that the kingdom - this world with every enemy conquered is finally handed over to God the Father. While history exists to exalt Christ. The end of history, the end of Christs reign results in the exaltation of the Father. Look at verse 27 (Read vv. 27-28). The question we must ask in these verses and indeed throughout this passage is who are the Hes and His? Are they referring to Christ or God? In other words, look at verse 24. When HE has abolished all rule and all authority and power. Is the HE - Christ or God the Father?

Verse 25 - For He - CHRIST, must reign until HE has put all His enemies under His feet. Who is the One who subdues the enemies - Christ or God? To answer this, we have to look at the two Psalms Paul is quoting from. Turn to Psalm 8:6 (Read v.6). From verse 1 it is clear that the One who does the subduing is God the Father - Yahweh. Turn now to Psalm 110:1 (Read v. 1). Both Jesus and Peter made it clear that the first Lord is God the Father and the second Lord is Christ. Again we see that the One who subdues is God the Father. So now we are in a position to interpret verses 27 and 28 in 1 Corinthians 15. We would understand these verses in this way: For: He (GOD) has put all things in subjection under His (CHRISTS) feet. But: When it (SCRIPTURE) says: All things are put in subjection, It is evident that He (GOD) is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him (CHRIST). And: When all things are subjected to Him (CHRIST), Then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One (GOD) who subjected all things to Him. That: God may be all in all. Do you see how theocentric this is? God began it all by raising Christ from the dead. He continued it by placing ALL things in subjection under Christs feet and then finally the kingdom is delivered up to God so that He can be all in all. The purpose of the universe is totally God-centred! To grasp Pauls main point, understand that the last half of verse 27 is just an explanation by Paul of Psalm 8 verse 6. When it (meaning the SCRIPTURES as found in Psalm 8 verse 6) says: All things are put in subjection, It is evident that He (GOD) is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him (CHRIST).

Obviously God did not subject Himself to Christ. This is just a little parenthetical explanation by Paul. If we leave out this explanation, we get his real point: For: He (GOD) has put all things in subjection under His (CHRISTS) feet. And: When all things are subjected to Him (CHRIST), Then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One (GOD) who subjected all things to Him. That: God may be all in all. When all things are subjected to Christ - when the rulers, powers, authorities, Satan, the demons, rebellious men and death are abolished - THEN history as we know it has served its purpose. THEN Christ the Son will hand the kingdom over to His Father and God will be all in all. It is at this point that the dealings of Christ with mankind are done. The work of Christ in history is done. Christ was the agent through whom God created the heavens and the earth. Christ was the One who led Israel out of Egypt. He was the Rock that sustained Israel. He was the One who emptied Himself and took the form of a bondservant and gave Himself on the cross to redeem a chosen race. He is the Lord of the church. He will be the One who will return for His own. He will reign over the nations. He will have all things placed in subjection under His feet. When all of these events have occurred, then the universe will be as it was created to be. The rupture of sin will be dealt with. The rebellious angels and men will be banished forever. All that will remain are the elect angels and men. Those whose wills are tuned to God. Those whose only delight is to worship God throughout all eternity. At this point the redeeming work of Christ is done and He subjects Himself to the Father. It is this universe in harmony with its Creator that Christ hands over to the Father. This in no way indicates an inferiority of the Son to the Father. What it indicates is that in the process of redemption it is the Son who is the prime agent. Having carried out His task, the Sons work of salvation is done. It is time for this new race of redeemed men and women to move to their eternal destiny. The architect and prime mover of this destiny was God the Father. So it is fitting that in the end the kingdom is given to Him. Christ has finished His work of salvation and resumes His place of perfect harmony with God the Father and the Holy Spirit in perfect tri-unity - God thus becomes all in all. Does that leave you breathless? If it doesnt there is something wrong with you. These verses point out the whole panorama of history from eternity unto eternity. They declare your purpose in creation and your final destiny. They paint a picture of the grandeur and majesty of Gods plan for mankind.

From eternity past God - the all supreme One planned to bring all the glory unto Himself. To this end He created the world. From the rebellious rabble that is mankind He drew to Himself a group. He sent the Son that they might be redeemed and recreated. He did this for one purpose - that this regenerate humanity might glorify Him throughout the eternal ages. And central to that whole plan is the resurrection of Christ. Because we are IN CHRIST our sins are dealt with and we will rise to worship Him forever. This passage puts it all into perspective doesnt it? TO LIVE IS CHRIST - TO DIE IS GAIN. How can we be so concerned about the things of this world when our eternal destiny is to be a gift of redeemed humanity presented to God the Father in order to worship Him forever? How can we be concerned about accumulating the possessions of this world, gaining the adulation of this world and clinging to the pleasures of this world? In the light of our eternal destiny, they are all so pitiful. We are sojourners, aliens - here to grow in Christlikeness? Here to begin our eternal task of glorifying Him. Everything we do is to be toward that aim. Our work, our marriage, our parenting, our evangelism - there is nothing in this life which is outside the role of glorifying God. In everything you do, pass it through the sieve which asks AM I LIVING FOR CHRIST? Make sure that in your life there is nothing preventing you from saying TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN? You belong to the kingdom. You will be among the number of His name who sing the song of the Lamb. To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honour and glory and dominion forever and ever. AMEN. Your life is hid in Christ. You are kingdom citizens. Oh brethren, live like it. Be done with the pitiful baubles of this world. Live as you were created to live and one day WILL live. Live as citizens of the heavenly realm. Live as those chosen from eternity past to glorify the Lord the Almighty. Live as those connected to Christ and eternity not to the temporary pleasures of this passing world.