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August 5, 2010

Building Strong Friendships in Christ

Asleep in Jesus Today

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 4:14, Page 1849  

      The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ dominates the entire New Testament, and the destiny of every believer.   Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, everything about Christianity would be a lie (1 Corinthians 15:15-18, page 1801).  In the same way, however, the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ empowers the believer’s present life, and provides hope for the future.

       In 1 Thessalonians 4:14, page 1849, Paul reveals two critical points to guide our lives.  Both of those points rest squarely upon the fact of the death and resurrection of Christ.  Jesus by the grace of God tasted death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9, page 1871).  Now, Jesus has been crowned with glory and honor because of His suffering for us.  Because He was raised with an imperishable, immortal, glorified body, He stands ready to raise the bodies of all believers from decay and destruction.  Please recall that spiritually, every believer is at home with Jesus from the moment they die.  The Bible knows nothing of purgatory or soul sleep.   Man invented those traditions for sinful reasons.

       First, because Christ died and was resurrected, He returned to heaven to live eternally with the God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.  God raised Jesus, “putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power”  (Acts 2:24, page 1702).   The moment we die physically, we go to be with Jesus.  When Jesus was explaining life after death to the Sadducees, He told them that He was the God of Abraham, the God Isaac (Abraham’s son), and the God of Jacob (Isaac’s  son).  Jesus proclaimed that He was the God of the living, not of the dead (Matthew 22:32, page 1541).  Jesus meant that even though Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had died physically nearly two thousand years previously, they were alive today spiritually and with God.  He was still their God after their bodies died, and they were with God even before their bodies were resurrected.  We should always remember that death never separates believers from God, because it only separates us from our earthly bodies (Romans 8:38-39, page 1770). 

       Second, Jesus will bring every believer with Him to the Rapture for resurrection.   Because death only affects our physical bodies, believers remain forever joined to Christ.  When Jesus comes back to the clouds of earth to resurrect the bodies of believers, He comes back with the believers who have been at home with Him in heaven ever since they fell asleep (physical death).  I can see my future right now.  If I have died before the Rapture, then I will be coming with Jesus from heaven to the clouds of earth.  He will resurrect my body in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, with the sound of a trumpet, and I will be changed instantly (1 Corinthians 15:52, page 1803).  But I will have been with Him ever since the day that I died.

         So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship form when we remind each other of the resurrection of our bodies, and the eternal spiritual union we have with Jesus.

     ●  Strong bonds of friendship grow when  we look forward together to the day when we be “home with Jesus” and coming back with Him to see our bodies resurrected in glory.  

       ●  We harm our bonds of friendship when we neglect the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in our lives and forget about the Rapture of the saints.   

Application for Today

        Today, I want to remind my friends that Jesus will resurrect the saints, and every believer already asleep in Jesus will be coming with Him at the Rapture.  Will you be looking for Jesus today?


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